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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 406

CONTENTS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 406
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

    Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer entitled “Costing Budget 2019 Measures”.

Commissioner of Lobbying

    Pursuant to section 10.5 of the Lobbying Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report on an investigation from the Commissioner of Lobbying.

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Sanding Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
    That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1045)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 1297)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Bratina
Breton
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lebouthillier
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
Ng
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Picard
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Trudeau
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wrzesnewskyj
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 164


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Chong
Christopherson
Clarke
Cooper
Davidson
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Leitch
Liepert
Lloyd
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Poilievre
Quach
Rankin
Rayes
Richards
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Strahl
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 118


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent to allow the member for Saskatoon West to table her private member's bill.
    Is there unanimous consent of the House to return to introduction of private members' bills to allow the hon. member for Saskatoon West to table her private member's bill?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Indigenous Language Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the co-operation of all parties in this House.
    Today, I rise to table an act that would put into law the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action No. 14 to protect, maintain, revitalize and strengthen indigenous languages. The drafting of this bill was inspired by Elger Pakingan, a grade 12 student at Bethlehem Catholic High School, who was this year's winner of Saskatoon West's Create Your Canada contest.
     Elger's proposed legislation, among other things, would ensure that the indigenous language commissioner is an indigenous person, make the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples legally binding and, finally, state that the discriminatory government policy of the sixties scoop also led to the erosion of indigenous languages in Canada. I thank all participants for their excellent submissions and congratulate Elger for his winning entry.
    Our future is our youth. It is a bright future and it is in good hands, so I proudly table this bill on Elger's behalf.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1

Bill C-97—Time Allocation 

     That, in relation to Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and
    That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

  (1050)  

[Translation]

    I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, here we go again. Sunny ways have turned into cloudy days. The government, led by a Prime Minister who promised no omnibus bills and to never shut down debate, is now shutting down debate on a omnibus bill.
    Of course, this bill is technically called the budget, but it reaches into areas that have nothing to do with budget policy, reaching, for example, into the laws pertaining to refugees.
    Let us remember that in last year's budget bill, the finance minister snuck in an amendment to the Criminal Code to allow large corporate criminals to avoid trial by signing deferred prosecution agreements whereby they could pay a small fine, say they were sorry and promise never to do it again, without facing the wrath of prosecution that would confront any other Canadian charged with a crime. The finance minister said nothing about deferred prosecution agreements in the budget speech leading up to that bill. He skipped over that small detail. I guess we would have to read the fine print.
    That has become the nature of the government, a government that is overwhelmed with hypocrisy. The Prime Minister claimed that he would never engage in omnibus bills and that he would always allow open debate, and now he is doing precisely the opposite.
    This bill, though, implements a disastrous budget, a cover-up budget wherein $41 billion of brand new cash spending is designed to paper over the SNC-Lavalin scandal and make Canadians forget about the Prime Minister's interference in a criminal prosecution by spraying billions of dollars of Canadians' own money at them right before an election.
    This finance minister, who is responsible for this massive engorgement of public funds, should answer for his actions. He broke his word and the Prime Minister's word that they would balance the budget this year—or, more accurately, that the budget would balance itself. He has increased the cost of government by 25% in three short years, and on top of that, middle-class Canadians are paying, on average, $800 more per household.
    With all of these broken promises, can the finance minister tell us why Canadians should believe anything he or his Prime Minister have to say?
    Before going to the finance minister, I want to remind hon. members that there a lot of people who want to ask questions. The length of the question also dictates the length of the answer, so I do not want them to be too long. Try to be as concise as possible, both on the question and the answer.
    The hon. finance minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand then that I have roughly 15 minutes to speak at this time, so I would be able to talk about how well middle-class Canadians are doing.
    Budget 2019 was really a continuation of our approach to ensure not only that our economy is doing well, but that middle-class Canadians can see a brighter future. What we have done from day one is consider how Canadians can face up to the challenges that the current economy is presenting and that the future economy will present.
    We started with things like a reduction in middle-class taxes and the increase in the Canada child benefit, measures that made an important difference for families and have led to a typical middle-class family in 2019 having $2,000 more in their pockets than in 2015. It is important when we look at the situation that we consider all elements, and the Canada child benefit was critically important not only for families but also in helping our economy to do better.
    We have done a number of other measures over the last few years, but budget 2019 was particularly important for what we want to do to make sure that people are resilient in the face of economic challenges in the future.
    I would point the House to the Canada training benefit, which we know will make a really important difference for Canadians as they look to making sure they have the skills necessary for the economy of today and tomorrow. It would allow people to take four weeks off every four years and have a training credit so they can find the kind of training they need. It would enable them to have the kind of support along the way that will allow them to continue to support their families. This will be critically important for people today and for young people as they keep their skills up over the years to come.
    Budget 2019 will be a continuation in our effort to ensure that middle-class Canadians are successful in the face of the challenging economic world that we live in.

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is a very sad day for Parliament. Four years ago the Liberals promised that they would end the abuse of Parliament that was occurring through excessive closure motions. They promised not to bring in omnibus legislation and they promised to welcome refugees into this country. Today, with the 66th closure motion that the government has put forward and that the Liberals are ramming through the House to avoid scrutiny of an omnibus budget bill, we are seeing that all of the promises and commitments they made in 2015 are simply being cast aside.
    A few weeks ago, during the break, representatives of some of the major human rights organizations in Canada—Amnesty International, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association—wrote to ask the Prime Minister not to implement the provisions in this omnibus legislation that slam the door shut to refugees coming into Canada. Is that not the real reason Liberals are imposing closure yet again today?
    Canadians are finding out about the refugee provisions. They are seeing white supremacists standing up with the government and saying “Wonderful. This is a great day.” However, for Canadians, this is a sad day. Is this not the kind of behaviour that the Liberals promised to change in 2015? They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, I am happy to address the multitude of points presented by the hon. member.
    We made a commitment when we came into office that each and every measure that was in our budget bill would be reflected in the budget itself. That is a commitment we continue to uphold.
    We have put forward a budget. Of course, the budget implementation act reflects those things that we put in our budget. I believe it is important that we move the bill to committee so that the budget can be examined there. I am looking forward to being with the finance committee tomorrow for an hour and a half to discuss the budget and answer the committee's questions.
     I will note that our approach to the important issue of immigration continues to be that of recognizing Canada as a welcoming country, a country where we know that immigration has been and will continue to be a positive influence for our country.
    Importantly, as a government, we have been looking at how we can measurably increase immigration each and every year we are in office. That is something we are quite proud of. We do that not only by looking at economic and family reunification issues with respect to people coming to Canada, but also by allowing refugees to come to our country. In this budget we have put in place measures to ensure we have the capacity to meet the administrative requirements needed for people who are seeking asylum in our country and deal with these claims in an expedited, compassionate and humane way. We are looking forward to the passage of this budget implementation act so that we can continue to have a country that is a beacon of hope with respect to immigration for the world at large.
    Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents are very concerned about the canola crisis we are in the middle of and the impact it has on farmers. Meanwhile, in the context of the government's budget proposals, it is giving more money to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is a vehicle of Chinese foreign policy. It is controlled from Beijing. It is being used to build infrastructure in Asia to advance China's interests through the belt and road initiative, such as building pipelines in Azerbaijan.
    People in my constituency are wondering why their tax dollars are being used to fund the advancement of China's regional ambitions while Canadian farmers are suffering because of a totally inappropriate and baseless trade action by China. We oppose participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in general, but at the very least, would the minister agree that the government should stop writing these big cheques to advance the Chinese government's foreign policy until we at least see movement on the canola issue?

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question around the incredibly challenging situation that our canola farmers are facing right now today with what we see as inappropriate trade actions from China. We recognize this challenge is presenting very critical issues, especially as people look for markets for their canola.
    This is an issue that we see in multiple ways as being something we can deal with. We are looking carefully at how we can help to expand markets for canola, which is critically important. We are also looking at how we can support the canola farmers in this time of crisis.
     In my new role as the minister for intergovernmental affairs, I can tell members that we will be talking to the premiers who are dealing with this issue in the provinces to make sure we collaborate on ways we can support those farmers. As we do that, we will also be thinking about how we can continue to be an active force for an open, rules-based trading system in our world, which we see as critically important for the long run.
    One of the ways we do that is by supporting international development banks around the world. Those IDBs can have an important role in enabling Canada to have a position in the world. It is for that reason that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is, as a regional development bank, important in helping many less-developed countries in that part of the world to be successful. Of course, as they become successful, they will have a greater demand for the kinds of products that Canada can produce. It is an important part of an overall impact that we are making in the world.
    The situation is multi-faceted. These problems are not simple; they require thinking about both the current situation and the future situation, so we will definitely be thinking about how we can support the canola farmers and also continue to hold a strong place in the world in support of international development banks.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not pretend that I have any right to give lessons to our Minister of Finance, but I want to remind him that this is a discussion about time allocation, not about the substance. This is a question of taking a bill that is 355 pages long and rushing it through the House.
    Being an omnibus budget bill, this legislation includes many provisions, some of which have been referenced here. I will join my NDP colleagues in saying that it is deeply offensive to have refugee rights limited within an omnibus budget bill.
    The reality is that this is a debate on introducing time allocation, in the worst of all instances, on a critically important piece of legislation that is voluminous. If there is any respect for this place, as Parliament, discussing and debating and hearing alternate views, one does not put time allocation on a bill of over 355 pages that includes dozens of different provisions.
    I will also remind the Minister of Finance that if we respected immigration and refugee rights, this legislation would be stand-alone legislation so that it would go before the committee on immigration. It would not be stuffed into a budget bill and pushed through the House on time allocation.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her question, which, as she rightly points out, is focused on the issue of the day. I will, as I think is respectful to the House, answer questions that are put to me with the substance of an answer related to the substance of the question.
    In the case of the member's question, we see that it is important for us to move forward. We recognize that getting the bill to committee will allow for a deeper analysis of many of the important issues we are bringing forward to make a real difference for Canadians.
    I am also looking forward to being in front of committee tomorrow for 90 minutes to have that discussion and to answer questions that are put to me.

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, members stand one after another and say that it is wrong to limit debate and have closure on debate on this bill, but it is the official opposition that earlier moved a motion to adjourn debate on the budget implementation act.
    I wonder if the minister could speak to that and to how important it is to get this done, get it to committee, get recommendations back and get this over with for the people of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for pointing out the reality of some of the challenges we face in moving legislation through the House. When the opposition tries to adjourn debate on something that is quite important, it obviously presents a challenge. It actually uses up time that could be better used talking about the kinds of measures we have in our budget, measures that are going to make a difference for Canadians.
    When we use up our time on things that are repetitive, as has happened in the House in the not so recent past, we take up the time for things that we know can make an important difference for the long-term health of our country and the long-term health of our economy for Canadians.
    We are left with a situation where we are moving to committee so that we can get a deeper look at some of the critical issues in the budget. These are issues that we are confident it is important to move forward on so that we can continue the positive economic results we have had over the last three and a half years, recognizing that while we have the lowest level of unemployment in more than a generation, we need also to be thinking about tomorrow. That is what our budget would do this year. We are thinking not only about how we continue with what we have been able to achieve over the last few years but about how we make sure that we lay the groundwork for continuing success for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, just a few minutes ago, the finance minister mentioned the commitment to the budget bill containing only issues that are pertinent to the budget. Other members today have said that there are issues in the bill that should be in separate bills.
    We have seen this in the past with the issues around the SNC-Lavalin case. There were instruments in the 2017 budget that caused all the problems the Liberal government is facing, but they were hidden in that massive omnibus budget bill that did not get time for proper debate in the House. Some of the issues were identified, but they were not debated in the House.
    Here we are again with the government calling time allocation on another omnibus budget bill. The minister says that the government committed to it containing no issues but budget issues. Can the minister assure the House that there are no other issues in the bill that are not simply budget issues, because other members here this morning have said that there are?
    Mr. Speaker, we came into office recognizing that the previous government had, on numerous occasions, actually introduced into the budget implementation act things that were not directly related in any way, shape or form to what was in its budget. We made a commitment to moving forward in having the issues in our budget implementation act be related to the budget. That is a commitment we continue to respect.
    What one will find in looking at the budget implementation act is that all the measures in the budget implementation act this year, as was the case last year, as was the case the year before and the year before, are in the budget. That is the approach we are going to continue to take by respecting this House in presenting a budget and putting through a budget implementation act that is aligned with that budget totally.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention back to the question posed by my colleague from Kitchener. He was absolutely right to bring up SNC-Lavalin.
    This kind of procedure will rush the bill through the House of Commons. However, the government has presented a budget and an omnibus bill that includes everything but the kitchen sink. When the government tries to pass measures without anyone knowing, it thinks it knows better than everyone, that it knows all the answers. The government came up with a haphazard solution to the SNC-Lavalin problem. The Liberals figured that they would tinker with the legislation a little and it would work. It did not work considering the mess that you and those who live in Quebec are now dealing with.
    The government is coming up with solutions in secret and is not presenting them to the 338 members of the House in order to take advantage of their expertise in finding solutions.
    I would like to know whether the Minister of Finance will answer my colleague from Kitchener.
    Can the government assure us that there will not be any more mistakes, aberrations, serious errors and serious consequences for all Canadians and for you as a government like we saw with the improvised line regarding SNC-Lavalin?
    The government is irresponsibly improvising because it thinks it knows everything.
    I would like to remind hon. members that they must address their questions to the Speaker and not directly to the ministers or members across the aisle.
    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, we know that budget implementation bills are very important.
    We promised to include every measure mentioned in the budget in its implementation bill. We made that promise four years ago. Every year the budget implementation bill contains the measures announced in the budget. That is our approach.
    That is the approach we have been taking for the past four years in order to improve our economy and make things better for Canadians. The results are very impressive. Our current economic situation is much better than it was in 2015. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. This means that Canadians are better off.
    This year's budget contains measures that will help improve things for the future so as to ensure that our economic situation remains strong for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the finance minister to perhaps elaborate on the importance of getting the budget to committee because of the measures in it, such as the aid for seniors that is going to go so far in helping seniors in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I see it as important to make sure that we move forward in getting the measures in the budget approved so that Canadians can be in a better situation. The member, I think, appropriately pointed out the measures for seniors that are included in our budget. I would like to identify a couple of measures that would make a really important difference.
    First of all, we would put in place an approach to ensure that people would automatically get their Canada pension plan amount when they retired. Importantly, we found out that there were about 40,000 Canadian seniors who should be getting their Canada pension plan amount who do not currently get it. Therefore, we would put in place a measure to actually ensure that those people would get their Canada pension plan amount, helping 40,000 seniors.
    Second, for all seniors who need a guaranteed income supplement, we would also put in place a measure that would allow them, if they chose to, to continue to work and have less of a clawback of their guaranteed income supplement amount, meaning that they would be able to keep more money in their pockets and have a more dignified retirement.
    These are two measures that would be important for seniors. However, what I want colleagues to know is that putting forth this budget means that we would be able to help Canadians across the country, old and young, have a better situation in the future.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, no one wins when the government has to limit debate. Four years ago, the Liberal government was elected on the promise that it would not use legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny. This promise can be seen in black and white on page 30 of their election platform.
    Last year the Liberals did just that by inserting an extremely important clause about deferred prosecution agreements with corporations into its omnibus budget implementation bill. We have seen the implications of this clause in the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal. Why? Because legislation and budget measures cannot evade parliamentary scrutiny.
    I also want to remind members that, four years ago, the Liberals were elected on the promise that they would run three small deficits and then would balance the budget in 2019. In reality, they ran three big deficits and will have a $19.8-billion deficit in what was supposed to be a zero-deficit year.
    I have a very simple question for the Minister of Finance. Why is he still shirking his election promises?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, it is a bit odd to hear the Conservatives say that it is important to continue the debate when they were the ones who tried to adjourn it. It is hard to understand, but that is their approach.
    Our approach is clear. We want a budget that will improve life for Canadians. That is why we presented a budget this year that will not only improve the economy, but will also give Canadians the opportunity to get more training to adapt to the changing economy. It is very important.
    We have already done many things that helped Canadians get ahead. Now, with budget 2019, we are trying to give our country a better future. That is very important. That is why we want to work with the committee to consider our measures and continue to have a healthy economy.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this approach of having an omnibus budget bill is not a one-off; this has happened before. The last time around, the budget bill was about 500 pages long, and this time it is about 400 pages long. The government, of course, adopts the same approach as the Harper government, which is to put bills that should have been stand-alone bills into the budget bill for the explicit purpose of hiding them from Canadians. It flies in the face of democracy. We parliamentarians cannot have the ability to fully debate the matter and study the matter with expert witnesses.
    In this budget bill, the government is trying to ram through significant changes to the refugee determination process. The finance committee was not even going to refer the matter to the immigration committee. Yesterday I had to fight tooth and nail to get that done. Even that is limited in terms of the scope and our ability to do that work because of the time restrictions and the limited number of meetings we would have on this bill.
    This bill is being opposed by a significant number of organizations that work on this issue. As well, some 2,600 individuals have written to parliamentarians to oppose it. They crashed our system as emails came in at such a fast and furious pace.
    When Faith Goldy is aligned with the government in support of this change, we know that it is on the wrong side of history. Why is the government bringing forward these kind of draconian changes that would absolutely put refugees at risk? Why would the government, which promised sunny ways, be doing this in a budget bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the New Democratic Party has supported time allocation in the past when it has seen that a measure has been, in its estimation, important.
    Things like ensuring that seniors can be more successful because they have the ability to earn more money and keep more money in their pockets, or ideas like ensuring that students have less interest to pay on their student debt, or ensuring that first-time homebuyers have the ability to get into a home more rapidly are the sorts of measures, along with things like the training benefit, that we believe are critically important. It is for that reason that we want to move it to committee and make sure that we can have questions on these measures to ensure that we get on with the work we are doing for Canadians.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Call in the members.

  (1150)  

[English]

    And the bells having rung:
    Order, please. Members will know that remembering the faces and names of every member in the House can be very challenging, and this is a challenge particularly for those who have to call the votes. Members may not have realized that this morning, for the first time, one of the procedural clerks, Robert Benoit, very successfully did so.
    Having ratcheted up the pressure on him for this vote, the question is on the motion.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 1298)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 165


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Anderson
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boudrias
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Davidson
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Leitch
Liepert
Lloyd
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Rayes
Richards
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 127


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

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

[Translation]

Second reading  

    The House resumed from April 12 consideration of the motion that Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, for the fourth time in as many years, I am delighted to be commenting on the budget tabled by my colleague, the hon. member for Toronto Centre, the Minister of Finance of Canada.
    Four years ago, he presented Canadians with a plan to kick-start our economy. As everyone knows, government budget planning is a process that starts with a clear vision of who we want to be as a country, a vision of the future based on precise economic forecasts. The hon. Minister of Finance has done a terrific job over the last few years.
     The financial results for the last fiscal year show how well our economy is doing. These results are due to the robust labour market, increased tax revenues and higher corporate profits. They are the direct outcome of the budget initiatives and investments that our government has carried out since taking office.
    Thanks to our previous budgets and careful, responsible fiscal management, Canada now has the most vigorous economy in the G7. Better still, our previous budgets lifted 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty, reduced the unemployment rate to a 40-year low, created 900,000 new jobs, and are enhancing the employability of women, indigenous people and newcomers, as noted in the prestigious English magazine, The Economist.
    In addition to maintaining the downward trajectory of Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio, the latest budget takes Canadians' concerns into account and addresses each and every one of them. As the next phase in the government's strategic plan, it includes new investments that will maintain our economic growth, support workers, create new jobs, help workers adapt to new technology, better prepare young people and graduates for good jobs, support seniors who want to remain in the workforce, and improve seniors' income security.
    There are two main measures in the budget that support first-time home buyers. The first concerns the registered retirement savings plan, or RRSP, and the home buyers' plan, more commonly known as the HBP. The budget increases the RRSP withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000 to buy a first home.
    The second measure is new and very attractive for members of the middle class with maximum household income of $120,000. It gives them the opportunity to finance a portion of their home with a mortage from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC. This measure will let new buyers lower their monthly payments with a lower mortgage and make their dream of owning a home come true.
    I am convinced and pleased that many Canadian families and many residents of Laval—Les Îles will benefit from these new measures.
    There are other measures in the budget that will have a positive impact on our economy and the environment.

  (1205)  

    For instance, Infrastructure Canada has allocated $3.9 billion to Quebec for over 5,100 projects, including several major projects that will benefit my constituents in Laval.
    Indeed, our government has already invested $23.7 million in 26 projects undertaken by the Société de transport de Laval, or STL, as part of the public transit infrastructure fund. With those investments, STL can purchase and replace buses and continue its studies on the electrification of its network. These investments are having a direct impact on the residents of Laval—Les Îles, as they are improving their daily commutes.
    People who take the subway at Montmorency, De la Concorde and Cartier stations in Laval will also see some changes, since our government has invested over $215 million for the purchase of 153 new subway cars. This investment will give residents of Laval—Les Îles who go into Montreal for business or pleasure a more reliable, more efficient transit system so they can avoid gridlock.
    The Réseau Express Métropolitain, or REM, light rail will terminate in Sainte-Dorothée, in Laval, in 2021, two years from now. The REM will significantly improve public transit in the greater Montreal area. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is providing $1.28 billion to support this ambitious project.
    This new budget gives Canada an array of significant, encouraging projects that respect the environment and give Canadians confidence. With an eye on climate change, our government also developed a brand new measure for those who cannot use public transit and want to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. Our 2019 budget includes a federal incentive of up to $5,000 for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Thanks to our government's investments and the City of Laval's network of charging stations for electric vehicles, the transition from gas vehicles to electric vehicles will be much easier. With this type of initiative our government continues to encourage the transition to a much greener society.
    Once again, our government is fulfilling its mandate. It is carrying out the mandate given by Canadians in 2015 when they chose a government with a vision for the future and, above all, a vision that benefits everyone.
    We are also improving access to mentorship, and resources for apprenticeships and the start-up of new innovative businesses. We are advocating tolerance and inclusion to make Canada, our beautiful country, a model for all countries.
    Under the leadership of the right hon. Prime Minister, our government's vision is hopeful and forward looking. It is embodied in budget measures such as those in the 2019 budget. These measures are reassuring to me and to a great number of Canadians.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the floor. I want to say that I am extremely proud to be working on behalf of the people of Laval—Les Îles and to be part of a government that considers all Canadian citizens.

  (1210)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his comments. It is good to work with him on the scrutiny of regulations committee.
    My colleague went through a list of investments or expenditures the current government is making over the next couple of years. However, he failed to get to page 284, where there is a clear outline of the dramatically increasing costs of our public debt. In fact, this year we are going to be spending $26 billion on interest alone, and that is rising, as confirmed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer today, to about $34 billion by 2023. This is going to leave a massive expenditure on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren. That is a big concern for me and for many economists.
     I am wondering if my colleague would comment on the negative impact that future debt charges are going to have on the ability of future governments to invest in programs that are necessary for the advancement of Canada rather than simply spending all this money on interest. We are spending money today that we cannot afford, which our children and grandchildren are going to pay. It is like leaving a credit card debt to someone else to pay off for one's expenditures.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are not spending; we are investing. I will expand on why we are investing for the member. We are investing in order to support the middle class. We are investing to lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. We are investing to keep the air and drinking water clean for all Canadians. We are investing to grow our economy. We are investing so seniors will have a dignified retirement. We will keep investing in order to improve the lives of future generations and to generate money and pay the debt left to us by the previous government.
    Mr. Speaker, I got a message from Gary Egli, who lives in Courtenay. He has worked his entire life and paid the maximum in EI contributions every year. Gary recently got sick with cancer. He went to apply for EI and was told that he would be eligible for 15 weeks, despite the fact that he has never collected EI in his entire life.
     The NDP has been calling for an EI extension to 50 weeks for people who are sick long-term. I know the Liberal member for Sydney—Victoria has also been advocating to extend EI, yet it has still not been rectified in this budget. Half of Canadians get sick with cancer. We believe that when people are sick, they should be looked after, especially those who are contributing to EI.
    The PBO looked at it and said that if we extended the cost of investing in EI benefits to make this program work, to extend it from 15 weeks to 50 weeks, it would cost only an extra 6¢ on $100. It is a nominal fee to protect workers, especially those who are supporting families and their needs to get by.
    Therefore, I ask my colleague this. Why have the Liberals not decided to take care of workers who are sick with cancer or another illness and are off work for a long period of time, especially those who have been contributing to the EI program for so many years? We have not seen an increase in this program since 1971. I hope the member can think about his own constituents who may fall ill and require the support of the government, especially regarding money they have paid into the program that they want to get back.
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague that this government is taking care of every single citizen in this country from coast to coast to coast, whether these citizens are sick, need assistance or are old.
    I would also like to remind him that this government created the Minister of Seniors. We encourage citizens of all ages to return to their workplace and we support them. We support all workers. We are creating a Canadian drug agency to allow those who are sick to pay less for their medications. We are supporting all provincial governments with money in order to help them improve the life of any sick citizen in the country of Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, during the last election, Canadians made a clear choice between the Conservatives and the NDP, which planned to have austerity and cuts, and our plan to invest in the middle class. Canadians can see they made the right choice.
    Today's economy is one of the fastest growing in the G7. Canadians have created more than 900,000 jobs, and middle-class families are significantly better off. For all the progress made, many Canadians still worry about the future and their ability to spend on what is important now while saving for the future of their families.
    With budget 2019, our government is making sure that all Canadians feel the benefits of a growing economy. That means helping more Canadians find an affordable home; prepare for good, well-paying jobs; retire with confidence; and afford prescription medications. While other parties continue to focus on cuts and austerity, our government is building upon our proven plan to invest in the middle class and make an economy that works for everyone.
    Most importantly, this budget will have a positive impact in my riding of St. John's East, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole, as it continues to deliver on helping the middle class and those working hard to join it. In the lead-up to the budget, I spoke to each municipality in my riding and countless stakeholders about what they wanted to see and hear from our government. They were heard.
    Some of the highlights of budget 2019's investments in Newfoundland and Labrador include an extra $2.2 billion, through the federal gas tax fund, to address short-term infrastructure priorities in municipalities and first nations communities, which includes $32.9 million for Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2019-20, major transfers will total $767 million, an increase of $17.2 million from the previous year. Since 2015-16, these transfers have grown by $73.6 million for our province.
    Another highlight is up to $1.7 billion over 13 years, starting in 2019-20, to establish a new national high-speed Internet program under the universal broadband fund. As well, there is additional funding of $100 million over five years and $20 million thereafter for the new horizons for seniors program, to empower seniors in their communities. This is without even getting into the details of the Atlantic Accord, which provides $2.5 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador. This demonstrates the effectiveness our government has had in working with municipalities and our provincial partners to find solutions to the issues important to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Moving on to broadband, bringing high-speed Internet to rural, remote and northern communities is a commitment of ours. The government has been steadfast in its commitment to bring higher-quality Internet access to every part of our country, especially those areas that are underserved, including rural, remote and 151 northern communities. In budget 2019, the government announced its commitment to set a national target, in which 95% of Canadian homes and businesses would have access to Internet speeds of at least 50/10 megabits per second by 2026, and 100% by 2030.
    To achieve this objective in the quickest and most cost-effective manner, budget 2019 proposes a new, coordinated plan that would deliver between $5 billion and $6 billion in new public and private investments in rural, remote and northern communities over the next 10 years, including those in Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Included in this is the commitment to the universal broadband fund. The government will look to top up the connect to innovate program and to secure advanced low-earth orbit satellite capacity to serve the most remote and rural regions of Canada. As well, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will seek to invest $1 billion over the next 10 years and leverage at least $2 billion in additional private sector investment to increase broadband access for Canadians.
    Another important topic in my riding is seniors. To improve seniors' quality of life and to better promote seniors' participation and inclusion in rural communities and workplaces across the country, budget 2019 proposes to provide additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million ongoing, for the new horizons for seniors program. In St. John's East, a number of interesting projects have come forward, and I have had the opportunity to make announcements in my riding. Groups such as the Elks Club, the 50+ club, the MacMorran Community Centre and SeniorsNL have all obtained benefit from this program and are advancing important projects in their communities to enhance accessibility, improve seniors' learning to code and provide seniors in our province the opportunity to engage in libraries from coast to coast to coast. It is a great program and we are glad to see that it was expanded under this budget.

  (1220)  

    Also, to help low-income working seniors keep more of what they earn, budget 2019 proposes to enhance the guaranteed income supplement earnings exemption, beginning next year, in July, for the 2020-21 benefit year. The enhancement would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to self-employed income, and it would provide a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 of annual employment and self-employment income for all GIS or allowance recipients as well as their spouses. This will be done by increasing the amount of the full exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 per year for all GIS or allowance recipients as well as their spouses, and by introducing a partial exemption of 50% for which recipients can apply on an additional $10,000 of annual employment and self-employment income beyond $5,000.
    This would allow seniors who work part time, who take on an extra job or who get money from other sources to deal with the higher cost of living or to pay for improvements to their homes so they can enjoy a more dignified and solid retirement without worrying about whether they can find the funds. It would also provide seniors with an opportunity to engage in their communities. They can take a part-time job to work at a centre, work with youth, work with other seniors, or do home care. In doing so, they can use their experience in life to help enrich their communities without worrying about the tax implications on them and, more importantly, the implications that work might have on their entitlement to receive the GIS or their allowance.
    Pharmacare is one of the biggest issues in my riding. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescriptions and putting food on the table. While Canadians are very proud of our health care system, many are still forced to make this impossible decision.
    With budget 2019, we are laying the foundation for the implementation of a national pharmacare program while we await the final report by our advisory council on its full implementation. This includes the creation of a Canadian drug agency. Together with the provinces and territories, this agency would negotiate drug prices for all Canadians, and we expect that this would lower costs by up to $3 billion per year. We are also putting in place a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, which would help families most in need.
    It is critically important to Canadians that we get the implementation of national pharmacare right and that we do not act irresponsibly. Instead, we will lay the groundwork while our government's expert panel continues to help us chart the right path forward.
    To get back to a more local issue, I note our investment in the eastern Canada ferry service. Every year, federally funded ferry services in eastern Canada help move more than 800,000 passengers and 100,000 commercial vehicles. This includes services provided by Marine Atlantic, a Crown corporation operating between Cape Breton, Port aux Basques and Argentia.
    Port aux Basques is in the riding of the member for Long Range Mountains, and Argentia is in the riding of the member for Avalon. These are essential services for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, because at least half of all goods coming into our province are delivered by the Marine Atlantic service. It is critical.
    People visit our beautiful province in the summer, and when they come with their families to take advantage of our trailer parks, summer camps or national parks, they want to be able to drive in their vehicles to see the beauty that our province has to offer. They cannot do this without access through the ferry system. It is wonderful that budget 2019 includes funding for a new ferry that would help ensure that this service can be provided safely and reliably year-round throughout our province.
    I have spoken about seniors, broadband and the ferry service, and now I would like to speak about housing affordability. It is something that affects not only people in Newfoundland and Labrador but people from coast to coast to coast. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home. However, today too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market. For 10 years, Conservative politicians like Stephen Harper did nothing to address housing affordability, pushing home ownership further out of reach and putting household debt on the rise.
    With budget 2019, our government is making significant investments to help Canadians find an affordable place to call home. The new first-time homebuyers incentive would make home ownership more affordable for first-time buyers by allowing them to lower their monthly mortgage payments through a take-back equity mortgage with CMHC. It would be more flexible, and it would enhance the homebuyers plan that we already have with respect to RRSP contributions. In addition to this, under the homebuyers plan, young homebuyers can take $10,000 from their RRSPs.

  (1225)  

    I would love to have the opportunity to go on further to talk about the benefits for youth and benefits for people in my riding, but I will get to that in the questions and comments that follow.
    Mr. Speaker, a big part of the budget is the pay we provide for public servants who work so hard for us, day in and day out. We have 90,000 public service workers in Canada. The public service is back to the bargaining table today, April 30.
    In 2015, the Prime Minister said that his government would work to restore the trust and respect of public servants and that the public service was a partner that must be valued. However, what has it endured under the Liberal government? Public servants have endured the Phoenix pay system fiasco that has deprived many from actually getting paid. They have endured continual delays in bargaining. They have endured insulting offers that only offered them half the rate of inflation.
    Will the Liberal government commit to negotiating a fair contract with our public servants, really treat them with the respect they deserve, which the Liberals promised them four years ago, but has not delivered?

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member and I sit together at the natural resources committee where we get to work productively together.
    I had the opportunity to meet with PSAC members in my riding last week. They came to me with concerns about Phoenix, as the member raised, as well as certain concerns about whether pay for skilled trades within the public sector was properly compensated, whether pay agents under Phoenix were properly compensated and whether the types of maternity benefit spreading allowed under the EI program should be expanded under the current round of negotiations for the civil service. I understand as well that there is a gap of maybe the federal government offering compensation of an extra 1% and some additional steps in the compensation matrix. The public sector was asking for a 3.5% increase in pay. These are all complicated questions.
     Therefore, I took it upon myself to write a letter to the President of the Treasury Board to let her know that anything we could as a government support to help the standard of workers within the federal civil service set the standard for other employers in Canada. It is something I certainly support.
    With respect to overall compensation for the public sector, when all the benefits are accounted for and when we look at the increase in the value of our economy and the cost of living increases, I would like us to find an appropriate way so Canadians feel our civil servants are being appropriately compensated and are being paid fairly but not egregiously.
    Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague from St. John's East did not have a chance to get to all the parts of his speech that he wanted to highlight today. I want to give him an opportunity to comment on the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency or, as we call it, ACOA, which plays a vital role not just in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in all of Atlantic Canada. During the recent voting marathon in the House, every member of the Conservative Party stood and voted against funding to that organization.
    Would the member for St. John's East like to highlight the importance of that organization to his riding, to our province and to Atlantic Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to have this opportunity to speak about ACOA. ACOA has offices in my riding. It touches many aspects of business life in our province and provides opportunities for new companies to gain access to lower cost financial services. It provides opportunities for business organizations to develop new programs. It also provides opportunities for places like the Genesis Centre, which incubates new companies to have access for mentoring as well as space, facilities and training programs to which they would not otherwise have access.
    The proof is in the pudding. When ACOA invests in these companies, it shows real demonstrated year-over-year growth. Places like the Genesis Centre have over $150 million in revenue for the companies incubated there over the last 20 years. When a small wage subsidy might be provided for skilled workers in a company, we see that this six-month wage subsidy extends well beyond to 10 years of full time employment, on average, for employees who are hired.
    There is real demonstrated value and a good bang for one's economic buck with respect to economic development, at least for ACOA. I cannot speak to the other economic development agencies.
     I was certainly shocked and appalled when members of the official opposition voted against ACOA.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to represent the constituents of Durham and to give my reflections today on the Liberal budget.
    This is the Liberals' final budget, and many Canadians are saying thank goodness for that. The fiscal promises made by the Prime Minister, when he sought the trust of Canadians in 2015, were broken by the Liberals within several months. Fundamental promises about when the budget would be balanced, their approach to fiscal management and taxation, all of that was a misleading campaign with respect to what they promised. They promised to be somewhat fiscally prudent in government and they have been nothing but.
    I am calling this the bribery budget, not because it comes so quickly after the SNC scandal, which, at its heart, relates to foreign influence and bribery, but this is a case where the Liberals are awash in money and are trying to bribe Canadians with their own money. We need to point that out. It is not only reckless, it is misleading.
    Let us start with the numbers on the Liberal bribery budget.
     The Liberals are running a $20-billion deficit in this next fiscal year. This is the fiscal year, I would remind members and Canadians, when the Prime Minister said the budget would be balanced, 2019. Not only is it not balanced, but he is running a $20-billion deficit in good economic times. That is very imprudent fiscal management, because there are clouds on the horizon if we look at trade uncertainty and a number of things around the world. To be running reckless, out-of-control structural deficits fuelled by tax increases at a time when the economy is looking like it is at a pivot point is very reckless. It puts us at a disadvantage for being responsive in the future.
    We can remember that the Prime Minister promised Canadians in 2015 that he would never run a deficit more than $10 billion. He said that he would run three modest deficits before returning to balance in 2019. That was misleading Canadians. He is running a deficit that is more than twice as much as he promised to ever run.
     What is particularly shameful about this fiscal train wreck under the Prime Minister and his finance minister is that in this last year alone, the Liberals have had $27 billion of unanticipated revenues. They are bringing in $27 billion more as a result of their tax increases and, I will acknowledge, higher employment rates because of a recovering and booming U.S. economy.
    The Conservatives always said, when we were making the difficult decisions to have a balanced budget in the years after a global recession, that our economy was positioned to do well when the U.S. experienced a full recovery. The U.S. economy has been rocketing. Despite some trade disruptions, we have been seeing more employment as a result.
     The government is bringing in $27 billion in unexpected revenue, but what is it doing? It is spending it all and then some, because in this bribery budget, there are $23 billion in new spending. Times are good, the economy is doing fairly well and employment has been increasing, as I said, largely due to the U.S. economy where taxes have been lowered, and the Liberal government has been raising taxes.
    We are now at a pivotal point where not only does the global economy look like there could be some clouds on the horizon, but our competitiveness has eroded every month the Prime Minister has been in office. We see businesses relocating to the United States.
     I met a tax accountant last year in Oakville who said that every client who had consulted him in the previous year had been arranging the creation of a U.S. subsidiary or had been shifting capital to its U.S. subsidiary. There are clouds on the horizon, so the good times may come to an end. When one's spending is out-stripping revenue, even when getting $27 billion more in revenue that one did not budget for and still spending $20 billion more than that, this is a failure of colossal proportion. The finance minister will have to retire to his villa in France, because he will not be able to show his face on Bay Street again.

  (1235)  

     This has been an out-of-control train wreck: $23 billion in new spending, a $20-billion deficit and in the last few years the Liberals have raised taxes on anything that has moved. They have raised personal income taxes. They have raised taxes on seniors by cutting back tax-free savings accounts. They have raised taxes on small businesses. There was almost a mutiny by small businesses in Canada as a result of changes the Liberals had already signalled they wanted to do with respect to retained earnings and a range of things. This is why small and medium-sized businesses are arranging their affairs elsewhere.
    It does not stop there. The national carbon tax is now in place, so suppliers in the auto supply industry in Ontario, small and medium-sized ones that are not exempt by the government, compete against suppliers in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where there is no carbon tax. There are taxes on the Saturday night, the sharing economy, Uber. The Liberals are taxing that now. They have an escalator tax on alcohol. The Liberals are defying parliamentary tradition. They are not even coming to the legislature to ask for approval of future tax increases. They are automatically scheduling them for certain sections of the economy.
    Of course, the Liberals have put $2 billion in tariff taxes on Canadian businesses. They are killing the aluminum boats and the families that sell those, like the Junkin family in Port Perry. They are hurting our metal fabricators across the country. On Prince Edward Island, I met with a great employer that was hurting as a result of the Liberals' tariffs.
     This is why they are raising $27 billion more. The Liberals have raised taxes on everything that has moved. They have made us non-competitive. They see capital and talent going to the United States, yet there is nothing in this budget for General Motors in my community. In fact, the regional chair of Durham did not even get a courtesy phone call from the Prime Minister until three weeks later. I was proud that my leader was in Oshawa the next day to listen, alongside my colleague from Oshawa.
     GM and auto are suffering because of the three Ts: taxes, tariffs and trade uncertainty. That is why GM is relocating to other operations in the U.S. The government was asleep at the switch when tariffs were applied. It has bumbled the NAFTA negotiations. When Mexico completes an agreement with the U.S. before Canada, which had a free trade agreement for almost a decade prior to Mexico's joining the party, it is a failure.
    With respect to the Canada training benefit, I want to alert Canadians that it is a made-up element of this budget. I have checked with provinces. Provinces are in charge of training and they have not even been consulted by the Liberals on the so-called Canada training benefit. The Liberals have not consulted provinces, which actually do the education training, whether it is the trades or the colleges. They have not consulted employers.
     What is the Canada training benefit? It kind of looks like a tuition tax credit for middle age. That is great if somebody wants to take an interest course when he or she is 40. However, I want training or an assistance program for people transitioning now out of the auto industry because of the Liberals' incompetence. They have not even consulted the Province of Ontario, and the province is in charge of training. There is no matching of what our economy needs with the training to meet that need and the people who need the training.
     That is how the Canada jobs benefit, under the Conservative government, operated. There needed to be the employee, the employer and the province at the table. This is a shell game where the Liberals have the Canada training benefit. They have talked to nobody about it. It is a few months before an election. It is a fraud.
    There was nothing else in there for productivity and to reduce taxes to keep our competitive edge to ensure manufacturers in Durham could compete for jobs in the United States. With the Liberals' inaction on trade and tariffs and their carbon tax, all of these things are making it hard for us to compete.

  (1240)  

    With this budget, we see the Liberal bribery budget with all its warts. With $27 billion in new revenue, they are still running a $20 billion deficit and they have committed $22 billion in new spending—with Canadians' money.
    This budget will pass through the House. The only way to truly stop the Liberal bribery budget is with a change of government on October 21.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talked about changing this budget. Canadians had that opportunity back in October of 2015, when they soundly rejected Stephen Harper's politics of austerity and when they looked at what the Harper government was able to accomplish.
    I would challenge the member any day to talk about the types of things our government has done in the last three and a half years, such as creating 900,000 jobs by working with Canadians and, unlike the false impression the member across the way is trying to give, providing the tax breaks that the member voted against. We provided a tax break to Canada's middle class, and the Conservative Party, including that member, voted against it.
    The member can say whatever he wants, but at the end of the day the facts speak the truth, and the truth is that over 900,000 jobs were created and hundreds of thousands of children and seniors were lifted out of poverty, and the list goes on.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised my friend used the term “false impression” and referenced the 2015 election. He and his Prime Minister promised that this year we would have a balanced budget. I would remind him to look in the budget. There is a $20-billion deficit. The government's entire fiscal promise to Canadians was a false impression, or incompetence; with the Liberal Prime Minister, I am more apt to believe a bit of both.
    I am going to challenge my friend from Winnipeg North. When he is done his round tables at the McDonald's this Saturday, I want him to meet with Minister Kelvin Goertzen, the Minister of Education and Training in Manitoba, and ask him if the Government of Manitoba was consulted on the Canada training benefit.
     I know the answer: It was not. That member's province, friendly Manitoba, has responsibility for training. The federal Liberal government has set up a Canada training benefit, but it has not consulted the provinces and it has not consulted employers.
    Just like its plans on the fiscal side, the Liberal government has no plan for our future. Our only promise for the future, whether it is in Manitoba or Ontario, is a change of government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
    I cannot help but respond when I hear the member for Winnipeg North say that Canadians chose to put an end to austerity. There is a huge difference between austerity and the deficit-palooza we have been experiencing ever since. It is pathetic and completely irresponsible. I agree with my colleague from Durham on that.
    Obviously, I understand that he is concerned about workers at the GM plant in Oshawa. There is no long-term vision to try to keep those big plants here in Canada, to open more plants, and to manufacture models of the future rather than models that are going to be discontinued. Could we build vehicles of the future that would sell well and ensure that jobs are not lost in this industry?
    I would like to ask my colleague whether he noticed any hidden or dangerous measures when he pored over this bill. That is the challenge that we, as parliamentarians, have to face. We need to go over this phone-book-sized bill with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we do not miss anything, but we do not have time for that. As a result, the last omnibus bill contained a ridiculous, half-baked measure on SNC-Lavalin and now we are seeing the terrible impact that is having on Quebec, jobs and engineering in Canada. It also created a huge scandal that is going to hurt the Liberals in the next election. It serves them right.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no need to choose between austerity and a balanced budget. There needs to be a plan and the Liberal government does not have one. It just keeps spending and raising taxes. That is not a plan and that is certainly not going to save the jobs at the GM plant in Oshawa.
    With the flawed NAFTA agreement and higher taxes, including the carbon tax, a company like GM cannot compete with states neighbouring Ontario, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. There is uneasiness in Ontario's private sector because of this government. We need a new approach in October, the Conservative Party approach.

  (1250)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to address the budget implementation act.
    Of course, we all get into politics for our own reasons. My own priorities are to help create a more prosperous, socially just and environmentally healthy Canada.
    When I looked back to when I was making the decision to run for office, I could not help but think of the community I came from in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, and my own family. Not long beforehand, I had spent some time out west. One of my sisters is a doctor who moved to Ontario. Another sister became a chiropractor and moved out of the province as well. I have a few younger sisters who had to move away from home for work. Out of the six of us, not one of us in 2015 was living and working in the area where we grew up, and that is a problem.
    I have seen the impact of slow economic growth on communities like mine, and the real problem in Nova Scotia was that this situation was not unique to the Fraser family. If we inserted the name of any one of our neighbours, we would have found somebody who moved away from home because they did not have a chance to make ends meet, pay off their student loans or, in some circumstances, even get by. However, I am pleased with where we are at today when I look at the state of our economy nationally and also back home in Nova Scotia.
    Members have heard a number of times over the course of this debate that the Canadian economy has added over 900,000 jobs since 2015 and that unemployment is at an all-time low. This is reflected in the experience of Nova Scotia as well. Our unemployment rate is at the lowest rate in my home province since we started keeping track of those statistics over 40 years ago. At the same time, the last time I checked the jobs report, we had just received the numbers for January and February, and I saw that the provincial economy in Nova Scotia had added 7,500 jobs. This is important, because these were predominantly private sector, full-time jobs that will provide an opportunity for people to stay at home if they want to.
    These things do not just happen by accident; they happen as a result of Canadians working hard together. They develop from policies that create the conditions for economic success. Those kinds of policies are what I have seen implemented from day one and what I see again in this budget implementation act.
     We can look at some of the investments in infrastructure that help put people to work in the short term but also create stronger communities that are designed for success in the long term, and we need look no further than my own backyard. We have a major highway-twinning project going forward for construction of Highway 104 between Sutherlands River and Antigonish. Not only is it going to create up to 500 jobs at its peak, but it is also going to improve the transportation network and help businesses and people get to where they are going more effectively and, importantly, more safely.
    We can look at projects like the new Pictou Campus Nova Scotia Community College Trades & Innovation Centre, which has put about 125 people to work during the construction phase and is also helping to educate the next generation of skilled workers.
    We have major projects going on at St. Francis Xavier University, a Centre for Innovation in Health and an Institute of Government, that are going to help educate people for generations to come and create a significant number of jobs in the short term.
    We also see investments in key strategic sectors, such as the fishery, where we are legislating protection of the owner-operator model to make sure that the economic benefits of the inshore fishery stay in rural communities. We are seeing the development of a $325-million Atlantic fisheries fund that is benefiting things like the North Bay Fisherman's Co-op to allow them to extend their season and get a higher price for their product. We see investments at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to develop the Air Cargo Logistics Park, which is going to make it easier to get the products to market. We also see trade deals that are knocking off tariffs on the shellfish industry, and in some instances, in terms of the price, will put upwards of 20% back in the pockets of local communities and the people who live there.
    We also see investments in this budget implementation act in things like the accelerated capital cost writedown for manufacturers who purchase equipment, giving them greater savings and beefing up their cash flow. We see investments in things like a reduction of the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%.
    We see, importantly for rural communities, a commitment to connectivity like we have never seen before. We have a plan that is going to make sure that 95% of Canadian households are connected to high-speed Internet by 2025, and by 2030, there will not be a Canadian home or business that does not have access to high-speed Internet. This is incredibly important. I have spoken to people back home who have had to close their storefront because they could not process credit and debit transactions when the signal was bad. In tourism communities like Sherbrooke, for example, business life is being able to process transactions when people show up who do not carry cash.

  (1255)  

    I have talked to people in the seafood processing sector who could not upload their documents to take part in seafood trade shows in Boston, upon which their entire financial success depends. These are smart investments that are making a real difference to Canadians.
    It is important that we do not just focus on the need to grow the economy, but to do it in a way that works for everyone. In the globalized economy in which we live, the rich are continuing to get richer. In a country as wealthy as Canada, it is unconscionable to me that when I knock on doors, there are families whose kids do not have enough to eat. The phone number for the power company is on speed dial in our constituency offices because we deal with people who cannot afford to keep the lights on.
    We are reordering the way that our economy works to make sure that it benefits every Canadian. We are implementing programs that put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families, such as the Canada child benefit. This policy on its own has lifted approximately 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty. In the communities I represent, annually this sends $48 million directly to the families I represent. It helps 12,000 kids.
    While these statistics are nice, what really speaks volumes to me is the human impact, the stories I hear in my community. When a single mom in the town of Stellarton tells me that she is able to afford clothes for her kids on the first day of school, I know we are on the right track. When I talk to people who found work in our communities, they say that they were lucky to be able to find a job in another part of Canada or in the United States, but now that they have come home, they are proud, because their children deserve to have their father around and not have him fly away for three weeks at a time. It is these stories that motivate me every day.
    I want to draw particular attention to a number of groups that we have been trying to help that are getting some attention in this budget. When I look at the measures we have implemented for seniors, I know they are getting a little extra help. There is not a group that deserves it more. In the province where I live, we have among the highest per capita rate of seniors for our population. In small communities our young people have historically been leaving, and it is a real problem, because we want to be more than retirement communities, yet we know that we have to support the seniors who live there now.
    That is why we have rolled back the age of eligibility for old age security from 67 to 65. That is why we have beefed up the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable low-income seniors, in some cases putting up to $1,000 a year directly into their pockets. That is why we have beefed up the Canada pension plan to ensure that the next generation can continue to have a secure and dignified retirement.
    In this budget, we have also implemented measures that allow the minister to waive the requirement for an application to qualify for the Canada pension plan. This is going to help 40,000 Canadian seniors get the benefits they are entitled to today but are not receiving.
    With the limited time I have remaining, I want to focus on the topic that is near and dear to my heart: climate change. There might not be a more important fight we could be having than the fight against climate change. Divisive as it may be, this is an all-hands-on-deck moment that we need to get behind. Our economy will not matter much if we do not have a planet to live on.
    We are moving forward with a serious plan that is going to reduce our emissions. We are putting a price on pollution and returning money to residents to ensure that 80% of Canadians who are subject to this plan are better off. While it does not apply in Nova Scotia, we made sure that it is not free to pollute anywhere in Canada. We are also making historic investments in things like transit and phasing out coal, making sure that 90% of our electricity is generated from clean resources by the year 2030.
    As well, we are protecting nature to a degree that no government in Canada's history ever has. Just last year, we announced $1.3 billion towards nature and conservation efforts. This is going to ensure that our places are protected, our species have a place to call home, and that we are doing the right thing to protect our natural environment for the next generation.
    As I said at the opening of my remarks, I am committed to building a Canada that is more prosperous, socially just and environmentally healthy. This budget pushes that agenda forward, and I could not be more proud to stand up and defend these measures, because I see the progress that they are creating at home.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, for his speech. He mentioned a few things that are worth a closer look.

  (1300)  

[English]

    The hon. member was elected to the House of Commons for the first time four years ago, just like me. He tabled a platform at that time. He made some commitments with people, saying that we would just have a small deficit for the next three years because the Liberals wanted to stimulate the economy with infrastructure projects.
    That is what he and his colleagues said in 2015. He said that in 2019 we would have a balanced budget. The reality is anything but that. We have seen three major deficits in the first three years, and we have a $19.8-billion deficit today instead of zero.
    How can the member face his constituents in the next weeks and say, “Believe me”? It is impossible.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. He seems to have left his French at the door. As for me, I have practised my French almost every week since the 2015 election.

[English]

    However, for the purposes of this question I hope he will accept an answer in English.
    It is important to my constituents to know that we are managing the nation's finances in a responsible way, but that includes taking advantage of the opportunity to make investments that are going to grow our economy. The fact is that because of the investments we are making, our economy is growing faster than the national debt is growing.
    I cannot help but point out the irony of the question about deficits and irresponsible spending coming from my friends among the Conservative Party, who racked up $150 billion of debt during the time Stephen Harper was prime minister. The Conservatives had one year, albeit during a recession, with a debt of $55 billion, but all they had to show for it was the slowest rate of growth since the Great Depression.
    We have made investments in infrastructure that are actually putting people to work. Our policies are allowing businesses to create jobs at a faster rate than they have in a very long time. The net result of these investments is that our economy is growing fast enough that we are in a better fiscal position today than we were three years ago.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change often talks about how high a priority this is for him. However, when we look at the current situation, the budget or just the headlines, it is clear that there is a disconnect, from a financial point of view. It is valid to bring up deficits, but the most urgent issue is climate warming. One province, Alberta, has based its economy on oil production. What is the government going to do to come up with some kind of social licence, and what efforts will be made to limit greenhouse gas emissions? These things will not happen overnight. Oil is to Alberta what potatoes are to Prince Edward Island. I can see why they are scratching their heads, saying they cannot stop production because it would bring their economy to a halt.
    How does the government plan to convince Albertans to accept help from across Canada in order to migrate to some other basis for their economy? What is it suggesting? It sounds like it is going to take 200 years to meet our targets. That is pathetic.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will preface my answer to this question by explaining that despite being a proponent of meaningful action on climate change, I am not an opponent of the energy industry. However, I recognize that the future of the energy industry has to involve the conversation about clean energy.
    Many Albertans depend on the oil and gas sector, but when I look outside the oil and gas sector, I see great hope in the province of Alberta for diversifying the economy. In fact, across Canada I see diversification that is very exciting.
    We are putting certain incentives in place, like putting a price on pollution that is going to encourage people to make cleaner choices. We have created funds like the low-carbon economy fund, which is helping by investing in energy efficiency so that people create less demand for conventional oil and gas projects, enabling us to transition to a low-carbon economy over time.
    However, we are running out of time. That is why we have to do as much as we can as quickly as we can, and that is why I am excited about some of the measures I canvassed in my remarks. I know together we are going to arrive at a sustainable future.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to deliver my first address in this chamber as the member of Parliament for York—Simcoe. It is a great privilege and responsibility to represent the good people of York—Simcoe in the House of Commons. I would like to thank them for placing their trust and confidence in me. I will work every single day to do my very best to represent their interests here in Ottawa.
    With that in mind, I think it is very appropriate that my maiden speech concerns the current government's latest budget, as it will impact the lives of my constituents in so many different ways. I have spent my entire life in York—Simcoe. It is my home. The people I now represent are my friends, family and neighbours. These people are hard-working Canadians of all backgrounds, who hold strong family values, a commitment to serving others and a dedication to building up our community.
    I would like to take a moment to thank my predecessor, the hon. Peter Van Loan, who exemplified this dedication for over 14 years while serving as the MP for York—Simcoe and as a cabinet minister. I am grateful for the guidance and experience he has shared with me over the past few months.
     Truly I would not be standing here today without the love of my family, who have supported me every step of the way on this adventure. I especially want to thank my best friend and wife of 23 years, Suzanne Howes, who inspires me and grounds me in all I do. I am also grateful for the support of my best buddy and son, Graydon, who is studying political science at Guelph. I hope he has some more content for his essay now. As one of his professors told him, “There isn't a much better way to learn about the Canadian political process than to have your dad become an MP.” Of course, I would also like to thank my parents, Joan and Fred, and my brother, Fred Junior, and his family, all of whom have shown me that anything is possible when one works hard.
    This brings us to the budget bill being debated today. Unfortunately, because of the fiscal policies of the current government, Canadians are having to work even harder just to make ends meet. Having spent the past few months knocking on doors and meeting with residents of York—Simcoe, it is clear to me just how out of touch the government is and how misplaced its priorities are from everyday Canadians.
    I am especially concerned with the government's clear indifference to small business owners in this country, which is apparent once more in this year's budget. Prior to entering politics, I spent my entire adult life as a small business owner and operator. I know first-hand the challenges and sacrifices needed to operate a small business. Small business owners take risks, invest in capital and hire others in their communities. They are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Through policies like the job-killing carbon tax, increased CPP and EI premiums, increased personal income tax rates for entrepreneurs, and changes to the small business tax rate, the government has shown it does not care about small business owners whatsoever.
    The Liberal finance minister even went as far as calling them tax cheats. This attitude is a major reason I decided to put my name forward to become the MP for York—Simcoe. Small business owners deserve to be treated with respect and should be given opportunities to succeed by their government. While this budget confirms that the Liberals are failing small business owners, I will work tirelessly to stand up for them as the member of Parliament for York—Simcoe.
    Another issue of great importance in my riding is the precious jewel of our community, Lake Simcoe. Lake Simcoe is the largest interior lake in southern Ontario. It provides drinking water for over half a million people. It generates more than $200 million in tourism and recreational activities. It is home to 75 fish species and at least 30 species at risk.
    I grew up on the shores of Lake Simcoe and have lived, worked and played on it my entire life. My wife is a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, right on the lake. I have operated Fish Crisp Enterprises, a marina and an ice fishing business based on Lake Simcoe for several years. I have also been boating, fishing and flying a float plane around the lake for decades. I have been a member of the Lake Simcoe Fisheries Stakeholder Committee and the Georgina Waterways Advisory Committee, both of which are dedicated to the responsible stewardship of the lake. I know the lake, and I know how important it is to York—Simcoe.

  (1305)  

    Unfortunately, the Lake Simcoe ecosystem has been threatened by rising phosphorus levels, invasive species and significant population growths in the watershed. In response, the previous Conservative government introduced the $60-million Lake Simcoe cleanup fund in 2007. Over 200 grassroots, community-based projects were supported by the cleanup fund, which made a real difference in improving the health of the lake.
    This was “boots on the ground” environmental policy, with measurable results. Fish and wildlife populations native to Lake Simcoe were restored, and research and monitoring capabilities were enhanced. The ecosystem was protected and strengthened from the threat of invasive species, and over 72,000 trees, shrubs and grasses were planted. These were just some of the many worthwhile projects supported by the cleanup fund. However, although there was much more work to be done to protect and restore the lake, the Liberals cancelled the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund in their 2017 budget, and again refused to restore it in 2018.
    Despite empty pledges made by the Prime Minister in Keswick just two months ago, the budget before us today confirms once more that Lake Simcoe does not matter to the government. Lake Simcoe is the lifeblood of our community and a vital resource for our country. It is the sort of project that a government that supposedly cares about the environment should invest in. Instead, the residents of York—Simcoe are forced to pay a carbon tax that does nothing for the environment. It is a tax plan, while the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund remains cancelled. As the MP for York—Simcoe, I will do everything I can to save Lake Simcoe and make sure it is protected and enjoyed for generations to come.
    I have come to this place as a proud resident of a mostly rural community. York—Simcoe is made up of small towns: Mount Albert, Queensville, Sharon, Bond Head, Bradford, Newton Robinson, Belhaven, Egypt, Island Grove, Jackson's Point, Keswick, Pefferlaw, Port Bolster, Willow Beach, Sutton and Virginia, just to name a few. These are the sorts of places where school plays, church bake sales, the Bradford Carrot Fest in the Holland Marsh, the Sutton Fair & Horse Show, now in its 164th year, and the Sharon Temple events are some of the biggest highlights on the calendar.
    However, my riding, like many rural ridings, is starving for infrastructure investment. While urban areas and big cities have received all the attention from the Liberal government, smaller communities like mine have been left behind. Residents of York—Simcoe find themselves on the outside looking in, while their roads and bridges crumble and their Internet speeds slow to a crawl.
    Unfortunately for York—Simcoe and many other rural ridings across the country, the budget before us does little to improve this situation. As the MP for York—Simcoe, I will make sure that our community and rural communities across Canada are never forgotten. With its scandals, misplaced priorities, out-of-control spending and rising deficits, the government has failed the ordinary families, seniors and students I was elected to represent. This is clear once again with this cover-up budget we are debating today. The people of York—Simcoe want a government that will support small businesses, protect Lake Simcoe's environment and invest in the needed infrastructure in our community.
    The people of York—Simcoe and Canadians all across this great country want a government that will respect their tax dollars, listen and work hard on their behalf. While the Liberal government may have failed Canadians in this regard, I am confident that Canada's Conservatives will stand up for them.
    Working hard for the people of York—Simcoe and having the opportunity to deliver results for my community is what I value most about this job. For as long as I have the privilege of serving here, no matter what side of the chamber I am on and no matter what topic is being discussed, I will always be on their side.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite on his first speech. He spent a great deal of time talking about Lake Simcoe. Throughout Canada, we have many beautiful lakes, rivers, waterways and so forth. I am sure he would share the concern with regard to Canada's environment. This is something that is always top of mind for Canadians, no matter where they live in our vast country.
    One issue is trying to get to the bottom of what political parties have to say. We have talked a great deal about the idea that pollution should not be free and that there should be a price on it. That is something we have acted on where provinces have not. Maybe five provinces have not acted on it, so the federal government has come to the plate.
    We are waiting for the Conservative plan. The leader of the Conservative Party indicated long ago that it would not be too long and that it was coming. We have been waiting for over a year now. Would he not agree that Canadians are entitled to get a sense of what the official opposition's plans are regarding Canada's environment? Would he not think that would be healthy—

  (1315)  

    Order, please.
    The hon. member for York—Simcoe.
    Mr. Speaker, our leader has responded to that question. Everyone is very excited about seeing our environmental plan, which is going to be released before June, as he said. The previous Conservative government had a boots-on-the-ground policy with the Lake Simcoe clean-up fund, which the Liberal government cancelled.
    Lake Simcoe stretches into six or seven ridings in Ontario and provides drinking water for half a million people. For every dollar invested in the Lake Simcoe clean-up fund, a boots-on-the-ground fund, over $6 in revenue was generated throughout the economy. This was good environmental policy we were looking for, and it is something the Liberals should look at instead of a broad-based carbon tax that penalizes.
    There is a first nation in York—Simcoe, and right now it is subject to a tax on diesel fuel for its barge. This is the only way these people can get home at night. That tax is affecting some of our more disadvantaged people because of where they live. York—Simcoe is also a vastly rural riding. There is not public transportation everywhere. People have to drive to work. This carbon tax is one more thing that puts people over the edge. We have small—
    We will try to get in one more question in the five minutes we have.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Hochelaga.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate my colleague, who is putting his earpiece in, on being elected and delivering his inaugural speech. That said, the questions that follow are always stressful.
    The federal budget that we have been presented with falls well short of making our tax system fairer, and it continues to protect the richest members of our society, who are friends with the Liberals.
    Does the member think that the stock option deduction for already wealthy CEOs should be eliminated entirely?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will have to look into the CEO buyback plan. I am not familiar with that plan. I am just being honest. If someone asks me about apples, I will give them apples. I will have to look into that plan to make a decision.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from York—Simcoe on his inaugural speech in the House of Commons and I wish him many, many years of success going forward.
    I have a very important question for him based on his local constituency. What does he see as his priority for his constituents going forward as he serves the good people of York—Simcoe?
    Mr. Speaker, I am fresh now because I just finished a by-election. Knocking on doors, I heard that people are very concerned that the government is behind the curve. It is reactionary on everything. Farmers are small business people. There are people out west who are concerned about the government.
    When are we going to get an ambassador back in China? People are asking that question. They want to know that we have a relationship with China and that we can do something about canola. People are very concerned that the government is getting behind the curve. It is a global world, and we cannot afford to be behind the curve now.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. Before I begin, I would like express support for those of my constituents who are experiencing extreme flooding and for the people of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, who are facing major challenges.
    Today, I am honoured to have the opportunity to talk about our government's plan to invest in the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone.
    The purpose of Bill C-97 is to implement key measures in the 2019 budget. Canadians can see that they made the right choice. Canada's economy is now among the most dynamic in the G7. Canadians have created over 900,000 jobs, and middle-class families are better off. The economy is stronger; more good, well-paid, middle-class jobs are available; and people working hard to join the middle class are getting more help. People of all ages can be proud to live and work in our economy.
    As we all know, Canadian seniors have contributed a great deal to their communities throughout their lives. They have a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills that they can continue to share.
    Budget 2019 recognizes the contribution that seniors have made, and we are showing our support for them by investing in their well-being. Unlike the previous government, which wanted to raise the age of retirement, our government made a commitment to help seniors. Budget 2019 helps seniors get actively involved in society, including taking paid work if they wish, and will help them transition to retirement when they decide to leave the workforce.
    Furthermore, we want to make low-income seniors more financially secure if they decide to remain in the workforce. Our government understands that many seniors choose to remain in the workforce after retirement. Some do so to maintain social ties to their communities, while others like earning extra income to spend on their children or grandchildren. Some simply love what they do and want to continue doing it, which is good for our society. No matter the reason, we all benefit from their skills.
    Sadly, some seniors are penalized for choosing to stay at work. The government reduces their guaranteed income supplement benefits or allowance for every dollar earned over the annual GIS earnings exemption of $3,500.
    Self-employment income is not eligible for the exemption under existing law. That means they lose their hard-earned income. The bill we are debating today would fix that problem. It would allow seniors to keep more of their GIS benefits or allowance and more of what they earn by enhancing the GIS earnings exemption beginning with the July 2020-21 benefit year.
     This measure would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to self-employment income. It would increase the amount of the annual exemption from $3,500 to $5,000. This measure includes a partial exemption of 50%, to apply on up to $10,000 of annual employment and self-employment income beyond the $5,000 threshold. That means eligible seniors could get a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 of income. In Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, this measure will change seniors' lives. Seniors who want to continue working will be able to keep more money in their pockets.
    We also want to empower seniors in their communities. Our government recognizes that not all seniors can or want to remain in the workforce. We know that those who retire often face isolation in their retirement years, a situation sometimes made worse by ageism, poor health, reduced mobility, poverty and even abuse. Fortunately, we can help improve matters.
    My colleagues are surely aware of the new horizons for seniors program. It seeks to eliminate barriers to inclusion and mobilize seniors within their communities with initiatives ranging from new equipment for seniors centres to financial literacy classes and volunteer opportunities, to name just a few.

  (1325)  

    I have some examples from the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, from Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère. The Heritage Social Club received $25,000 to renovate its roof. Four Corners received $23,000 to convert their facilities. There is also the Centre d'action bénévole, the Cœurs joyeux club in Saint-Eustache, the Centre d'entraide Racine-Lavoie, and the Maison des citoyens in Deux-Montagnes. There are many examples of organizations like these that are changing the lives of our seniors.
    Budget 2019 proposes significant additional funding of $100 million over five years and $20 million every year thereafter for the new horizons for seniors program. This additional funding will ensure that the program can continue to improve seniors' quality of life and better promote the participation and inclusion of older Canadians in their community and their workplace.
    One more thing we are doing for seniors is making sure that those who are entitled to Canada pension plan benefits receive them. Isolation can have real consequences for seniors, including financial ones. Isolation or a lack of support are among the reasons why some seniors are late in applying for their pension or do not apply at all. They miss out on receiving their CPP benefits.
    The CPP is a key pillar of Canada's retirement system. It provides retired Canadians with a secure, predictable income and peace of mind. Canadian workers currently need to apply to receive their CPP benefits. To help Canadian workers receive the full value of the CPP pension to which they contributed, the 2019 budget implementation bill would proactively enrol CPP contributors who are 70 or older in 2020 who are entitled to their pension. If they have not yet applied, they will receive their benefits. We will make sure that all seniors receive the CPP benefits they are entitled to.
    We want to protect Canadians' pension plans. Budget 2019 goes even further so that those who contributed to a pension plan actually receive their benefits. Measures set out in this budget will ensure that the employer's defined benefit plan offers a stable and secure income and the dignified retirement Canadians expect after a lifetime of hard work.
    In recent years, we have seen how the security of some private pension plans is put at risk when an employer goes bankrupt. In order to give Canadians greater peace of mind about their retirement, the budget implementation bill proposes new measures to enhance the security of workplace pension plans in the event that the company goes bankrupt.
    The measures proposed in Budget 2019 will make insolvency proceedings fairer, more transparent and more accessible for pensioners and workers. They will set higher expectations for, and better oversight of, the behaviour of federally incorporated firms. They will strengthen pension security and the viability of federally regulated pensions.
    In summary, for our seniors, the 2019 budget proposals build on our government's strong record of ensuring retirement security for Canadians so that they can enjoy the dignified retirement they deserve after a lifetime of hard work. These proposals are also an important part of our government's plan to create an economy that works for everyone, including seniors.
    There is one more very important thing in budget 2019. Our government is introducing the Canada training benefit, a new tool that will help working Canadians find the time and money to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers.

  (1330)  

     The benefit will enable working Canadians to take four weeks of training every four years and will provide up to $1,000 to help pay for training. The income support will help them cover loss of income. They will have the security of knowing they have a job to come back to when their training is done.
    The bill before us proposes the first phase, the Canada training credit. For people who are currently in school, budget 2019 is also investing in 84,000 new work placements per year to help young people acquire new skills and build their resumés.
    In closing, Canada's labour market and economy are evolving. With budget 2019 and Bill C-97, we are helping students and workers of all ages prepare for good jobs now and in the future.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the budget implementation bill has made significant changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Could the member tell us why this legislation is in the budget bill and not in stand-alone legislation?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    I understand his concern about refugees. It is a very important issue. However, I would prefer to talk about a matter that we do not agree on, and that is putting a price on pollution and ensuring that all polluters in Canada pay the real cost. All of this will ensure that future generations, our children and grandchildren, will have an environment where they can grow and have a healthy future.
    Mr. Speaker, given that my colleague is from the Montreal area, she surely knows that there are far more renters than homeowners in Montreal. The vacancy rate in that city is 1.9%, which is below the 3% balanced rate. Montreal has 25,000 people on the waiting list for social housing.
    The budget includes a home buyer incentive for those who can afford to buy. However, there is nothing for the construction of new low-income housing, housing co-operatives or affordable rental housing.
    I would like to know why the Liberals did not keep their promise to create half a million new affordable social housing units in 10 years.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her very relevant question.
    I know my hon. colleague's riding is in Montreal, and mine is located in the suburbs north of Montreal, so I understand her concerns.
    We recently introduced the national housing strategy. It is the first of its kind and will tackle this problem over a 10-year period. Yes, there is a shortage of social housing, but existing units can also be renovated, which will help keep our housing stock up. It will take some time for that to happen, but all ridings will get additional housing.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear my colleague speak so much about all the work being done to support seniors. In my riding of Cloverdale—Langley City, there are a number of seniors, and many important measures in this bill will support them.
    Could the member speak to the seniors population in her riding and how some of these measures will help advance the well-being of seniors?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.
    Indeed, I made a point of talking about seniors in my speech on the budget today because many seniors live in certain cities in my riding. All the changes to the guaranteed income supplement will make a difference in the lives of those seniors. It is important that they be able to earn some extra income without compromising their eligibility for the GIS. That is important. Some seniors have told me that they would have liked to work just a bit, one day a week, but they would be no further ahead at the end of the year after filing their tax returns.
    The new horizons program has been doubled. It is making a difference in our communities. Seniors are less isolated and are able to take part in many activities. I could go on. As for private pension plans, we plan to bring in measures to ensure their solvency.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am fortunate to rise today in the House to speak to the 2019 budget. This is not just the 2019 budget, because the story of this budget is also the story of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets. It is the disappointing story of a government that failed four times to meet the expectations and needs of Quebec's regions, including my region of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Instead, the government constantly makes decisions that benefit the wealthy and the Liberals' friends, who often have access to the Prime Minister's Office. Not everyone is that fortunate. This leads me to the current budget. The government has once again missed its chance to solve several problems affecting the people of my riding of Jonquière, which I have represented for more than four years.
    I have risen dozen of times in the House to ask the government about supply management, hoping to ensure that dairy farmers are not used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations and to demand compensation for farmers who are sacrificed. After three extremely harmful agreements and years of pressure, in this budget, the government only announced funds for dairy farmers, but gave no details or deadlines. The uncertainty continues.
    It is outrageous that this government has used its time in office to undermine supply management and now refuses to fix it. It needs to act now, before all our farms go bankrupt, gutting our rural communities and jeopardizing our food sovereignty in the process. While reading this budget, I certainly expected more from a government led by a Prime Minister who came to my region in person to make promises he never really intended to keep.
    Do my colleagues know that the second-largest employer in my riding, with over 1,000 workers and a $40-million payroll, is the Jonquière tax centre? This is money that the federal government injects directly into the regional economy every year, so it is vital to ensure not only that these workers keep their jobs, but that the centre's future is secure.
    I can assure the House that I will continue to defend these good jobs and make sure they are not taken away. Unlike some people, I will not pander for votes with unrealistic proposals that actually harm our region.
    In this budget, the government announced an investment of $34 million over five years to create new jobs processing personal tax returns. That aligns perfectly with the mission of the Jonquière Tax Centre. I am going to keep working hard to make sure Jonquière gets its fair share.
    In 2016, I was one of the most vocal MPs drawing attention to the importance of doing something about the expiration of the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement. Together with workers and the industry, we urged the government to leverage its strong relationship with the Obama administration to resolve the issue. The government was unable to do so. On countless occasions, we called on the government to implement a proper plan B to support forestry jobs and our businesses. Our regional competitiveness is at stake.
    In Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean alone, over 10,000 jobs hang in the balance, but the Liberals keep failing at every turn. Time after time, the government has offered up excuses. Thousands of workers protested in the streets, but the government has never managed to grasp the full impact of U.S. countervailing duties on regions such as Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.
    What does budget 2019 do to protect workers in the likely event that the conflict grinds on for years? There have been a few initiatives here, a few funding announcements there, but nowhere near enough to make anyone forget that the government seems powerless to resolve an issue that has been dragging on for almost three years.

  (1340)  

    The government never misses an opportunity to boast about its approach to infrastructure, but after four years in office and four budgets, most communities have not even seen any benefits from it, since the government chose to delay the investments, as always. I am wondering what good it does to make promises or allocate money in budgets if the communities cannot use that money immediately. Did the Prime Minister not say that he wanted to take advantage of low interest rates?
    The needs are great in ridings like Jonquière, whether in the city of Jonquière, Larouche, Laterrière, Saint-Honoré, Saint-David-de-Falardeau, Saint-Fulgence, Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, Saint-Ambroise, Bégin, Saint-Charles-de-Bourget, Saint-Nazaire, Labrecque or Lamarche. Unfortunately, people will remember budget 2019 as the Liberals' last budget, the budget that did little to help provide infrastructure for our rural municipalities.
    The Prime Minister needs to stop playing fast and loose with the regions. Since 2017, I have been calling on the government to do something about the icebreaker file, to no avail. Two years later, the ships of companies like Rio Tinto and Resolute Forest Products are still getting stuck in the ice sometimes. That is happening because the government has not freed up any funding to renew the Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, which is responsible for keeping the Saguenay River open. It unacceptable that the region is being temporarily cut off from shipping.
    The government mismanaged this file and missed its chance to bring in a coherent, properly funded strategy to resolve the problem once and for all. This further illustrates the Prime Minister's lack of interest in rural communities.
    How are the regions going to succeed in fighting climate change? That is the type of question we were hoping would be answered in the budget of a self-proclaimed green government. We all agree that the fight against climate change has to be a priority, but it also has to be well thought out so that all regions, including Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, benefit from the jobs created in the green economy. After four years and four budgets, there is nothing to show for all the government's promises to the regions. It is impossible to develop a unifying strategy unless the regions are invited to join the discussion and be part of the solution in the fight against climate change. That is my priority, but clearly the government feels otherwise.
    After being disappointed by four consecutive budgets, the region is going to think that the Liberal government has met very few expectations during its term, even though it had promised the moon. This government is constantly in reaction mode instead of being a true proactive leader. This lack of vision prevents innovative measures from promoting economic development in the regions, like Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, which is a shame. The people of this region deserve better.
    The Liberals have tried to shift to the left in recent elections by stealing many ideas from the NDP. Unfortunately, they forgot to steal our values, like fighting for social justice, equality and the most vulnerable citizens. These values require policies and budgets that invest in human beings and not just multi-billion dollar corporations.
    By investing in people, we can move society forward and continue to grow our regions and our communities. The Liberals cannot see that. Canadians and workers should know that they can always count on the NDP to be on their side.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague opposite, who had a lot of ideas. I am very familiar with her beautiful region. I love the Saguenay region. I have cycled the Véloroute des Bleuets, and I know all about the area's blueberries.
    At the beginning of her speech, my colleague spoke about food policy and supply management. I agree that it is important for the budget to include a food policy. We have proposed unique, never-before-seen measures to support nutrition in Canada, including in schools. We have begun talks with the provinces and territories on this matter.
    Could my colleague make some suggestions and tell us what she would like to see? What does she think about the proposed food policy ideas? This topic is important to me.
    I thank my colleague for her question. I know she came to cycle the Véloroute des Bleuets in my riding a few years ago. It is a very beautiful area, and well worth the visit, not only in summer but also in winter, especially for ice fishing.
    I did talk about supply management in my speech. The Liberals and the Prime Minister himself have been to my region on several occasions. They met with dairy farmers and UPA members and promised them there would be no breaches in supply management. They said farmers could count on the Liberals to protect them.
    Unfortunately, there have been three trade deals and three breaches in supply management. I cannot emphasize enough that our farmers are the ones who feed us, with the fruits of their own labour. I was with them again last Sunday for the UPA brunch, and I was able to speak with several dairy farmers. They are really disappointed. Yes, the budget does mention that something will be done to support supply management and maintain the system for our dairy farmers. However, no amount or timeframe is indicated. There is no budget or amount mentioned.
    The uncertainty continues.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have some thoughts with regard to what the member talked about, from a national perspective. The government has made significant investments in Canada's infrastructure in all regions of the country. We have seen capital infrastructure built.
    We have also seen, on a national basis, an investment in people in very real ways. Examples are the substantial increases for some of the poorest seniors in our country, including in the member opposite's own constituency, through the GIS increase and the Canada child benefit program, not to mention, as I referenced earlier, the tax breaks for Canada's middle class, all of which put money into her constituents' pockets. At the same time, the government has invested in capital throughout our country.
    Could the member reflect on that aspect of what this government has been able to accomplish, not only in this budget but in previous budgets, which has further supported Canadians in all regions of our country?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I spoke about infrastructure in the budget. We have been seeing the same thing since 2015. I mentioned a number of municipalities in my riding in my speech. I have been talking with their mayors since 2015. We spent the past two weeks in our ridings. Our rural communities are not seeing any money for infrastructure, even though that is important. National budgets should not be designed just to please multibillionaires or companies like Loblaws, which received $12 million to buy new fridges.
    The government needs to invest directly in our communities. There are some very worthwhile projects in my riding of Jonquière, but they are not receiving any funding. I am not the one saying that. The people in my riding tell me that when I meet with them and when I run into them on the weekends.
    There are projects on the table, but no money is forthcoming. We are not seeing any investments in infrastructure in our rural communities, including Jonquière, where such investments are badly needed.

  (1350)  

    Before we resume debate, I would like to inform the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister that there are only 10 minutes remaining before statements by members. I may have to interrupt him just before statements by members.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to talk about our government's fourth budget.
    With this budget, we are continuing to invest in Vaudreuil—Soulanges, in our families, in our young and not so young people, and in our business owners.

[English]

    I am particularly proud of this budget because it shows that our government continues to listen to the ideas, hopes and dreams of Canadians right across the country, including those in my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, Canadians who own small businesses, who raise families, who commute and who protect our environment for future generations, Canadians who work hard every day to leave for future generations a Canada that we can all be proud of.

[Translation]

    Our budget shows that we listened to Canadians, like those who are members of the committee that I set up, the Vaudreuil—Soulanges environmental committee. Like all Canadians, they know that climate change is real and that we need to act to build a sustainable, prosperous future.

[English]

    With budget 2019, we would continue our plan to grow a clean economy, protect our environment and make life more affordable for Canadians, something the previous Conservative government, unfortunately, failed to achieve. My constituents shared with me that they want to play a part in protecting our climate and the quality of our air. Our government listened.
     In addition to putting a price on carbon pollution, phasing out coal by 2030 and investing historic amounts in public transportation, budget 2019 proposes strategic investments that would make it more affordable for Canadians to choose zero emission vehicles. In fact, we would make it up to $5,000 cheaper to do so for electric vehicles and hydrogen cell vehicles.

[Translation]

     We have listened to people who want more ways to reduce their carbon footprint, and we have created a new tax credit of up to $5,000 for zero-emission vehicles. We will support people who choose zero-emission vehicles by investing $130 million to deploy new recharging stations.

[English]

    We know that electric, hybrid and alternative vehicle fuel cells are the future of transportation. We also know that Canadians want to play a role in fighting climate change. I am incredibly proud to say that budget 2019 would empower Canadians, particularly those in my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, to do just that.

[Translation]

    I am fortunate that seniors in Vaudreuil—Soulanges are willing to share their ideas with me and that the seniors' council honours me with its sage advice.
    At our first meeting, the members told me that too many seniors live in poverty. We listened to them, and that is why we invested in enhancing guaranteed income supplement benefits, which has put up to $947 more in the pockets of 900,000 vulnerable seniors.
    The members told me that, in recent years, the security of workplace pension plans has been jeopardized by corporate bankruptcies. Our government listened to them and plans to implement measures that will better protect pension plans.
    Lastly, they told me seniors should be free to work and earn extra income without being penalized. I agree. That is why we enhanced the GIS earnings exemption so that our seniors can earn up to $5,000 without triggering a reduction in GIS benefits, and we introduced a partial exemption on up to $10,000.

[English]

    This last measure represents a historic investment of $1.8 billion to improve our seniors' quality of life. By increasing the GIS earnings exemption to provide a partial exemption of up to $15,000 of annual employment and self-employment income, we would not only be giving seniors more financial security, we would be working hard to ensure that the access they have to a safe and dignified retirement was in place.
     These are just a few examples of what budget 2019 would deliver for seniors across the country. lt would build on our government's record of strengthening the retirement security of Canadians and would ensure that more of our seniors' hard-earned money would rest where it belongs, in their pockets.

  (1355)  

[Translation]

    In my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I can count on today's leaders, our young people. Our youth committee and other young people talk to me about the Canada they want to create. Their ideas helped us draft budget 2019, a budget that builds on our efforts to give young people the tools they need to create a future worthy of their ambitions.

[English]

    First, service opportunities give young Canadians the chance to gain valuable work experience and life experience, all while giving back to their communities in meaningful ways. By investing an additional $315 million in the Canada Service Corps, we would ensure that young Canadians could bring innovative projects to life, realize their dreams, and give back to their respective communities.

[Translation]

    Investing in young people means investing in future homeowners. Far too many Canadians go into debt to buy their first home. That is why our government increased the RRSP withdrawal limit for home buyers from $25,000 to $35,000.

[English]

    It includes a new initiative, called the first-time homebuyers incentive, which would allow eligible first-time homebuyers to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The incentive would give eligible buyers a new source of funds they could use to help keep their monthly costs lower. That would be real help for people who want to purchase their first home: young people, families and Canadians who need just that little extra help to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

[Translation]

    We know that municipalities also play an important role in people's lives and contribute to building strong communities. In order to provide Canadians with modern, accessible green infrastructure, we invested $180 million in public infrastructure.
    Whether we are talking about creating an innovative new library in Vaudreuil-Dorion, making improvements to the Hudson community centre, making the buildings in Pincourt, Saint-Lazare, and Cèdres more accessible, or doing municipal renovations, our constituents are counting on strong green infrastructure.
    Budget 2019 takes another step in that direction, thanks to a $2.2-billion investment that seeks to get more infrastructure projects off the ground and contribute to creating jobs and building our communities.

[English]

    Over the last three years, 33,000 infrastructure projects have been approved right across the country. As an example, my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges has benefited from a $2.4-million investment to build a new innovative library in Vaudreuil-Dorion, which will serve our growing needs, and a $7.5-million investment to improve the parking spots for the exo train station, which benefits thousands of people in my community.
    We know that high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury. Members of my community in zones of low-speed Internet, such as Saint-Lazare, Rigaud, Hudson and Pointe-Fortune, know this all too well. We have made a commitment to provide them and all those across the country with high-speed Internet by 2030.
    Finally, in summary, budget 2019 shows once more that our government listens to Canadians. It would make smart investments in our seniors, our youth and our families and in our towns and cities, and it would invest historic amounts to protect the environment, all of which are necessary to build the stronger Canada we want, and indeed, the stronger Canada we need.

[Translation]

    That is good news for my constituents in Vaudreuil—Soulanges and for all Canadians.
    The hon. member will have five minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes debate on this motion.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

International Workers' Day

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, May 1, is International Workers' Day.
    I want workers to know that the Bloc Québécois will always be there for them. We will stand with them to get the Quebec we want. In our Quebec, pensioners would be preferred creditors if their employer goes bankrupt. In our Quebec, we would support our aluminum and steel workers, and we would refuse to ratify the new NAFTA until the illegal American tariffs are lifted. In our Quebec, the wealthy would pay their fair share of taxes, just like everyone else. In our Quebec, workers would have the right to strike, and scabs would be illegal. In our Quebec, everyone would stand together for a strong middle class, protected by its unions.
    The Bloc wants what Quebec wants, and the Bloc is fighting to get it.

  (1400)  

[English]

Luzia Ribeiro

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart. Three years ago, on April 24, Luzia Ribeiro passed away at the young age of 84. She passed peacefully at home surrounded by family and those who loved her.
    Mrs. Ribeiro, like most immigrants, came to Canada for a better life, to achieve the Canadian dream. In May of 1960, Mrs. Ribeiro made the hard journey from Terceira-Açores, Portugal, arriving first in Sutton, Quebec before making her way to Ontario where she married Juoa Ribeiro and raised five children, Maria, Lucy, Julie, Anna and John.
    Mrs. Ribeiro embodied the spirit of Canada. It was said that it was not uncommon that friends, family, acquaintances and others would land at Pearson International Airport with the telephone number and address of the Ribeiro house, looking for assistance. Like many new Canadians who arrive here, Mrs. Ribeiro understood the challenges and hardships they faced when coming to a new country seeking a better life.
    Mrs. Ribeiro represents a true immigrant story. Let the House honour and celebrate her memory.

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, on Canada Day, I will be announcing the winners for this year's Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry Service Awards. This will mark the third annual installment of these awards which began during the Canada 150 celebrations as a way to highlight and celebrate the selfless individuals who donated their time and effort to make our communities a better place to live.
     Volunteerism is at the core of what it means to be Canadian, giving back so we are leaving our communities better off than when we found them. Volunteers do not seek or crave recognition, but it is important to say “thank you”.
     Nomination forms for the awards will be included in my upcoming householder and delivered to every residence in the riding and will also be available on my website.
    We all know someone who goes above and beyond to make the lives of others better. Therefore, I am asking the residents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry to take the time to nominate these individuals for an SDSG Service Award.

Island Lakes Residents' Group

    Mr. Speaker, in 1989, the Island Lakes Residents' Group was formed. Led by a dedicated volunteer board, it has advocated and fundraised for a number of important developments in the neighbourhood.
    During my time as city councillor for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, I was proud to help it with some of those projects, including providing funding for a large community room in the neighbourhood's new school. The group also advocated passionately for a new splash pad and picnic shelter near the school, always ensuring its community could benefit from improved infrastructure.

[Translation]

    It is always a pleasure to work with them and the many other community groups in Saint Boniface—Saint Vital.

[English]

    Residents' associations do great work for communities and it is all thanks to dedicated groups of volunteers like Lindsey Wilson, the founder and chairperson for Island Lakes Residents' Group.
    I thank all the volunteers, and happy 30th anniversary to the Island Lakes Residents' Group.

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, each month, on average, the Canadian Armed Forces continue to lose one serving member to death by suicide. This is an epidemic that continues, despite some positive steps toward addressing mental health issues in the forces.
     The House had a historic opportunity to address this issue directly earlier this year when we passed Bill C-77, the military justice reform bill. In committee, I proposed an amendment to remove paragraph 98(c) from the National Defence Act, the section which makes self-harm a disciplinary offence under the military code of conduct. Unfortunately, the Liberals defeated my amendment on procedural grounds.
    I have reintroduced my proposal to remove paragraph 98(c) as Bill C-426. Soon I will be asking for unanimous consent for passing the bill at all stages in order to make self-harm in the Canadian Forces a health issue instead of a disciplinary matter.
     The mere existence of paragraph 98(c) continues to be a barrier for Canadian Forces members seeking the mental health assistance they need and the House has only one more opportunity to fix this. I hope when the time comes, the bill will have the support of all members.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Vincent Vaudrin, Isaël Vallée and Alexis Boivin

    Mr. Speaker, on April 18, the École secondaire Monseigneur-A.-M.-Parent in Saint-Hubert became a certified “blue school” through the Communautés bleues project. This school in my riding is the first high school in the world to make this commitment to water issues.
    This certification is a dream come true for three students who succeeded in getting the school administration on board with their great idea.

[English]

    Thanks to their initiative, the school has committed to gradually eliminating the sale of plastic water bottles in its environment and at all of its events.

[Translation]

    I want to commend the three students who were in charge of this project, Vincent Vaudrin, Isaël Vallée and Alexis Boivin, as well as the entire student council and the youth environmental committee at the École secondaire Monseigneur-A.-M.-Parent for this terrific initiative.
    Kudos to everyone involved.

[English]

Communities with Brooms

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to thank over 100 Oshawa residents, community representatives, business people, students and, yes, even a few politicians who joined me for Oshawa's 11th annual Communities with Brooms downtown cleanup on April 25.
    As members of the House are aware, the past few months have not been easy times for my community. However, even in these uncertain economic times, Oshawa continues to prove that ours is a city filled with heart, spirit, hope and unstoppable civic pride.
     Through their efforts, these volunteers, supported by our mayor and city, city councillors, Regional Chair Henry, MPP French, two rotary clubs, the John Howard Society, the downtown BIA, KX96 FM and my office, have made real contributions to beautifying our city's downtown.
    On behalf of all members of the House, I offer my sincere appreciation to each of the volunteers and organizations that work so hard to improve and beautify our beloved city of Oshawa.

Civic Leaders

    Mr. Speaker, I regularly visit the beautiful Jami Omar Mosque in Bells Corners in my riding of Nepean.
     One of the key persons of the mosque is Imam Anver Malam, who was involved in all phases of the mosque's development, from conceptualizing the idea of building a mosque to making it a reality. Today, Jami Omar is an anchor for many community-related activities.
    On Friday, April 19, Imam Malam addressed hundreds of worshippers, who spilled over the huge prayer hall, on the importance of civic engagement. He emphasized the need for the community to get actively involved in the democratic process of our country. He explained the importance and the impacts of the decision-making process of the policy-makers.
    I take this opportunity to recognize and thank civic leaders like Imam Anver Malam.

Vietnamese Canadians

    Mr. Speaker, today I stand to recognize the significant number of Vietnamese Canadians who have chosen to make our great country of Canada their home.
     Vietnamese Canadians have contributed to the Canadian mosaic with pride and admiration, and I want to recognize their contributions on this special day of celebration and remembrance.
    Canada is home to a vibrant community of close to 300,000 Vietnamese Canadians, many of whom reside in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek. The Vietnamese Canadian community has made a substantial contribution to our cultural, religious, political and business life, and I am tremendously proud to know many as friends, colleagues and supporters.
    Today I am delighted to wish the Vietnamese community great success as it celebrates April 30, an occasion in history, as freedom flag day.

[Translation]

Prime Minister of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, what can we say about our Prime Minister's four years of failure?
    From broken promises to incompetence, there seems to be a new scandal every day, each one crazier than the last. Who could forget his trip to India? It made headlines around the world and embarrassed Canadians. He also failed when he let more than 40,000 illegal migrants slip into Canada and spent over $1 billion accommodating them. He did not prosecute the Islamic State terrorists who came back to Canada and who now brag about the crimes they committed. He also crippled our security agencies' ability to disrupt terrorist threats. He watered down sentences for gang crimes and then chose to go after law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals. Let us not forget all the countries he has offended, the disrespect he shows towards our biggest trade partner, his bungling of the NAFTA negotiations, the breakdown of our trade relationships with Australia and Japan, and his eagerness to kowtow to China.
    Canada's security and sovereignty are at stake. I know it, we know it, and Canadians know it.

  (1410)  

Boundary Waters Treaty

    Mr. Speaker, on April 22, Canada highlighted the importance of protecting our planet by celebrating Earth Day.
    In Canada, it is vital to protect our natural resources, especially our lakes and rivers. A large number of these bodies of water are located along the Canada-U.S. border. Many of them are sources of drinking water for thousands of people in both countries.
    For that reason, tomorrow, May 1, I will be tabling a bill to amend the Boundary Waters Treaty, which was signed by the United States and Canada back in 1909. It is important that we amend the treaty to include new environmental standards for water quality.
    This bill will be instrumental in protecting our transboundary waters across Canada for today's Canadian citizens and for future generations.

Flooding in the Outaouais

     Mr. Speaker, once again, I am rising to recognize the resilience of those living in the Outaouais region, and especially those living in the areas affected by spring floods.
    So many people have been evacuated and many houses are affected, but I would like to take the time to recognize the community spirit I have seen. Across Gatineau, many people have pitched in by filling sandbags, helping prepare meals or simply taking public transit or teleworking to reduce the number of cars on the road.
    I would also like to recognize the efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces, paramedics, firefighters, public safety officials and the provincial and federal governments for all of their support for our region.
    I encourage you to support your community and volunteer to fill sandbags at the Frank-Robinson arena, the Parc du Tourbillon, the Parc des Cèdres and the Parc Kenneth-Lloyd. The people of Gatineau are and will remain united.

[English]

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, recently the transport minister tried to show us all how smart he was by tweeting a picture of himself trying to plug in an electric car that was already plugged in. “Am I doing it right?”, he quipped.
    Trying to make life more affordable for millionaires to purchase a new electric Tesla or Audi, yes, he is doing that right. Trying to make life more affordable for soccer moms, suburban commuters, rural Canadians and anyone living on medium income, he is showing his disdain for them. He must be taking cues from the leader of the Liberal Party who jetted to the west coast for another luxury vacation. Once again, the Liberals are asking Canadians to do as they say and not do as they do.
    His policy, like his tweet, fizzled, short-circuited and died on the side of the road. Therefore, I proffer this limerick for the minister's failed gimmick:
    

While holding his charge cord by the knob,
His carbon tax its Canadians he robs,
Tweeting at us his grin,
The car's already plugged in,
Was fuelling the space shuttle his job?

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, from June 3 to 6, 7,000 youth, leaders, parliamentarians, activists and journalists from around the world will come together in Vancouver to attend the Women Deliver conference. In anticipation of this event, May is the month of gender equality action.

[Translation]

    Canada is a leader in gender equality, but there is still much work to do.

[English]

    That is why, as part of the Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada campaign, more than 300 organizations, unions, businesses, academic institutions and cities, representing millions of Canadians, are stepping up to move the dial on gender equality.

[Translation]

    During this month of action, Canadian women and men of all ages will participate in various events, discussions and activities across the country.

[English]

    I challenge everyone to join in on this important initiative.

National Day of Mourning

    Mr. Speaker, imagine getting the call that a crane tipped over and your son was under it, or kissing your mother before she left for work and never being able to do so again. With each worker tragedy, lives are changed forever.
    April 28 was National Day of Mourning to pray for the injured and remember those who died at work. Our labour family in Windsor—Tecumseh held a solemn ceremony at St. Augustine's church. Together we honoured and consoled. We strengthened our resolve to establish safe and healthy workplaces and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.
    The Day of Mourning has spread to more than 100 countries. Canada must work collectively for the living with these other countries. Canada must push harder to ensure employers are held to account, invest in training to investigate and enforce workplace safety, recognize the PTSD that first responders face and put workers' protection at the forefront of trade agreements.
    Indeed, as much as this is a day to mourn—

  (1415)  

    The hon. member for Calgary Shepard.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals nationalized the Trans Mountain pipeline, Canadians were told that their $4.5 billion would allow construction to begin immediately. Little did they know that the Liberals meant that Kinder Morgan would start building pipeline in Texas immediately.
    Political dithering by the Liberal government has ensured that not one inch of pipe has been built and that two construction seasons have been lost. While the Liberals abandon Canadian middle-class energy workers here at home, they are happy to create middle-class energy jobs in Asia with Canadian taxpayer dollars.
    In 2017, the Liberals gifted over half a billion dollars to China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is building three new pipeline projects in Asia. The Liberal government's pipeline priorities are to finance a pipeline in the suburbs of Beijing instead of right here in Canada.
    It is time for the government to get to work, stop dithering, set a construction date and build that pipe.

International Day of Mourning

    Mr. Speaker, on April 28, I participated in the International Day of Mourning ceremony. It remembers workers who were killed, injured and suffered illness due to workplace-related hazards and incidents.
    The International Day of Mourning began 35 years ago in Sudbury in co-operation with the Canadian Labour Congress and the United Steelworkers of Sudbury, local 6500, including the USW international president, Mr. Leo Girard.

[Translation]

    To have workers return home to their families without suffering illness, injury or death should be a priority for all governments. Last year, 250 people died on the job in Ontario. Thousands of people were injured or contracted preventable illnesses. That is unacceptable.
    All levels of government must work together to improve occupational health and safety.

[English]

    One is too many. No one should die on the job.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Canada and China continues. Now it is Canadian canola producers who are paying for the Prime Minister's weakness on the world stage.
    It is clear that China has no respect for the Prime Minister, and why would it? After the Prime Minister clowned around in India and backed down to Donald Trump time and time again, China believes it can walk all over him.
    China has unfairly jailed two Canadians, and now it is blocking canola exports. When will the Prime Minister finally stand up for Canadian interests?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand how these hardships are affecting our canola farmers and producers out west. That is why we have been on this issue for the past number of weeks, including in many meetings with various producers, while we keep up our diplomatic efforts to resolve this difference with China.
    We are going to continue to stand up for Canadian producers and continue to stand up for Canadian farmers. We will have good news to announce in the next few days.
    Mr. Speaker, we are finally making some progress. After the events of this weekend, the Prime Minister at least knows which country in Asia we are talking about.
    However, not only is he not standing up for Canadian interests, he is actually bankrolling Chinese foreign policy by supporting the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That is $256 million of taxpayers' money to curry favour with a government that has jailed Canadians for political reasons and is in violation of international trade rules.
    Why is the Prime Minister using Canadian tax dollars to bankroll the foreign policy of the Government of China?
    Mr. Speaker, as part of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Canada joins countries such as Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy, South Korea and the U.K. in promoting inclusive global economic growth.
    At a time of global trade tension, the Conservative leader suggests that we close our doors to international co-operation, but we know that the bank can support lean, clean, green infrastructure investments throughout Asia.
    To date, the only AIIB investment in China has been to reduce air pollution from the use of coal. We believe in Canadian leadership around the world.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, what I am suggesting is that the Prime Minister show some backbone and stand up for Canadians in jail in China.
    To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister has spent billions of taxpayer dollars on a pipeline he cannot get built in Canada but is funding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, directed by China, to build pipelines in other countries.
    When will the Prime Minister show the Government of China that there are consequences for treating Canadians this way, and pull the funding from the infrastructure bank?
    Mr. Speaker, we have consistently stood up for Canadian jobs and for Canadians at home and around the world, and we will continue to do so.
    On the issue of getting pipelines built, for 10 years the Conservatives were unable to get pipelines to tidewater because they did not understand that the way to get this done is by working with indigenous communities and working with environmental concerns.
    These are the kinds of things we need to do. That is exactly what we are focused on in getting things done the right way after 10 years of neglect by the Conservatives.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, China is now investing an estimated $8.4 billion in its space program, more than than Russia or Japan. China is the second-biggest military spender.
    Nevertheless, the Prime Minister insists on giving $256 million to China for its infrastructure bank.
    What will it take for the Prime Minister to finally stand up to China and defend Canadian interests?
    Mr. Speaker, together with many other countries, Canada is promoting inclusive global economic growth. Trade tensions are rising around the world, and the Conservative leader is suggesting that we close the door on international co-operation.
    The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, supports lean, clean and green investments in infrastructure across Asia, including in some of the poorest countries in the world. To date, the only AIIB investment in China was made to reduce air pollution caused by the use of coal.

[English]

    Order. I heard from the hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands four times during that answer, and obviously he did not have the floor. I think he is aware of the standing orders that prohibit interruptions. I invite him not to interrupt in the future.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Campaign Financing

    Mr. Speaker, whenever the Liberals are in power, they love to rewrite the rules to benefit themselves. Today we have learned the names of individuals from SNC-Lavalin who gave over $110,000 in illegal campaign contributions to the Liberal Party.
    When Conservatives were asked for this information, we released it immediately, but the Liberals refused. In fact, they sat on this information for three years. It took investigative reporting to uncover it.
    Why did the Prime Minister's recent election financing changes not take action to expose this cover-up?
    Mr. Speaker, these improper donations to two political parties were made over a decade ago. Under my leadership, we have raised the bar on openness and transparency.
    We were the first party to proactively disclose MP expenses. We opened up the Board of Internal Economy. We ensure that information regarding fundraisers with the Prime Minister, ministers, party leaders or candidates for leadership is made publicly available and we fully comply with all fundraising and donation rules. Anyone making any political donation is expected to do the same.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, whether it is billions to oil companies or massive corporate tax cuts, Liberals and Conservatives choose the powerful over the public. Together, they slashed corporate rates an astounding 12 points. The only reason Paul Martin did not go any further was that Jack Layton stopped him. This Prime Minister promised he would be different, but he has betrayed that promise to Canadians. I believe it is time for us to do better.
    Will the Prime Minister cancel the $12-million handout to Loblaws and invest that money into people instead?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we understand that building a strong economy and protecting the environment must go together. We must work with all partners across the country. The private sector has a role to play. The public sector has a role to play. Governments across the country—some of them, anyway—are leading on putting a price on pollution and ensuring a cleaner future for our children while making it affordable for Canadians.
    We also need to lean on individuals and consumers as they do their part to protect our environment for future generations. We will not back down from making important investments in fighting climate change right across the board.
    If the hon. member for Windsor West and the Minister of Innovation wish to have a conversation, I am sure there is another place they could do that. It seems to be a pleasant conversation, but I invite them to do that elsewhere.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Burnaby South.
    Mr. Speaker, the government's record shows that it is not acting in the people's best interest. It gave $12 million to one of the richest corporations, spent $4.5 billion on a pipeline and gave the oil industry $1.6 billion. Just like the Conservatives, the Liberals put wealthy corporations first. If we want to help people, we need to make different choices.
    Why are the Liberals refusing to choose the public over their powerful friends?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to talk about our record.
    The first thing we did was cut taxes for the middle class and increase taxes for the wealthiest. Next, we created the Canada child benefit, which helped nine out of 10 families and lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. Those children are among the 800,000 Canadians our investments have lifted out of poverty. We have also seen the creation of 900,000 jobs across the country in recent years and the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. We still have work to do, but our plan is working.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, speaking of not helping people, the community of Kashechewan has once again been displaced because of annual flooding. Leaders and children from the community are in Ottawa to ask the Liberal government to keep its promise to relocate the community to higher ground. The Liberals promised to do so, but two years later, they still have done nothing to help this community.
    Why are the Liberals refusing to do something to help these people?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we understand how difficult things are for the people of Kashechewan, who have had to be evacuated 17 years in a row because of flooding. The minister met with them today. Since 2016, we have been working in partnership with Kashechewan on its request to relocate the community to higher ground. The community has chosen the place where they think it would be best to relocate. Work is under way to build a new road, transfer the land and design the new community. All of this is being done in partnership with Kashechewan. We will continue to work—
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there has been some support for families affected by flooding, but sadly many communities have been left behind. People from Kashechewan are on the Hill today making their voices heard. The government has broken its promise to help them relocate to higher ground, and there was nothing for them in the budget.
    The Prime Minister must commit, not just in words but in writing, to a relocation plan with real dollars and real timelines. Will the Prime Minister sign this agreement today so that work can finally truly begin?
    Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. We have been working with the community of Kashechewan over the past years on relocation. We have made significant commitments, and we understand that this needs to be done in partnership.
    What the community members in Kashechewan have gone through over the past 17 years of relocations is unacceptable. That is why we are committed to working forward with them. The community identified the location it believes would be best to relocate to. Work is under way right now to build a new road, to secure the land and to design the new community, in partnership every step of the way with the people of Kashechewan.

Campaign Financing

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on a question that the Leader of the Opposition had regarding illegal donations to the Liberal Party of Canada. The Prime Minister seems to want Canadians to think that this is something that happened 10 years ago.
    The most crucial part of the article is this. On August 5, 2016, it was the Liberal Party of Canada, it was the Prime Minister, who was given the list of names that made the illegal donations and was alerted to the illegal donations. After that, a compliance agreement was signed between SNC-Lavalin and Elections Canada on the basis that SNC-Lavalin promised not to do it again.
    I would like to know whether or not there was any communication between the PMO and Elections Canada on this matter.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the same article references, these donations were made between 2004 and 2009. The commissioner of Canada elections conducted investigations into decade-old donations, and two recognized parties in the House actually returned those donations. These improper donations to two political parties were made over a decade ago.
    We have ensured that we have even stricter rules around raising funds for political parties to ensure that we have more openness and transparency. This is leadership that the Prime Minister demonstrated well before becoming—
    The hon. member for Milton.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2016, the Prime Minister's Office became aware of investigation results showing $110,000 in illegal donations to the Liberal Party of Canada. Soon thereafter, SNC-Lavalin was offered a compliance agreement to avoid prosecution. We have seen this before.
    We would like to know whether or not there were conversations between the Prime Minister's Office, SNC-Lavalin and Elections Canada in this matter.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that Elections Canada is independent of government. Decisions are taken separate from any government.
    When it comes to the member's question, it is important to note that these donations were made between 2004 and 2009. The commissioner of Canada elections did do an investigation. When both parties were informed, these donations were returned.
    We will always fully comply with fundraising and donation rules. Anyone making political donations is expected to do the same.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, two months after the canola crisis began, and after a strong statement from the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister finally said yesterday that the government might do something in a few days. Our farmers do not have a few days. Many of them have already taken a major hit. The Liberals talk about standing up for farmers but all they are doing is sitting on their hands. Our farmers need action today.
    Will the Prime Minister appoint an ambassador, support farmers and launch trade complaints against China?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been involved in this matter for two months. It did not take us six weeks, like my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable, to ask the question and it did not take us two months, like the Leader of the Opposition, to wake up and smell the canola.
    We have been working on this file extensively with our partners, with farmers, with the industry and with the provinces. We are supporting our very high-quality canola and our very robust inspection system.
    We are working on this file seriously.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are so serious about it that they rejected our nine requests for an emergency debate. That is the Liberal reality.
    People have had it with the government's wait-and-see approach. The government has been waiting for two months to take action. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has been waiting for a month for China to respond to her request to send a delegation of experts. Yesterday, the Prime Minister told us to wait a few more days. Enough is enough. Waiting around is costing farmers a lot of money. It is time for action.
    When will the Prime Minister stop believing that the crisis will fix itself and start listening to the urgent calls from canola farmers?
    Mr. Speaker, for two months, we have been working extensively on this file with farmers, with the industry and with our provincial colleagues. There have been video conferences between officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their counterparts. We are working tirelessly on this.
    My colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable is requesting emergency debates, but it took him six weeks to make the first request.
    I appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade with my colleague, the Minister of International Trade Diversification.
    Mr. Luc Berthold: Not even at the agriculture committee.
    Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau: This Thursday, I will be at the Standing Committee on Agriculture—
    Order. I would ask the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable not to shout in the House when it is not his turn to speak.
    The hon. member for Durham.

  (1435)  

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, earlier today, we learned that another Canadian has been sentenced to death by the Chinese state. He is the second one to receive the death penalty, after Mr. Schellenberg's 15-year sentence was converted to the death penalty a few months ago. All Canadians remain very concerned about the ongoing detention of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.
    When will the minister nominate a new ambassador to start turning around this deepening crisis with China?
    Mr. Speaker, let me address the case of Fan Wei. I want to assure him and his family that Canada is extremely concerned by this sentence. Canada is firmly opposed to the death penalty everywhere in the world. It is cruel and inhumane. Obviously, we are particularly concerned where it is applied against Canadians. We are very seized with this matter.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer shows why we need an ambassador right away. Yesterday, she said she could predict my questions, so I guess she knows what I am going to say next.
    The Prime Minister last week called the Canadians detained by the Chinese state hostages. Without an ambassador, we have no hostage negotiator.
    I ask the minister this. Does she agree with the Prime Minister's description of the Canadians detained in China as hostages?
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and I agree about pretty much everything. Let me say that when it comes to the detained Canadians, this is—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has the floor and today I am going to make sure I return it to her.
    Mr. Speaker, I do want to say to the hon. members opposite that these are people's lives. This is not a subject for heckling or railing. I take the detention of these two Canadians extremely seriously. I am in very close touch with their families. These are two very, very brave Canadians who are supported by wonderful families. We need to stand with them.

Steel Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the government's talking points are not reassuring steelworkers, who are in Ottawa today to finally get some clear answers from the Liberals. The Liberals just do not seem to understand the urgency in protecting the steel industry and these good local jobs. Thousands of steelworkers have been left exposed after the Liberal government let steel safeguards expire last week. It is not complicated. The European Union has already put in place permanent safeguards to protect its workers.
    Why can Canadian steelworkers not count on the Liberal government to do the same for them?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to be very clear. Canadian steelworkers can count on this government. We will support steelworkers. We will support the steel industry.
    We did receive the CITT report last week identifying that in two cases out of seven, safeguards were absolutely required. We have also said that we will continue to look at this issue, together with the industry, together with the workers, to make sure that we protect our industry in an appropriate fashion.
    We have set an aggressive timeline to do so. We are looking at multiple measures that we think can be in support of the industry. We will firmly support that industry as we move through this process.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the one thing you could have done, you did not. Another day in Ottawa, another way Liberals are disrespecting the independence—
    I have to, of course, remind the hon. member to direct her comments to the Chair. When she says “you”, I think she is referring to me. The hon. member for Essex has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, it is another day in Ottawa, and another way the Liberals are disrespecting the independence of our court systems. Let us look at their record: SNC-Lavalin, interference with the former attorney general; leaking of judges' personal information, Liberals do not want to investigate; snooping on judicial candidates, “Let us check our Liberal database to see how good a Liberal they are.” When Canadians go to court, they need to know that judges are impartial, not whether they donated to the Liberals or had a big red Liberal lawn sign. Canadians deserve a government that takes the rule of law seriously.
    I have a simple question. Will the Liberals stop running candidates through their private database?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government has taken significant steps to ensure that the process for appointing judges is transparent and accountable to Canadians.
    Our new process is effective. We have made almost 300 appointments since taking office. The diversity of these candidates is unprecedented; 55% of these judicial appointments or elevations are women.
    We will continue to focus on merit-based appointments that create the highest-quality, most representative bench in Canadian history.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister broke his promise to balance the budget. Instead he is choosing to continue spending irresponsibly. This Liberal government has spent over $250 million on an Asian infrastructure bank, not in Canada, but in China, to build pipelines and roads in China.
    When will this Prime Minister stop spending Canadians' money in China?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is, we are investing in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with other countries. It is very important to have a bank that helps the countries facing the greatest challenges. That is important.
    At this time, there is only one investment in China through the bank, and that investment will help improve our environment. That is crucial. At the same time, we must continue working with other countries to improve the global economy. That is very important to Canada as well.
    Mr. Speaker, here are the facts. More than 40% of Canada's infrastructure budget has not been invested in our country, in our provinces or in our municipalities. This Prime Minister, who cannot tell China from Japan, is wasting Canadians' money by investing in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in China.
    My question is simple. Can the Prime Minister explain why he is spending Canadians' money in China, even though Canadians right here at home have urgent needs?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    We are investing in Canada. We have 4,700 projects under way across the country to build roads and bridges, to invest in our communities and to make this country greener. Canadians watching us at home know that this government will always invest in 21st-century infrastructure, which will be more modern, greener and more resilient.
    The Conservatives voted against all of these measures. We will continue to invest for Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the foreign affairs minister has announced a massive diplomatic breakthrough with China. That country's leaders have given the Prime Minister the nickname “little potato”.
    In order to reciprocate that gift, he provided them with a quarter of a billion dollars of Canadian tax money in the form of a contribution to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That is no small potatoes, even for this spend-happy Prime Minister.
    Will the government finally show some respect for taxpayers and cancel this waste of money?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things we know is that the environment is global. One of the things we know is that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has made one investment in China, and that is to help China get off coal so it can actually reduce emissions. What we also know is that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is going to make investments in less-developed countries, investments that are going to help our global economy. We happen to understand that the Canadian economy is part of the global economy, so we will continue to work with other nations to make sure that we enhance our global economy and do it while also enhancing our environment.
    It is to get it off coal, Mr. Speaker, and yet just yesterday, Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and energy markets at Harvard University, indicated that China is investing in 300 new coal-fired plants. That is after the quarter-billion-dollar handout this Prime Minister is giving China through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That is our tax dollars for China. If this is really about getting off coal, how many tonnes of coal will the Chinese burn in the next decade?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will continue to support an international effort to look at international development banks around the world. What are these banks intended to do? They are intended to help countries that are facing significant economic challenges address and meet those challenges for the future. That is something we will continue to do.
    The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is an important development bank, one that is helping countries across Asia. We are proud to work together with like-minded countries, as the Prime Minister mentioned, such as Australia and Germany, in helping to make sure that—
    Order. The hon. member for North Island—Powell River.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, veterans are tired of waiting for services. The Liberals have still not hired enough case managers to meet the needs of veterans in a timely manner. The case managers are essential, as they serve as a first point of contact and are key for severely disabled veterans, who face significant red tape. The ratio of case managers falls short of the Liberals' promise.
    Veterans should have access to the benefits they are entitled to for serving our country. When will the promised number of case managers finally be hired?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is well aware that the previous Conservative government gutted the funding in the Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, when it was done, there were only 190 case workers. Because of our investment in 2015, now there are well over 400 case workers at Veterans Affairs. In fact, we say yes to veterans when they come forward for help, which means that there is an over 60% increase in applications. Yes, we have supported and we will continue to support veterans in this country.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, I do not need a lecture from the Liberals on the environment.
    They continue to subsidize oil companies, and they bought an old $4.5-billion pipeline. That is not what you call leadership. The NDP is proposing a bold, concrete plan to make homes more energy efficient. Not only will this plan reduce greenhouse gases, but it will also create good jobs and save families a lot of money.
    When will the government understand that it is possible to combat climate change and work for the people at the same time?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to point out to the member that the things the NDP is talking about doing now we started doing several years ago. Just this past year, I made an announcement in Nova Scotia that would see energy efficiency measures implemented to not only make residential homes more efficient but to save money for residents by having their power bills come down every month. This is one of over 50 measures that make up our plan to fight climate change, including putting a price on pollution, investing in public transit to an extent we have never seen in the history of our country and investing in energy efficiency. There are over 50 measures that are going to make a real difference to help us transition to a clean economy and make life more affordable.
    Mr. Speaker, more and more, communities need our help adapting to the severe weather events that are being caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as flooding is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy and the middle class. In my hometown of Hamilton, this is particularly true.
     Can the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities update the House on what the government is doing to build climate resilience in cities like Hamilton?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his many years of being a champion for Hamilton.
    Our government is committed to helping communities build the infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards, including floods. This is why we are investing $2 billion over 10 years in the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund. Recently I was in Hamilton to announce an investment of over $12 million toward a shoreline protection project.
    We will continue to invest in Canadians. They know they can count on us, and we will continue to be there for them.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, across the country, people are speaking out against Bill C-69. This bill is bad for the Canadian economy, bad for natural resource development and bad for federal-provincial relations.
    A few days ago, Quebec's environment and climate change minister, Benoit Charette, spoke out against this bill because it gives the federal government more control over provincial jurisdictions and it would duplicate assessment work. He said that it would be an uphill battle for developers.
    Why is the government fighting with people who want to help our economy thrive?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, to the contrary, the piece of legislation the hon. member points to is designed to ensure that good projects go ahead and that we understand the consequences of bad projects so we can prevent them. This is about making sure that we pay attention to indigenous people to understand their perspective when we are assessing projects and about making sure that we fully understand the environmental consequences as projects go forward. Perhaps the Conservatives' failed record on the economy is because they did not take the process of environmental assessment seriously in 10 years in power.
    This is not an anti-jobs bill. In fact, the Mining Association of Canada is behind this piece of legislation. It is designed to make sure that good projects can go ahead in an expeditious way.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, gas prices are sky high in Vancouver, reaching $1.70 a litre and more. Analysts believe that the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline will ease a chronic shortage and force prices down. A year ago, the government bought the pipeline and promised immediate construction. Last week, the minister mused that it may not be until after the next election. “Immediate” means without delay, done at once, instant.
    The Liberals spent $4.5 billion on a pipeline. Can they tell us when construction will begin?
    Mr. Speaker, if members of the official opposition and the hon. member are really serious about this project continuing in the right way, they would not have voted to de-fund and kill the meaningful consultations we have undertaken with indigenous communities. We are focused on moving forward on this project in the right way, with meaningful consultation with indigenous communities, listening to their concerns and offering accommodations, and where accommodations are not possible, being very transparent about why accommodations are not possible. Our goal is to make a decision on this project by June 18.
    Mr. Speaker, it has been over 11 months since the Prime Minister said, “We're going to get the pipeline built”, but Canadians did not know that what he meant was spending a quarter of a billion Canadian tax dollars for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build pipelines in China. When the Liberals spent 4.5 billion tax dollars to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, they promised that construction on the expansion would start “immediately”. Delaying the decision past June will cost taxpayers even more.
    When will the Trans Mountain expansion be built?
    Mr. Speaker, we are following the guidelines of the Federal Court of Appeal in order to ensure that we are moving forward on this project in the right way with meaningful consultation with indigenous communities. Those consultations are going really well. We have met with more than 100 communities. We have issued a draft consultation and accommodation report for indigenous communities to consider, and our goal is to make a decision on this project by June 18.
     I will remind the hon. member again that if the Conservatives were really serious about this project, they should not have voted to de-fund and kill that process.
    Look, Mr. Speaker, Canadians want the Liberals to invest their tax dollars in our own country, in Canada, to get Canadian resources to market, not build pipelines in Asia. The Liberals have deliberately killed two export pipelines already, and not a single inch of new pipeline is in service in Canada. Their no more pipelines bill, Bill C-69, will guarantee that none will be proposed in Canada ever again.
    My question is very simple, and the minister should answer. When will the Trans Mountain expansion be built?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely wrong. We have built and approved the Nova gas pipeline. We are the government that approved Enbridge Line 3, which has been fully completed on the Canadian side. We are the government that advocated for moving forward with the Keystone XL pipeline with the U.S. government. We are the government that invested $4.5 billion to save a pipeline from falling apart, an investment the Conservative Party voted against.
    We are moving forward on this project in the right way. Our goal is to make a decision on this project by June 18.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International raised the alarm about the Liberal shift in public policy to cater to the alt-right.
    In Central and South America, sexual violence is rampant. Children as young as seven are faced with forced recruitment, yet the alt-right is vilifying refugees. They call it white nationalism. The Minister of Border Security is feeding into it by calling refugees asylum shoppers. With Bill C-97, they cannot even apply for protection in Canada.
     If the Liberals have the courage to stand by the right to remove, will they table those changes as a stand-alone bill in the House?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, later on today I will have the opportunity to meet with Amnesty International and provide it with assurances that our government remains committed to a fair and compassionate refugee system that will provide protection to those who need it most. I can also assure it that no person will be turned away if deemed to be at risk, and no one will be removed without an opportunity to be heard.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers, soldiers, police officers, firefighters, public safety officials, municipal officials and everyone helping those affected by floods across Canada.
    Things are really bad back home in Berthier—Maskinongé. Disasters will be happening more frequently as a result of climate change. The federal government created a $200-million fund for flood mapping, but Quebec has yet to ask for a penny.
    Can the federal government assure us that the program is appropriate for the Government of Quebec and that it is setting money aside for the regions?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the program the hon. member refers to has been in existence over the last four or five years. It is coming to the final stages of its original term. We obviously have to examine with provinces the next steps that are necessary.
    I agree with the member on flood mapping so that proper zoning decisions can be taken and proper infrastructure decisions can be taken. That is vitally important, and we will work with all our partners to make sure that appropriate resources and collaboration are available.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have been caught again peddling cash for access to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Innovation. In fact, it was a double violation of the Liberals' own law, because it involved a gifted ticket, illegal, given to the CEO of an American cannabis company, again, illegal access for an American who boasted online of his privileged access to pitch medical marijuana technology.
    If the Prime Minister cannot abide by and respect his own ethical guidelines, why will he not respect the laws of Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite well knows, this Parliament passed Bill C-50, which provides greater transparency for fundraising events. It includes the Prime Minister, ministers of the government as well as leaders of all the parties represented in the House of Commons.
    This party, in fact, began to disclose that information even before the bill began to take effect. However, the party opposite did not.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal excuses clearly do not wash. This is clearly yet another case of cash for access, another shameless Liberal claim that exposure of each of these illegal donations to the Liberal Party somehow proves Liberal transparency and accountability. This is Monty Python logic, and the Liberal ethical parrot is clearly dead.
    Why is it so difficult for the Prime Minister to keep promises and respect the law?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe that transparency is a good thing. In fact, that is why we introduced Bill C-50, to provide greater clarity and greater transparency for Canadians so that Canadians could clearly identify when fundraising events were taking place, whether it was with the Prime Minister, ministers or leaders of the opposition. It is important that they can also see who attended those events. We believe that is important.
    We have delivered for Canadians, and we hope that all parties in the House will do that as well.

[Translation]

Justice

     Mr. Speaker, in reports on Liberal friends and made-to-measure contracts, La Presse and The Globe and Mail referred to a privileged communication dated August 14, 2017, between the law firm in question and the deputy minister in question concerning consultation services. It just so happened that the loyal Liberal donor was awarded the consultation contract, which had been written to reflect his skill set.
    Can the minister confirm the nature of the privileged communication between McCarthy Tétrault and the deputy minister of Justice on August 14, 2017?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Justice approves tenders, some approvals are delegated to the deputy minister and other senior Department of Justice officials. Regarding these two contracts, one was approved by my predecessor and the other by the deputy minister of Justice and deputy attorney general.
    Contracting rules and policies were followed in the awarding of these two contracts.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, where the Conservatives stepped back, we promised to step up and re-engage on the world stage, and we are doing just that.
     Canada is proudly acting on our NATO commitments to Latvia and Iraq, and we are supporting the peace process—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I know members are enjoying question period today, but we need to hear the question. I need to hear both the questions and the answers so I can hear whether there is some breach of the rules.
    I would ask the hon. member for Mississauga—Lakeshore to start over again.
    Mr. Speaker, we are proudly acting on our NATO commitments in Latvia and Iraq and we are supporting the peace process in Mali by providing life-saving medical evacuations to UN peacekeepers.
     Could the Minister of National Defence please inform the House how, in addition to these efforts, our government has recently been contributing to international peace and security in the Middle East?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore for his service with the United Nations in the Middle East.
    Our government is helping to build long-term stability in the Middle East. In 2017, I announced our support for the construction and rehabilitation of a road along Jordan's northern border with Syria. Last week, I was in the region, and I am proud to say this project is under way. Through this project, we are bolstering the security of Jordan, an important security ally in the region.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, most Canadians do not live the privileged life of the Prime Minister, with 24-7 access to a government jet to fly him around for weekend cross-country surfing trips.
     For middle-class Canadians, the Liberal's carbon tax is projected to add up to $600 on the cost of a flight for a family of four. Why is the Prime Minister forcing regular Canadians to pay exorbitant prices, while making the Canadian taxpayers cover his own vacation costs?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect, this government's mission from day one has been to ensure that we create an economy that works for everyone, not just for the wealthy few.
     I question why the hon. member, when she had the opportunity to support the middle-class tax cut, instead voted against it. I am curious as to why, when the Canada child benefit was on the floor of the House of Commons, which put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and stopped sending child care cheques to millionaires, she voted against it. I cannot help but point out that I have not received one question from a Conservative MP asking us to take more action on climate change.
    We have to work to make sure the economy works for everyone and we can protect the environment at the same time. The Conservatives should get on board.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, decades of Liberal and Conservative mismanagement of our fisheries have left the chinook salmon populations in a desperate situation. We need action now, but the Liberals just keep reannouncing the same funding they promised for restoration and lost habitat protections. However, the money is not flowing to support local fishers and communities affected by fisheries closure.
     Go figure that the Liberals can find $12 million for Loblaws and $4.5 billion for their leaky pipeline. What are they waiting for? When will the government stop making coastal communities pay for its mistakes?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that environmental sustainability and economic growth must go hand in hand. In partnership with the provincial government, we created the B.C. salmon restoration and innovation fund, to which our government will contribute $100 million over five years, with provincial funding of over $42 million. We are also proposing $5 million in funding for the Pacific salmon endowment fund.
     Our government will continue to ensure that resources are managed sustainably and protected wisely so our children and grandchildren can benefit for years to come.

[Translation]

Social Development

    Mr. Speaker, it has always been odd that the Conservatives promise cuts without ever providing any details, but now we know why they are reluctant to share their plan with us.
    The Conservatives recently published a so-called tax guide with all sorts of misleading information. Their guide included their plan to give tax credits to the rich, but it failed to mention the Canada child benefit.
    Can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development assure the House that the current government has no intention of adopting the Conservative plan to cut the Canada child benefit?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville for his hard work.
    In 2015, Canadians made the right choice between the Conservatives' plan, which was to help millionaires, and the Liberal plan, which was to help middle-class families. In 2016, we brought in the Canada child benefit, which lifts 300,000 children out of poverty every month.
    In 2019, it is really unfortunate that Conservative MPs are trying to hide the very existence of the Canada child benefit and deprive 3.5 million Canadians of it every month. It is very unfortunate.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals signed the new free trade agreement with tariffs on aluminum and steel, which are still in place today. Then the Liberals imposed their own tariffs. Their improvised plan did not work. Approximately 86% of Chinese aluminum imports enter the United States tariff-free, compared to less than 1% of our aluminum.
    When will the government stand up for our steel and aluminum producers? Why do Chinese companies have better access?
    Mr. Speaker, the illegal and unjustified U.S. tariffs must be lifted. That is the message we constantly send to the United States, and it has been received.
    Yesterday, for example, I spoke with Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate finance committee. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, and I quote, “If these tariffs aren't lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place.” Those are the Republican senator's own words.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, before appointing a judge, this government checks its database to see if the candidate is a good Liberal. Well, it is working. We have learned that 91% of political donations from judges went to the Liberal Party. It has raised over $300,000 that way.
    Their Liberalist database should be called “Sponsorship 2.0”. A friend is a friend. That was and still is true.
    Could this be the real reason why the government is refusing to restore public funding for political parties?
    Mr. Speaker, we implemented a transparent, merit-based process for appointing judges.
    We will continue to appoint judges using a very rigorous process, and we will continue to have a judiciary that reflects the diversity and quality of Canadian society.
    Mr. Speaker, putting a $500 limit on political donations and restoring public funding for political parties based on votes received would reduce lobbyists' influence over the government. The Liberals obviously do not want that.
    It would prevent the use of front men, which is something we have become accustomed to under the Liberals and the Conservatives. It would also prevent a judge from being appointed for giving the Liberals over $300,000.
    We are fed up with patronage. Voters have the right to demand a fair democratic system and public funding for political parties.
    When will this government do something? Are the Liberals waiting for members of the Bloc Québécois to give them money for their Liberalist database?
    Mr. Speaker, here in this country, there is an annual limit on political donations. Individuals cannot give a party or candidate more than $1,600. That is extremely important. These rules are clear and effective.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday The Hill Times published a disturbing article referencing a potential trend in our political system, which I cannot abide by. This is of course the use of racism as a political tool.
    I find the statistics on this subject extremely alarming, including the fact that we have seen a nearly 50% increase in hate crimes from 2016-17 across the country.
    Could the Minister of Public Safety update the House on the steps the government is taking to properly address these disturbing revelations?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, there can be no room for hate, not in Canada. The RCMP and other Canadian police forces investigate and lay charges wherever possible.
    We have quadrupled the security infrastructure program to help religious and cultural organizations protect themselves. We are funding critical research into ultra right wing, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, violent extremism. We identified this issue in the latest public threat report. We have raised it at the Five Eyes and G7 allies meetings to build international coordination against racism and hate.
    We intend to be the finest example of pluralism the world has ever seen.

[Translation]

Royal Assent

[Royal Assent]
    I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:
    April 29th, 2019
    The Honourable
    The Speaker of the House of Commons
    Ottawa
    Mr. Speaker,
    I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 29th day of April, 2019, at 10:09 a.m.
    Yours sincerely,
    Assunta Di Lorenzo
    Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor
    The schedule indicates that the bill assented to was Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That the House oppose the ratification of the USMCA until the American tariffs on steel and aluminum are permanently lifted, and mandate the Speaker to send a copy of this motion to the Republican and Democratic leaders in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: No.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in a moment I will move a unanimous consent motion.
    Bill C-97 contains two significant immigration provisions that should not be part of an omnibus budget bill. Over the weekend, some 2,600 Canadians wrote to me to condemn this action. Addressing the issue of crooked consultants is not a budget bill, and closing the door to asylum seekers looking for protection here in Canada should not be hidden in an omnibus budget bill. This is an affront to the work of parliamentarians and—
    This is debate. I would ask the member to get to her request for unanimous consent.
    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, that Bill C-97, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures be amended by removing part 4, division 15 and 16 on immigration, citizenship and refugee protection; that these divisions compose Bill C-98; that Bill C-98 be deemed read a first time and be printed; and that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for referral to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration; that Bill C-97 retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this order; that Bill C-97 be reprinted, as amended; and that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.

  (1515)  

    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Government Policies  

    The House resumed from April 29 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:15 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, April 29, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to the business of supply.

  (1520)  

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

(Division No. 1299)

YEAS

Members

Angus
Ashton
Beaulieu
Benson
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boudrias
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Cannings
Caron
Choquette
Cullen
Davies
Donnelly
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Fortin
Garrison
Gill
Hardcastle
Hughes
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kwan
Laverdière
MacGregor
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
Nantel
Pauzé
Plamondon
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Sansoucy
Singh
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Thériault
Tootoo
Trudel

Total: -- 46


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Allison
Amos
Anandasangaree
Anderson
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barlow
Barrett
Baylis
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benzen
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davidson
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Diotte
Doherty
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harder
Hébert
Hehr
Hoback
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Lake
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leitch
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lloyd
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Martel
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Motz
Murray
Nassif
Nater
Nault
Ng
Nicholson
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Picard
Poilievre
Qualtrough
Raitt
Ratansi
Rayes
Richards
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sopuck
Sorbara
Sorenson
Spengemann
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tilson
Trost
Trudeau
Van Kesteren
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Whalen
Wong
Wrzesnewskyj
Yip
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zimmer

Total: -- 251


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion defeated.

  (1525)  

Privilege

Supreme Court Appointments Process—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on April 8, 2019, by the hon. member for Victoria concerning a leak involving the appointment process for the Supreme Court.
     When raising his question of privilege, the member for Victoria asserted that his reputation as a member has been damaged as a result of speculation around the source of a leak of personal information of a prospective member of the Supreme Court. In particular, he felt that both he and the member for Niagara Falls are now under a cloud of suspicion, having been involved in the process initiated by the government of recommendations for Supreme Court nominees. Consequently, he argued that this suspicion, until resolved, has resulted in a direct impact on his privileges. He also contended that the leak has shown a distinct contempt of Parliament.

[Translation]

     As referred to at page 22 of the third edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the practice of an ad hoc committee of parliamentarians to review nominees for the Supreme Court is not new. Successive governments have used this mechanism to help them fulfill their duties. While composed of some parliamentarians, it is not a parliamentary committee but more of an advisory body to the government as part of the exercise of its prerogative power of appointment.
    The issue raised then is one that concerns government and the way it reaches its decisions, an area over which the Chair has no authority. My predecessor reminded members of this on May 12, 2014, at page 5520 of the Debates, when he stated:
...it is not within the Speaker's authority to adjudicate on government policies or processes...the distinction between governmental procedures and House procedures remains and must be acknowledged.

[English]

    On November 22, 2016, I reiterated this fundamental distinction when I stated at page 7082 of the Debates:
...when members request redress with respect to rules external to the House, as Speaker I can neither interpret nor enforce them. It has long been the case that the Speaker's role is limited to ensuring that the body of rules and practices that the House has adopted are respected and upheld.
    As such, it is not for the Speaker to investigate or pass judgment on rules, events or actions external to the House, including the leak of information in question. Moreover, as the hon. member acknowledged, this incident is being investigated by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, a parliamentary agent who reports to this House.

[Translation]

    That being said, damaging a member’s reputation is a serious matter if it can be proven that their ability to perform their parliamentary functions has been impeded. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states at page 112:
    The unjust damaging of a Member’s good name might be seen as constituting an obstruction if the Member is prevented from performing his or her parliamentary functions.

  (1530)  

[English]

    It is incumbent upon members to demonstrate to the Chair exactly how they were hindered in the performance of their parliamentary duties. The hon. member has contended that the cloud of suspicion has damaged his reputation as well as that of the hon. member for Niagara Falls, but he has not explained in what way it has actually obstructed him.
    Finally, the member for Victoria claimed that the leak constituted a contempt of Parliament. Although members of Parliament were part of the government's advisory group, it is hard to see how a leak from any non-parliamentary body can be a contempt of Parliament. Again, the member has not provided enough information for me to understand how a contempt against Parliament has been committed.
     As the member for Victoria has not clearly demonstrated to the Chair how he has been impeded in fulfilling his parliamentary functions, I cannot find that this constitutes a prima facie question of privilege or of contempt of the House.
    As an aside, I do not suppose it will help if I indicate my own very high regard of the hon. members for Victoria and Niagara Falls.

[Translation]

    I thank all hon. members for their attention.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by nine minutes.
    Resuming debate. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to be able to rise and address the House on the important issues. There is nothing more important than the Government of Canada's budget agenda—
    I apologize to the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader. Apparently, there was time remaining for questions and comments after a previous speech from another parliamentary secretary. However, since that is obviously not going to happen at the moment, I should be going to the hon. member for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan. I again apologize to my hon. friend, the parliamentary secretary, who I hope will forgive me.
    Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Absolutely.
    The Speaker: I appreciate that.
    The hon. member for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for being so gracious in allowing me to participate in this debate today.
    I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-97, the government's budget implementation act. It allows me the opportunity to examine in some detail why the Liberal government should not be re-elected this October. I say that because the government, if nothing else, has exhibited a litany of broken promises since 2015. Allow me to explain and highlight just a few of them.
    As many Canadians may remember, during the election campaign in 2015, one of the many promises the Liberals made was to end what they called the undemocratic practice of introducing omnibus budget bills. What did we see this year? We saw another in a series of omnibus budget bills. In fact, the budget bill tabled this year is over 700 pages in length, making it the most lengthy budget bill ever introduced in parliamentary history. So much for stopping the practice of introducing omnibus budget bills.
    I only note this as an example of one of the Liberals' broken promises. There are many more.
    I will spend a little time on the second example, which is the most alarming of all the broken promises from the Liberals. This is the promise they made in 2015 to run, only for a three-year period, modest deficits of no more than $10 billion. They also promised that by the year 2019, the fourth year in their four-year mandate, they would return to balanced budgets. It is now 2019 and where are we? Do we have a balanced budget? We certainly do not. In fact, we have the furthest thing from it.
    What is truly alarming is that on multiple occasions in committee, the finance minister of our country admitted that not only would we not return to balanced budgets in the foreseeable future, but he did not know when we might.
    Let us think about that for just a second. I want all Canadians to think about that as well. The finance minister, who is arguably the second most influential person in Canada with respect to setting economic and fiscal policy, will not say when the budget will be balanced. More troubling is that he cannot because he does not know. The finance minister of Canada does not know when this country might return to balanced budgets. That is far more alarming to me than any pronouncement that any finance minister has made in recent history.
    I could have understood if the finance minister would have said that he did not see the country returning to a balanced budget in the next five to 10 years or perhaps even in the next 15 years because of the economic and fiscal direction the government wished to pursue. However, it is more than just troubling for the finance minister to admit that he does not know when the country will return to a balanced budget because he cannot project that far into the future.
    All Canadian taxpayers should think about that long and hard, and I hope they do. I hope that come October, they will remember this broken promise. Our country deserves better than a finance minister who does not know when his own budget might be balanced. It is almost unconscionable for a man in his position to admit that, yet that is the case before us.

  (1535)  

    It is not just the fact that the Liberals broke a promise on omnibus bills and their introduction in Parliament. It is not just the fact that they promised only modest deficits, and they have broken that promise. The Liberals have broken promises on things like electoral reform. They have broken promises on elements such as supporting the oil and gas sector in Canada, something on which the Liberals have deliberately, in my view, misled Canadians.
    Let me give a couple of examples of what I say and what I mean by not supporting the oil and gas sector. Almost immediately upon forming government in 2015, the Liberal government killed northern gateway, a project that if it were up and running today, would be bringing untold billions of dollars to the Canadian economy and increasing the price of oil that we could have sold on the world market. However, the Liberal government unilaterally killed a project that had previously been approved by the National Energy Board.
     In addition to that, the Liberal government, looking at the proposed energy east project, changed the regulatory provisions contained in the legislation and made upstream and downstream emissions something that had to be considered by the NEB, to the point where TransCanada pulled completely out of that project. That project, which could have been a nation-building project, delivering oil from western Canada to the east coast to their refineries to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, because of the Liberal government, was killed.
    What is left? It is the infamous Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan project. The Liberal government has no intention, in my view, of following through on its promise to get that built. Right now, again in my opinion, the Liberal Party is simply doing electoral calculus on how many votes it can gain by not committing to completing this project before the next election. If the Liberals feel they can get more votes in British Columbia and Quebec by stopping this project, then that is what they are going to do.
     This is nothing more than a political exercise, but the collateral damage is Canadians, particularly in western Canada, in my province of Saskatchewan and my neighbouring province of Alberta. The energy-producing provinces of the country are the collateral damage of the Liberal government's refusal to honour a promise.
    Last but certainly not least, I would point out for all Canadians who may be listening to this debate what the Liberals did with the SNC scandal, as it is now known. The budget implementation bill included, buried deep within that bill, a provision that would allow the government, should it so wish, to introduce something called a DPA, a deferred prosecution agreement. The Liberals did that because the government had been lobbied extensively by SNC-Lavalin and they thought that by introducing it in the bill, it would allow the prosecutors office an opportunity to offer a DPA to SNC-Lavalin. That did not happen, and we know what the results were: the biggest scandal in Canadian political history in the last three decades, which resulted in the former attorney general of Canada resigning, because of the inappropriate pressure put on her by the government, and in the former Treasury Board president resigning in protest over the government's handling of that very key element of the budget implementation bill.
    I could go on for quite some considerable time, but I have limited time before me. Let me just conclude by going back to my opening remarks when I said that in my opinion the government did not deserve to be re-elected. I can assure the House and anyone else who may be listening to this debate that in slightly less than six months, Canadians will be able to prove my prediction to be quite accurate.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am trying to follow the thread toward the budget and his thoughts on the budget, in particular the investments we are making as a government in social infrastructure and in taking people out of poverty. People in his riding are now in a better position than they were in 2015 by $2,200, on average. Our cuts on taxes to the middle class and the Canada child benefit we have put forward are benefiting the people in his community.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question, but the answer, quite simply, is no, it is not benefiting any members of my constituency. By contrast, rather than making life more affordable for the middle class, life is getting more expensive for the middle class.
     Recent reports have indicated that the average Canadian family will be paying $800 more in taxes now than they did in 2015, before the implementation of the Liberals' first budget. Not only that, the imposition of a carbon tax will ensure that every Canadian family will be paying more money on virtually everything than they did prior. Another report indicated that according to a recent survey, the majority of Canadian families said that they are within $200 of insolvency each and every month. This is truly alarming, and the Liberal government has only itself to blame.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear my friend speak. Only in Ottawa could politicians talk about a deficit of $10 billion being a modest deficit. To most Canadians, the notion that 10 billion of anything as modest, especially dollars, is alarming. The fact that the Liberals campaigned that way was, I suppose, symbolic, but it became a factual representation of their alleged progressiveness.
    The member listed a number of the promises that were made, and one was around omnibus legislation. Just recently, my colleague from Vancouver East tried to hive off some immigration changes that are buried at the tail end of this budget, which is something the Liberals clearly promised Canadians they would not do. That kitchen-sink approach to legislation forces members of Parliament to vote en masse for a whole group of different ideas. I do wish, for transparency's sake, that my friend had had more of an allergy to omnibus budget bills when he was on the government benches. The constant repetition of this is what worries me.
    My kids recently watched the movie Back to the Future. I believe the future date in that movie was 2015, and they had hoverboards flying everywhere. I watched that movie with my kids, realizing that those promises were just a little overstretched. The Liberals made a promise in 2015 that 2019 would be it. In 2019, the country would return to balance within our federal books.
    I wonder if the member can ascribe that same sort of fantasy level of thinking the Liberals applied when talking about fiscal matters that the creators of that excellent movie, starring a great Canadian, made when trying to anticipate a future far off, leading Canadians down that same sort of fantasy path to nowhere and to years upon years of increasing deficits that, of course, will weigh on future generations.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend, my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, for the many years he has put into this place. We have known each other since 2004, when we were both elected. I can only say that I will miss him and the contributions he has made to this place. I wish him nothing but the best of success in all his future endeavours, and I mean that quite sincerely.
    With respect to my colleague's comments about the Liberals' prognostications back in 2015 about omnibus budgets being a thing of the past, I can assure my friend, in relation to his comments on watching Back to the Future with his children, that clearly, the finance minister is no Michael J. Fox.
    We have not seen anything quite like this in some time. Yes, it is true that the Liberals did not introduce the concept of omnibus bills, which have been done for some time now, but they have taken it to the next level. They have ratcheted it up. We have never seen in parliamentary history a 700-plus-page omnibus bill introduced except by the current government. I agree wholeheartedly with my colleague and my friend that, yes, the appropriate thing would be to hive off so many of the elements contained under one bill into separate pieces of legislation.
    As an example, my colleague and friend would agree with me that had the Liberals hived off the provision about deferred prosecution agreements, at least the committee on justice would have been able to further examine why they wanted to introduce that provision and whether it would be something that would benefit the majority of Canadians. They did not. They hid it, and they hid it for one particular reason, which was to try to make sure that they got their friends in corporate Canada, specifically SNC-Lavalin, a special deal. We all know how that has ended. It has blown up in their faces. It did not have to be this way, had they done the right thing and introduced it as a separate, singular piece of legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for this opportunity today to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
    With budget 2019, our government would continue to invest in the middle class and in communities across Canada, such as Langley City, the Township of Langley and the city of Surrey, all located within the riding I represent, Cloverdale—Langley City.
    Whether it is helping Canadians buy their first home or investing in clean energy and public transit, budget 2019 focuses on the current challenges faced by everyday Canadians and would address them in meaningful ways that would give help where people needed it the most. I will be speaking on measures that would address those issues today.
    Budget 2019 is our government's fourth budget and would build on the work and progress our government has in made these past four years.
    Today Canada's economy is one of the fastest growing in the G7. Since 2015, Canadians have created more than 900,000 new jobs. Thanks to the middle-class tax cut and the tax-free Canada child benefit, families in the riding of Cloverdale—Langley City have more money in their pockets to help make ends meet. However, it is important to recognize that there is still more work to do, and we need to get on it now. Budget 2019 is a good next step that would help ensure that all Canadians share in this growing prosperity.
    The biggest issue I hear about at doors in Cloverdale—Langley City is housing. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, but today too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market. This budget would help address this issue in several ways.
    To start, budget 2019 proposes to invest $300 million to launch a new housing supply challenge. The housing supply challenge would invite municipalities and Canadians across the country to propose new ways to break down barriers that limit the creation of new housing.
    We would also expand the rental construction financing initiative, helping to build more affordable rental options for Canadians so they can live near where they work or study, and we are tackling homelessness across the country through the reaching home strategy.
    A new rental building project in my riding, with 100 units, had more than 2,000 people apply for those units, demonstrating the need for significantly more rental options in Cloverdale—Langley City.
    Budget 2019 proposes an additional $10 billion over nine years, extending this program until 2027-28. This would help create 42,500 new rental units across Canada, with a particular focus in areas of low rental supply.
    To address the difficulty young families may have buying their first home, through Bill C-97, budget 2019 proposes a new first-time homebuyer incentive. With this extra help in the shape of a shared equity mortgage through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadians could lower their monthly mortgage payments, making home ownership more affordable. The incentive would provide funding of 5% or 10% of the home purchase price for existing or new homes respectively, with no ongoing monthly payments required. The program is expected to help approximately 100,000 Canadians buy homes they can afford.
    Additionally, budget 2019 proposes to increase the homebuyers' plan withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000. The homebuyers' plan allows first-time home buyers to withdraw from their registered retirement savings plans to purchase or build a home without having to pay tax on the withdrawal.
    I am excited about what our investments in infrastructure through budget 2019 would mean for communities across the country that need funding to get local projects done. Through budget 2019, we would ensure that infrastructure funding would get to those who have shown that they are willing and able to get projects done: our local and municipal governments.
    We would invest a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion, through the federal gas tax fund, to get infrastructure funding in the hands of those who would ensure that it was invested in jobs to build our communities. This funding would address short-term priorities in municipalities and first nation communities. Cloverdale—Langley City would receive an additional top-up of approximately $2,041,652.03. With 95% of this money going toward TransLink, our regional transit infrastructure, it would help deal with a much-needed expansion in support of a growing network for our growing population.
    Working with provinces and territories, the government has approved more than 33,000 infrastructure projects for communities across Canada, supported by federal investments of approximately $19.9 billion. In my riding, these investments will mean better highways, cleaner parks and new community centres. In fact, just last week I welcomed the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to my region for a joint funding announcement with the provincial and municipal governments for major improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway.

  (1550)  

    The $235.5-million investment will upgrade the stretch of highway between 216th Street and 264th Street and will include new high occupancy vehicle lanes, a new underpass and a new truck parking lot. This is an important step in addressing a significant pinch point in the regional transportation network in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.
    Through Bill C-97, budget 2019 proposes measures that would make life more affordable for Canadian seniors and that would empower those who want to stay active and involved in their communities. Our government would increase the GIS exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 per year to give more of our fixed-income seniors the choice to continue to work without being penalized. We would begin proactive CPP enrolment at age 70 to ensure that no seniors missed out on benefits they were entitled to.
    We would increase transparency and launch an initiative to change corporate laws to increase oversight and grant the courts a greater ability to review payments made to executives in the lead-up to insolvency, protecting workplace pensions from predatory practices.
    Budget 2019 proposes significant additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million per year ongoing, for the new horizons for seniors program so that it can continue to improve seniors' quality of life and better promote their active participation in the community. Many organizations and seniors have benefited from the new horizons for seniors program in Cloverdale—Langley City. With these enhancements, even more seniors would benefit from additional programs.
    I would also like to highlight the work we are doing to address the opioid crisis. Through budget 2018, we provided $231.4 million over five years for measures to help address the growing problem, such as one-time emergency funding of $150 million for provinces and territories for multi-year projects to improve access to evidence-based treatment services.
    Budget 2019 would build on this work and proposes to provide additional funding of $30.5 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, with $1 million in ongoing funding, for targeted measures to address persistent gaps in harm reduction and treatment. This funding would support efforts to expand access to a safe supply of prescription opioids, protecting people with problematic opioid use from the risk of overdose and death. It would also support better access to opioid overdose response training and to naloxone, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse an opioid overdose, in underserved communities.
    I recently spoke with the hard-working members of the Langley City Fire Rescue Service, who battle this opioid crisis on a daily basis. They agree that continued investments in the fight to end opioid overdoses and deaths is needed.
    Budget 2019 is a budget that would work for everyone. Through this budget, we would implement new programs that would help Canadians progress in their careers, address the growing price of medication and advance our plan to grow a clean economy. I would like to go over these briefly.
    First, budget 2019 would introduce a new Canada training benefit, a personalized, portable training benefit to help people plan for and get the training they need. Through this measure, Canadians would get four weeks of training every four years, up to $1,000 to help pay for training, income support to help with everyday expenses and the security of knowing that they would have a job to come back to when their training was done. At a recent meeting with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce the need for a well-trained workforce with relevant skills was discussed. The Canada training benefit would help address this need of business.
    Through budget 2019, we would lay the foundation for the implementation of a national pharmacare program while we await the final report of our advisory council on its full implementation. We would do so by creating the Canadian drug agency, a national formulary, and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
     Finally, budget 2019 would take the next steps in our plan to grow a clean economy and make life more affordable for Canadians. These steps would include deploying new recharging and refuelling stations and working with manufacturers to secure voluntary zero-emission vehicle sales targets to ensure that vehicle supply meets increased demand.
    We would also introduce a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This would help make zero-emission vehicles a realistic option for more Canadians by making them up to $5,000 cheaper, by building the infrastructure to support them and by encouraging new investments in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing here in Canada. To support businesses' adoption of zero-emission vehicles, budget 2019 proposes that these vehicles be eligible for a full tax write-off in the year they are put to use.
    Our government has a plan, and that plan is working. Through budget 2019, we would invest in our communities and support those who need it the most. While there is still more work that needs to be done, budget 2019 would be another step in the right direction. This is a budget that I am proud to stand behind, and I urge every member of this chamber to do exactly the same.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, my question is going to zero in specifically on the Canada training benefit. As I said in my speech earlier today, my research into this benefit showed that it was planned on the back of a napkin and is more of an advertisement for the election than it is anything of substance.
    In my community we are looking at auto workers, like those from GM, who are potentially in transition, yet the current government announced a benefit that it has not even consulted the provinces on. The member is probably aware that the provinces control skilled trades and college-based training. In fact, the provinces run most of the retraining programs offered around the country, yet the government announced an initiative in the budget without any consultation with the provinces or territories.
    I would ask the member how we can have confidence in a training benefit when the very organizations and jurisdictions that fulfill and deliver that training mandate for Canadians who need new skills to plug into job opportunities in the economy have not even been consulted ahead of this budget. Does that bother the member?

  (1600)  

     Mr. Speaker, the question from the member opposite raises really good questions about how we have a timely and well-trained workforce in today's society.
     As I noted in my comments, I had discussions with local business groups, such as the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. The members there indicated that they struggle with a workforce that is keeping track and on top of the current job requirements. There are existing training programs, many of them delivered through the provinces and territories, as my colleague noted.
    However, federal funding flows through to the provinces and territories and supports much of this retraining. The program we are discussing is another example of that. It is an opportunity for the federal government to support businesses and Canadians in order to keep their skills relevant. Instead of having to take time off, not knowing if they will be coming back to an employer, this provides support for those skills through the employment insurance program.
    The business community was also very interested to hear that there will be employment insurance relief for small businesses to support this new program. I think everybody will be very delighted as more details become available.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague from British Columbia. We work together on tourism-related issues. He knows full well the impact the chinook closures are having on coastal communities and fishers in our communities, especially the troll fleet and sport, indigenous and recreational fishers. The minister made this announcement and showed up empty-handed. He had a tool in his toolbox to help support fishers by extending EI and providing compensation to the commercial fleets, which are getting nothing.
    The government has been sitting on $17 million of Pacific salmon treaty money, which was meant to compensate area G trollers. That still has not rolled out the door. They have not received the restoration and enhancement money the government promised through the coastal restoration fund. It was a drop in the bucket. The government announced funding for southern resident killer whales. It made announcements in the fall economic update for enhancement and restoration funds.
    We are not seeing that money. In fact, the government has not spent the $63 million that was scheduled to be spent in the oceans protection plan in 2017-18. It is not getting the money out the door. Communities do not have confidence that the government has their backs and is in their corner.
    What is the member going to do to help get this money out the door, support these communities and encourage the minister to use every tool he has to help support the communities that are being affected by these closures?
     The Liberals talk about the balance of the environment and the economy. They have spent $4.5 billion on a leaky pipeline and $1.6 billion subsidizing oil and gas. It is time they invested in coastal communities and in our salmon. As a British Columbian, I hope he will step up and make sure he puts pressure on the Prime Minister and cabinet to do something urgently.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from B.C. for his advocacy for our west coast fisheries.
    I note that the member discussed many of the great programs our government has funded and rolled out. It is a level of investment that has been needed for many years.
     Yes, there is always a frustration with programs not being designed and implemented as quickly as possible, so I would offer this in response to his question.
     All members in this House want to see the west coast fishery and fish stocks survive for the long term. Therefore, we will work with our government to make sure these programs and their funding are delivered to those who could make a difference with respect to these very important issues in British Columbia and for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. I had hoped to have an opportunity to speak to the budget itself, but that of course was denied as a result of the filibuster by the member for Carleton.
    It is a very good budget for Prince Edward Island, and it is a long time coming.
    During the Harper years, we were particularly hard done by in our province and in our region. Throughout the Harper years, we saw disproportionate cuts to the civil service. We saw cuts to the employment insurance program, which is so very important in seasonal economies such as the one in Prince Edward Island.
     We saw the closure of Veterans Affairs district offices, and this is something near and dear to my heart as the member of Parliament for Charlottetown. Charlottetown is the only place outside the national capital region that has a national headquarters of a federal government department. We are immensely proud that the national headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs is in Charlottetown, so it was particularly troubling to see that district office close. However, we fixed that.
    Also during the Harper years, we saw the closure of the citizenship office. Prince Edward Island was left as the only province in Canada without a citizenship and immigration office at a very time when immigration levels in our province were increasing to the point where we now have the highest per capita immigration in the country. However, we fixed that closure of the immigration office.
    We went through a period in the Harper years of the slowest economic growth since R. B. Bennett. We fixed that. We saw an accumulation of $160 billion in new debt during the Harper years, and high unemployment.
    In Prince Edward Island, there is an old adage that our economy is somewhat different. We are not subject to the swings we see in the rest of Canada. Therefore, when the economy goes in the tank, it does not dip as far in Prince Edward Island, and when the economy is on fire, it does not excel as much as it does in the rest of the country. Part of that could be because of the seasonal economy. Part of that could be because, until recently, there has not been a lot of industry outside of the seasonal economy. The government sector is quite important. The university sector has been quite important. We have seen that change.
    This economic boom, this period of unprecedented growth that we have not seen since the pre-Harper years and that we are experiencing right now, is different. Prince Edward Island is not only sharing in that growth; in many categories we are leading the country. We are leading the country with respect to increases in retail sales. We are leading the country with respect to economic growth. We are leading the country with respect to immigration growth. It has been said that the Prince Edward Island economy is on a tear. That is due in no small part to the economic policies of this government.
    Immediately upon being elected, this government brought in the Canada child benefit. I mentioned earlier the pride we have over the fact that there is a national headquarters for a federal government department in Prince Edward Island. The payroll at the national headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs is $100 million a year, and $100 million a year is very important to the economy of Prince Edward Island.
    Just to get a sense of the importance of the Canada child benefit, which was introduced immediately after our election, the amount of money that is brought into Prince Edward Island through the Canada child benefit is $100 million a year, the same as the payroll at the national headquarters. The difference between the Canada child benefit and the payroll at Veterans Affairs is that the Canada child benefit is tax free. That is one factor. There are multiple factors in the success of the P.E.I. economy in recent years, but one of them is the economic policies of this government.

  (1605)  

    In a certain sense, we have also become victims of our own success. We share in the national housing crunch. The vacancy rate in the riding I am proud to represent is 0.3%. That is in part because of our growing population and the proliferation of Airbnbs. It is in part because there is so much construction happening around Prince Edward Island that it is very difficult to get tradespeople, in part because of our sky-high tourism numbers and in part because of the seasonal economy, which makes Airbnb particularly attractive.
    I indicated that we have in a sense become a victim of our own success. That is also the case with respect to labour shortages, which is why programs like the Atlantic growth strategy and the Atlantic immigration pilot have been so very important. It is also why programs like the Canada training benefit, included in this budget, will be very important to us.
    That success has also exerted a strain on our health care system, where it has become harder to get a family doctor. Fortunately, this budget also includes increases to the Canada health and social transfer, which will go some way to alleviating that pressure.
    This budget will allow Prince Edward Island to continue its impressive record. As I indicated, with respect to housing there is a 0.3% vacancy rate. There are substantial initiatives in the budget to address the housing crunch in this country, including measures to make housing more affordable for first-time homebuyers, including the retail finance initiative. These are all measures that are welcome and necessary, and for once they are measures that are important for a province that is sharing in the economic success we have seen.
     Under the reaching home strategy, a $3-million award, administered through the John Howard Society, was recently announced to tackle homelessness in Prince Edward Island. As I indicated with the rock-bottom vacancy rate in our fair province, this is desperately needed. The good people at the John Howard Society and the board that examines the proposals to attack homelessness are to be commended and supported. This investment will no doubt lift them up.
    The other thing I want to mention with respect to housing is something that was specifically mentioned in the budget. It is not very often that Prince Edward Island gets a specific mention in the budget, but there were at least a couple. One was with respect to new ferries for the passage from P.E.I. to Îles de la Madeleine and for the passage from Caribou Island in Nova Scotia to Wood Islands in Prince Edward Island. This is something that really has been the life's work of the hon. member for Cardigan.
    On the housing front, there was specific mention of a $50.8-million public housing project in Prince Edward Island. This public housing project is designed for people with complex multiple needs: social, medical and psychological needs. In part, this investment will replace the aging Hillsborough Hospital, but it will be much broader than that. It is an indication of where the government's heart and head are in supporting those who are most vulnerable and providing for those battling mental health, addictions and complicated problems.
    I want to close by mentioning two other specific things in the budget. There was specific mention of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. The Confederation Centre of the Arts was built as a monument to the Fathers of Confederation back in 1967. This budget included a $500,000 annual increase to the operating budget of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

  (1610)  

    The cultural industries are so important to my province, so important to my riding and so important to this country. I am proud, as a Prince Edward Islander, to be able to support this budget.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard recently announced a chinook salmon closure all around Vancouver Island. Depending on who one listens to, that closure, which seeks to change the return rate of chinook salmon in the Fraser River from 90% to 96%—a very marginal increase in return, and one that was not necessarily needed—is going to result in anywhere from $200 million to $500 million in economic damage to fishers and those who depend on the sport fishing industry around Vancouver Island.
    I am wondering if the parliamentary secretary can point to some place in the budget where these people, some of whom are about to lose their livelihoods some of whom about to lose a whole summer's worth of work, can see what compensation they will be getting.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his excellent work on the fisheries committee.
    The challenge around chinook salmon is certainly a vexing one for this government. We are constantly trying to ensure the protection of our oceans and our biodiversity and the protection of aquatic species at risk while trying to minimize the economic impacts on marine industries.
    Protecting the species is a responsibility that is shared by all Canadians. Protection of the stocks in British Columbia is a priority for our government. We recognize the declining status of these populations and their importance. That is why these measures are necessary. They are responsible and science-based, and they are done in consultation with all of the stakeholders involved.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the member can agree that there has been mismanagement of our fish stock by consecutive governments, and as a result they have had to make bold decisions around the closure of the chinook salmon stock.
     We have not talked enough about the commercial fleet. In fact, the salmon trawlers are deeply affected by this closure. The closure for them will be extended longer than the closure of the sport sector, all the way until August 20. That is a long period of time without EI or any compensation. The minister has not—
    The hon. member for Calgary Shepard is rising on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I hate to interrupt the member for Courtenay—Alberni, but he has an important question, and there is so much noise from the antechamber around us from people speaking very loudly that I cannot hear the member speaking in the House. I am interested in hearing both the question and the answer.
    That is a very good point. It just suddenly started, as it was quiet earlier. The Sergeant-at-Arms is now looking into the noise to make sure that it stops. I would venture a guess that those outside the chamber can hear our voices, so I will ask them not to talk as loudly or to whisper.
    I thank the hon. member for Calgary Shepard for bringing that up.
    The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.
    Mr. Speaker, I will start again.
    I want to bring the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard back to the conversation around chinook salmon and the announced closures, the difficult and bold decision that the government had to make because of mismanagement by consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments, especially a decade under the Harper government, which gutted fisheries protections, cut jobs for science and muzzled scientists. This has had a huge impact on the chinook salmon fishery.
    I want to focus on the commercial fleet. The commercial fleet has not been getting any sort of compensation or help from the government since the announcement of the closure for the commercial fleet, which continues until August 20. That is a long time without any support for families to trying to make their mortgage payments or keep their boats afloat. There was money put aside, $17 million, that is still sitting in the Pacific salmon treaty fund that has not been used to compensation Area G trawlers specifically.
    We are looking for the parliamentary secretary to tell coastal people what Liberals are going to do in terms of their tool box. Are they going to go to communities and my riding, look fishers in the eye and tell them that they are not going to do anything for them, that they are just going to leave them high and dry for the summer, or are they going to make sure they show up and help them get through this very difficult time?
    I urge him to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, we know that the closure of any commercial or recreational fishery has a direct impact on communities.
    The member was quite right when he talked about the cuts to science under the Harper Conservatives. We have hired 29 new scientists in the Pacific region, and starting this year we will invest over $100 million over five years, and $17 million per year in ongoing support for fisheries stock assessments and rebuilding provisions. Substantial investments are being made.
    This is a challenge. It is one on which we are getting the best science advice, and one on which we are doing our level best to consult with all of those who are impacted, including the fishers, indigenous communities, and provincial and territorial governments.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government was proud to put forward its budget on March 19, but what Canadians got was another budget absolutely filled with another huge deficit.
    As noted by Ian MacDonald, editor of Policy Magazine:
    For [the] finance minister..., the budget was an opportunity to move on from a legacy of broken promises—he pledged $10 billion a year of deficits over four years to balance the books by 2019. Four years later, the projected cumulative deficit from 2016 to 2022 is more than $100 billion, with balance nowhere in sight....
    Today I am going to focus my remarks on the current economic climate in Canada, specifically in relation to the housing markets and the government's drive to continue to spend, spend, spend.
    Across Canada, there are many thoughts about when to run a deficit and when to increase the national debt load. In my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, I recently did a survey. In it, over 90% of my constituents said they would like to see a balanced budget in the near future.
    I recognize that there is a time for deficits and there is a time to ensure that our economy is strong, but we have a Prime Minister and a finance minister who do not seem to use the same philosophy as many economists.
    There is a big question here, and it comes down to the word “affordability”. I checked the Cambridge Dictionary for its definition, because affordability is going raise big questions as we move into the 2019 election. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, affordability is defined as “the state of being cheap enough for people to be able to buy”.
    In its budget, the government brought forward two specific programs focused on first-time homebuyers, trying to find something to make sure that housing was more affordable. First the government increased the RRSP withdrawal amount for homes. Previously, people could remove $25,000, and that has been increased to $35,000. Second, the government introduced the first-time homebuyers incentive.
    With respect to the first measure, I have had the opportunity to speak to many real estate agents from LSTAR and the Canadian Real Estate Association. For several years, they have been asking the government to increase the RRSP amount to $35,000. Although I totally agree with that, we have to recognize that right now Canadians are being nickel-and-dimed. They do not have extra money to put into RRSPs so that they can take out more money when buying a home.
    This is a huge concern for me. We are talking about affordability here, but people are going home with less money from their paycheques. Canadians are paying more into the Canadian pension plan. They are also now paying the newly introduced carbon tax, especially in the province of Ontario. When I was driving last week, I noticed that Canadians are now spending up to $1.60 a litre on gasoline.
    Canadians cannot afford what the government has to offer. Saving money in an RRSP is truly not an option for Canadians.
    The government also put forward the first-time homebuyers incentive. Earlier today, a PBO report came out, and I want to read its findings into the record. It noted:
    Estimation and projection method:
    The cost of the program reflects the cost of borrowing $1.25 billion over three years. CMHC would borrow $250 million in 2019-20, and $500 million in both 2020-21 and 2021-22.
    The estimate was calculated using PBO marginal effective interest rate projections on Government of Canada borrowing.
    The uncertainty assessment is the key here, and this is what the PBO reported in that respect:
    The estimate has high uncertainty. Many of the details relating to the program have yet to be determined or published, therefore many assumptions are used. We assume no credit losses on debt; no gains or losses in the equity holding; 100% of the loans are administered at the beginning of the fiscal year, except in 2019-20 (September 1); the portfolio is fully dispersed at all times, that is, any principal repayments are immediately redistributed to other eligible buyers.... The estimate is sensitive to changes in interest rates, which can vary over time. There is insufficient information on the program to quantify a behavioral response.
    This is similar to what my colleague said earlier. It is as if Liberals come up with some of these plans on the back of a napkin. When coming forward with plans, they should be asking how things are actually going to pan out and what we will get in the long run.
    Douglas Porter, who members may know is from BMO, has indicated:
    The program will only apply to those with household income below $120,000, and with a maximum mortgage and incentive amount of 4-times income. As such, the impact will be contained to the lower end of the market below roughly $500,000 and, arguably, that’s the level where affordability challenges only really begin.
    He provides an example here. He notes that the first-time homebuyers incentive looks great on paper, but we have to understand the reality of the markets in both the greater Vancouver area and the greater Toronto area.

  (1625)  

     One cannot find an average home of $500,000 in those locations. When we are talking about this, although the Liberal government has come out with this great plan, the biggest areas with affordability issues will not even come close to what the buyers are looking for. One will not be able to buy a house in Toronto or Vancouver because that amount is lower. I am not saying it is a good or a bad program. However, as I said, it looks like it was done on the back of a napkin, because the affordability issue has not been addressed through this new program.
    Also, according to a Bloomberg report, we have to look at household debt. The report states:
    Household debt in Canada, a nation generally known for moderation, has reached levels that could be qualified as excessive. Canadians owe C$2.16 trillion—which, as a share of gross domestic product, is the highest debt load in the Group of Seven economies.
    It continues:
    Until recently, Canada had been lauded as a bastion of sound financial management. The country of 37 million emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial crisis, thanks in large part to the strength of its banks. But the extended run of low interest rates that followed sparked a boom in borrowing, with the ratio of debt to disposable income rising to a record 174 percent in the fourth quarter, from 148 percent a decade earlier.
    It further says:
    Households are feeling the strain. The debt service ratio—a measure of how much disposable income goes to principal and interest payments—climbed to 14.9 percent in the fourth quarter, almost matching the 2007 record high. A total of 31,900 Canadians filed for insolvency in the three months through December, the most since 2010. Credit growth is running at its slowest annual pace since 1983.
    That takes us back to the deficit. That is why I wanted to talk about where Canadians are at: what they actually have, what their own credits and debits are, what they have as a bankroll and what they have for savings. We have a Canadian Prime Minister who is now spending more per person, inflation-adjusted, and has accumulated more debt per person than any other prime minister outside of a world war or recession. We are talking about good fiscal times and extraordinary spending.
    Why should this concern us? With increased debt load, there are fewer resources available to provide the programs Canadians need. The final result are financial burdens on future generations, generations that are having increased debt loads due to things like housing, education and, actually, the carbon tax. People need to go to the grocery store and put gas in their tanks, although everything costs more.
     This is a generation that has less money to save and less money to invest in the future. Why? We now have a government that is going to continue to spend, spend, spend, so the debt load at home continues to get larger, and the debt load here at the Government of Canada continues to get larger. This brings me back to my original quote indicating that, under the current government, the deficit is projected to increase to over $100 billion.
    It also brings me to the data that I have been looking at in different magazines, looking at the growth of the total industry and the goods industry. At the beginning of the government's mandate, we continued to see increased growth in the GDP, growth that started under the former Conservative government. According to data received and published, we have seen an ever-growing decline in the goods industry. By looking at those charts, we can see that we were going up and in the last year and a half to two years, we are beginning to go down, climbing down to lower rates.
    As Kevin Page states:
    Output in the goods sector has declined over the past year due to weakness in mining and manufacturing. Business investment is falling. Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund recently raised alarm over rising uncertainty due to trade tensions, the potential for financial market corrections and geopolitical issues. Projected growth rates in the Budget for 2019 (GDP up 1.8 per cent) look strong given the weakness in the latest GDP estimates. Projections for future sales in the Bank of Canada business outlook survey have flatlined.
    This is the part where we must be concerned. We are talking about debt loads at home continuing to increase and the government continuing to have increased debt loads as well. How can people prepare themselves for the future?
    I always state when I am in this House that I am a proud mother of five. I am very concerned about their future, as I know that the government has no problem just continuing to throw the debt load on top of that. That is why I want to finish off with a quote that I found from Kevin Page, who quotes the writer Stephen King: “There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst.” I feel that the government has not prepared Canada's economy and it has not prepared our future generations for what it has left behind.

  (1630)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would disagree with the member's closing remarks. The government has done exceptionally well in preparing, going forward. The numbers speak for themselves, with well over 900,000 new jobs in the last three and a half years by working with Canadians from every region of the country. We have seen exceptional growth in many different areas.
    What I find interesting is how the Conservatives try to give the impression that they know how to manage deficits. They are very critical of the current government's deficit. Could the member explain to Canadians why it is that Stephen Harper, when he was the prime minister, actually accumulated $150 billion-plus in debt? That is to keep in mind that when he as prime minister inherited the books of Canada, he actually inherited a multi-billion dollar surplus. The so-called fictitious balance that the Conservatives say they ended his 10 years with was really non-existent.
    Mr. Speaker, I was really proud last week. I joined a group from LSTAR and from CREA, and we went down to Toledo, Ohio, where we saw the impact of the global economic downturn in the number of houses that were lost in those areas of Toledo, Ohio and in the Detroit area.
     We were fortunate enough to have great leadership, and great policies when it came to our banks, to move forward. Part of that was called “stimulus spending”. The stimulus spending was put forward through recreation and through the building Canada fund and a variety of things and partnerships with the provinces. We were able to get things done. We were able to keep people employed. I was fortunate to be in an office working with those people who had become unemployed, looking at opportunities for us. We put together sound policies. We put forward sound programs that would help Canadians through this crisis. We were doing it the right way, yet these people are just spending, spending and spending.
    Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank my friend and colleague from Elgin—Middlesex—London. I always appreciate her comments in the House of Commons. Regardless of whether I agree with the positions of the Conservative Party, I really appreciate her enthusiasm.
    I have been talking a lot about salmon and the impact that the closures of the chinook salmon are having on British Columbians. This should not be a partisan issue. All parties should be making this a priority, that we invest in enhancement, restoration and habitat protection and that we invest in bringing back our salmon to abundance.
    We know that question period is a very important place for parties to identify their priorities, especially the official opposition. It is April 30, 2019. This Parliament has been sitting for over three and a half years and the Conservative Party has not asked one question on Pacific salmon, not one question. This is despite having nine MPs from British Columbia, and 97 MPs. The Conservatives have not prioritized this.
    I ask my colleague to urge her party to join the NDP in making salmon a priority and putting it as a priority in question period for her party as soon as possible, because this is an urgent situation. I know that the Conservatives have different concerns. They do not support the carbon tax. They have had 700 questions on the carbon tax and over 350 questions on SNC-Lavalin and the scandal that is taking place there. We understand that each party has its priorities, but I am urging the member and her party to make salmon a priority, rise in the House of Commons in question period and take on the government to release resources immediately to the fishers who are impacted, and support our salmon.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am a proud resident on the Great Lakes, so I understand the importance of restoration and I understand the importance of keeping our environment clean. I take the member's great concern into consideration. I will be sure to share that when we speak in caucus.
    We are very fortunate because I am part of a caucus where we actually talk, where we actually sit up in caucus and talk about what we are thinking. We do not have to always agree. At the end of the day, when our leader is speaking, he is speaking for all of us because it is where we are all beginning to agree on different things. It is really interesting. I am part of a caucus that I am very proud of. I will be sure to bring that forward.

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Essex, Automotive Industry; the hon. member for Windsor West, Statistics Canada; the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona, The Environment.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to lend my support to budget 2019 as a road map to a more prosperous and equitable future for our communities. Three years ago, I stood in the House and spoke about the potential in budget 2016, that it would provide Canadians the tools they need to innovate and to build a stronger, healthier and greener Canada.
    Since 2016, Canadians have used tools such as tax cuts for the middle class, infrastructure spending and the Canada child benefit to stimulate growth, helping to create over 950,000 jobs. In fact, Guelph now has the lowest unemployment in Canada, at 1.9%. In 2018, we reduced our projected emissions for 2030 by an additional 21 million tonnes since last year, while still growing the Canadian economy and lifting 800,000 people out of poverty, including many seniors, three years ahead of schedule.
    These are the results Canadians voted for in 2015, but for the people of Guelph and me, we know that better is always possible. Despite job growth and increased opportunity for young people, home ownership for many residents still remains out of reach. As well, there is a large body of politicians who still cast doubt on climate change while the majority of Canadians are demanding action.
    Budget 2019 is our plan to move forward and build on the gains made over the last three years. Infrastructure is the backbone of any successful nation and that is why, beginning with our first budget, we began investing in infrastructure. Currently, the government has a plan in place that is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years to build infrastructure in our communities, approving more than 33,000 infrastructure projects from coast to coast to coast.
    We have heard from Canadians. They agree overwhelmingly that they want their municipalities to continue to build their communities. Because many municipalities across Canada continue to face serious infrastructure deficits, budget 2019 will provide municipalities with a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal gas tax fund to address priorities in municipalities and in first nation communities. These investments in our communities will help to build community centres, roads, schools, play structures and more, but also spur the creation of jobs, in fact thousands of jobs in construction. We are hoping the Province of Ontario will return to collaborating as a key partner in investing in our community.
    Canadians who work hard and contribute to the Canadian society deserve to retire in dignity. Since 2015, we have improved the old age security benefit, the guaranteed income supplement, as well as the Canada pension plan. Enhancing the Canada pension plan, starting in 2019, will provide more money for Canadians when they retire. This translates into an increase in the current maximum retirement benefit of more than $7,000 per year, from $13,610 to almost $21,000 per year.
    However, seniors are still struggling with the rising costs of prescription medication. Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Brand-name medicines cost on average 20% more in Canada than they do in other advanced economies. Seniors living on a fixed income are some of the most vulnerable when these costs rise.
    The first step we will take is to provide Health Canada with $35 million over four years, starting in 2019-20, to establish a Canadian drug agency transition office to support the development of this vision. In order to address rare diseases, budget 2019 proposes to invest up to $1 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23, with up to $500 million per year ongoing, to help Canadians with rare diseases get the drugs they need.
    I am surprised that I have to say this, but climate change is real. When we look at the Ottawa River tonight, we see the banks overflowing with water. We see climate change happening across the Prairies with droughts. We see extreme weather in different parts of Canada, showing that things are changing. Denying this will only make it harder and harder to address. Thankfully, we have taken action. In budget 2018, we reduced our projected emissions for 2030 by an additional 21 million tonnes, and we are just starting to get going.

  (1640)  

    Last week I participated in a student-run town hall on climate change. The message was clear. Canadian youth want their leaders to act swiftly to curb the effects of climate change. Almost every student in the gymnasium who I spoke with said that we were not doing enough and we were not doing it fast enough.
    Budget 2019 will help advance our climate change objectives by investing in energy efficient retrofits. We are investing $1.01 billion to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings. This program was just announced, with links, this afternoon. Applications are being accepted up until May 13. Of this $1 billion, $300 million will go to support home energy retrofits to help replace furnaces and install renewable energy technology through the community eco-efficiency acceleration initiative. That is available now.
    We will set aside another $300 million to provide financing for affordable housing developments to improve their energy efficiency in new and existing housing. That will help to support not only onsite energy generation, but reduce the cost of energy that is used in the housing units.
    A further investment of $350 million will provide municipalities and non-profit community organizations with financing and grants to retrofit and improve the energy efficiency of large community buildings in Canadian municipalities, both large and small.
    Since Ontario has opted out of the climate change incentives, these funds will be directly available to our communities via the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. The money collected will be returned to municipalities and businesses.
    Emissions from vehicles are also a principal source of pollution in our air. As co-chair of the auto caucus, we are looking at this with respect to the car of the future.
    To encourage more Canadians to buy zero-emission vehicles, budget 2019 proposes $300 million over three years to introduce a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $45,000. That will impact 27 models that are currently available, but it also gives a signal to manufacturers that this is the threshold that our programs operate under so they can look at ways to get their vehicles under that cost.
    As well, businesses purchasing EV or hybrid vehicles will be able to fully write-off the cost in the first year. The goal is to achieve 10% EV or hybrid purchases in the next two years. The proposed growth under the former incentive program the Ontario government was to go from 1% EV vehicles to 4%. As soon as that incentive was removed, we went down to 1% again. We want to recover and grow that up to 10% of EV purchases over the next two years.
    Electric vehicles face a major obstacle though. Recharging stations are difficult to find sometimes when away from home. I have heard this in my community and from other EV owners. To correct this and expand the network of zero-emission vehicle charging stations, budget 2019 proposes to build on previous investments by providing Natural Resources Canada with $130 million over five years. This investment will help deploy new recharging stations in workplaces, public parking spots, commercial and multi-unit residential buildings as well as in remote locations.
    This year we have brought to an end the days of free pollution. For provinces that do not have a plan in place, we have implemented a plan across the country that will balance not only reducing the cost to families through incentives going back, but also putting a price on pollution.
    While I wish I could speak to every initiative in budget 2019, such as skills training, advancing reconciliation and having lifted 850,000 people out of poverty, I can see my time is just about at an end.
    This budget is going to continue the work we began in 2015 by creating a more inclusive, a more sustainable and a prosperous country for all Canadians.

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Liberals made a campaign commitment and expressed distress over what they called large omnibus budget legislation.
     On the subject of immigration and the division of the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, which will not give us an opportunity to talk to affected stakeholders because of how the Liberals have presented this bill, did my colleague commit to that platform and the omnibus legislation? How will he explain this to his constituents now that he has clearly broken a promise?
    Mr. Speaker, the budget bill in front of us is about numbers. It is about the business plan for Canada. It looks at all aspects of operating the country, including the increase we have seen in asylum seekers, which requires more funding from us to support provinces and municipalities with respect to immigration. When we look at what we are doing in the budget, it all comes down to the dollars needed to run effective programs to support the changing needs of Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite said that climate change is real, and the flooding that is occurring across the country right now is a concrete example of that.
    For weeks and even months now, young people have been taking to the streets of Montreal every Friday to send a clear message to the federal and provincial governments. Scientists have clearly stated that the federal government still does not have a comprehensive plan for meeting the greenhouse gas reduction targets.
    Recent reports from Environment and Climate Change Canada have confirmed that our additional production has reached 66 megatonnes. Rather than reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we are producing more greenhouse gases. We will not meet the Paris targets until 2230. We will be 200 years late in meeting the target that we set to limit climate warming to 1.5°C. We do not have a comprehensive plan. The Liberals claim to be champions of the environment, but there is no legislation.
    On February 10, people in my riding worked on proposals. For example, they proposed that the government stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. In the most recent budget, the government allocated $3.3 billion for subsidies for the fossil fuel and oil industries. It is written in black and white in the budget tabled on March 19.
     My constituents asked for product labels to indicate their environmental impact and to make recycling easier. They called on the government to set a goal to transition to a fully circular economy by 2050 and to create a national mandatory system for assessing building energy efficiency. I have many more examples the government could use if it is in need of inspiration. My constituents made a number of proposals that could help reduce GHGs.
    The government is dragging its feet. I hope it will respond to this and give hope to young Canadians.

  (1650)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's detailed question almost bordered on a speech. She has touched on points that are important for the youth across Canada. We are seeing protests. We know there is anxiety. People want change and they want it now.
    As we build our pan-Canadian network of climate change programs, we have been able to reduce our emissions, during a time of economic growth, by about 21 million tonnes at the same time. We are also looking at the subsidies and we have a plan to phase them out. In fact, it is in the budget. Five out of seven subsidies will be removed and two out of seven are currently being reviewed by CRA.
    We know we have to get off coal, we have to get off subsidy and we have to move ahead with the plan. We have a 50-point plan and it is working.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-97, the first budget implementation act for 2019.
    First, this was a phenomenal budget for my constituents in Brampton North and for all Canadians. It would take far more than 10 minutes to talk about all of its strengths, but I will highlight some of its biggest wins for Brampton in the time I have been given.
    In a city as fast growing as Brampton, infrastructure spending is especially critical. More Bramptonians make use of our roads and public transit system every day. Brampton Transit saw its ridership grow by 14% last year, with over 30 million total rides, making it the fastest-growing transit system in Canada. Budget 2019 embraces and invests in that growth.
     A one-time transfer directly to municipalities will see the City of Brampton receive over $16.6 million in additional infrastructure spending. The region of Peel, which Brampton is in, is receiving a further $41 million through this transfer. This is money that can go toward improvements to our roads and highways. It can buy new buses, in addition to the 22 buses our government has already funded, or renovate transit hubs. It can make critical repairs to our water and waste water system. It can go toward new sports or cultural centres as well.
     This funding is a big deal for Brampton, and I am thrilled it was in our budget.
    However, let us not forget why this money is so important. Our government has billions of dollars on the table for the Province of Ontario through our investing in Canada infrastructure program, and $8.3 billion are available for public transit alone. Can my city apply directly to the federal government for funding? No, it cannot. For that funding to be available, the provincial government needs to come to the table. It is Premier Ford's responsibility to open up funding streams to be a full partner and get these projects going.
    I have had many meetings with my city councillors, regional councillors and the mayor of Brampton. We all seem to agree that these projects cannot open up soon enough. However, it seems that Doug Ford does not want to invest, does not want to create jobs. Time is running out. The summer construction season is practically under way. Unions, trade associations and contractors are speaking up. They are concerned they will not have any work this summer.
     While the province refuses to let cities apply for public transit funding, refuses to let them apply for any infrastructure funding, billions of dollars are being left on the table, as are the jobs and projects that come with it.
     However, perhaps I am focusing too much on public transit funding. After all, looking at the Ontario transit plan, it does not look like Premier Ford intends for Brampton to receive any of it. A $28.5-billion transit line for downtown Toronto will take up every drop of infrastructure funding from multiple levels of government and then some, while leaving my city and my constituents out in the cold.
    However, the municipal infrastructure funding is far from the only important part of budget 2019 for Brampton North.
     If there is one thing my constituents have wanted in Brampton for a very long time, it is a university. Much like our government, we are a city that strongly believes in the value of learning and access to a good education. Our government's changes to make post-secondary education more affordable have been well received.
     Within our first year of government, we increased Canada student grants by 50%. We ensured that graduates were not required to start making payments on their loan until they were earning $25,000 a year. We have more than doubled the number of Canada summer jobs so more students can get valuable work experience and save money for tuition or living costs.
     Changes proposed in budget 2019, which are included in Bill C-97, will extend the interest-free period on student loans by six months, giving students room to breathe following graduation.

  (1655)  

    Investing in all levels of education, including post-secondary education, is essential to ensuring young people get the skills, training and opportunities they need to succeed in the workforce, now and well into the future. Our government understands that. My constituents understand that. I am proud that many of them joined in the province-wide walkout on April 4 to protest Premier Ford's education system changes. While we are making the six-month period interest-free, Premier Ford has taken away that period completely.
     This is why so many of my constituents were devastated when one of the first things the newly elected Conservative provincial government did was cut the funding for the downtown Ryerson University campus. The cuts were unexpected and they blew a hole in Brampton's vision for an economic revitalization of our downtown core. They were universally condemned by my community.
     I recall the president of Brampton's board of trade commenting that the move to cut funding did not inspire confidence in the government's decision-making—
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I do wish my friend well if she has future plans of pursuing a seat at Queen's Park, but the topic we are supposed to be addressing is the federal budget. I know there is a lot in there that the government probably does not want to talk about, but I wonder if you could call the member to order and encourage her to address the issue before the House at the moment.
    I remind the hon. member that we are discussing the federal budget, not the provincial budget. I will let her continue. I am sure she is coming around to the federal government, so I will leave it to her to bring it back.
    Mr. Speaker, this is completely relevant. I am contrasting what happens when there is a government with a vision that makes cuts and a government that invests in growth.
    After that university cancellation announcement, both I and my fellow Brampton MPs spent months speaking with Ryerson and with my city and with provincial counterparts. We advocated tirelessly to our colleagues, including the hon. Minister of Finance, to ensure that Brampton's interests were being heard, even if the province was not listening.
    It worked. Included in budget 2019 was an $80 million investment over four years to support three or more cybersecurity networks across Canada, which are affiliated with a post-secondary institution. Ryerson's cybersecure catalyst was mentioned by name, and I believe it will be a strong contender for the funding. We are expecting to make announcements in the coming months.
    Another common issue constituents raise with me is the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. As our government has constantly said, we firmly believe that no Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescription medication or putting food on the table. While Canadians are proud of our health care system, they are still forced to make this impossible decision.
    I could draw attention once again to the many cuts to health care funding that Premier Ford's government has managed to put forward in a remarkably short amount of time, but there is just too much ground to cover there and not enough time in the few minutes I have left.
     In budget 2018, our government established an advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare. After talking to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, we are awaiting its final report. However, through budget 2019, we are laying the foundation for a national program. This includes the creation of a Canadian drug agency. Together with the provinces and territories, this agency will negotiate drug prices for all Canadians, lowering costs by up to $3 billion per year. We are also putting in place a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases which will help families most in need.
    Looking through this legislation and comparing it to recent events, I am convinced this budget truly has the interests of Canadians at heart. We are taking action to make their lives better in real and tangible ways. We are helping the people who need it most, not burying our heads in the sand through cuts and more cuts. We are giving people the tools they need to grow Canada's economy on their own. It is their hard work that is building an incredibly strong economy for today and laying the foundation for continued growth for years to come.

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to hear the perspective of those at Queen's Park and those working hard to join them.
    I want to zero in on one particular aspect of the budget, which is the investments made by the current government regarding infrastructure in Asia.
     The finance minister tells us that giving money to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build pipelines in Asia, which is a tool for advancing Chinese foreign policy, is about demonstrating our commitment to international development and green improvements. I think he knows there are many organizations we can co-operate with internationally that are doing development, that have much better environmental and human rights standards and that do not have the same transparency problems as the AIIB. In fact, President Obama highlighted these transparency and other problems with respect to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, never mind the current ongoing problems with respect to Canada-China relations.
    My constituents are wondering, and I suspect the people in Brampton are as well, why their hard-earned tax dollars are going to build infrastructure in Asia in a way that is not transparent and accountable, when at the very least we could be working with development vehicles that do not have the same problems. At best, perhaps we could be using those resources to invest and respond to the infrastructure needs we have in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, in my speech and on many occasions in the House, such as in question period and in the debates, we have heard time and time again about the many investments that have been made by our government. This investment will reduce the use of coal in China. However, I would like to talk about our energy and environmental policies in Canada as well. We are investing here to ensure that the concerns of Canadians with respect to climate change are heard and understood by this government. We are taking real action. We have yet to hear any ideas from the Conservatives when it comes to climate change or what they would propose instead.
     I know China will benefit greatly, but so will we and the world. When growing up, I remember the smog advisories throughout almost the entire summer, day after day. Now there are none. Therefore, any initiative that is taken and any money that is invested to improve the environment is a good investment not only for Canadians, but for the whole globe.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is one important issue happening across Canada, and that is with respect to bankruptcy and insolvency. In the last election, the Liberals said they would fix that. I know the member did not mention it in her speech, but during bankruptcy protection, the first thing that happens to the majority of people is their severance and vacation pays are taken away. Then, if the company is insolvent and has to declare bankruptcy because it is in a deficit, all the pensioners lose. Therefore, this is a huge issue.
     The Liberal government said that it was going to fix it. This was the last time it could try to do that in its budget and all it did was a bit of window dressing. There is nothing in it that states that pensioners would have their pensions protected either as a secured creditor or in some type of guaranteed pension fund. I want to know why this was omitted and what the government plans on doing about it.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that I have colleagues in the House, such as the Minister of Seniors, who have been working hard on this issue, and that does not stop with this budget. However, I would like to highlight some of the steps that have been taken in this budget.
    We have taken a whole-of-government evidence-based approach to addressing these concerns, using all the levers that our government has at its disposal. That is why, through this legislation, we would be establishing tools to promote responsible corporate behaviour toward pensioners and better protect Canadians. These changes include allowing courts to examine executive compensation in insolvency cases to make proceedings fairer and more transparent; establishing better oversight of executive compensation and setting higher expectations for corporate behaviour by mandating shareholders' votes on approaches to compensation; and enhancing income security for Canadians with a disability by ensuring when individuals are in bankruptcy, creditors will not have access to the monies deposited and held in registered disability savings plans. These steps will help ensure that those who need the money or who have a pension will get it.
    It does not stop there. We are looking at other ways and avenues to protect our pensioners.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about the budget implementation act, 2019. While the budget acknowledges anxieties facing Canadians today, the government is failing to show a sense of urgency for addressing the underlying causes.
     The budget contains misguided priorities and also includes delays and a lack of funding for serious issues, such as climate change, child care and universal prescription drug coverage. With the last budget of its mandate, the Liberal government has failed to take the bold actions Canadians want to build a more sustainable and equitable future and a better Canada.
    Canadians, particularly young Canadians, are deeply worried about climate change. Last month, high school students in Nelson joined thousands from across the country and the world, who had been walking out of class to demand stronger action on climate change. I also received passionate letters from grades 5 and 6 Ktunaxa students. They are worried about polar bears and the environment. I have special concern for my granddaughter Lalita, who at times worries if her generation will have a future at all.
    The IPCC says we have less than 12 years to act to avert climate catastrophe and a recent report found Canada was warming at twice the global average. Bold, urgent action is needed. However, the budget continues to delay phasing out fossil fuel subsidies that jeopardize our ability to transition to a green economy before it is too late. It proposes simply to study subsidies pointing to a peer review process announced last June.
     Earlier this month, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development found the government's attempts to study fossil fuel subsidies had been flawed. Her audits found the government had failed to do a fulsome inventory of subsidies and did not consider long-term environmental and social impacts on an equal basis with economic factors.
     The time is now to end fossil fuel subsidies and begin the shift to renewable energy, public transit and energy efficiency. That should not, however, include handouts to hugely profitable corporations such as Loblaws. Actions such as that show the government is out of touch and failing to support Canada's small businesses and workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
    As the NDP's critic for national parks, I am also disappointed to see no funding has been allocated to protect Parks Canada's assets from climate change despite a recent report commissioned by the agency estimating this would cost up to $3.3 billion. In fact, it seems Parks Canada has lost $15 million from its budget, which was returned to the fiscal framework after the cancellation of the Icefields Trail project instead of being allocated to other urgent park priorities, like adaptation.
    Canadians are also deeply anxious about affordability issues. They are grappling with sky-high housing costs in a time of stagnant wages and precarious work. The dream of owning a home and being able to retire feel like they are slipping out of reach for many.
     The budget includes measures targeting millennials who want to buy their first home, but these measures are misguided. One proposal is to increase the amount first-time homebuyers can borrow from their registered retirement savings plans to $35,000. However, Abacus Data reports its research found only 36% of millennials even had an RRSP. Many young Canadians are struggling to save for a home or their retirement because of high student debt and lack of affordable child care. The budget does little to address these issues.
    In British Columbia, the $10-a-day child care pilot project introduced by the NDP government has been a game-changer for the families selected to participate, including one of my former staff members in Nelson. There have been media reports of families saving around $1,000 a month or more on child care under that program.
     The budget acknowledges that the lack of affordable child care is putting education, employment and home ownership out of reach for parents, particularly mothers. Despite this, the 2019 budget provides no new funding to make affordable child care a reality for more families.
     One of my staff members in Ottawa spends more than a third of her take-home pay on day care for her toddler, but considers herself lucky because she was able to secure a licensed spot. Like most of the country, in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, there is a shortage of licensed child care spots and parents sign up for wait-lists before their children are even born.
     The budget acknowledges that women's participation in the workforce has stalled since the early 2000s and researchers cite access to quality, affordable child care as an important factor in encouraging women's attachment to the workforce.
     Last month the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club announced it was closing its licensed child care program for three-year-olds to five-year-olds because it had been unable to recruit qualified staff.

  (1710)  

    Recruitment and retention of early childhood educators is a major problem in Canada due to the low wages in this female dominated field. However, the federal government is not taking urgent action to address this issue.
    Meanwhile, Sarah, a pharmacist in Kimberley, is leading an effort to get more after school care programs running in town. She conducted a survey that found that many local mothers are unable to work because of the lack of after school care or their employment options are extremely limited due to school hours.
    Almost two decades ago, scholar Rianne Mahon termed the quest for universal child care the never-ending story. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has called it a long-term vision. Frankly, mothers are done listening to this story. An NDP budget would make funding universal, high-quality, affordable child care a priority, because it is good for families, for children and for the economy.
    I was also disappointed to see that the budget would take the half-measure of reducing interest rates on student loans instead of eliminating interest entirely. Last month I wrote to the Minister of Finance and theMinister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to request that they follow B.C.'s lead. It stopped charging interest on provincial student loans this February.
    Too many Canadians of all ages are also anxious about how they will afford the medications they need, and the health of our nation is suffering. My constituency offices have heard stories of people taking half doses of their medications, risking anaphylactic reactions instead of purchasing EpiPens or waiting until payday to fill prescriptions.
    Instead of acting with a sense of urgency to establish a universal, comprehensive public pharmacare program that would lower drug costs and cover everyone, the budget would delay this important work. The budget proposes funding over four years for the establishment of a new drug agency while not taking steps to deal with inadequate and unequal coverage across the country. It would also delay funding for those living with rare diseases until 2022.
    Studies show that pharmacare would save Canada money and improve health outcomes, and most Canadians want us to fill this critical gap in our medicare system. The time for talk and study is over; it is now time to act. Canadians need to be able to use their health care cards, not their credit cards, when picking up their prescription medications.
    The NDP has a plan to ensure that pharmacare is available for all by 2020, and I encourage the Liberal government to take a serious look at what can happen if it is truly committed to a better Canada.
    Another anxiety many retirees and workers have is whether the pensions they have earned from years of hard work will be secure and not stolen if their company goes bankrupt, as happened with Sears Canada.
    Instead of moving forward with overdue changes to bankruptcy laws to protect workers and pensioners, as suggested by my colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain, the budget asks them to rely on the good faith of corporate executives. This is out of touch with the experience of retirees who saw their pensions cut while executives got bonuses and shareholders received dividend payments. Pensions are deferred wages and need to be given super-priority status in bankruptcies.
    The budget does contain some positive measures, such as increasing federal investments in broadband and setting a target for achieving high-speed Internet connectivity across the country by 2030.
     In February, I gave a speech in Parliament about the digital divide between rural and urban Canada and urged the government to make funding this issue a priority in the budget. I am pleased to see that the government is acting on this issue, but 2030 does not show urgency. Rural cellphone coverage and the affordability of cell and Internet service also remain pressing concerns for Canadians.
    I am also pleased to see a top-up of the federal gas tax fund this year, which will lead to an estimated $280 million in extra funding for local governments in B.C. and funding for the green municipal fund to support energy efficiency initiatives.
    Every year I ask my constituents whether their lives are better, worse, or the same six months after a federal budget. While the government has been quick to bail out corporations like SNC-Lavalin or Kinder Morgan, it continues to tell ordinary Canadians to wait for solutions to their problems. Unfortunately, there is very little in this budget that will benefit my constituents, while adding $19.8 billion in debt for our children and grandchildren to pay off. An NDP budget would make different choices and put people and the planet at the centre of government policies.

  (1715)  

    Mr. Speaker, many in this House will not be surprised that I followed the NDP's pronouncements on housing with a great deal of interest. I would like to ask the member to comment on a housing policy announced in B.C. during the recent by-election that would effectively double the Stephen Harper tax credit for first-time homebuyers. It would see someone who can afford a $1.6-million house, which is the average price in Vancouver, who can afford a down payment of close to $350,000 and who can carry a mortgage of $1.25 million get a cheque for $750 six months after the house closed. When Harper introduced this tax credit, Jack Layton called it a “dribbling”, pathetic little tax credit that would do nothing for homelessness or the home ownership crisis.
    Why have you doubled down on a failed Stephen Harper policy? Why are you sending cheques of $750 to millionaires?
    I want to remind hon. members that when they are referring to other members, they have to go through the Speaker. I want to assure hon. members that the Speaker is not doing any of the stuff he was accused of by the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York.
    The hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.
    Mr. Speaker, if my colleague across the floor had kept up to date with the proposals we were putting forward to benefit housing and to ensure affordable housing for the future, while at the same time improving what is happening with the environment, he would have noticed that recently we announced that we want to restore the energy retrofit program and increase the energy retrofit program for houses across Canada to make them more efficient, make them last longer and make them more desirable places to live.
    Our platform is evolving. We are looking to have half a million affordable homes in place in the relatively near future. We know it can be done, because just after the war, when the government actually was serious about providing affordable housing, it created 350,000 war time houses that people still live in across the country. These were small houses but affordable houses built over the period of about two years. We know that if the government is serious about affordable housing, rather than just saying nice words about affordable housing, we can benefit hundreds of thousands of Canadians going forward.

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, feeding into this discussion about affordability and helping people access home ownership, I wonder if my colleague could share his party's perspective on the issue of the mortgage stress test. Some of the new policies the government has brought in are maybe geared to respond to situations in some of Canada's big urban centres, but in reality, they make home ownership much less accessible for Canadians who really could afford to invest in home ownership themselves but have a harder time doing so as a result of policies the current government brought in on the regulatory side. It would not cost anything for the government to revisit those policies. It is simply a matter of trying to get the government out of the way of people who should be able to afford and invest in their homes to allow them to do that. I am curious about whether my colleague has thoughts on ways we can undo some of the damage the government has done in that respect.
    Mr. Speaker, the damage has to be shared between the Conservatives and the Liberals, because it was the Conservatives who reduced the period for mortgages to 25 years, which makes it much more difficult, particularly for young people, to qualify. We would like to see the mortgage period increased to at least 30 years, which would then allow more people to get into the market and afford their mortgages. Some of those problems actually started with the Harper Conservative government, and they have been exacerbated by some of the policies of the Liberal government.
    Mr. Speaker, nearly four years ago, our government was elected with a commitment to invest in the things that matter most to Canadians, including housing affordability for young people; creating good, well-paying jobs; support for seniors and families; and protecting the environment. In March, our government tabled budget 2019, which would make important investments to deliver on this commitment to improve the quality of life for all Canadians and to continue to build on the work we have done over the last four years.
    I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
    I have heard concerns from many of my constituents in Oakville North—Burlington, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, about affordability and the accessibility of the housing market to first-time homebuyers. To help make home ownership more affordable for first-time buyers, budget 2019 proposes to introduce a first-time homebuyer incentive, which would create a fund of $1.25 billion that would be available to eligible first-time homebuyers with household incomes of under $120,000 per year. Budget 2019 would also provide first-time homebuyers with greater access to their RRSP savings to buy a home by increasing the withdrawal limit to $35,000.
    Our government understands that the job market is changing rapidly. Many Canadians now need to develop new skills mid-career in order to pivot to a new career path. That is why budget 2019 proposes to invest more than $1.7 billion over five years in Canada's first-ever Canada training benefit. The new benefit would include two key components: introducing a credit to help Canadians with the cost of training fees, and creating an EI training support benefit that would provide workers with the flexibility to train when it worked best for them.
    We would also lower the interest rate on all Canada student loans, changing the current federal student financial assistance regime so that student loans would not accumulate any interest during the six-mon