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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 364

CONTENTS

Tuesday, December 4, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 364
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

    Pursuant to section 28 of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, it is my duty to present to the House the report of the Conflict of interest and Ethics Commissioner on an inquiry in relation to the hon. member for Calgary Midnapore.

[English]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas respecting its participation at the 10th gathering of ParlAmericas' Gender Equality Network, held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from May 22 to 24.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Public Safety and National Security 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 28th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security concerning Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act.

[English]

    The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back, under very constrained timelines, with extensive amendments.
     I want to take this opportunity to thank staff, officials and members for their extensive co-operation in presenting this report to the House today.

Petitions

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present two petitions.
     The first petition relates to the Canada summer jobs program. It highlights that the government's attestation requirement last year was in breach of the charter rights of Canadians.
     The petitioners ask that next year, which is coming up very soon, the government not include the discriminatory attestation requirement.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with respect to impaired driving.
    The petitioners highlight that the Prime Minister, leading up to the last election, promised to make impaired driving much more serious, that there would be mandatory minimums. They are disappointed that the Prime Minister has not keep that promise and is actually watering it down.
     The petitioners ask the government to reconsider and to include mandatory sentencing for impaired driving causing death.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of 350 signatories, I have the honour of tabling a petition
    The petitioners ask that the House of Commons support Bill S-214 and ban the sale and manufacturing of animal tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada. With alternative safety tests available that are faster, more accurate and cheaper, animal testing is unnecessary to prove the safety of cosmetic products, let alone the ethical difficulties with this practice.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from the ridings of Nickel Belt, Kelowna—Lake Country, Mission and Fraser Canyon.
     The 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 taxpayer money studying a ban on guns that are already banned.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan asked that I present a petition with respect to the illicit trafficking of human organs.
     The petitioners ask for there to be a law against people going to other countries to have organs transplanted that have been taken from people without their consent.

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, because vision loss is predicted to double over the next 20 years and because the most vulnerable people are children, seniors and indigenous people, petitioners in Nanaimo—Ladysmith ask the government to recognize that early detection and better access to eye health care service could prevent vision impairment. They call for the recognition that vision care is a growing public health care problem and urge the government to act proactively to prevent blindness in the first place.
    I want to thank the organizations in Nanaimo—Ladysmith that have gathered hundreds of signatures for this cause.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Mr. Speaker, today I present a petition in regard to Ukrainians travelling to Canada visa-free for a stay of up to 90 days, especially given the fact that we successfully signed the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement on July 11 in Kiev, which came into force August 1, 2017.

Infant Loss  

    Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition wherein the petitioners call upon the government to bring legislation forward immediately following the report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources to provide better compassion and support for parents of pregnancy and infant loss and ensure they do not suffer any undue hardship as the result of federal government programming.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition from a number of Canadians.
    The petitioners urge Parliament to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to prohibit Canadians from travelling abroad to acquire human organs removed without consent or as a result of a financial transaction.

Questions on the Order Paper

     Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—The Economy  

    That the House: (a) recognize the severity of the looming job crisis in Canada caused by the failed economic policies of the Liberal government, especially for (i) workers in the energy sector impacted by the Liberal carbon tax, the no-more-pipelines Bill C-69, and the ban on offshore oil tankers, (ii) workers in the auto and manufacturing sector impacted by the Liberal carbon tax and failed policies that put Canada in a competitive disadvantage, (iii) workers in the steel and aluminum sectors impacted by the Liberals’ failure to have tariffs removed from their products during NAFTA negotiations, (iv) workers in the forestry sector impacted by the Liberals’ failure to resolve the softwood lumber dispute during NAFTA negotiations, (v) farmers impacted by increased input costs due to the Liberal carbon tax, (vi) workers in sectors that rely on those above, whose jobs and incomes depend on the vitality of the Canadian economy, (vii) workers in all sectors impacted by the toxic medley of carbon taxes, higher payroll taxes, higher personal income taxes, tax increases on local businesses, and costly and burdensome regulations; and (b) call on the government to (i) eliminate the carbon tax, (ii) repeal Bill C-69, (iii) resolve the dispute on steel and aluminum tariffs, (iv) resolve the softwood lumber dispute, (v) lower taxes, (vi) streamline regulations, (vii) open up interprovincial and international markets.

[Translation]

    Today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending December 10, and in view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the appropriation bill be distributed now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

  (1010)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to stand in this place on behalf of the people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I will be splitting my time with the eloquent member for Lethbridge.
    Over the past few years, we have watched the ongoing demise of our energy sector. Regardless of what people may think of northern gateway, or energy east or the northern tanker ban, the end result is clear. Billions of dollars of investment and thousands of new jobs are leaving Canada. If this were just the Canadian energy sector, that would be a huge concern all on its own. However, we know it is not just the energy sector.
    Last week in question period I asked about multiple factories in different sectors that had closed their doors and left Canada: General Electric in Peterborough closed, 358 jobs gone; Campbell Soup in Toronto closed, 380 jobs gone; Procter and Gamble in Brockville closed, 500 jobs gone. These are just a few examples. Keep in mind that these major companies are not leaving North America; they are just consistently saying no to manufacturing in Canada. Should we not pause to consider some of the reasons why?
    We all heard the deeply troubling news that General Motors would close its Oshawa plant. To be fair, General Motors is closing plants in the United States as well. However, in Canada, we know this will have a much larger impact. Many smaller plants provide parts and supplies for this Oshawa factory.
    Should we not ask why so many of these manufacturing plants are leaving Canada?
    When we have raised this question in this place, we have heard mixed messages from our Prime Minister. Some days he will tell us that all is well and that there is nothing to see here. Other days he will find some way to suggest that this is all the fault of the previous Harper government. However, when in Alberta, he will acknowledge that, yes. this is a crisis. Then he turns around and offers up a budget update with no new solutions for Canadian energy. Ultimately, none of these explanations address the underlying fact.
    Canada is losing critically important well-paying jobs. What are the reasons?
    We know that the enhanced CPP created by the Liberal Government amounts to a payroll tax to employers. It increases the costs of doing business in Canada. Our competitors did not increase payroll taxes in this way.
    We also know that a carbon tax increases the price of doing business in Canada. The Liberals seem loathe to hear that point, yet the Liberal government announced carbon tax relief for big polluters in Canada. Why? We all know why. Because our competitors do not have a carbon tax.
    A Liberal parliamentary secretary, in this place, on the record, admitted that job losses and economic consequences would result from competitive concerns. Therefore, let us recap.
    The Liberal government recognizes and reluctantly admits that the carbon tax is job killer that will harm the economy. They said so in this place. That brings me to the topic of coal.
     Recently the Liberal government provided a 95.5% carbon tax discount on burning coal for power in New Brunswick. Why? Because the Prime Minister and his inner circle decided that this was something Canada should do. Is it because the United States and Mexico do not have a carbon tax on the burning of coal? We do not know.
    Aside from coal there are other challenges.
    Some of our competing jurisdictions in the United States are right to work states. I find that when a company leaves Canada and moves production to the United States, it often relocates to a right to work state.
    Look at the Bombardier deal with Airbus. The C-Series jet, subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, now will be built in a plant in Alabama. Alabama happens to be a right to work state.
    The General Electric plant that will build 60 new locomotives CN just ordered to help move oil by rail because we cannot do it by pipeline is located in Texas, also a right to work state.
    Proctor & Gamble left Ontario and moved production to West Virginia. Virginia has right to work legislation.

  (1015)  

    I mention this because here in Canada, mandatory union dues are frequently used in playing partisan politics. We are witnessing an example of this with Unifor. However, we have other challenges. Despite a new NAFTA agreement, steel and aluminum tariffs remain, softwood lumber tariffs remain and buy American provisions remain.
     In the past, we have had a favourable exchange rate when comparing the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar. Sadly, much of those exchange rate savings have now been eaten up by costs and regulations that we have placed on ourselves.
    Think about all of the debate around how best to respond to Saudi Arabia. The Prime Minister continues to support buying Saudi Arabian oil while his Bill C-69 kills the possibility for the energy east pipeline. Why? Saudi Arabian oil flows to the Irving refinery in Atlantic Canada and Saudi Arabia is a country with no carbon tax. Somehow to the Liberal government this all makes sense.
    Make no mistake that Bill C-69 will kill our Canadian resource sector. Every single day we watch anywhere from $40 million to $80 million in lost resource revenue go out the door in Alberta. That is almost as fast as our Prime Minister can tweet Canadians' money away in new promises to his American celebrity friends. Meanwhile, we turn the other way while money from outside of Canada continues to fund the very groups who oppose our Canadian oil made by Canadian citizens who pay Canadian taxes.
     Seriously, we have a problem here. Make no mistake that it is a Canadian problem. Right now we are talking about General Motors shutting down a plant in Oshawa, Ontario, but what will be next and where?
     On a more local note, I would like to share an example. Many members have heard of Tolko Industries. It is a Canadian success story with strong roots in the Okanagan. Tolko runs over 15 different lumber operations in three provinces in western Canada. Where did Tolko announce its next major investment and expansion earlier this year? That would be in the state of Louisiana. Members may have already guessed that Louisiana is also a right-to-work state. The last mill that Tolko closed was located in my riding in the community of Merritt.
     Unlike the Prime Minister who tries to lay every one of his failures at the feet of Mr. Harper, I am not going to lay every one of these challenges at the feet of the Prime Minister. We cannot control what happens outside of our borders. We cannot control if other countries reject a carbon tax, and they have. We cannot control if they reject looking at resource projects through a gender lens, and they have. We cannot control if they lower the costs of doing business in their jurisdiction, and they are. We here in Canada cannot stop other nations, our trading partners, from implementing policies that they believe will make them more competitive.
    Here is what we can do. This motion proposes that we should recognize we have the power to compete here in Canada. When and wherever Canadians compete on a level playing field, we can compete with the best in the world. We can succeed. In my view, we cannot continue to enact policy, regulation and taxation where others do not follow. We as Canadians like to think we are leading the way, but when others do not follow our lead and when we lose jobs and investment to other jurisdictions, we need to take notice.
     There is an upside, in one word: opportunity. Canada is a rich and resourceful country. We have incredibly talented people who live here. We are a world-class place to live and to raise a family. However, we cannot tax away our best and brightest, nor can we regulate new opportunities.
    If we are to truly succeed, we need to be competitive. We need to allow our innovators, our best and brightest to have the opportunity they need to succeed. We need new employers knocking on our door, not just because they want handouts and subsidies but because they know they can get a return here on their investments. However, they need to be able to invest and to build easily and relatively quickly. We have almost lost that here in Canada. Deep down, I think most in this place would admit that. Fortunately, we have a capable and skilled workforce. We have good infrastructure to get goods and services to markets and, thankfully, because of considerable effort from previous governments, and with some ongoing efforts from the current government, we have trade access to many of the world's most lucrative marketplaces.
     In closing, we must not overlook our opportunity. Compared to many jurisdictions, we have relatively clean power here in Canada. We need to show the world that using Canadian-made goods and services is part of the solution. However, the first step is to recognize there is a problem, and ultimately, that is what this motion is meant to do.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the points the hon. member made during his remarks was the threat of higher payroll taxes, as he phrased it, to jobs and workers in the Canadian economy. I am curious then if it is the Conservative Party of Canada's plan, should it have the opportunity to form government, to repeal the changes we have made to enhance the Canada pension plan to protect our seniors for future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, at a time when the government is proposing a job-killing carbon tax that will raise the price of everything, including groceries, I am very mindful of the working poor who are trying to get by. They are reading this morning that there will be a 3.5% increase in the cost of groceries, groceries that feed their families.
    CPP takes away from those people who are working hard today and gives it to them in the future. That is important, but we need to bear in mind that next year we will have increased employment insurance rates and increased Canada pension plan rates. We will have a carbon tax which the Province of Ontario, the Province of New Brunswick and the Province of Saskatchewan have all rejected as making it harder for people to put food on the table.
    The government is cascading our economy and people who do not have the means to feed themselves are going to be worse for wear. That is why the government needs to be looking at this motion today. We need to start reversing that trend so people can put food on the table and put away money for retirement. That is what the government needs to focus on.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the Conservative Party's opposition motion. Unfortunately, the motion is overly ambitious and has way too much going on. We agree that there has to be a price on pollution and that polluters cannot be allowed to keep doing what they are doing if we want to honour our Paris Agreement commitments.
    I have a question for my Conservative Party colleague. What does he think of the negotiating skills of the Liberal Party, which does not mind signing free trade agreements with the United States even though steel and aluminum tariffs are still hurting our economy, our industries and our workers?
    Does he believe that, by signing the agreement while the tariffs are still in place and still hurting us, the Liberal government missed a perfect opportunity to hold on to a bargaining chip in its negotiations with the United States?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with the member that the government capitulated time and time again when it came to the new NAFTA negotiations. Despite the rhetoric of the government, those steel and aluminum tariffs are hurting jobs right across this great country. With respect to softwood lumber, the first thing I did after the 2015 election was to stand up in this place to implore the government to take concrete action to engage with the Obama administration on softwood lumber. Here we are years later and there is no certainty in either of those.
    The government likes to talk a good game but delivers very poor results. I really do hope that it takes in mind this motion, because as I said in my speech, we have so many things to be thankful for and so many things we can work on, but we cannot do it if we are saddling our industries with tariffs, policies, regulations and taxes that do not allow them to compete with places like the United States.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question is about small businesses. Master Hung BBQ and Won Ton was my favourite place for dim sum and other things. Every time I went there, the owner kept saying, “Get rid of the Liberals”, because for a small business there is going to be high taxes and payroll increases and the business is going down. He is going to fold his business if nothing is going to happen. I would like to ask my colleague to expand on that.
    Mr. Speaker, I will just repeat what was in the motion itself, that basically, workers in all sectors are impacted by the toxic medley of carbon taxes, higher payroll taxes, higher personal income taxes, tax increases on local businesses and burdensome regulations. All of these things are reasons why small businesses should, as the restaurant owner indicated, not support the Liberals in the next election.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect much better than what they are receiving right now. They expect the government to implement policies that will create jobs, steward tax dollars and advocate for the most vulnerable, such as seniors, veterans and those living with a disability. They expect the government to stand up and provide good health care. They expect the government to deliver services with excellence. They expect the government to do this while cutting back on wasteful spending and bringing investment into our country.
    Canadians are incredibly hard-working people with a ton of potential and that potential deserves to be realized. It is up to government to put policies in place and decrease regulation to make sure that is the case. Unfortunately, the government has failed. At a time when the government should be focused on making life more affordable by getting out of the way, it is focusing on implementing even more regulations and slamming Canadians with further taxation. It is driving investment and jobs out of our country and making life less affordable.
    According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll that was released just after Christmas, almost 50% of Canadian families are within $200 a month of not being able to pay their household bills, not being able to put food on the table, not being able to pay their mortgages or rent and not being able to pay for the fuel for their vehicles that take them to work to earn their next dollar. To make matters worse, the prospect of recovering from this dreadful place in which we exist looks rather bleak under the current government and its policies. We face a looming job crisis in Canada caused by the government's failed economic policies and yet the Prime Minister insists on villainizing those who actually create the jobs that keep our economy afloat. I am talking about the women and men who dare to take a calculated risk, to invest capital and create jobs by creating local businesses.
    We might remember the small business tax the government tried to sneak through in the summer of 2017. According to the Prime Minister, 1.4 million Canadians who have led by vision, have taken substantial risk and have worked hard to start and operate their businesses are nothing more than what he called tax cheats. Their businesses, according to him, are not job creators. According to him, they are simply tax havens. They are tax havens for the so-called wealthy. That is rather rich coming from the Prime Minister, who has never worked a day in his life and was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
    The Prime Minister was not talking about multinational corporations when he said that. In fact, they are protected. They get the easy route. Instead, he launched an attack on locally owned businesses that sustain our communities. I am talking about the hairdresser we have relied on for years, the family doctor we go to when a child is sick, the cashier who works at the local hardware store, the farmer in Picture Butte in my riding and the college student who just got her first job as a welder. According to the Prime Minister, it is unfair for those who create these jobs to invest some of that money in their company for the further advancement of their well-being and, of course, job creation for others.
    However, thanks to the resistance of Canadians and the fact that they pushed back and joined the Conservative Party of Canada in the House as the official opposition, we were successful in pushing back on those changes and making some headway. Collectively, hard-working Canadians took a stand on behalf of small business owners. It is proof that Canadians will not sit idly by as the current government damns our country to a poor future.
    Once again, Conservatives are appealing. It is not just increased small business taxes and payroll taxes that are hurting local businesses; it is also the carbon tax. This summer, the federal government granted special exemption to Canada's biggest emitters, but despite providing breaks to these companies, the federal government still intends to impose a carbon tax on local businesses and families.
    My question is simple: In what world does that make sense? If, in fact, the carbon tax is being put in place to reduce emissions, then would it not make sense to tax those putting the most pollution in the environment? We have no choice but to conclude that the carbon tax is not actually about reducing the carbon footprint or taking pollution out of the environment. The carbon tax is just another excuse to apply a tax to the hard-working people of this country.
     Each and every day I wake up and read the news, I see that investment is fleeing. I am watching companies close their doors. When I walk through the downtown core of my local riding in the city of Lethbridge, I see signs in windows that businesses are shutting down. They are being driven away because of the Liberal government's policies.

  (1030)  

    The truth of the matter is that the government will continue to impose a huge carbon tax on families and these local businesses. However, it will not reduce the carbon footprint. We still need clothes, we still need food and we still need to drive ourselves to work. All of these things will continue to happen, because Canada needs to stay open. Canadians need to continue to live. Our country and well-being are at stake. The government is being nothing other than cruel, unkind and unfair to the Canadian people by imposing this senseless carbon tax.
    Speaking of keeping Canada's economy afloat, let us talk about trade for a moment. This weekend, Canada ratified the USMCA. The fact is we have a deal, but all Canadians should be asking if we have a good deal. Ultimately, the USMCA must be judged on how Canada benefits. The deal should be evaluated based on what Canada gave up versus what it received in return. Sadly, in this case, we gave up much more than we received. There is really nothing in the USMCA that puts Canada in a better position.
    The government backed down on automotive, it backed down on dairy and it backed down on pharmaceuticals. As well, for all these concessions, Canada was unable to win anything significant in return. In fact, tariffs still remain on steel, aluminum and softwood, and the U.S. has told us it has absolutely no timeline in place by which it will remove those tariffs. We signed an agreement without insisting these tariffs come off.
    We have a Prime Minister who does not care enough about his country and these industries to advocate on their behalf, to ensure their well-being and to stand up for Canadian workers. That is sad.
    In my riding, there is a business called Lethbridge Iron, which continues to take hit after hit with payroll taxes, small business taxes and tariffs on steel. I have met with representatives multiple times and toured the facility. They are working incredibly hard, but they are taking hit after hit and are unsure how much longer they can keep their doors open and their employees employed.
    Let us talk about the pipeline for a moment. This is an example of a $400-million investment that was driven out of our country overnight. The government had an opportunity to keep that investment here. It had an opportunity to sign on the dotted line and provide Kinder Morgan with the certainty it needed to stay here and build a project. Instead, the government refused to provide that certainty and drove this investor out. Where did Kinder Morgan go? It did not stop investing. It just went south, to the U.S. We are without this pipeline.
    Of course, we know this pipeline is of huge significance to Canada. Yes, it provides great-paying jobs, but more than that, it helps us get a product to market. When we can get that product to market, our country will receive an income. When we receive that income, we can build hospitals, we can build schools, and we can build roads and bridges. All Canadians benefit when we develop the oil and gas industry here in Canada.
    The fact of the matter is the Prime Minister has taken tax dollars and invested them in this pipeline, and we are getting absolutely no return for this investment. It is interesting how that works. The Prime Minister takes our money and invests it, and nothing happens. However, if we were to encourage a private investor to come into our country and invest it, a ton would happen.
    My point is simple. Right now, because we are refusing to develop the oil and gas industry, we are actually purchasing blood oil. We are purchasing our oil and gas from places like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, places that have atrocious human rights records and almost no environmental standards. That is the type of industry we are choosing to support, instead of developing it right here in our country and bringing investment home.
    In conclusion, we are calling on the government to act in the best interests of Canadians by eliminating the carbon tax, by repealing Bill C-69, by resolving the dispute on steel and aluminum tariffs, by resolving the softwood lumber dispute, by lowering taxes, by streamlining regulations and by opening up our markets. Let us bring Canada back. Let us put Canadians first.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I noticed a lot of rhetoric about our environmental policies, both contained in the text of today's motion but also during my hon. colleague's remarks.
    I am curious. Is it her position that climate change is a serious threat that we need to take action on? If so, what specific measures will the Conservative Party put in place to combat climate change? It has been almost a year since her leader took that office, and I have yet to see a single policy designed to fight climate change coming from the Conservative side.
    Mr. Speaker, here is some Liberal logic: We need to bring down the carbon footprint, therefore we will allow the largest emitters to go free. Instead, we will impose this carbon tax on local businesses and on moms, dads and other hard workers across this country.
    In what world will that reduce the carbon footprint? In what world will that reduce pollution? In what world does that count as an environmental policy for the benefit of Canada?
    The answer is none, because that world does not exist.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    She is right about one thing. The Liberal government did indeed give four industrial sectors, including the cement sector, a gift of 10% with regard to their greenhouse gas emissions. That is completely ridiculous given their rhetoric and discourse.
    I would like to come back to Bill C-69 and environmental assessments. I am somewhat familiar with this file and I would like to hear my colleague's opinion.
    The Liberal government gave the Minister of Environment the arbitrary power to decide which projects will be assessed. Following the environmental assessment, the government must listen to and follow the minister's recommendations.
    Does my colleague not think that that approach gives the government a lot of arbitrary power to decide what it does or does not want to do?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-69 is a piece of legislation that was brought in by the Liberals.
    Based on my observations and my reading of the bill, what it really does is handcuff an entire industry, and that is of course the oil and gas industry, which has supported this country for years and years and could potentially support it for years to come.
    The government, for whatever reason, has decided that it is going to handcuff this industry, that it is not going to allow new pipelines to be put in the ground and that it does not want our country to benefit from the development of its natural resources.
    I am unsure as to why the government feels that way. I am unsure as to why the Prime Minister feels he should bankrupt our country and drive investment out of it. Perhaps the member could explain.
    Mr. Speaker, Ram Industries Inc. in my riding creates steel products. It requires a very specific steel from the States to manufacture those products, and of course it sells back to the States. It is facing these aluminum and steel tariffs with much trepidation. Its passive income, the very passive income the government said it did not deserve to have, is being eaten up. Now, it is holding on by the skin of its teeth, not qualifying for support because the business does not have 200 employees.
    Could the member for Lethbridge tell us a little more about what it is like for businesses that are facing the government's idea of what growth in Canada really looks like?

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately these stories are many. There are stories of businesses from coast to coast, in all parts of this country, rural and urban, that are being impacted in negative ways by the government's economic policies.
    We come back to the carbon tax alone, and we look at the dramatic impact it has on these businesses, on women and men who have taken calculated risks in order to launch a company and create jobs for Canadians. These are individuals in our country who should be honoured, respected and celebrated, but instead the current government insists on punishing them. Our Prime Minister calls them fat cats.
    That is not okay. That is not the type of country I want to live in. That is clearly not the type of country many people want to invest in. That is why many of them are moving south, where they can enjoy policies that serve them to a greater extent and will help them generate wealth, not just for themselves but for future generations.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to take part in this debate today.
    The motion before the House this morning seeks to pit the economy against social and environmental progress. Over the past few years in Parliament, I have come to expect this trend from the Conservative Party of Canada. While I am disappointed that we have to have this debate, in one sense I am happy to have the opportunity to highlight the progress on the economy and the environment that our government has made.
    Today, the Conservatives have essentially laid bare for all to see their strategy to grow the economy. It is to simply abandon environmental and social protections that benefit our communities and grow our economy in the long term. By comparison, our plan is to grow the economy while we enhance environmental protections. The Conservatives seem to think this is somehow impossible, despite the fact that it is actually happening right before their very eyes.
    Despite a lot of the rhetoric contained in today's motion, our economy is doing historically well. This cannot be disputed by anyone who is actually looking at the publicly available data. For the long-term sake of our country, it is not enough to focus on short-term economic growth alone. We need to realize that protecting our environment and enhancing social protections are essential if our communities are going to thrive and our economy is going to succeed.
    Over the course of my remarks, I hope to address a few troubling aspects of the motion on the floor, but I want to start by highlighting some of the measures we have implemented to grow the economy and discussing the results of those measures, before transitioning into a discussion about the environmental measures we have put in place.
    With respect, the Conservatives have offered no plan and seem committed to an agenda of trying to trick Canadians about the measures we are putting in place in order to earn the support of Canadian citizens. They fail to show the leadership that Canadians should expect of a so-called government in waiting.
    Off the top, the motion seeks to attack our economic record and suggests there is a job crisis across the country as a result of our policies. Nothing could be further from the truth and, frankly, the results speak for themselves. Since coming into office, our economy has added over 550,000 full-time jobs, primarily in the private sector; the unemployment rate in our country is at a 40-year low, more or less since the time we started keeping track of these statistics, business profits are up and wages are growing. There is a good story to tell.
     In fact, our rate of economic growth should make the Conservatives blush. After 10 years in office, they can boast a record of demonstrating the worst rate of economic growth since the Great Depression. This is not a coincidence. The Conservatives' strategy of giving tax breaks to their millionaire friends and taking support from middle-class families is not one that will lead to economic growth; it is one that leads to the inevitable result that we saw under 10 years of Stephen Harper.
     Our government has a plan to grow the economy in a way that works for everyone, and the results are demonstrating that it is working. First and foremost, our economic growth record is characterized by support for middle-class Canadians.
    We need to look no further than the Canada child benefit, which has put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stopped sending child care cheques to millionaires. At the same time, it has lifted 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty. These statistics are very important, but what matters to me is that there is a human story behind these policies.
    I can point to a conversation I had with a young woman from my hometown in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. She told me that September was always a difficult time of year emotionally for her, because she could never afford a new outfit for her kids on the first day of school. After she started receiving more money from the Canada child benefit, she told me she was proud to be able to take care of her kids in the way her neighbours are able to, when she sends her kids to school in September. These are the kinds of human stories that breathe life into these policies.
    It is not just the Canada child benefit. We have implemented the Canada workers benefit for those who are living in low-income households but are busting their tail to get ahead. At tax time, this is going to put up to $500 more in the pockets of hard-working Canadians.
    I note in particular that the motion addresses heightened payroll taxes. The only thing I can think of that the Conservatives are referring to is our strengthening of the Canada pension plan. We want to ensure that seniors can retire in dignity, not just today but for future generations. That is why we have made these enhancements. If the Conservative Party wants to repeal that plan, the Conservatives should just come out and say so.
    We have invested in a national housing strategy to the tune of $40 billion and created, for the first time, a national poverty reduction strategy. It is going to cut homelessness in half in this country. We know these investments are important, not just because they are the right thing to do, but because they are the smart thing to do. These investments are going to allow Canada to experience economic growth, not just for the wealthiest few but for all Canadians.
    It is not just these social and economic policies that are helping grow our economy. We have taken steps to attract serious investment. I note in particular that LNG Canada recently announced the largest single private sector investment in the history of our country.

  (1045)  

    This is no coincidence. We have implemented policies to encourage this kind of investment. We have reformed our immigration policies so that we can attract more talent. We are investing in innovation. Recently, in the fall economic statement, we demonstrated that we are willing to change the rules around how we tax the manufacturing sector by allowing 100% writedowns for manufacturing equipment, because we want companies to invest in their factories to create more jobs that will put Canadians to work.
    At the same time, we are making historic public investments in infrastructure to the tune of $180 billion. What this translates to in my community as a local member of Parliament is a new twin highway between Sutherland’s River and Antigonish, a new trades innovation centre at the Nova Scotia Community College campus in Stellarton, and a new institute of government and centre for innovation in health on campus at StFX. We have investments in small craft harbours in excess of $15 million, which will help nine small rural fishing communities get jobs in the short term, and provide fishermen with a safe place to land their catch for generations to come. These are the kinds of investments that create jobs in the short term, but set the stage for long-term economic growth.
    There is some rhetoric around high taxes in the motion today. It is interesting, because one of the very first things we did as a government was cut taxes for the middle class and raise them on the 1%, and the Conservatives voted against it. When it came time to discuss small business taxation, we are actually reducing the small business tax to 9%, which is the lowest rate in the G7.
    When it comes to pursuing new trade opportunities, which the motion suggests we should do, we have secured access to the North American market by renegotiating NAFTA. We have completed the CETA negotiations. We have completed the CPTPP negotiations. We are focusing on export diversification and trying to enhance interprovincial trade. Our record on trade is impeccable, and it is helping to grow the economy and support the communities that I represent.
    When it comes to innovation, we are also making serious investments, for example, by announcing the largest investment in research in the history of our country, and by investing in superclusters, like the Ocean Supercluster for Atlantic Canada, which is going to create thousands of jobs by developing expertise in regional hubs.
    As I mentioned earlier, the results speak for themselves. We have had historic job gains over the past few years, the economy is doing well, we are experiencing a great rate of growth, our unemployment rate is low, wages are growing and business profits are up.
    However, I will take some time in my role as parliamentary secretary to speak to some of the troubling comments in the motion and in the speeches I have heard this morning with respect to the need to combat climate change.
    The motion has demonstrated that the Conservative mission in the next election is to oppose meaningful action on climate change. It is really difficult to have a debate about solutions to this threat when certain members of the opposition do not seem to believe that there is a problem to solve. It is hard to debate solutions when we cannot agree that there is a problem.
    I do not like that I have to do this, but for the benefit of those present, scientists have understood the potential impact of increased pollutants in our atmosphere for about 150 years, since the middle of the 19th century. The vast majority of the world's scientists agree that climate change is not only happening but that it is the result of man-made industrial pollution. The IPCC has recently warned us that if we do not take meaningful steps to address this problem, we are going to suffer dire social and economic consequences.
    The cost of ignoring climate change is too great to ignore.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Sean Fraser: I am being chided from the other side by people sarcastically suggesting that the consequences will not be dire, as I am giving this speech. It is remarkable. Perhaps there is a generational divide, but on this side of the House I can say that there is not a single MP I have talked to in our caucus who does not believe that climate change is real.
    We may not be able to point to any given weather system and say that it is the result of a single industrial player from the other side of the world, but we know with a high degree of confidence that, as the result of increased man-made industrial pollution, we are experiencing more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, and the cost of this is pushing $5 billion. I lived in Calgary when we experienced significant floods in 2013. We can look at the forest fires that are ravaging western Canada. We can also look at the floods in New Brunswick.
    It is hard to tell somebody whose cultural and traditional practices in northern Canada may no longer be possible that climate change is not real. It is difficult to tell somebody who cannot get insurance for flooding that has impacted their home that climate change is not real. For those here who disagree that we should take climate action seriously, and they were elected to this House, I have hard time understanding that they deserve to be here.

  (1050)  

    The other thing that really bothers me is that there are certain Conservatives who are unwilling to accept that there is a golden opportunity to fight climate change when it comes to growing the green economy, by investing in energy efficiency, for example. There is a company in my home community, the Trinity Group of Companies, which is helping make homes more efficient, bringing power bills down for people in the communities that I represent. It started with a dream of just two guys who were doing home repairs and they have added dozens of employees and they are doing work all over Atlantic Canada. These are the kinds of investments that make it apparent that, when Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has indicated there is a $23-trillion opportunity in the green economy, it is not a joke. We want to be on the front end of that wave to take advantage of the jobs that we know can result from making investments in the clean economy.
    I want to take some time to highlight some of the environmental policies we are moving forward, in particular, the fact that we are putting a price on pollution, which is very important. It is not a difficult policy to comprehend. A lot of Canadians do not appreciate that up until now, it has been free to pollute in Canada and the cost of that pollution has been downloaded to taxpayers. We want to change that. We do not think it should be free to pollute in our country. We are moving forward with a plan to put a price on pollution, so polluters will pay when they degrade our atmosphere.
    At the same time, we are going to return the revenues to communities and to Canadians to ensure that families are left better off as a result of this plan. This is not a brand new policy invention that has never existed around the world. There are many jurisdictions that have implemented this with a high degree of success. In B.C., Alberta, California, Quebec, the European Union and previously in Ontario, we have seen economic growth in clean energy sectors as a result of moving forward with these kinds of plans.
    In Australia, when a price on pollution was implemented, emissions actually came down and when it got rid of the price on pollution, emissions predictably started going back up. It is interesting who actually comes out to support our plan. We have leading scientific experts. We have leading experts in economics. This year's Nobel Prize winner in economics was awarded the prestigious prize for his research that identified this kind of a path forward to fight climate change as being effective and practical. In fact, he pointed to the system in British Columbia as a model that the world should be adopting.
    There are religious organizations saying that this is the right path forward. There are indigenous communities saying this is the right path forward. The National Farmers Union voted overwhelmingly to intervene in the court case to demonstrate that this is the right path forward because they know that the agricultural sector faces the highest risks of climate change.
    There are youth groups across the country that support putting a price on pollution. The provincial government in British Columbia supports the federal government's jurisdiction to put a price on pollution. In fact, Conservatives support a price on pollution, just not in the House. If we look at Stephen Harper's former director of policy, he has indicated the kind of policy that we are implementing today is the right path forward to fight climate change. If we look at Doug Ford's chief budget adviser, a few years ago before the Senate, he indicated that the number one thing we could be doing to transition to a low-carbon economy would be to move forward with a price on pollution.
    We have former Conservative prime ministers who support this kind of an approach, whether it is Kim Campbell, Brian Mulroney or Joe Clark. The fact is that Stephen Harper indicated back in 2008 that putting a price on pollution was a sensible path forward. I suspect the opposition to our plan to put a price on pollution comes not from a place of doing the right thing by the environment, but trying to capitalize on a populous wave of politics that has been seen to succeed in other parts of the world.
    The motion also refers to our effort to revamp the environmental assessment process. We are moving forward with a plan that will restore public confidence that was lost under Stephen Harper. We can build major projects in this country, but we need to respect our environment and include the perspective of indigenous peoples at the same time. We are putting in better rules that will allow one review for one project, which are going to give more predicable timelines and are going to allow us to get things done, but get them done in the right way.
    I mentioned the Trinity Energy Group that is benefiting from investments in clean technology. We have serious investments in green infrastructure in excess of $9 billion that are going to improve the treatment of our water and waste water. After years of having nature and conservation budgets slashed, we have made the single largest investment in nature and conservation in the history of our country, with $1.35 billion. We are making serious investments in public transit to get more people travelling together rather than taking their individual vehicles to their workplace. We are phasing out coal by 2030. The Conservatives had no plan to do so until 2062. This is not only going to have a positive environmental impact but a positive health impact on our communities as well. We know that when Canadians live near coal plants, there are higher rates of things like childhood asthma that drive up the cost of care and do not do the right thing for our kids.

  (1055)  

    The fact is the Conservatives have failed to recognize not only that we need to take meaningful action but that if we do we can capitalize on an incredible economic opportunity.
    I mentioned that it is hard to have debates about solutions when we cannot agree that there is a problem to solve. I heard a recent radio interview by the member for Cariboo—Prince George, who was asked squarely whether he believes that climate change is real and is man-made. He refused to answer the question. I have seen the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke suggest that this whole climate thing is just a jig of some kind. The member for Saskatoon—University has indicated that this whole thing is just a silly agenda. In an editorial recently, Joe Oliver, the former Conservative finance minister, suggested that it is not really worth doing anything about this problem. Recently, we have seen the Ontario provincial government's plan, with Doug Ford, who the hon. Leader of the Opposition seems to be taking his marching orders from, rolling something out that is not going to have a meaningful impact on climate change and has no pact to meeting any kind of goal that is going to allow us to avoid the dire consequences we are concerned about.
    I mentioned that I was somewhat disappointed we had to have this debate today. Frankly, I find it remarkable that the Conservatives chose to waste a day of parliamentary debate for me to stand here and highlight the success of our economic and environmental policies to date, while confessing that their strategy to grow the economy is to abandon progress on the environment and social files. This demonstrates to me that they are suffering from a real lack of leadership and an extreme lack of vision.
    In light of this, before I conclude, I would like to look at the actual text of the motion itself.
    If I look at point (a), the Conservatives talk about a looming job crisis, when we have added over half a million jobs and unemployment is at a historic low.
    They talk about the auto manufacturing sector. I have watched them try conflate the losses in Oshawa at GM to a price on pollution, which is disingenuous and hurtful to the people who are having a difficult time right now. It is in a jurisdiction where there is no price on pollution. It is simultaneous with other closures in states in the U.S. where there is no price on pollution. In fact, General Motors itself supports the kind of price that we are putting forward that returns revenues to families. If the opposition wants to dabble in the realm of post-truth politics, I invite its members to peddle their nonsense elsewhere.
    When the Conservatives are looking at NAFTA negotiations and the steel and aluminum tariffs, I have seen one of their members stand up in the House and suggest the reason they are there is because our policies are somehow actually having a negative impact on the national security of the U.S., which is ridiculous.
    When it comes to softwood lumber, we are not only investing $100 million in innovation in the forestry industry, we protected our dispute resolution clause that allows us to have an objective remedy.
    I could pick from one of 100 things here. When we look at trade, we have secured NAFTA, CETA, CPTPP. The Conservatives suggest there are higher personal income taxes. The reality is the middle class is paying lower taxes today and the 1% is paying more. They talk about business taxes, which have come down to 9%, the lowest in any G7 country.
    I am proud of the record we can stand on. There is hardly an element of truth in this motion.
    The Conservatives' strategy in the next election seems to be to trick Canadians into supporting them, because they know they do not have the ideas to convince them. The fact is our economy is growing, our families are better off, our emissions have come down and the environment is benefiting from better protections.
     As I mentioned, the motion suggests that the Conservatives' plan to grow the economy is to ignore progress on the environment and ignore policies that promote social progress as well. Their strategy seems to be to close their eyes and hope for a lucky break. On this side, luck is not part of our strategy. Rather, it is hope, hard work and planning that is going to get us to a point where more Canadians are working and our environment is protected for our kids and grandkids.
    If the Conservatives do not change tack, I can tell them right now that their leader can stop beginning his tweets with the phrase, “When I am prime minister”, because they are going to be on that side of the House for a very long time.

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the government decided to engage in a whole discussion on climate change when we are talking about the looming jobs crisis. The member would give cold comfort to the people of Oshawa right now. He even started his speech by saying that everything is rosy. There are more than 2,500 ancillary job losses associated with the GM plant closure that will ripple through the Ontario economy.
    Does the member not realize what happens when they raise the price of inputs of Canadian businesses? The Canada pension plan premiums are going up in 2019. A carbon tax is coming up. EI premiums are going up. The cost of energy in places like Ontario is 75% higher than it is many competitors in the United States. Does the member not realize that in an integrated North American economy, when the costs of doing business are so much higher on one side, ours, it pushes Canadian investments south? Does he not realize that his policies are causing higher costs than those in the United States?
     It does not take a rocket scientist—and I am sure they may have one on that side—to figure this out. Why does the member continue to say it is all about protecting just the environment and balancing the economy when they are doing neither? British Columbia's carbon tax has not stopped emissions from going up. The Quebec government said yesterday that the cap and trade system used in Quebec has not reduced emissions. Does he not understand that it is folly to say one thing while doing another?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, the critique in the member's question is that the Liberal government would dare discuss the environment in response to a motion about the economy. Here I note in particular that there are at least seven references in the motion to our government's environmental policy, which he argues is interfering with our ability to create jobs.
     I do not know if the member was paying attention for the first eight minutes of my remarks, when I focused squarely on our economic policies that are driving growth in our country, but the reality is that we can grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. Just because the Conservatives could do neither does not mean that we cannot do both.
    If the hon. member is interested in record of job creation, the reality is that we can point to over 550,000 full-time, primarily private sector, jobs that have been created. We can see that unemployment is at a historic low. We can see that business profits are climbing, and wages are going up. There is a good story to tell. It is because of our measures that we are seeing the largest private sector investment in the history of our country. The fact is, there might be an individual business here or there that has experienced tough times, but we can point to a record of job creation and economic success while we enhance environmental protection. That is a record I am proud to stand on.
    I want to remind hon. members how this works. The questions or comments get made, and then the answer or reply comes back. It is not a matter of the question happening and then comments coming from all sides. I know it slipped our minds, and it is difficult to keep track of, but I just thought I would remind members.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

  (1105)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, those watching at home right now must be confused because what is happening on both sides is rather mind-boggling.
    On one hand, we have the Conservatives, who are denying science, who think that pollution should be free and who have no plan.
    On the other, we have the Liberal government, which is being melodramatic, crying crocodile tears, and saying that the planet is in bad shape and that we need to take care of our children and future generations.
    Yet what are the Liberals doing? They continue to provide nearly $2 billion a year in subsidies to the oil industry, contrary to their election promise. What is worse, they are spending nearly $15 billion in taxpayers' money to buy a pipeline and thereby triple the production of the dirtiest oil in the world.
    How can the government say that it is making decisions based on science and following the recommendations of the IPCC and scientists when it is buying a pipeline with taxpayers' money?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for acknowledging that at the very least we are on the same page when it comes to putting a price on pollution, and that climate change is a real threat that we need to address.
    There are a number of environmental policies we are implementing that are having a very meaningful impact. Yes, we are putting a price on pollution, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. We are revamping the way we do environmental assessments to protect our environment, while we develop major projects at the same time. We are investing in clean technology. We are investing in green infrastructure. We are investing in nature and conservation. We have made the largest single investment in public transit in the history of our country. We are phasing out coal 30 years sooner than the Conservatives would have done.
    The fact is, we are taking these steps to improve our environmental protections. At the same time, we are taking steps to grow the economy. We do need to get our resources to market in a sustainable way, and I only wish the NDP cared as much about growing the economy as it does about protecting the environment, because then it would have a home on this side and would be part of a government that is doing right by Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nova Scotia, the parliamentary secretary, who talked about the record of our government and the work it has done socially and economically, and the work he is doing for the people in his riding, as well as future Canadians, on the environment file.
    The Conservatives keep talking about the jobs we are losing because of the price we are putting on pollution, and they always allude to the jobs in Oshawa. GM plants were closed in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland, so one would assume there must also be a price on pollution in those three states because GM closed its three operations there. Is there a price on pollution in those states that caused GM to close its plants, similar to the plant they closed in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to say that I know how hard it is for the community of Oshawa right now to deal with the job losses and how disappointed I am with GM's decision to close its facility there.
    However, what we have seen over the past few weeks in this chamber is an attempt by the Conservatives to conflate the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa with our government's plan to put a price on pollution. The facts really matter here because we cannot put forward disingenuous arguments like that without hurting those families in Oshawa.
    Ontario does not have a price on pollution. The three American states that experienced the closures the hon. member raised in his question do not have a price on pollution. General Motors, if one were to look at its website today, states that it supports a carbon pricing system that returns revenues to families, just as our policy that we are implementing does. I would be happy to share that quote with my colleagues.
    We are moving forward with a price on pollution that will leave middle-class families better off. At the same time, we are making investments that will help create jobs.
    In particular, GM has publicly said that it is transitioning toward manufacturing electric vehicles. We need to get in front of this wave of economic growth and green industry. Otherwise, we are going to miss out on the boat for generations to come.
    Mr. Speaker, this is interesting. Climate change is happening. I think people would agree with that. The reality is that it is a global problem. When talking about a global problem, we need a global solution. If we want a true global solution wherein Canada can have the most benefit, we need to manufacture more, ship more oil and have more natural gas. Why? Every time we ship a litre of gas or oil, it displaces something from a non-friendly environment, let us say Venezuela or other countries, who do not produce energy with the same regulations we have here in Canada.
    If we want to do something to make a difference in the world, we would work with the oil workers in Alberta to say that we can make a difference by making this even more efficient, by not flaring and by doing a variety of things that we have done here in Canada that other countries are coming here, grabbing and taking back home. What did we do? We shut down the sector. How stupid is that? It is what it is.
    Can we not do something smart and do something for the world and actually increase production here in Canada? That would be doing the world a great benefit.

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, before I answer the question directly, I would ask a favour of my hon. colleague. After we finish this round of remarks, if he could go into the lobby and tell all of his colleagues on that side of the House that climate change in fact is real, he would be doing a service for the Parliament of Canada.
    To answer the question on the oil and gas sector, I worked as a lawyer, primarily in Calgary, before entering politics. A big part of my experience was working in the natural resource sector. I have seen firsthand the impact of the growth of that sector on employment in our country, and have seen firsthand the impact of downturns. The fact is, the hon. member is right that we can expand our natural resources and get products to new markets and protect our environment at the same time.
    I note, in particular, our government's support of investments at the Flux Lab at St. Francis Xavier University in my riding to develop instrumentation and technologies that can detect leaks. About 20% of natural gas projects are leaking gas into the atmosphere, and companies are missing out on production as a result.
    We can move forward with the Trans Mountain pipeline in the right way to ensure that we are factoring in indigenous peoples' perspectives, as well as environmental protection. The reason this project did not go ahead years ago was that the Conservative government of the day did not take seriously the need to protect our environment and incorporate indigenous peoples' perspectives.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    Where to begin the debate on the Conservative motion, which covers so many areas? I can understand if some of the people watching us are a little lost, considering all the topics we have addressed in this debate. The Conservative motion is practically an omnibus motion. It seems they decided to throw in everything they could possibly think of when they were drafting it, without reflecting carefully and, instead, focusing on the bogeyman—

[English]

    I will remind hon. members that translation is provided. Also, it is not against the rules for them to cross the floor and speak to members instead of shouting, which prevents me from hearing the hon. member for Sherbrooke.
    The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thank you for your intervention. Indeed, there seem to be some conversations happening while we are trying to speak, which makes it difficult to understand one another.
    I was saying that the carbon tax is the Conservatives' bogeyman, which they like to trot out every chance they get. This strategy seems to have worked well, since the Conservatives used that bogeyman on a daily basis against the NDP between 2011 and 2015, as members will recall. They used to say that we were going to put a tax on carbon and that it would cause an economic apocalypse in Canada. Then, in 2015, we suddenly had a Liberal government and it, too, wants to put a price on carbon. I congratulate the Conservatives on their strategy, for it seems to have worked well.
    The Conservatives still seem convinced that that is the best way to convince Canadians to vote for them. We will see next year. However, the bogeyman that they keep trotting out year after year does not seem to be working very well. Even so, according to the motion, the carbon tax is to blame for nearly every possible thing that could go wrong for Canadians.
    Many things have gone wrong, of course, as we know. We have been here every time since the beginning to point out the many missteps that the Liberal government has made since 2015. However, by constantly trotting out the carbon tax bogeyman, the Conservatives are treating Canadians like idiots who can be fooled into believing that just one thing is to blame because they do not understand how economics work.
    I invite my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier to explain that to Canadians later on. He can do it in his speech, if he likes. However, what I want to explain today is that we cannot blame the carbon tax for all of our misfortunes.
    The motion mentions certain misfortunes and failures. It talks about the Liberals' many failures in the energy and automotive sectors. On that note, we are the first to sympathize with auto workers in Oshawa and across Canada who are affected by the closure of the plant. The closure will affect more than just the place where the final product is assembled. It will also have an impact on related industries and suppliers of the raw materials and parts needed for assembly. The Oshawa plant will stay open for one more year. Sadly, we know that GM has decided to close this plant, even though it is widely recognized for its performance and quality. This is a very disappointing decision, and we were deeply saddened by this recent announcement.
    Besides that, the Liberals also failed to have tariffs removed from steel and aluminum when they were getting ready to sign the new deal with the United States and Mexico. Unfortunately, the only bargaining chip the Prime Minister could come up with was to tell the Americans that unless they removed the steel and aluminum tariffs, he would skip the official signing ceremony photo op. That was the only leverage he had against the U.S. President. He could tell the Americans that if they did not do as he wanted, he would not show up for the photo op.
    That worked well as a negotiating strategy. A few days ago, he ended up at the official signing ceremony getting his picture taken with the U.S. President and the outgoing President of Mexico, to the dismay of the many steel and aluminum workers, who are also victims of the Liberals' failures.
    The Conservative motion also mentions the forestry sector. The forestry sector is calling for the unfair tariffs also weighing on that industry to be lifted. Unfortunately, the Liberals were unable to get anything done. Let us not forget that the problem started under the previous Conservative government, but the Liberals have been slow to fix the problem ever since.
    In the renegotiation process with the Americans, the Liberals could have used this situation as leverage to try to break the impasse. Unfortunately, this is just another failure to add to the Liberals' record.

  (1115)  

    The motion barely mentions farmers, and I do not understand why. They are the ones most affected by the new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. For reasons that I do not know, the Conservatives only mentioned the carbon tax in the paragraph on farmers. There they go again trotting out their bogeyman, as if the carbon tax were responsible for all farmers' woes. They did not even mention the new breach in the supply management system.
    I was wondering why the Conservatives did not mention the supply management system in their motion when it is what most angers farmers right now, especially those subject to that system. Then I remembered that it was the Conservatives who negotiated and signed the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Europe, which gave up 3% of our dairy market, and the agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, which opened a 3% breach. The Liberals have just given up another 3%. In total, we have lost 10% of our supply-managed market. Perhaps that is why the Conservatives did not mention supply management in their motion. Perhaps they are ashamed that they did the same thing a few years ago.
    During those negotiations, the Conservatives opened supply managed markets, promising compensation, just as the Liberal government is doing today. The Liberals are singing from the Conservative song sheet. The Conservatives knew that these breaches would hurt farmers and that opening major sections of the dairy market would have a significant impact, but they said that they would provide compensation. The Liberals are singing the same tune and supply managed farmers do not like it.
    Farmers are seeing breach after breach being opened, weakening our supply management system to the point where no one knows how much more it can take. The Liberals are claiming to have made it through the negotiations without completely sacrificing the system, but the breaches they have opened have severely undermined it. Eventually, it will become so weak as to be called into question. A former Conservative member is already casting doubt on supply management. Who knows how many other Conservative MPs are getting ready to stand up and join the hon. member for Beauce in calling for an end to this system, which serves our regions and farmers so well. I will not get into that debate today since I have only two minutes left.
    The Conservative motion is essentially a grab bag of Liberal failures, and, unfortunately, it sets out very few solutions to the problem. According to the Conservative speeches that I have heard so far, the problem seems to be a lack of competitiveness with the Americans. I would argue that cutting taxes is far from the only way to make a country more competitive. Here are two important points to keep in mind. First, our health care system gives us a significant competitive edge over the Americans. That is important. Businesses need to take the health care system into account when they are looking at where to invest. The education system is also an excellent example. Obviously the Conservatives never bring up those points. They never say that we need to strengthen our health care or education systems. Those are non-issues as far as they are concerned.
    When we talk about competitiveness with the Americans or any other country in the world, it is important to consider a universal pharmacare program. The Liberal government was supposed to have already implemented such a program. This is not something that they should put off until the next election. When employees have access to an affordable universal public pharmacare program, it makes businesses more competitive. We also need an affordable and accessible child care system. These types of systems would make us more competitive with foreign countries, such as the United States.
    When we talk about competition for investments from around the world, we need to consider these solutions. We should not focus exclusively on the tax or carbon tax bogeyman, which is unfortunately what the Conservatives are doing.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on my colleague's comments on trade. I was not surprised by the NDP's position on it. Traditionally, the NDP has generally opposed any sort of trade agreement. I was a little surprised by the Conservatives' position on the trade file. It is the party that a year ago said that everything was going to fall apart because we were not getting a trade agreement.
    The trade agreement we have just signed has been recognized by virtually all regions of the country. Leaders of different political entities and unions support it. I believe there is widespread general support for the trade agreement. Ultimately, this trade agreement would enable Canada to continue in a very healthy way with the United States, which is our greatest market. We are talking about Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it and how important it is that we secure our biggest trading-partner market.
     I can understand the NDP's position in opposing trade for the sake of opposing it. However, does the member across the way not realize that a healthy middle class in Canada is in good part achieved by ensuring that we are able to secure the markets that are so important to a healthy economy? This is something we have clearly demonstrated by working with Canadians. There have been over 500,000 new jobs in the last three years. We are working with Canadians in developing the economy, and trade is a very important aspect of it. Would the member not recognize the importance of trade?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that was a long lead-up to a pretty simple question.
    Yes, I recognize the importance of trade to the Canadian economy.
    What my colleague failed to mention or might tend to forget is that we can trade without having a trade agreement. He seems to think the two go hand in hand, that a trade agreement is a prerequisite for trading with someone in another country. It would be quite naive of my colleague to think that does not happen.
    Certainly the agreement has its critics. People in Sherbrooke think it is a bad agreement because it sold out farmers. Farmers in Sherbrooke and the whole Eastern Townships region are angry. In my part of the country, hundreds of farmers operate under supply management.
    They are angry about the agreement that was signed. They are also angry that the Liberals did not seize the opportunity to resolve major trade disputes over steel, aluminum and softwood lumber. They are angry about the outcome because the Liberals broke their promises. People in my region and the Eastern Townships expected the government to keep its promises.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be charitable and refrain from thoroughly addressing his comments about us not having the right electoral strategy. I will just draw his attention to the results of yesterday's election in Ontario: 3% of the vote for the NDP.
    I am going to focus on a substantive issue. They often say that the solution to lowering greenhouse gas emissions is to put a price on pollution. We do not share that point of view.
    Quebec has had a system for that in the form of a carbon market since 2013. Last Thursday, at the National Assembly, the Premier of Quebec tabled a document that takes stock of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec under the carbon market system.
    Have GHG emissions decreased a lot? No. Have they decreased a little? No. Have things stayed the same? No.
    The reality is that despite the carbon market, greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec have increased.
    How does the hon. member explain that?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to look at the whole picture. When carbon pricing is considered on its own, we can definitely arrive at the conclusion that it is not the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It must go hand in hand with other measures. There must be a more comprehensive strategy if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    My colleague believes that carbon pricing alone is the solution to everything, but that is not the position on this side of the House. He is always ready to trot out that particular bogeyman and to claim that the carbon tax is the source of all the problems Canadians have, but that is not the case.
    Economic performance is important to all governments with a carbon tax. I would point out that Quebec stands out in terms of economic growth. That may be why greenhouse gas emissions are going up. When the economy is doing well, it is growing, and sometimes it is the victim of its own success.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherbrooke for his excellent speech. I will attempt to continue in the same vein. I really liked the fact that he called the Conservative motion an omnibus motion. It touches on so many subjects that we could write a speech about any one we like and that would be fine.
    I would call this motion the “everything” motion, because it makes me think of the theory of everything. I do not know if the Conservatives are at all interested in science, but the theory of everything is very interesting. It seeks to unify the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. That said, I do not think they want to go that far today.
    If I were to agree with them on any of the points in their motion, it would be, first and foremost, that people in our society are suffering. There are people who are struggling and having trouble making ends meet. Incomes have stagnated, and inequality in our society is growing considerably. Many people are forced to struggle with situations of extreme poverty.
    In all of our ridings, people are having to make really tough choices, like paying for their medication or paying for their groceries, or similarly, buying food or buying school supplies for their children. There are still millions of people living in poverty in our country, people who are struggling as a result of the Liberal government's decisions. This government is not doing enough for them today and, instead, is merely promising to eventually deliver certain things, if it is voted in again once or twice in the future.
    Yes, there are people who are suffering because of the Liberal government's decisions. Take, for example, aluminum and steel workers or Ontario's auto sector workers, like the people in Oshawa, who are losing good jobs despite all the Liberals' fine promises. There are also the dairy farmers who work the land in Quebec and Ontario, in their family farms, making all of our regions proud. The Liberal government keeps turning its back on them by signing agreement after agreement to open up huge breaches in the supply management system, allowing American milk into our market and failing to stand up for the people raising the animals that produce our milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.
    The Liberal government's decisions have resulted in 3% of the supply-managed market being given away three times. It happened with the European Union agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and again with the free trade deal with the United States and Mexico. All this is starting to add up. It is starting to have an impact on people. We cannot understand how the Liberals can keep saying they are here to defend supply management, when the reality is that they have given up nearly 10% of the market in all these free trade deals, at the expense of our dairy farmers.
    There are also people suffering as a result of the housing crisis, which is real and is affecting many regions of the country and many of our big cities. Montreal had been largely unaffected until now, but recently the vacancy rate in Montreal dropped to under 2%. The mayor of Montreal is sounding the alarm, because this is putting tremendous pressure on rents and renters. It has been a problem for a while now in Toronto and Vancouver. That is why the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, presented a plan to solve the housing crisis, especially for the people of Burnaby South, but also for the entire Vancouver area. The Liberal government is not doing enough when it comes to investing in social housing and affordable housing.
    When the national social and affordable housing strategy was introduced, it came with a promised investment of $11 billion. That is a huge amount of money, but it is spread over 11 years. As someone who likes nice even numbers, it occurred to me that $11 billion over 11 years should work out to $1 billion a year. No, that would be far too simple. Actually, the billions of dollars promised will not be invested until after the next federal election, or even the one after that, that is to say, in 2023.

  (1130)  

     The people who are suffering today, who are struggling to make ends meet, whose rent is going up and who cannot afford to live in the neighbourhoods they have been living in, do not need help in 2024 and 2025. They need help right now. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is putting things off and refuses to invest in creating social and affordable housing. Montreal alone is in need of 12,000 social housing units.
    In my riding, 78% of residents are renters. One-third of these renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing. We are talking about thousands of families and households that are living in poverty and who need help now. Unfortunately, they have not gotten any help with social housing from this Liberal government. In the short term, this would help mitigate the crisis many of our municipalities and regions have been experiencing.
    The Liberal government has also failed on everything related to addressing pharmacare or the fact that people are struggling to care for themselves. Canadians have a hard time taking the necessary measures, as prescribed by their doctor, to look after their health. This forces people to either go into debt or make agonizing choices.
    The government is also failing when it comes to the basket of services. How, in 2018, can a G7 country as rich as Canada not cover dental and eye care in our public health care plans? How can our pharmacare plan be so schizophrenic that a leg and the heart are covered, but the eyes and teeth are not? It is as though the plan does not see the body as a whole and is making choices about which parts it can treat.
    As for the solutions proposed in the Conservatives' motion, we have very different views. We do not think that giving handouts to corporations is how we will stimulate the economy. If that were the case, it would have worked before. Between 2000 and 2012, under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, the corporate tax rate dropped from 28% to 15%. That is a nearly 50% reduction for corporations that make massive amounts of money.
    Trickle-down economics does not work. It did not generate investments that would have led to good new jobs. Companies are sitting on $600 billion in wealth. That did not work.
    The NDP agrees with putting a price on carbon, because failure to act now on climate change will end up costing even more than the investments or choices we have to make today.
    Dealing with the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters will take a huge toll, both human and economic, not to mention the insurance costs. On this, we do not agree with the Conservatives' plan to do nothing about climate change. This is the challenge of our generation. We will be judged on the decisions we make now and on our ability to fulfill our commitments, for example to reduce greenhouse gases, under the Paris climate agreement. This is extremely important. I will be attending COP24 next week, in Poland, and I hope that the rule book is robust enough to enable us to keep our promises.
    The Liberal government is not keeping its promises. Everyone agrees that it is not going to meet its 2020 or 2030 targets, which are not even ambitious enough to limit global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. We cannot allow the global temperature increase to rise any higher than that. I am therefore calling on the Liberal government to stop providing oil subsidies and to not buy a pipeline that would triple the production of the dirtiest oil in the world, but rather to invest in renewable energy to create jobs for today and tomorrow.

  (1135)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up again on the issue of trade.
    Two members of the NDP have made reference to the importance of supply management. From day one, our Prime Minister and our government has supported our farmers and the agricultural industry. One only needs to look at canola. In our first year as government we were able to ensure that canola markets would continue to grow and prosper beyond our borders.
    It was a Liberal government that brought in supply management and it is a Liberal government that has protected the long-term interests of supply management. Our government has demonstrated very clearly its support for supply management.
    Could my colleague indicate to what degree the NDP believes that trade is doable within a framework of trade agreements? The previous speaker indicated that we do not need trade agreements with the United States at all. Is the NDP's position that a trade agreement is not viable with the U.S.A. no matter what the circumstances are?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is too bad that the parliamentary secretary is completely twisting the words of my colleague from Sherbrooke. My colleague never said that trade agreements were useless, quite the contrary.
    The NDP believes in trade, as long as it is fair, equitable and respectful of workers' rights, the environment and societies' democratic choices. That is why we opposed some deals that had dispute resolution mechanisms that gave too much power to large corporations to the detriment of municipalities, jurisdictions or provinces.
    With regard to supply management, just because the Liberal party created the system, does not give the Liberals the right to kill it or to undermine it to such a degree that it becomes completely useless. Dairy farmers in Quebec and Ontario are furious with the Liberal government for betraying them. Trade agreement after trade agreement, the government has been creating breaches in the system, letting foreign products into the country and undermining our farmers' chances of having a stable income while providing a quality product at set prices, which is also good for consumers.
    The Liberals should take a good hard look at themselves and realize that they have let down our dairy farmers.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy listening to my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. It is too bad he had barely 10 minutes to speak. If he had had more time, I am sure that he would have been happy to say that the Conservatives' record in government included lowering Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 2.2% while boosting the GDP by 16.9%. That is a record that any country around the world would be proud to have.
    He would also have had a chance to explain that when we were in government, even though we did open up the supply management system, we made up for it by announcing approximately $4.5 billion in compensation in August 2015. We have no need to be ashamed of our record.
     The member announced that he is going to COP24 in Poland next week. Good for him. Since he is so eloquent, I would like him to tell us how he plans to explain to the world why greenhouse gas emissions are going up in our shared home province of Quebec, even though it has a pollution pricing regime, the carbon market.
    How will he explain that?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments and question.
    I will indeed be flying to Poland for COP24, but I will also be investing in planting trees to offset the carbon footprint of my trip, in order to be consistent with the proposals we are putting on the table.
    With regard to Quebec's position, we have always believed that we need to put a price on pollution and that it will take a suite of measures to reduce our carbon footprint and lower our greenhouse gas emissions. Either method, a market or a tax, can be used. I would also like to remind my Conservative colleague that it was an NDP member who said we need to rely on market forces to pressure companies and consumers into changing their behaviour.
    The reason greenhouse gas emissions have gone up in Quebec despite the carbon market is that the economy has grown and our economy is still too heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Had we already made the transition, our renewable energy production would be higher and our greenhouse gas emissions lower. It is not because the carbon market does not work.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am going to be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Shepard.
    To say that competitiveness is struggling is probably the understatement of the year, in terms of where we are and how we are competing in energy, manufacturing and a number of different areas. One of the things I want to talk about today is how we move forward to the future.
    One of the things that has happened in the U.S. is there has been a whole bunch of uncertainty created by Mr. Trump's tax cuts, his tariffs and a whole bunch of things that have gone on, which causes us all the more to be committed to being more competitive and doing things that are well within our control.
    We cannot control when someone like Mr. Trump decides to give us increased tariffs, or decides to increase restrictions to make it tougher to do trade. This is why more than ever we need to do the things that we are good at. We need to do the things that, quite frankly, we are known for as a country. If we do not do these things, we are going to be left behind.
     I have talked about pipelines and some of the issues we have right now. The fact remains that the current government vetoed the northern gateway project. Energy east was one of the ones that the government kept changing the regulations on. As a result of that, what happened was that we have seen some $80 billion, $90 billion, $100 billion in energy infrastructure investment flee the country.
    Trans Mountain is a good example. We ended up buying the pipeline for about $4.5 billion, which means that we now own a pipeline. The challenge with that is that now we are going to be expected to rebuild the pipeline. Where private sector could do the work, we should make sure that we are giving it the tools, which is making sure there is a regulatory pathway and that people understand the process fairly clearly as they move forward.
    I always give the example of when we were in government. Under Stephen Harper, we were doing a number of things, things that were important in terms of the ease of doing business or being competitive or being a place where people wanted to invest.
    If I look at what the Conservatives did, it was our government that lowered taxes. We had the lowest corporate taxes in the G7 and G8. That was good. In and of itself, it does not matter unless there is a whole bunch of other things that are going on at the same time. Taxes are important. That is why something like a carbon tax, something which no one else is paying, certainly in North America, puts us at a complete and total competitive disadvantage.
    I would say that the government has pursued and finished some of the trade deals that the Conservatives started. The Liberals brought some of the deals across the finish line. I will give them credit for that. They actually realized that those were important.
    Trade deals in and of themselves are not the be all and end all. I totally agree that they are important, but if we keep going back to the whole issue of competitiveness, if we do not have the ability to compete globally, then no amount of trade deals is really going to matter because we would be less competitive, and we would not be able to compete. Already, we cannot keep up with the Chinese, and we are struggling under the whole issue of tariffs right now with the United States. That makes it problematic.
    Infrastructure was something the Conservative government supported in a big way. There was over $30 billion committed towards infrastructure. It was not just roads and bridges, but it was also critical trade infrastructure. That is something the Liberal government has dropped the ball on. It talks about it. It said it was going to set up an infrastructure bank, but for three years there has been no money going out the door. We have lost three years, where we had an opportunity to look at infrastructure as a way we could help be competitive. Once again, it is one of those other things we are talking about.
    I saw a recent Financial Post article which said there were over 4,100 projects approved, valued at $13 billion, but only $430 million had been paid out. That is obviously problematic as we look at missed opportunities over the last two or three years. That is something that needs to happen.
    If I look at the infrastructure bank, in terms of what it is going to mean. What is it going to mean for small communities in the riding of Niagara West which I represent, communities like Pelham, Lincoln, Grimsby, Wainfleet and West Lincoln? Is there going to be an infrastructure bank that wants to come in and lend millions of dollars to build a bridge or a road? What is the return on investment? What is the payback on that?
    I am left with the challenge that we have missed three years of critical infrastructure. If I look at trade infrastructure, whether it be ports, airports, highways, rail and the like, this creates a challenge.

  (1145)  

    As I said, at the end of the day, not only do we need to spend money on infrastructure in our communities, we need that critical infrastructure for trade so that we are able to become a trading nation. We have to look not too far to the west in Canada to see that we have all kinds of oil on railcars, which makes it tough for agricultural producers to get their products to market. That is a bit of a travesty.
    Regulation and red tape is one of the largest issues. In terms of trade deals and non-tariff barriers, this fits into that category. There were things the Conservative government was working on, such the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, beyond the border and things like that, which the current government has continued. However, if I look at energy infrastructure around pipelines and Bill C-69 and some other things, there are challenges. That is what causes people to sit on their money, invest it south of the border, in the U.S., with its regulatory framework, or identify ways to get their projects approved in a big way.
    I sat on the red tape reduction round table. We went across the country and had conversations about how we could reduce red tape. This is something we will always have to work on. It is not just the federal government that throws up red tape; it is also municipal and provincial governments. This is something, quite frankly, every government needs to be diligent about.
    On research and development, we certainly spend our fair share proportionally in R and D dollars, but at the end of the day, we need to make sure that we are not only getting the results we want but are able to commercialize our R and D. That was something the Conservative government looked at and worked toward.
    With respect to entrepreneurship and access to capital in this country, there are a number of things we still need to do. The Conservative government looked at a $400-million fund for venture capital as a way of finding seed money, but there are still lots of opportunities.
    At the international trade committee, one of the challenges we see every day is that small and medium-sized enterprises are challenged in getting access to capital. That remains difficult in terms of what they are trying to do. As we move through our work on the trade committee, we are not only looking at investment and capital. We are also finding that some of the trade programs are very hard to access by small and medium-sized enterprises.
    When we look at competitiveness, it is not just about tax relief. I will note that in the recent economic statement, there was a commitment to an accelerated capital cost allowance, and I want to thank my colleagues for that. It may be too little too late, but it will hopefully help manufacturers that are trying to invest in new machinery that will make them competitive. Automotive, aerospace and advance manufacturing all need to continue to invest in their equipment. If they do not, they will fall behind fairly quickly.
    As we move forward, there are a ton of things on the horizon that are very challenging. I know it has been mentioned before, but I need to mention again that having a carbon tax, when the rest of North America is not paying one, creates a competitive disadvantage. Increases in CPP and employment insurance premiums are coming in January, which will make it more expensive for businesses. We also have increased personal income taxes. I am never sure why any government thinks working people should be paying over 50% in income tax. I do not understand why, at the end of the year, we pay up to 53% and then throw on the GST or HST consumption tax. We throw on property taxes and a lot of other things, which does not make a whole lot of sense.
    The last thing is the continuation of large and massive deficits. We are borrowing our children's future, and while the economy has been doing fairly well, this should be the time when we are saving money for a rainy day. When we start moving forward, as we spend too much money and continue to tax people, we will realize that there are only two ways to fix this, either with massive reductions in programs or with tax increases to pay for the massive deficits.
    In a day and age when we are trying to be competitive, not only globally but with our friends and neighbours south of border, these are things we need to look at.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member and the Conservatives have consistently raised the issue of employment taxes. What they are referring to in good part is the fact that we believe that we need to enhance the Canada pension plan. That is all about the future. We were able to get agreements in regard to that from the provinces and territories, yet the Conservatives continue to call it a tax. They want to attack all taxes by saying that they are committed to reducing taxes.
    Would it be the intention of the Conservative Party to get rid of the increase we were able to put in place for the CPP?
    Mr. Speaker, any time people or employers need to pay more, we call that a tax. We look at some of the things our government did under Mr. Flaherty, such as the tax-free savings account and a number of initiatives like that. We believe that personal responsibility is important. Yes, I realize that there are people who are struggling, and I think, as a nation, we have done very well in terms of how we take care of our seniors through OAS and the guaranteed income supplement.
    What the government has to understand is that there is only one taxpayer. It is not governments that pay taxes; it is individuals and companies. When companies are required to spend more, either they have to increase the price for what they do or they have to cut back. Either way, this is a challenge when we are trying to get companies to increase hiring and make commitments to the employees they have in this regard.

  (1155)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when I read the motion, I kind of got the sense that the Conservative Party is trying to say that all the Liberal Party's governance issues are related to the carbon tax. I can point to several other problems with its approach to governing that have put us in the situation we are in now.
    Take dairy farmers and the signing of trade agreements with no compensation, for example. The Liberal government promised billions in compensation for the EU agreement, but it backtracked on that and came up with a totally ineffective program worth just $250 million in compensation.
    Does the member believe that all of the Liberal government's problems stem from the carbon tax, or does he agree with me that there are many, many problems and that blaming everything on the carbon tax is an insult to people's intelligence?
    Does he agree that there are far more problems and that putting a price on pollution is not necessarily a problem if it is done properly and rationally?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, it is not just the carbon tax, it is the combination thereof. If I look at competitiveness, it is making sure that we get trade deals. It is making sure that we reduce regulations and a whole bunch of things. The carbon tax is one of the things, including deficits, which I also mentioned, that make it more difficult for us to be competitive in Canada and around the world.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his great work on the economy and on the trade file. He came to my riding, and we did a round table, and we heard clearly from the processors there some of the challenges they are facing.
    Near the end of his speech, my colleague commented on the massive debt. The Liberal government promised to balance the budget by 2019. Here we are this year with a deficit of about $20 billion. The massive debt is growing. The interest costs alone are going to be $30 billion a year by 2021. This is clearly having a negative impact on the ability to invest in other things or to reduce taxes for our businesses. I wonder if my colleague is hearing the same concerns from the people in his riding.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, this is a great challenge. I talked to about 150 stakeholders about uncertainty and what was going on, and one of the things I heard was that people are less optimistic now than they were in the past. One of those issues is debt. As was said before, if we spend it now, we still have to repay it at some point in the future, and that creates uncertainty.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join this debate on our Conservative opposition motion.
    The member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola has put forward a motion such that all members of the House can find something to speak to that relates to what is happening in their constituencies or is affecting the people they represent.
    I will focus a lot of my comments on the energy sector. I come from the suburbs of Calgary, where a great many families are still hurting three years after this government took power. It has failed all of them. There are a lot more people who are unemployed or underemployed today, and much of that relates to policy decisions made by the federal government. I will refer to some of them in trying to itemize the case against the Liberal government's economic policies thus far.
    One of the things in the motion members will notice is that there are a litany of issues the energy sector and energy workers are facing today in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and different parts of British Columbia. We have a government that is intent on phasing out the oil sands, but it is also hurting the energy industry and energy workers who depend on those jobs.
    We have a Prime Minister who twice now has said that he wants to phase out the oil sands. The first time he said it was a mistake. The second time, he actually said it in Paris in its legislative assembly. Perhaps he thought Albertans would not catch on, but we did, and we know that he has it in for us. He has it in for the industry that accounts for over 20% of Canada's exports, in dollar figures. That is an incredible amount when compared to the auto sector.
     We all saw the news of General Motors shutting down its plant in Oshawa. I, as an Albertan, and I know many of my constituents back home, feel the pain. We understand the pain of losing a job and being told that one is not welcome to come back to work tomorrow and is no longer needed. We understand it, because it has been going on month after month in the province of Alberta. People have been losing their jobs or have been told that they are not needed five days a week anymore. Someone working in construction may come in one day a week. A person cannot feed a family on one day a week of work.
    There is a great Yiddish proverb that says, “If things are not as you wish, wish them as they are.” I wish the government would take that advice. Stop saying one thing and doing another. Stop wishing for the end of certain jobs in the private sector. Why not wish them all to succeed?
    We have been given an incredible natural endowment of oil and gas. Alberta is also the sunniest province in Canada. It has the most sunny days of any province in Canada, which is a great boon for the solar power industry. There is quite a bit of renewable energy being developed and that has been developed by energy companies, because they are in the business of energy, whichever way it is delivered. Why not promote all of them? Why not defend all of them? That is what Alberta needs and what Canada needs.
    We need a government that wants to champion the private sector, not meddle in the private sector. Let it expand, create jobs and do what it does best: provide prosperity for Canadian families. We do not need a government plan. We do not need a government strategy. We do not need government tinkering with different rules. However, that is exactly what we have here. We have a government that is more intent on creating plans and strategies and strategies for plans to plan for strategies, creating more jobs in the public sector here in Ottawa, instead of allowing the private sector to simply do what it does best. We do not have a champion.
    Many members have said this already, and I am sure many members will come after me and say it. We have a government that has cancelled pipeline projects. The government strangled energy east to the point that TransCanada could not continue. We have a government that defeated northern gateway. We will hear government caucus members say that it was actually a court decision. Well, that is not true. There was an order in council cancelling northern gateway passed in 2016. Order in Council 2016-1047, passed November 25, 2016, cancelled northern gateway.
    The government has crowed about a $40-billion investment in LNG, while we lost $78 billion in LNG development. That $40 billion was approved back in 2012 by the regulator. It was recently approved to go ahead by the private sector, but only after it got assurances in the final deal that it would be exempted from British Columbia's carbon tax, that it would be exempted from basically the last three years of bad economic policy passed by both the Liberal government and the provincial NDP government, in the case of British Columbia. If that is not an indictment of how bad things have become, I do not know what is.

  (1200)  

    The $40 billion project, approved in 2012, can only go ahead this year with the proviso written into the contract that the past three years of bad economic policy do not apply to them. I do not know what we could call that, other than that it is a form of corporate welfare. This project could not go ahead because the government has been intent on strangling it, making it impossible for them to continue to develop the project, create the jobs and the prosperity to ensure that they can provide taxes and pay royalties to different levels of government. We have a government that is intent on making it more complicated.
    When I talked about our needing a champion, I want to reference one of my constituents who is always willing to send me detailed technical information. David Robinson sent me information about New York State pursuing a court case it has brought forward. It is a civil lawsuit against a bunch of oil companies, stating that they failed and disguised the carbon emission costs in their regulatory filings. It specifically targets the Alberta oil sands and Alberta corporations. This is a huge danger to publicly listed companies, especially those based in Alberta and Canada. With this lawsuit there is the potential that a state government and the attorney general of that state, Barbara Underwood, would force the companies to undertake massive write-downs if the state wins this case. Why is the government not championing the cause of Alberta and Canada's energy sector to protect our good name before the courts? The U.S. has a very litigious culture, but it is pursuing this exactly so that it can undermine our continued prosperity and ability to develop our resources. We do not develop our resources just for the purpose of developing resources; we develop them because they provide prosperity, jobs and income so that workers can feed their families. What the vast majority of people want is to be left alone. That is what we hear from countless Albertans. The slogan we have adopted is, “build that pipe.” We really do not care anymore which pipe it is; just build that pipe.
    First, we hear the government members say that the previous government did not get it done. What they mean to say is that the previous government did not get a pipeline built to tidewater. It is difficult to get any pipeline built by a private corporation nowadays in Canada because the government and many of its caucus members were helped by volunteers and all of the different environmental groups that are adamantly opposed to any type of development at any time. Therefore, it is quite rich for the government to now turn the argument on its tail and deny that it got help from those environmental groups that opposed all development.
    Second, what is ridiculous is that northern gateway got to tidewater. Energy east would have got to tidewater. The Anchor Loop upgrade that was proposed, completed and built by Kinder Morgan expanded shipping out of Burnaby. The Enbridge Line 9B, the Keystone pipeline, not the XL but the basic pipeline that went to Cushing, eventually went to tidewater in Freeport, Texas.
    Therefore, to say that the previous government did not get it done is simply to ignore the facts as they are presented.
     There is an order in council that cancelled northern gateway. That is an indictment of the government's ability to get any pipelines built. The people who have suffered from three years of bad economic policy are Albertans and Canadians who need these jobs in the energy sector. Canada's number one export is energy. The vast majority of jobs in Alberta are either directly or indirectly related to the energy sector. We have a government that for the past three years has been trying to impede Albertans' prosperity, the jobs that provide for our families and the opportunity that comes with that.
    As I have said before in the House, we have spent a generation doing two things. We have attracted people to our province and convinced them to join the shared prosperity that hard work can create, even though we do not have the great advantage of beautiful west coast beaches. Also, we have spent a generation convincing young people and women to get into the STEM fields of the sciences, technology, engineering and math. Convincing them to do that took a generation. Because of the government's decisions and its three years of bad economic policy, all of that work has been undone.
    I hope all members of the House will join me in voting for this motion.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue the question I asked of the previous speaker. Because it is an important issue, I would like to be able to tell the constituents I represent where the Conservative Party really is on this issue.
    The Conservatives talk about taxes and wanting to reduce them. This government negotiated an agreement that would see increases in CPP benefits for workers into the future. The Conservatives, in this resolution, and other speakers have indicated that they see that as a tax on businesses.
    Can the member give a clear indication, so that I can tell my constituents, that the Conservative Party will not in any way attempt to get rid of the increase in CPP benefits negotiated by the Government of Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is very diligent in asking the same question to get an answer.
    It is hard for people to pay into CPP or EI when they do not have a job. It is hard to provide for their family when they do not have a job. It is also hard to face a government that is fully intent on phasing out their bread and butter, the sector of the economy they have chosen to devote their life to by getting the skills and the education and experience necessary to climb the promotion ladder in that sector, if that is their wish, and providing their family with an income they can live off and to share in that prosperity.
    The member talks about doing one thing or another, or making policy decisions. The government already has over a trillion dollars in debt that it has saddled future generations with. That includes federal government debt and Crown corporation debt all cobbled together. Hard decisions will have to be made by future governments because of the bad decisions of the past three years.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Conservative motion calls for something that is an impossibility: repealing a bill that has not yet passed. Bill C-69 does not yet have royal assent.
     However, I find Bill C-69 deeply troubling because the current government chose to maintain the architecture put in place by Stephen Harper. It chose to break election promises that the Liberals made to restore proper environmental assessment. It is baffling to me—I do not think the Conservatives have read the bill—to see how closely it tracks what Stephen Harper wanted. It does that by keeping the number of assessments we will ever see in this country down to fewer than 100 a year, and by never restoring the system that Brian Mulroney put in place, which included up to 5,000 screenings a year to ensure that federal projects really did receive an assessment for their environmental impact.
    Bill C-69 would not do this, and calling prematurely for its repeal misses the mark. We should be prepared to compromise and get a good bill through the Senate. Would my hon. colleague be prepared to look at the bill and see if we might agree on some areas where it could be improved?
    Mr. Speaker, I voted against Bill C-69. It is a bad bill. It is poorly worded with flowery language. It is a matter that is no longer before the House. It is now in another place, in the Senate, for consideration.
    The vast majority of my constituents want to see Bill C-69 fail and thus to see it defeated by the Senate. They want to see it ended. Bill C-69 is an anti-pipeline pipeline bill that would end of any type of large-scale energy infrastructure development in Canada. It would basically mean the end of hundreds of thousands of Alberta jobs well into the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Alberta for his commitment to the people in his riding. My riding is about 50% urban and 50% rural. The carbon tax is going to have a huge impact, especially on farmers.
    Earlier today, one of my colleagues tried to downplay the impact the carbon tax would have on farmers. However, one farmer in my riding told me that on 50,000 litres of fuel per year and at 12¢ a litre, the current carbon tax rate, that would take $6,000 a year off his bottom line. That is only on his farm, let alone the cost of transportation of products to and from his farm. All of those things add to the burden of the carbon tax. Does my colleague agree that the carbon tax will in fact have a huge negative impact on our agricultural community?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, it will have a huge impact on farmers and the farming community. I do not happen to represent a riding with many farmers. In the deep southeast part of my riding, there are what I would call “ranchettes”, the hobby farms and ranches that Calgarians have chosen to develop.
    To give an example from my riding, there is an arena on the north side of it, and when the Alberta government introduced its carbon tax, that raised the cost of heating and cooling of the arena by tens of thousands of dollars. It had no choice but to raise fees for parents and kids joining tournaments and for hockey dads coming in on weekends just for a quick game in the morning. The carbon tax has a real impact on people. It raises the cost of living and is very regressive and very unfair.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge. I thank the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola for the motion we are debating today. Unfortunately, the motion has so many false claims and false premises that it is hard to know where to begin.
    Still, I would like to start with the first part of the motion on the energy sector and Bill C-69. We know that the Conservatives' approach undermined Canadians' confidence in how major resource development projects are assessed and reviewed. It was a failed approach that called for the comprehensive solution proposed in Bill C-69, which restores the balance between economic opportunities and environmental stewardship. Under this bill, good projects can move forward, which builds confidence among investors and Canadians.
    That is one of the many reasons I will be voting against today's motion. This motion would bring us back to a time where some believed that it was acceptable to ignore public concerns, environmental protections and indigenous rights. Those days are over, but the impact of those failed policies is still felt today, especially with the price differential for oil, which is so harmful to western Canada.

  (1215)  

[English]

    That is critically important to remember. The motion does not mention it, but our government inherited a flawed review system that led to projects going before the courts rather than getting shovels in the ground. That is why our government has been taking steps since day one to ensure that good projects that improve market access move forward.
    That is precisely why we have supported the Keystone XL project and approved the Line 3 replacement pipeline. It is also why we are helping producers build up refining capacity here in Canada, and why last month, in the fall 2018 economic statement, we announced major tax incentives for refiners and upgraders. It is also why the Minister of Natural Resources has written to the National Energy Board about ways to maximize existing pipeline capacity. Of course, it is why our government purchased and invested in the Trans Mountain expansion project, a $4.5-billion investment in Alberta's energy sector.
    Today's motion is conveniently silent on all of those points. However, Canadians know that our government is a staunch supporter of Alberta's energy sector and that we have been since the day we took office. We are committed to developing Canada's resources the right way.
    Now, to be fair, on the oil price differential, there are a number of factors behind the perfect storm that caused the almost unprecedented price discount. For example, there was a temporary drop in demand of over 900,000 barrels a day for Canadian oil when a number of refineries in the American Midwest were offline. That came as increased oil sands production was outpacing Canada's capacity to transport and export additional barrels.

[Translation]

    As the Prime Minister said, all of these factors combined to create the crisis that continues to hang over the heads of Canadian oil workers. Albertans are suffering. They are worried about their future. In response, the Government of Alberta announced that it would reduce the province's oil production by 325,000 barrels a day as of January 1. We recognize that the province made this important decision in the interests of Albertans, and we share their frustration over the unacceptable price differential.
    We have also made it clear that we cannot go on like this, because when Alberta suffers, all of Canada suffers. However, this price differential cannot be put down to chance or an unfortunate coincidence. One reason the withdrawal capacity is currently lacking is because of the Canadian oil sector's lost decade, a whole decade of inaction, when 99% of our oil exports were still going to the United States. Once again, there is no mention of this in the opposition's motion. Instead, the Conservatives' motion would repeal Bill C-69 in favour of their failed approach.

[English]

    As we often say on this side of the House, our government came to office to do things differently, to do different things, to get the hard work done for Canadians.
    Central to that was restoring confidence in impact assessments, improving transparency and enhancing public participation through project reviews, all of it reflected in our proposal for a single, integrated and consistent process, a process that would include the specialized expertise of federal regulators and a new Canadian energy regulator. That is important and, frankly, overdue. While the National Energy Board has served Canadians well, its structure, role and mandate have remained relatively unchanged since it was created in 1959.
     Bill C-69 would replace the NEB with a new regulator that would have the required independence and the proper accountability to oversee a strong, safe and sustainable Canadian energy sector in the 21st century.
    The new Canadian energy regulator would provide: a more effective governance model; greater certainty and timelier decisions; more public consultation; better indigenous engagement; and stronger safety and environmental protections. This new approach would also help to diversify Canada's energy markets, expand our energy infrastructure and drive economic growth. How? By ensuring that good resource projects would get built in a timely, predictable and transparent way.
     Bill C-69 would actually tighten those timelines, eliminate overlap among review panels and make government more accountable.
    Bill C-69 is part of our broader plan for moving Canada's resource sectors forward the right way, creating good jobs and real opportunities for all Canadians. Again, the motion ignores that larger context.
    The motion ignores the fact that private industry is onboard with our plan. Across the world we are seeing companies take the lead in tackling climate change. For instance, Shell announced yesterday that it planned to link executive salaries to emission targets as part of its efforts to cut the net carbon footprint of the energy it sold.
    Today's motion ignores the progress that the private sector is making. It ignores the generational investments we are making to drive innovation and support clean technologies in the resource sectors, including Canada's oil and gas industry.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

    The motion also ignores the new free trade agreement signed with the United States and Mexico this past weekend, which will greatly benefit Canada's energy sector. It increases Canada's competitiveness and investors' confidence. It will save Canada's oil sector more than $60 million a year in administrative and other expenses. Once again, the motion says nothing about that.
    The motion also does not mention the 2018 fall economic statement, which responded directly to the recommendations of the economic strategy tables and the joint working group on the future of Canada's oil and gas sector, as well as industry comments from companies in Canada and abroad. They all called for measures to improve tax competitiveness and develop innovative, modern, flexible regulations to help companies grow.
    We listened, and we took action. I am proud of our government's efforts. Bill C-69 is a key element. We are developing better rules for a better Canada. We are proving once again that our government is a strong supporter of Canadian resource workers.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is really amazing how in three years the country can change, a country that was going great guns, everything was expanding and growing, people had jobs and enjoyed a good quality of life and were not worried about their future. Their kids were attending sports complexes, where they played hockey, soccer, football. People had a great quality of life.
    Today, three years later, here we sit.
    Blue collar workers in manufacturing plants are worried about their future. This summer we talked to over 99 stakeholders across Canada. They all said that they were holding on and waiting for the Canada-U.S. agreement to be done, that if the government were to get rid of the steel and aluminum tariffs, they should be all right.
    The government did get a trade agreement, but it is worse than what we had before. The Prime Minister promised it would be better. There are still aluminum and steel tariffs. What the heck is going on here? We signed onto this agreement.
    Then there is the forestry sector. Where is the removal of tariffs on forestry products? Forestry workers are worried about their future.
    We can go to three or four different sectors and all those employees are worried about their future.
    I will give the government credit. It did have some positive stuff in its fall economic update. The capital cost allowance is a good step in the right direction. However, until the government gets rid of Bill C-69, until it actually does something concrete to allow our companies in Canada to become more competitive, these jobs will leave. What will the government do to prevent that from happening?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to NAFTA 2.0, or USMCA, what we are hearing from the other side is quite astonishing. The fact is that Brian Mulroney, a former Conservative prime minister of Canada, said that we had to get it signed. Why? Because the future of sectors of our economy depended on it.
    We know the Conservatives capitulated for a long time ago. We stuck to it and we ensured we had a good deal for Canadians. That is the backbone of why we can move forward.
    However, when he talks about the fall economic update, when I met with businesses across my riding, Ontario and other places across Canada, they asked for the capital cost allowance so they could write off their capital expenses quicker. We listened to that and we delivered on that with our fall economic update. By responding to that, we know companies will be reinvesting. That is good for jobs and good for Canada.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague and I work fairly closely, he in the natural resources portfolio and me on the environment. He spent a decent amount of his remarks on Bill C-69, which seeks to restore the confidence that was lost in the environmental assessment process under 10 years of Stephen Harper.
     I am curious if the parliamentary secretary could offer commentary on how we were able to develop a program that would allow projects to move forward in the right way by including indigenous perspectives, protecting our environment and even gaining support of industry, like the Mining Association of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for all his hard work on this very important file. As he mentioned, the mining sector of Canada is supportive of Bill C-69. It wants want to see it move forward. It knows that having a process of one project, one review is key for businesses. It is key because they invest a lot of money. Under the former government's approach, basically projects would move forward without any certainty that at the end of day they would know what the result would be. Why? Because indigenous consultation was done at the end and not at the beginning.
    We are proposing a shorter time frame, ensuring all the regulations are known upfront. When businesses are starting the process, they know the rules that they have to address and that they have to ensure they follow. By doing that, they get the certainty they deserve and need to invest that money in Canada. That is why it is very important to move forward with Bill C-69.
    Mr. Speaker, it is great to rise to speak to this opposition day. It is great to rise because we know the economy of Canada is strong. We know the economy is growing. We know that benefits all middle-class workers and those Canadians who are working very hard and diligently to join the middle-class. I am proud to state that.
    I would like to offer my colleagues on the other side a chance to take a look at The Globe and Mail today and the article from the CEO of Linamar, Linda Hasenfratz. She talks about her company investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their plants in Guelph. She talks about the company competing and winning. She talks about Ontario being a place the world can invest in because of its innovation and highly-valued manufacturing. She talks about those jobs coming to the province of Ontario.
    I, as a member of Parliament for the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, know full well the economic contributions of our entrepreneurs who are working diligently, putting capital to work and employing thousands of Canadians and, most important, creating those good middle-class jobs that we want for Canadians and their families.
    Three years ago, Canadians chose a government committed to growing the middle class and creating new opportunities for Canadians to succeed. They wanted a government that would base its decision on science and facts. They wanted a government that would be bold, that would be a trailblazer, that would lead, and we are certainly doing that. They wanted solutions that worked, with a proven record of delivering positive results for Canadians.
     Canadians do not want Canada to be more competitive simply to enrich the top 1% at the expense of everyone else. Canadians want a more competitive Canada so hard-working Canadians have more opportunities to share in the benefits that come from a strong and growing economy.
     We asked the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay a little more so we could cut taxes for the middle class Canadians, a tax cut for nine million Canadians over a five-year period, a multi-billion dollar tax cut for hard-working middle-class Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    With new measures like the Canada child benefit, we have provided real help to those who need it. These results are not built on ideology; they are built on facts and the facts are clear. Over the course of the past three years, Canadians have created over half a million full-time jobs. Many of those jobs are in the city of Vaughan in the riding I represent, Vaughan—Woodbridge.
     The unemployment rate is at a historic 40-year low and the share of working-age Canadians with jobs is at an all-time high. Our economy grew at the fastest pace among our G7 peers in 2017, at 3%, and we are expected to remain among the leaders in growth this year and next year. Most important, the economic growth we are seeing in Canada is inclusive and Canadians are benefiting from it. Groups that have been under-represented in the labour force, such as young Canadians, new Canadians, women and indigenous peoples, are joining the workforce and improving their position in it.
    Our successes in building a more competitive economy are far from over. We know, for example, that there is tremendous untapped potential within Canada's small business sector. By empowering entrepreneurs, we are empowering Canadians.

  (1230)  

[Translation]

     Seven out of ten jobs in the private sector are created by small businesses. We know that keeping taxes low and competitive allows Canadian business owners to keep more of their revenues so they can invest more in their companies and create even more well-paid jobs.
    That is why we reduced the small business tax to 10% effective last January. In January 2019, the rate will be reduced even further to 9%.
    However, there is still work to be done. Even though Canada's economy is strong and growing, we know that we cannot take that for granted. The Government of Canada listened to the business community. We understood that many businesses are concerned about their competitiveness, the recent tax reform in the U.S., and the impact that current international trade disputes could have on their bottom line.
    We also know that Canadian businesses have what it takes to compete and succeed. In our fall economic statement, we looked for ways to encourage this investment in a responsible and targeted way so that businesses can have confidence in the future and be better able to invest in jobs for the middle class.

[English]

    We continue to grow and strengthen our middle class here in Canada, the backbone of our economy.

[Translation]

    Our fall economic statement proposed a number of tax changes designed to support business investment. These changes include allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of machinery and equipment used in manufacturing and processing as well as the full cost of specific clean-energy equipment.
    We are also introducing the accelerated investment incentive to allow businesses of all sizes and across all sectors to write off a larger share of the cost of newly acquired assets in the year they are purchased.
    These are important changes because increased deductions will attract more investment in assets that will stimulate business growth and make more jobs available for middle-class Canadians.

[English]

    An accelerated capital cost allowance will grow our economy, incentivize firms to invest here in Canada and continue to invest here in Canada, and is something we can be proud of as a prudent fiscal measure in response to the measures that were brought in by the United States. We are doing it in a fiscally prudent manner. We are lowering our debt-to-GDP ratio. We are strengthening our fiscal anchor. We are growing our economy. We are strengthening our middle class, something we should all be proud of in this country.

[Translation]

    The fall economic statement also proposes measures to do more to modernize regulations so as to make it easier for businesses to grow.
    Perhaps my colleagues have heard people say that one of the biggest challenges for businesses is complying with all the necessary regulations imposed by the government. Members who have owned businesses might have first-hand experience with this. Let me be very clear: regulations play an important role.

[English]

    We need to understand that regulations play an important role in attracting investment. Our regulations need to be transparent. They need to be effective. There needs to be a certainty. With bills like Bill C-69, that is what we are doing. We are putting regulations in bills for investors to know and understand the rules that they face so that they can invest here in Canada and continue to grow our economy.

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Regulations serve as a book of rules governing how businesses must carry out their activities, and they play a crucial role in protecting the health and safety of Canadians and protecting our natural environment. Over time, however, regulations can become outdated, and regulatory burdens can accumulate, making Canada a less attractive place to invest and do business.
     In our fall economic statement, we are taking action to overcome that challenge, for example, by planning a review of the legislative provisions so as to encourage regulators to take into account efficiency and economic considerations. To that end, we are introducing an annual modernization bill to keep regulations up to date, striking an external advisory committee to look at Canada's regulatory competitiveness, creating a centre for regulatory innovation and taking immediate action in response to a number of business recommendations.

[English]

    We are also taking steps to help make Canada the most globally connected economy in the world. With the successful conclusion of the new North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. We are continuing our ongoing negotiations with Mercosur, and let us hope we can come to a trade agreement there. We know that progressive liberalized trade lifts all boats, strengthens our middle class, creates jobs here in Canada, creates jobs abroad, and is something good that we need to do for our future, the future of my children, and those great manufacturers and entrepreneurs located in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge.
    Canada is now the only G7 country to have free trade agreements concluded with all other G7 nations. We want to give Canadian businesses more opportunities to grow and succeed. That is why we are proposing things like an export diversification strategy, to help grow Canada's overseas exports by 50% by 2025, with more help for small and medium-sized businesses, to help them explore new export opportunities.
    To boost trade overseas, the government is also proposing accelerated investments in transportation corridors leading to Asia and Europe.
    The actions taken by our government are not just making Canadians more competitive, we also want Canadians to benefit from being more competitive, with more jobs and brighter futures. That is what our government is about: strengthening the middle class.
    Mr. Speaker, at one point near the end of his speech, my colleague commented on the successful conclusion of the NAFTA. That is a bit of a joke because the Prime Minister said he would not appear at the signing unless the tariffs were removed. Here we are, with the aluminum and steel tariffs still in place.
    From someone in the Waterloo region who spoke at committee earlier this year:
     Currently, we directly employ approximately 475 people in the Waterloo region and support significantly more jobs in Canada. These are well paying value-added jobs.... Current Canada-U.S. tariffs are driving up prices of our inputs in North America and threatening our supply chain. The pressure heightened when the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum under section 232. Things were made worse when the EU and Canada responded with retaliatory tariffs. Our steel costs are up 18% this year alone. This is a substantial increase that our competitors...do not contend with.
    How can my colleague believe that the USMCA is a good agreement, that is an improvement on the NAFTA when the tariffs on aluminum and steel continue to damage our small businesses in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, very simply, it is in our overwhelming interest, for both Canada and the United States, that these reciprocal tariffs to be lifted. We have taken measures to protect our industry including $16.6 billion in reciprocal measures against U.S. imports. We will stand up for Canadian workers. We will stand up for Canadian businesses.
    However, with regard to the renegotiated NAFTA, the new USMCA, we just have to look at what former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said this week, that it was a “good deal”. We just need to look at what individuals such as members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association said, that it was a good deal. We need to look at leaders, from Linamar to Martinrea to Magna, to industries from coast to coast to coast, who said it was a good deal.
    It was a great deal negotiated by our government and if we had capitulated like the Conservatives wanted, we would have had a worse deal.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned the issue of USMCA and there is no doubt that we have had to make concessions in dairy, auto, digital rights and patent protection with regard to the extension of two years that will affect drug costs.
    One of the concerns is that the USMCA does have to go through Congress and the Senate to be ratified. Congressional members are amending the bill right now with regard to hearings and the input they are getting from stakeholders. We are unlikely to see the exact same deal.
    Will the Liberals continue to support a further amended USMCA with greater concessions, or is this the final line drawn in the sand for them?
    Mr. Speaker, I have travelled with the hon. member from the Windsor area on the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group to the United States. We have spoken to a number of senators and congressmen and congresswomen about the importance of two-way free trade between Canada and the U.S. That is what we need to continue to do.
     We need to continue that dialogue with the U.S. representatives both in the Senate and in Congress, ensuring that they know the benefits of trade between our countries, the volume of trade between our countries and how important the supply chain is between our two countries. I know in Windsor that supply chain for autos and auto parts is considerably important to the future and the lives and the jobs of those auto workers and that is why the supply chain has been maintained in the USMCA. We can be proud of that fact. When the Prime Minister went to Windsor, he was greeted by those workers and they thanked him and our negotiating team for the new revised NAFTA.
    Mr. Speaker, I know members are riveted and want to know the answer to a question that was asked of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change last Friday in question period, and the member of Parliament for Central Nova also brought it up. Earlier in debate, the member for Central Nova misled the House by saying that I do not believe in climate change. I want to put this to rest. Yes, I believe in climate change. Hopefully that puts—
    An hon. member: Hallelujah.
    Mr. Todd Doherty: Yes, hallelujah. I hope that is put to bed.
    What I do not believe is how a carbon tax is going to do anything to bring down global emissions. It is not going to do anything to mitigate any global emissions and fight global climate change. Liberals like to say they have a plan when really it is a tax plan. The voters who elected our friend from Central Nova should probably be a bit concerned. I guess that is what happens when voters elect somebody from away. He might have been born in Antigonish, but he spent his formative years outside the riding and that is what we are seeing here today.
    I am honoured to stand in the House to speak to this motion, brought forward by my colleague and good friend, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    I should have said I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton West.
    It is fitting that the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola brought this motion forward. I am going to focus my debate on softwood and how the Liberal government's failures have impacted the hard-working foresters and forestry families who depend on forestry and softwood for their livelihoods.
    I want to give kudos where they are due. The very first time the word “softwood” was mentioned in the House was December 7, 2015, and it was by none other than the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I want to go on record that I was the second person to say the word “softwood”. At no other time in the House has the importance of softwood and fighting for our forestry families been more evident than on this side of the House with the Conservative caucus.
    It was not mentioned in the mandate letter to the minister and it was not mentioned in the first throne speech by the current government. As a matter of fact, the very first mention of softwood in Hansard by a Liberal member of Parliament was January 29, 2016. That is shocking. As I said, there was no mention of it in the minister's mandate letter and no mention of it in the Speech from the Throne. This is a $69-billion industry that provides a quarter of a million direct jobs and approximately one million indirect jobs. That is huge, and there was not one mention of it by the government. It has failed hard-working forestry families and rural communities. Over 600 communities across our country depend on forestry and yet the government, its economic policies and its failure to take action on critical issues are failing.
    These are jobs in communities where there are often few other options: rural communities and northern communities. Forestry is one of the largest employers of our indigenous people, over 12,000 people, and an industry that works with over 1,400 indigenous-owned companies and suppliers. Softwood lumber is now being held ransom by an increasingly protectionist U.S. administration and the government's failure to act when it mattered the most.
    The Liberal government has failed time and time again. There is so much fodder for us to use in today's motion. It is like a pre-Christmas gift. The fall economic update tabled just a few weeks ago did nothing to protect forestry jobs. The failed economic policies of the government are having a severe impact on Canadians right across our country.

  (1245)  

    Two weeks ago, notices of mill closures, work curtailment and layoffs swept through my province, British Columbia. There were hundreds of job losses in my riding alone. These are families who, just weeks before Christmas, are now facing tough times. What do they get from the government? Time and time again over the last three years, as we continue to press, it is, “Just hang in there. Don't worry. Be happy.”
    West Fraser Timber, Conifex Timber, Tolko Industries, Canfor and Interfor have all announced some form of work or job action. Lumber producers in my riding have shut their doors because of the government's failed policies and inaction on critical issues. The Liberals are pandering shamefully to environmental groups. Over the last three years, we have stressed the importance of this industry time and time again, yet all we have heard from these guys is, “Hey, we've got this.”
    B.C. is the largest exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The B.C. forest industry is the major contributor to the provincial and national economy. Every province is being negatively impacted by the government's economic policy, but nowhere are the government's failures in the forestry sector more evident than in my province.
    Those members say it has never been better. There are hundreds of job layoffs, and it has never been better, according to them. That is like the tweet the Prime Minister sent last week, where he gave away $50 million. My gosh, when there are job losses in Alberta and B.C., how insensitive can he be?
    There are a number of issues that are creating this terrible environment. I am not going to put all of the burden on the government. We have massive infestations, whether it is the pine beetle, the spruce beetle or the Liberals. That is what we are hearing. There have also been devastating wildfires in the last two seasons. In 2017, we lost 1.2 million hectares. In 2018, we lost 1.25 million hectares of fibre. It is getting harder and harder for our forestry companies to compete.
    Another issue that these ministers and the government are aware of and yet have failed to act on is rail access for our forestry companies. In a recent survey, over $500 million of product had been stranded. The government has stranded our forestry companies and failed to deal with this issue. It would rather piecemeal this rail system issue with a smattering here and there, but our western Canadian producers are getting nothing. That is shameful. Eighty per cent of forestry mills in Canada are dependent on only one rail line. There are few other options, especially given a truck-driver shortage.
    We also have a species at risk, which is the caribou herd problem. Canada has one of the most rigorous, environmentally sound forestry practices in the world. We are known around the world for careful management of our forests, yet the government continues to engage and put a priority on environmentalists and their programs, rather than on our producers, who are sustainable.
     We also have the most sustainable harvesting in the world. As a matter of fact, just last week the government hosted a round table on the caribou herd issue. It brought in an activist group called the Natural Resources Defense Council. They had the nerve to say on the stage that in Canada, they do not replant their trees. However, it is the law that we have to replant the trees. As a matter of fact, in British Columbia, for every tree we harvest, we plant three.
     That is what the government is listening to, and it is shameful, because it gives more credibility to environmentalists like Greenpeace, which wants to shut down our forestry companies. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, Greenpeace chose Resolute Forest Products as its next victim. Greenpeace went after it and its customers, and said that it is a forest destroyer and is causing caribou death and extinction. Then, when there was a lawsuit, Greenpeace came back and said that it was hyperbole, heated rhetoric, non-verifiable statements or subjective opinion, and should not be taken literally or expose them to any legal liability. That is who the government is listening to, and that is shameful.
    We will always stand up for Canadian jobs, and we will stand up against the government's failed economic policies.

  (1250)  

    I want to remind hon. members that, just as members have done now, it is good that as we begin the period for questions and comments any members interested in participating stand up right at the start. It gives us chair occupants an idea of how many people we would like to fit into a short five-minute period. When members see that there is quite a bit of interest in participating in that period, it would reinforce the notion that they should keep their interventions more concise.
    We will go first to the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
    Mr. Speaker, to begin, a couple of shots were taken at me for having spent some time out in Calgary. As an Atlantic Canadian, I can say that one of the things that actually makes us more from Nova Scotia is spending a couple of years out west. One of the reasons so many people do that is that the previous government described ours as a culture of defeatism and never invested in Atlantic Canada for 10 years.
    With respect to the radio interview that I referenced in my remarks, when asked whether human beings, in their industrial activity, caused climate change, the hon. member indicated that the climate has been changing for thousands of years. He likened it to more bodies going into a room and heating it up. When he was asked directly, “Are we in agreement...that human activity is causing climate change?” he said, “Quite possibly.” The interviewer asked, “Quite possibly, or it is?” The member accused the interviewer of trying to go down a rabbit hole.
    I am going to give the hon. member an opportunity to clarify his remarks. Does he believe that climate change is a result of humans' industrial activity, or does he think it is a factor of more people being on the planet? If he believes that we are responsible for climate change, can he name one thing that the Conservative Party is going to do to contribute to the fight against climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, I love this tactic of deflect, deflect, deflect, and, “It is all about them, not us.” There is nothing to see here. Yes, I believe in climate change. Does that work?
    We should be asking these guys and the government across the way and my hon. colleague from Central Nova what they are doing. What is their plan? The Liberals are taxing. We know there is a tax, but what are they doing? What are they doing to impact the caribou herds, for example? Maybe there is an impact of climate change on the caribou herds. What is the Liberals' action for that? What is their plan for that?
    I should ask as well what their plan is to work with the provincial governments and the forestry sector to stem the tides of fires and pests. On that note, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has stood in the House and talked about the carbon tax plan and how it is going to limit wildfires and floods. How high does it have to be? We have had a carbon tax in B.C. for over 10 years.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a quick climate change question for my friend. The first climate change legislation passed in any democracy was passed by the late Jack Layton and the NDP and unanimously agreed to in this House, but it later died in the Senate.
    I would ask whether my colleague agrees with the Senate's killing a bill on climate change that was actually agreed to in this chamber. What does it say to the world when we have an undemocratic, unelected Senate that actually defeated legislation on climate change from a democratized chamber like this one?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to get into one House versus the other, or policies, laws and legislation that have been introduced in the past. Everybody knows that when I am asked such things, I politely decline and say that I was not elected at that time, so I will leave it at that.
    It is interesting that we have this debate. We are losing hundreds, if not thousands of jobs because of the current government's failed policies. We hear the heckling across the way. It is so insensitive when we have oil workers, forestry workers and manufacturers who are out of work and we hear the heckling from the government side. That in itself is shameful. The Liberals should know better.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, with a certain pettiness and mean-spiritedness that he has perfected, my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George insinuated earlier that my colleague from Central Nova is incapable of understanding the needs of his constituents because he left his region for a time to go and work in western Canada.
    Is my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George saying that his party leader, who was born in Ottawa and now lives in the riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle, is incapable of representing Canadians properly? That is my first question.
    My second question is this: what is the Conservative plan for carbon dioxide emissions?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is not only going to be the leader for now, he is going to be the leader of our country for the future. The member talked about our hon. colleague going to Calgary for a while. I spent time in Grand Bank because of the questionable surf clam scam that the former minister of fisheries and oceans and the Canadian coast guard levied on the town of Grand Bank. I guess that makes me very successful and gives me the ability to represent all Canadians, because I spent a lot of time on the east coast, dealing with the clam scam issue, as well as on the west coast.
    With that, I will cede the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, it is nice to hear so many cheers, or jeers perhaps. I am pleased today to speak to our opposition day motion calling for the House to recognize the looming job crisis.
    Liberals will stand here in the House, and outside as well, one after the other and spout off how rosy things are: super-duper low unemployment, best-in-class GDP, dropping levels of poverty for everyone, rising wages, all the work done for women in the workforce and the $40-billion national housing study.
    Actually, I have just done as much work for all these items as the Liberals have, because all they have done is announce things and not delivered anything.
    I want to look at the facts. It reminds me of the meme, “Annoy a Liberal, use facts and logic.” Well, I want to give a warning right now. I am going to use facts and logic.
    Let us look at the unemployment rate. It is 57% higher than the U.S. unemployment rate right now. The U.S. has probably the largest disadvantaged and marginalized demographic in the free world, and we have a 57% higher unemployment rate than it does. We have the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the G7. We are ahead only of France and Italy. They have basket-case economies with low growth and high average age, and we are barely ahead of them.
    I want to go over how the unemployment rate has changed in the last couple of years, since the economic crisis. In the U.S., unemployment has dropped by 55%. The U.K., which is dealing with Brexit, was still able to drop its unemployment rate by 50%. Japan dropped it by 38%. Germany has dropped its unemployment rate by 52%.
    Where does Canada sit? Ours has dropped by 19%. It is great; every job created is a win, but why are we so far behind all the other G7 countries?
    The world is riding on an economic boom and we are sitting out on the sidelines. We hear again and again from the other side that Canada has the highest GDP growth in the G7. Liberals used to repeat that every day, until I rose on a point of order and offered to table a document from the Library of Parliament, showing that we were not first. All of sudden, they changed their mantra to, “Canada has among the highest growth in the G7.”
    In just the last couple of weeks, they are now back to saying we are the best in the G7. Well, here is where we are. We are not the best and we are not the second-best. We have fallen behind the U.S. and Germany. We are also well below the IMF advanced countries, mostly made up of the OECD countries. Our GDP growth is well below OECD levels, and also well below world GDP growth.
    The government talks a lot about reducing poverty. Just on Friday, we were discussing its poverty reduction plan. We talked about how we are going to measure it from now on. Page 8 of the document, which has the metrics, is blank.
    The government said on Friday that it is reducing poverty for seniors. The reality is that poverty rates for seniors have gone up since the government took over in 2015.
    Regarding wages, the finance minister stood in this House and said that Canadians are seeing the strongest wage growth in years. Guess what? The Parliamentary Budget Officer says that basically the entire growth in wages is due to the increase in the minimum wages in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. We can debate all day whether an increase in the minimum wage is good or bad, and whether it takes away employment from those at the bottom or benefits them, but the reality is that the provincial government-imposed minimum wage increases basically make up the entire wage growth in Canada.
    The PBO also stated that for the first time in decades we are reaching the end of a growth cycle without wage gains. People in Canada feel they are not getting ahead; they are falling behind. They are feeling that because it is true. Therefore, the Liberals say, “What the heck, people are in trouble. What should we do? Let us hit them with a carbon tax. Why not?”
    With regard to women in the workplace, we hear again and again from the government about gender-based analysis and what they are doing for women. It is wonderful, but it is not working. Workforce participation for women has dropped since the government took over. It reached a high under the Harper era, but has dropped since the current government took over.
    Time after time, Liberals stand here and brag about all they are doing, but it is not working. With the national housing program, on Friday, we heard Liberals talk about $5 billion this year. Former PBO Kevin Page, from the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, has stated that he is only able to identify $1.5 billion over five years, not $5 billion this year. He says that the Liberals' entire plan for housing is just a glossy document.

  (1300)  

    Last week we held an emergency debate on the crisis in Alberta, where Liberal actions have led to the price of a barrel of Alberta crude being valued about the same as two lattes at Starbucks, and those are the tall size, not the venti.
    I want to review the Liberal record.
     First, the Liberals discredited the National Energy Board. The PM said it had been gutted and therefore that it could not be trusted. He said decisions would go back to being based on science, facts and evidence, as if the NEB were not already making decisions based on that. He said that the NEB would have to consider the views of the public. Therefore, it is science, facts and evidence if necessary, but not necessarily science facts and evidence.
    Proponents jumped all over the newly discredited NEB. They used the PM's own word against the NEB's approval of pipelines, such as northern gateway. That pipeline would have brought oil to a deep-water port for large ships to bring it over to Asia. That was killed by the Liberals through an order in council. They will stand and say that it was a business decision. Rather, it was killed by cabinet through an order in council.
    The Liberal MP for Calgary Centre was in cabinet at the time. Calgary Centre is the heart, the headquarters, of our oil industry. He said that northern gateway was merely paused. However, it was killed. It just shows how completely out of touch the Liberals are with reality.
    We asked the Liberal member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre to stand and tell the people of Edmonton that he would vote against the job-killing, pipeline-killing, Alberta-killing Bill C-69, the “no new pipeline anywhere” bill. This is a bill to ensure that no new resource projects will ever be built in Canada again. He said he was proud of the bill and of the government. He was proud that the government gave taxpayer funding to Tides Canada. It is the same Tides organization that is funded through the U.S. and working to destroy the Alberta economy and jobs, and the current government gave money to it. He was proud of that.
    He said he was proud of the carbon tax, a tax that sees Edmonton cement companies losing out on government infrastructure contracts to China because they are priced out of the market because of the tax.
    He said he is proud of the policies that have sent people to the food bank in record numbers in Edmonton.
     The Liberal member for Edmonton Centre said he was proud that the Liberals killed energy east by constantly moving the goal posts.
    He said he was proud of his government rewarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with guaranteed markets to the east coast by blocking Alberta oil.
    He said he was proud to have voted for the tanker ban to landlock Alberta oil, all the while ignoring the fact that we have never had an oil spill on the B.C. coast. It is a testament to the great work of the Pacific coast pilots.
    The Liberal member for Edmonton Centre said he was proud of the government and how it has driven Kinder Morgan out of the country with $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to invest in Texas to compete with us and to let the TMX sit unstarted.
    He said he was proud of the Liberal policy that sent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to China for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build oil pipelines in the suburbs of Beijing. That was taxpayer money from Alberta to China to build pipelines outside Beijing. By the way, not one penny of any of the infrastructure bank projects have gone to Canadian businesses.
    Alberta is suffering through its worst crisis since Trudeau senior almost destroyed Alberta with his national energy policy, and today's Liberals are right back at it. It is shameful that the three Liberal MPs from Alberta are proudly watching this happen. With friends like these, Alberta does not need enemies.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, after listening to the Conservatives, I guess I cannot blame them for being green with envy about the record growth and employment rates this country has seen under our government. With the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, I can see why they would want to try to mess with the facts as much as possible. I am lost for the reasoning behind why they want to go in that direction when there is so much great news to discuss about what this government has been able to achieve in the last three years.
    Does the member across the way feel that climate change is because of human-generated GHG emissions, or just millions of years of climate evolution? If he does believe that it is caused by human-generated GHG emissions, what is their plan for doing something about it? They like to talk and bash this government for the responsible actions it is taking to deal with climate change and its existential threat to future generations, but we have still not heard of a plan from the other side.
    Mr. Speaker, normally I would thank my colleague for the question, but I do not. It is offensive. We are here to discuss the crisis that is happening. I am here discussing the crisis that is happening in Alberta. A hundred thousand people are unemployed because of this government, and there is record usage of food banks and suicides are on the rise, and the member across gets up and asks, “What is your belief?” We know climate is changing.
     Blake Shaffer from the Fulbright School at Stanford University has commented that the government's large emitter pricing system is going to defeat its own purpose. He asks what is our plan. Their plan does not work.
    I want to get back to why we are debating today. It is the job crisis. Three thousand are unemployed in Oshawa. I would ask the member to take this issue seriously, to stand up for constituents and workers in Canada and stop playing politics.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the interesting parts of the motion mentions higher payroll taxes. The member talked at length about the difficult time businesses are having, which by the way is not based on fact when we look at the economic record of our government.
    I am curious. One of the questions I asked previous speakers about and got a very troubling answer in response was this. Is he concerned that the enhancements our government made to the Canada pension plan will be so devastating to the Canadian economy that the Conservative Party of Canada would take away a dignified retirement from our seniors by repealing the improvements we have made to that plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the government has commented so much about making fact-based decision-making, but it shows once again: it is great at making announcements, but gets a D on delivery.
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business did a massive survey of thousands upon thousands of businesses. It heard very clearly that the increases in the payroll tax are going to come at the expense of lower wage increases for employees and fewer job opportunities.
    As stated in quite a few reports, the reality is that this is a made-up crisis by the Liberal government in order to push through another tax. It is very clear that the CPP is safe, but it delivers below-average returns compared with RRSPs or other investment vehicles. It is purely a tax on jobs, and it is going to cost Canadians in the short and long runs.
    Mr. Speaker, before addressing a question to my hon. friend, who is working incredibly hard for our province of Alberta, I would like to address some of the comments from the other side. Did the Liberals not see the 2,000 people in the streets of Calgary protesting the Prime Minister's visit there? These people are out of work. These people cannot to put food on the table. These people cannot afford to have Christmas this year. When the members stand up on the other side to ask us about climate change and pension reforms, it is disgusting to hear what they are saying. We on this side of the House are standing up for these workers.
    There is a member over here from Edmonton West, who is standing up for our community in Edmonton every single day and pushing back against this terrible rhetoric we are hearing from the other side. I would say that to the other side of the House, but would also commend the member for the hard work he is doing and continues to do for his constituent to highlight the jobs crisis not only in our province, but across the country.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my neighbour from Edmonton Riverbend for his well thought out and tough question. He is right. We are here to discuss the jobs crisis not only in Alberta, but also elsewhere, because we have seen Bombardier slashing thousands of jobs and have also seen Oshawa decimated.
    I would ask the members on the other side to take this issue seriously. These are people's lives at stake, people whom we need to help. The members opposite should not just stand and speak out with false information about how great the economy is, but get to work with all sides of the House to help people in Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Orléans.
    Today, we will be talking about economic growth in Canada and job creation. With the fall economic statement, the government continues to meet its commitment to strengthen and grow the middle class while investing in a financially responsible way to promote the strength and growth of the economy today and for the long term.
     In the 2018 fall economic statement, we proposed improving competitiveness by allowing the full cost of machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing and processing of goods to be written off immediately for tax purposes, and by introducing the accelerated investment incentive to support investment by businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy. That is good for the farmers in the Pontiac. It is good for the forestry sectors. It is good for my entire riding and all of Canada.
    These changes will make it more attractive to invest in assets that will help drive business growth and secure jobs for middle class Canadians.
    We propose increasing investment in the clean-tech sector by allowing specified clean energy equipment to be eligible for full and immediate expensing. This will help Canada achieve its climate change goals and become more globally competitive.
    We also want to work with the provinces and territories to remove internal trade barriers so that businesses can transport goods more easily, harmonize food inspection and regulations, and harmonize regulations governing the construction sector, including building codes across Canada.

  (1315)  

    We want to make it easier for businesses to ship alcohol to other provinces and territories. My riding, Pontiac, is close to Ontario, and interprovincial trade is very important to us. I know these measures are of great interest to my constituents.
    We also want to help businesses grow by modernizing federal regulations and encouraging regulatory bodies to take economic competitiveness into account in designing and implementing regulations while continuing to protect the health and safety of Canadians as well as our environment.
    We will also create a social finance fund to support charitable, non-profit and social purpose organizations across the country with a new source of funding that will help them connect with non-governmental investors.
    Lastly, I would like to mention that we are going to move forward on pay equity by ensuring that women and men working in federally regulated sectors receive equal pay for equal work.

  (1320)  

[English]

     In terms of the state of the economy, I am so pleased to be able to speak to the people of the Pontiac and say that our economy is strong and our economy is growing. At 3%, Canada had the strongest growth of all the group of seven countries, the G7, in 2017 and is expected to remain among the fastest-growing economies this year and next.
    There are more and more good, well-paying jobs for Canadians. That is what happens when a country, together, creates 550,000 new full-time jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to a historic 40-year low. We are talking about a strong economy, both in the Pontiac and across the country. This is reflected in wage growth. Canadians' wages are growing. For the average Canadian worker, wage growth is outpacing inflation, and if current trends continue, we know that 2018 could mark the strongest year of wage growth in close to a decade.
    Consumer confidence is strong. That is reflected in Christmas purchasing already. With more money, more jobs, rising wages and lower taxes for the middle class, Canadians are feeling confident about their own financial positions. This is reflected in consumer confidence, which is elevated, by historical standards.
    Business profits are also way up. The after-tax profitability of businesses in Canada is elevated compared to the historical average, adding further positive conditions for more investment.
    Then, of course, there is the federal debt-to-GDP ratio. My riding is very concerned about ensuring that we are in control of our expenditures. The federal debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to continue to decline and to reach 28.5% in 2023-24.

[Translation]

    No discussion on growing the economy would be complete without mention of the environment. Protecting the environment and growing the economy go together.
    Last month's IPCC report confirmed that we are the last generation that can stop climate change. We must act now. Last week, doctors from all over Canada called climate change a “public health crisis”.
    Our government has a plan to protect the environment and grow our economy, and this plan is working. Emissions are going down, and since we came to power, Canadians have created hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.
    We are putting a price on pollution, which is what Canadians were expecting. It is an issue we campaigned on, and now we are following through. We are phasing out coal to make sure that 90% of our electricity will be clean by 2030. We are making historic investments in public transportation and green infrastructure, including cycling trails across the Pontiac region.
    As I mentioned, we are offering significant incentives to those who want to invest in clean technologies. We have placed a moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic, which is a very important issue. Lastly, we are better protecting nature through a $1.3-billion investment over four years.

[English]

    Any serious government, any government concerned about climate change, understands that we need to put a price on pollution. The World Bank, former Conservative prime ministers, a Nobel Prize winner and business leaders from across our country all support this.
    For a decade, the Conservatives had the chance to do something about it, and they did not take that opportunity. Because they could not grow the economy or protect the environment, it seems they chose to do neither.
    I would posit that the Conservatives of today are no different from the Conservatives of the Harper era. Instead of bringing ideas to the table, they are fearmongering. They are trying to play the same old game. They are ignoring the cost of climate change, which has impacted Pontiac severely, with floods, droughts and terrible weather events. Ignoring the cost of climate change is putting the future of our kids and grandkids at risk.
    The Conservatives have no climate plan, none whatsoever. They have no intention of creating one, so far as we can tell. It is irresponsible. Canadians deserve better.
    That is why today, on my Facebook page, Will Amos-Pontiac, Canadians can see the open letter I have written to Andrew Scheer. I am talking about the leader of the official opposition—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, the member named a member of the House, which is in violation of the Standing Orders.
    I thank the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue. However, the hon. member for Pontiac corrected his mistake right after he made it.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to discuss the open letter addressed to the Leader of the Opposition. Unfortunately, because of the opposition, we are not having a serious debate on climate change and pollution pricing. This is still a hyper-politicized issue, which is such a shame.
    I would like the opposition leader to tell me the Conservative Party's position on the federal jurisdiction over pollution pricing.

[English]

    Canadians deserve to know that the Government of Saskatchewan has brought a reference case to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, and while British Columbia is intervening in this matter, while Ontario is intervening in this matter, while a number of non-governmental organizations are intervening in this matter, and while even the Alberta Conservatives are intervening in this matter, the federal Conservatives appear to have no position on this litigation and appear to have no concrete idea of what is federal jurisdiction over pollution pricing.
    I would dearly love to hear it. I invite my colleagues across the way to tell us all about it.
    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing for sure. Seniors are suffering greatly. Seniors are lining up at food banks more than ever. Seniors have been telling me that there is no way they can afford their heat and everything else. They do not drive. They take the bus.
    There is nothing in the economic update for seniors. The government is re-announcing things for other places and says it is all for seniors.
    Why is the government targeting seniors with its terrible carbon tax? In B.C., it is no longer revenue neutral. The B.C. government has taken it. This is a tax grab after all, right?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, speaking of seniors, my riding of Pontiac, demographically, has many seniors. It is a riding where, if the member of Parliament does not pay attention to seniors every single day, there is going to be a real challenge.
    I will tell the member what seniors in Pontiac have told me. They thank the federal government for increasing the guaranteed income supplement by 10% for single, low-income seniors. That is real support after a decade of no increases such as that.
    Public transit for seniors is absolutely an important issue. I thank the member for raising it. The $180 billion being spent over 10 years on infrastructure is going to be directed massively toward public transit, and that is definitely in the interest of our seniors.
    Overall, seniors are looking at the Government of Canada today and saying that this is a government that is acting.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting in the House since about 10 o'clock this morning listening to speech after speech, and almost none of the Liberal members have been able to speak to the motion itself.
     They talk about putting a price on pollution. A week or two after the government came to power in 2015, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change gave permission to Montreal to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. In February of this year, the government gave permission to the City of Quebec to spill 46 million litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.
    My question is very simple. We talk about a price on pollution. How much did Montreal pay to pollute the St. Lawrence River? How much did the City of Quebec pay to pollute the St. Lawrence River?
    Mr. Speaker, the issue of such spills into rivers has absolutely to do with a decade of failing to invest adequately in municipal infrastructure. That is exactly what $180 billion being spent over 10 years is all about.
     It has happened here in the national capital region, in the city I represent in Gatineau. The City of Gatineau knows that it needs to invest in water and waste water, and it is. Guess what? That is thanks to the investments of this federal government, which is taking municipal infrastructure seriously.
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend and I were friends before politics in the environmental movement.
    We have warnings from the IPCC that we must reduce greenhouse gases globally, 45% below 2010 levels, by 2030. This is not a number that can be negotiated. This is an absolute if we want to ensure the survival of civilization.
    Is it better when the Liberals, who understand climate change, do not have a plan? Is that better than the Conservatives, who clearly do not care and do not have a plan?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the dedication of the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands to this issue and the work we have done, both past and present.
    Obviously, I reject the premise of the question. Our plan is solid. Our plan is working. Our plan is focused on investing in infrastructure, pricing pollution and making sure that we shut down coal-fired power plants. We are getting the job done. At the end of the day, this issue is too important to Canadians to devolve into partisan bickering.
    We need the Conservatives to step up and answer to the public on questions of jurisdiction. We need the Green Party, the NDP and the Bloc Québecois to step up with concrete proposals of their own that take into account the realities across the country, because the realities in Alberta are not the exact same as they are in Quebec.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to address some concerns raised by my colleagues across the way about the ongoing softwood lumber issue. This is an important sector of the Canadian economy, as we know, that supports thousands of jobs in communities across our land, creating many positive spinoffs in related industries and services. Of course, we are focused on modernizing and on making sure that we have efficient, environmentally sustainable lumber companies. We have the potential to serve the entirety of the market here in Canada, in the United States and around the world.
    In the U.S., where there is a demand for lumber that exceeds supply, housing and other industries rely on Canada for stable, predictable access to quality products. When not available, house prices in the United States have increased by a significant amount due to the increase in softwood lumber prices, which is a direct result of the imposition of U.S. tariffs on Canada's softwood lumber. This dispute has become one of the most enduring trade disputes between our nations, with a history of well over 25 years. Indeed, it goes back close to 80 years.
    Over the past 25 years, the United States' lumber industry has frequently sought U.S. government restrictions on reliable, high-quality Canadian softwood lumber imports through the application of import duties. The countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian softwood lumber are entirely unjustified. Canada believes that these determinations are inconsistent with U.S. trade law and with the international trade obligations of the United States under the World Trade Organization. In the past, U.S. claims have always been found to be without basis. Canada believes this, once again, to be the case.
    Our government remains committed to vigorously defending the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry. Starting in late 2017, the Government of Canada initiated dispute settlement proceedings under the NAFTA chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism. Canada is pursuing three challenges before NAFTA chapter 19 panels: against the countervailing duty determination, against the anti-dumping duty determination, and against the U.S. International Trade Commission's finding of material injury.
     We worked very hard to maintain the independent and impartial chapter 19 binational panel review mechanism for anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in the new NAFTA, which is one of the immediate by-products of the good work that went into that. The modernized NAFTA preserves this binational panel in chapter 19. It enhances the existing exclusion of NAFTA partners from global safeguard action. It adds new elements that strengthen cooperation on duty evasion, and it enhances transparency in trade remedy investigations. These are good things.
    Given the integrated nature of the North American economy, it is important to minimize these disruptions that can, as we have seen, result from the imposition of unfair and unjust trade remedies and trade tariffs, such as those on steel and aluminum. This outcome ensures that trade remedies are applied in a fair, transparent and responsible way while maintaining recourse, when necessary, to an impartial binational panel.
    Canada is also challenging the U.S. final determinations on softwood lumber through the World trade Organization. The WTO Director-General has appointed panellists to rule on Canada's challenge of the U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations. We have submitted briefs in both cases. A second anti-dumping hearing took place very recently, on December 4, and the first hearing on the countervailing duty case will take place from February 26 to February 28, 2019.
    On June 1, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a softwood lumber action plan in the amount of $867 million over three years. This was aimed at supporting the needs of affected workers and communities. This plan strengthens the forest industry and diversifies markets for Canadian wood and wood products. It also includes a basket of resources, over three years, of $105 million from the Business Development Bank and up to $500 million from Export Development Canada to viable firms. That is the Canadian government in action. On top of that, it includes an additional $90 million to help reduce layoffs, by extending the duration of work-sharing arrangements, and to help affected workers upgrade their skills.
    Our government is committed to opening new markets for our softwood lumber. The Minister of Finance, the Minister of Trade and the Minister of Foreign Affairs all have been actively pursuing such objectives.

  (1335)  

    The softwood lumber dispute is historically an extremely challenging issue. Our government has allocated a tremendous amount of resources, totalling almost $1 billion, to alleviate the suffering that has been imposed by these unfair and unjust duties by the Americans on their Canadian compatriots.
     With regard to the way forward on NAFTA, Canada will only accept an agreement that reflects the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber sector. In the interim, we will continue to stand up for forestry workers and communities that depend on this critical sector of Canadian economy.
    Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed working with the hon. member on the Canada-U.S. file. We worked relatively well together when we were in the U.S. explaining the importance of trade. All members in the House worked pretty well together. It was up the Prime Minister to convince his friend, who he called Donald last weekend, that trade was important, and he failed drastically. Who paid for that failure? It was forestry workers, aluminum and steel workers, manufacturers and oil and gas workers. They all have one thing in common: the Prime Minister has failed them.
    In the last election, the member told his constituents, based on the words of the Prime Minister, that he would balance the deficit, that there would be a small deficit for a short period of time, but it would be balanced by 2019. Could the member tell me what he will now tell his constituents when he knows for a fact that the budget will not be balanced and he has no clue when it will be? What will he tell them now?
    Mr. Speaker, in both instances, the actions and reactions have been precipitated by the government in the United States. On softwood lumber, the unjust countervailing anti-dumping duties placed on softwood lumber resulted in the Government of Canada negotiating hard to ensure chapter 19 survived in its entirety in the new NAFTA. As well, we have allocated $1 billion to help affected workers and companies.
    Now let me quickly transition to another set of unjust and unlawful tariffs on Canadian resources, those imposed on steel and aluminum. As members know, we have allocated $2 billion and an enormous amount of effort to work with our American colleagues to eliminate these unfair and unjust duties.
    Mr. Speaker, when one listens to members on the other side of the House, everything is rosy, happy and everybody they talk to is pleased and cannot wait for the next week's or month's budget. Was the member opposite aware of the 2,000 people in Calgary protesting the Prime Minister? These are out-of-work oil and gas sector employees who now cannot afford to put food on their tables, or have Christmas dinner with their families or even celebrate Christmas, for that matter.
    Is the member aware that these people are not happy? He is saying that everything is great in the country. Is he aware that there are 2,000 people on the streets of Calgary, protesting what the government is doing in every sector across the country?
    Mr. Speaker, in both instances, which have acted as disruptive shocks to portions of our economy, our hearts go out to those affected, of course. We have worked very hard to allocate sufficient resources to see them through times of trouble.
     I would point out for the hon. member that the Prime Minister, the ministers responsible for this file and, indeed, members of Parliament from all sides have worked diligently with their constituents to identify the shocks to the system that can be remedied or rectified by the application of resources from the Government of Canada. I am glad to see the teamwork we all have focused on those workers and those affected.
    Mr. Speaker, I guess his answer to my previous question is that he will not answer the question about his constituents, because he will not answer it in the House. However, I will ask another question.
    My colleague from Edmonton Riverbend talked about the 2,000 workers who protested the Prime Minister in Calgary, trying to get across to him how dire the oil and gas sector was out west. Will he at least do something to help them? Will he stop Bill C-68 and Bill C-69 and recognize the dire consequences of that legislation? The people who invest in pipelines tell us point blank that if those bills go through, they will never invest in a pipeline in Canada again.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, we believe in a strong Canadian economy and we are doing all we can to support Canadian workers in their endeavours, not only to pursue activities in markets with the United States but to diversify. The Prime Minister has toured the land on numerous occasions, listening to the concerns of those affected. We are allocating resources to help them to the extent that is absolutely possible, and we are going to do more than that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Durham. I am delighted to be rising in the House to discuss the motion introduced by our party today with Canadians and my colleagues in the House. Our motion highlights the Liberal government's constant failures with measures it has been responsible for implementing in the more than three years it has been in office. Fortunately for those tuning in, we are more than halfway through the Liberals' term, and the next election is just around the corner. Everyone will have a chance to do themselves a good turn and try to get this country straightened out.
    The motion is an opportunity for the government to fix its mistakes from the past three years and more. The economic update tabled by the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, who presumably have the occasional chat before tabling such documents, does everything it can to convince Canadians that the economy is doing well under their policies. Unfortunately, that is not true.
    We need only look to what is happening in Oshawa, Quebec, in the VIA Rail file, or in Alberta, western Canada, and in the natural resources and oil sector, which is floundering because this government lacks the will to support workers across the country.
    I am also going to take this opportunity to talk about deficits and conflicts between different provinces and the federal government. God knows that we, in this place, have a responsibility to work with other levels of government. However, that is not happening.
    Then, I will speak about the carbon tax, which negatively affects Canadians and increases their cost of living. We see what is happening in France, where workers are tired of handing over the money they work so hard to earn every day. These men and women see the government taking money out of their pockets and then have fun sending out tweets, like the Prime Minister did, on the weekend, when he told his friends that he had $50 million to donate because he wants to run with rock stars.
    I am going to talk about the carbon tax, the deficit, Trans Mountain, marijuana legalization and, if I have time, illegal immigration, which is costing a fortune. I hope to have time at the end of my speech to talk about the government's ethics problems and a number of Liberal MPs who are tarnishing our international image and hurting our economy.
    I will start with the economic agreement that was just signed with the Americans. On the weekend, the government went and signed a document that is going to be of no help whatsoever to our economy. That is clear from what happened in Oshawa, regardless of what the government would have us believe. The agreement sends a message to our farmers and our steel and aluminum workers that they do not matter. It gives the Americans a say over our economic sovereignty. If we want to negotiate economic agreements with certain countries, we have to get the Americans' permission first. What is more, our Prime Minister signed the agreement without making sure the American President would lift the steel and aluminum tariffs.
    Moreover, we still do not know what the government will do to help our dairy farmers. One thing we do know is that prescriptions will cost Canadians more. Our government is not helping small and medium-sized businesses be competitive, but the U.S. government is supporting American businesses by lowering their taxes so they can create jobs and invest.
    Foreign investment in Canada has declined by 50% since the Liberals took office. The impact is clear from the indicator of foreign investment in Canada.

  (1345)  

    It is also clear that our entrepreneurs, our men and women who invest their money to create jobs, are headed for difficult times very soon. There has been a direct impact in Oshawa. GM decided to close its plant and let 2,500 workers go. These are the jobs that will be directly impacted, but if we add on all the collateral sectors, the closure will affect almost 10,000 jobs. When it signed the economic agreement, however, the government told us outright that it wanted to support Ontario's auto industry. That is another Liberal government failure.
    On top of that, there are all the disputes the government is having with different provinces. We expect a prime minister to work with the provinces. Since our Prime Minister was elected, he has clashed with Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick over the carbon tax. I want to repeat that this tax hurts Canadians and families who still need gas every day to get around. This tax is going to increase the cost of food, goods, and things we need every day to live.
    There is also a dispute with British Columbia and Alberta over the Trans Mountain pipeline. The government took $4.5 billion of our money, Canadians' money, and gave it to a U.S. company to build a pipeline in another country. The government was unable to create the right conditions for private business to support our natural resources sector.
    On the issue of the legalization of cannabis, the government is at odds with Quebec and Manitoba. The Prime Minister is at odds with 79% of the population if we add up all these provinces and their populations. That is not the kind of leadership we expect from a prime minister.
    I spoke about the carbon tax earlier. My colleague's motion makes clear mention of it. This tax simply allows the government to take even more money out of taxpayers' pockets. There is absolutely no evidence to show that a carbon tax will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are calling on the government to show us the numbers, if they exist. The reality is that there are no numbers. The proof is that, since the Liberal government has been in office, it has not managed to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, unlike the Conservatives, who, despite everything the Liberals have been saying, succeeded in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.2%, I believe, while growing the economy.
    There are a lot of problems. I spoke about the Trans Mountain pipeline earlier. I do not have much time left, but I really want to mention the deficit. For three years, the government has been tabling budgets that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for. The government promised to run small deficits in the first two years with a gradual return to a balanced budget by 2019, before the next election. The former Conservative government was able to balance the budget when it was in office three years ago.
    The government is adding $20 billion per year to the national debt. That is enough to build about 50 NHL arenas. Just to be clear, if we were to add up all of the deficits the Liberals are racking up, 250 communities across Canada could have an NHL arena. The way things are going, it will take over 30 years to balance the budget, unless we stop them, as we plan to do next year.
    The government has made many mistakes, and those mistakes will have consequences. I therefore encourage my colleagues to vote in favour of the motion moved by the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I will read it.

  (1350)  

     That the House: (a) recognize the severity of the looming job crisis in Canada caused by the failed economic policies of the Liberal government, especially for (i) workers in the energy sector impacted by the Liberal carbon tax, the no-more-pipelines Bill C-69, and the ban on offshore oil tankers, (ii) workers in the auto and manufacturing sector impacted by the Liberal carbon tax and failed policies that put Canada in a competitive disadvantage, (iii) workers in the steel and aluminum sectors impacted by the Liberals’ failure to have tariffs removed from their products during NAFTA negotiations, (iv) workers in the forestry sector impacted by the Liberals’ failure to resolve the softwood lumber dispute during NAFTA negotiations, (v) farmers impacted by increased input costs due to the Liberal carbon tax, (vi) workers in sectors that rely on those above, whose jobs and incomes depend on the vitality of the Canadian economy, (vii) workers in all sectors impacted by the toxic [and I think this is a great adjective to describe it] medley of carbon taxes...
    I did not finish reading out the motion, but I urge everyone to read the whole motion, which I am very proud of, and to vote for it.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech.
    The motion suggests that a tax on higher salaries would have an adverse effect on jobs in Canada.
    Does the hon. member believe that the Canada pension plan is a payroll tax? If so, will his party repeal the measures our government has put in place to improve the program and provide a recognized pension plan to Canadian seniors?
    Mr. Speaker, when we form the government we are going to undo all the Liberal government's bad policies. We will support our workers and small businesses by reducing their tax burden.
    The fact is that businesses have had to contend with catastrophic tax reform. The last study that came out shows that 81% of Canadian families are paying more taxes.
    The government is even to blame for removing public transit tax credits and children's fitness and arts tax credits. It is unbelievable. We will bring the house back in order a year from now and Canadians will be proud of what they see in the next election campaign.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska, a riding not too far from Sherbrooke, for his contribution to the debate, even though we do not agree on much.
    When I spoke to this motion, I spoke about the threat of a carbon tax bogeyman that the Conservatives keep tossing around. They brought it up almost every day between 2011 and 2015. My colleagues who were around at the time may remember the Conservatives bringing up this bogeyman every day, although they were, naturally, unsuccessful. Earlier, I was chided for too closely analyzing their political strategies, but it is clear that they were not successful in the 2015 election.
    However, my colleague was known to be a rather progressive and pro-environment mayor. It is surprising to see him today, completely blinded by the Conservative anti-tax ideology, supporting a motion that is against climate action.
    Can my colleague confirm that he previously favoured some form of carbon tax and that a carbon tax is a good way to combat climate change?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the hon. member, who represents a riding that is not too far from mine. However, right away I need to correct some misinformation in what he said.
    First of all, I am green. Like my colleagues, I want to protect our environment. I never said I was in favour of a carbon tax. I insist that I never said that.
    A carbon tax is just one more way to take money out of taxpayers' pockets. It is not true that this measure will help improve the environment.
    I invite my colleague to table a document that proves that a carbon tax has any impact on greenhouse gas reductions. The kind of tax the government is imposing is even less likely to have an impact. Actually, the government is taking money away with one hand and trying to give gifts with the other.
    If the government maintains its position on the carbon tax, I can assure everyone that, as the future government, we would cancel that tax immediately upon taking office.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska. He extolled none of the virtues of the current government, and yet he could have talked about the Canada child benefit, for example, or the incredible gains made through our multilateral international agreements and the international markets that have opened up thanks to new export initiatives.
    The member talked about the plant in Oshawa. That struck a chord for me because, at the height of its production, in 1953, it employed 40,000 people. The number of employees dropped to 23,000. After 10 years under the Harper government, no deal was signed and now it employs only 2,500.
    Does the member really believe that the agreement signed with Mexico and the U.S. is the reason why the Oshawa plant is shutting down?
    Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to see that the government is simply incapable of taking responsibility. When things are going well, the Liberal government takes credit, but when things are going poorly it always blames someone else.
    The government has been in power for three years. It has had the opportunity to make decisions to support our economy and our workers. Two weeks ago, there were 2,500 jobs in Oshawa and now there are none.
    Who is in power? The Liberals are. We are eager for the Liberals to start standing up and defending the natural resource workers in western Canada, the auto sector workers in Ontario, the agricultural workers across Canada, and the steel and aluminum workers. These workers are paying the price for the government's mismanagement. This government has crashed and it is time for the Liberals to realize that.
    Honestly, I have a hard time understanding why we have to keep repeating these things. Canadians are starting to realize what is going on. We saw that yesterday during the by-election, another election where the Conservatives performed better than they did during the 2015 election and where the Liberals did not do as well. It has been like that in every byelection and will only keep getting better until October 2019, so watch out. Canadians have to remain hopeful. In a year, we will put the house back in order.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Crime

    Mr. Speaker, in 1970, the Trudeau government had 500 people arrested because it was afraid they were criminals. How things have changed. Now we have a government led by the son of that same prime minister, and criminals are openly parading around downtown Montreal.
    All of the parties voted against our bill to create a list of criminal organizations. They voted against police officers arresting people who make no attempt to hide their gang membership. Even the Conservatives, who talk so tough, did not stand up when it was time to take action. Ottawa is too cowardly and is forcing municipalities such as Saint-Tite to pass bylaws to stop gangsters from intimidating the locals.
    It is pretty hard to be a proud member of Parliament when the people here cannot even agree on such basic values as fighting organized crime and hardly seem to care that our young girls are being forced into the sex trade, that drugs are being sold in our schools, and that gangs are being let off scot free. It is very hard.

[English]

Unity in the Community Organization

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the work of a Brampton organization, Unity in the Community. Focused on bridging the gap between Canadians of all backgrounds by celebrating our diversity, Unity in the Community has been playing a very important role in my riding of Brampton North. It has demonstrated its generosity time and again by organizing food, clothing and donation drives, planning educational seminars and hosting celebrations that bring together Bramptonians from all walks of life.
    We thank members of Unity in the Community for their hard work on behalf of the people of Brampton and the Region of Peel. Their efforts have reminded us all that diversity is indeed our strength.

[Translation]

Holiday Season

    Mr. Speaker, in this time of celebration, I would like to take a few moments to wish everyone in my wonderful riding of Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix happy holidays.
    In our busy lives, we often forget to take the time to live in the moment and enjoy the time we spend with loved ones, telling ourselves that we will celebrate in the new year. Unfortunately, we lose loved ones and others find themselves alone during this time when people gather together.
    We must ensure that our friends and loved ones are surrounded by love and joy. Let us not forget that the best presents are those that come from the heart. I want to thank my constituents in advance for their generosity, since I know that they have big hearts.
    Be safe and happy holidays, everyone.

  (1400)  

[English]

Military Families

     Mr. Speaker, my riding of York Centre is home to the Toronto military family resource centre, which many of my constituents rely on. MFRCs are a tremendous help to our military families who are the strength behind the uniform.
    Our service men and women make extraordinary sacrifices for our country, so it is essential that we ease their burden wherever we can, particularly the career disruption that comes with moving postings.
     That is why last week I had the honour to announce the launch of the government's military spousal employment network. This network will support military families by connecting them with public and private sector employers who understand the realities of service.
     Military families are integral to the operational success of the Canadian Armed Forces. Anything we can do to ease their burden is worth every effort. I thank our CAF service women and service men, and the families who stand behind them each and every day.

Youth Wellness Conference

    Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to highlight the youth from Canoe Lake Miksiw School and their efforts to build a better community.
    For the 12th year in a row, the youth from Canoe Lake have organized and hosted the annual Youth Wellness Conference, a multi-day gathering of students and young people from across northern Saskatchewan to discuss issues that matter to them, issues like building positive relationships, mindfulness, suicide prevention and ceremonial protocols among many other things.
    When the youth speak, we should be listening. If the youth ask for help, we must provide it. If they ask for support, we must offer it. If they ask for resources, we should provide them.
    I congratulate these young people on a job well done. I call on all members of the House to become more involved in the lives of the young people in their communities.

[Translation]

Mont-Bruno Computer Club

    Mr. Speaker, I am an avid follower of new technology, and I never cease to be amazed by technologies that continue to push boundaries. I am not alone in this, however. The Club informatique Mont-Bruno, in my riding, shares this passion.
    The club, founded by Gordon Craig, is celebrating its 35th anniversary today and has more than 700 members. The club offers introductory classes to new technologies for people of all levels. It hosts conferences, social activities and more.
    The Club informatique Mont-Bruno is environmentally conscious and even developed a collection service to give new life to electronics.
    In our world filled with tablets, cell phones, apps, wireless connections and, now, artificial intelligence, the Club informatique Mont-Bruno is clearly an essential organization. I want to take a moment to thank all of its members for supporting our community in this digital age.

[English]

Alberta Rural Crime Task Force

    Mr. Speaker, rural crime is rising in Alberta and across Canada. To help address this, myself and 11 other colleagues formed the Alberta rural crime task force. We listened to thousands of ordinary rural Albertans, as well as law enforcement officials and community experts. Funnily enough, not once did we hear any concerns about the impact of male construction workers in rural areas, despite the Prime Minister's current fearmongering. Instead, we heard from rural families afraid for their safety, targeted by repeat offenders coming from urban areas who know police are unable to respond quickly.
    The result of this work is a comprehensive report entitled “Toward a Safer Alberta”, which compiles what we heard, including solutions that could greatly reduce rural crime. They are ideas such as innovations in crime reporting, making police resources more efficient, ending the revolving-door justice system, and clarifying personal and property rights.
    Instead of blaming rural Canadians, the Prime Minister should listen to them for once. Canada's Conservatives are committed to reducing rural crime and making our rural communities safer for everyone.

Tourism Employee of the Year

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of something that should come as no surprise. A Prince Edward Islander has just been nationally recognized in the field of hospitality. Last week, Mr. Ian Cheverie was named Tourism HR Canada's tourism employee of the year.
    Mr. Cheverie is the guest experience manager and concierge at the storied Great George Hotel, which, it should be noted, had the honour of hosting several delegates to the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.
    In June of this year, Mr. Cheverie was inducted into Les Clefs d' Or, an esteemed society of concierges whose aim is the advancement of hospitality through a global network. After undergoing a rigorous two-year vetting process, Mr. Cheverie was granted a pair of crossed gold keys to mark this distinction.
    Prince Edward Islanders are a welcoming, hospitable lot. Ian Cheverie has taken these qualities and parlayed them into something worth of celebrating. I congratulate Ian. He has done us proud.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Diabetic Retinopathy

    Mr. Speaker, this morning I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Isabelle Hardy and Dr. Marie-Carole Boucher to discuss Dr. Boucher's project on artificial intelligence and diabetic retinopathy.
    Over time, diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of nerve cells at the back of the eye that transmits images to the brain. Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness in working-age individuals. More than 500,000 Canadians suffer from this condition.
    Last year, the Université de Montréal's opthalmology research fund and Diabetes Action Canada, which is part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, supported the development of an artificial intelligence platform. This project is a real step forward for Canada's diabetic population. I congratulate and thank Dr. Boucher and Dr. Hardy for their contribution.

[English]

Don Greig

    Mr. Speaker, it is with tremendous sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to Don Greig of Melita, Manitoba who recently passed away in a tragic farm accident.
    Don dedicated his life to his family, to agriculture and to his community. His love for people shone through, as he was the first one to stick up his hand to be a volunteer. No matter what needed to be done, Don was always willing to roll up his sleeves and pitch in. From being an ambulance driver, a volunteer with minor hockey and a farm leader with the Keystone Agricultural Producers, Don was the embodiment of rural Manitoba.
    Just this past month, I toured the renovations under way at the Melita Communiplex that Don, with the help of many others, spearheaded in the community.
    I thank his wife Noreen and son James for sharing Don with us for all these years. My heart goes out to them during this difficult time, but I want them to know that Don's legacy and impact will be felt for years to come.

Atlantic Journalism Awards

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Diane Doiron of Pointe-Sapin, New Brunswick for her recent win at the Atlantic Journalism Awards. Diane's photo of a peat bog on fire won gold in photojournalism news in Atlantic Canada.
    Diane also helps fight fire as a volunteer firefighter with the Baie-Sainte-Anne Fire Department. One year ago, Diane sat in the gallery of this House to accept the Prime Minister's apology for the past trauma caused by the LGBTQ2 purge in the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and public service.

[Translation]

    She was recently named person of the year by L'Acadie Nouvelle and also served as spokesperson for Acadie Love, an LGBT conference held in Caraquet, New Brunswick.
    She is currently being filmed for a documentary entitled Philosophes, which focuses on people who stand out for their trademark qualities and values.

[English]

    I applaud Diane's continued commitment to her community and congratulate her on her achievement.

Fur Industry

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to an industry that contributes over a billion dollars to our economy and employs 60,000 Canadians in non-traditional manufacturing. The jobs are in rural, coastal and indigenous communities and there is an impressive 20% growth in the last five years.
    The problem is that if I ask folks to guess what industry this is, few would know the answer. I will not leave them in suspense. It is the Canadian fur industry. When people think about fur, we reflect on history: the Hudson's Bay Company, voyageurs and beaver hats. However, our industry is forward thinking, natural and sustainable. Trappers, hunters and farmers are vital and important stewards of the land and key players in biodiversity, conservation and climate change adaptation. Canadian fur is certified and held to the highest standards of animal welfare.
     I hope all members have had a chance to meet with representatives from the fur institute today. For those who have not, beware; the trim on Santa's suit is made from Canadian fur and I would not want any of my colleagues to end up on his naughty list. I wish members a merry Christmas.

  (1410)  

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, only in Canada and only under a Liberal government would my province be forced again to take OPEC-like initiatives and reduce production of our precious natural resources. Only in Canada under a Liberal government at the same time would we be importing 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia and paying world prices. Only in Canada under the current Liberal government would we ban tanker traffic on the west coast and allow Saudi ships to park along the pristine eastern shores and along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
    Only the current Liberal government would buy a pipeline that was operating effectively and kill two other pipelines. Only this Prime Minister would go to South America and state the reckless comments that he made about those construction workers who would be building those pipelines today.
    I urge all members of this House to support our Conservative motion today because Canadians are fed up with the current government, they are fed up with the Prime Minister's stupid comments and it is time to kick him out of office.

Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the courageous and selfless actions of a constituent, Liam Bernard from Potlotek First Nation in Cape Breton.
    On September 16, 2016, Ralph Chrisman's pickup truck left a rural highway near Melford, Nova Scotia. Mr. Chrisman was pinned in his truck as smoke billowed from the truck's engine compartment. The vehicle soon caught fire. Several people on the scene tried to extricate Mr. Chrisman, but significant smoke and heat pushed them back. Mr. Bernard reached in to unlock the seatbelt and pull back part of the dash, but was forced back with intense conditions. Hearing Mr. Chrisman's call for help, Mr. Bernard returned to the truck, grasped the driver's upper body and, as others held onto him and tugged, Mr. Bernard pulled the injured man to safety moments before the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
    This week, Mr. Bernard will be recognized by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission following on his awards such as the Nova Scotia Medal of Bravery and the Governor General's Star of Courage.
    To Liam Bernard and his family, I salute his courage and offer my thanks on behalf of a grateful nation. His actions serve as an inspiration to his people and to his country.

Anti-Semitism

    Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada reports that last year the number of hate crimes increased by almost 50%. We now know, all too well, that online hate can lead to real-life violence.
    At this time of Hanukkah, Jews gather with family to celebrate the festival of lights. They light candles to dispel darkness. Yet this year, their celebrations are marred by sadness since the darkness of anti-Semitism has spread, even in Canada. Jewish, Muslim, black and LGBTQ2 communities have all been increasingly targeted. Hate has grown, especially online, since the Internet enables the hateful to find one another.
    B'nai Brith's excellent “eight-point plan to tackle antisemitism” calls for a national action plan.
    In our common humanity, Canadians of good will must urgently band together to counter the forces of hate and division. Government must speak out against bigotry. Our government must also work with the communities affected to investigate, punish and prevent these crimes of hate. Enough is enough.

Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes

    Mr. Speaker, I am standing today to acknowledge Michael Barrett, our new member of Parliament for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
    In last night's by-election, Michael Barrett racked up 57.8% of the vote, proving his hard work and dedication. Now the seat became available last spring, when we lost our good friend, Gord Brown. Knowing Gord as well as we do, we knew he was not only a good gentleman, he was a very loyal partisan. I can be assured that he is looking down today and smiling, knowing that his community has indeed returned this seat to the Conservative family.
    I congratulate Michael and welcome him to the team. I am looking forward to him taking his seat in this place.

  (1415)  

Olympic Medals

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to congratulate the first female Canadian athlete to medal in weightlifting. Christine Girard competed in the women's 63-kilogram division in both the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Olympics in London. Yesterday in Ottawa, a 10-year and a six-year wrong were righted.
     Christine was finally awarded the bronze for the 2008 Olympics and the gold that she rightfully won in 2012. Not only is she the first female Canadian athlete to win a medal in weightlifting, she is also the first to win gold. This is now the second gold medal Canada won at the London Games.
     Christine's story is one of perseverance and determination, and is one that all Canadians should know. I hope all members of this House will join me in congratulating Christine on receiving her hard-fought medals.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister implied that major construction projects bring negative consequences, because they bring large numbers of men into communities. Now, this is an insult to Canada's blue collar workers, especially in the energy sector who are reeling from thousands of job losses under the Liberals.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us if he asked for a gender-based analysis in his decisions to kill the northern gateway and energy east pipelines, and does he ask for gender-based analysis on the oil imported from Saudi Arabia and the impact that has on women and girls in that country?
    Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the work we have done to support our workers across this country and, indeed, get big projects built. The LNG Canada terminal in British Columbia is the largest private sector investment in Canadian history. There is the Nova Gas pipeline, the Line 3 replacement project, the Arnaud apatite mine, Woodfibre LNG, and the Ridley Island propane export terminal.
    I would suggest that the fact the Conservatives do not understand that there are differences in how policies get brought in, depending on gender, underlines why it is so important to do that analysis in the first place.
    Mr. Speaker, the results of the Prime Minister's policies are the same for both men and women: thousands and thousands of people out of work. That is his legacy.
    The natural resources minister claimed that intelligent people know that the courts killed northern gateway, but in 2014 the Prime Minister tweeted, “If I am elected Prime Minister, the Northern Gateway Pipeline won't become a reality”. Then on November 29, 2016, he proclaimed that “we are also announcing that the Government of Canada has directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the application for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.”
    When will the Prime Minister take responsibility for his own actions on the—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should get his facts straight. We have created over 600,000 new jobs over the past few years to go with the record low unemployment and the fastest growth rate in the G7 last year. We are going to continue to work hard to grow the economy and support Canadians right across the country.
     We recognize, however, that Alberta is suffering. There is a massive price differential that is causing significant impacts. We continue to work with the industry. I was pleased to be out there a couple of weeks ago to talk with them, to hear their proposals for solutions and to commit to working with them to help Alberta, because all Canadians care that Albertans do well.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. The Prime Minister has an opportunity to clear the air. His minister responsible for natural resources claims that it was not their fault that the northern gateway pipeline got cancelled, yet here we see the Prime Minister quoted as saying, “we are also announcing that the Government of Canada has directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the application for the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project.”
    Will the Prime Minister reinstate that application, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, on northern gateway, the Federal Court of Appeal was very clear that the previous government failed to get the review process for northern gateway right, so the court quashed the project's approval. To quote the Federal Court of Appeal, “The inadequacies—more than just a handful and more than mere imperfections—left entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored.” Those are the facts.
    We will take no lessons from the party that for 10 years was unable to get resources to non-U.S. markets.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister sounds like he was just reading from the judge's decision on his failed consultations for the Trans Mountain application. Here is the thing. The court ruled in Trans Mountain that there were major deficiencies in those hearings. What did the Prime Minister do? He announced that he was going to restart them and do them again.
    Now here we have a situation where there is real hurt going on in the province of Alberta, with thousands of people out of work. We need to get our products to new markets. Northern gateway will do that. Will the Prime Minister throw a lifeline to the northern gateway project and get it back on the books or does he not believe in it?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect example of the members opposite playing politics, filled with bluster and support for Alberta that actually will not help. If we were to start right now on northern gateway, even if it were acceptable, it would be years before that happened. Before that, we have the Line 3 coming in next year. We have the Trans Mountain pipeline moving forward in the right way, which is what they were unable to get done over 10 years. They did nothing to get resources to new markets, and that is why the oil patch is hurting today.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have admitted that non-binding agreements like the global compact on migration can become customary international law and inform the interpretation of domestic law. This compact also contains language around sensitizing and educating journalists on how they should report about immigration. Canadians want their government, not foreign entities, to be in control of our immigration system, a system that is orderly, compassionate and fair.
    Will the Prime Minister assure Canadians that he will not sign onto the United Nations global compact on migration?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to have a question about sensitizing journalists. He is quoting Rebel Media talking points. We are going to continue to stand up for immigration, knowing that defending diversity is a source of strength. Welcoming people through a rigorous immigration system, from around the world, is what has made Canada strong, and indeed something the world needs more of, not less of, like they want.

[Translation]

Prime Minister's Trip to India

    Mr. Speaker, the report on the trip to India tabled yesterday does not answer all the questions we have been asking about that disastrous trip.
    People were expecting answers about the presence of a man like Mr. Atwal at the residence of Canada's High Commissioner in India and the possibility of foreign interference, but the Prime Minister's Office redacted the committee's findings.
    Does the PMO understand the difference between Liberal security and national security?
    Does it understand the difference between Liberal interests and national interests?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the NDP thinks the Conservatives are still in power, but I am pleased to state for the record that neither I, nor my office, requested or directed any redactions.
    A proposal was made by our professionals in the security and intelligence community, and it was accepted. Nothing was added or removed.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Liberals promised an open and transparent government.
    The only thing about the Prime Minister's trip to India that was clear and transparent was that the whole thing was a complete and utter failure.
    In addition to being under investigation by the RCMP, the member for Brampton East is also under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner for his participation in that trip. He invited a business partner who got privileged access to the Prime Minister and the members of cabinet who were present. The trip is now doubly embarrassing for him and his government.
    Is that why the Prime Minister's Office redacted the findings of the report so heavily?
     Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I told the member opposite. The Prime Minister's Office did not request any redactions. A recommendation was made by our professionals in the security and intelligence community, and it was accepted.
    No redacting was done by the Prime Minister's Office.

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the security report on the Prime Minister's National Lampoon vacation to India is out. We found out the Prime Minister actually has the power to redact the documents, including the questions of foreign interference. I mean, what is with that? Questions of foreign interference cut to the very heart of democratic accountability. Donald Trump would love to have the power to black out investigations of foreign interference and his political hijinks. It was the Prime Minister's decision to put the interests of the Liberal Party ahead of the interests of Canada that caused this debacle.
    Why is this Prime Minister continuing to put the petty interests of the Liberal Party ahead of the interests of protecting the people of Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, again, we see the member opposite refusing to let facts and direct answers get in the way of sanctimonious rhetoric. Let me repeat for the member opposite. Neither I, nor my office, requested or directed any redactions. A proposal was made by our professionals in the security and intelligence community, and it was accepted. We did no extra redacting. We did no under-redacting. We accepted the advice of the professionals.

Member for Brampton East

    Mr. Speaker, parliamentary privilege is a powerful tool afforded to all members of Parliament so we can do our jobs. However, the Liberal member for Brampton East used his privilege to ask senior law enforcement officials troubling questions about money laundering. After the Prime Minister told us that the member was quitting, that MP reversed his decision, maintaining his parliamentary privilege, which protects him from being subpoenaed by the House of Commons and also from being forced to testify in court against someone who, say, is accused of money laundering.
    Is the Prime Minister actually okay with the scenario, and if he is not, what is he going to do about it?
    Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago the member stated his intentions after informing us of the challenges he is facing. He is no longer a member of the Liberal caucus.
    We respect the independence of the RCMP and the important work it does.
    We highlight that being in the House is no protection from criminal prosecutions, as we all found out when Dean Del Mastro was led away in shackles.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, numerous media reports have tied the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to allegations of questionable real estate deals in Brampton. These reports also involve the Liberal member for Brampton East, Liberal Party donors, a former Liberal Party riding president and, of course, the Prime Minister's disastrous trip to India.
    Could the Prime Minister tell us if his innovation minister has been questioned by the RCMP in relation to these reported allegations, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, following up the question the NDP member asked about parliamentary privilege, let me make something clear for people at home.
    In the House of Commons, members are protected by parliamentary privilege, which also permits them to make baseless accusations. The best way to find out if what the member opposite is saying is true, is to see whether he is willing to repeat those insinuations outside the House. I invite my colleague to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to repeat what I have just said in the House of Commons outside the House, because these allegations are the subject of media reports. They have already been printed.
    The question was very simple. Of course, the minister has the benefit of the doubt under Canadian law in this. The question was whether or not the minister is being investigated.
    Has the Minister of Innovation been questioned by the RCMP, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of reminding the leader of the official opposition that when it comes to the RCMP, it works independently of government. The government of the day does not direct investigations. This government will not undermine our security officials. We respect the work they do.
    We know that the Conservatives might have chosen a new leader. What is clear is that their approach of undermining security officials remains the case today.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the Liberals think they can threaten and bully the members on this side of the House into silence, they are profoundly mistaken.
    Yesterday, the Minister of Innovation refused to answer simple questions relating to a National Post article about a troubling, sketchy transaction that took place in Brampton. The municipality even filed an official complaint with the RCMP.
    Here, again, is my question. What is the Minister of Innovation's connection to that company?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday and every other day, any insinuation that the Minister of Innovation committed any wrongdoing is false. If the member would care to repeat that outside the House, he will hear from the minister's lawyer.
    Yesterday, the member said some things outside the House, but he did not use the same words he used in the House. I would like to see him repeat the exact words outside the House.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I need to hear both the answers and the questions.

[English]

    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills will please come to order.
    Order. I thought you were going to behave yourselves.
    The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons can talk louder, shout or make threats all she wants, but I can assure her that our knees are not knocking. On the contrary, we are going to stand tall on this side of the House.
    If the Minister of Innovation does not want to disclose what ties he has with that company's executives, can he tell us why several of the company's directors took part in the Prime Minister's disastrous trip to India?
    Why did this minister take a photo with one of these directors, who is a former member of a Liberal association?
    Why have this company's executives made donations to the Liberal Party?
    These are all legitimate questions.
    Has the Minister of Innovation been contacted by the RCMP? If so, when?
    Mr. Speaker, if members would like me to speak more slowly, I can do so. The member knows that the RCMP operates independently of government, and we respect the work it does.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a confidential report sent to a Liberal MP and a Liberal minister; a $1.1 million windfall for a Liberal Party insider on a real estate flip who subsequently was a guest of the Prime Minister on an India trip; a forensic investigation ordered by a city council with the result that council sends a report to the RCMP.
     Since the minister has been mentioned in this situation, I would like to know this from the minister. Has he been interviewed by the RCMP yet, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the Conservatives have never let facts get in the way of what they say in this place. The member should very well know that when it comes to the RCMP, it works independently of government. The government does not direct the RCMP.
     This government respects the work of our security officials. We will not undermine their work like the Conservatives clearly continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think that was the answer she meant to give. Usually she threatens us with legal action outside the House. If that is the case, I would be more than happy to accept service at my constituency office, when we talk about this later today.
    The question for the minister is not to the RCMP and it is not questioning the RCMP's duties or its investigation. It is for the minister and it is the House leader who is preventing the minister from standing and answering his own question, which is this. Have you been questioned by the RCMP, yes or no?
    The hon. member for Milton knows that when we say “you” in the House, it generally refers to the Chair. I do not think she meant the Chair. I am pretty sure.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, even you would know that the RCMP works independently of the government and this government respects the work of our security officials. The minister has responded to these questions directly in this place. The minister has put himself on the record.
    I have no problem reminding people when they are taking advantage of the privilege of this place. Members opposite choose to make accusations in this place, but they do not repeat those exact same accusations outside this place, which is absolutely fascinating.
     We respect the work of the RCMP and we think it should do its important work.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, our dairy producers are fed up with being used as a bargaining chip in trade agreements. The Liberals have been in such a hurry to finish the Conservatives' work that they abandoned dairy producers for the third time in three years.
    What is more, they agreed to a clause that gives the United States oversight of our supply management system. That is unacceptable, and our producers have good reason to no longer trust the Liberals.
    Can the minister tell us exactly when his government will offer producers full compensation for all three agreements?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague is well aware that we are the party that brought in supply management and we are the party that is going to defend supply management.
     It is important to note that during the NAFTA negotiations, the American government intended to destroy the supply management system and we made sure that did not happen.
    We understand there are impacts on our farmers and we are committed to fully and fairly supporting them and to make sure they continue to succeed.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's ambassador to the U.S. told an audience yesterday in Ottawa that in 12 months from now there would be a 90% chance U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum would be gone. He said that tariffs were hurting the U.S. businesses.
    Who is hurting 100% right now? Canadian workers and small businesses. This deal should never have been signed without removing the tariffs in the first place.
    No one understands why the Liberals are choosing to wait for communities and families in Canada to suffer and giving up our best shot at removing them. Canadians want to know now what the plan is to remove them.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has always been clear with the United States that the section 232 tariffs are completely unacceptable. It is not a national security consideration. We challenged it not only here in public, but the Prime Minister has done so with the President at every available opportunity.
     It is overwhelmingly in the best interests of both Canada and the United States to stop this unfair and unjust practice. In the meantime, our strong responsive measures of up to $2 billion will help to defend our workers.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, the much-talked-about report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians was released yesterday, but before that happened, it was reviewed by the Prime Minister on October 12, 2018. The sanitized report indicates that others are once again to blame for the Prime Minister's blunders. The Prime Minister told Canadians about everything he did on his trip and showed them the many costumes he wore, but he did not tell them who was on the guest list.
    Why did the Prime Minister not publish the complete guest list for the trip?
     Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not request or direct any redactions. The Prime Minister accepted the redactions proposed by security officials. Security officials recommended the removal of information that could be injurious to national security or international relations if disclosed.
    The preface to the report states, and I quote: “Consistent with subsection 21(5) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act...our report was revised to remove content deemed injurious to national security and international relations.”
    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 21(2) of the same act, the Prime Minister received the report on October 12 so he could study it. On November 28, 2018, a month and a half later, the report was released. That means he had a month and a half to sanitize it. Meanwhile, we do not have access to the Prime Minister's guest list, but we know at least one person who was invited. Baghwan Grewal, a director at Goreway Heaven and a former Liberal riding association president, was invited to tag along on the trip to India.
    Goreway Heaven is the same company that sold some land to the City of Brampton for a handsome profit. The City of Brampton referred the transaction to the RCMP, because the Minister of Innovation had received a confidential report on the land's value.
    My question is simple: who invited the Goreway Heaven representative?
    Mr. Speaker, as members know, an unclassified version of the special report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians has been tabled in Parliament. We thank the committee for its thorough and important work, and we will actively study the recommendations in the report.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister blamed the member for Surrey Centre for inviting a convicted terrorist on the PM's disastrous India trip. However, one of the few lightly asterisk-redacted chapters in the committee report shows it was the PMO that put Jaspal Atwal on the guest list.
     As an RCMP officer belatedly observed, a google search would have identified the risk if the guest list had been provided to security.
    Will the Prime Minister now accept responsibility for this security breakdown?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the member he has referred to has apologized for his role in these events and has committed to exercising better judgment. The Prime Minister did not request or direct any redactions. The Prime Minister accepted the redactions proposed by security officials. Security officials recommended the removal of information that could be injurious to national security or international relations if disclosed.
    If the member opposite has any questions about the process of the committee, perhaps he can consult with the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, who the Conservative leader chose as the Conservatives' representative.
    Mr. Speaker, page 3 of this first report of the new committee lays bare a process that allows the Prime Minister to censor the report not only for national security, but to prevent his embarrassment under the guise of international relations.
     The report was supposed to address the clumsy use of intelligence to excuse how a terrorist got on the PM's trip that sparked a diplomatic incident with India. Instead, the committee's six findings on supposed foreign interference are completely redacted.
    Will the Prime Minister get off his asterisks and release the findings?
    Mr. Speaker, the recommendations from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians will obviously be very carefully reviewed to improve operations.
     While members of the committee cannot divulge classified material, they represent all official political parties in the House of Commons and all sides in the Senate and they most certainly can complain if they believe any redactions go too far. Those redactions were made on the basis of the professional advice of independent security agencies. That is one of the very good reasons for having a committee of parliamentarians, just like all of our Five Eyes allies.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals, the auto industry has become a branch plant economy, with foreign interests controlling our workers' fate. If we look at Australia, with no plan or policy, its auto industry shed tens of thousands of jobs. It now has only one Australian working left, the current GM president of Canada, Mr. Hester, who declared Oshawa a done deal.
     Here is a not so fun fact. Mr. Hester resides in the U.S., and with the GM firings, Canada took a much higher percentage of job losses than the U.S.
     Will the minister call an emergency meeting with Oshawa stakeholders and find a solution or do they have to shoulder this burden alone?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear that GM has made a big mistake by turning its back on the workers in Oshawa. We will not make that same mistake. That is why we have engaged with the province. We are dealing directly with it and my provincial counterpart. That is why we have reached out and spoken with the municipal leadership as well. We will continue to support this automotive sector going forward.
     Since 2015, we have seen $5.6 billion worth of investments in the automotive sector and 3,000 jobs created during our tenure in that sector. There were 30,000 jobs lost in the first few years when the Conservative government was in power. That is our record.

[Translation]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, for years now, the TSB has been sounding the alarm about the dangers associated with conductor fatigue in the rail industry.
    On the one hand, the minister keeps telling us that safety is his top priority, but on the other hand he allows the industry to self-regulate. In the end, nothing happens. Crude oil transportation by rail has doubled since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, which is a comfort to no one.
    Does the minister plan to do something about regulations regarding fatigue or will we get the same old rhetoric we always do?
    Mr. Speaker, rail safety is my top priority. In fall 2017, I announced that we were going to review the rules on working hours for train conductors. We know it is a major factor in rail safety. It is something we committed to address and I announced that in 2017.

  (1445)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, our government announced a $117 million investment to the Arctic shipping group, a historic private-public partnership that blends first nations, community ownership and Canadian private sector leadership.
     With this innovative group now operating the line, the crucial rail link between the town of Churchill and the rest of the country was restored. Northern Manitobans now see the results of those efforts.
     Could the hon. Minister of Transport share his good news with my constituents and the people of Manitoba?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley for his strong advocacy on behalf of Manitobans.
    It is with great pleasure that I announce that VIA Rail service to Churchill has now been restored and the first train since the washout arrived at Churchill station today. We said we were committed to restoring VIA Rail to the Hudson Bay rail line: promise made, a promise kept.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, we have a looming job crisis in Canada and the Liberals do not seem to care. Instead, the Prime Minister would rather spend his time giving out millions of dollars via tweets or threatening lawsuits if opposition members ask questions he does not like.
     The energy sector is in crisis mode, the auto sector is reeling, there is no end in sight for steel and aluminum tariffs and softwood lumber producers feel forgotten. When will the Prime Minister realize that his economic policies have failed Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, let us highlight some key facts. Since 2015, 500,000 full-time jobs have been created in the Canadian economy. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the last 40 years. Through our direct programming, the strategic innovation fund, which is part of our government's plan, we have seen jobs created in the Canadian economy.
     Let me highlight a few examples: CAE, 4,300 jobs; Rio Tinto and Alcoa, 11,500 jobs; ENCQOR, 4,000 jobs; Linamar, 9,500 jobs; Maple Leaf Foods, 1,600 jobs; Marwood Metal, 417 jobs—
    The hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no value in creating jobs if the next day even more are lost. Canada has reached a tipping point with severe job losses in oil, auto and aerospace. No sector is safe. While crippling steel and aluminum tariffs remain, the Liberals have signed a deal that leaves Canada vulnerable to even more national security tariffs. We know the Trump administration is now looking at tariffs on uranium, a $2-billion industry in Canada. Is that next?
    When will the government get serious and understand that national security and the economy go hand in hand, protect our jobs and stand up for Canadians' best interests?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the automotive sector because that is very timely and the member opposite raised that issue.
     When the Conservatives were in power, before we hit the economic recession in 2008-09, we saw 30,000 jobs lost in the automotive sector. That was during their tenure.
    During the first three years of our government, because of our programs and policies, our track record is we created a net 6,000 jobs in the automotive sector. That is a plan that is working because we are investing in Canadians. We are investing in companies. We are seeing job growth numbers right across the country. That is getting the job done.
    Mr. Speaker, a job done is a point of view.

[Translation]

    The fact is that Canadian industry as a whole has been dealt a serious blow with 2,500 jobs lost in the auto sector, 3,000 jobs lost in the aerospace sector, and 100,000 jobs lost in three years in the energy sector in Alberta alone.
    What is the government doing in the meantime? It is crossing its fingers when it comes to the tariffs on aluminum, steel and softwood lumber. However, it is pulling out all the stops to charge the Liberal tax on carbon.
    Why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that many industries support a price on pollution, including the automotive sector and including the aerospace sector.
    Let me talk about job creation numbers: Nova Chemicals, a very important company in Alberta, 2,200 jobs; Rio Tinto and Alcoa, 11,500 jobs; in the aerospace sector, CAE, 4,300 jobs; Toyota, 5,000 jobs. This is a reflection of direct policy and programs because of our government. We will continue to make sure that we create more jobs in the Canadian economy.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, I urge the minister to go out and repeat that to the workers who just lost their jobs.
    It is nice to see the minister on his feet, however.
    Since the minister can rise and answer the question, can he tell us whether he met the RCMP, yes or no?

[English]

    In English, no.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Health Canada approves medical devices, like artificial hips, insulin pumps and pacemakers, which are dangerous and have been banned in other countries.
    Last week we learned that thousands of women developed health problems after receiving breast implants they believed were safe, which had been approved without any studies. Health Canada does not seem capable of keeping Canadians safe.
    How can the minister rise and say that we have one of the best systems in the world?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to know whether their medical devices are safe and effective.
    All products are assessed for risks and effectiveness before they are used, but we know that we can do better. Our action plan will do better. We will strengthen the approval process, increase oversight and give Canadians more information about the available data and research.
    We take this situation seriously and I am monitoring it closely.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not want better. They want safety. Health Canada is allowing high-risk medical devices to be used when they've been recalled in other countries. They are allowing implants in patients that have only been tested on cadavers and animals. They are relying on a voluntary system of reporting problems.
    Insulin pumps, replacement hips, pacemakers, breast implants and other devices have caused more than 14,000 injuries and over 1,400 deaths in Canada. Instead of talking points and false assurances, what is the minister doing to fix this broken system?
    Mr. Speaker, I as well was very concerned like many Canadians when I saw the report last week on TV. None of us want to see any Canadians suffer any hardship.
    I have to say that in August of this year, I was pleased to ask Health Canada to start a review of medical devices. The review is under way and I am pleased to say that we have an action plan in place. We are taking this matter extremely seriously. I have asked my officials to make sure that it is done fast and in a way that is transparent to ensure that Canadians get all the information that they need regarding medical devices.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, our farmers in rural communities continue to find themselves at the losing end of the Liberal government's failed policies.
    The Liberals are giving large industries a pass on their costly and ineffective carbon tax, but there is no exemption for our farmers. Our farmers cannot pass on the costs to their business, and farmers are already doing more than their share to reduce carbon emissions.
    Will the Prime Minister stop unfairly punishing our farmers and abandon his carbon tax scheme?
    Mr. Speaker, we campaigned on a promise to make sure that we would grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time, and that is exactly what we are doing.
    We know that Canadians are responsible stewards of the land, and that is why we have exempted farm fuel and gasoline under the federal backstop. We have also provided additional relief for greenhouse farmers for their propane.
    We will continue to support our agricultural sector in this country.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, steel and aluminum tariffs are hurting the Canadian economy. Business owners are forced to cut orders, reduce shifts and lay off workers. Every day these tariffs remain in place, Canadian jobs are at risk.
    The Prime Minister failed to get Donald Trump to drop the tariffs at his recent signing ceremony. When will the Prime Minister resolve the trade dispute on steel and aluminum tariffs and stop the job losses in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very focused on eliminating the unjustified and illegal tariffs imposed by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum.
    This is an absolute priority for our government. We have put in place strong responsive measures to protect the workers. We have also recently signed the auto section 232 side letter, which is of vital importance to automobile workers, because it gives Canada important protections against the threat of U.S. automotive tariffs in the future that would hurt hundreds of thousands of workers, their jobs and the factories that employ them.
    This is a good thing.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the people in my region will not be applauding the new free trade agreement. We are a proud, innovative, and welcoming people. We produce milk, top-quality cheese, and the cleanest aluminum in the world. They call this a free trade agreement? There is no reason to have quotas or tariffs. The planet needs more green aluminum produced by people conscious of their impact.
    When will the tariffs on steel and aluminum be lifted?
    Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, the Prime Minister signed the section 232 side letter on autos, which provides Canada with significant protection against the U.S. tariffs my colleague just mentioned. The new agreement maintains crucial supply chains in the auto sector and improves workers' pay and rights. This agreement is good for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians working in the auto industry and for all Canadian workers.
    This is very good news.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday was a historic day. After more than a year of hard work, Canada, the United States and Mexico finally signed the new NAFTA.
    This agreement safeguards more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade between Canada and the United States. I know that this tariff-free access is vital for workers and businesses in my community of Niagara.
    Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell this House how Canada will continue to stand up for Canadian businesses and our workers?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Niagara Centre for his hard work.
    Our government has fought and always will fight for Canadian workers. As I have said several times today already, the new NAFTA preserves crucial cross-border supply chains and has significantly improved wages and labour rights for Canadian workers.
    Last week the automobile section 232 side letter was signed. This now gives Canadians new protections against the threat of U.S. automotive tariffs.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, talking about jobs, yesterday we learned the Liberals are planning to move the aerospace engineering test establishment from Cold Lake to Ottawa. This would severely impact the community of Cold Lake and our defence capability.
    Will the minister cancel any plans he has of moving these jobs out of CFB Cold Lake, or is this yet another example of the Liberals compromising national security and attacking Alberta for their own political gain?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has increased our investment in our air force. Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake plays an important role in our NORAD mission and will continue to play a very important role. In fact, we are actually increasing our investments at CFB Cold Lake, including making important upgrades to infrastructure.
    I am happy to discuss this matter with my colleague to explain some of the important investments we are making for his constituents and for the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, a U.S. congressional commission on China calls the mass internment of hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims in so-called re-education camps a sweeping program of ethnic cleansing. There is credible evidence of mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment.
    Will the government call on China to immediately release all those held and conduct an impartial investigation into these abuses, and will Canada apply targeted sanctions against those responsible?
    Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned by the human rights situation faced by Muslim Uighurs and other minorities in China. We continue to raise this issue at every opportunity, including in Beijing and at international conferences.
    We call on the Chinese government to ensure the human rights of its citizens are fully respected. The Prime Minister expressed our concerns with the Chinese premier last week, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs has also discussed it with China's foreign minister at every available opportunity.
    Freedom of religion and freedom of expression must be respected.

  (1500)  

[Translation]

Poverty

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday, we debated Bill C-87, an act respecting the reduction of poverty. The goal is to achieve the lowest poverty rate in Canadian history and establish an official poverty line for Canada. We are also going to create a national advisory council on poverty that will produce annual reports to highlight our progress.
    Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell the House how the poverty reduction act fits in with Canada's first-ever national poverty reduction strategy?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank and congratulate the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake for all his hard work on behalf of families. It is very much appreciated.
    Bill C-87 is a crucial component in reducing poverty. It supports the $22 billion in historic new investments we have made since 2015. Those investments are lifting 650,000 Canadians out of poverty. This is only the beginning, because those historic investments are part of a longer-term plan to support middle-class families and provide additional support to those working hard to join them.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council investigation of cabinet leaks surrounding shipbuilding showed that lobbyists, reporters and dozens of officials were aware of cabinet secrets and Liberal attempts to change the contract. Other than senior civil servants and military officers, only two names appear repeatedly in the investigation: the Prime Minister's senior Quebec adviser at the time, Claude-Éric Gagné, and CBC reporter, James Cudmore.
    Did Claude-Éric Gagné and other officials in the Prime Minister's Office hire James Cudmore to silence him?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman takes the occasion of questions in question period to lay out certain allegations and insinuations. The evidence in the matter in question will be fully ventilated in the court proceeding, and the courts will determine what evidence is relevant. The courts will determine the facts and the courts will decide, ultimately.
    I note the defendant in the case has said that they have complete confidence in the courts and in their ability to make decisions as to the relevance of the documents.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's first ministers are meeting this Friday, but the crisis in our energy sector was left off the agenda. The premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta have written to the Prime Minister to ask him to change that. Will the Prime Minister add energy market access and the oil price differential to the first ministers' agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, the first ministers meeting is an opportunity for first ministers to discuss economic competitiveness and trade diversification. Our government has been very clear for a long time that it is unacceptable that Canadian natural resources are so dependent on one market.
    We believe diversifying market access is good for the Canadian economy. It is certainly good for Alberta and Albertan workers. Our government will always take an opportunity, as we have every single time, to discuss with Alberta and other provinces how we can strengthen the Canadian economy.

[Translation]

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, unions, business people, workers and elected representatives from Quebec's North Shore, the Lower St. Lawrence, Charlevoix, Montérégie, and New Brunswick joined forces today to demand that Ottawa fix the employment insurance spring gap. We have solutions.
    They all want protected regions and permanent measures that take the realities of seasonal work into account. Even the Conservatives, who made cuts while in government, have suddenly discovered empathy for our workers.
    When will this government show some respect for workers and fix the EI spring gap for good?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, and I can certainly see the contrast between the former government and this one, which, for the first time in history, in its 2018 budget, recognized the challenges faced by communities, workers and families that depend on seasonal work.
    As the member knows, in budget 2018, we announced a historic $230-million investment that we are currently implementing together with the provinces and territories. We are eager to keep working hard for families that are themselves working hard to join the middle class.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, on January 1, Netflix will start charging QST. The company is collaborating and says that it pays taxes when required to do so by law. Ultimately, it was not all that complicated.
    Quebec also collects the GST for Ottawa, but the Liberals are so subservient to multinational corporations that they sent a letter to Netflix saying that it did not have to pay GST, unlike all other Quebec companies.
    Why do the Liberals insist on favouring foreign multinationals over Canadian businesses?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have already been very clear about the issue of taxes. Not only is my department working on this extremely important file, but, as my colleague knows full well, we have also created an expert panel, which is reviewing the laws and conducting consultations.
    We will ultimately be able to introduce a fundamental bill for the years to come, perhaps even for the next 20 years, with very clear principles. All those participating in the system will contribute to the system. There will be no free passes.

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the south gallery of a truly remarkable Canadian. Mr. Louis Levi Oakes of Akwesasne, Quebec is the last surviving Mohawk code talker.
    During World War II, the Mohawk language was one of 33 native languages used to send communications between forces. Renowned for having the only unbroken military code in history, the code talkers, including Mr. Oakes, provided an invaluable contribution to the Allied war effort.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    I also draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Sharon Anne Firth, a member of the Gwich'in First Nation and the first indigenous woman to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
    Sharon and her late twin sister, Shirley Firth Larsson, were among the first indigenous athletes to represent Canada at the Olympics, and in January 2018 they were honoured with their own postage stamp.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Privilege

Alleged Intimidation of Members  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege arising out of Question Period.
    In answer to important and direct questions about the ethical behaviour of members of the Liberal caucus, rather than answering those questions, time and again both the Liberal House Leader and the Prime Minister have threatened members of the opposition with lawsuits. Allow me to quote from Bosc and Gagnon, at page 107:
...threatening...a Member during a proceeding of Parliament, or while the Member is circulating within the Parliamentary Precinct, is a violation of the rights of Parliament. Any form of intimidation of a Member with respect to the Member's actions during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
    It goes on.
    Speaker Bosley noted in 1986 the following:
...that [if] he or she has been threatened, intimidated, or in any way...influenced, there would be a case for the Chair to consider.
    This is an important issue, as we as members of Parliament have within our duties the important task of holding the government to account. If every time we attempt to do that and garner from the government the answers Canadians deserve, we are threatened with lawsuits, if in response to the questions we ask both here in the House and in public, the threats continue, that is a form of intimidation of our rights and a violation of our privilege as members of Parliament to perform our jobs on behalf of all Canadians.
    I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to seek a prima facie case of privilege. If you do so, I would be happy to move the appropriate motion.
    I also have notice of a question of privilege from hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn. Is it on the same question?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar is rising, so I will give the floor to her.

  (1510)  

    The hon. House Leader of the Official Opposition wishes to rise on the same question.
    Mr. Speaker, we wholeheartedly support the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. I would like to reserve the right to add more to this question of privilege.
    It is important to note two citations. At page 198 of the second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, it tells of an incident in 1758 where the Nova Scotia House of Assembly proceeded against someone who made threats against a member.
    Moreover, in a ruling on September 19, 1973, Speaker Lamoureux at page 6709 of the Debates stated that he had “no hesitation in reaffirming the principle that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.”
    On March 24, 1994, at page 2705 of the Debates, Speaker Parent described the seriousness of the issue of intimidation this way:
     Threats of blackmail or intimidation of a member of Parliament should never be taken lightly. When such occurs, the very essence of free speech is undermined. Without the guarantee of freedom of speech, no member of Parliament can do his duty as expected.
    This is very serious. This goes to the very heart of what we do here in Parliament.
    The Liberal government said that when it was elected, it would be open and transparent. I recall the government House leader saying that we must have tough conversations in this place.
    We are asking legitimate questions and to be met with these kinds of threats is very serious.
    I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you would give us the opportunity to further add to this important question of privilege.
    I would like to thank the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and the House leader of the official opposition.
    Is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons rising on the same question?
    It is really important that we recognize that parliamentary privilege has to be recognized inside the chamber.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: I sat back and I listened to the comments made by the members opposite on the question of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I would appreciate it if they too would be patient and listen to what I have to say.
    Privilege is an important issue. I have served as a parliamentarian for close to 30 years, and I have heard assertions in the past when someone has stood in his or her place. A part of parliamentary privilege also ensures that there is a sense of responsibility accompanying that particular privilege.
    I have witnessed on numerous occasions Conservatives and New Democrats challenging the government's accountability by suggesting that a member should go outside the chamber to say what he or she might have said inside the chamber.
    I would remind all members of the House that there is a sense of accountability with the privilege that has been given to us as we sit in the House.
    I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that there is no question of privilege in this matter, which is nothing more than a dispute over the facts. I say this based on what I have heard over the years from members of the Conservative Party and members of the NDP when they challenge members to be accountable for what they say here, that is, members who are not prepared to say the same outside the chamber as inside.
    I see the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay is rising on the same question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, things do get heated in the House. I have seen that over 15 years. If a matter is of importance to the House, it needs to be responded to with respect in the House. Whether a member in a senior cabinet position may or may not be involved in a police investigation is an issue for the House, which deserves an answer. However, we have heard the continual threat of, “Say that again and you will be sued”, sued by the minister and sued out front. That is intimidating and undermining our work.
    When we ask legitimate questions, we respect the Speaker's right to decide whether a question is out of bounds. If the Speaker decides it is out of bounds or not parliamentary, then it is up to the Speaker and we will stop. However, if it is an issue of parliamentary business, the continuing response of intimidation and threats, which has become a tactic over the last two days, interferes with and undermines our ability to do our job.

  (1515)  

    I thank all members for their comments. I will come back to the House on the issue, but I gather we will hear more from the hon. opposition House leader on this issue.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That, with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the House condemn the violence and abuse committed against hundreds of innocent civilians; condemn gender-based sexual violence, particularly against women and girls; recognize that the deadliest violence since the Second World War is taking place in that country and has killed at least 6 million people since 1996, and that hundreds of thousands of people have reportedly been systematically subjected to gender-based sexual violence; and ask the government to monitor the situation in the country closely, play a leading role in mobilizing the international community to end repeated human rights violations and abuses and protect populations at risk, and encourage the International Criminal Court to continue its work as part of the formal investigation into massacres in that country.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: There is no unanimous consent.
    The hon. member for Calgary Signal Hill on a point of order.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order about an answer the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development gave today. If I heard correctly, the minister said that among the jobs created in Canada since the Liberals took office in 2015, there were 2,200 new jobs created at Nova Corporation. The CEO of Nova Canada happens to be a constituent of mine, so I sent him a note and asked him to check it. He said no, they had maintained 2,200 jobs that already existed in 2015, and not—
    This sounds like debate to me.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—The Economy  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to kick off coming back to our debate today, which was brought by my friend, our industry critic, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. He is a great member of the House, who brings up competitiveness issues all the time. If Canadians are following this debate, this is why Conservatives have brought this debate to the floor today.
    The last week or so in Canada shows how uncompetitive our economy is becoming under the Liberal government. Just on the weekend, we saw the Premier of Alberta limiting production of Canadian resources, in fact controlling or interfering with the private marketplace because of the crisis of depressed oil prices. We are losing billions of dollars. It was going to be $15 billion before the large drop in price. They were looking at $25 billion or $30 billion less in revenue to Canada as a result of the inability of the government to get pipelines built.
    The other thing we saw in the last week, which was very personal to me and my community, was the announcement that GM intended to close the Oshawa assembly plant at the end of next year, after a century of assembling automobiles in Oshawa and after being at the epicentre of the auto industry, and indeed, the manufacturing industry, Ontario was known for. The driving force for decades of Confederation, the success of manufacturing in Ontario, is faltering now under three years of the current government.
    Finally, at the beginning of the previous week, there was the inability of the government to even answer a question with respect to when the budget will be balanced.
    Canadians should be very concerned that we have a Prime Minister with no experience in the private sector and no understanding of the unique needs of the economy in different parts of the country, whether it is softwood in British Columbia; resources, including potash, in our prairies; the aerospace industry in Manitoba and Quebec; the manufacturing base in Ontario; or seafood and exports in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces. There is a total disconnect for the Prime Minister.
    Should we be surprised? Here is what the Prime Minister said, as the new third party leader, to manufacturers at an auto parts factory in southwestern Ontario, in January 2015, as he was kicking off his election bid:
    The people of southwestern Ontario are amazingly resilient and have demonstrated that moving beyond manufacturing-based employment is something they're willing to do.
    That was his message to manufacturing facilities in southwestern Ontario and writ large to communities like mine in the Durham region: we need to just move past it.
    What else did he say? In his first foreign trip abroad as Prime Minister of this country, he offended the resource industry at Davos. In January 2016, he said, “My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources. I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.”
     In one brush, he was mocking or dismissing the impact of the resource sector and the innovation brought to that sector, such as steam-assisted gravity drainage and a reduction in the use of power and water. All these are innovations that, over time, have reduced the economic and environmental impact of resource development. He swept that aside with one statement, so much so that the mayor of Calgary, who was in Davos, criticized the Prime Minister. He is usually his wingman ideologically, but he criticized such a dismissive and divisive comment trying to pit one economy against another, one region against another, as if resource jobs are not the type of jobs we want. We want to be resourceful, as if Ontario has to move past manufacturing.
    This is a Prime Minister who, in the middle of an election campaign, said this about his economic plan, on August 12, 2015, when he was the third party leader running to become prime minister:
    We're proposing a strong and real plan, one that invests in the middle class so that we can grow the economy not from the top down the way Mr. Harper wants to, but from the heart outwards. That's what Canada has always done well with.

  (1520)  

    That comment is absolutely ridiculous, and it shows the absence of an understanding of the private sector, capital investment and risk-taking in the economy. It was comments like that the member for Scarborough—Guildwood, in opposition, called bozo eruptions. They were misplaced comments that showed a Prime Minister so disconnected from the real needs of Canadians that he is not worthy of the job.
    What is interesting about the minister heckling is that before she ran for Parliament, she ran on closing the oil sands. Here we have a cabinet minister who made public statements about shutting down the oil sands and who had no real experience before Parliament, and she is at the cabinet table making the decisions. These things should really concern people. When people come with an activist point of view, trying to shut down jobs that hundreds of thousands of people depend on, Canadians should be concerned about the fact that the current government is on cruise control.
    The resource industry is in crisis. The manufacturing sector is in crisis. We have tariffs. We have trade disruptions. We have a government that has piled taxes and tariffs on top of the manufacturing base, and it has been struggling under it.
    The day the Prime Minister made that Care Bear economic speech, as it was termed at the time, was August 12, midway through a marathon campaign. At that point, the Liberals were still running on a balanced-budget plan. Interestingly enough, the current Prime Minister, as third party leader, said this: “It's a well-established fact. Liberals balance budgets.... Our platform will be fully costed, fiscally responsible and a balanced budget.”
     He said that in April 2015. That was the Liberals' policy. They used to say that they were the party of Paul Martin and that they were going to have a balanced budget.
    Midway through the election campaign, in fact mere days after he made the Care Bear economic speech, the Liberals changed their fundamental economic position for the country, and on August 25, they said they were going to run deficits. At that time, they said the deficit would never exceed $10 billion, and they promised to get back to budget by the end of their mandate, in 2019. However, they changed their underlying economic promise to Canadians. Within months, they had indicated that they were no longer going to stick to deficits under $10 billion, and within a couple of years, they abandoned any notion of balancing the budget. In fact, it is awkward when the Minister of Finance will not even give a date on which he intends to try to get back to balance. Those are fundamental economic promises to Canadians broken.
    Why are we seeing a crisis in western Canada and in Ontario? The canaries in the coal mine in the last week alone are the price changes by the Premier of Alberta and the GM closure, with taxes, tariffs, trade disruption and excessive regulation.
    Bill C-69 itself killed the energy east pipeline. An executive of TransCanada pipeline confirmed that. We have had taxes upon taxes. It is not just the carbon tax, which we highlighted last week. Payroll taxes in the first budget made it punitive for employers to hire more people. We had small-business private-company tax changes.
    The Liberals have raised taxes on entrepreneurs. They have raised taxes on hiring people through the payroll. They are bringing in a carbon tax. None of those tax increases are happening in the United States. The U.S. is eliminating regulations and lowering taxes.
    The auto industry competes in the Great Lakes region, so when Canada is getting uncompetitive because of the actions of the government, we are going to see capital and jobs flow. We have been calling that out for several years. When the Liberals are almost banning pipelines through Bill C-69, we are going to see companies leave the country.
    Canadians need to be worried. We need a plan from the government. That is why the Conservatives have brought this debate to the House today.

  (1525)  

    Madam Speaker, the member commented on payroll taxes, but when we actually look at EI and CPP, let us look at what the government is doing. Since we came to power, employment insurance premiums have actually gone down by just over half a point. The only other thing that is being affected is the CPP benefit people are going to be able to use in the future when they retire, which is going to increase, in some cases, by up to 50%.
    I am assuming that the member is upset specifically about the CPP portion of this and not the EI portion, because that has actually gone down. Can the member confirm to the House if he has a problem specifically with the CPP enhancements the government is providing for future Canadians when they hit retirement?
    Madam Speaker, the simple answer is yes. In fact, I am glad the member asked the question. I would refer him to the book written by the finance minister, or I should say, ghost written for the finance minister. It was actually written by the chief economist for Morneau Shepell, Fred Vettese. It is called the The Real Retirement, and it says that there is no retirement crisis.
    This entire CPP sham was a concoction of the Wynne government and the Liberal government to suggest that there was a crisis looming, when there was not one. In fact, the finance minister stated that in his book. If we analyze it, the member misled the House. There will be a small group of Canadians, 5%, according to Mr. Vettese, who will see any benefit from the CPP reforms. Had the Liberals not cut the tax-free savings account in their first budget, that would likely have captured many of the people planning for their own retirement.
    That member should understand that whether it is in Kingston, with Dupont, or other companies, they are probably looking at fewer hirings and moving capital. He should speak up at caucus meetings. Right now, he is part of a government that is driving jobs to the United States, not to Canada.

  (1530)  

    Madam Speaker, I was elected to protect the coast and represent jobs in B.C. on the coast, where we are obviously threatened by the risk of an unrefined oil spill. Tens of thousands of jobs in the aquaculture and fisheries sector have already been identified as at risk.
    We are trying to find jobs that do not preclude the existing economy and the existing environment we have now. We hear about climate change impacts every day. We see the effects of climate change, with unprecedented forest fires.
    In my region, I am proud to represent jobs at Harmac Pacific, Vancouver Island University, the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Habitat for Humanity, and Canadian Electric Vehicles, all of which are part of the movement across the country. They are acting on climate change and employing people right now.
    The green building sector employs more people than forestry, oil, gas, and mining put together. Does my colleague see the benefit of investing in this additional energy path that can employ people and protect our environment?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question. I was in British Columbia for several days. I had a great meeting at Stemcell Technologies, in Vancouver, which is doing unbelievable innovation in cellular regeneration therapies, working with stem cells. Visionary leaders established that company, which came out of the Terry Fox Laboratory.
    I like to see some of that investment. The trouble is, they cannot access capital in Canada. In fact, their capital is being accessed from the United States. Increasingly, because of the regulatory regime of the government, whether it is green tech, R and D in pharma or biotech, capital is not coming to Canada, because confidence is diminished under the government. In fact, the government has actually worked against entrepreneurs with the changes to closely held private corporations, with its treatment of dividends and with the treatment of retained earnings and where it wants to go with that. The government was almost going to eliminate stock options as well.
    If we are going to compete for talent and capital, we actually have to reverse most of the decisions of the government. Whether it is in resources, green tech or manufacturing in Ontario, we have to be competitive, or we will not see the jobs and investments.
    Madam Speaker, before I get into my speech, I appreciate the member for Durham's slightly historical knowledge of my riding and the various different manufacturers in it. Perhaps he should spend more time in his riding as opposed to Ottawa. He would then understand and learn about some of the hardships seniors are going through. It is not a manufactured crisis with respect to seniors. In fact, there is a real problem, a problem we need to prepare for through our programs such as CPP to ensure seniors have the tools they need to retire when they get to that point.
    He mentioned the tax-free savings account. I am sorry, but there were select few people who could use the tax-free savings account, who would have money to put into that at the end of their yearly earnings to benefit from it. He knows exactly who those people are because they are primarily his donors.
    I take honour to speak to this motion today, but I am absolutely perplexed by the context of it. It is as though for three years the Conservatives were throwing various things against the wall and none of them would stick. Then they had the idea to grab everything together and throw it against the wall at the same time and maybe at least one of them would stick.
     This motion is so convoluted and it jumps all over the place. When writing it, one knows there is absolutely no way the governing party is going to support it. I find it very disingenuous that the Conservative Party would take the opportunity, through an opposition day motion, to use it in such a politically partisan way when it could have taken this opportunity to demonstrate a genuine passion for improving upon policy and legislation and trying to impact the day-to-day lives of Canadians. That could very well have been done through an opposition motion, yet we are here to discuss this motion.
    I will gladly go through the motion and talk about some of the falsehoods in it. I am not going to ignore what is before us. There is so much to speak about that I do not even know if I can get through it all in the 17 minutes I have remaining. However, let me take a stab at it.
     The first part says, “recognize the severity of the looming job crisis in Canada caused by the failed economic policies of the Liberal government.” Employment in Canada is at a 40-year high. The Canadian economy has created over half a million jobs since 2015. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low. More people are working now than we have ever have had over the past 40 years, which is a huge accomplishment by this government and the economic certainty that exists within Canada.
    The next part of the diatribe of issues in the motion is that the carbon tax closed the General Motors plant in Oshawa. This is categorically untrue. General Motors has closed four plants in the United States. The U.S. does not have a price on pollution, yet it is still doing it. GM has been very clear that the only reason had done that is because it is moving toward electric vehicles. That is where it is focusing its attention. The president for GM just said that.
     Maybe if the Conservatives could wrap their heads around the notion that the economy, the marketplace and the goods people want to buy are changing, we could see them contribute positively to policy that would impact our economy. However, they are stuck in debating and insisting we do not change to adapt to the changes in the marketplace.
    The next part talks about the Canadian economy being at a competitive disadvantage. We have the lowest small business tax rate in the G7. Canada's corporate tax rate is also among the lowest in the G7. We have the fastest-growing GDP in the G7. I cannot understand how somebody can write this into a motion to be presented before the House, knowing that the vast majority of evidence out there does not support it. The U.S. tax changes put Canadian businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
     Meanwhile, the facts are that the accelerated investment incentive, introduced in the fall economic statement, will lower the marginal effective tax rate on new businesses to one that is significantly lower than what is in the U.S.

  (1535)  

    I would like to talk a bit about what we are doing for small businesses and specifically what was brought forward in the fall economic statement.
    First, the government will allow businesses to immediately write off whole costs of machinery and equipment used for the manufacturing or processing of goods. This will give a significant tax advantage to the year the equipment was purchased, fuelling new investments and supporting the adoption of advanced technologies and processes.
     For those out there who might not be savvy with respect to the accounting world within business, businesses now have the ability to write off the expense for particular machinery and equipment immediately, in the first year or as the schedule allows, rather than amortize it over a long period of time, which is normally considered to be the life of the machinery or equipment. That is a huge competitive advantage for businesses to be allowed to write off that expense in the first year.
    Second, the government will allow businesses that are specifically buying clean energy equipment to write off the full cost in the year it is put to use. This will also spur new investment, as well as the adoption of clean technologies. We expect it to generate more good middle-class jobs and position Canada to achieve climate goals while becoming more globally competitive.
     This is another example of how we are providing incentives to businesses that will allow them to innovate, purchase and adapt to new technologies and to write off these expenses immediately. It shows the initiative of this government to move forward with the agenda of ensuring our economy stays strong, while at the same time ensuring we provide incentives for clean and renewable uses of the equipment we are buying. Specifically, in this example, it is clean energy equipment.
    Third, the government is introducing a new accelerated investment incentive for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy, allowing firms to write off a larger share of the costs of newly acquired assets in the year the investment is made. Under the accelerated investment incentive, capital investments will generally be eligible for a first year depreciation allowance equal to up to three times the allowance that would otherwise apply in the year an asset would be acquired and be put to use. Businesses will be able to recover the initial cost of their investment more quickly, reducing risk and providing businesses in Canada with a true incentive to make capital investments.
    These are examples of how we are fuelling, through tax policy, small, medium and large businesses throughout the country so we can maintain this incredible pace that the Canadian economy is experiencing right now compared to our G7 partners.
    I will go back to the motion and continue on with some of its other points.
    It says that the Canadian economy is facing a crisis. As I said, the Canadian economy enjoyed the fastest growth among the G7 in 2017 and it continues to be one of the strongest economies in the G7.
    Section (vii) talks about “workers in all sectors impacted by the toxic medley” of tax increases on local businesses. Our government is lowering the small business tax rate. That has already begun. By January, it will be down to 9%, and that is the lowest rate among the G7 when it comes to businesses and business tax. That is another demonstration that we are willing to stay competitive in the global environment and the global market to ensure we can continue to see investment happening right here in Canada and with Canadian businesses.
    I could go on to address every point, but I will be unable to do that in the amount of time I have left. However, the underlying principle here is that the Conservatives, through this motion they have put forward today, have missed the point that in Canada right now our economy is strong overall and that we continue to ensure that the right tools and processes are in place to see the economy continue to thrive.

  (1540)  

    That is not to say that from time to time we will not experience hardships in one part of the country or another, in one sector or another. These things will always happen. However, what will be the test of time and what we will be able to be judged on later is how we responded to those crises in different sectors in different areas of the country.
    I would also like to talk briefly about the investments we have made in infrastructure. I find it remarkable. Earlier when I was sitting here listening to questions and answers, there was an exchange between a member of the Conservative benches and our side. They were talking about the crisis with respect to Montreal and the infrastructure that was needed there to ensure they were not dumping raw sewage into the river.
    I come from a riding that used to have this problem, that used to have something like 30 to 40 days per year where raw sewage was dumped into Lake Ontario. However, through the previous Liberal government, which unfortunately because of its policy as it related to investment, there was very little money when the Conservatives were in power, it invested collaboratively with the province and the local government, in this case the city of Kingston, to build the Ravensview water treatment plant. This plant increased the capacity and we were able to put cleaner water, theoretically speaking, back into the lake than was in the lake before that. This was because the provincial and federal governments of the day decided to put investment into that. They recognized the need for it. As a result, the city of Kingston is down to one, maybe two days per year, when there are massive rainfalls that some minor overflow occurs, if any at all.
    This is why it is so important for governments to recognize and to come to the table when it comes to investing in infrastructure. However, it is important to invest in the right infrastructure and to invest in an infrastructure that will have meaningful impacts in the communities in which it is built and to the economy as a whole, investing in projects that will see multiple spinoffs through the economy. We know when we invest in certain sectors like agri-food, for example, another seven jobs are created as a result of one job created in that sector. It is about picking the right sectors and ensuring that money is going into those sectors to have the spinoff occur.
    I would also remind the House about some of the investing that this government has done in infrastructure since 2015, and those investments are paying off. To date, more than 30,000 infrastructure projects have been approved under the investing in Canada plan, the vast majority of which are already under way, creating good, middle-class jobs. Beyond construction, these projects will create long-term economic, social and environmental returns for Canadians and communities both big and small.
    In budget 2016, the government announced phase one of the investing in Canada plan, which provides $14.4 billion for short-term investments in rehabilitation, repair, modernization in existing infrastructure. To date, more than $13 billion has been committed to projects with more than $6 billion already fully invested.
     These are smart investments in areas that matter most to Canadians: public transit, trade, transportation, green infrastructure, social infrastructure and rural and northern communities. They will also help grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and build sustainable communities.
    I will also take this opportunity, because I know this topic has been coming up quite a bit over the last few days, to talk about this government's action when it comes to what is going on in Alberta and in particular the oil crisis. This government has taken a responsible approach, when it comes to approving pipeline projects, that respects all levels of government, that respects the various different players and partners that are involved in the process. Unlike the approach that was taken for 10 years under Stephen Harper, this approach is the right approach.

  (1545)  

    We might not always like what we hear, but when we receive information we can use it in a constructive way to build and put forward a more robust plan that has the ability to stand the tests that come at it. That is what we have seen.
    We talked about Stephen Harper's ability to create pipelines and move oil. Let us not forget that in 2006 when he came into power, 99% of the oil in Canada was going to the United States. My colleagues may wonder how much of it was going there in 2015 when he left office. I will tell them. It was 99%, the exact same amount. He was not able to effectively diversify the market. The thing is that he had a prime opportunity in 2006. That was before the 2008 recession hit. Oil was at an all-time high in 2006. There was no better opportunity or no better time to diversify and he was unable to get it done.
     Stephen Harper was unable to get it done because he painted a target on the back of the oil industry by attacking climate movements, by attacking indigenous communities, by attacking the various players and partners who make the decisions. He thought he could bully his way through the process but ended up with delays in courts, injunctions that were withheld and various different legal mechanisms to stop him from getting done what he wanted to do. I truly believe that he wanted to build pipelines but he was unable to because of his approach. That is why this approach is much different. It is an approach that respects the process and respects the fact that we need to properly collaborate with everybody and with all players.
     I went through a list of things that this motion attempted to attack and criticize. It is just as though the Conservatives decided that as they had been unsuccessful in getting any of their talking points to stick, maybe by bundling them together and throwing them all at once at the wall, one or two might stick. Then they could call it a day and be successful. In reality, they wasted an opposition day motion when they could have been talking, trying to inform policy and informing Canadians as to what this government is doing and what we could be doing better. There is always an opportunity to do better in many different ways. However, they used it as an opportunity to put forward something that obviously this side of the House will not be able to support.
    I will close by just talking a bit about the fact that when the Conservatives bring forward something like this, there is no doubt that it will resonate with some people out there, particularly their base. There are a lot of people who will read some of this and think that the government is doing some pretty shady stuff. I did correct a lot of what was in this, in the beginning of my speech.
    However, rather than the Conservatives trying to be forthright and honest about what was going on, they tried to play on the fears of Canadians and to scare them into thinking that the circumstances are much worse than they actually are. Rather than looking for opportunities to genuinely improve upon things that can be improved, they would rather scare Canadians into looking at a list of things put forward by them, and conclude that it is a dire situation and they should elect the Conservatives in 2019, otherwise we are all doomed.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: The hon. members are agreeing. They are saying, “You're right. We would like to scare people into voting for Conservatives because that's the only way that it'll work”. It is extremely sad to hear members of this House cheer about that fact. They know that they are being dishonest to Canadians. That does not matter as long as they get the objective they are looking for in 10 months. That is all that really matters to them.
    The truth is that the majority of Canadians, I strongly believe, can see through their tactics. Eventually, the Conservatives will have to learn if they want to get their message through to Canadians, it is going to have to be in a positive and productive way. Unfortunately, through this motion, they are not doing that.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Democratic Republic of Congo

    Madam Speaker, I believe you would find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:
     That the House, with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
(a) condemn the violence and abuses committed against hundreds of innocent civilians;
(b) condemn gender-based sexual violence, especially against women and girls;
(c) recognize that this violence is the deadliest since the Second World War, with at least six million people since 1996 having been killed, and that hundreds of thousands of people are reported to have been systematically subjected to gender-based sexual violence; and
(d) call on the government to (i) closely monitor the situation in that country, (ii) play a leading role in mobilizing the international community so that repeated human rights violations and abuses end and threatened populations are protected, (iii) encourage the International Criminal Court to continue its work in the formal investigation of the killings in that country.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): 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)

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—The Economy 

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech. He talked about this so-called balanced approach toward pipeline approvals and the regulatory approvals process. I struggle to understand how the heck they can call it balanced when they have a government that had three viable private sector pipelines put before them; two of them were cancelled as a result of the actions of that government and we have now one that at best could be described as being on taxpayer-funded life-support and we have, of course, Bill C-69, which would end any possibility of future approvals for pipelines. That is not balanced. I certainly would like to see him go and try to tell Albertans how balanced that is, because I will tell members the answer Albertans would give him.
    I will now read a very brief passage from an email I received from a constituent, just today. He happens to be a national sales manager for an oil field supply company. He said that they received this email from one of the major companies that they supply. I will not name the company. He said that this is the quote from the email that they received: “As the oil differential and pipeline woes are continuing to strain our industry, we will not be doing a matting purchase until such time as we see some positive news.” It then listed off a number of things, including, “differential and commodity price, pipeline approvals, regulatory constraints lifted”. It goes on to say, “We have governments, both federally and provincially, who are not working toward opportunities for investment in Canada. Our federal government is holding up the pipeline file and at the same time trying to push through Bill C-69 to make it harder for large infrastructure projects like pipelines to get approved.”
    He says that the effect of an email like this, cancelling an order in their case, would be about a $20-million hit to their small service company. That number does not include any subsequent spinoffs or jobs or work generated. That is one of many like this from Alberta. I want to know what the member would have to say to those people.

  (1555)  

    I want to remind members to keep their questions short, within one minute. That would be much appreciated, so they should not go on with their preamble.
    The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
    Madam Speaker, the reason there is an oil crisis in Canada is that 99% of our oil is going to the United States. When Stephen Harper took office in 2006, 99% was going to the United States. When he left in 2015, 99% was going to the United States. The only way that the former Conservative government was able to do anything about the pipelines was to virtually continue to improve upon the fact that oil was going to the United States. The Conservatives did absolutely nothing to diversify the market and get it to new markets.
    Therefore, to answer the member's question, if they had done a bit more to get oil to other markets we would not be in this problem right now.
    What is your guy doing? Cancelling pipelines.
    Order. The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie had more than two minutes to ask his question a while ago, and he should give respect to the member to answer. If he has other questions or comments, then he should get up when I ask for questions and comments.
    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
    Madam Speaker, for the people of Nanaimo—Ladysmith and, in fact, B.C.'s entire coast, our economy, culture and way of life are dependent on a clean coast. Therefore, I am sure the member opposite can appreciate our dismay and alarm at the government's $4.5-billion investment in a leaky old pipeline in the name of climate action. We want a very different kind of infrastructure investment in our community and not something, for example, that could cause an oil spill, which would threaten tens of thousands of jobs in fisheries and aquaculture on our coast.
    A great example of the kind of investment that we have been asking for is the harbour-to-harbour link. It has been well received. Every party in the 2015 election expressed support for a downtown Vancouver to downtown Nanaimo passenger-only ferry run. However, it needs infrastructure investment. The fisheries minister and the parliamentary secretary for transport have been very supportive of this.
     Is my colleague opposite willing to stand with us and other coastal MPs asking for this very positive investment, which does not threaten coastal jobs but enhances our economy?
    Madam Speaker, while I know, and I am sure everybody in this House knows, we are extremely dependent on oil now, I also see new opportunities on the horizon. I am very glad the member has brought up some of those opportunities.
    I recently saw a video on Facebook of a company from British Columbia that was able to take carbon out of the air, add water to it and turn it into a fuel that could literally be put directly into vehicles without having to alter the vehicle at all. Those are the businesses of the future.
    Other countries know this, and I am not talking about northern European countries, but countries like China know this. We need to be moving in that direction too, and we need to ensure that we are putting investments into those new opportunities while at the same time ensuring that we diversify our existing market with respect to oil.

  (1600)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about the Conservatives' failure to diversify our energy sector and get to new markets. Can he elaborate on whether he thinks they actually knew what they were doing when it came to the economy for 10 years? Were they able to create jobs?
     The Conservatives had us heading towards another recession. They were not able to balance the budget and added $150 billion to the debt. I would ask my hon. colleague if he thinks the Conservatives have any credibility when it comes to managing the economy.
    Madam Speaker, no I do not.
    The Conservatives will try to make us believe that the reason they had to run deficits was all because of the economic crisis we were in and they had to do it to make sure that we rebounded out of the economic crisis. However, the reality of the situation when looking back at the last 19 budgets that the Conservative Party introduced into this House is that 16 of them ran deficits; the two that ran surpluses were on the heels of Paul Martin's $13-billion surplus; and the third one was in 2015, when they cut EI, slashed veterans services and sold shares of GM at bargain prices so that they could produce this “budget” that they could then go into the election with.
    If we look back at the last 150 years, Conservatives have been in power for 38% of the time and racked up more than 70% of the debt. They have absolutely no credibility in telling this side of the House how to manage finances.
    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned the closing of the General Motors plant. I have to say that, for my community, I found his comments somewhat insensitive. However, one of the things he brought up was that businesses do not like uncertainty. He was correct in saying that the automotive sector is in a historic transition to electric and autonomous cars, but the point is that GM has decided not to do it in Canada.
    These are once-in-a-generation investments, and companies do not make these investments on a five-year basis but more like over 50 years. However, one of the biggest uncertainties is this carbon tax, which is the Liberals' hidden agenda. They are telling businesses that the carbon tax, by 2022, will only be $50 per tonne, but the UN report that the environment minister is following says that it has to be up to $5,500 a tonne by 2030 to be effective.
    The member could help decrease uncertainty if he could just tell the business community what the carbon tax will be in 2030. Will it be $5,500?
    Madam Speaker, the whole point to a price on pollution is to make sure that when people build, manufacture or purchase various goods, one of the components that goes into that, which we know is damning, is how it pollutes our environment.
    If we pollute, we have to pay. Through this price on pollution, companies will be incentivized to find new, efficient, effective ways to produce products in a way that enables them to deliver them to the marketplace and at the same time create a cleaner environment.
    The irony behind it is that it is a Conservative principle. Talking about how to affect an economy and the various different prices that are imposed on an economy is the underpinning to what Conservatives believe in, which is the functioning of the marketplace.
    How can Conservatives not understand this? This is like economics 101. I do not get it. The Conservatives harp on and on about it. Conservatives claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and economic management, but nothing they say in this House actually supports that.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.
    On Monday, November 26, General Motors announced that no more products would be allocated to the award-winning plant in Oshawa after December 2019. This was devastating for the over 2,800 workers in Oshawa, but the impact is much broader. It impacts not just the workers but also their families and all the businesses in the community that depend on the economic activity provided by the plant. We have seen time and again what a closing like this does to a community, not only to its economy but more importantly to its people.
    When we say that the manufacturing sector is one of the backbones of our economy, it is not just a platitude, because it links with so many other sectors in the economy. Success in the manufacturing sector has a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. It is what is called the multiplier effect. For the auto sector, it is estimated at seven jobs for every job lost on the assembly line.
    In Oshawa, we have gone through difficult times before, but our community is resilient and able to rise to the challenge. Our consolidated line was scheduled to close in 2008, but because of our tenacity and our ability to innovate, our line was able to remain open for years. At the time, we worked with the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, as well as the unions, the workers and the company, to find a solution. We did.
    Today, Oshawa workers just want a chance to bid on a new product for our plant. The Prime Minister says he wants to attract the jobs of the future, the exact jobs that GM is saying it will not build in Oshawa. GM is saying it is transitioning to electric and autonomous vehicles. This is a once-in-a-generation investment, and it has decided not to make it in Oshawa or Canada. We must ask why.
    This is why the Conservatives put forward a motion at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, calling on the government to study the impacts of the plant closures in my community of Oshawa and the province in general. I cannot explain how disappointed I was when the Liberals voted it down.
    Actions speak louder than words. The Prime Minister is good at sounding sincere when he says he wants to use all the tools available to help my community, but when he had the chance to act, the Liberals voted it down. The people of Oshawa are asking if the Prime Minister truly cares about our community and our jobs. It has been over a week since we heard the news, and he still has not even picked up the phone to call our mayor and offer his support.
    I want to say how proud I am of our leader. When he found out about the closure of the plant, he changed his plans and came to Oshawa within hours, standing at the gates with the workers. Within 24 hours we had met with businesses, General Motors and, most importantly, the workers. They asked us on this side to fight for their jobs, and that is what we are doing.
    The Prime Minister has famously said he wants to transition away from manufacturing. If we cannot transition to building the electric and autonomous vehicles of the future, what exactly does the Prime Minister want us to transition to? When will he understand that his failed policies have real consequences for real communities and real people, like those in Oshawa?
    The Liberal talking points we have heard here today mention the closure of the plants in the United States, as if to say it is not just a problem in Canada. I would like to say two things to this.
    First, in addition to the direct losses of over 2,800 jobs in the Oshawa plant, there will be spillover job losses of an estimated 20,000 jobs. When we compare this number to the approximately 3,600 direct jobs that will be lost in the U.S. and consider that the United States economy is more than 10 times bigger than ours, the impact is just not comparable.
    Second, the government has created an environment in which companies regard Canada as a bad place for their investments, thereby depriving Canadians of good-quality manufacturing jobs. In fact the Prime Minister has implemented policies that have made it very unlikely that investors will see Canada as a worthwhile option. Under the Prime Minister, we have seen the biggest decline in Canadian energy investment in 70 years. The Liberals have chosen to implement policies that have made Canada uncompetitive on the world stage, and are making sure investors steer clear of our energy sector. The result is thousands of jobs lost in the energy industry. In Oshawa, we stand with those workers in the energy field. We think it is reprehensible that this government is standing in their way.
    Canada's energy sector is instrumental to the well-being of our economy, and it seems like the Liberals are doing everything they can to ensure this industry fails. Uncertainty is an investor's worst nightmare, and under this Prime Minister we have seen project after project shut down: energy east, northern gateway, Aurora LNG, and the list goes on and on. With them, we can say goodbye to the $50 million in investment in Durham region, my neck of the woods, due to the energy sector.

  (1605)  

    In addition to uncertainty and an overly burdensome regulatory system, the Liberals have ignored calls by the business community to lower corporate tax rates to give Canada a competitive advantage. This means companies with low-margin products, like cars, are finding it hard to compete. For a Prime Minister who talks so much about the middle class, he does not seem to want to help Canadians join it.
    Our corporate tax rate does not make Canada a competitive jurisdiction, and on top of that the Liberals have implemented a job-killing carbon tax that will make Canada even less competitive. The carbon tax not only ensures that companies have to pay more to the government rather than invest in growth, but also adds to the environment of uncertainty created by the Liberals. For once-in-a-lifetime, 50-year investments, companies need to know what their costs are going to be for more than five years, but the Liberals have not told us how much their carbon tax will rise after 2022.
    According to a UN report, countries would need a carbon tax of up to $5,500 per tonne, which would mean a huge hit for our companies, especially when we consider that the United States and Mexico do not have one. This creates uncertainty for businesses and makes Canada unattractive for future investment.
    To add insult to injury, the government has just signed on to a deal, the new NAFTA, without having the section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs removed. The Standing Committee on International Trade has been studying the impacts on these sectors, and the situation is dire. Businesses are shutting down, laying off workers, reducing shifts or moving production to other jurisdictions. Once these businesses leave, they are not coming back.
    We have also been hearing from small and medium-sized businesses in these sectors that they cannot get the money the government is taking, because of the countervailing measures. The process is too long and onerous, and the owners of these businesses just do not have the time to work through the government's red tape. We need the government to give businesses their money back now.
    The businesses in bigger industries such as the auto and energy sectors are struggling because of the policies of the Liberal government, so we can imagine what it is doing to small businesses in our country. Small and medium-sized businesses make up over 90% of the businesses in this country. They are one of the main drivers of our economy and the most affected by high taxes, burdensome regulations and the carbon tax.
    According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one third of business owners are bothered so much by government regulation that they say they would have preferred not going into business in the first place. Is that not sad? When people spend all of their days running small companies and then whatever little time is left trying to navigate the never-ending government red tape, it becomes impossible to focus on growing their businesses.
    Two weeks ago, the finance minister delivered an update on the state of the economy, in which he strongly underestimated the risks Canada will face in the not-so-distant future. Many economists do not share the minister's optimism when it comes to the long-term health of the Canadian economy, especially since he relied heavily on the unemployment rate to make his case. We have heard that here today. The unemployment rate falls not only when people are employed, but also when workers leave the workforce and stop looking for employment.
    Demographic trends in Canada point to the fact that labour participation rates will continue to fall. There are around 2.7 million Canadians aged 15 to 24 in the labour force, compared to 3.4 million Canadians aged 55 to 64. In fact, when we look at the employment rate, the share of the labour force that is employed has been steadily declining since December 2017.
    With that in mind, it is even more worrying that the Liberals have continued with their tax-and-spend strategy, rather than cutting the deficit like they promised they would do. Remember, the budget was supposed to balance itself. The Prime Minister promised Canadians the budget would be balanced, yet now the Department of Finance is projecting deficits out to 2045. This is a reckless strategy that will put Canada in jeopardy when the next recession comes.
    To conclude, the Liberal government is failing Canadians. It promised to balance the budget, and it has not done so. It has raised taxes, making it harder for Canadians, and it has made Canada less competitive for business. It has increased the level of uncertainty for investors and raised their costs through the carbon tax. Is it really a surprise that businesses are moving and investors are fleeing? That is the scary point.