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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 359

CONTENTS

Tuesday, November 27, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 359
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[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 five petitions.

Committees of the House

Public Accounts 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 54th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled, “Report 5—Socio-Economic Gaps on First Nations Reserves—Indigenous Services Canada, of the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, any recorded division deferred until Wednesday, November 28, 2018, immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business be deferred anew to immediately after the time provided for oral questions that day.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from several ridings, including the Bay of Quinte, Kingston and the Islands, and Cambridge. Petitioners call on the House of Commons to respect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and reject the Prime Minister's plan to waste taxpayers' money studying a ban on guns that are already banned.

Pharmacare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions to present today. The first one is from the residents of Kildonan—St. Paul, to draw attention of the House of Commons to the issue of amending the Canada Health Act, by adding prescription medications prescribed by a licensed practitioner to the definition of “covered services” in accordance with established formulary, and develop a universal, evidence-based sustainable public drug plan that contains purchasing power to secure the best available pricing, a list of essential medicines addressing priority health needs, and the ability to expand a comprehensive permanent plan that would promote the health and well-being of all Canadians.

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, secondly, I have a petition from the residents of Kildonan—St. Paul and other ridings asking that we ensure fair access to health care for north Winnipeg, capital region. Petitioners urge the provincial government to reverse its decision to close the emergency rooms in north Winnipeg.

Infrastructure  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition relates to infrastructure. The residents of Canada and Kildonan—St. Paul call on the Government of Canada to make the extension linking Chief Peguis Trail from Main Street west to Brookside Boulevard an immediate priority.

Visitors Visas  

    Mr. Speaker, my final petition is that the residents of Canada, and in particular Kildonan—St. Paul, call on us to grant Ukrainian nationals with biometric passports visa-free travel to Canada for periods of stay up to 90 days, given Canada's long-standing relationship with Ukraine.

[Translation]

Labelling of Genetically Modified Foods

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by hundreds of people from the greater Montreal area. They say that genetically modified foods are not labelled in Canada. Internationally, 65 governments require GMO labelling.
    Public opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of Canadians support this measure, that consumers have the right to know what is in their food, and that more and more genetically modified foods are being sold in Canada.
    The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to adopt Bill C-291, which was introduced by my colleague from Sherbrooke and would make the labelling of genetically modified foods mandatory.

[English]

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2

Bill C-86—Time Allocation Motion  

    That, in relation to Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage of the said bill and not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
    The hon. member for Carleton.

  (1010)  

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is now limiting debate on his massive 800-page omnibus budget bill, so I have some questions for him if he has the courage to stand up in his place and answer those questions.
    The deficit is three times what he promised this year. He said it would be about $6 billion during the election campaign, and instead it is $18 billion. Next year, the budget was supposed to balance itself. That is only a month from now, 2019. That was the year we were supposed to be deficit-free. That tiny, temporary deficit was supposed to be gone. Now, the government admits not only will it not be gone, it will be bigger next year than it is this year as this Prime Minister stacks another $20 billion on the national credit card.
     When governments use deficit spending to buy products and services in a tight economy, they drive up prices for consumers. When they go out and borrow $20 billion more a year, they compete with homeowners and consumers for credit, and drive up interest rates. In other words, deficits not only drive up taxes tomorrow, they drive up the cost of living today.
    Therefore, will the finance minister tell the House how much his massive deficits are driving up interest rates on Canadians trying to pay their mortgages?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to talk about our record in the three short years since we had the privilege of forming government.
    After 10 years of Conservative inaction, we committed to Canadians that we would invest in the middle class and that we would help grow our economy. We have delivered on that promise through the implementation of the Canada child benefit that has raised well over 300,000 children out of poverty and through the middle-class tax cut that cut taxes for nine million middle-class Canadians and raised them on the richest 1%. The average Canadian family is $2,000 better off now than under the Harper Conservatives.
    The party opposite likes to talk about its support for small business, but it is actually our government that cut taxes for small businesses from 11% to 9%, meaning small business owners will have, on average, $1,200 more to reinvest in their businesses. That is real support for small business and job creators, which, I might add, have added over half a million full-time jobs in the three short years since we formed government.
    We are very pleased with our record. We are very proud of this particular piece of legislation and the work that we are doing to grow our economy.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, a time allocation motion for such a massive bill is unacceptable. This bill is 850 pages long, amends seven acts, and more.
    The Liberals always spoke out so fiercely against bills this size when the previous government introduced them. Back then, the bills were about 300 pages long. This budget bill is almost three times longer.
    The government is also silencing members who wish to have their say on this bill. We had barely any time to debate it. I believe we had two days, and now time is up. The NDP asked the government to split the bill so we could analyze it and take the time we need. I am sure most of the Liberal members have not had time to unpack even one-fifth of this bill.
    How can the minister possibly think this is an appropriate and democratic way to proceed?

  (1015)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Canadians elected us to deliver on an ambitious agenda, which we are doing. This bill has been debated extensively in the House. In fact, there has been more than 15 hours of debate at second reading and report stage, which includes 22 Conservative members, eight NDP members and one member from the Bloc Québécois. At committee stage, it was studied by four separate committees. There were eight meetings, during which more than 45 witnesses spoke. We have accepted some amendments as a result of that careful deliberation. Canadians expect us to continue on our ambitious agenda and that is exactly what we are doing today.
    Madam Speaker, the broken promise made during the last election campaign to run small deficits and come back to balance is obviously something that was thrown out the window in the very early days of the current government.
    The small business tax reduction was something Conservatives put on the books to do and Liberals chose not to do it until they were pressured by small business itself. Because they wanted to increase taxation on small business, small business rose up and made them reverse what they were going to do. That is the reality of the situation.
    The reality of the situation is the Prime Minister said the budget will balance itself and yet Liberals cannot answer the basic question of when the budget will balance itself. These are fundamental promises made to people during election campaigns and yet Liberals come here and try to spin it, saying their desire to tax and spend is for the greater good of the Canadian public. It is not for the greater good. When will they balance the budget?
    Madam Speaker, I find it hilarious that the member used the phrase “put on the books to do”. Conservatives had a decade to do this and clearly they did not. We, in fact, are the party that moved forward with a commitment to support small business and are implementing those commitments.
    Conservatives made a commitment to grow the economy and a decade of inaction led to a stagnation of the economy, where fewer jobs were created and businesses and our economy struggled. We now have one of the fastest growing economies in the G7. The unemployment rate is the lowest that we have seen in 40 years and there is wage growth. We are seeing all kinds of positive economic growth as a result of our ambitious agenda that we will continue to deliver for Canadians.
    I know we had a late night last night, but I want to remind members that when someone has the floor, that person deserves respect. The hon. member for Brantford—Brant had an opportunity to ask a question. If he has other questions, he can stand and ask those, as opposed to yelling them across the way.
    Questions and comments, the member for Vancouver East.
    Madam Speaker, during the campaign, the Liberals did not say to Canadians that they would spend $4.5 billion to buy a leaky pipeline, but that is what they did.
    Instead of doing that, why do we not see the government investing that money into green energy, into the future. Climate action is so necessary, not just for our generation today but for generations to come.
    My question for the Minister of Finance is this. Why do the Liberals not reinvest that $4.5 billion, which was used to buy the Kinder Morgan, now Trans Mountain leaky pipeline, into action that matters for the future, the environment?
    Madam Speaker, I share the member's passion for the environment. That is why we have proposed a price on pollution. Canadians know that pollution is not free. We are all paying for the cost of storms, floods, droughts and wild fires, and extreme heat.
    Our government has a plan to protect the environment and grow the economy, and it is working. Our emissions are down. Canadians have created over half a million full-time jobs since we were elected. We know we need to do more. That is why we are going to move forward on ensuring a price across Canada on what we do not want, which is pollution, so we can get what we do want, which is lower emissions, cleaner air, new business opportunities and more money in the pockets of Canadians.
    We know that Andrew Scheer's plan—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind the member that she is not to mention the names of individuals who sit in the House. I would ask her to wrap up, so other questions can be asked.

  (1020)  

    Madam Speaker, I apologize.
    We know that the Leader of the Opposition's plan is to follow Stephen Harper by making pollution free again. We are taking action to protect our climate and to ensure the health of this place for generations to come.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, now more than ever, the Liberals are showing that they have no respect for the promises they made, for Canadians or for this House.
    They want to limit debate once again today on a mammoth bill that is more than 800 pages long and that directly affects the public purse.
    Let us not forget that the Liberals were elected just three short years ago on a promise to run three small deficits, with no deficit by 2019. They ran three huge deficits totalling over $60 billion in three years, and we have no idea when they plan to return to a balanced budget. They have definitely jettisoned any possibility of clearing the deficit by 2019. It is shameful.
    I call on the Minister of Finance to show some honour and dignity and stand up in this House to tell us when he plans to balance the budget.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to represent the Government of Canada today to defend our record on growing the economy. In fact, after 10 years of slow growth, Canada's economy has rebounded and we now have one of the strongest records of growth in the G7.
    The economy has created over half a million full-time jobs since we have been in office. We see growth in all different sectors. We see employers with positive attitudes, in fact having new problems as a result of the lowest unemployment rate in over 40 years.
     As the Minister of Employment, when I travel across the country now and meet with employers, one of the biggest challenges they have is not enough talent. That is a testament to how fast our economy is growing under our leadership.
    I want to remind members again that if they have questions, to stand as opposed to yelling them across the way. I know some may be tired, however, there are still rules to be followed.
    Madam Speaker, just recently, I participated in a “Chew on This” event in my community. People of a multi-faith community came together and talked about how we could address poverty in our community, what we were doing and the steps we could be taking.
    One thing that is interesting, because it is organized by Dignity for All, is that many of the requests that have been put forward by Dignity for All in respect of an indexed Canada child benefit and the Canada workers benefit have been addressed by our government and have been in our past budgets.
    Perhaps the minister could help us understand what our government is doing to address poverty issues in to ensure everyone has opportunities.
    Madam Speaker, that is a fantastic question, because in fact the kinds of actions we have been taking since we formed government have the goal of ensuring that the most vulnerable Canadians have an opportunity to participate as fully, as every other Canadian, in our society, in our economy.
    Things like our historic housing plan, the housing strategy; the Canada child benefit, which cannot be overstated as it has lifted over 300,000 children out of poverty; a poverty reduction strategy that has concrete targets that we can actually measure our progress; the work I do as the Minister of Employment, ensuring decent work and modernizing the Canada Labour Code so the most vulnerable workers in our federally regulated workplaces have basic protections as employees; and the list goes on and on.
    I am extremely proud of the record of the government on ensuring every Canadian has a fair chance to succeed. We will continue to invest in the kinds of things that help people move along the continuum to prosperity and to ensure they have fairness in their opportunities in our country.
    Madam Speaker, 42 years ago Prime Minister Trudeau promised to legislate pay equity for Canadian women's equal pay. It did not happen. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments delayed action.
    Three years ago the NDP had the current Liberal government to change its agenda and include pay equity. We were delighted that the Liberals said yes. The next three years were a black hole. We did not know what was happening. Ostensibly there were consultations with the NGOs. Then pay equity legislation was bundled into this 800-page omnibus bill. It has been rushed through at every stage. Even still, the NGOs that had been working on this and the human rights lawyers who had been litigating this issue in court for three decades proposed very specific amendments, which I was honoured, along with the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, to advance at the finance committee a week ago.
    I spent from 9 a.m. until noon moving amendments that had been recommended to pay equity legislation by the Teamsters, by CUPE, by Equal Pay Coalition Ontario, by the Canadian Labour Congress and the Liberals voted every amendment down. They said that they knew best, much better than the labour activists and the human rights lawyers who had been litigating this.
    Why did the government refuse every amendment on pay equity and why is it ramming this budget bill through now with no changes?

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, I am incredibly proud to be the minister who has introduced pay equity, along with my colleagues, for Canadian women in federally regulated workplaces. They will see equal pay for work of equal value. This legislation was carefully crafted, in consultation, as the member opposite referenced, with NGOs, experts, employers and workers to ensure we had the balance right.
     On one hand, the member opposite is saying that it took too long for this legislation to come forward and on the other hand, the member is saying that we are moving too quickly.
    Canadian women are expecting us to act now. We are proud of this legislation. We look forward to employers and federally regulated sectors coming up with proactive pay equity plans in the near future.
    Madam Speaker, as the debate right now is on the issue of time allocation and not on the substance of Bill C-86, I want to once again make it clear that the use of time allocation as a routine proceeding is completely unacceptable. I ask the hon. minister to reconsider.
     In the substance of her remarks in answer to a question, she said that this legislation and the government's actions would protect Canadians for generations to come. I would have to correct her. As it now stands, we have not protected the next generation much less generations to come.
    I urge the minister to read the IPCC report on what we must do to reduce emissions, so we can hold to 1.5°C and no more.
    Madam Speaker, Canadians elected us to move forward on a very important agenda. It is an ambitious agenda, one on which we have moved diligently to ensure we can actually enact it. This is an important part of that agenda.
    In fact, the bill has been debated extensively in the House. We have seen more than 15 hours of debate. It includes 22 Conservative members, eight NDP members, one member from the Bloc Québécois. At committee stage, which there were four committees studying the legislation, we have had eight meetings in which more than 45 witnesses have spoken.
    We have made a commitment to work diligently on behalf of Canadians to enact the agenda for which they voted three years ago. I am proud to be part of a government that takes those commitments seriously.
    Madam Speaker, the government members, as they often do, stand and say that Canadians elected them to blah, blah or in 2015 Canadians voted for blah, blah. However, the legacy of the government is going to be a government that said a whole bunch of things in 2015 and then did a whole bunch of different things in the three years following.
    We hear that in questions from members of all parties regarding things that the Liberals said around closure, omnibus bills, electoral reform. Of course, in their 2015 platform, they said, “After the next two fiscal years, the deficit will decline and our investment plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019.”
    My question for the minister is clear. There is a very clear promise regarding a balanced budget in 2019. She has a lot of very rosy things to say about the Canadian economy, so what is the rationale, what is the reason the government would give to the Canadian people for the fact that it is running so desperately behind its promised projection for the balance it made just three years ago?
    Madam Speaker, Canadians chose a different approach in the last election. They chose a government that had the confidence to invest in Canadians, to invest in Canadian businesses and to help our economy grow. Just three short years later, we see that approach is working. Over half a million full-time jobs have been added to our economy by small and medium-sized business that have seen prosperity, that have seen the opportunities and are looking to grow themselves and contribute to the growth of our economy.
    We ended the Conservative approach of sending child benefit taxes to millionaires so we could provide more support to nine out of 10 Canadian families. Believe me, this is providing those families with the confidence that they will have what they need to raise children, who are happy and healthy and can fully participate in Canadian society.
    We are proud of our record. We know we are on the right track. Canadians know we are on the right track. We will continue to work hard to achieve a Canada where everybody has a fair chance to succeed.
    Madam Speaker, it is quite interesting to note that the Conservatives want a balanced budget. Where are they exactly going to cut? I would remind the House that the balanced budget they had when they were in government was made on the backs of veterans, indigenous peoples and indigenous children. Indeed, it was a very dark decade.
    The question before us today is this. Do we invest in people today or do we see a long-term loss in health, education, economic potential and the potential of Canadians? This budget is about investing in the human potential of Canadians, ensuring people have the tools to be successful. We we can invest today or we can cut and we will have to pay the costs later on as a Canadian society.

  (1030)  

    Madam Speaker, I share the member's passion and perspective. When we invest in people and Canadian society, when we invest in our small and medium-sized business, that it is good fiscal policy. It is very expensive to do nothing.
    We are very committed to sound fiscal management as we continue to make investments that will contribute to that long-term economic growth. That is exactly what we are talking about here today. We are talking about investing in Canadian families. We are talking about eliminating child poverty.
     We want to help our children grow up in a society in which they are not hungry, in which they have the same opportunities as their peers. We are contributing to the next generation of profit, of wealth, of growth, of business, of profitable employees and business owners. When we invest in giving people a fair chance, Canadians do not let us down. They take that chance, they take that opportunity and they contribute directly to their communities and to their country.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the minister and the government of the realities on the ground when it comes to poverty, child poverty, and lack of infrastructure for communities on reserves across Canada. Our indigenous youth across Canada are struggling and they do not have the support of the government by investing in their future.
     How can the government sit here and falsely give us information, saying that Canada is great and it is moving forward when it is not? When I hear about suicides, when I hear about roads being inaccessible, when I hear about job cuts in my riding and across northern Canada, I want to hear an effective plan from the government.
    Madam Speaker, we share the passion of the member opposite for equity for indigenous people. As the Minister of Employment, one of my proudest moments was being able to increase the aboriginal skills education training program to ensure equity for indigenous people looking to improve skills training. Not only that, we have invested in housing and we have invested significantly in ending boil water advisories.
    Of course there is more to do. We continue to work with indigenous leaders and communities to ensure we can work in partnership, unlike the Conservative government that did not invest in indigenous communities. It did not support indigenous people with respect to equity. For a decade, it did not increase the aboriginal skills education training program, which is just one example of inequity.
     We are taking a different approach. We are working with indigenous communities. We are investing in those things that we call the social determinates of health, things like housing and health care. We are transforming child welfare. We are on a good journey together. I am proud to be part of a government that works collaboratively with indigenous peoples for equity and for that equal shot at success.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today again on time allocation called on a budget bill of over 800 pages. Should we be surprised by this? Unfortunately, no. We have a government that promised not to introduce omnibus bills, yet we have a bill that is almost 900 pages long.
    The Liberals campaigned on multiple things, such as deficits of no more than $10 billion. They have broken that promise. They promised decreasing deficits over their term. They have broken that promise. They promised to return to a balanced budget in 2019. They have broken that promise. What they are really breaking is their responsibility to future generations.
    We heard one minister talk about how the government is building for future generations. I would like the Minister of Finance to explain how he feels he is doing the right thing, when what he is really doing is passing on increasing debt to these future Canadians. A deficit of nearly $20 billion for each of three years is $600 of debt for every man, woman and child. Every man, woman and child is $600 further in debt every year because of the government. This is the debt load it is building.
     Here the Liberals are today trying to stop debate on the bill so that we cannot point out the flaws in their omnibus bill. I would like the minister to answer. Why are they doing that?

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, when the Conservatives were last in government, annual GDP growth was just 1%, and Canadians were worried that we might be headed into a recession. Under our plan, GDP growth has rebounded, and Canada now has one of the strongest records of growth in the G7, at 3%. This was the strongest growth of all G7 countries last year. We are proud of our record.
     During the last election, Canadians chose a different approach. They chose between the Conservative plan for austerity and cuts, and one could argue that it was the NDP plan as well, and our government's plan to invest in the middle class and build an economy that works for everyone.
    When Canadians feel that they have a fair chance to succeed, when their children have a fair chance to succeed, they invest in themselves, they invest in their communities and they invest in this country. In fact, Canadians are proving just that.
    Madam Speaker, the minister earlier said that the government is doing a whole lot on the climate action file. I would just remind the government that it actually adopted Harper's targets, and even at that, it is not going to meet those targets.
    The government brags about the housing file. It says that it has a national affordable housing program. The truth of the matter is that 90% of that money will not flow until after the next election. For people who are homeless today, who are in desperate need of a home, shelter and a safe place to go, does the minister actually think it is appropriate to defer the money flowing to build housing until after the next election?
    Madam Speaker, in fact, in our first budget, we invested $5.8 billion in housing across this country. It was just a down payment. We have an ambitious housing strategy that will eliminate homelessness by 50% in a decade. In fact, investments were made in the member opposite's riding in affordable housing, as she may know. If not, we are happy to tell her about those investments at any point.
    This is one of the reasons I went into politics. As a former executive director of a homeless shelter in northwestern Ontario, I can tell the member that investing in affordable housing is one of the best ways to actually help people out of poverty and move people along the continuum of ensuring that they have a fair chance at success. It was my extreme pleasure to be one of the ministers able to talk about the housing strategy when it was launched.
    I will continue to work with my colleagues from any side who want to work on this issue with us, because it is incredibly important. It will contribute to prosperity and a fair chance for every Canadian.
    Madam Speaker, here we are again with an 800-plus page budget implementation act, and who is answering the questions? It is not the Minister of Finance. It is the Minister of Employment. Now she brags that there have been 15 hours of debate on a massive budget implementation bill, yet here is the Minister of Employment answering the questions. Perhaps it is because she is used to this undemocratic process. After all, this is the minister who forced Bill C-89 through the House with limited debate. In the other place, the unelected place, she allowed a massive study and allowed them to come in as witnesses. This is the same minister who took away the right to a secret ballot for unionization, yet here is the Minister of Employment answering questions, because the Minister of Finance will not.
    Will she answer one simple question? When will the budget be balanced?
    Madam Speaker, as tempting as it is for me to talk about the record of the member opposite's party in its relationship with organized labour, I will pass on that temptation and stay focused on our incredible record of ensuring prosperity for every Canadian in this country.
    We were elected through the vision of Canadians who saw a different way. For over a decade, the previous government led austerity budgets and invested in the wrong things. This led to the stagnation of growth, leading to a loss of hope by Canadians that there would be a bright future for themselves and for their children. We have reversed that. We see one of the fastest growing economies in the G7. We see the lowest unemployment record in 40 years.
    As the Minister of Employment, it is my privilege to meet with employer groups all across this country. One of the things they tell me they need most profoundly is new talent, and that is because we have one of the highest records of employment since the forties. Canadians are working at full capacity.
    We are proud of our record. We are ensuring that Canadians have the money they need to raise their children, whether it is through the Canada child benefit or the middle-class tax cuts, which will result in an average of $2,000 more per couple across this country.
    When Canadians feel confident in the economy, they invest in themselves, they invest in their communities and they help grow our economy.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

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

[English]

    The question is as follows. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): In my opinion the nays have it.
    Call in the members.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 951)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 156


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Aubin
Beaulieu
Benson
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Choquette
Clarke
Cooper
Cullen
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Dreeshen
Dubé
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Laverdière
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Malcolmson
Marcil
Martel
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Moore
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Rankin
Rayes
Rempel
Saganash
Sansoucy
Saroya
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 115


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    Order. I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, Government Orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

Report stage  

     The House resumed from November 26 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, it is exciting to be here today to support the budget implementation bill and specifically the legislation establishing the college of patent agents and trademark agents. This is at subdivision D of division 7 of part 4 of the budget implementation bill.
    This is an important element of the government's IP strategy. Taken as a whole, that strategy will ensure that Canada's intellectual property regime is modern and robust, and that it supports Canadian innovations in the 21st century.
    Patent and trademark agents are a key component of the innovation ecosystem, as they help inventors to secure exclusive IP rights. I was the only Newfoundlander who was a patent agent at the time of my election. Although I am not practising in that area of law now, I have some pretty good information regarding the need for a college of patent agents and a college of trademark agents.
    Given the rising importance of IP in the innovation economy and the central role of patent and trademark agents, it is time to have a professional oversight body responsible for maintaining the high standards that are expected of trusted advisers. As a bonus, this would address long-standing gaps in the current framework for regulatory oversight, which previously lacked clarity and transparency and was without a binding code of professional conduct. Given the importance of the profession, good safeguards here are needed to ensure that agents do the jobs they do well and have the trust of their clients and of Canadians more broadly.
    While there is no evidence suggesting a large problem with agent conduct, the need for modernization is imperative now that communications with IP agents are protected by statutory privilege in the same way as solicitor-client advice. This is an extraordinary right that requires ethical guidelines to prevent its abuse.
    The college of patent agents and trademark agents act would establish an independent regulator, specifically a college, for the professional oversight of IP agents in the public interest. The college would administer a licensing system to ensure that only qualified professionals are authorized to provide agent services. As an independent regulator, it would also be responsible for enforcing a code of professional conduct to ensure that IP agents continue to deliver high-quality advice.
    The college would also be responsible for implementing requirements for continuing professional development to ensure that agents stay informed of the ever-evolving IP practice landscape. Ultimately, these measures would raise the bar of IP professional services in Canada.
    The college would have an investigations committee to receive complaints and conduct investigations into whether or not a licensee has committed professional misconduct or been incompetent. A separate disciplinary committee would have the authority to impose disciplinary measures if it is decided that a licensee has in fact committed professional misconduct or been incompetent.
    Finally, this bill also creates new offences for claiming to be a patent agent or a trademark agent, or for the unauthorized representation of another person before the Canadian patent office or the office of the registrar of trademarks. These offences are intended to serve an important consumer protection function to ensure that innovators are receiving representation from qualified, licensed agents.
    I would like now to speak about the important features that have been built into the legislation to ensure that the regulation is undertaken within the public interest and with the public interest as the priority.
    Careful consideration was given to ensuring that the legislation supported the public interest in a competitive marketplace of well-qualified and professional IP agents. For example, the college would be governed by a board of directors that includes public interest representatives appointed by the minister, and patent and trademark agent representatives elected by members of the college itself.
    Further measures directed toward safeguarding the public interest include providing the minister with the authority to review the board's activities and, if necessary, to direct the board to undertake any action to ensure regulation in the public interest. Another measure requires the board to report to Parliament annually on its activities.
    The framework for the legislation takes into account comments from stakeholders over the course of several public consultations. During these consultations, risks were identified relating to the fact that many IP agents are also lawyers. Concerns were expressed about dual regulation, that is that lawyers and agents would be subject to two potentially conflicting regulatory schemes.
    In recognition of this potential for overlap, the legislation would ensure minimal regulatory conflict for lawyers who may also be agents. In addition, where appropriate, the college's investigations committee would be authorized to refer a complaint to another body that has the duty to regulate another profession, for example a law society for a lawyer.
    In fact, in my experience as someone who has been regulated as an engineer, regulated as a lawyer in three different jurisdictions, and regulated as a patent agent and a trademark agent in two different countries, I appreciate the concern that might exist about overrepresentation or over-regulation, as well as the concern that might be raised by conflicts in ethical obligations.

  (1125)  

    Whereas a lawyer, for instance, may have an ethical obligation to maintain strict solicitor-client privilege, an engineer is in fact required to put the public interest ahead of that interest. Therefore, it is important to note that there can be proper and reasonable conflicts in the ethics associated with different professions.
    Patent agents are there to obtain the most protection possible for their clients' inventions or the broadest scope of trademark protection for their brands. Sometimes that might conflict with another ethical obligation that might apply in a different fashion to a lawyer or an engineer.
    Balancing these is important and means making sure that when patent agents wear their patent agent hats, they are regulated as patent agents, and when they wear their lawyer hats they are regulated as lawyers, and when they wear their engineer hats they are regulated as engineers. This legislation allows for that nuanced differentiation.
    We also heard during consultations that specific care must be taken to safeguard privileged information. Significant measures must be in place to ensure the appropriate handling and safeguarding of privileged information and to strictly control access to such information. To do so, the legislation draws upon safeguards and processes similar to those used by provincial law societies in order to safeguard privileged information in the investigation of college members.
    More specifically, privileged information can only be used for the purpose of regulating agents. Disclosing privileged information to the college will not be considered a waiver of the privilege, and the privilege will be preserved for other purposes. Those purposes could be some type of lawsuit before the courts on solicitor-client privilege or the maintenance of the confidentiality of an inventor's right to an invention for having filed before first being disclosed to the public, for instance.
    The act places strict obligations on employees and directors of the college, preventing them from disclosing privileged information, and further clarifies that the government cannot use its oversight authority to access privileged information. There is a strict process of court oversight to access and contest access to solicitor-client privileged information. These were of importance to the patent bar in the development of the legislation.
    From my perspective, as someone who went through the process of becoming a patent agent, I can attest to the fact that an additional element is brought to bear on a regulated profession. Sometimes professions can be regulated in such a manner as to encourage more people to join the profession, and sometimes they can be regulated in a fashion that prevents new people from entering the profession.
    The fact that the United States has 100 times as many patent agents or practitioners as Canada does with only 10 times the population demonstrates that our regime for licensing patent agents has become too restrictive.
    The creation of an independent college will have the extra function of aligning the college's role of growing the profession with the public's interest in having more patent agents available to help inventors spur the creation of these assets. Patent and IP assets simply do not exist if they are not filed and registered, and if professional advice is not brought to bear.
    It is not like in copyright, where people create a new work and then own the rights to that work. In the patent and trademark space, it is the professionals who assist the creators or the brand makers in protecting, acquiring and preserving those rights, both at home and abroad. If that work is not done, there is no asset to protect. Canada needs probably 10 times more patent and trademark agents than it currently has in order to have the same level of asset creation as the United States. This is important in the 21st-century economy.
    In conclusion, the college of patent agents and trademark agents will be responsive to stakeholder input and follow international best practices in professional regulation. Care was taken with the legislation to establish well-structured bodies to ensure proper independent oversight, with an option for the government to intervene only if necessary. The checks and balances included in the legislation will ensure regulation in the public interest.
    As a whole, I would encourage all members to support the budget implementation act, including this subdivision of part 7.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, in his support of Bill C-86, my hon. colleague talked about IP and IP strategy. As a member of the industry committee, I can attest that it really is important to understand that a comprehensive IP strategy helps businesses not just to protect their IP on the home front, but to grow and succeed and then be able to export to international markets.
    I am wondering if my hon. colleague can also talk about what he is hearing from small businesses in his riding about this strategy, its comprehensiveness, the fact that it would include education and the ability to grow and prosper, and how it has impacted businesses in his riding.
    Madam Speaker, I really appreciate the work of the industry committee members. They have a lot of very interesting files. With my professional background, I think I would probably bring too much bias to that committee. I do read their reports with a lot of great interest. It is nice to see what a fresh perspective brings to those topics that are close to my heart.
    I know that in Newfoundland and Labrador, when I was the only patent agent there, it was very difficult for me. I had to travel to get the support I needed to maintain my professional credentials. I lacked the network of local folks to bounce ideas off of. It really is important to have a true bar.
    The creation of an independent college would help grow the profession and result in more patent agents in small communities, like Newfoundland and Labrador, and the markets in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, so that they could have the proper coordinated, long-term professional development that would benefit their clients. There are plenty of innovative companies in Newfoundland and Labrador that seek professional services from Boston, California, Montreal or Alberta, depending on their industries.
    The creation of a college would allow better local representation for these folks and growth of our industry.
    Madam Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague, and I appreciated his comments.
    However, the member is defending a budget that is indefensible. Canadians did vote for a change in 2015. However, what the government promised and what it is delivering are very different. The government promised to balance the budget. Now the budget before us is not even close to being balanced.
    Could the member tell us when the government will balance the budget?
    Madam Speaker, that is really quite an ideological question, a “direction of the country” question that goes to what the appropriate fiscal anchors are that should guide our development, borrowing and spending practices.
    As someone who has knocked on just over 10,000 doors and got to speak to just over 4,000 folks at the door, I know that my commitment to them was that we would focus on growing the economy for the middle class, and that if that meant deficit spending to do it, we would be guided by the principle that we would grow the economy more than the deficit, so that in the long term the deficit would shrink as a percentage of the economy. That is exactly what we have done.
    The proof is in the pudding. Canada's growth has led the G7 for much of our mandate. I think we are now in second place. The debt-to-GDP ratio has fallen to the lowest among the G7. That allows us the economic resilience to put in place new programs to help the folks in Oshawa respond to crises, to create supercluster funds and to do things that will create the jobs of the future.
    With respect to the portion of the bill that I am speaking to, I will say that it is cost-neutral for the government. The college will pay for itself through its fees to its members.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, when the member was knocking on those doors, did he mention that the government would pass on a debt to every many, woman and child in his riding of at least $600 per year? If he even mentioned that to them, what sort of reaction might the member have gotten?
    It is abysmal that the government keeps passing on this massive debt to future generations who will have to pay it back.
    Madam Speaker, when I speak to people at the door about the complicated issue of the debt-to-GDP ratio, I say to them, “Listen, yes, you are going to have debt that will be $600 more, but the growth in the economy will mean there will be closer to $2,000 more on average in the pockets of working families.” They understand that.
    We have to spend money to make money. Canadians think we are growing the economy, and they appreciate that.
    Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to talk to Bill C-86. Since we came into government, we have really focused on the middle class and those working hard to join it. This legislation would help us to continue along that trajectory, continue to make Canada one of the fastest growing economies in the G7 and continue to help ensure that Canadian companies are able to create good middle-class jobs. In fact, they have been able to create over half a million jobs. Our government created the conditions with investments to ensure that these companies and Canadians would be able to grow and prosper. It has done so through our trade and other investments in education and skills training, and will continue along that path.
    However, I want to focus my comments today on three specific points that I will ground within the sustainable development goals. Earlier this year, I was with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in New York to present our voluntary statement to the United Nations on the sustainable development goals. Canada has a role to play to ensure that we reach those 169 targets and 17 goals by 2030. We are well on track to do that. We have been doing it from day one.
    I am going to focus on particular components of the sustainable development goals emphasized through this budget. The first is goal 5, one that is really important to my heart. It has to do with gender and ensuring that we have gender equality in our country. As we are in the midst of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, I want to ensure that my actions matter. Speaking to this particular legislation, Bill C-86, allows me to do that.
    What we have in front of us are a number of different initiatives that would help to ensure we have gender equality in Canada. Our government has legislated gender budgeting, made Status of Women a full department and enacted proactive pay equity legislation.
    With regard to Status of Women becoming a full department, the future department of women and gender equality, it is nice to have the word “wage” included in the title when we are introducing proactive pay legislation. When we think about the fact that indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, religious individuals, people with different sexual orientations and women who are too old or too young face disproportionate negative impacts and barriers in their workplaces and communities, it is important that we be sensitive. When we are enacting legislation, it is also important to look at how our legislation impacts individuals differently. By legislating gender budgeting and ensuring increased participation of women, especially the ones who are most vulnerable, we are working toward supporting women and girls and reducing the gender wage gap. We are making sure that our country is prosperous for everyone.
    The current gap of around 20¢ per dollar of earnings between what men and women make grows proportionately bigger when we think about some of these vulnerable communities or look at intersectionality. When there are different intersecting identities, we see that the gap between men and women gets larger, so ensuring that our country is prosperous for everyone is really important.
    As I mentioned, having a full department dedicated to the status of women, the women and gender equality department, is really important. It will have an expanded mandate for gender equality, including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and for the promotion of a greater understanding of gender diversity, often through what is known as a gender-based analysis plus.
    We need to ensure that we have the capacity to leverage movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up and ensure that every woman in this country feels that she has a place and is valued and respected. The initiatives we have taken so far with regard to gender will ensure that this happens.

  (1140)  

    Continuing with my theme of the sustainable development goals, goal 8 speaks to decent work and economic growth; goal 9, industry, innovation and infrastructure; goal 10, reducing inequalities; goal 11, sustainable cities and communities; and goal 16, peace, justice and strong institutions. To tie up all of those goals is really the work that we are doing with stakeholders in the charitable sector.
    I worked in research before I came into politics. I owned a research management company, but I worked with organizations like Neurological Health Charities Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Parkinson Canada, Epilepsy Durham and many organizations in my riding like Sunrise Youth Group in Whitby or the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre, of which Kenadie, a sixth grade student, is a very strong champion. She came to see me in Ottawa last year.
    These charitable organizations are the foundation on which our middle class rests. They are the ones that do a lot of hard work to ensure that we are able to continue to function as a society. For example, the Sunrise Youth Group supports adult individuals with developmental handicaps so that their parents can go to work. This is what our charitable sector does and it really is a strong part of our society.
    In strengthening that role of our charitable sector, we are ensuring that charities are able to do the work they want to do on behalf of Canadians. We are removing the limits to their political activities, allowing charities to participate fully in policy development. They could provide feedback on legislation and legislative proposals. We are providing a permanent advisory committee on the charitable sector.
    The charitable sector is one of the sectors that contribute to our economy. It can generate up to $2 billion in economic activity and create as many as 100,000 jobs. The charitable sector is growing, is vital, and innovative. It does a lot with very little and we need to support it. Our government will be providing supports and resources of up to $750 million over the next 10 years to support and establish a social finance fund. When we look to our charitable organizations to provide support for our families, we need to support them. That is what we are doing here in this budget implementation act.
    The last things I want to speak to are goal 1, no poverty; goal 2, zero hunger; and goal 3, good health and well-being. When we look at reducing poverty and ensuring that people have the capacity to live a full life and contribute to our economy, we need to look holistically at the social determinants of health to ensure that we help create the conditions that allow Canadians to live their best lives possible. With our poverty reduction strategy, programs like the Canada child benefit, our national housing strategy, enhancing seniors benefits, the Canada workers benefit, we have lifted 650,000 Canadians out of poverty, including 300,000 children.
    We are developing our first national poverty reduction strategy and establishing for the first time ever an official poverty alliance. We are looking holistically at ensuring that Canadians of all stripes will be able to have a good quality of life. Since October 2015, we have hit the ground running to ensure that this happens in a comprehensive, holistic way. Not only are we going to be able to achieve our sustainable development goals and the agenda 2030, but we are doing it here in Canada. We are taking leadership by ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, it is disturbing to see how far the Liberals have led us into increasing debt, despite the fact that they promised in their election campaign that by now we would be coming back to balance. That is far from the truth. In fact, the cost of interest alone in 2017-18 was $23.9 billion. By 2021-22, the cost will be $39 billion. That is a $15-billion increase in interest costs alone. That has nothing to do with paying down the debt. It will cost an extra $15 billion to pay the interest on our debt, which is rising every year because of increased deficits as a result of the government's spending. This is in spite of the fact that it promised a very small deficit and promised to bring us back to balance by now.
    My question is simple. Could that extra $15 billion we are spending on interest not be put to better use to provide, for example, great palliative care for Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, we are keeping our debt-to-GDP ratio low. The investments we have made to date have ensured that we have created the conditions in this country that have allowed our small to medium-sized businesses to create over 500,000 jobs. We have invested in technology and skills training. We have invested in public transit in Durham region, the largest investment in public transit we have ever seen, which allows us to reduce our carbon footprint as well.
    We have made investments to ensure that Canadians have a bit more in their pockets. Over the next year, an average family of four will have $2,000 more in its pocket to spend on the things they find are necessary.
    We are reducing poverty, we are investing in communities and we are helping to grow a strong Canada, and that is what Canadians find important.
    Madam Speaker, before I ask my question, I want to clarify some points. One of the recent reports that came out in Canada about poverty indicated that the top two areas in Canada affected by child poverty are northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba. My experiences in northern Saskatchewan have shown that all levels of government, whether the federal Conservatives or Liberals or governments at the provincial level, are way out of touch. They ignore and neglect northern Saskatchewan and possibly northern Manitoba as well.
    I am curious as to what this poverty reduction plan looks like. I want to believe that it is suitable for northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba. Can the government clearly explain? I do not want to hear about first nation involvement. I want to hear specifically about ridings like mine, Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, with a specific population of northerners that are first nations, Métis, farming communities and rural municipalities. Can the Liberal government clarify this point?

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for focusing her concerns on areas in her riding. We have been taking a whole-of-government approach from the very beginning, which ensures that we are listening to stakeholders to ensure that when we introduce Canada's first national poverty reduction strategy, we do it in a way that would eliminate poverty. We are establishing an official poverty line for the first time ever in the history of this country.
    We know the devastating effects of poverty. We want to reduce poverty and ensure that we are giving her constituents and constituents in my riding the best possible chance. I was at a school the other day for the breakfast program.
    We want to ensure that we are listening to everyone. We want to make sure that our poverty reduction strategy has a real impact on Canadians across the country.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the good news is that despite this “man cold”, as my wife calls it, my voice seems to be back. I hope it will stick around for the next 15 minutes so that I can speak to budget implementation act, 2018, No. 2. Before getting to what is in the bill or, more to the point, what is not, which might make up the bulk of my comments, I want to talk about the process.
    After all, this is an omnibus bill, like the ones we saw so often under the previous government. The current government actually campaigned on a pledge to end the use of omnibus bills. The Liberals not only broke that promise, but they are constantly introducing omnibus bills. They use them not just for budgets, but also for other areas like public safety, transport and justice. We keep getting bills that are harder and harder for parliamentarians to study in any meaningful way.
    I may be mistaken about the numbers, which we can check, but the mere fact that we can evoke this type of image says a lot. The Conservatives' first omnibus bill, Bill C-38, which was introduced in 2012 in the last Parliament, showed how abusive this practice had become. The bill was the nadir of this anti-democratic tendency, seeking to undermine the employment insurance program and eliminate the already inadequate environmental assessment process. The bill was hundreds of pages long.
    If we were to combine the Conservatives' first omnibus bill from 2012 with the Liberals' first omnibus bill—not the one we are currently debating—we would have a bill the same size as the one before us, which is over 800 pages long.
    That is completely ridiculous. I gather some of us are burning the midnight oil in our offices to read the bill. Some members say that they are sick of looking at the four walls of their offices, so they go read it at home. However, let us be honest. The idea that we have the time to consult our constituents, speak to stakeholders on the various files that critics are responsible for, read up on subjects of interest to MPs, and also read Bill C-86, including all the acts it amends, is simply unrealistic.
    Some might say that this violates our parliamentary privileges. I am not looking to start a debate on privilege, but I do think it is important to point out how hard this makes it for us to do our jobs.
    Even setting aside the size of the bill, the weight of it, and the rule against using props during debate in the House, I would advise my constituents not to print it out. It would be a waste of paper. The thing is massive.
    On top of introducing a massive bill, the government has moved time allocation. Not only is it limiting debate in the wider sense by introducing a bill that is extremely difficult to study and therefore to debate, but it is also limiting the time for debate. In 10 or 20 minutes, the normal length of a speech in the House, it is impossible to address every issue. Plus, the government wants to limit the time for debate. This means that we, as the second opposition party, get to put up about eight speakers at most, out of about 40 or so MPs.
    Some might say that the budget process, and therefore the budget implementation bill, are among the most important duties of the federal government. The fact that less than one-third of the members of a recognized opposition party get a chance to speak is a real problem.
    Let us put the procedural issue aside, since we could talk for ages about this broken promise. I also want to talk about what is missing from this bill and, by extension, from the Liberals' budget. Unfortunately, the Liberals have neglected these elements too often over these past few years, since they came to power.

  (1155)  

    I would like to focus on a few aspects in particular. First, the government is still not charging web giants sales tax, even though that is a relatively simple matter. It is a matter of fairness and common sense.
    When I was in my riding during the last parliamentary recess, I spoke with a constituent who told me that that is today's reality. We now get services via the Internet. That is how we download music, movies and television shows.
    We are not asking the government to reinvent the wheel or to go against an existing trend. We are asking it to do two things. First, we are asking it to put all businesses on a level playing field. If Canadians order goods or services online, then they should have to pay sales tax the same way they would in a regular store. That may seem obvious to those watching at home, but the Liberal government has failed to do anything about this for far too long.
    The Government of Quebec has led the way, and we hope that the other provinces and territories will follow its lead. However, with all due respect for our National Assembly colleagues, I have to say that it is not enough. The federal government has economic levers that it must use to level the playing field for businesses so that Canadians can benefit from the revenue generated under the law. That is what is lacking right now. However, it is not only the web giants, such as Netflix, Google, and Facebook, that must be required to charge sales tax. All the other digital platforms on which people can purchase goods must be, as well. The government is currently relying on the good faith of some stakeholders who have chosen to proactively charge sales tax.
    Second, an agreement needs to be made regarding the future of our culture, specifically with regard to Netflix. I am not as familiar with this topic as my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who I am sure would have a lot to say about music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. For now, I want focus on Netflix because I do not have much time.
    I will not discuss the sales tax for now. I have no doubt the former heritage minister had a rough time in Quebec. Pretty much everyone unanimously agreed that her Netflix deal fell short, not only because of the percentage of francophone and Quebec content, which is nil, but also because the government asked so little of Netflix. The government is counting on the company to operate on the honour system and obey the law proactively.
    Madam Speaker, I see your signal that I have just two minutes left. What better proof that it is impossible to study an omnibus bill in the time provided.
    France and other countries offer examples of different ways to do this. We can also come up with our own model to acknowledge that this is the new normal without letting Internet giants rake in the profits while crushing our culture. We need to promote our cultural sector so that it can continue to make all of its unique offerings available to us with content that is our very own. This is about quality content and our duty to remember and share.
    I will now move on to something else that is missing from the Liberals' budget.
    The Minister of National Revenue keeps talking about a $1-billion investment. The only thing that investment did was rub salt in the wound by uncovering the billions of dollars that are lost to tax evasion and tax avoidance. We see that cronyism is alive and well in the Liberal Party. The issue of the Panama papers and the paradise papers has not been resolved. Nothing has been done to recover those billions of dollars. Again, it is a matter of fairness.
    In closing, I would say that the omnibus bill does very little to address the problems that the supposedly progressive Liberals promised to fix and this is their third attempt at it. That is three attempts and three failures.

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's comments. I really appreciated the parallel he drew at the beginning of his remarks between the current Liberal government and the previous Conservative government and their approach to doing things.
    I wonder if he could expand on that because on reading Bill C-86, I am having a hard time differentiating between the Conservatives and the Liberals. Employment insurance has been overlooked, the fight against tax evasion and tax havens has been abandoned. The hon. member talked about Netflix and web giants. All these questions that we have been asking since our cohort was elected in 2011 have not been getting answered, not by the Conservatives or the Liberals.
    Is it six of one and half a dozen of the other with these two parties?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He is right.
    This government is even more frustrating than the previous one because it just talks and talks and talks, but does nothing. I want to go back to the example of Netflix. The minister kept telling us that Canada had entered the digital era. It was not just worth having for Infoman, it was the subject of Infoman a number of times because it was always being talked about. However, in the end, nothing was done.
    My colleague mentioned EI and the issue of 15 weeks of benefits. People who are seriously ill are being ignored even though, as he said so well, people have been asking about it since before this government was elected. In 2015, I participated in a debate specifically on employment insurance that was held in my riding. Without me and my predecessor, who was running for the Bloc Québécois at the time, little would have been said about employment insurance. It seemed to be of no interest to the Liberal candidate. What we can see is that the Liberals still are not very interested. It is unfortunate because the most vulnerable are the ones affected.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate some of the member's comments. There are a couple of thoughts that cross my mind with respect to the implementation of the budget. One is the fact that for the first time, we are looking at a pharmacare program. The Standing Committee on Health has been looking at this over the past few years. Now a special group is looking at it and will be coming forward to the Minister of Health with recommendations. This would be of great value to Canadians from all regions of the country.
    Could my colleague provide his thoughts on the importance of moving forward on a national pharmacare program?

  (1205)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, yes, of course we want to move forward on that, and we do not understand why the Liberals are not doing so.
    They have been promising a pharmacare program for decades. It would be the logical next step in a public health care system that was implemented in the 1960s. However, nothing has been done.
    Now they want to study the issue some more. The member mentioned the work of the Standing Committee on Health, which tabled a unanimous report dealing with that issue in which it makes recommendations based on the advice of expert witnesses. I fail to understand why they insist on studying this issue over and over again without ever taking action. The member asked me whether we should move forward. Yes, we need to do so now, because vulnerable people are paying the price of inaction.
    As a member from Quebec, I have to point out one last thing. As everyone knows, Quebec is way ahead when it comes to pharmacare. That said, the federal government could do its part by offering the right to opt out with no strings attached and with compensation. Ottawa has tremendous purchasing power that could help bring down the price of prescription drugs for the provinces.
    Obviously, this will all depend on how the negotiations go. A lot of work remains to be done to implement this, so let us stop with the studies and let us actually do the work. People desperately need this.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-86.
     For people watching at home, some of what we are discussing today may sound familiar. That is because we heard about these programs earlier this year when the Minister of Finance presented the 2018 budget on February 27.
    Budgets, by their nature, are aspirational, forward-looking documents. They are an expression of what we, as a government, are planning to do.
     In order to achieve the objectives which we have set out for ourselves in the budget, we must make new laws or make changes to existing laws. To do that, we must pass legislation.
    The aspirations in this year's budget took nearly 400 pages to express. If the budget took nearly 400 printed pages to express, the laws needed to implement the plan have to be written. That generally involves multiples of 400 pages and then those laws have to be presented and debated in the House of Commons, be examined by a committee or committees, be passed by the House, then sent to the Senate, debated and reviewed by a Senate committee, passed by the Senate and then sent to the Governor General for royal assent. All that takes a lot of time.
    Therefore, we divide the budget plan into those items that need to get passed right away. Soon after the budget is presented, we deal with those items with a first piece of legislation. Then later we deal with the more forward-looking plans in the budget and we create a second piece of legislation to implement the remainder of the budget plan.
    Today we are discussing that second piece of legislation to implement the 2018 budget. One of the aspirations expressed in budget 2018 was that we should address the gender wage gap by making progress toward equal pay for equal work. The issue arises because, as the budget said:
    In Canada today, women earn 31 per cent less than men do....the median income for women is $28,120, compared with $40,890 for men....As the largest employer in the country, many have called on the federal government to lead by example—and that is what the Government will do.
    The bill we are debating today introduces proactive pay equity legislation for workers in the federal government and in federally regulated sectors. Equal pay for work of equal value is the smart thing to do. We are very proud to be moving forward with proactive pay equity legislation. It is a key way in which our government is delivering on its commitment to gender equality.
    Bill C-86 proposed to enact the pay equity act to establish a proactive process for the achievement of pay equity by the redressing of the systemic gender-based discrimination experienced by employees who occupy positions in predominantly female job classes. The new act would require federal public and private sector employers that would have 10 or more employees to establish and maintain a pay equity plan, with set time frames, to identify and correct differences in compensation between predominantly female and predominantly male job classes for which the work performed would be of equal value.
    The new act would provide for the powers, duties and functions of a pay equity commissioner, which would include facilitating the resolution of disputes, conducting compliance audits and investigating disputes, objections and complaints, as well as making orders and imposing administrative monetary penalties for violations of that act. The new act would also requires the pay equity commissioner to report annually to Parliament on the administration and enforcement of the new act.
     Bill C-86 would also amend the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to provide for the application of the pay equity act to parliamentary employers. It would also make the Minister of Labour responsible for the administration of the federal contractors program for pay equity.

  (1210)  

    On modernizing the federal labour standards, the amendments to the Canada Labour Code that Bill C-86 would make are:
(a) provide five days of paid leave for victims of family violence, a personal leave of five days with three paid days, an unpaid leave for court or jury duty and a fourth week of annual vacation with pay for employees who have completed at least 10 consecutive years of employment; (b) eliminate minimum length of service requirements for leaves and general holiday pay and reduce the length of service requirement for three weeks of vacation with pay; (c) prohibit differences in rate of wages based on the employment status of employees...(e) update group and individual termination provisions by increasing the minimum notice of termination.
    Bill C-86 would also amend the Wage Earner Protection Program Act to:
...among other things, increase the maximum amount that may be paid to an individual under the act, increase the maximum amount that may be paid to an individual under the Act, expand the definition of eligible wages, expand the conditions under which a payment may be made under the Act.
    It is interesting to note that while the Liberal federal government is enhancing labour standards for workers, the Conservative provincial government in Ontario is in the process of diminishing labour standards. We would think that the first rule of government would be like that of the medical profession: First do not harm.
    I share the disappointment of some members of the House that we were not able to take a further step forward by protecting worker pensions in the event of insolvency of employers. Bill C-86 would make amendments to Canada's insolvency legislation and would improve the Wage Earner Protection Program Act. However, it does not address the issue, which is essentially of deferred wages remaining unpaid. The pension of workers need protection from employers' bankruptcy by giving pension funds priority in employer bankruptcies. I hope we can move forward to correct this problem in the not too distant future.
    I also want to talk about our record of our government and what we have done for middle-class Canadians.
    The investments made from our government in middle-class Canadians consist of $40 billion in a national housing strategy. This is much-needed and will help Canadians have a decent home to live and raise their families. We have also increased the Canada child benefit, which will be indexed as of this year. An average family will receive $2,000 more in its pocket to help with the high cost of raising its children. We have lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.
    With respect to jobs, we have created over 500,000 new jobs since 2015. We have had the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. The unemployment rate nationally is around 5.8% to 6%. In Waterloo Region, at the end of October, that unemployment rate was at 5.2%.
     We have also announced federal funding for a high-tech company in my riding, North Inc., which is making high-tech Focals, eyeglasses. This has increased jobs in my region. It has added 230 good well-paying jobs in the high-tech sector.
    As well, and not in terms of the budget, in my committee of citizenship and immigration, we brought in the global skills strategy to bring in high-tech workers to our region to ensure we closed the gaps in the high-tech sector.
    In infrastructure spending, we have added historic spending of $120 billion in infrastructure projects. In my region alone, I have announced $97 million for a highway expansion, going from six lanes to 10 lanes, so we can get our products to market faster and can have faster commutes to and from the GTA from our region.
    Also, we have lowered taxes for the middle class, from 22% down to 20.5%. We have also lowered taxes on businesses, from 11% to 9% in 2019.
    These are some of the things our government has laid out and it is our record since we formed government. This is why I am supporting this budget.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my Liberal colleague sharing with this House and Canadians his perspective on how good the budget is. The theme is spend, spend, spend and spend some more. If any organization, business or family in Canada spent the way the government is spending, would it be sustainable? If a company was to hire more staff, pay higher salaries, provide additional benefits, and spend and spend all on borrowed money, how long can that go on? I believe it cannot go on, it is not sustainable, and a company would go out of business because it cannot live and prosper on borrowed money. Therefore, the question is this. Does he believe this is sustainable? Hopefully, he will say no. If so, when will the budget be balanced?
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are the opposition and, rightfully so, they have to ensure the government is investing in Canadians, that investment is recuperating and that investment is coming back to Canadians. Therefore, I will provide the House with the record.
    Since we have taken office, we have invested in Canadians. We have seen an unemployment rate hovering around 7%, now down to 5.8% or around 6%. As I mentioned in my speech, in my region it is at 5.2%. When we put the investments in place for Canadians we see that record.
    Also, we have lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians from 22% down to 20.5%. That has led to Canadians spending more in the economy and when there is more spending more businesses will be able to sell their products. We have seen that kind of a record. When we invest in Canadians, we see that record coming back.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague mentioned the Bankruptcy Act. He was talking about pension protection on deferred wages. Did I hear him correctly? Did he say that he is for making sure that pensions are protected and that these are deferred wages and should have a higher priority with respect to a bankruptcy liquidation?
    Mr. Speaker, there have been companies in the past that have gone into insolvency or bankruptcy and a lot of the time pensioners were the last to get paid. We have seen it here with Nortel in Ottawa and I am sure the member has seen it in his region in Hamilton. Moving forward, we want to see that pensioners are protected. A lot of the pensioners who are in unions have taken minimal wage increases throughout the years in order to protect their pensions and their benefits. Therefore, we want to ensure that pensions are protected. Personally, I want to see this going forward so that we can see pensioners being protected.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech.
    Everyone understands that it is never a good idea to limit debate on a bill, especially on such a large bill. This one here has nearly 900 pages.
    We cannot forget that this political party made a promise during the last election campaign to not introduce massive omnibus bills. The Liberals also promised to limit the use of time allocation measures. They are reneging on their commitments.
    For us, the worst part is having to watch the government continue to run up deficits. We have no idea when the budget will be balanced again. A member was elected three years and a couple months ago on the promise that Canada would return to a balanced budget in 2019.
    Why did the government and this member not keep their word?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we made a promise to invest in Canadians, and that is what we are doing. We are doing the best of the G7 countries. Canadian wages are among the best in the G7 countries. We will continue to invest in Canadians. We will see this record through. We will ensure that we are doing the best for Canadians by investing in them and opening up markets, which we have done with the TPP, CETA and the new USMCA. We will continue to deliver for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-86, the budget implementation act. I feel fortunate that I will get to speak on this bill, but because of time allocation on this bill and multiple others by the government, many of my colleagues are not going to have the opportunity to debate it. I feel fortunate that I at least get to debate the bill and question the government.
    It has been pointed out many times that the government made numerous promises in its election campaign that it has no intention of upholding. When I make a promise, I vow to uphold it, but the government seems to have no respect for that whatsoever or for Canadian citizens, which I find simply abhorrent.
    Liberals promised not to introduce omnibus bills and yet we have a budget implementation act of over 800 pages, almost 900 pages, in fact. Just the summary of this bill is over 12 pages long. It is a massive bill that deserves full debate in the House, but with time allocation being applied, we will not get that opportunity. I have spoken with my colleagues who wanted parts of this bill taken out and debated separately in committee, but those requests were denied by the Liberals at committee. It is a shame that we cannot properly debate a bill that is so important to every Canadian.
    I will go back to the election promises that the government made back in 2015. Liberals claim to have been elected on a mandate of what they said they would do for the Canadian public and a big part of it was to keep the deficit below $10 billion per year. That is a promise broken. Another part of the 2015 election campaign was that deficits would decrease annually as Liberals moved through their mandate. That is a promise broken. Liberals promised to reach a balanced budget by 2019. That is a promise broken. They promised to be open and transparent in their government. We have seen multiple times how that promise has been broken and we have another example of it again today with time allocation being applied to debate on this bill so that we cannot fully expose this bill for what it is to the Canadian public.
    When I return to my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap, increasingly people approach me and ask what we can do to stop this out-of-control spending by the government and the debt that it is passing on to future generations. That truly concerns me. There are a lot of young entrepreneurs in my riding looking to a brighter future, but we see what the government is doing with these continual deficits of nearly $20 billion year after year. Most people cannot visualize what that $20 billion would look like in a project in the town or community they live in or a project at home.
    That $20 billion does not translate easily to individuals, but it creates an approximate $600 debt load per person. The government puts every man, woman, child, infant and senior in Canada further in debt by almost $600 every year. In three years, that is $1,800 for every man, woman and child. Imagine what it will cost a family of four people. It is unbelievable when people hear what this really means for families and individuals. When we work into that the percentage of Canadians who are full time in the workforce, it is probably about 25% of Canadians. Therefore, one in four Canadians is paying back the incredible debt that the government is building up.

  (1225)  

    In 2019, we are working towards electing a Conservative government, led by our leader. We are looking forward to bringing reality back to finances in Canada, so that we can provide hope and prosperity, and a future for those young Canadians.
    The only way we are going to be able to do that is to try to keep them out of this incredible debt that the government keeps piling on. I cannot imagine. I have a daughter and son-in-law who have established themselves, but I cannot imagine having teenagers or young children right now and having to tell them that, with the government, they are going to be another $500 or $600 per year further in debt every time the government passes a budget. That is very troubling to me. I cannot imagine passing on that information on the doorstep.
    That is what I am hearing from people when I am back home. They do not want that debt passed on to their children. Time and time again, people are asking, “How can we stop this?”
    Another of the factors that have popped up in this bill and that have been pointed out is the increase in the debt servicing costs of government. It will not matter whether it is a Liberal, Conservative, coalition or minority government. It will not matter; the increased debt servicing costs could grow by up to 60% under the current government's plan. That is incomprehensible. It will mean that we could end up paying more in debt servicing per year than our current health care transfers to the provinces.
    What it means is that what the government is creating in deficits and debt load to future governments is going to be taking away from something else that we should be able to pay for in the future. Whether that is housing, health care or business investment, all of those things are going to be impacted by the debt load that is currently being passed on by the government.
    Getting back to some more of the promises that were made by the government and have now been broken, it promised to reduce business taxes. It has done that in some ways, but in other ways it has reached into the back pockets of business people and taken more out than it has actually put in. It did that earlier this year with the implementation of the deferred income taxes.
     The government increased taxes on passive income investments. It will be up to 73% that individuals will have to pay on those passive investments. That is absolutely killing corporate investment in avenues other than their core business. Many people who had surplus income in their primary business decided to purchase rental properties, whether it was detached homes or small apartment buildings and so on. They would invest their extra income in purchasing those rental properties to create lower-income rental opportunities for individuals in the community who could not afford to purchase their own home.
    I have had those individuals approach me time and time again over the summer and since, and they say they are no longer going to do that. There is no point in investing in a secondary business other than their primary investment. It is no longer feasible because of what the government is doing.
    I know my time is running down, so I will try to wrap up. With over 800 pages in this bill, it is really difficult to fit in much detail about the individual pieces in a 10-minute presentation. Again, I want to stress the fact that the government has moved time allocation on the bill which, for most of our members, will remove the opportunity to speak on this bill. Again, it is deplorable that the government keeps doing this. I cannot comprehend how we are going to get past this.
    We need to work together, as government and as opposition, on what is good for Canadians, but the government is making it almost impossible. I will wrap up with that statement.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the common issues constantly brought up by Conservative members, whether in speeches or when asking questions, is the deficit.
    When I think of deficits, I think of the last 151 years of the Canadian Confederation. In that last 151 years, Conservatives have governed the country 38% of the time, and yet have accumulated almost 75% of our deficits. Nevertheless, when they are in opposition, they seen to be so focused on deficits. That seems to be at odds with their history. In government, the Conservatives do not really care about deficits, as the historical numbers clearly demonstrate, yet when they are in opposition they want to talk about deficits. Could my colleague explain why?
    Mr. Speaker, the biggest reason we have had to deal with deficits is that we have taken over from Liberal governments that have spent the cupboards absolutely bare. We come back in when the economy has changed and business investment has left the country because of the tax situations that Liberal governments have created. We come in as Conservative governments and have to put the books back in order, and so we have to take on debt load to try to bring business investment back to Canada to turn around the negative situation the Liberal governments continually put Canada in.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech was thoughtful, highlighting that the government continues to fail, and its legacy of broken promises.
    The government members have said they are investing in Canadians. Where is this money coming from that the Liberals are investing in Canadians? If they are spending, spending, spending, is it sustainable?

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Langley—Aldergrove asked where the money is coming from. It is plain and simple where. It is coming from future Canadians, but they do not realize it yet, unfortunately. We cannot continue to wrack up deficit after deficit after deficit.
    I came from a small business. If I ran my business that way, it would be bankrupt. If I ran my household that way, spending more every year than I was bringing in, either I would go bankrupt or I would pass on a huge debt load to my children and grandchildren.
    However, that is what the current government seems to think it is okay to do. It boggles my mind how the Liberals think it is okay to pass on huge debt to future generations like they are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, I pointed out that it was the Conservatives who accumulated most of Canada's debt, almost 75% of it. The response I got was that the Liberals made them do it, so it is the Liberals who forced the Conservatives to do it. That is just not true.
    The Paul Martin budget was a multi-billion dollar surplus. The cupboards were not bare. It was a multi-billion dollar surplus that Stephen Harper inherited. Even before the recession kicked in, that multi-billion dollar surplus was converted into a multi-billion dollar deficit.
     I wonder if my colleague would change his mind, upon reflection, as opposed to trying to say that the Liberal Party made the Conservatives run deficits, and maybe take responsibility and allow for the fact that the Conservatives really do not know what they are talking about when it comes to deficits.
    Mr. Speaker, deficits arose with the great global recession of 2007-09. We were forced into running deficits to keep Canadians working. In fact, when we were running those deficits, it was the Liberals who kept screaming, from this side of the House at that time. They wanted bigger and bigger deficits, and yet now they want to stand back and criticize us.
    Now when times are good, when the economy seems to be relatively stable and there is some surplus income, that is when most prudent businesses and governments try to pay down their debts. They try to put it toward paying off those debts so that when the tough times come, they are not in such a drastic situation, trying to scramble and find out where they can save and cut money to pay back the debt they have built up.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to stand today to support the initiatives of our government that are expressed through the bill as we implement the budget promises we made last spring, and to deliver real hope, real change and real possibilities for growth in the country for some of Canada's most vulnerable populations.
    The main focus of my comments will be on the poverty reduction strategy. It is Canada's first-ever poverty reduction strategy with real targets and real tools to measure not just poverty as it exists across the country, but also as it exists in specific regions, centres, and within specific populations.
    The new strategy is critical, because one of the goals of the government—and we hear the phrase repeated often—is not just growing a stronger middle class, but the support that is required to help people join that middle class, to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them the tools they need, the support they require and the opportunities they desire to make sure their lives are transformed. This is critical for the success of our country, because as we build stronger families and healthier communities, we also build more resilient children. That gives us hope for the future that the next generation will have the capacity to provide much more support for all of us as we move forward together as a country.
    To set the context, we need to understand that the poverty reduction strategy, while it is a new strategy enunciated in policy, is not something we just started to begin work on. The day we took office, we began making investments right across the country to make a transformational change in people's lives. In fact, well over 600,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of the steps taken by our government. That does not include the close to 500,000 new full-time jobs that have been created, which have also created a situation allowing people to avoid poverty. I say this because the prevention of poverty is just as important as its alleviation.
    The $22 billion we invested includes about $5.6 billion invested in housing. As soon as we introduced our first budget, we tripled the transfers to the provinces and doubled the investments in community organizations that are leading the fight against homelessness.
    We also introduced the Canada child benefit and changed its profile. Not only is it a more generous benefit, but it is also now tax free and means-tested, which means that those with the greatest need will get the greatest support. Unlike the previous government, we do not send the cheques to millionaires and we do not tax the dollars after they have arrived in families' bank accounts. This has probably been the most profound change in social policy in this country in a generation, and probably the most important component of lifting those children I just referenced out of poverty.
    Additionally, changes have been made to the CPP as we move forward to secure people's retirement funds. We have also boosted the GIS to make sure that single women, in particular, who are often alone at the end of their lives, get the boost they need to make sure that their incomes are better supported, giving them the capacity to maintain their living standards.
    In addition, $7.5 billion has been invested in early learning and child care. These transfers were delivered directly to the provinces, who since the collapse of the previous national day care strategy have evolved their programs and now have a more asymmetrical situation across the country. As we invest that $7.5 billion over the next 10 years, it has already started to sustain existing spaces, provide new capital for expansion, and also provide that critical expansion of the child care system. In fact, in Ontario, 100,000 new spaces of subsidized, quality, affordable child care have been created as a direct result of the investments in partnership with the provinces.
    For the first time ever, child care support has also been directed toward indigenous organizations to make sure that distinction-based programs, led, designed and delivered by indigenous communities for their children, are now part of the program. We have also made those investments, which are having an impact on families outside the mainstream programs that have existed for a generation in our country.
    On top of child care, substantial investments have also been made in indigenous communities, both on and off reserve, both inside and outside of treaties, both in rural-remote regions and urban centres. These investments have led to cleaner drinking water, better housing, better education and, most importantly, better health programs being provided. In particular on Jordan's principle, in comparison with the approval and enrolment rates under the previous government, which in 10 years managed to get only one child served under Jordan's principle, we are talking about thousands and thousands being served every single year.
    These are transformational changes, which have set the base for an even more aggressive push to eliminate even more of the poverty we see in our country, because we cannot sustain poverty in a country as rich as ours with a clean conscience.
    As we set the new poverty standard and come across a standard way of measuring it so that we can have a common base to understand exactly whom we lifting out of poverty and how our programs are having that impact, we are often criticized for not having announced new programs simultaneously to our establishing this poverty line.

  (1240)  

    Let me assure members that there are already programs and investments forecast into the future that have not been included in the 650,000 calculation we have already used to address the people we have lifted out of poverty. For example, we have the signing of bilateral agreements. I was just in the Northwest Territories doing exactly this, signing bilateral agreements on the Canada housing benefit.
    The Canada housing benefit is a new way to subsidize people's living arrangements, giving agency and choice to low-income Canadians to choose the housing that best suits their needs. Those subsidies do not kick in until next year, but will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life and alleviation of poverty among those people who are in core housing need. In fact, when one includes all the other components of the national housing strategy, we seek to support well over 650,000 Canadians, and closer to 700,000. Then we get into repairs and some of the other programs that are part of the 10-year forecast.
    Those dollars are locked in and are built on top of the $5 billion we have already spent. We have also reprofiled those dollars to make them more flexible, in particular in the way in which they impact women and children, to make sure that those housing needs are addressed specifically through a national housing strategy. They were not in the previous iteration of the program. The new national housing strategy re-profiles that $40 billion and projects it into those people's lives as yet another way to alleviate poverty.
    This particular bill also addresses pay equity. I have heard the members opposite complain that the bill is too big. It covers seven distinct pieces of legislation, but the piece on pay equity covers the entire breadth of federally regulated and federally administered pay programs. It is a big, complex bill because pay equity touches virtually every corner of the government, as well as significant parts of the country's private sector. That is why the bill is 850 pages long.
    The bill is a comprehensive all-of-government, all-of country approach to pay equity. We are very proud to push that forward, because pay equity, again, is one of the most important tools we can put together to ensure that we reduce poverty, in particular of women but also of families and Canadians right across the country. Pay equity, giving a fair chance to everybody, in particular women, benefits us all. As women's economic situations solidify and strengthen in this country, small and medium businesses and all our social dynamics strengthen as women become more powerful. That is one of the most important reasons to support pay equity. It is good for everyone, even those who are not women.
    Additionally, we have also included an indexing formula in the Canada child benefit so that it will grow over time for families to ensure that inflation does not claw back the good, strong investments we have made to eradicate child poverty. Again, those dollars are not calculated as part of our poverty reduction plan, which was in place prior to the strategy, but will have an impact afterward.
    Then of course there is the national housing strategy, the $40-billion investment. I have heard some suggest that the way to do a housing program, which we have seen in the platforms of previous parties as they tried to get elected to Parliament, is to put the money upfront and just let the program drift off into the future. As someone who has done much of the consultation work with the minister and CMHC to put this strategy together, I can say that the reality is that the advice we were given by academics, housing providers, municipal partners and provincial agencies was that the best way to build a housing program was to invest heavily to start and then grow the investment as the system gets bigger over time.
    In other words, if a riding were to receive a thousand units of public housing this year, a thousand next year and a thousand the year after that, its housing needs would go from 1,000 to 2,000 to 3,000. Repair needs grow with that, as do subsidy requirements, and if the program is not back-end loaded, one will not be able to build a successful system while building good, strong housing programs. That is why the program not only lasts 10 years, past two elections, but also grows over time to support a bigger, stronger, more robust capacity to house Canadians in need.
    Put together, this constitutes our government's strategy for housing, poverty and improving the lives of indigenous people, women and many of the marginalized and racialized communities in this country. We have focused our programs based on data, the information we have received from stakeholders, and partnerships with indigenous, municipal, provincial and territorial governments. In total, the early investments, the project investments, the new tools to measure, study and drive data into the system to alleviate poverty are the reasons this bill is large, why are ambitions are just as big, and most importantly, why the achievements are so profound.
    We are very, very proud of this particular piece of legislation. I hope that all of Canada can support it. I hope that everyone in Parliament can support it. This is delivering real change, real housing and real support to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and I encourage all parliamentarians to support it as such.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member tries to make the world look pretty rosy through his glasses. In fact, the simple question of when the budget will be balanced cannot be answered by anyone on that side of the House. They are embarrassed that it will be at least 27 years before that happens
    We have heard a lot about the half-million jobs the Liberals say they have produced. I was only here for 23 months in the former Harper government, and we produced 1.2 million permanent jobs in Canada.
     I would be in favour of a poverty reduction program as well. However, only the Liberal government, as we found out earlier this week, can spend half a million dollars on a slogan for a poverty reduction program instead of putting half a million dollars toward poverty.
    Out-of-control spending of $4.5 billion for a pipeline no one wants to buy now and $10.5 million for a convicted terrorist, Mr. Khadr, are examples of why Canadians are upset today with the government. Never mind the fact that the Liberal government has not been able to build pipelines to get our natural resources, which are an economic driver for our country, in place so it can do the kind of spending it would like to do.
     I would like to ask my colleague if he can tell us how soon he believes the budget will be balanced, and more so, if that is actually important to him.
    Mr. Speaker, making sure that Canada's fiscal house is in order is critically important. That is why we have made sure that we sustain the discipline so that our debt-to-GDP ratio continues to trend in the right direction and is in fact the lowest ratio in the G7. It is one of the things that has given us the capacity to stimulate the economy and grow those jobs.
    The member opposite talks about jobs created. What he did not talk about was the jobs lost as not only a global recession hit this country but the Conservative austerity measures plunged this country into a second recession, the only G7 country that managed to achieve that. As a result, the net number of jobs that came to Canada were significantly reduced. It is why we have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years right now, which is a good anti-poverty strategy.
    As it relates to the deficit the party opposite talks about, there are lots of different deficits within a complex economy. For example, there is an infrastructure deficit. The previous government left us with a $660-billion infrastructure deficit. That meant that expressways were falling down, bridges were not being built, transit was not being delivered, water was not clean, highways were broken, and housing was not being fixed or repaired. That deficit was real, because it impacted people's lives and the economy and productivity of this country. The Conservatives passed that on to this government and future generations.
    The books need to be brought back into balance. However, it is not just the books as they relate to deficits and debt. It is also the social deficit, the environmental deficit and the infrastructure deficit of this country. One reason the Conservative Party was tossed out was that those other deficits were atrocious and required change. The change people are getting includes sustained and focused investments that are not only good for the people using the infrastructure and social pieces of government but are good for the country, because they grow—

  (1250)  

    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Jonquière.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this massive 850-page bill contains seven different pieces of legislation, and yet the Standing Committee on Finance held only three meetings to study it.
    What is more, the 36 amendments proposed by the NDP in committee were all rejected. The Liberals did not even take the time to study or debate them. They rejected them all, including those recommended by the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition, the Canadian Labour Congress or CLC, the Canadian Union of Public Employees or CUPE, Teamsters Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada or PSAC. All of the witnesses from these unions agreed that amendments were needed so that the bill would remedy the shortcomings in the legislation, which requires women to go to court to get equal pay for equal work.
    If the Liberals were serious about pay equity, why did they not create a stand-alone bill on this subject that we could have debated in the House? That way women would not have to wait three or four years for pay equity.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP members often complain about two things: either we are consulting and are going too slow, or we have not consulted and are going too fast. I think we have hit the right balance here. We have put together comprehensive pay equity legislation after substantial consultation over the last three years with stakeholders, unions, private, public and governmental sources.
    With regard to amendments, we have all been around committees in this place. We all see sort of a consensus emerge on how to fix a particular bill. The opposition presents one way to fix it, and the government produces a different way. The opposition's proposal might be defeated, but a very similar proposal will have the support of the government side. It is really a question of detail, sometimes, in those decisions.
    As for pay equity, it is essential that we get it done in this term of Parliament. Women have waited too long. I was here in 2005 as a reporter when the NDP members rolled the dice and decided they could get a better deal under Stephen Harper than under Paul Martin. They not only collapsed the Kelowna accord, they not only collapsed an extra $2 billion for housing, they not only collapsed a national child care strategy, they collapsed comprehensive pay equity legislation as well.
    Members will say that they did not roll the dice and that Canadians changed the government. Sure, Canadians changed the government, but at some point, the NDP is going to have to take responsibility for what it does, not what it aspires to do. In this case, it collapsed those pieces of legislation, and it can live with that. That is its party record.
    I would also remind the party members opposite of the zero dollars they wanted to spend on housing this year or the $25 million they wanted to spend on indigenous infrastructure, a grand total of $375 million. If that is what they thought was the scope of the problem with indigenous communities across this country, they either did not care, did not know, or did not want to act.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about the Liberals, who are proposing a hefty 850-page bill. It is an omnibus bill. It is the largest bill ever introduced in the House of Commons. The omnibus bills that the Conservatives used to introduce were 75 pages long. Today we are seeing an 800% or even 900% increase with this 851-page bill. The Liberals were elected on a promise to be more transparent and more accountable.
    Furthermore, we are debating this unusually large bill under a gag order. This morning, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour was boasting about how she has already given opposition members 15 hours of debate.
    According to my calculations, 15 hours of debate divided by 851 pages equals one minute and five seconds per page. Is it responsible to allocate so little time to debate a bill? I use the phrase “debate a bill” loosely, because only eight NDP MPs and five Conservative MPs spoke to this bill before today, if memory serves.
    The Liberals say that they are more democratic, more transparent and more accountable, but I have my doubts. I think that everyone has reason to doubt the goodwill and good faith of the Liberals.
    As my colleague from Jonquière said, this bill amends seven acts. The Liberals have never been able to tell us how many clauses and subclauses are in this mammoth bill. They themselves do not even know. They do not even know all the things they put in this bill. It is ridiculous to have to debate it under time allocation.
    I will focus on just a few points in my speech because, unfortunately, nobody in the House can cover all the measures introduced in the nearly 900-page bill in just 10 minutes.
    Women have been waiting 42 years for the Liberals to keep their promises on pay equity. Unions have been fighting Canada Post in court over that for 30 years. The government is yet again telling women they will have to wait. Pay equity legislation will come into force not in a matter of weeks or months, but in four years.
    Our party has been a tireless advocate for this important issue. We have even proposed changes in the past. As we heard from my colleague from Jonquière, the NDP proposed 36 amendments. The Conservatives proposed amendments. The other parties proposed amendments. How many amendments did the Liberals accept? Not one single amendment was accepted, despite the fact that they reflected the demands of unions and the demands of various women's groups. Not one amendment was accepted to improve the bill, to give women a stronger voice. The Liberals did not agree to any of our suggestions.
    Canada is facing some major challenges that require a bolder approach than the one the Liberals are using. The first initiatives requiring employers to determine how many people must receive more pay are a step in the right direction. However, what could possibly justify how long it will take to implement this? Is it acceptable that women continue to be underpaid for another four years under this government?
    In 2018, women earn on average $12,700 less than men. If we multiply that by four, that means nearly $51,000 less for women. The government says it is proud to have introduced pay equity legislation. However, women will still have $51,000 less in their pockets, which is a lot.
    If I had to summarize the government's action, I would have to say that it is nothing but half measures. The time it will take to implement pay equity is the biggest problem lurking behind the government's facade of good intentions, but it is not the only one. There is also the fact that budget implementation act, 2018, No. 2 does not require employers to apply pay equity to workers who were already under contract if changes are subsequently made to the contract following a call for tenders. Why? We do not know.

  (1255)  

    The bill also does not include any of the pay transparency measures that advocates have called for. Salaries cannot be compared when pay equity issues are being addressed. What is wrong with that picture? Will the pay equity commissioner have the resources needed to do his or her work properly? We do not know that either.
    Speaking of half measures, why did the government not adopt the recommendations set out in the Bilson report, including the creation of a pay equity hearings tribunal? Lastly, the Liberals are once again professing to support equality while telling a segment of the population that is being treated unfairly to grin and bear it. I would like to remind the government that women represent 51% of the population.
    The government made its choice. It chose not to make the investments needed to ensure that women receive equal pay, and chose instead to give big business, the richest people in the world, $14 billion in tax cuts. This measure was introduced last week in the Minister of Finance's fall economic statement. Did the rich and these big corporations really need that $14 billion this fall? I do not think so. They are getting help, yet many of them evade taxes or openly use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.
    The same is true for web giants like Netflix, Apple and Facebook, which pay virtually nothing in taxes and then get tax breaks. However, they use our services and are quite happy to hire highly skilled workers from Quebec and Canada. The Liberals claim that our SMEs are important and that they want to support buying local, but they support the web giants that do not need to worry about all of the taxes imposed on our SMEs under Canadian law.
    How much of this money will go to rural areas? We have no idea. The government is allocating billions of dollars for businesses to buy new equipment and innovate, but how can we innovate when our rural areas do not even have access to high-speed Internet or a 3G or LTE cellular network?
    The Auditor General criticized the government for its lack of judgment in managing public money allocated to the connect to innovate program. Some municipalities in my riding are turned down for this program or CRTC funds for ridiculous reasons, such as the fact that there is already a home with high-speed Internet within a 25-kilometre radius. This is happening in Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, and all the areas served by Coop CSUR in the Soulanges area are under the same restriction. Do we really want a double standard for our rural and urban areas?
    On another subject, how will the poverty reduction strategy be funded? Apparently, it will be made up of existing programs without any additional money. I think the Liberals are just thumbing their noses at us. They have targets, but no plan. That seems to be a theme with this government, because it does not have a plan for the environment either. The Liberals got themselves elected in 2015 by saying, “We have a plan, we have a plan, we have a plan”. Today, there is no plan, there is no plan, there is no plan. I think I will use that in an ad.
    Are they going to help the most vulnerable citizens access health care services more easily? No. There is no plan for pharmacare either, even though we know that we could save $3 billion a year according to conservative estimates. We could make a lot of investments in health care with that money.
    What other measures does the bill include to drastically reduce our CO2 and methane emissions starting this year? None. Is the government planning to help rural areas go green, develop public transit, make their homes more energy efficient, or use solar and wind power? No.
    Is the government going to implement restrictions to help big corporations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions? No, of course there is no plan to do that. Will the federal government finally have a costed plan for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions? No, it has no plan for that either.
     It has been pointed out that many citizen movements have been launched. In Quebec, artists, scientists, economists and citizens have signed A Pact for the Transition. Millennials have been criticized for not being more involved in all kinds of things, but yesterday, young people who realized that the government is not doing anything for the environment took action, and a youth environmental group called ENvironnement JEUnesse brought suit against the federal government for failing to take action on the environment.

  (1300)  

    I have to stop now because I am out of time, but that shows just how important the environment is to people 35 and under and how absurd it was for the government to spend $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money on a pipeline.
    That move was not a plan or investment for keeping our planet healthy for current and future generations. It is shameful.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to ask my colleague opposite a question.
    The purpose of my question is simple.

[English]

    The member opposite complained that there was not enough investment to back up the strategy or move forward some of these critical social issues in order to achieve them. I will take housing as an example, because I have often heard the opposite side say that it all comes after the next election.
    The member opposite knows, because she complained that in the first budget the money was too little to solve the problem. I agree, we needed the full $40 billion on top of the first investment. However, in our first budget, we tripled transfers to provinces and that money is building housing now, supporting housing now and renewing housing agreements now. We doubled the money that was going to homeless organizations that are fighting homelessness. We have now added an additional $40 billion on top of that, and reprofiled the money to be a little more flexible so that it can, in particular, support women and children across the country. In other words, the national housing strategy is not a 10-year, $40-billion program, but actually closer to $55 billion over 14 years, if we take into account the dollars announced before we reprofiled the money.
    Would the member not agree that, from the minute we took office and the first budget we passed right through to now, we have invested well beyond $40 billion? Will the member also agree that those dollars are being spent as we speak?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I hear my colleague from Hamilton Mountain shouting that it is 14 years. I am not the one saying so. Many social housing organizations across Canada are saying that 90% of the investments in social housing announced by the Liberals will not come until after the next election.
    Way to go. The housing crisis is happening right now.
    People are also talking about other crises. I do not know if the Liberals have their heads buried in the sand or what, but every week for the last four weeks, someone has had something to say about the environment. Global warming is the number one issue. Everyone says that urgent action is needed now.
    What do the Liberals propose in these 851 pages? There is nothing for the environment, a big fat zero in terms of investment and a big fat zero in terms of plans. There is nothing for decarbonization, nothing for public transit, nothing for reviewing building codes to make them more energy efficient. There is also nothing to keep fossil fuels in the ground or to promote the development of green and renewable energy sources.
    Where is the Liberals' vision for addressing climate change? I do not see it here. It is nowhere to be found.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. I wholeheartedly agree with what she said about climate change.
    What we need right now is not a plan to deal with a small issue because this is no longer about the environment. No, climate change has now become a critical and urgent issue. It is clearly no longer an environmental issue. It has become a threat to the security of our country and our planet.
    I would like to ask the member if she has anything else to propose to effectively address this threat.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands. She is obviously very involved in this file and her involvement in and commitment to society in general are a good example of some of the things that can be done.
    Many scientists, industry representatives, workers in the environmental field, and people around the world are carrying out initiatives in this regard. Thousands of initiatives are being carried out around the world. I am talking about initiatives pertaining to permaculture, local currency, buy local networks, geothermal energy, wind energy, the creation of construction standards for more energy efficient buildings, and awareness campaigns regarding the fight against plastic.
    We are calling on the government to establish a plan for every department. Right now, only 5 out of 19 departments have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Canada does not even have one. That makes no sense at all. I cannot believe it.
    The government needs to have its own plan to adapt to climate change and apply it through public policies in every department and every sector, whether it be transport, food, housing construction and so on. There is an urgent need to act now.
    Young people and the general public understand that. The only one who does not is the government.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today in the House to speak to our economic update.
    I did not get a chance to ask my colleague who just spoke a question. I think she was a bit unfair to the connect to innovate program. We invested $500 million in Canada, and the CRTC will invest even more to create the backbone of the system.
     True, there are some challenges with the maps, but the CRTC and the Minister of Innovation are always open to redrawing the maps to better connect Canadians.
    We invested $100 million in Quebec, and I was there for a number of the announcements. I assure the member and the House that we are working on getting people connected, since this has become a necessity in our country.

[English]

    I would like to take a moment with the time that I have to speak about some of the intellectual property provisions in the economic update, with the backdrop being that the government had to address yet another deficit from the previous government, which was the innovation deficit.
     The previous government, under Harper, had not invested for 10 years in either basic research or in innovation. We had fallen behind our neighbours and competitors in a variety of different ways. We had previously been good at this.
    We have now brought that back, with massive, historic investments, in both fundamental curiosity-based research, as well as investing in both people and technology in order to make Canada a world leader in a variety of different digital areas, the new economy, artificial intelligence and training people, from kids all the way to the elderly, upscaling and retraining, in order that we be positioned to take advantage of that.
    All of this is framed by an IP strategy that we announced earlier in 2018. It really pushes Canadians and Canadian inventors to think about intellectual property as part of the way in which they monetize their investments. I know the minister is fond of saying, and he is right, that companies that think about intellectual property tend to be more profitable and do better. We certainly are trying to buttress that with an array of policies in the IP strategy, as well as in the fall economic statement.
    First, I want to speak a little about notice and notice regime and the improvements we have made to that. It is an interesting Canadian invention, the notice and notice regime. One of my old colleagues, Daniel Gervais, who was at the University of Ottawa at the time and is now at the University of Amsterdam, came up with this. The idea is that Internet service providers should not be liable for copyright infringement going on the Internet when they are acting only as a conduit. This accords with our traditional underlying principle of net neutrality.
    What we do is we allow copyright holders, right holders to point out to an Internet service provider that there has been an alleged infringement of copyright through its architecture. Then we ask the Internet service provider to act in a certain way in order to maintain an immunity from liability.
    In the United States, the Americans reacted with something called notice and take down, in which a copyright holder would tell the Internet service provider that there had been an infringement. In order for the Internet service provider to maintain its immunity, it would simply take down the work.
    This system was widely criticized in the United States because it was being abused. People were alleging copyright infringement in all sorts of cases, when perhaps there was not even copyright infringement at all. It led to a silencing or had a chilling effect on free speech, among other things.

  (1315)  

    Our Canadian response was quite a good one. When such an allegation would be made, we would ask the Internet service provider to first freeze the information, archive it, and then give notice to the person who had put up the content that some sort of infringement had happened. This then would allow for both the information to be preserved and for the copyright holder to pursue it in our court system, if he or she wanted to do that, a court system in which we have a great deal of confidence, and get to the right result without the abuse that happened in the notice and take down system.
    What began to happen in Canada, and I saw this myself a number of times in my teachings, was that American rights holders, through American law firms, would often allege content infringement in Canada. They would then send a letter to those people telling them that they had infringed copyright and that they would be sued unless they paid x thousands of dollars by clicking on the link included. Sadly, a number of people did not realize this kind of claim was in contravention of Canadian law and they paid the money. This kind of trolling is what we are trying to prevent by standardizing the kinds of letters that are used in the notice and notice regime and by prohibiting any request for a monetary settlement in these letters.
    We also heard from Internet service providers in Canada that it was difficult for them to maintain and archive all these various kinds of claims. Therefore, by standardizing the form, we also reduce the costs and increase the incentive for Canadian Internet service providers to comply with the system.
    It is a good system. We are improving it by standardizing costs, making it more fair and preventing trolls from taking advantage of the system.
    I am very proud of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and her team for having preserved the notice and notice regime in the renegotiation of the free trade agreement with Mexico and the United States. It is a strong Canadian addition to international copyright. I am pleased we have taken steps to improve it, based on the consultations we have had. These were widely shared among people and were widely agreed upon.
    We are also making improvements to the patent regime, which again will help the innovative climate in Canada. We are allowing for experimentation on patents and not calling it patent infringement. It has been said that the patent system is a bargain whereby a person gets a monopoly for 20-odd years for an invention after having disclosed the secret of the invention publicly. Yes, it is true. We do not want people to infringe on the economic rights of the patent holder. However, it is not an infringement on the economic rights of the patent holder because it is not an absolute right for some other researcher to do experiments with the patent to develop another invention or improve an invention. We have recognized that in the statute.
    Because licensing is such an important part of the patent regime, we have also protected licensees who licence a critical patent for their own processes and inventions, such that if the company falls into insolvency or bankruptcy or goes under creditor protection, the licensee will not lose the right to use that licence.
    With respect to trademark, we are adding bad faith as a ground for opposition to trademarks. That too is something that accords overall with what we are trying to do.
    I and other colleagues have spoken about a new college for patent and trademark agents to improve the quality of advice and service that is given. Again, this helps Canadian innovators.
    Finally, we have brought in major improvements to the functioning of the Copyright Board, which plays such a critical role for both rights holders and users with respect to establishing rights and tariffs moving forward. If we can do that more quickly, more efficiently and in a substantively better way, it helps everyone.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has expounded on a number of programs that the Liberals think they are putting to good use in Canada. However, I have one problem. They are spending $49.5 million more every day than they are taking in. They are adding that much to the debt, over $2 million an hour.
    Programs and projects could be put in place that would help them with the revenue side and sustain the jobs we already have rather than lose them, and one would be the building of pipelines in Canada. It would even reduce greenhouse gases around the world if we could get pipelines to both coasts. We would have a more efficient export program and help put people to work in other countries, as well as reduce greenhouse gases with oil they could use here rather than the products they presently use.
     I wanted to point that out for my colleague across the way.
    I heard the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour this morning refer to this as a fiscally sound management update for the fiscal accountability of the government. I would like to ask the member two things. When does he think the budget will ever be balanced? With $49.5 million more being spent every day than the government is taking in, how is this sound fiscal management?
    Mr. Speaker, I am a homeowner and I have a mortgage on my house. If the roof caves in or the plumbing breaks, I will have to spend money to fix it. My colleague next to me referred to that as an infrastructure deficit. There are simply times when in order to preserve the whole of the investment, we have to make other investments. That is precisely what we are doing.
     We inherited a massive infrastructure deficit. In my home province, bridges are falling, infrastructure is deteriorating, water and environmental infrastructure. We had an innovation deficit. Now we are remedying that.
    Yes, we have to spend money to do it, but, as has been pointed out a number of times, our debt-to-GDP ratio is going down and we have the best position in the G7 with respect to both overall debt and debt-to-GDP ratio. We are doing it prudently and saving the house.
    Mr. Speaker, we have heard talk from the other side of the House about lifting people out of poverty. I hear that constantly. I am going to state some figures. My colleague on this side of the House was getting into some of them.
     The first figure is $2,066,210, the second figure is $17,948 and the third figure is $49,589,041. I could do a quiz, but maybe the folks on the other side of the House realize that the first figure is the amount the debt is going up per hour. The second figure is the amount that every Canadian owes, $17,948. The third figure, $49,589,041, is the amount the debt grows every day.
    When Liberals talk about lifting people out of poverty, what does my colleague tell Canadian youth who are faced with a debt of $663 billion right now? How is that lifting them out of poverty?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his proficiency in math. The answers are quite obvious.
     First, the major part of Canada's overall debt was loaded by Conservative governments, first Mulroney and then Harper, in a massive way. It was only Liberal governments, such as Mr. Martin's government and this one, that managed to reduce the overall debt load.
    Our overall debt load is going down as a function of our GDP. Precisely the answer for young people is that we are investing in the kind of economy that is going to give them great jobs when they finish school. It is going to subsidize the education they are getting to get those great jobs. As the economy grows, the overall percentage and importance of the debt actually goes down. I would put it to young people that they would like more challenging and better-paying jobs, knowing the debt has been managed moving forward.
    I see the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. We are out of time for this particular five-minute period, but I can promise him that we will get him the next time around.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, this budget builds upon previous budgets by protecting the environment and strengthening the economy, and the results quite clearly speak for themselves. At 3%, Canada has the strongest economic growth of the G7 countries. In the last three years, Canadians have created 550,000 new jobs and have pushed unemployment to a record 40-year low. More Canadians are working, wages are growing and business confidence is strong. Budget 2018 is the next step in our plan to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success.
    In British Columbia, we understand the importance of measures that protect our oceans and ensure a strong and biodiverse ecosystem. Canada relies on safe and healthy coasts and waters for trade, economic growth and quality of life, and we recognize that the ocean holds a special place in the traditions and cultures of Canadians, and in particular, of indigenous peoples.
    It gives me great pleasure to focus on the oceans protection plan legislative amendments that would enhance marine environmental protection and strengthen marine safety to support safe and environmentally responsible shipping.
    Passage of these amendments would strengthen safeguards to better protect marine environments from the impacts of shipping, including protecting endangered whale populations. They would enable a more proactive, rapid and effective response to oil spills in Canada's waters. They would modernize Canada's ship-source oil pollution fund, including unlimited compensation for victims and responders in the event of an oil spill from a ship, and they would support research and innovation to enhance marine safety and environmental protection.
    Our government is entirely committed to the sustainability of wild Pacific salmon and recognizes that this commitment requires ongoing action to succeed. Recognizing the importance of fisheries to Canada's economy as a whole, and commensurate with the Atlantic fisheries fund, this budget would create a British Columbia salmon restoration and innovation fund, which would include a contribution to the Pacific salmon endowment fund of $5 million in 2018-19. As well, our government is committed to the sustainability of wild stocks and would invest $107 million to support stock assessment and rebuilding efforts from coast to coast to coast.
    Canadians are deeply concerned about threatened whale populations. We would commit $61 million to help whales recover, building on the approximately $800 million in investments to date under the oceans protection plan and the $167 million in budget 2018 dedicated to protecting endangered whales. The additional measures announced today would focus on increasing the food supply for whales, reducing the disturbance caused by vessel noise and addressing ocean contaminants to strengthen our overall effort. Our government is making a real long-term and sustained effort to help whales recover.
    Plastics in the ocean are a threat to whales and to many other species. In my riding, the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre, on the West Vancouver waterfront, was the staging ground for Vortex, an art display by internationally renowned artist Douglas Coupland that was commissioned by the Vancouver Aquarium to draw attention to the magnitude of the ocean plastics global challenge. Coupland collected plastic waste from the shores of Haida Gwaii, which most people think of as pristine. Over the course of a few months, he assembled a display that is at the aquarium today.
    The Pacific Science Enterprise Centre is partnered with the Coastal Ocean Research Institute at the aquarium, resulting in collaborative laboratory research on microplastic distribution and its effects on the marine environment. This is really important, because under the previous government, the long-term viability of this DFO lab on the West Vancouver waterfront was under severe threat. Today we are expanding science research and partnerships to address ocean health.
    We know that pollution is not free. We pay for the cost of storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme heat, which is why we are ensuring a price across Canada on what we do not want, which is pollution, so that we can get what we do want, which are lower emissions, cleaner air and new business opportunities.
    British Columbia has been a leader in pricing pollution since 2008. We were successful in British Columbia, and we know why. That success is about to be Canada's success.
     I would like to share the outcomes from a report I was involved with in 2015 about why B.C. was successful. First, we found that pricing pollution and a thriving economy can co-exist. Second is that strong political leadership is needed. Third is to keep it simple by creating broad coverage. Fourth is to start with a low price. Fifth is to commit from day one to a schedule of price increases and to stick with it. Sixth is that revenue neutrality will make pricing pollution durable. Seventh is that a price on pollution cannot be everything. It needs to be part of a suite of climate policies. Eighth is to prepare for a vocal and not fact-based opposition. Finally, expect a cleaner environment, an enhanced reputation and a thriving clean-tech sector. That is where the budget would bring this country.

  (1330)  

    We would also support the transition to a cleaner economy by providing an accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy equipment. To increase investment in the clean-tech sector, the government proposes that specified clean energy equipment be eligible for immediate expensing. With this change, the cost of clean energy equipment would be eligible for a full tax writeoff the year it was put into use in the business. This change would encourage investment to create jobs for the middle class and would help Canada achieve its climate goals.
    The fall economic statement proposed two further important changes to Canada's tax system to enhance business confidence. First, allowing businesses to immediately write off the cost of the machinery and equipment used for manufacturing and the processing of goods would fuel new investments and support the adoption of advanced technologies and processes. Second, introducing the accelerated investment incentive and accelerated capital cost allowance for businesses of all sizes across all sectors of the economy that are making capital investments would help encourage investment in Canada, providing a timely boost to investor confidence.
    Coupled with these new incentives is our government's strengthening of free trade agreements, which is something I have been very honoured to be part of. Canada has a unique place in the world. It is located next to the world's largest economy to the south and has close business, economic and historic ties to Europe to the east and deep connections to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific nations to the west.
    With the successful conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada is the only G7 country to have free trade agreements with all other G7 nations. These countries represent two-thirds of the world's total GDP taken together. The government's ongoing commitment to free trade with economies around the world, including those in vibrant emerging markets, will help further strengthen and grow the middle class and deliver long-term economic growth to benefit all Canadians.
    Equal pay for work of equal value is smart and just. We are very proud to be moving forward with proactive pay equity legislation. It is a key way our government would deliver on its commitment to gender equality. Work is under way, and consultations on key design elements of the proactive pay equity system with stakeholders, including employers and organized labour, as well as other experts, have concluded. Our government will introduce proactive pay equity legislation for workers in federally regulated sectors in 2018.
    As we work hard to protect the environment and to build a robust, resilient economy, it is important to remember the difference we have made for families at home. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, 9,650 families in my riding received the Canada child benefit; 16,060 children benefited from just over $57 million of investments through the Canada child benefit payments. Since introducing this legislation in 2016, the policy has lifted more than half a million people, including 300,000 children, out of poverty. We believe in supporting Canada's middle class, and that is why we created the Canada child benefit. This summer, we increased the CCB to keep up with the cost of living two years in advance of our initial plan so that families can keep up.
    This budget would put this government on the right path. We take into account the environment and the economy. We take into account the importance of a strong middle class and we take into account what is required for the 21st century for each and every Canadian.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite, a fellow British Columbian. It is always wonderful to hear B.C. voices here in this chamber.
    The member talked about the need to support the clean-tech environment. General Motors announced in many different press releases that it wants to build more high-tech autonomous cars and that these cars of the future also need to be electric, yet the Oshawa plant is not part of this. The member is part of a government that says a lot of things about innovation and investment rules, but it appears that Oshawa, and perhaps other parts of Ontario's economy, are not going to be part of that future. How does she square the two?
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to express my empathy for the employees who are facing such a devastating decision.
    Ours is a government that is standing up for a 21st century economy, where the fundamentals must include putting a price on pollution. The opposition party continues to live in the past and continues to advocate for a future that is very bleak for our children and grandchildren.
    I am very proud of the fact that we are focused on growing the clean-tech sector and are admitting the challenges we face so that Canadians can thrive in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that when in government, they have to make tough decisions and have to decide where technology is going and listen and whatnot. I think the government probably has the resources it needs. However, the member did not even try to address the question. She just pointed her finger at the Conservatives and said that somehow it is our fault that they are not succeeding in attracting investments in clean tech for the next generation of automobiles in places like Oshawa. Could she give some concrete examples as to why someone on the streets of Oshawa right now should believe the rhetoric of the government?
    Mr. Speaker, I am choosing not to exercise selective thinking. I think we are all well aware of the GE plant that opened in Welland and created 250 jobs.
    The point is what the future of Canada's economy looks like and the fundamentals of that future. I am quite surprised, because the member opposite is also from British Columbia and is well aware of the success of putting a price on pollution in British Columbia and how the economy of British Columbia has thrived, if not led the country, in the context of being properly rooted in what our future is telling us we simply must do.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite was looking for an example of a targeted investment supported by the federal government that is driving new work in Oshawa related to the auto industry. Is the parliamentary secretary aware that as part of our $5.6 billion investment in the auto sector, GM selected Oshawa for the site of its new electronic vehicle research centre? Close to 1,000 engineers have been hired in southern Ontario. The member for Milton says that engineers do not matter and are not part of the ecosystem of the auto sector. She dismissed them as good jobs and as a remedy for some of the unemployment challenges in the country. Is the parliamentary secretary aware that these investments are being made in Oshawa today and set the stage for retooling the plant that was closed yesterday?

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, yes, of course we are. I would like to further stress the importance of the free trade agreements we have worked so hard on in the space of three years to improve upon what went before and to finalize agreements around the world to benefit Canadian workers and their families.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member saying I should know British Columbia's experience with the carbon tax. Actually, I do. I was on a task force with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce to evaluate it. There are two very different sides to this. If by innovation she means the results of the carbon tax, in the last year that was referenced, 2016-17, we actually saw an increase in overall carbon emissions. We have also seen a decrease in the amount the local cement industry has in its own marketplace.
    Washington State has decided not to go ahead with a carbon tax. It has actually voted it down twice. If she is saying that the only innovation to come out of that is to have higher gas prices and at the same time higher subsidies, she is kidding herself. They may say it is a price on carbon, but they are also subsidizing a number of different industries. If they look at B.C., greenhouse growers and the cement industry have seen—
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to focus on the fact that putting a price on pollution puts Canada in a global leadership position. It brings together business, academics and research, and most importantly, it offers hope for the future for our children and grandchildren.

Privilege

Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel  

[Privilege]
     Mr. Speaker, I rise in response to the question of privilege raised on Monday, November 26, by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The member contended that the absence of the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel constituted a breach of privilege.
    Page 145 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice reads as follows:
    The matter of privilege to be raised in the House must have recently occurred and must call for the immediate action of the House. Therefore, the Member must satisfy the Speaker that he or she is bringing the matter to the attention of the House as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the situation.
    Speaker Sauvé's ruling from May 26, 1981, states:
    There has to be a balance in relation to a question of privilege. If an hon. member has a question of privilege, then it has to be dealt with very rapidly. If we defer questions of privilege for several days and they are serious, then I wonder what the meaning of...a question of privilege is. If it is urgent, it is urgent and therefore has to be heard immediately.
    Clearly, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley did not raise the issue at the first opportunity. Media reports from November 20 quote from a November 8 letter from the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and the member for Timmins—James Bay to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, where they ask the commissioner to examine the facts surrounding the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
    Media stories also state that the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has confirmed that his office has begun a preliminary inquiry into the conduct of the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
    Furthermore, the rights of the House to maintain the attendance and service of its members have also not been denied, as the Board of Internal Economy, which is the governing body of the House of Commons, has legal authority to act on all financial and administrative matters respecting the House of Commons, its premises, its services, its staff and members of the House of Commons.
    The Parliament of Canada Act, which gives the Board of Internal Economy its powers and authority, outlines the process to be followed for non-attendance by members.
    Furthermore, Section 59 allows the House of Commons to go even further, stating, “The Senate or the House of Commons may make regulations by rule or by order, rendering more stringent on its own members the provisions of this Act that relate to the attendance of members or to the deductions to be made from sessional allowances.”
    For all of the reasons cited, I do not believe that this issue constitutes a breach of privilege of a member or of the House.

  (1345)  

    I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for these additional comments on the matter. They will be taken under advisement and commented upon at a later time.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Langley—Aldergrove.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2

[Government Orders]
     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, it is a real honour to able to represent my beautiful community of Langley—Aldergrove and share with the House a perspective of what I am hearing from the community on the growing debt that we are hearing about from the government.
    The government is defending the fact that the debt is growing and growing. The last Liberal speaker highlighted that the B.C. carbon tax is going to be providing hope for the next generation. However, this is not what I am hearing from British Columbia residents. The question has come out about the $35 a tonne, and what percentage it is. I was asked by a constituent if I realized what we were paying in the form of a tax. Is it 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%? What is the percentage that we are paying on the energy, on the carbon, on the natural gas in British Columbia? Most Canadians, in fact, everyone I have asked after meeting with that constituent said that they had no idea.
    Therefore, we asked Canadians to check on their bills. In British Columbia, natural gas is provided by FortisBC, which has it listed on the bottom of the bill. I would ask anybody in the House, or any Canadian watching, what they think the government is endorsing as its model, its plan, for taxation on carbon. We are told that it is $35 a tonne. Last year, it was $30 a tonne, but $35 this year, and every year it goes up another $5 a tonne. What does that mean in a tax? People do not understand, and we do not know. I did not know. However, when we checked the bill, it is 112%. Last year, at $30 a tonne, it was $72%. Can members think of this in any other country in the world?
     The Liberal government is bragging saying that it is providing great leadership, and the great leadership is being provided by a 72% tax on carbon last year. This is what the Liberals are saying is going to provide hope to the next generation. This year, on April 1, the carbon tax on energy, on natural gas, in British Columbia is 112%. On April 1, just a few months from now, it will go up to $40 a tonne. It will be over 155% that the government will be charging on energy. That is what $40 a tonne means to British Columbians, and that is what the government is saying is the hope for the next generation. It will be putting debt upon debt with a growing interest rate and uncertainty in the economy. That is not hope.
    However, this is what the government does. It says one thing and does something else. The Liberals promise one thing and do something else. When we actually dig down, open the curtains and look at the Wizard of Oz who is pulling the rods, this is what we get with the government. It says one thing and does another, and it is hurting Canadians. It is hurting this generation. It is hurting the economy. It is hurting confidence in the economy. We are seeing this now come out.
    The Liberals have been in government for three years, and in three years they have broken promises and made a growing mess. I am hearing from the young, middle-aged and middle-income. I am hearing from a full spectrum of the economy, from my constituents and even the youth who are getting fed up with the government. They do not trust the government. There is an uncertainty with the government. Canadians are getting more and more desperate and looking for a change in government, because the pathway that we are on is not sustainable.
    Before I was elected federally, I was a bureaucrat for a few years. Before that, I was an entrepreneur, a business person. Therefore, I know what it means to take a risk. I was a business person for 25 years, and it is hard to make a buck. People who work hard and take a risk and hire people are needed. They are the economic engine of this country. That is what the government has said and the Liberals know that to be true.

  (1350)  

    We need to create an environment in this country where people are willing to invest and take that risk, where there is a possibility of a profit, where they do not have a government calling them tax cheats and where Canadians are willing to be fair and pay their fair share of tax.
    I have just shared with my colleagues the shocking news of what the Liberal carbon tax actually equates to in the form of tax, that being 112% tax on energy. I encourage people watching to go and check their bills. People do not realize that natural gas right now is not that expensive. It is a very clean energy source. However, who in the world, in good conscience, could charge Canadians 112% tax? That is what the Liberals are saying is leadership, world leadership. It amounts to tax, tax, tax.
    I have been in this House since 2004. What a great honour to be here. In those years, I have heard over and over again that the Liberals love taxes. They will say whatever Canadians want them to say to get elected. However, it is a great honour to be here, to represent our communities. Everyone of us, I am sure, realizes that great honour but we have a responsibility along with that honour, to represent well and make sure that we make this country better, stronger, with a better future for this generation and generations to come.
    Not keeping our promises and putting growing debt on this country is not leaving the country in better shape than when we came. It has been three years of a four-year term of this Parliament. This Parliament began in 2015 and will end in 2019. Less than a year from now, Canadians will be going to the polls to vote.
    Canadians are realizing what promises were made by the government, such as having a balanced budget. There was going to be a temporary phase with a maximum $10 billion spent that one year. Within three years, it would be balanced. Why did the Liberals make that promise? Canadians realized that it is not sustainable to continue to go into deficit budgets. A business cannot operate like that. If a business year after year after year had deficit spending, was spending more money than what was coming in, the business would go bankrupt. We see that. It is a proven fact. Again, a family cannot spend more than what is brought in.
    It is the same thing in our country. The government knows that and that is why, leading up to the 2015 election, the Liberals promised that they would balance the budget. Have they kept that promise? No, they have not. Have they promised to be a world leader in putting a price on pollution? They have said they are going to do that. They put a price on pollution of 112%. Next year it will be going up to 155%. I cannot imagine any country in the world that would brag to say it is providing world leadership while we have the highest rate of taxation on any country on this earth on energy, 112%, and next year going up to 155%.
    That is not what the government promised. The government promised change, but not this kind of change. We will be approaching, in less than a year now, an election where Canadians are going to be faced with a decision. The expression says, “Fool me once, shame on you.” Canadians are not going to say, “Fool me twice, shame on me.”
    I have listened to the youth. I have a youth advisory board I listen to. They are not happy with the government. They are not happy with what the government has done to their future in saying no to pipelines, to the point where we are not getting world prices for our natural resources. That is their future being squandered. It is our youths' future that is being squandered by the government borrowing against them. They did not give their credit card to the government, but the government has taken their credit card and is mounting debt on their credit card. They are fed up.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about leaving the country in better shape than it was when we came to government.
    I would remind him that ours is one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7. We have put policies in place to ensure that we are lifting 650,000 people out of poverty, 300,000 of whom are children. Next year, a family of four will receive $2,000 more in its pocket than it is currently receiving. There have been 500,000 new jobs created by Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. In Bill C-86, we have introduced a social finance fund to help charitable organizations. We have introduced a poverty reduction strategy.
    What would the member say to his constituents who are benefiting from the policies we have put in place?
    Mr. Speaker, I trust the member balances her budget every month. She is asking this House what Canadians say regarding spending more money than they are taking in.
     Let us say a company is spending money, increasing the wages of its employees at the employees' cost, and saying, “Yes, I'm paying you more, but you are actually paying for all that extra pay and all that extra economic activity. It makes us look good as a company.” Is that sustainable? The answer is no. It can only go on for so long.
    Where does the money come from? It comes from Canadians. There is only one taxpayer. The government needs to realize that. The taxpayer is getting fed up. It needs to stop.
    The hon. member will have three minutes and 15 seconds remaining in questions and comments following the hon. member's speech when the House resumes after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Canada is jeopardizing the lives of all of the Haitians it is sending back to Haiti in the coming days, weeks and months. It is as simple as that.
    The country is essentially embroiled in a civil war and the federal government refuses to commit to not deporting anyone to Haiti until the situation is resolved. It must institute a moratorium. It needs to show some humanity and some compassion. It needs to be responsible.
    I am urging the Minister of Public Safety and his colleague, the Minister of Immigration, not to play around with the lives of Haitians. Those who are here are in need of refuge. Haiti is not safe. We should not wait for someone who was deported to end up a victim of the ongoing violence in that country. We must not wait until it is too late.

[English]

Dorset Park Community Hub

    Mr. Speaker, the Dorset Park Community Hub provides outstanding services to Scarborough. Founded by the Agincourt Community Services Association in 2011 to serve one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods, the hub is a shared community space offering valuable programs and services.
    It is the largest food bank in Scarborough. It has given out more than 100,000 baskets already this year, going into the busy Christmas season. It provides services for newcomers, such as settlement counselling, workshops on housing and employment, and help learning English. It also runs programs to support seniors and youth, as well as programs just for women, which are greatly appreciated by the community.
    I have attended many events there, but I will always remember the Christmas party in 2016, when many Syrian families experienced their first Canadian Christmas. I would like to thank executive director Lee Soda for her outstanding leadership, and all the staff and volunteers for their service to Scarborough.

  (1400)  

Avalon Retirement Lodge

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Avalon Retirement Lodge in Orangeville on its 35th anniversary of serving our community. Both my parents are graduates of Avalon, so this wonderful facility has a special place in my heart.
    Established in 1983, Avalon has become a vibrant and vital part of the community, serving seniors in a family-oriented, warm and inviting atmosphere. Its commitment to the care and comfort of its residents is well known in the community, and its reputation is top-notch.
    Avalon Retirement Lodge and Avalon Care Centre have a combined staff of 212 and are located in the beautiful town of Orangeville. Residents have the opportunity to partake in a variety of interactive events and experiences, develop friendships, take advantage of in-home services and connect with the wider local community.
    It is my pleasure to congratulate Avalon staff on 35 years of service to Orangeville and district, and to wish them many more.

[Translation]

Mathieu Ostiguy

    Mr. Speaker, in the riding of Shefford, we have passionate young athletes who put a lot of effort into taking their performance to the next level.
    That is certainly true of Mathieu Ostiguy from Saint-Angèle-de-Monnoir. Mathieu started participating in figure skating competitions at an early age. His focus and hard work have set him on a rewarding path.
    Mathieu Ostiguy and his partner Chloe Choinard, from Ontario, were recently crowned junior pairs champions at the Quebec division figure skating championship held in Gatineau. That performance qualified them for the upcoming Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton. We wish them the best of luck.
    We are very proud to have such a talented skater in our riding. Thank you, Mathieu, for putting our region on the map with your spectacular performances.

Heritage Building

    Mr. Speaker, I was and still am deeply disappointed and saddened by the demolition of Maison Boileau in Chambly. This is a reminder that elected officials at all levels of government still have a lot of work to do to prevent this type of situation from happening ever again. Cost and sustainability are challenges we must contend with.
    Built in 1820 by René Boileau, member of Parliament and patriot, this house represented another reminder of our rich local history in Quebec.
    One thing is certain: the reaction in Quebec is reassuring. People know that we need to demand more and better when it comes to protecting our built heritage.
    I am committed to working with my counterparts at the National Assembly and with all elected officials to live up to our collective responsibility and duty to preserve our memory. I invite my colleagues to do the same.
    Je me souviens.

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, once again this year, from November 25 to December 10, there will be 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. It is an opportunity for each one of us to reaffirm our commitment to preventing and eliminating the violence experienced by almost half of all young women and girls across the country.
    These 16 days are vital because we highlight the work that has already been done to tackle gender-based violence and also reiterate the importance of our actions in this struggle.
    I know that my actions count, and I am committed to helping, listening, believing, condemning, stepping in and taking action. I undertake to be present. I invite all my colleagues to do the same not just for these 16 days, but for the entire year.
    Together, we can make a difference.

[English]

Fort McMurray Housing Rebuild

    Mr. Speaker, during the 2016 fires in Fort McMurray, over 80,000 people were forced to evacuate. Sadly, thousands lost their homes.
    I regret to report that many of these people are still without their homes. Many homeowners have been scammed by home builders who have taken deposits, never to be seen again. Members of the Hillview community are particularly struggling, with condo fees having escalated from $300 to over $800 per month, in addition to special assessments that have added over $50,000 per unit. The condos are still under construction.
    These families pay for their home mortgages and temporary housing, and these are all unforeseen costs. Some have lost their homes, and many are at risk of losing their homes. Many have received assistance, but many, through no fault of their own, have not. These families simply fell through the cracks in the system.
    I request that the government investigate this travesty and work with the Red Cross to ensure that everyone who needs assistance gets assistance.

  (1405)  

Sports-Related Concussions

    Mr. Speaker, last week, we held our first formal meeting of the Subcommittee on Sports-Related Concussions in Canada, where the legendary Ken Dryden, winner of six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and goaltender for Team Canada in the 1972 summit series, appeared before the committee to share his insights on this important issue impacting far too many Canadians.
    With a majority of child and youth visits to the emergency room being sports-related injuries and a majority of those being concussions, and knowing the serious long-term impact that can result from these injuries, the Standing Committee on Health created this all-party subcommittee to have conversations with Canadians on further actions the government can take to address this important issue.
    I look forward to working with my colleagues and providing recommendations to the government that will help keep children and youth in sport safe.

[Translation]

Regional Archaeology Museum

    Mr. Speaker, I was extremely proud to attend last Friday's opening of the new season of the Musée d'archéologie de Roussillon, which is located in my riding of La Prairie. I was even more proud to attend as the museum is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.
    The Musée d'archéologie de Roussillon opened on September 10, 2013, and is much more than just a place to conserve and showcase our heritage. It is first and foremost a place for research and education.
    The museum's collection has more than 200,000 artifacts, with many of national interest. It is an incredible treasure that is the envy of several museums not just in Quebec, but across Canada.
    To mark this important anniversary, the museum will be free for the entire month of December. I invite all my colleagues to visit the Musée d'archéologie de Roussillon and to discover the richness of Canada's heritage. They will not want to miss it.

[English]

Fraud Against Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, because they are especially vulnerable, Canadian seniors are being targeted for scams and fraud more than ever.
    We have all heard of the Canada Revenue Agency fraud threatening arrest over the phone, or immigration scams that threaten deportation, especially in my riding of Richmond Centre, where it is delivered in a non-official language. We also have financial scams, where seniors are being asked to sign away their pensions and life insurance benefits to people who are not working in the best interests of the senior.
    Motion No. 203 regarding fraud against seniors will have the government recognize that it can do more to tackle fraud against seniors. I look forward to all-party support on this very important motion.

Boys and Girls Club

    Mr. Speaker, as the largest provider of out-of-school programs in Canada, the Boys and Girls Club plays an integral role in our communities. In my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, I know first-hand how families and youth benefit from the incredible programming the Boys and Girls Club provides. Its programs are comprehensive, integrative and include physical activity, homework and academic support, healthy eating, arts and culture, civic engagement, leadership, and the list goes on.
    Its clubs are primarily located in low-income areas, where it uses its program funding to meet the needs of children, youth and families, while delivering programs that challenge, support and inspire vulnerable children to succeed.
    I encourage my colleagues to support the efforts of the Boys and Girls Club and to commend it for its hard work in helping young Canadians be productive and successful members of our communities.

[Translation]

La Francophonie

    Mr. Speaker, Franco-Ontarians and other francophones from across Canada will not be discouraged by the cuts announced by the Ontario government. Despite these cuts, francophones in Ontario and across the country will not be afraid to defend their rights in court if they have to. In order to do that, they can make use of the court challenges program, which our government restored.
    Francophones will continue to be proud to speak French and to defend their language. They will keep doing whatever it takes to help French flourish across the country and around the world. The fact that we speak French enhances the prestige of our Canadian identity. Mr. Ford sought to sow division. Instead, he brought together francophones from across Canada. We stand in solidarity—

  (1410)  

    The hon. member for Durham.

[English]

Sea King Helicopter

    Mr. Speaker, this week marks a milestone in Canadian military aviation history, the final flight of the Sea King helicopter. After 55 years of operational flight, the Sea King is the longest-serving aircraft in Royal Canadian Air Force history. That is a testament to our maintenance crew, our air crew, and our Royal Canadian Navy partners.
     We have been innovators. We were the first navy in the world to land a large helicopter on a small naval ship using the beartrap landing system. That has let us sail in all three of our oceans and around the world for Canada. With its 465,000 hours in operational flight, it is as if we have had a Sea King flying 24-7 for 53 years straight.
    Today I want to thank the military families in the Sea King community: 406 Squadron, 443 Squadron on the west coast, and my squadron, 423 Squadron.
    We used to say that we were flying yesterday's aircraft tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday, the final flight of the Sea King. We salute the Sea King community.

Order of Military Merit Recipient

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to recognize Major Trevor Jain, a doctor from Charlottetown. Major Jain is one of five members of the Canadian army recently awarded the officer level of the Order of Military Merit, the second-highest honour awarded by our Governor General to recognize outstanding military service.
    A surgeon with the Armed Forces, Major Jain serves in the 36th Brigade of the army reserves for Prince Edward Island, and was nominated by his fellow soldiers. His most recent deployment was to Iraq, where he served as a trauma team leader.
    When he is not serving his country as a reservist, Dr. Jain is an emergency physician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, the program director of the bachelor of science in paramedicine program at the University of Prince Edward Island, and the medical director of the paramedicine program at Holland College.
    I ask the House to join me in congratulating Major Trevor Jain for his recent award, and to thank him for his dedicated service to our country.

[Translation]

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, the fight against climate change is everyone's responsibility. Every country has to pitch in. According to the IPCC, we have less than 12 years to change course. Every sector of the economy needs to reduce its emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To do that, we need to drastically change our consumption practices, our habits and our transportation.
    That is why I will be holding a town hall on Sunday, December 2, at Raphaël-Barrette hall in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Our guest speakers will include Patrick Bonin from Greenpeace, Julia Posca from IRIS, and Lorraine Simard from Vaudreuil-Soulanges's Comité 21. Excerpts from the documentary Tomorrow will also be shown. While political leaders are gathering at COP24 in Poland, the people of Salaberry—Suroît will have an opportunity to talk about citizen initiatives urging government action, such as the Pact for the Transition and ENvironnement JEUnesse's class action suit, and to discuss the need for clear public policies at the federal level. Everyone in the world understands that we need to start looking at solutions.
    I hope to see many people on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

[English]

Manufacturing Industry

    Mr. Speaker, manufacturing industries, and auto manufacturing in particular, are economic pillars of our economy in Perth—Wellington and across Ontario. Our community is home to many manufacturing jobs and thousands of people who are employed in the parts-manufacturing field. Our communities rely on these jobs. That makes yesterday's news out of Oshawa all the more concerning. The abrupt announcement that General Motors would cease operations at its Oshawa plant affects not just the people in Oshawa and Durham, but the people of Ontario and Canada. The ripple effect across the entire supply chain is already being felt.
    We must ensure that we have the economic conditions in place to enhance competitiveness and encourage investment. In my riding, I hear from employers at small and medium-sized businesses who are feeling the impacts of not only the steel and aluminum tariffs but the retaliatory tariffs as well, the effects of which are making it harder and harder for our businesses to compete.
    Last week's Liberal economic update failed to address the brutal economic realities of these tariffs. Now is the time for the Liberals to act. Ontario workers deserve nothing less.

  (1415)  

Site Unseen Art Installation

    Mr. Speaker, today is the national launch of Site Unseen, an art installation from British Columbia directed by West Vancouver Secondary School teacher Jackie Wong, and Hartley Bay School principal Cam Hill.
    With the guidance of artist Cori Creed and students from the Gitga’at Nation and West Vancouver, coastal communities in northern and southern British Columbia embarked on a journey of revelation to build personal and community awareness of their diverse culture through art, stories and life. Having shown Site Unseen at the West Vancouver Art Museum and Harmony Arts Festival and the Museum of Northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert, the students and Site Unseen are now in Ottawa.
    I thank Olivia, Hailey, Brianne and Mackenzie from Hartley Bay, and Steve, Carmen and Megan from West Vancouver, and their fellow students for courageously walking in each other's footsteps toward truth and reconciliation.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, this morning I had the opportunity to meet with workers at the GM plant in Oshawa who will soon be out of a job. I heard firsthand the anxiety and the fear that the families are now going through because of yesterday's announcements.
    Now we can all agree that government support should be there for workers in times like these. However, the government's ability to provide that support is severely hampered because it is already running massive deficits.
    Can the minister confirm if any of the support programs being contemplated for GM workers were factored into the fall economic statement, or can we expect the deficit to be even higher?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that it was devastating news for Oshawa. This is a very difficult time for the workers and their families.
    That is why we, as a government, have been very clear. We will stand there with the auto workers. We will stand and support the automotive sector. We will never give up on our workers, because we believe in the work they do. They provide a high-quality service when it comes to the automotive sector. We have also been very clear about our support when it comes to the automotive sector, with the additional support through the strategic innovation fund in the fall economic statement.
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to protecting the jobs of workers, one thing the government could do is to pull back on its plan for the carbon tax.
    We know that the carbon tax will make it harder to create and protect jobs in Canada, because the government has admitted that. It has admitted that the carbon tax will threaten jobs, so much so that it has granted a huge exemption to large industrial emitters.
    Can the minister confirm whether or not that same exemption will now be granted to the auto sector to protect those Canadian jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, companies invest in Canada because we have the best workforce on the globe. We have the best skilled employees around the world. We have topnotch quality in our automotive sector.
    The Oshawa plant received numerous J.D. Power awards for quality and production. We are proud of our workers. That is why, as a government, we are going to defend our workers, invest in our workers, and support our workers. We are going to continue to support our automotive sector and those hard-working middle-class workers who support and work in Oshawa.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is not supporting them. The government is making Canada a more difficult place to invest in, if we are to keep those jobs here.
    Liberal policies have been making it difficult to keep jobs in Canada for some time. Liberal policies in Ontario have driven up the cost of energy to the point where an auto plant in Oshawa pays almost double the energy costs that the same plant would pay in Texas.
    Will the minister give Canadian auto workers a fighting chance to save their jobs, and cancel the carbon tax?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been defending auto workers since day one, since we formed government in 2015.
    As a result of our programming and policies, we have seen record investment of $5.6 billion in the automotive sector. We introduced the automotive innovation fund and changed its terms, and also provided additional support through the strategic innovation fund.
    These programs brought in additional investments, and through the fall economic update as well, and a statement by the Minister of Finance, we have provided additional measures for companies to make more investments in Canada.
    More growth, more investments, more jobs. That is our plan.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that may be their plan, but it does not match reality at all.
    Canada is still in shock after GM's announcement yesterday that 2,500 workers, 2,500 breadwinners, are going to lose their jobs in the coming year. Suppliers will also be affected. Thousands of Canadians woke up to this sad reality this morning. The government's role is to help the workers.
    What is the government's plan to help Canadian workers who are dealing with this crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, our automotive sector remains strong. It is well placed to build the clean, connected cars of today and tomorrow.
    We will always stand with our automotive sector and our workers. We will continue to work with the automotive sector, and we will continue to defend and protect our workers.
    Mr. Speaker, the results are not exactly stellar.
    This week it is 2,500 workers at GM. A few weeks ago, it was 3,000 workers at Bombardier. Over the past three years, 19,000 workers in Alberta's oil and gas industry have been affected the government's bad policies.
    The government is supposed to help companies invest, not leave. What is the government's plan to keep Canada's economy strong?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the numbers because they tell a compelling story: 3% GDP growth last year in the Canadian economy; the fastest growth rate among the G7 countries; a record unemployment rate of 40 years; 500,000 full-time jobs have been created since 2015.
     Yes, we understand the unique challenges faced in different regions and different sectors, but we have a plan. Our economy is growing and we are focused on Canadians. We are focused on making sure they have the ability to succeed and they have the ability to find meaningful employment. That is our plan. We are going to continue to invest in Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if there is something that the Liberals and the Conservatives have in common, it is the lack of transparency when they bail out major corporations.
    The announced closure of GM's Oshawa plant is a tragedy for the 2,500 workers and their families. It is also a tragedy for the community.
    What is frustrating is that GM is not showing any gratitude for the country that pulled it back from the brink of bankruptcy. In fact, the Conservatives lent GM over $7 billion in 2009.
    GM still owes Export Development Canada $1 billion on a loan it took out in 2009.
    If the Liberals have no plan to save these jobs, will they at least ask that the money be repaid?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed with GM's decision. My thoughts are with the employees, their families and their communities.
    I understand that this decision is part of an overall plan. This is terrible news for the employees affected and their families.
    We will continue to defend our workers and our auto sector.
    Mr. Speaker, he did not say how.
    Back in the 1980s, the GM plant in Oshawa employed over 23,000 people. It was once one of the biggest auto plants in the world. That was before NAFTA and the end of the Auto Pact, when Liberal and Conservative governments decided to stop trying to keep jobs here as they had done in the past. They told us not to worry and said the free market would take care of everything.
    In times of crisis, governments lend or give public money with few strings attached. We have all seen how well that works.

[English]

    However, one billion dollars are still owed by GM to Export Development Canada. Will the Liberals ask for a refund if GM cannot maintain the jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, our number one priority is the automotive workers. We have been clear that this news presented by GM is very devastating for the Oshawa community. That is why we met with Unifor today. That is why we met with its leadership to talk about next steps and how we could help workers going forward. We have also connected and are working with the provincial government, with Premier Ford, to see what we can do to help the workers going forward. I also called and met with the mayor of Oshawa.
     All hands are on deck. All options are being examined. We are going to continue to make sure we never give up on our workers.
    Mr. Speaker, this plant closure is devastating to thousands of families and to all of southern Ontario. We have to remember that billions of dollars came from Canadians to support General Motors in the past three years. It was given with no obligation to maintain jobs.
     It is clear that the Prime Minister is failing the people of Oshawa. He has no auto strategy and has shown no clean energy leadership. Why is the government giving up on Oshawa? Why is the Prime Minister not fighting for these Canadian auto worker jobs?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member opposite. We never have and never will give up on the workers in Oshawa.
     We have been very clear. We have our plan. Our plan is investing in people. Because of our policies and programs, we have seen a record investment of $5.6 billion in the automotive sector since 2015, and $4.1 billion is directly attributed to the programs that we put forward to build partnerships, to see investments in our plants to make sure they could compete going forward and to make sure that they could get product mandates. We will continue to defend and support our auto workers.
    Mr. Speaker, that minister should be fighting for Canadian jobs, not handing out billions of dollars, with no obligation. That is exactly what the government did again last week: another $14 billion in money for corporate luxuries like plush jets and stretch limousines, no obligations to workers or to communities.
     Every time there are handouts given to corporate executives, why are there no obligations to Canadian workers or communities? Why does the Prime Minister always give a blank cheque when he should be standing up for Canadian workers?
    Mr. Speaker, this is where we fundamentally disagree with the NDP. We believe in investments because investments lead to growth and growth means more jobs. This is our plan.
     We have been investing in Canadians. We have been investing in our companies. We have been investing in our regions. We have been investing in the automotive sector. That is why we have seen record investments of $5.6 billion in the automotive sector. That is why Toyota has invested over one billion dollars, Honda $500 million and Linamar $750 million. These are clear examples that our policies and programs are working.
     We are going to continue to make sure we defend the workers in Oshawa.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I was in Oshawa when we got the devastating news that our award winning plant would have no new product after 2019. This morning, our leader and Conservative MPs were at the gates of GM Oshawa, offering support to the workers affected by this decision. It is about the workers.
     The news that 2,500 people are losing their jobs and the ripple effect that this decision will cause is devastating. Will the Prime Minister join us in the fight to save these jobs in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand how difficult this is for the member, because he represents the community. Members on this side of the House also share his concerns about the devastating impact this is having on the workers and the community. That is why we have engaged with the local municipal leadership there. That is why we have engaged with the province as well. We just met with Unifor as well and the workers to move forward on a path to see what we can do to assist the community and to make sure we protect these good quality middle-class jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, I grew up in Cape Breton, where we lost our industry, we lost our jobs, we lost our economy and at the end of the day, we lost our people. The fact of the matter is that there are certain things that are worth fighting for and there are certain times to fight. This is one of those times when we need a government to fight.
    The minister went to Davos three years ago and bragged about the fact that he was an activist government in deepening the relationship with GM and showing how competitive Canada was, and he failed. I would implore that now is definitely not the time to give up. Will the government fight with this party to ensure we keep these jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, we will never give up on our workers. We will always defend our auto workers and we will always defend the auto sector.
    We have actually demonstrated that through meaningful action, putting forward policies and programs, unlike the previous government, which introduced the automotive innovation fund, but it was never used, because the terms and conditions were such that the automotive sector could never benefit from that program.
    Once we formed government in 2015, we changed those terms and conditions. That helped bring in more investment, which meant more jobs in the automotive sector. That is the plan, that is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, after a century of auto manufacturing, GM determined that Ontario was no longer competitive because of tariffs, taxes and trade uncertainty. If there is any chance of saving these jobs in Oshawa, we need a plan. We need more than words and sympathy. We need a plan to address tariffs, taxes and trade. Where is the plan?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was rather surprised yesterday to hear the member for Durham criticize Canada's retaliatory measures in response to the illegal and unjustified U.S. 232 tariffs. He called our response “dumb”. Our response was perfectly reciprocal, a dollar-for-dollar response. It was essential to defend our industry and our workers.
     The Conservatives supported this at the time. Now they are losing their nerve. However, I guess that is no surprise from the party that urged us to capitulate on NAFTA.
    Mr. Speaker, if Canada's taxes are hurting Canadian manufacturers more than the American targets, they are dumb and they should be removed. I would invite the minister to go and meet small and medium-sized manufacturers across Ontario.
    However, the industry minister is the most lobbied minister in Canada. In fact, GM is the most frequent meeting. I want the minister to tell us this. Did GM mention tariffs? Did GM mention payroll taxes or NAFTA? What was GM asking the minister about before it decided to close up shop in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the Conservatives and the leader of the Conservative Party to be very clear. Is it the Conservative position now that Canada should unilaterally drop our retaliatory tariffs, because I want to tell—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. member for Durham and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs will come to order, along with a lot of others I hope. The member for Yellowhead cannot hear. We all need to hear both the questions and the answers. We will have some order.
    The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the Conservatives to come clean on what their policy is on Canada's just and correct retaliation, because here is what the Canadian Steel Producers Association said today, “Canada’s retaliatory tariffs are vital in protecting the jobs of 23,000 steelworkers.” We stand with them, do you?
     Order, please. I remind the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs to direct her comments to the Chair. I do not think she was asking me a question.
     I am getting heckled from all sides all of a sudden.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the government capitulated time and time again when it did the negotiations.
    Over two and half thousand people are out of work in Oshawa and the government's plan appears to be to do nothing. The Prime Minister is admitting defeat, throwing in the towel before the fight even starts. On this side of the House, we are not going to give up on those workers and those jobs.
     What is the government's plan to fight for manufacturing jobs in places like Oshawa? What is its plan?
    Order, please. I remind hon. members, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and others, although I did not hear a particular member on that side, that while I appreciate their assistance, I would rather have quiet. I remind members that the time to speak is when they have the floor and not otherwise.
    The hon. Minister of Innovation.
    Mr. Speaker, read my lips. We will never ever give up on our workers, because we support the automotive sector. We support the automotive industry. We have been very clear that this sector is absolutely critical to the Canadian economy.
    When it comes to Oshawa, we understand how difficult this is for the workers and the communities. That is why we are working with local community officials, that is why we are working with the province and that is why we are working with the unions to make sure we look at all options and move forward on a path to help our auto workers.

  (1435)  

    I appreciate members addressing the Chair, and only speaking when they have the floor.
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Speaker, well, “read my lips” is exactly what George H. Walker Bush said before promising not to raise taxes, which is exactly what he turned around and did. It is exactly what the current minister is doing. He is promising something, the opposite of which he is delivering.
     He has a new carbon tax that makes it more expensive for factories to heat themselves, to operate machinery and to move goods from A to B. That is precisely what it means to give up on our workers.
    Will he stand with our workers and cancel this carbon tax to save our jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, of course we will stand and defend our workers. Of course we understand how difficult this is for the workers in Oshawa and the impact it is having on their families and communities.
     What the member opposite should also understand is that when $5.6 billion worth of investments are made, it is because we have the right conditions. We have a world-class workforce; we have free trade agreements that give market access in North America, Europe and Asia; and we have the right incentives in place to make sure that we have the ability to build the best vehicles in the world. This is a plan that is working. It is because of the strategic innovation fund.
    Mr. Speaker, Liberal, Tory, same old story. The GM plant closure in Oshawa is just like the one in Windsor, shattering families. The Liberals learned nothing. The government never even bothered to put in a national auto strategy. The Liberals knew this was coming and they did nothing.
     These families deserve a government that puts families first, not a Liberal government that gives billions of dollars to rich corporations like GM, without a guarantee that jobs are going to remain in our communities. What more than expressing disappointment are the Liberals actually doing for these families?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich for the NDP to talk about our government's plan. When the Prime Minister was in Windsor and announced a $1.2 billion investment in the Windsor engine plant, members from the NDP were in the audience clapping.
    Make no mistake, we have a plan and that plan is working. We are investing in the automotive sector and that is creating tens of thousands of jobs. We will continue to defend this sector.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, workers have suffered enough. After massive layoffs at Bombardier and the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa, now our workers might not see a penny of the contract to build VIA Rail's new fleet.
    The United States requires 65% domestic content, and China requires between 70% and 90%.
    Why is it so hard for the Liberals to protect Canadian jobs, integrate Canadian technology and develop homegrown expertise?
    Mr. Speaker, it would be totally inappropriate for anyone to comment on VIA Rail's procurement process to replace its Quebec City-Windsor fleet. I can assure the House that the process was open and transparent, and I would suggest that my colleague opposite wait for the results.

Canada Revenue Agency

     Mr. Speaker, an internal Canada Revenue Agency report just revealed that the data of 10,000 Canadians were searched, without their knowledge, by employees.
    This is on top of the Liberal government's decision to allow Statistics Canada to continue to access Canadians' personal information. The government must take immediate action to protect Canadians' confidential information.
    Can the government confirm that action has been taken against the CRA employees who used Canadians' personal data?
    Mr. Speaker, each case of misconduct is unacceptable and in no way reflects the professionalism of the tens of thousands of CRA employees who do good work every day.
    The CRA has some of the strictest employee conduct rules in the Government of Canada, and we continue to improve on them.
    I can confirm that the individual in question is no longer employed at the CRA. He worked there when the Conservatives were in power, I should point out.
    Since this case is currently before the courts, I cannot give—

  (1440)  

    Order. The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
    Mr. Speaker, another parliamentary report reveals that over 2,000 privacy incidents occurred between September 2016 and June 2018, while this government was supposed to be leading the country.
    The minister tells us that she did not think she needed to inform the Privacy Commissioner of this situation. If we want the Privacy Commissioner to be able to do his job, the minister must notify him of any irregularities in her department.
    I repeat my question. Were the individuals—yes, I said “individuals”, not “individual”—who had access to those documents given any sort of formal notice or measures—
    Order. The hon. Minister of National Revenue.
    Mr. Speaker, each case of misconduct is unacceptable and in no way reflects the professionalism of the tens of thousands of CRA employees.
    Our government has strengthened CRA surveillance technology by investing $10 million to implement solutions for business management errors.
    Our investments are paying off. The increase in the number of privacy breaches that have been reported is directly tied to the CRA's ability to detect unauthorized access. All allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and systematically investigated.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the CBC has reported that the “files of at least 10,000 Canadians were compromised” at the Canada Revenue Agency, including cases where employees kept files on neighbours, family members and even fellow employees.
    The report also said that data snooping is getting worse under the Liberal government, and yet the Liberals cannot understand why the majority of Canadians oppose being required to give their bank statements to Statistics Canada.
    When will the Liberal government end its unauthorized surveillance of Canadians?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, every case of misconduct is unacceptable and in no way reflects the professionalism of the tens of thousands of employees at the Canada Revenue Agency.
    I am very pleased that our government has invested more than $10 million, something the Conservatives across the way did not do when they were in government. Imagine all the cases that went undetected under their government.
    We are taking this information very seriously. Protecting Canadians' privacy is a priority of the Canada Revenue Agency.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the problem is getting worse under the current government. She has been the minister for three years. It is time for her to take responsibility for her own track record. This week's report that says unauthorized snooping is on the rise does nothing to give Canadians confidence in the government.
    Given the thousands of compromised files at the Canada Revenue Agency, will the government finally tell Statistics Canada that it cannot have Canadians' financial information without their consent?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, again, for my colleague's information, the government has invested $10 million for the public's protection and safety. We will not be like the government of the people across the way who kept their heads in the sand for 10 years.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, ENvironnement JEUnesse maintains that the Canadian government has violated the fundamental rights of young people and wants to bring a class action suit on behalf of Quebeckers 35 and under. According to this organization, the federal government has shown gross negligence on climate action. It is buying pipelines with Canadians' money and will once again fail to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets because it has absolutely no plan.
    Are the Liberals prepared to listen to these claims and this heartfelt plea from young Quebeckers, or would they rather keep listening to their buddies in the oil industry?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of young people. Young people want climate action. For 10 years, the former Conservative government did nothing. We have a plan and we are working hard every day. We are putting a price on pollution across the country; we are phasing out coal; we are making historic investments in public transportation and renewable energy; and we are investing in clean technologies. We will stay the course. I will be attending COP24, and I will push for progress on the Paris Agreement. We must do this for our children and grandchildren.

  (1445)  

[English]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, more than a third of one-bedroom units in the Toronto area are overcrowded. Imagine a one-bedroom apartment for a family of six. This is a snapshot of Canada's housing crisis. Renters and families are among the hardest hit, and still the Liberal government refuses to make housing a right, as it promised. Yesterday, housing providers and advocates presented the government with a way forward.
    What do Canadians have to do to make the Liberal government ensure that housing is a right in this country now, not later, and certainly not after the next election?
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to answer that question. Providing a safe and affordable home for all Canadians is a key objective of our government. That is why we have helped a million families since 2016 to have access to a safe and affordable place to call home. It is why only a week ago we celebrated the first anniversary of our historic first-ever national housing strategy, a 10-year plan to invest $40 billion in the housing needs of Canadians. That is why a right to housing will be a key pillar of that long-term plan.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, having energy-efficient buildings is critically important to our government's efforts to reduce GHGs and to make our communities more sustainable. In my riding of West Nova, residents know that ensuring that our buildings are in a good state of repair now and for years to come is essential to our well-being.
    Can the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities explain what steps our government is taking to ensure this is the case?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for West Nova for his great work on behalf of his constituents. Our government was proud to recently invest $3.4 million to improve green infrastructure in the municipality of Argyle. This investment in Argyle is to build a new, fully accessible and net-zero energy municipal administrative building to better serve the region. We are proud to improve the people's quality of life in Argyle and across Canada.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, major ethical lapses are a hallmark of the Liberal government. Today, we learned that Raj Grewal, the former member for Brampton East, has been under RCMP investigation for months in connection with millions of dollars in gambling activity using suspect funds, this at the same time the Ethics Commissioner has been investigating the MP's extra-parliamentary employment and for greasing the way for that employer to attend a prime ministerial event in India.
    Again, I will ask a question that has been asked so many times in the last three years: When did the Prime Minister become aware of this RCMP investigation?
    I remind members that we cannot use the personal name of a member.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, as I stated yesterday, it was last week that the member told us he is addressing certain challenges and receiving treatment from a health professional. Based on these circumstances, it was agreed that his decision to resign as member was the right one. We hope that he receives the support he needs.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister himself misled the House when he said that the member for Brampton East had resigned. The member is still in the House and is still active.
    The RCMP is currently conducting an investigation. At the same time, the Ethics Commissioner is investigating because the member for Brampton East accompanied his boss, the Prime Minister, on his trip to India.
    Last week, we were told that he resigned, but he is still working.
    When did the Prime Minister learn that the RCMP was conducting an investigation?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, the member told us that he had certain challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional. We hope that he receives the support that he needs.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, three years into the Liberal mandate, veterans are still waiting for them to keep their promise. Over 3,000 veterans have been waiting for answers for over a year. That is discouraging. Veterans would like to know why they have to go through another medical exam when they have already been examined by National Defence doctors.
    Will the government help our valiant veterans by fixing this situation and respecting diagnoses made by National Defence doctors?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to delivering timely services to veterans and we know that on this, we need to do a lot better.
    The members opposite should also remember that the Auditor General said that it was the Harper government that was not doing enough to facilitate veterans' timely access to mental health services and benefits. We have invested $10 billion. We have hired 470 new front-line staff. We are getting it done.
    Mr. Speaker, here are the facts: dysfunction, mismanagement and incompetence. Twenty-nine thousand veterans are in a backlog waiting for a decision. Of those, 3,000 have waited for over a year. There has been $42 billion spent by the minister and nothing has improved.
    When is the minister going to stop wasting time and money and help veterans directly?
    Mr. Speaker, since the member was part of the Harper government, I will take him at his word that he knows something about dysfunction.
    What did he think would happen when they closed nine offices? What did he think would happen when they cut the budget of the department? What did he think would happen when they cut 1,000 members of the staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs? In what world do they live to think that doing that would cut wait times?
    We will continue to clean up the mess they made.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, communities across northern Saskatchewan have become inaccessible because of broken and unfinished roads, lack of rail access and no safe public transportation. The conditions are worse now that winter has settled in. The Liberals keep neglecting the calls from the local leadership, like Mayor Bruce Fidler in Creighton, to invest in safe and reliable infrastructure. Northerners deserve better.
    Why does the Liberal government not care about infrastructure in northern communities?
    Mr. Speaker, we are acting. We have a historic investment of $180 billion over the next 10 years in infrastructure that will see communities across Canada, northern communities, rural communities, urban communities, see better infrastructure, because we know that what Canadians want is infrastructure of the 21st century that is modern, resilient and great. That is what we are going to deliver to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

[Translation]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have no strategy to bridge the digital divide, none. Those are not my words; they are the Auditor General's. He says that the Liberals' failure to plan for rural and remote regions is depriving people in those regions of the high-speed Internet access they so desperately need. In my riding, 16 of the 25 municipalities have connectivity problems. We need a strategy that will help young people, families and small businesses.
    When will the government invest to get everyone connected?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand the importance of high-speed Internet. That is why we announced the connect to innovate program, which will make things better for many rural communities across Canada.

[English]

    A few weeks ago I had the opportunity, along with my provincial and territorial counterparts, to put forward a framework on the first national broadband high-speed strategy for rural and remote communities. We will continue to work on this very important issue.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, November 23, we learned that the President of the Treasury Board provided contradictory information. He told the House that he had been involved in the ship procurement contracts, but he told the RCMP that it was not Treasury Board's role to interfere in that file. Canadians have a right to know what role the Treasury Board president played in this unclear process.
    To whom did he tell the truth?

  (1455)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentleman has a specific accusation to make, he should draw that accusation to the attention of the appropriate police authorities or perhaps he would care to say that outside.
    Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board has told two different stories with respect to the political interference with the naval supply ship contract. In October, he told this House that it was his job to examine the details. In 2016, he told the RCMP that it was not his job. He cannot have it both ways.
     Will the President of the Treasury Board stand in the House today and tell us which version of the truth is accurate?
    Mr. Speaker, when legal matters are to be investigated, they are investigated independently by the RCMP and any decision with respect to charges is made independently by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The creation of that office, in the first place, was done back in 2005 by the previous government.
    Indeed, the prime minister of the day, Mr. Harper said that they would ensure that decisions about criminal prosecutions are independent of politicians and independent of politics. That is our system.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not about a court case. This is about the integrity and honesty of the President of the Treasury Board. He has told two different stories that contradict each other. This is a serious issue with respect to political interference in a major contract. Where is the transparency and accountability? Why will the President of the Treasury Board not come clean and tell us which version of his story is true?
    Mr. Speaker, the details of any legal case are to be determined independently by our court system. That is how the process works. The distinguished defence counsel, acting now for Admiral Norman, proclaimed that our legal system should never be denigrated for political gain. She said, “we have one of the greatest legal systems in the world”. Let it do its work.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has a long history of resettling the world's most vulnerable refugees through the private sponsorship program, thanks to Canadians coming together to help resettle the most vulnerable.
     The residents of Brampton South have raised the plight of Sikh and Hindu refugees from Afghanistan who have faced violence and persecution. The Bhullar foundation has answered the call to help resettle this religious minority population through the private sponsorship program.
     Can the Minister please update the House on the progress to resettle these privately sponsored refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Brampton South for her strong advocacy on this issue.
    As members know, we have quadrupled the number of spaces available in the private sponsorship of refugees program as compared to the Conservatives. This has allowed us to reduce processing times, to reduce backlogs and to work closely with community sponsors, like the Bhullar foundation, to resettle even more religious minorities.
     That is why I am so happy to update this House that on the third-year anniversary of the passing of the late hon. Manmeet Bhullar, the approved families for resettlement will be arriving in Canada early in the new year.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Tides Canada has led the coordinated campaign against the construction of new pipelines and the Alberta energy sector.
    We know foreign money flows into Tides to help fund that campaign. However, this morning we found out that the Liberal government has decided to flow money to Tides to support the campaign as well. No one believes the Prime Minister supports Alberta's struggling energy sector while he funds the greatest opponents to it.
    Can the Minister of Natural Resources explain why the government is funding the Tides campaign against Alberta jobs in the energy sector?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we understand that, right now, in the oil fields of Alberta, people are frustrated by the price differential. We know that the solution is to build pipeline capacity and expand the oil to new markets. That is why we are working hard to do that, and making sure we do that in the right way.
    Currently in Alberta, there is no consensus within the industry on short-term solutions. However, we welcome workable solutions to work with Alberta to make sure that we move forward in the right way.

Canada Post Corporation

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are blocking equal pay and safer workplaces at Canada Post.
    A postal worker in my riding said, “Social assistance cheques were held back [by Canada Post]. We were instructed that we could not deliver these cheques even though they were in our Nanaimo facility.”
    Workers want to deliver assistance cheques. They also want to be treated fairly, but Canada Post and the Liberals are painting posties as the enemy. Why are Liberals using the most vulnerable people to undermine workers' rights?
    Mr. Speaker, our government expects all employers to provide safe workplaces. As Canada Post works to reduce the backlog, the health and safety of its employees will continue to take the highest priority.
    However, the labour dispute has taken its toll on Canadians, including workers, charities, organizations and businesses of all sizes. Canada Post will be doing everything it can to get up to full operations as quickly as possible.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, this week is National Addictions Awareness Week. The entire country is facing a crisis, the opioid crisis, so this is an important moment to think about the complexities of addictions, the people who suffer from them and the ways we can help them.
    I would like to thank all the healthcare workers who save lives, reduce stigma and encourage our friends and families to lend each other a helping hand when needed.
    Could the Minister of Health tell the House about the measures the government has taken to address addictions?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville for his important question and for the excellent work that he does on the Standing Committee on Health.
    This week is an opportunity to think about how anyone can be affected by issues related to drug use, whether it be a family member, a loved one or even a co-worker.
    I am proud of the compassionate approach our government is taking, and we will continue on that path. We will continue to help those who need it and keep Canadians informed through awareness and education campaigns. That will help us to ensure that all Canadians get the help they need.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, every day steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place, Canadian jobs are at risk. The new NAFTA with the United States and Mexico is a deal with many concessions.
     The Liberals gained nothing and lost a lot. Why did the Prime Minister give up so much without ensuring that steel and aluminum tariffs would be lifted?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is absolutely clear on the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed illegally and unjustly by the United States. Our view is that we have to fight these tariffs. We fight them with a strong retaliatory response, we fight them at the WTO and we fight them at NAFTA where we have preserved the chapter 19 tribunals.
    What is unclear is the position of the Conservative Party, which seems, today, to be arguing that we should capitulate, just as it did on NAFTA.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

     Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is sending the message that the free trade agreement with Europe is going to be honoured on the backs of Quebec's workers.
    VIA Rail, a Crown corporation, where the Crown is the government, is going to have its trains made in Europe rather than Quebec. We have people in Saint-Bruno and La Pocatière who have the necessary expertise, but once again, Quebec gets tossed by the wayside.
    Why is the Minister of Transport allowing VIA Rail to turn its back on Quebec's workers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to opening markets for Canadian workers and businesses. We are the only country in the G7 that has a free trade agreement with all other G7 nations. We are committed to helping our businesses grow. That is why in the fall economic statement, the Minister of Finance announced our trade diversification strategy to help businesses in Quebec and across Canada. We want to bring more investment to Canada, we want to create more jobs for Canadians and we want to raise the quality of living for all Canadians.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we knew that Ottawa had hung our dairy producers out to dry in the free trade agreement with Europe. What we did not know, however, was that it would do the same to our rail industry.
    A government-owned company is awarding a $1-billion contract to one of Quebec's competitors.
    How can it explain that? I suppose the free trade agreement was poorly negotiated.
    Will the minister speak with officials at the Crown corporation to ensure that our workers are not the victims of their inability to negotiate for our people?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, it would be totally inappropriate for anyone to comment on VIA Rail's procurement process, which is currently under way, to replace its Quebec City-Windsor fleet.
    I would remind my colleague that VIA Rail is an independent Crown corporation and is responsible for this procurement process. I can assure the member that it is open, transparent and thorough, and that it has been conducted in accordance with all trade rules.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, since 2014, the energy industry in western Canada has suffered proportionately a far greater crisis than the automobile industry, and yet not only is the government not helping, it would make energy projects even more difficult with Bill C-69. Can the minister give us assurance that she will finally listen to the concerns of the industry, and pull out this bill?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise. We know that we need to ensure that Canadians trust us when it comes to the assessment process for major projects.

[English]

    We need to get it right when it comes to major projects. That is the only way our resources will get to market.
    There was a failed system under the previous government, so we were not able to do that. We did not bring indigenous peoples together, we did not take seriously environmental concerns, we did not have a timely process, nor did we work with provinces to ensure one project, one review. That is exactly what we are doing.

Presence in Gallery

     I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award winners: Paul Gagné, Lori Saint-Martin, Marianne Dubuc, Mario Brassard, Frédérick Lavoie, Anne-Marie Olivier, Michaël Trahan, Karoline Georges, Howard Scott, Phyllis Aronoff, Jillian Tamaki, Jonathan Auxier, Darrel J. McLeod, Jordan Tannahill, Cecily Nicholson, Sarah Henstra.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

    I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Issaka Sidibé, President of the National Assembly of Mali.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[English]

Points of Order

Member for Brampton East  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising on the issue of the question from the member for Thornhill. I am hoping you can provide some clarification.
    On Thursday, November 22, CTV News reported that the member for Brampton East informed the chief government whip that he intended to leave, which, according to the Canadian press, was effective immediately.
    On Friday, November 23, in the Toronto Star, the Prime Minister's Office is quoted as saying, “Based on these circumstances, we agreed that his decision to resign as Member of Parliament for Brampton East was the right one.”
    As far as we have been told, this member has resigned from Parliament. Could you inform the House what the procedure is to inform this chamber about a member resigning and whether we would be made aware of that from your office as soon as possible or whether we should continue to rely on inaccurate media reports that say he is a former member of Parliament?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, this question and response left me with some concern and confusion as well. My understanding is that any member of Parliament who seeks to resign has to notify one person in one office in writing, and that is your office, Mr. Speaker, to officially resign that seat.
    We have a Liberal member from Montreal who has had some problems doing that since the spring. We had this recent case just last week. The member for Brampton East indicated it through the Prime Minister's official site and I believe also through the government House leader's comments here today that “it was agreed that his decision to resign...was the right one.”
    Mr. Speaker, first, could you clarify for us if you have received notice from the member for Brampton East that he in fact has resigned that seat, and if he has not resigned that seat, could you call upon the government House leader to clarify the record from the beginning of this very concerning affair that now involves an Ethics Commissioner investigation and a RCMP investigation?
    The government has had difficulty being consistent and truthful to Canadians about this very worrisome affair. Continuing to contribute to that confusion does not help anyone, and it certainly does not help us get closer to the truth in this matter.
    I call upon you, Mr. Speaker, to clarify the reality for all Canadians.
    I thank the hon. members for Chilliwack—Hope and Skeena—Bulkley Valley for raising this point of order. Of course, a member may resign by standing in the House and resigning. However, let me refer members to page 252 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, which says:
    A Member may also resign his or her seat by delivering to the Speaker a written declaration of intention to resign signed before two witnesses. On receiving the declaration, the Speaker addresses a warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a Member to fill the vacancy.
    First, I have not received such a letter. Second, when the Speaker receives the letter, the Speaker then informs the House that the Speaker has informed Elections Canada of the vacancy.
    Mr. Speaker, thank you very much, first, for clarifying. As far as we in this chamber know, the member for Brampton East continues to hold his seat in Parliament.
    The second part of the question was whether the government House leader had left the House in error in reporting that he had resigned in her replies to the comments and questions we have been consistently asking about the situation of the member for Brampton East. She has several times indicated that she agreed with his sentiment to resign. If that is not, in fact, true, and she does not have any extra knowledge of that fact, she should simply clarify the record for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, you will be able to check Hansard, I am sure, which is the official record, in which my response would have been that we have accepted his decision to resign.
    I thank hon. members for their comments on this.

Privilege

Access to Information—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on October 30, 2018, by the member for Milton regarding the government's response to written Question No. 1316, tabled in the House on January 29, 2018.

[Translation]

     I want to thank the member for Milton for having raised the question, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House for his response.

[English]

    The member for Milton explained that she had submitted a written question asking the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for the titles of the individuals who had approved a particular tweet from November 7, 2017. In response, she received what she described as a non-answer, as it lacked the specific information requested. She explained further that the information she was looking for was recently provided to the CBC by the government through an access to information request. This she characterized as a deliberate attempt by the government to deny information to her and the House, and thus, a contempt of the House.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    In response, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader argued that it is not the role of the Speaker to judge the quality of answers provided to Order Paper questions and that the answer was in fact duly tabled as per the rules of the House. He was also of the view that, through the two different processes—that is, written questions and access to information requests—different questions were asked and, thus, different answers provided.

[English]

    The right of members to obtain timely and accurate information from the government, through whatever means, is essential to the proper functioning of our parliamentary system.
    My predecessor made this point clearly on May 26, 2015, when he said, at page 14137 of Debates, and I quote:
    Members place great importance on obtaining full and accurate information through answers to their written questions, a procedure that exists in part to allow members to fulfill their obligations as parliamentarians.

[Translation]

    Despite this, the fact remains that under current practices the Speaker’s authority is limited in this respect. As House of Commons Procedure and Practice mentions at page 529:
    There are no provisions in the rules for the Speaker to review government responses to questions.
    In a ruling dated February 8, 2005, which can be found at page 3234 of Debates, Speaker Milliken further explained:
    Any dispute regarding the accuracy or appropriateness of this response is a matter of debate. It is not something upon which the Speaker is permitted to pass judgment.

[English]

    While I cannot conclude that there is a prima facie question of privilege, all members must have easy access to precise, relevant and complete information. Commensurate with this obligation is the government's responsibility to provide that information to members in support of their work as parliamentarians.
    I thank members for their attention.

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, it is always a pleasure to rise to talk about important pieces of legislation that come before the House. However, there are very few budgetary measures as important as what we are debating today in the budget implementation bill. There are so many things one could talk about, it is hard focus on one.
    However, one I have highlighted in the past a great deal is the Canada child benefit. That is one of the jewels in the budget. We have saw it virtually from day one when this Prime Minister made a commitment to Canada's middle class. One of the centrepieces of that commitment was the Canada child benefit. For the constituents of Winnipeg North, it has had a profoundly positive impact. To give members a sense of that, imagine approximately $9 million-plus coming into the community of Winnipeg North every month as a direct result of the Canada child benefit program.
    When we think about the economy, we think of what moves an economy forward. Often it is when we have consumers who are spending. Therefore, if we think about that $9 million-plus a month that Ottawa sends to Winnipeg North for those residents, they use the money to support their children in their community. That is one of the reasons in the bigger picture, the macro picture, that we have seen over the last number of years an economy that has grown to the tune of creating over 500,000 new full-time jobs in a relatively short period of time. Contrast that with when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. It took him approximately 10 years to generate one million jobs. Here we have 500,000 full-time jobs and tens of thousands of part-time jobs. It is because of the very progressive measures this government has taken to support Canada's middle class. When we talk about the Canada child benefit program, we also have to take into consideration that this budget implementation bill recognizes the need to have annual increases to support our families.
    We not only think of our young people but also of our seniors. Again, Winnipeg North has benefited from a direct enhancement by this government of our social programs. Here I am referring specifically to the guaranteed income supplement. Once again, literally hundreds of seniors in Winnipeg North are benefiting directly from a positive decision by the government to enhance the guaranteed income supplement. That means that some of the poorest seniors in our country in Winnipeg North are receiving an annual increase of more than $900 a year. Again, that goes a long way in assisting our seniors.
    I have had the opportunity, through knocking on doors and attending many different types of events, to talk with seniors, and one of the common things that comes up for seniors, and even those receiving the guaranteed income supplement, is the cost of medication. The reason I bring up the cost of medication is that not only is it an important issue for the residents of Winnipeg North, but also an important issue for all Canadians.

  (1520)  

    That said, I would argue that there is one social program that most, if not all, Canadians get a sense of pride from. Whenever we talk about the great things about being a Canadian, one is the fact that we have a fantastic health care system. It is a system that is envied around the world. If we talk to immigrants who come to Canada from other countries, they often say how wonderful the health care system is in Canada.
    At times we need to recognize the need for change, and change is in the wind. We have a Prime Minister and a Minister of Health, now the our second Minister of Health, who have looked at how Ottawa can assist in continuing positive change on the health care front.
    For many years, I thought that the cost of prescribed medicines ways fairly prohibitive for people at the low-income threshold. The cost can even be prohibitive for the middle class and those doing exceptionally well financially, given the portion of their monthly salaries going toward paying for their medications.
    For the first time, we have a government that is committed to looking at pharmacare. The Standing Committee on Health that brought the issue forward. The first health minister worked with provinces to try to get better prices of pharmaceuticals for provinces, and I believe the next step is a pharmacare program. I have had the opportunity to introduce numerous petitions in the House on this issue. Many of my constituents have taken the time to sign petitions saying that they want a pharmacare plan. As a longtime Liberal, I believe this is an important social issue, and it is so rewarding to see a government that is finally prepared to bring that to a reality.
    I realize there is a lot to be done on it, because health care is not just a federal responsibility but a shared responsibility between Ottawa and the provinces and territories. I would go even further to say there is a moral, if not a legal, obligation to take indigenous people into consideration. Through this budget implementation bill, we are once again moving forward on a possible pharmacare program for all of Canada. I hope that some day we will see that, but at least we are moving forward. I look forward to hearing from the Minister of Health in the coming months, and possibly the Minister of Finance who may be able to give a better indication of whether this is doable.
    I have talked about how some of these decisions have had a positive impact on Winnipeg North. If we look at the bigger picture, I often talk about taxation and some of the positive tax measures this government has put in place from day one. I often talk about the tax cut for the middle class and the special tax on Canada's wealthiest. Moreover, many business incentives have been put in place. We have reduced taxes for small businesses, the backbone of our economy, by about two percentage points, reducing the small business tax rate to 9%. At the same time, we are investing in infrastructure, recognizing the importance of supporting our communities. All regions of our country have seen many benefits.
    It was not that long ago I was talking about everything from splash pads to community facilities, to roads and infrastructure. All of those things are really important. This government believes in investing in Canadians and infrastructure. At the end of the day, the Prime Minister is committed to delivering on the commitments we made in the last election campaign on things such as a healthier middle class—

  (1525)  

    Unfortunately, the time is up. I am sure the member will be able to add more during questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.
    Madam Speaker, I once read to the House an excerpt from a Liberal platform in 1997, I believe, where the Liberals identified the problem of Canadians who do not have access to necessary and essential medicines. They told Canadians that they were going to immediately bring in pharmacare to fix that gap. Here we are over 20 years later, and we have a Liberal government that is prepared to act, but of course prepared to act not by bringing in pharmacare but by convening a committee and having another study, which is going to be reported maybe by June.
    Is my hon. colleague going to stand in the House and tell his constituents and the people of Canada that his government is going to bring in universal public, single-payer pharmacare in the next year? Will he do that, or not?
    Madam Speaker, whether in the Manitoba legislature or the House of Commons here in Ottawa, I like to believe I have been consistent on the importance of the pharmacare issue. My daughter, who happens to be an MLA in the province of Manitoba, has also been advocating for provinces to do it alone if Ottawa does not move forward.
    It is a program that I would like to see further advanced. I believe there are a good number of members in the House who would like to see it advance. For the first time in generations, virtually since medicare was established, we are seeing some movement forward on this particular file. I am encouraged by it, and we will have to wait and see. However, at the end of the day, as I indicated, we are very fortunate to have the type of health care we do in Canada.

  (1530)  

    Madam Speaker, the previous speaker commented about how the economy is doing so well. My question, then, is why is the Bank of Canada warning us about the decline in investments in Canada? Over the last three years, Canadian investment in the U.S. has increased by 65.8%, and yet in that same time span, investment in Canada has decreased by 5%. Where is the confidence that my colleague has about the economy, and what can we look forward to?
    Madam Speaker, I am confident because if we compare Canada and the G8 countries, we find that Canada is performing exceptionally well. We are leading the pack. The member can cite specific stats and then call them into question, but in most part, Canadians will realize that as a whole the government has been moving this country forward. Working with Canadians, what we have seen over the last couple of years is amazing growth. We would have to go back 50 years, 60 years or 70 years before we would see the type of growth in terms of the number of real, tangible numbers of jobs generated. Over 600,000 have been created, and more than 500,000 of them are full-time jobs. That is real, tangible proof that the economy is moving forward in a healthy way.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague across the way finds it inappropriate of the current government to once again introduce a mega-bill with a tremendous amount of pages and details. Everyone is having a tough time deciphering all these details.
    I am vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The committee has to review the Copyright Act. No one knows where this is going and we learn in this bill that this is how the Copyright Board of Canada will be reviewed.
    Can the hon. member understand how someone like me, who is committed to understanding the issues, may find it unacceptable that the Copyright Board of Canada is being reviewed in an omnibus bill when it is such an important issue right now?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I suggest to the member that from virtually day one, we have seen a very ambitious government on a number of different files. We have seen substantial good changes. I remember not too long ago a constituent come to me saying that this government had done more in two years than the previous government did in 10 years. I believe that individual was talking about things in a very positive way. The results are very tangible, and I do not make any apologies for a government that wants to work hard. I look forward to 2019.
    Madam Speaker, I too look forward to October 2019.
    While I am glad to rise today and lend my voice and the voice of my constituents to this debate, I would be remiss if I did not also register my frustration that the majority of my colleagues in the House will not be able to give any input on this piece of legislation. The government has again moved time allocation, effectively ending debate.
    Here we go again with more broken promises. Over and over during the campaign, the Liberals railed against time allocation and they railed against omnibus bills, yet all the promises they made are out the window. This is an 800-page omnibus bill. It would take Canadians more time to read this legislation than we have been given to debate it. It is outrageous and it is undemocratic, but it is made even worse because of the campaign promise of the Liberals not to use omnibus bills.
    I will be focusing most of my time today on the lack of action taken by the Liberal government in order to improve Canada's competitiveness on the world stage. The imposition of a carbon tax, the spending spree and the debt spiral the government is plunging Canada into are all part of the abysmal track record of the Liberals on keeping their promises to Canadians.
    Remember those promises? They were a maximum $10-billion deficit, and a balanced budget in 2019. Again, we have more broken promises.
    The Business Council of Canada, which represents the largest companies operating in Canada, made the following submission to the finance committee during pre-budget consultations:
     [W]e ask the government to introduce a comprehensive strategy to improve competitiveness, diversify trade and attract private sector investment. According to a recent survey of our members, only one in seven CEOs expressed confidence in the competitiveness of Canada's business climate. According to that survey, the tax and regulatory burden combined with concerns around the availability of talent were the most important factors affecting company investment plans in Canada.
    Among other recommendations, we've called on the government to undertake a comprehensive review of Canada's tax system with the goal of strengthening the incentives for investment and growth. We believe the need for this review has only been intensified by the implementation of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
    It went on to say:
     Effective January 1, 2018, the U.S. reduced its federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% and allowed for full expensing of investments in machinery and equipment. This tax reform package also introduced new international tax rules. They encouraged multinationals to shift capital back into the U.S.
     These changes have given the United States a significant tax advantage over many advanced economies but in particular Canada, given our very close proximity and dependence on that market. According to a...study that we commissioned by PwC Canada on the implications of U.S. reform, failing to respond to these changes threatens 635,000 jobs and $85 billion in GDP.
    In their last budget and their most recent fall economic update, the Liberals have done absolutely nothing to address the concerns outlined by the Business Council of Canada on Canada's lack of competitiveness on the world stage. The Liberals are just out of touch with Canada's business community.
    Our Conservative team has been on the ground from coast to coast to coast, talking with business owners, investors, and employees. Personally, I have visited Sault Ste Marie, Belleville, Guelph and all throughout the Waterloo region. I was proud to host a round table with local business several months ago, with the shadow minister for international trade, the member for Niagara West. While the round table focused on the trade negotiations between Canada and the United States and the retaliatory tariffs, we also heard how the Liberal government is not creating a healthy environment to enable small and medium-sized businesses to grow.
     One business from southwestern Ontario that participated in our round table shared that in 2009, during the global economic recession, it lost 800 employees. However, because of the policies of our Conservative government at the time, it was able to recoup its loses in just eight months.
    Contrast that with today. The same business is looking at job losses of over 1,000 employees as a result of slow economic growth. It is worried that the Liberal government is spending the cupboards bare, so that when a recession hits, it will not be able to recoup like it did previously.

  (1535)  

    We also heard that, just as the Business Council of Canada outlined in its submission to the finance committee, the competitive climate is causing many companies to move south of the border. Even worse, it is discouraging entrepreneurs from starting businesses here in Canada at all.
    For those already in operation, any foreseeable plans to expand have been put on hold. Companies that once felt they were supported and encouraged by the policies of the federal government just do not feel that same level of support anymore. That the government is raising taxes and has no plan to balance the budget is making this climate of worry and concern much worse.
    Speaking of debt, in the first three years of the current government, the Prime Minister added $60 billion to the national debt. Deficits are even higher than expected and higher than what was promised in the 2015 election campaign. The Parliamentary Budget Officer projects deficits of $22.2 billion in 2018-19 and $21.4 billion in 2019-20, which is $4 billion higher than the government showed in budget 2018.
    Last year, Canada's net debt reached an all-time high of $670 billion, or $47,612 for every Canadian family. According to the finance committee, the budget will not return to balance until 2045, by then racking up an additional $450 billion of debt.
     When the economy is strong and growing at 3%, a responsible government would pay down debt, so that we have more fiscal room in case of a downturn. However, we see the current government doing the exact opposite.
     In 2009, the Conservative government was able to take decisive action to support the Canadian economy, yet it returned to balance and a surplus by 2015. However, with no plan or commitment to balance, the Liberals have budgeted the cupboard bare. The next time Canada is faced with a crisis, there will be nothing there.
     The cost of interest alone on our debt will increase from $23.9 billion in 2017-18, almost doubling to $39 billion in 2021-2022. That is $39.1 billion, which is more than the $36.1 billion we spend on federal health care through the Canada health transfer.
    Let us think of what that money could do if we were to provide our veterans with the help they desperately need. We could properly invest in mental health care throughout Canada. We could provide palliative care to every community from coast to coast. Instead, it is going toward paying for the government's out-of-control spending.
     My last point is on the carbon tax. Following the Liberals' announcement of their forced carbon tax on Canadians, the president of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce said that although he is a climate change believer, the senseless response by governments all over the world is, simply put, ridiculous. He said there should never be a cost to using less, that it makes no sense. If less use is required, he described punitive measures as the lazy man's way of reducing carbon emissions. As he said, it is completely counterproductive to take money out of circulation, hang on to it for a period of time, then give 90% of it back. That was a promise he had heard from the Prime Minister on a report by 570 News, which he felt was insulting to the intelligence of every taxpayer, like we need to be babysat.
    The chamber of commerce president said he was reminded of an old saying: A tax is a fine for doing something good, and a fine is a tax for doing something wrong. He said the carbon tax is a fine everyone will have to accept, and that is just wrong. He said that today, when business is burdened in every manner by government, it's time that it be recognized by all politicians that without business there is nothing for anyone. Businesses, he said, need a path that clearly demonstrates our economy is first and foremost, so it can provide all the money government needs to save the world.
     It is clear that the government is far more interested in imposing its ideology on Canadians than it is in listening to and working with Canadian business.

  (1540)  

    I am going to finish with this. According to a website that tracks the success of the Liberal government, after 1,119 days in office, the Liberals have broken or completely ignored as many promises they made in the 2015 election campaign as they have kept. That gives Canadians much reason to worry, because a government that campaigns on one thing and does exactly the opposite only increases Canadians' mistrust in our democratic institutions.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member was all over the place with a lot of different points. Unfortunately, I will not have time to address issues like the carbon tax supported by pinko commie Preston Manning and other Conservatives. I will not get into that. I will not get into his misleading Canadians on raising taxes. We only did that to the wealthiest one per cent. I will not address that either.
    I would like to ask, though, about his love of U.S. tax changes down south and the massive deficits they have caused. While the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is increasing, ours is decreasing. The hon. member is in love with that deficit and the Conservative deficits run by the Harper administration. Why is he against ours?

  (1545)  

    Madam Speaker, I know my colleague was not here in 2008, 2009 and 2010, those years when we were facing not just a Canadian downturn in the economy but a global recession. My Conservative colleagues are on the opposition side now, but when we were in government in 2008 and 2009, we had a minority government and we were suggesting stimulus funding. The Liberal Party then actually said that we were not spending enough to stimulate it. They wanted us to go deeper and deeper into deficit.
     Former prime minister Harper had the wisdom to know that there was a limit to how much the government could spend and how much it could go into deficit. The Conservative government at the time also had an incredible plan to bring us back out of deficit spending within a three- to four-year period, which we accomplished.
    There is a big difference between going into deficit financing to stimulate a lagging economy that is in recession and comparing that to today, when we are in an economic growth period and still spending way more than we are taking in. It is a recipe for disaster.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member talked a lot about balancing the budget. I am just wondering if he would comment on how much easier it would be to balance the budget if the government did not forgo $10 billion or more per year in taxes by not closing down overseas tax havens. I have often stood in this place and brought up an example of one Canadian company that, for the price of a post office box in Luxembourg I think it was, has evaded $690 million in taxes. That is one company alone. It does not have any employees in Luxembourg. It just made the big investment of getting a post office box.
    I am just wondering if he would like to comment on why the government, in this budget or any other budget it has put forward, has not brought forward measures to close those tax havens instead of opening new ones.
    Madam Speaker, it is just a clear indication of the misplaced priorities of the government. We saw the same thing a year and a half ago when the government started attacking our farmers and our small businesses, trying to go after them and calling them tax cheats, yet at the same time ignoring their multi-billion dollar corporations. This is just another example of that.
    I agree with my colleague. We should be going after those who are cheating our tax system and evading taxes. It is a clear indication that those are areas we need to shore up. However, the Liberals are going after small-business people, who are the backbone of our economy and provide thousands of jobs for Canadians. Not only do we need to leave those people alone, but we need to have policies in place that encourage them to maintain those businesses and expand them as they are able.
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
    Bill C-86 represents our government's commitment to do more for Canadians. The bill acts as a framework to implement key measures proposed in budget 2018 that will ensure Canadian businesses remain competitive and successful, globally as well as domestically.
     In 2018, our government is placing people first, by creating a competitive, sustainable and fair Canada. Throughout my speech, I will provide several examples as to how Bill C-86 would accomplish such objectives.
    Last week, on November 21, the Minister of Finance addressed members of the House to unveil the 2018 fall economic statement. His statement reiterated the commitment of our government to continue investing in the middle class to ensure that our economy would remain robust and would continue to flourish for years to come. We are experiencing a strong and growing economy from coast to coast to coast.
    We, on this side of the House, have always believed that investment leads to growth and growth leads to more jobs. That is why we can all be proud as we witness new jobs being created, which in turn provide new opportunities for many Canadians to succeed.
     In 2017, Canada experienced the strongest economic growth among all G7 countries, accumulating 3% GDP growth. Due to the hard work of Canadians, the results continue to speak for themselves.
    We are also experiencing a healthy wage growth. In fact, we are now experiencing the fastest rate of wage growth in the last eight years. With more jobs and the lowest unemployment rates reported in 40 years, consumer confidence remains strong. Our plan is to put more money in the pockets of Canadian families next year, whereby a typical Canadian family of four will be $2,000 better off.
    Allow me start off with examples by citing the significance of Bill C-86 to legislating gender budgeting.
     We have placed gender equity at the forefront of decision-making by introducing gender budgeting legislation. The future of Canada's economic and social prosperity depends on supporting women of all ages, reducing the gender wage gap and increasing the participation of women in the workforce.
    This comes after the failure of the Harper government to recognize women as a driving force in the economy. We, on the other hand, are ensuring every Canadian has an equal and fair chance to succeed. This is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. In fact, there are now more women employed than ever before in our long history.
    Another example is the significance of Bill C-86 to the issue of pay equity. To further complement legislating GBA+ budgeting, our government aims to provide pay equity to all Canadians by implementing measures to create a more inclusive work environment. For this reason, work has already begun with key stakeholders to introduce proactive pay equity legislation.
    To deliver on our commitment to gender equality, we are proud to offer equal pay for equal value of work. This has been long overdue, and we hope to set a precedent for the global community as leaders and champions of equality.
    The next thing I would like to cite is the significance of Bill C-86 insofar as the new employment insurance benefits for second parents. As I have already touched on the significance of gender equality in the workplace, allow me to now emphasize our government's interest in introducing legislation to ensure that there is similarly gender equality at home. The new parental sharing benefits will provide all parents, including adoptive and same-sex parents, an opportunity to focus on sharing the responsibilities of raising their children as they see fit.

  (1550)  

    The new employment insurance benefit for second parents provides more flexibility for parents to set aside time and ensure greater success at shared parenting. Encouraging equality is the right thing to do for all Canadians.
    Finally, allow me to talk about how crucial Bill C-86 is to the establishment of the department of the status of women.
    Unlike the previous Conservative government, this government keenly understands that gender equality is a key factor in stimulating economic growth. Bill C-86 proposes to create the department of women and gender equality. This new department will solely focus on the status of women in Canada and strengthen our capacity to advance gender equality and stimulate the middle class through innovative policies and programs.
    By preserving the department's place as a centre of gender expertise, we hope to prevent gender-based violence as well as expand the mandate for gender equality. This is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression by promoting greater understanding.
    We have come a long way by appointing the first gender-balanced federal cabinet and the first federal minister fully devoted to gender issues. We hope, and I think it would be fair to say, that we have seen that Canada is serving as an example on the world stage.
     Bill C-86 signifies our government's commitment to next steps in advancing our economy by focusing on the growth of the middle class and those who are working hard to join it.
    Through Bill C-86, we are taking significant action to invest in this plan. Canada's future prosperity depends on offering equal and fair chances at success.

  (1555)  

    Madam Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague on the scrutiny of regulations committee. I find him to be a very collegial colleague.
    He commented frequently in his remarks about supporting families and children, with which we certainly agree. If that is true, why then did his colleagues oppose Motion No. 110 the other day, which sought to give additional support to families after they had the unfortunate situation of losing a child. It seems to me that this is a common sense motion and the House should get behind it. However, when it went to committee, the Liberal members on that committee put roadblocks in the way and would not allow the amendment to go through.
    Could my colleague comment on how he squares the circle of support for families with children, but for those who have actually experienced the loss of a child, which is one of the most devastating experiences a family can endure, his government seemed rather uncaring in that situation?
    Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to serve on the scrutiny of regulations committee with my colleague. I might as well add that he does an admirable job of chairing that committee.
    As he rightly pointed out, we are into common sense economics. I do not think for a second that any Canadian would doubt our commitment to Canadian families and to Canadian children. For the past three years, every decision we have made has been to put families and children at the centre of economic planning, and the results speak for themselves.
    If we look at GDP growth, if we look at the rate at which Canadians are experiencing wage growth, we can all be very proud that Canadian families are doing admirably and we are all seeing the positive results of focusing on families.
    Madam Speaker, there are so many questions I could ask for my colleague across the way. I could ask about why we are getting these huge budget implementation bills of 850-something pages with only a couple of days to assess it before we begin debate and then only a few hours of debate in the House and a few hours in committee.
    I want to go back to the big picture. One of the things we really should be concentrating on in Parliament is to reduce the gap between the wealthiest of Canadians and the rest of us, the 1% and the 99%. That gap has been growing since the 1980s and 1990s. One way to do it is to ensure everybody pays his or her fair share in taxes.
    The Liberals had an opportunity to close tax loopholes for CEOs and to close offshore tax havens where the wealthy hide their money. Instead they go after the little fish and it is very little return for a lot of work. Why are the Liberals just missing the boat on fixing this problem that will help us get back to a fair society in Canada?

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. friend has alluded to the fact that the budget bill is a lengthy one, and I could not agree with him more, the reason being that we are doing quite well and we are leading the G7 in terms of economic growth, but our work is not done. It is absolutely imperative that we continue to tackle various issues.
    This budget, as the member is fully aware, is all about ensuring that we have a competitive, sustainable and fair system. Therefore, every single one of the various issues that are addressed in this budget focus on addressing the issue of ensuring that we have more inclusive economic growth and that all Canadians can share in the new prosperity.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-86, budget implementation act, 2018, no. 2, more specifically to modernizing federal labour standards as well as the wage earner protection program.
    The Government of Canada has a mandate to modernize labour standards and adapt them to today's reality. Bill C-86 is the first step in making this modernization a reality.
    I want to begin by providing a bit of context. Part III of the Canada Labour Code establishes basic working conditions in the federally-regulated private sector, such as working hours, minimum wage, statutory leave, annual leave, and various other types of leave.

[English]

    They would also create a level playing field for employers by requiring all of them to meet these minimum entitlements. Many employers already go above and beyond what is in the code, but for some workers, these standards are the only protections they have.

[Translation]

    Unfortunately, these things have remained largely unchanged since the 1960s when most Canadians had steady jobs with regular nine to five hours.

[English]

    Today, many Canadians are struggling to support their families in part-time, temporary and low-wage jobs. They may work several jobs to make ends meet, face unpredictable hours and lack benefits and access to certain entitlements.

[Translation]

    The government understands that the nature of work is changing. That is why we held extensive consultations that highlighted the need for updated federal labour standards. That is what we are doing with budget implementation act no. 2.

[English]

    Our consultations made it clear that there were a number of complex issues related to federal labour standards and the changing nature of work that required more in-depth review and discussions. A modern set of federal labour standards would better protect our workers and help set the stage for good-quality jobs.

[Translation]

    A group of experts, soon to be announced, will be looking at these issues.

[English]

    Let us talk about some of the changes being introduced through Bill C-86:
    Subdivision A of Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things,
(a) provide five days of paid leave for victims of family violence, a personal leave of five days with three paid days, an unpaid leave for court or jury duty and a fourth week of annual vacation with pay for employees who have completed at least 10 consecutive years of employment;
(b) eliminate minimum length of service requirements for leaves and general holiday pay and reduce the length of service requirement for three weeks of vacation with pay;
(c) prohibit differences in rate of wages based on the employment status of employees;

  (1605)  

[Translation]

    Many Canadians are victims of domestic violence. It takes so much courage and determination to make that decision to leave a violent situation. These individuals experience extreme stress and vulnerability. Sometimes, they just cannot go to work for a number of days, and the trouble is, they do not know what type of leave they can use to justify their absence.
    This five-day period of leave will help more Canadians get out of violent situations without the risk of losing their job.

[English]

    By introducing equal treatment protections, these amendments would also ensure that employees in precarious work are paid and treated fairly, and have access to the same entitlements as their full-time counterparts. As well, they would ensure that employees receive sufficient notice and compensation when their jobs are terminated, to help protect their financial security. However, change of this magnitude does not happen overnight.
    That is why up to approximately $51 million over five years starting in 2019-20, and up to about $12 million ongoing will be allocated to support the implementation and enforcement of the labour standards amendments, including education and awareness, training and increased resources for proactive enforcement and timely resolution of complaints.
    In addition to these changes to the code, we are also enhancing the wage earner protection program to provide more support for Canadians during difficult times when their employer is insolvent and they are owed wages. The wage earner protection program is a Government of Canada program that provides financial support for workers who are owed eligible wages when their employer files for bankruptcy or becomes subject to receivership. In short, the WEPP is there to help workers when they need it the most.
    Budget 2018 announced that the government would propose legislative amendments to increase the maximum payments under the WEPP and make eligibility more equitable. As such, our government is proposing to increase the maximum payment under the WEPP from an amount equal to four weeks of maximum insurable employment insurance earnings to an amount equal to seven weeks. For 2018, this would amount to an increase of up to $3,000.
    I think the members of the House would agree that this increased support is a welcome change for Canadian workers, and I am glad to say that the increase in the maximum payment would come into force on royal assent and would apply in respect of bankruptcies or receiverships that occurred on or after February 27, 2018.
    Changes would also be made to program eligibility more equitable so that workers who are owed wages, vacation, severance, or termination pay when their employer files for bankruptcy or enters receivership are better supported during a difficult time.
    The changes proposed today are part of our plan to modernize federal labour standards as part of Bill C-86. We are also introducing historic proactive pay equity legislation. This legislation would ensure that women and men in federally regulated industries receive equal pay for work of equal value.
    We have already introduced in the Canada Labour Code the right to request flexible work arrangements, new leaves and new protections for unpaid interns. More recently, we passed Bill C-65, which addresses workplace harassment and violence. We are bringing in change that Canadians have been asking for.
    We spent nearly a year consulting with Canadians, stakeholders and experts to get their perspectives on what a robust and modern set of federal leader standards should look now. Now we are taking action. We are ushering in modern and robust standards that will benefit both workers and employers.
    With modern labour standards that support good-quality jobs, employees can thrive and achieve a better balance between the demands of their personal lives and the operational requirements of their jobs, which can lead to a greater sense of well-being. By the same token, they can help employers recruit and retain employees, which can lead to an increase in productivity. Employees who come to work feeling supported by their employers are able to do their best work and to innovate, which can create a better working environment and lead to long-term gains for employers.
    It is a win-win for everyone.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    I request the support of the House to get rid of these 1960s-era provisions that are well past their best before date. We must update our labour standards to reflect the equality and quality of Canadian jobs across the country.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    Many people in Canada who are aware of problems in the cultural sector and the media might be asking themselves this question. As my colleague said, our economic performance was among the best in the G7. However, yesterday in committee, Facebook representatives told us they had decided to set up their sales offices in Canada and would begin collecting GST on their ads sometime in mid-2019. How can that be?
    How can it be that our government does not have the backbone to tell companies that sell ad services to Canadians to collect GST? That failure to act is inexplicable and has probably cost us billions in uncollected revenue at a time when we really need it.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. In 2015, Canadians spoke out loud and clear, choosing our government's plan to invest in Canadians and create good jobs, valuable opportunities and positive growth for everyone.
    We are serving Canadians and meeting their needs along the way.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in 2015 Canadians had their voices heard, but in 2015 Canadians also heard significant promises by the current government that the deficit would be $10 billion maximum and that there would be a balanced budget by 2019. Now the Liberals go on and say they are just investing in the economy and that it is making our economy stronger, but the record is clear.
    Budget 2016 promised that spending would raise the GDP by 0.5% in 2016 and by 1% in 2017 and 2018. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated the infrastructure spending only contributed a tiny 0.1% to the GDP growth in both years, or not even 10% of what was promised. How can the Liberals continue to go down this path of spending more money, increasing our deficits and increasing our debt payments $15 billion more over a four-year period? That is $15 billion more in payments just for interest.
    How can the government continue to support investments like that, requiring more interest payments by this generation and, more importantly, downloading them onto our children and grandchildren?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his question. I repeat once again that, in 2015, Canadians spoke out loud and clear, choosing our government's plan. I would also add that we have decided to invest in an economy that works for everyone, and I will give a few example of what we have achieved since 2015: over 500,000 jobs created; the lowest unemployment rate in nearly a decade; the Canada child benefit, which is helping many families in my riding; opportunities created for young people thanks to the Canada summer jobs initiative; support for our seniors as part of the new horizons for seniors program; significant investments in infrastructure across the country; and the list goes on.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there is almost no way for me to exaggerate the crisis in housing being experienced across this country, and particularly in the Lower Mainland. In my constituency of Vancouver Kingsway, we have renters who cannot find affordable places and a dream of home ownership by young people that has been crushed. People are leaving the communities they grew up in.
    Members of the current government claim they are interested in housing, and while the Liberals say they have allocated $40 billion for housing, it is actually $20 billion because $20 billion of that is coming from the provinces. The $20 billion is tied to provincial contributions and it is over 10 years, most of which would flow after 2019.
    Does my hon. colleague really understand that there is a housing crisis in this country? If that is the case, why are the Liberals putting so little money into housing, and why are Canadians having to wait so long for any of that federal money to actually flow?

  (1615)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that there is an affordable housing crisis. To answer his question, I want to tell him what is happening in my riding, specifically in Laval. People have been particularly happy with our government since last year because we are taking action and introducing something that is going to help people who really need it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am going to start where the Liberals just left off. The Liberals said, unbelievably, that somehow Canadians who are in the immense turmoil that exists currently with the housing crisis in so many parts of this country are happy with the government. I can say first-hand, from living in New Westminster—Burnaby, which is, in a sense, in the epicentre of the housing crisis, that tonight there are women, men and families wondering whether they can keep a roof over their heads. As rents rise, and they have limited pensions or are working at minimum wage, they do not believe they can keep up. There are women, men and families worried about whether they will ever have housing again. That is why so many shelters are filled to the brim. It is a national tragedy, yet what we have heard today from the Liberals is that everything is just fine. It clearly is not.
    We need a federal government that understands the principle of a roof over every single Canadian's head and that will make the required investments so that housing becomes a priority again in this country. That is certainly something Jagmeet Singh has been speaking to right across this country as he talks with Canadians. There is no doubt in his mind that the housing crisis is critical and that we have to respond with the kind of effort we did after the Second World War.
    I have mentioned this before in the House. We built 300,000 housing units in the space of 30 months. Governments at that time understood that the men and women in service overseas were coming back to Canada and deserved to have a roof over their heads. That is why in places like New Westminster, like 109 Glover, which is my address, those houses were built in 1947, 1948 and 1949. We built hundreds of thousands of units. Today the government pretends that it has done something. It has manufactured, in a bizarre way, some cooked-up figures, as if it is actually addressing the housing crisis. It is a tragedy that the government does not understand the importance of this. There is nothing in this budget implementation bill that addresses the housing crisis.
    There is nothing in the budget implementation bill that addresses the crisis in pharmacare, either. The lack of pharmacare is something so many Canadians feel acutely. One in every five Canadians, as my colleague, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, has mentioned numerous times in the House, has no access to medications. They simply cannot afford to pay for them. Businesses have to pay billions of dollars a year for drug plans. The good businesses, of course, provide drug plans to their employees. Businesses that care less choose not to do that, but then those employees become part of the one in every five Canadians who cannot afford medications.
    These are the big, glaring errors in this budget implementation bill. When the government could have chosen to take action, it chose, instead, to do nothing. It aggravated it, appallingly to me and to so many Canadians, with a massive $14-billion corporate tax writeoff scheme. That is $14 billion of taxpayers' money. Stunningly, when I talked to the finance officials and asked if it was true what I was reading on page 58 that plush corporate jets and stretch limousines were included as part of these massive corporate tax writeoffs that could go to Bay Street companies, they said yes, it was very true; stretch limousines, absolutely; plush private jets, absolutely.
    The government is not prioritizing the needs of Canadians by putting in place single-payer universal pharmacare, putting in place housing in this country at a time when it is in crisis or responding to the needs of indigenous children. They are profoundly underfunded and disadvantaged for life because of the up to $10,000 funding gap per pupil per year in indigenous schools because of the chronic underfunding by the federal government.
    Instead of responding to all of this, we have what is before us. What is before us had some good intentions. Pay equity was a very good intention. The federal government slapped itself on the back and said it did a good job. It was then referred to committee, which heard from witnesses. It heard from the Coalition for Pay Equity, CUPE, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Labour Congress. It heard from a wide variety of activists who have been fighting for pay equity and making sure that women are paid equally for work of equal value for years. Each one of them said that there were major flaws and that this bill had holes that must be addressed.

  (1620)  

    The pay equity coalition was particularly eloquent in this regard. It said that unless these flaws were fixed, women would have to go back to court so they could actually get equal pay for work of equal value. That is a compelling argument. Parliamentarians from the Liberal Party were at the committee and heard from the Coalition for Pay Equity, the teamsters, CUPE, PSAC and of course, the CLC, all of them saying the same thing, to fix the flaws. Every single one of them said that if these flaws were not fixed, women would have to return to court. Therefore, the Liberals cannot brag about bringing pay equity. All they can brag about is bringing a flawed bill to the floor of the House of Commons.
    The NDP, because we are the worker bees in this House, went to work. We worked night and day. We came up with dozens of amendments to fix all the flaws. The Liberals put forward a flawed bill. However, our job, as parliamentarians, is to fix the flaws. When I went to committee last week, my full expectation, despite the fact that the Liberals were bulldozing the bill through committee, was that the Liberals would accept the amendments and fix the flaws in the bill, even though we did all the work. Unbelievably, the Liberal MPs who sat at committee and heard about the massive flaws that would lead to women having to go back to court to achieve pay equity refused to entertain any amendments whatsoever.
    Now we are left at report stage with a deeply flawed piece of legislation. Not a single Liberal can get up and say that the government has fixed pay equity, because it has not. The Liberals had a chance. We did the work for them. We were willing to let them take the credit, because the only thing that seems to concern them is who gets credit. We do not care. We just want this fixed. We want pay equity to be a reality. We do not want women to have to go back to court. The Liberals said no. Therefore, we are left with a bill with all the massive flaws identified by witness after witness. Not a single Liberal MP was willing to stand up for pay equity at committee. Not a single MP was willing to fix the flaws.
    That is just one issue in a very sad narrative. I only have 10 minutes. I could speak for hours on this, because there are flaws identified in other parts of this massive omnibus piece of legislation. It is the biggest in our history, at 850 pages. It was thrown at the House of Commons with all kinds of flaws and mistakes written in, yet the Liberals were unwilling, even when other parties did the work for them, to entertain any fixes to the flaws.
    Unfortunately, what that means is that this will be exactly like what we saw with the Harper government. Half a dozen times, a court threw out the legislation, because the Conservatives steamrolled it through the House of Commons rather than listening to elected representatives and experts so they could fix the flaws. Tragically, we are going to see women being forced to go back to court to throw out a piece of legislation on pay equity that could have been fixed. We did the work for them.
    The most frustrating thing is that the current Liberal government does not have the character to understand that it is not who gets the credit; it is that the work is done right. We have always believed that the work needs to be done right. That is our role in Parliament, as Canadians chose in the last election. Up until the next election, we will continue to do that work.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    I must oppose the bill at report stage. There are huge errors in this bill, and the Liberals rejected dozens of amendments that we proposed. They refused to improve the bill, and this is why I will vote against it.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am going to focus my question on the member's housing analysis for a very simple reason. Not one single fact was presented in the argument he made to the House.
    The NDP will complain that if we spend money this year, we should have spent it last year. If we spent money last year, why are we not spending it this year? If we spend it over 10 years, why are we not spending it all right now? If we are spending it all right now, what are we going to do for the next 10 years? It has an argument against any action any government takes ever.
    When we take a look at what the NDP promised, if it had been elected to government this time, it would have spent zero dollars on affordable housing in the year we are currently in. It is in the platform. Actually, it would have been three years in a row of zero dollars on affordable housing, not a single penny on new housing.
    On homelessness, the issue the member spoke to specifically, which he thinks is suddenly a crisis, quite clearly, the drafting of the platform last time did not see it that way, because there was $10 million a year. Liberals are spending $10 million in Vancouver and Toronto alone in new dollars and $100 million across the country. We doubled those funds. The only thing worse than the argument just presented was the NDP platform presented to Canadian people in the last election.
    Madam Speaker, the member needs to understand that despite the influence of Donald Trump and Trumpism, repeating something that is false over and over again does not make it true. That is very simple and very straightforward.
    Heather has a daughter and a mother. The three of them live together in a one-bedroom apartment, and the fact is that she is wondering whether next month she will still have a roof over her head, because she works for minimum wage.
    The fact is that when John's pension could not keep up, he ended up sleeping on the sofa of a friend, and eventually, a senior who had worked all his life, on the Liberals' watch, ended up at a parkade in downtown Westminster sleeping in his last possession, which was a car.
    The fact is that Ed tries every night to find an affordable apartment, because he wants to move out of the shelter. However, he finds that within minutes of anything going online, it is already impossible to get that particular apartment, because it is taken so quickly.
    Those are the facts. I wish Liberals would listen to real Canadians for a change.
    Madam Speaker, this kind of debate is devastating for me. There are parts of what the Liberal government is saying that are quite correct. There is much I agree with from the New Democrats. We could just have a conversation saying that we need pay equity, we need universal child care and we need housing and ask how we get there from here because we know it is not in this budget. More than anything, we need a climate program that actually ensures that we have a world that will allow human beings to live on it. We need a habitable planet. We do not have that from the government. We have promises of it from many of the parties in this place.
    I would just ask my friend from New Westminster—Burnaby if there is any way we can see a way out of this constant hyperpartisan wrangling. If we can put our political stripes aside and find ways to agree with each other on some things, we can move to agree with each other on the big things.

  (1630)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to start off by congratulating the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on her engagement. She will be married very soon, and I think all members of the House join in congratulating her and wishing her and her husband-to-be the very best in the years to come.
    Second, the reason we worked night and day to get those amendments in to fix the pay equity bill was that we do not care who gets the credit. What we do care about is that pay equity becomes a reality in this country and that women are not forced to go back to court to obtain the rights they had to go to court to acquire in the first place. That is the starting point.
    The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands raises an important point. We have to make sure that we are getting the work done. It is not a series of talking points that makes difference. It is developing and producing results. That is why we worked so hard at report stage at committee to fix all the flaws identified in the bill by witnesses. We listened to witnesses and provided those amendments. I share her incredible disappointment that the Liberals did not accept a single opposition amendment. They became partisan. If they had accepted the amendments, we would have a much better piece of legislation.

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, International Development; the hon. member for North Island—Powell River, Housing; and the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, Employment Insurance.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a great privilege to speak to this House about Bill C-86, which represents our government's next steps to advance the mandate given to us by Canadians.
    In 2015, Canadians sent us to Ottawa on a promise to grow the economy, support Canada's middle class and most vulnerable, and build a more inclusive and prosperous nation for all Canadians. Over the last three years, our government has made great progress on this promise.
    Across the country, a strong and growing middle class is driving economic growth, and creating new jobs and more opportunities for people to succeed. While there is still more work to be done to ensure that every Canadian has a fair chance at success, real progress has been made. More Canadians are working, wages are growing, and Canadians and business are confident in their future.
    The Canada child benefit, CCB, is helping families with the high cost of raising children by putting more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 families, helping to lift 521,000 people, including nearly 300,000 children, out of poverty. It is a measure that is making a real difference in Halifax.
    This summer, I was at Mulgrave Park in our city's north end. It is a vibrant public housing community where many families benefit from the CCB. In a conversation with the executive director of Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre, Crystal John, I asked her what she had been hearing from families about how the CCB is helping them. She told me that one important way to help is by giving families the funds to purchase nutritious meals for children. We know that food is expensive and that healthy food is even more expensive. Therefore, ensuring children are well fed, receiving the nutrients they need from healthy food, with fresh fruits and vegetables, is critically important. This is the positive impact of the CCB on the ground in Halifax and across the country.
    Of course, more than nine million Canadians are also benefiting from the government's middle-class tax cut. By this time next year, a typical middle-class family of four will receive on average $2,000 more each year as a result of these two measures to help with the cost of raising their children and saving for their future. This will help grow the economy for the benefit of everyone. We have also enhanced the Canada pension plan, which will provide more Canadians with a secure retirement.
    We have made historic investments in infrastructure, including the national housing strategy, which is helping Canadians with a secure, safe and affordable place to call home. I will say that, as a former city planner, this is a point of great pride for me. Secure and affordable housing is fundamental to a citizen's well-being. We have taken important steps to create a strategy that is smart, focused on the vulnerable and rights-based. Now, Canada's strong fiscal position, which includes the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, allows the government to continue investing in the middle class and to lay a solid foundation for future generations.
    In November, the Minister of Finance presented the federal government's 2018 fall economic statement, and here are some of the measures that it included.
    First, the government is taking action to help Canadian businesses to compete, succeed and create good, well-paying jobs. We are introducing new tax incentives that will support business investment in Canada, including allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing or processing of goods. We are also cutting red tape to make it easier to do business in Canada while protecting Canadians' health, safety and the environment.
    The fall economic statement also makes important investments in a new social finance fund. The government recognizes that innovative approaches are needed to tackle persistent and complex social challenges that make it difficult for some Canadians to succeed and reach their full potential. To encourage and realize innovative ideas, the Government of Canada is creating a new social finance fund to allow potential investors to partner with charities, non-profit and social purpose organizations to work together to solve our country's biggest social challenges. We are also providing support to social purpose organizations to improve their ability to successfully participate in the social finance market. All told, the social finance fund is expected to help create thousands of jobs, foster economic growth and help us build a more equal and fair Canada.
    In Halifax, we are so lucky to have a vibrant community of passionate people working in the social innovation field. Just last week, I had the opportunity to invite the Minister of Innovation to Halifax for a reception at Common Good Solutions, an incubator and consulting agency that helps social enterprises start and grow. Its fearless leader, David Upton, has been a strong voice for government support for social enterprises, and I have been proud to stand along with him. In speaking with him since last week, he is thrilled with what the new social finance fund will mean for this growing industry.

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    One more important update in the fall economic statement is support for Canadian journalism. A strong and independent news media is crucial to a well-functioning democracy. The government recognizes the vital role that journalism plays in communities across Canada and is making key investments to ensure that Canadians in underserved communities continue to have access to informed and reliable news coverage.
    New measures include allowing non-profit news organizations to receive charitable donations and issue official donation receipts; introducing a new refundable tax credit that supports original news content creation, including local news; and introducing a new temporary, non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news media.
    There is still more work to do but the progress we have made to date is extraordinary and we are not slowing down. We will continue to fight for Canada's middle class and vulnerable Canadians. The budget elements included in Bill C-86 will go a long way to help us realize this goal. I encourage all members to support it.
    I am going to share a few more excellent points about the budget bill and I am sure that everyone in the House will be interested in hearing them.
    Members have heard me say before that Nova Scotia is home to some of the brightest scientists and researchers in the world at leading research institutions like Dalhousie University, St. Mary's University, the Bedford Institution of Oceanography and the IWK, the Izaak Walton Killam Children's Hospital and more. For the last year, they have rallied around the recommendations of the Fundamental Science Review, also known as the Naylor report, which was commissioned by this government under the leadership of our Minister