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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 426

CONTENTS

Tuesday, June 4, 2019




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 426
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 44 petitions.
    While I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
    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.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 1331)

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
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardie
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khera
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lebouthillier
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
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)
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tan
Tassi
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Wilkinson
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 143


NAYS

Members

Albas
Albrecht
Alleslev
Allison
Arnold
Ashton
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Block
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clement
Cullen
Deltell
Doherty
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Garrison
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jolibois
Julian
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Manly
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Rayes
Schmale
Shields
Sorenson
Stanton
Stetski
Strahl
Sweet
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 87


PAIRED

Members

Fortin
Fry
Gill
LeBlanc

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1

Bill C-97—Time Allocation Motion 

    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 five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and
    That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period.

[English]

    At this point, I would invite all hon. members who wish to participate in the 30-minute question time to please rise so that I can gauge participation. Accordingly, I would ask hon. members to keep their interventions to approximately one minute, that being for the member posing the question and also for the minister or a member who may be responding to that.
    I remind hon. members that in this 30-minute question period, questions by members of the opposition are given preference, in that the government will be responding, but that is not at all to limit a few questions coming from the government side as well.
    Questions, the hon. member for Carleton.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, we rise to ask questions about the government's decision to shut down debate on its budget implementation act, at a time of great economic difficulty in Canada. Economic growth has ground to a halt. In fact, growth for the last half-year has been 0.4% on an annualized basis. Meanwhile, south of the border it has been 3%. It is almost 10 times higher south of the border than north of the border.
    Then we have the personal financial situation of everyday ordinary Canadians. According to MNP, one of the largest accounting firms in Canada, almost half of Canadians are less than $200 away from falling short of paying their bills at the end of every month. Just today, this excerpt appeared in The Globe and Mail:
     More Canadians can't make ends meet.
    The number of consumer insolvencies climbed 9.3 per cent in April from a year earlier, to 11,785, according to the latest numbers from Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
    The government has raised taxes by $800 on the average middle-class family, and further tax increases will be required to fund its out-of-control spending. Will the government admit how much taxes will have to rise if the Liberals are re-elected in October?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since my colleague mentioned the time allocation motion, I would like to remind him about everything our government has done in the context of this bill.
    Over a period of five days, we had 13 hours of debate in the House at second reading and report stage. Over 46 MPs participated in the debates. In consideration of the bill at committee, we attended 11 meetings and heard from over 138 witnesses. That resulted in 23 amendments being made to the bill, amendments that really strengthen it.
    It goes without saying that, as a government, we are committed to collaborating with all parties in Parliament so that we can work for our constituents more efficiently. It is important that we all do our utmost to achieve a consensus on the time remaining to all the parties to debate a bill in the House of Commons.
    Since my colleague talked about the time allocation motion, I wanted the record—
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a very sad day. This is the 69th time the Liberals have moved time allocation and closure, basically shutting down debate in this Parliament.
    Comparatively, we remember the dismal Harper years, but proportionally, the Harper government actually used closure less often per bill passed than the Liberals have. The Liberals have now gone even lower than the former Harper government did.
    That is quite contrary to what the Prime Minister promised back in 2015. He promised Canadians he would respect Parliament, not to shut down debate, as is happening. He also promised not to introduce these massive, omnibus “everything but the kitchen sink” pieces of legislation, which Bill C-97 is. It is a massive budget omnibus bill. It is worse than anything the Harper government produced, and within it are very toxic provisions, including provisions that cut off the ability of refugees to come to Canada.
    It has been decried by immigration and refugee groups right across the country. The only group that seems to support the Liberals in this are the white supremacists who have offered real support for the despicable aspects of the bill. Is the real reason the government is trying to ram through this omnibus legislation because it does not want the public to know about the despicable aspects it has hidden in this omnibus bill?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague's mouth was moving faster than his brain, and I would like him to apologize. He said that only white supremacists would support our bill, and that was totally inappropriate.
    We have zero tolerance for any form of discrimination against any Canadian. We have zero tolerance for white supremacist speech. I think it is totally inappropriate for him to bring up that issue in the context of a budget bill. I demand that my colleague apologize.

  (1050)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I as well am very saddened the government is using closure again. As everyone in the House knows, my community has faced some devastating news with the closure of the General Motors plant. We will have a few jobs remaining.
    I have been doing round tables for the manufacturing sector and there seems to be a message out there about lack of competitiveness. The government is moving forward on an agenda without actually dealing with our productivity issues and the competitiveness issues. Sadly, one of the things the government could do is to remove some of the uncertainty it is putting out there. If you look at our trade situation, about 76% of our trade is with the United States and basically the Americans are winning at every attempt they move forward with.
    I know the Liberals know this, but they put in a carbon tax and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it could be as high as $5,500 per tonne by 2030. It would get rid of a lot of the uncertainty if the Liberals would let Canadian companies know what their carbon tax will be by 2030. I wonder if the minister would tell us here today.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that our hearts and thoughts go out to the families of GM workers. We are working very hard with the union to protect jobs. The automotive sector is extremely important to Canada, of course, which is why we have not only invested heavily in the sector, but also worked with it to lift the tariffs on steel and aluminum.
    I want to set the record straight, because my colleagues have been peddling falsehoods. We have been able to create a million jobs since we were elected. We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. Let us take a closer look at how Canadian families have benefited. A middle-class family of four has an average of $2,000 more in their pockets every year thanks to the Canada child benefit. Poverty has also fallen. The poverty rate has decreased by 20% in Canada. Our strategy has lifted 825,000 Canadians out of poverty.
    Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the poverty rate is high in Winnipeg Centre. I was just reading about the drop in the poverty rate, which is currently the lowest it has ever been in recorded Canadian history. I even learned today that the median after-tax income was $59,800 in 2017, the highest in Canadian history. Obviously, we need to do more because there are still people living in poverty in Canada, particularly in Winnipeg Centre.
    I would like to know what the minister and the government intend to do to further reduce poverty among children, seniors and the population in general.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the excellent work he does in his riding, in Winnipeg, and more generally in Manitoba and across the country.
    Poverty is certainly an area of concern for our government. As I just mentioned, 825,000 people have been lifted out of poverty since we took office and the poverty rate has dropped by 20%. However, the important thing is that, in this bill, the government is recognizing for the first time the importance of establishing an official poverty line in Canada.
    It is important to have data so that we can monitor the issue and develop good public policies to counter the effects of poverty. We are going to set up the national advisory council on poverty so we can monitor the situation and continue to take effective action in this regard.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we do care about seniors. Just in the last couple of weeks I was in Richmond Hill, and in my own riding of Richmond Centre, listening to seniors who were crying out for help because of the carbon tax. Everything including groceries, heating their homes and even driving, as many seniors still drive, and a lot of other things are no longer there for them.
    How can the government look at those seniors, who have built our great nation, and waste money on things that mean nothing. The Liberals just want to get votes. Let us look at our seniors. What are the Liberals going to do about their living? I heard from seniors, loud and clear, that the current government is not doing anything at all for our great seniors.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague should avoid going overboard on the partisanship. Our government has done a lot for seniors. We hear all across the country that seniors are happy after being ignored for years during the Harper government. They are happy to have a government that listens and puts more money in their pockets. That is exactly what we have done. We also helped make things better for low-income seniors.
    The bill proposes improvements for the earnings exemption, which is going up to $5,000 from $3,500. We are making sure that this exemption will also apply to self-employed workers. When seniors decide to work a little longer, they will have more money in their pockets. My colleague should share this good news with the seniors in his riding.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have grown somewhat accustomed to the Liberals breaking the promises they put hand on heart and solemnly swore to in the last campaign. However, in this one instance, the Liberals are breaking three commitments all at the same time. First, they committed not to use omnibus legislation to sneak in major changes that have nothing to do with the budget. That is exactly what we see here with respect to refugees. Second, they said they would not use closure to shut down debate in Parliament, yet here they are, at a record pace, beating even the Harper government's pace, shutting it down 69 times.
    When asked about these refugee claimants, the border security minister said these changes were necessary because there was too much “asylum shopping” going on, which refugee advocates across this country properly condemned. He also said the reason for these changes was that a fearmongering campaign had been initiated by the Conservatives, with support from groups like the yellow vest movement. He actually laid the claim that this fearmongering was going on with respect to refugee claimants. Then what did he do? Rather than fight against that fearmongering, he capitulated to it in the changes we see here today.
    We see the hypocrisy. It is exactly right. I believe Amnesty International and the refugee advocates in this country when they say the Liberals have broken that promise to Canadians in three different ways. Why are they so surprised that Canadians are failing to support them now when they failed to keep their promises sacred?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, first, I want to set the record straight. My colleague said that our government promised it would not introduce omnibus bills like the ones introduced by the Harper government.
    The truth is that we kept this promise. This bill only contains measures associated with the budget. Since these measures are associated with the budget, I will answer the member's question directly. His question relates to the urgency of refugee cases. I want to assure him and all my colleagues in the NDP that no one will be turned away if they are deemed at risk, and no one will be sent back without the opportunity to be heard. Under the circumstances, it goes without saying that our government is committed to implementing a fair and compassionate refugee protection system that protects the people who need it most while keeping Canadians and our borders safe and secure. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said that our approach fits in with the refugee approach.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, with all due respect to the minister, I must correct something she said that was patently absurd. She said that the Liberal government has not introduced omnibus bills containing items that have nothing to do with the budget. Need I remind her that the Liberal SNC-Lavalin scandal came about precisely because her government introduced an omnibus bill that included 10 pages of clauses that had absolutely nothing to do with the budget? That is what led to the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
    On top of that, the minister said the Liberals have created jobs across Canada. It is not the government that creates jobs, but rather private enterprise. What the government is responsible for, however, is managing public funds and deficits. Need I remind the minister that she and her colleagues promised to run tiny deficits for three years and achieve a zero deficit in 2019?
    Could she tell the House what the deficit is today, in 2019?

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, obviously the Canadian economy is doing well.
    Indeed, Canadians are the ones who have created one million jobs in this country, but there is a direct link between decisions made by the federal government, our economic performance and Canadians' capacity to create jobs. By cutting taxes for the middle class, we have helped create more jobs in this country and better redistribute wealth. By reducing the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, we are giving our SMEs a better chance to succeed, improve their profitability and reinvest in their businesses. Not only are those results making a difference, but the federal debt-to-GDP ratio is much, much lower.
    This means that Canada has posted the strongest performance of any G7 country. That is thanks to the hard work of Canadians, but also thanks to the work our government has done.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I cannot but stand when the government denies it has tabled omnibus bills. What about the 800-clause Bill C-69? This bill was so huge that it should have gone to three committees: the environment and sustainable development committee, the transport committee and the natural resources committee.
     Instead, our committee, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, had to deal with the 800-clause bill. The Liberals cut off the number of witnesses we could hear. I could choose only three of the 600 first nations to testify. The bill would impact almost every one of them.
    Then, when the committee went through clause by clause, we had to end the review half way through because there was not enough time to review it as it was so urgent to pass it.
     The world will be watching what the government does with Bill C-69, which the Senate has shredded.
    I cannot believe that a member on that side would say the government has never tabled an omnibus bill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since my colleague mentioned Bill C-69, I will gladly take this opportunity to talk to him about our action plan for the environment.
    Canadians know that climate change is real and that we have to be prepared to deal with it and to start engaging in an energy transition. That is why our government introduced a new action plan that includes putting a price on pollution. It is high time that we recognized the polluter pay principle in Canada and, ultimately, ensured that polluters are penalized, because pollution has an impact on society as a whole and on our children.
    In the meantime, it goes without saying that putting a price on pollution does not mean that Canadians should end up paying more than polluters. That is why our plan helps put money in the pockets of eight out of 10 families while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that my colleague can list the excellent measures included in budget implementation act, 2019, No. 1. These measures are important for all Canadians.
    She mentioned the support that we are giving to seniors who want to return to work. We are exempting them from guaranteed income supplement penalties on the first $5,000 they earn. That is an excellent measure.
    I would also like to hear my colleague talk about the measures we put in place to make it easier for young people to buy their first home.
    Mr. Speaker, access to home ownership is very important.
    For 10 years, the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, and now under the Leader of the Opposition, ignored this issue. Little by little, home ownership has slipped out of reach for many Canadians, especially young people.
    To address this issue, the Minister of Finance introduced the interesting bill we are debating today. It creates an incentive for the purchase of a first home that will really help new buyers put together a larger down payment. It updates the homebuyers plan and increases the amount that can be withdrawn from the plan from $25,000 to $35,000. That is good for first-time homebuyers as well as Canada's construction sector.

  (1105)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with this whole concept of closure, it has become apparent that the government does not want to keep the promises it made to Canadians. For example, the budget mentions the word “farming” only five times. The government promised it would help canola farmers. It came out with a change for things to go to $1 million and, surprise, it is not in there. It promised to get rid of the carbon tax on farm fuel and it is not there.
    The whole approach of the government is to show nothing. It is embarrassing that we do not have the opportunity to talk about this.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as the granddaughter of a farmer, I am concerned about the agriculture sector. I am convinced that Canada's farmers are aware of all the work the government is doing to open markets for them around the world while protecting our supply management system, which the Conservatives were prepared to scrap.
    To protect the supply management system, we held our ground with the U.S. administration so we could get a good deal with the United States and Mexico. I also know that my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, is working very hard on the canola issue.
    We have presented an initial action plan and we will always defend farmers' interests when dealing with the Chinese government.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it unfortunate that we are being imposed a 69th time allocation motion. This time, it is a 370-page budget implementation bill. If this is not a mammoth bill, I do not know what is.
    When the Liberals were on the opposition side, they condemned the actions of the Harper government, which did not care about transparency or democracy, but they are doing the same thing today. The minister boasted that 46 members spoke to the bill, yet there are 338 members in the House. That is a far cry from full democracy.
    In addition, we are now talking about the most important issue of our time, the environment. All the reports, including those from the commissioner of the environment, the OECD and the Department of the Environment itself, say that we will not reach our targets for at least 200 years. That makes no sense. Every Friday since the beginning of the year, young people have been taking to the streets. These are serious protests, yet the government cannot even be bothered to listen to what they are saying and take concrete action to lower our greenhouse gas emissions right now.
    Mr. Speaker, time allocation is the only tool the government has to move a bill forward in the event of an impasse. We have the duty to ensure that all bills are put to a vote. Obviously, our goal is to work with all of our colleagues here. We do not take any decision lightly, but that is the decision we came to in this case.
    With regard to the environment, I agree with my colleague. Climate change is real, and young people across the country are calling on us to take action. That is why we were the first government to have the courage to put a price on pollution. We will always defend our plan and continue to do even more.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for continuing to defend her government.
    Many Liberal MPs knocked on doors in the last election, saying that they were going to be completely transparent, which we have not seen from the government. They said that they would oppose omnibus legislation, like this bill. They also said that they would run balanced budgets in this fiscal year. That again is a promise broken.
     I do not blame Liberal MPs, but the member is a minister of the Crown and she needs to account for the continual broken promises. Even in the bill before us, the Credit Union Association was promised that it would have two red-tape reduction measures, and there is only one.
     When is the government going to start implementing a proper regime of which everyone in this room can be proud? When will the government start keeping its promises?

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, Canadians had a difficult but clear choice to make. They could either uphold the austerity policies that were having a direct impact on our economy and people's everyday lives or choose to make new investments and create economic growth. The reality is that they chose the second option. They chose the Liberal Party, and that is exactly the approach that we took.
    Canadians have created one million new jobs, the unemployment rate is at a historic low and incomes have increased. What is more, poverty has been reduced by 20%. In fact, 825,000 Canadians, including 300,000 children, have been lifted out of poverty thanks to the Canada child benefit and our tax cuts for the middle class.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed to see we have time allocation on a budget omnibus bill that has things in it that I do not believe belong in it. We are seeing changes to the immigration act and changes that violate the agreements we have for international refugees.
    We are seeing the crisis in Mexico. My brother runs the UNHCR office there. He is saying that Canada needs to do more to protect refugees who have serious claims. The United States is not upholding its international commitments. It is not a safe third country.
     I am really disappointed, as a new member of Parliament, that the amendments to the legislation that should be in a separate bill are not being debated in this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to my hon. colleague. It is a pleasure to see him in the House.
    As I mentioned in French, which I will repeat in English, no person will be turned away if he or she is deemed to be at risk and nobody will be removed without an opportunity to be heard. The government is making that commitment.
    We are committed to a fair and compassionate refugee system that provides protection to those who need it most, while ensuring the safety of Canadians and keeping our borders secure.
    Since my colleague referred to the UNHCR, the UNHCR said that we were, as a government, upholding our international and domestic legal obligations as asylum claimants would still have access to a robust oral hearing subject to appeal whereby they would receive Canada's protection if found to be at risk.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the new finance minister on her appointment. Surely the person responsible for the budget implementation act would be the one put up to answer the questions.
    The previous finance minister was most associated with raising taxes. That minister is maybe more associated with giving deals to allow certain people to avoid taxes. Maybe that is a welcome change.
    I want to ask a very direct question about the budgetary policy of the government. When does the minister believe the budget should be balanced?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention for my colleague that he has two in one, a minister of finance and the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. It is too bad I did not get any questions regarding my file, because we reinvested $60 million into tourism, which is one of the most important industries in the country.
    What is clear is that in 2015, Canadians had to make a stark choice. They had to decide whether they wanted to continue cuts under the Harper regime or they wanted to have investments in their own lives, in their own neighbourhoods and see the economy grow. That is exactly what they have seen.
    Canadians decided to trust a Liberal government that would ensure they would have more money in their pockets at the end of the month. That is what we did with the Canada child benefit. That is why we were able to help Canadians create one million jobs all across the country. That is why Canada has the best performance of the G7.

[Translation]

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
    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 Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1145)  

[English]

    And the bells having rung:
    The question is on the motion. Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of motion to House]

  (1150)  

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

(Division No. 1332)

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
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Garneau
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Khera
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lebouthillier
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
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
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Wilkinson
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 152


NAYS

Members

Albrecht
Allison
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barrett
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clement
Cullen
Deltell
Doherty
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Fast
Finley
Garrison
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Liepert
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Manly
Martel
Masse (Windsor West)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Motz
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Rayes
Sansoucy
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 94


PAIRED

Members

Fortin
Fry
Gill
LeBlanc

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.
     Mr. Speaker, we currently have a very late night vote scheduled for this evening at 11:25 p.m. I know we are all planning on being back here for that vote, but I would like to propose a motion that I have circulated to the other parties, because I think we actually could move the voting to right after Oral Questions. It would probably better organize the business of the day. We sent it earlier.
    I would like to propose that notwithstanding any standing or special order or usual practice of the House in relation to the business of the House today, the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, currently scheduled for tonight at 11:25 p.m. be deferred anew to immediately following the time provided for Oral Questions later this day; and that at the conclusion of the consideration of the report stage of Bill C-97 an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, or statements by members not seeking—
    Some hon. members: No.

  (1155)  

    Order. As the hon. opposition House leader knows, she is seeking the consent of the House to propose the motion. It is clear that there is no unanimous consent for that.

Report Stage  

     The House resumed from May 31 consideration of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been here for over 23 years, and I have always spoken to budget bills, whether the Conservatives were in opposition or on the government side. That is because a budget is what defines our economy; a budget is what defines where Canada's economy will move.
    My colleagues on this side have highlighted, in very great detail, what is wrong with this budget bill put forward by the Liberal government. Let me start by saying certain things. I have been sitting here and listening to the Liberals when they get up. They like to attack us, calling out Mr. Harper's name all the time. The Liberal members have used Mr. Harper's name more than anybody I have ever heard. Somehow it is in their psyche that the former prime minister should be used to highlight their deficiencies.
    Let me just show, using facts, why they are wrong. The international Institute for Management Development puts together a yearly world competitiveness ranking. Within one year, Canada has fallen three spots on the world competitiveness ranking, from 10th in 2018 to 13th this year. We are the lowest of the G7 countries. In 2018-19, the Liberals were in power. We fell from 10th to 13th.
    Let me say this. In the same report, previously, from 2007 to 2015, Canada rose from 10th place to fifth place. That was under the Conservative government of former prime minister Harper. Let me repeat that for the Liberals who speak from their points. Under their regime we dropped in the ranking, going from 10th to 13th, the lowest of the G7 countries. During the period when we were in power under former prime minister Harper, which was 2007 to 2015, we rose from 10th place to fifth place. This is something they should take into account every time they talk about it.
    When it comes to economic performance, government officials, business efficiency or infrastructure, the institute says we are not in the top five countries in this index. This is terrible management. Business investment in Canada under the Liberal government has fallen by an annualized rate of 10.9%. This is the second time it has fallen by over 10%. What a shame. This is the management record of the Liberal government.
    The Liberal government seems totally oblivious to economic conditions. I come from Alberta. We have seen the devastating impact the government has had on my province. In my city of Calgary, the downtown is completely empty. Right now, businesses in the suburban area are suffering from tax hikes, because the downtown, which used to be the core economic sector in Calgary, has half its buildings empty. That is since the Liberals came into power. They had the opportunity to fix that.
    The Liberals bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, but even if they started construction on it, what about Bill C-69, and what about Bill C-48, the tanker bill? Those bills are a direct attack on Alberta.

  (1200)  

    Albertans are now reeling from the disastrous management of the government. When the father of our current Prime Minister was there, that was the first time Alberta was suffering. I was there at that time. The government tried to seize the oil royalties. The finance minister was Marc Lalonde. It was a disastrous result. Since then, the Liberals have never recovered in Alberta. During the election of 2015, the current Prime Minister said that he would do business differently than his father in Alberta. Lo and behold, those sunny days are gone. This is something that, again, he has not fulfilled.
    I am talking about Alberta and the energy sector. The energy sector benefits the whole country. It is not only Alberta's sector. It is British Columbia's, Quebec's, Ontario's, the Maritimes', everyone. It is one of our key sectors.
     What is very important is that our companies have spent billions of dollars on clean technology. I will give one example. I was on the foreign affairs committee in the opposition. At that time, in the oil fields of Sudan, Talisman, a Canadian company, had a percentage of the operation in Sudan. All these NGOs that are based in western Canada found that it was easy to target a Canadian company, so they went after the Canadian company, accusing it of all kinds of crimes committed against the environment. The ultimate result was that Talisman sold its shares to China and to India. The next day, all the protests were over.
    Has oil stopped? No, it has not. Whom will they target? They will target Canadians. Why will they target them? It is an easy way to do it for these environmentalists. All of a sudden, they disappeared. That shows that the targets of these environmentalists are where they are doing it right now.
    I want to go on to another issue, which is the media outlets these guys are giving money to. I can tell members why it is going to be a problem. What about the ethnic media? There are a huge number of ethnic media in the country. Are the Liberals going to give money to the ethnic media, or are they only going to give money to the old Canadian media that are sitting here on the national scene? Are they the only ones who are going to benefit? This is a slippery slope. I will accuse them of discrimination if they do not give money to the ethnic media.
     On the panel, there sits a guy who is absolutely anti-Conservative. He said the day before yesterday that he has a right to speak freely. Absolutely. We in the Conservative caucus warn their labour union that he is absolutely right that he can speak, but he is not going to sit on an independent panel and decide which media are going to get money. That goes against democracy. That goes against the principles of democracy. It puts all journalists under a cloud. These journalists had better wake up, because they are going to be under a cloud. Can we trust them when they are getting money from the government? Any time anyone else gets money, they oppose that. How can I believe that what these journalists are writing is unbiased? All indications are that the government is using the money it has to buy votes and to buy publicity. It is a slippery road. It is best not to get involved. The whole country has media, so it is easier for the Liberals not to do that.
    In my conclusion, let me say clearly that this is an absolute economic disaster by the government.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member is so wrong in his concluding remarks. I would challenge him by saying that over one million jobs have been created by this government working with every region of our country. We can talk about tax breaks for the middle class. We can talk about investing in infrastructure.
    This bill today is about the implementation of a series of budgets that have had a profoundly positive impact on Canada's middle class and those who aspire to be part of it. They deal with issues such as poverty among our children and our seniors. This government has lifted hundreds of thousands of them out of poverty. Compared to Harper in his 10 years, it has been absolute night and day.
    Does the member not believe that a million jobs and the series of things I just listed are good and that Canadians will make a positive judgment come October 19, based on what I just indicated, compared to what the member opposite has said?
    Mr. Speaker, those are typical Liberal talking points, nothing more than that. They are the usual huff and bluff sunny ways we are talking about.
    He should come down to the ground. He should come down to Alberta and Saskatchewan and talk to the people there who are suffering from job losses. They cannot put food on the table. I do not know which figures the member is talking about. Let us go and talk to them.
    The member should walk on the ground and listen to them. He is all about reading Liberal talking points.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague whether he believes the budget implementation bill should have included a clause to eliminate stock options for CEOs, who tend to be quite well-off already. Rich CEOs are still being protected, unlike less wealthy Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the difference between the Conservatives and the NDP, and of course, the NDP is similar to the current Liberal government, is that we allow businesses to make their own decisions. We allow the business community to run businesses out there. Governments do not like interfering in business affairs. We will only interfere if it is in the interest of the public.
    In general, businesses in this country, under our government, when we were in power, had a free hand to make proper business decisions, which is why I read the report, and I am going to read it again. Under the Liberal regime, we fell in the world competitive ranking from 10 to 13. During our regime, Canada rose from a ranking of 10 to five, something the Liberals should wake up and smell.
    Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of hearing many speeches from my colleague. I was there for his Petro-Canada speech, one of the truly fine moments in Parliament, as well as what I call his wake up and smell the thing speech, which, again, was wonderful.
    Our economy is based on exports. The member knows the problem we have been having with China, India and so many countries where we have really lost our position internationally. I would ask my friend, who for so long served as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, if he would talk about the importance of Canada in the world and the importance to our economy. Why was that not addressed in the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, it is simple and straightforward. The government's priority is not the economy. The Liberals have other priorities and have put money in other areas. The economic advantage Canada had and will continue having is not on their agenda.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to address the Chair and our fellow citizens on the subject of the latest budget.
    Over the past four years, our government has repeatedly proven that investing in the middle class pays dividends for society as a whole. Once again this year, Canadians can be sure that the government's priorities mirror their own.
    Over the past four years, the cause dearest to my heart has been seniors. Meeting the men and women who live in phases I and III of the Domaine des Forges and Manoir Thérèse Casgrain has been such a pleasure and has strengthened my dedication to our fellow Canadians in their golden years. That is why it is an honour to belong to a party that, since 2016, has repeatedly demonstrated its dedication to the well-being of our seniors through measures such as increasing the guaranteed income supplement for seniors living alone and restoring the age of eligibility for old age security to 65.
    The concerns of our seniors go beyond that. Many of our young retirees still have a lot to contribute to our society, including by extending their career. We have to reward the efforts of those who have already given so much to our country. That is why I commend the decision to increase the GIS exemption. To all those who continue working after they retire, our government is showing that it stands by them and will protect their place in the working world.
    In an ever-changing world where automation and digitization threaten so many jobs, we must be proactive to help those who still have a long career ahead of them. Professional training is a fundamental challenge of the upcoming decade. Whether we are talking about skills development or career change, continuing education will help keep the Canadian workforce at the top. The Canada training benefit is a key step toward that goal. It provides money to workers to pay for training costs.
    I know how important our skilled workers are. A few weeks ago, I toured the Mecaer Aviation Group plant located in the riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. It made me realize that the quality of a machine counts for nothing without a skilled worker to operate it. These workers are the backbone of our economy and always will be. Canadians are our government's top priority, no matter what sector they work in, and that will never change.
    Besides our economy, health is a central theme in this budget. In the short term, we need to focus on the many Canadians who are still being forced to choose between food and medicine. There is no denying that the path to national pharmacare will be rocky, and we cannot allow ourselves to hasten a process that will change people's lives. That is why I commend the creation of the Canadian drug agency, which represents a decisive step towards fair and equitable access to health for all.
    Canadians' health is an urgent issue in the short term, but we also know that the effects of climate change are imminent. Doing nothing now costs more than taking action. The key to a successful ecological transition is to change our consumption habits while maintaining our economic gains. The only way we can afford to make a successful ecological transition is by staying on the path to prosperity that our government put this country on.

  (1215)  

    Transportation is a key issue because it is both an environmental challenge and a pillar of our economy. Millions of Canadians travel by car every day. With this budget, our government will contribute up to $5,000 to the purchase of zero-emission vehicles and expand the network of charging and refuelling stations for them.
    I want to tell all Canadians that I have full confidence that our government will keep Canada on the path to prosperity. Based on the fact that 900,000 jobs have been created and 825,000 people lifted out of poverty, I am convinced that this budget will only improve their daily lives.
    Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank my colleague for his speech.
    He spoke about environmental protection and zero-emission vehicles, the creation of a drug agency and how to support and help the average family.
    Can he explain the effect all these elements have had on Canadians in general?
    Before I give the floor to the hon. member from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, I would like to remind members that they must be in their own seats to ask a question or to speak. I realize that the Chair, too, can make mistakes.
    The hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.
    Mr. Speaker, our government is ensuring that Canadians are ready to play a key role in tomorrow's clean economy, notably by helping them purchase zero-emission vehicles. Budget 2019 provides a financial incentive worth up to $5,000 for the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle. We are reducing greenhouse gas emissions while optimizing our talent and our technology to accelerate the commercialization and adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for my colleague. This question gets repeated with every budget and every budget implementation bill.
    In 2015, his party promised to put an end to omnibus budgets. Year after year, actually, twice a year with budget implementation bills, it has become clear that the Liberals have adopted the Conservative practice of including just about anything in omnibus budgets.
    In this particular case, we have changes to the status of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, measures pertaining to the Hazardous Products Act and amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. That all should have been examined separately, but the Liberals included it in the same bill.
    I am trying to understand how my colleague can say that his party fulfilled that formal commitment, made in 2015, to not use omnibus budgets, when they do introduce bills that include items that have nothing to do with the budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not have time today to explain our position, but I can say that we have created one million jobs in Canada since 2015. We know that some people do not have access to the training they need to benefit from these new good-paying jobs.
    Our government is therefore launching the Canada training benefit to help workers find the time and money they need to upgrade their skills. Our government believes that Canadians should be able to gain new skills and take their future in their own hands at any stage of their professional lives.
    Mr. Speaker, I have just 10 minutes to talk about Bill C-97, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures. I would have liked to have my colleague answer my question, since he had the time and it was not too complicated.
    When the Liberals were in opposition and during the 2015 election campaign, they promised to stop this trend of including measures that have absolutely nothing to do with the budget in the budget and budget implementation bills. This is an undemocratic measure and practice. It forces us to vote on the budget, which is a confidence vote, and on measures that should be considered separately from the budget.
    The Liberals were critical of this practice for four years, but they continue to utilize this undemocratic process.
    I would like to talk about Bill C-97 and the budget in general, not necessarily about what is in the budget or the bill, but about what is not there. Over the past four years I have raised some very important issues highlighting how the Liberals did not keep their promises.
    The first thing that I wanted from Bill C-97 was to see that the Minister of Finance was keeping his promise to address the issue of tax transfers for businesses and farms. The tax transfer issue is important because, at present, an individual who owns a small business or family farm and wants to transfer it to his children or a family member must pay more tax than if he transferred or sold it to a stranger or someone who is not a family member. There is a very simple reason for this. Selling to a stranger triggers a capital gain with a set of exemptions. However, the profits from the sale to children are treated as dividends and fully taxed.
    In 2016, I introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-274, to address this issue. The bill sought to ensure that these two types of transactions received equal treatment and that individuals would not be at a disadvantage when selling their assets to their children.
    I spent a year working on Bill C-274. I visited many areas of Canada, particularly the maritime provinces, which are represented by 32 Liberal members. I did not go to speak with MPs, but rather to speak with representatives of chambers of commerce and organizations that advocate for fishers and farmers. Everyone agrees that this legislation is necessary. I would even say that the tax treatment involved when businesses and family farms are sold or transferred is one of the top concerns of small business owners.
    I worked on this for a year. At the end of that year, when it was time to begin debating the bill, I had the support of about 25 Liberal members. I had the support of the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the independent members of the House. The only thing missing was the support I needed from the Liberals. I was able to get the support of at least 25 members after making citizens aware, citizens who then spoke to their MPs about it.
    The bill made it through its first hour of debate, but then, before the start of the second hour, the Minister of Finance made a surprising announcement. He said that the bill was going to cost the government between $800 million and $1.2 billion in lost revenue. It was surprising because the tax specialists we hired to study the impacts of the bill estimated the tax loss at between $90 million and $100 million, which is hardly peanuts, but still an acceptable cost to insure that we level the playing field, so to say.
    Clearly, these are two different price ranges. The Minister of Finance took his department's figures and successfully convinced a string of Liberal MPs that, though he understands how important this bill is for SMEs and family farms, they had to vote against it because losing $1 billion in tax revenue would be irresponsible. He promised that, by the end of this Parliament, there would be a tax measure in the budget that would truly meet those needs. He promised that.
    In the meantime, there have been three budgets and five budget implementation bills. There is still nothing to deal with this inequity, this injustice that exists for owners of small business, family farms, and fish companies who want to transfer their business to their children.

  (1225)  

    I am appealing to the Liberal members who represent rural and farming regions and who have a lot of SMEs in their riding to think about the consequences of voting against Bill C-274. Once again, there is no measure in this budget bill to address the tax inequity and unfairness. That is the first thing I wanted to note. The Minister of Finance broke the promise he made to his own caucus, to correct the situation in a later budget. The election is fast approaching and this still has not been addressed. My colleagues can be sure that this issue will be raised in a number of ridings come election time. Liberal candidates will have to defend the finance minister's position, as well as his failure.
    Another issue that is very important to MPs from rural areas is cell coverage. We hear a lot about investment in high-speed Internet, and clearly, there has been some. Not everyone has access, but there has been some investment. However, none of the new Liberal or Conservative programs have included measures for cell coverage, even though it is so important. In my riding, Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, 13 of the 39 municipalities I represent have little or no cell coverage. Over 1,000 people live in the municipality of Squatec, and they have no cell coverage unless they find exactly the right spot on top of a little hill or on the second floor of the high school.
    We have raised this issue repeatedly in the House. The member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue has brought it to the government's attention many times during question period. The government's answers always focus on investment in high-speed Internet. Those are two different things. Investing in high-speed Internet does not mean investing in cell coverage. Essentially, telecom companies are not interested in investing in rural regions without adequate population density. Individual companies will not risk making that investment because it could end up benefiting all the other companies. The government needs to intervene because the market has failed, but the Liberal government has done nothing for four years now.
    Several members are concerned about this issue. I am thinking of the member for Laurentides—Labelle and the member for Pontiac, who represent large rural areas and who tentatively bring up this issue from time to time. We voted on a motion moved by the member for Pontiac that emphasized the urgent need for action. That is the problem right there. The government talks about the urgent need to act, but it never does, even though it is in a position to do so. If the government does not want to make the necessary investments so that rural regions and rural residents are no longer treated as second class, then concrete action needs to be taken.
    If the government does not want to make real investments, it needs to think of another solution to take the responsibility for making investments away from the companies and give it to an independent Canadian agency, for example. That agency would be funded by the companies as a condition of licence, and it could make investment decisions and acquire the necessary spectrum to do so. That would ensure coverage in all of the regions that would not otherwise have it, and all of the companies that made investments could also benefit from the new coverage. That is one solution that the government could implement. Another solution would be for the government to invest in cell coverage as it did for high-speed Internet.
    There are solutions. All it takes is a little goodwill. However, since we began raising this issue, I have not seen any goodwill from the Liberals in this regard.
    I will not have much time to talk about the third item, but I brought it up in my question to my colleague earlier. It is the fact that the Liberals did not keep their promise to table budget bills that actually focus on budget-related issues. Instead they chose to play petty politics and try to speed through their legislative agenda by throwing in tons of measures that have nothing to do with the budget. This Liberal tactic is as politically cynical now as it was when it was first used by the Conservatives from 2011 to 2015.
    For all of these reasons, I find myself unable to vote for this bill. I am happy to have had a chance to explain why.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, obviously, I respect the work of the member, but we have some pretty significant disagreements about the approach in terms of the budget. Therefore, I would ask the member for his perspective on the issue of budget balance, because we hear from the government, essentially, an expectation that the budget would never need to be balanced, it seems.
    With the NDP in the last election, we had more discussion of balanced budgets, but we do not hear as much about that now. I am curious about the member's view on whether it is important to balance the budget, what the timeline would be and how that should inform the kinds of spending commitments that are made.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    There are indeed some considerable differences between our respective visions. However, I think his question was interesting, and I will answer it as the economist I am.
     When a business wants to borrow money, it assesses its decision to borrow by comparing the rate of return on the planned investment with the amount of interest it will have to pay. If the rate of return is better, it borrows and invests the money. It goes into debt in order to invest and grow, because its investments will be positive.
    The same principle applies to a government. If the government can increase productivity and economic growth at a greater rate than the interest it has to pay on its loans, that is not a problem. The problem with the Liberals is that most of the deficit they have run up was supposed to be invested in infrastructure, yet many reports, including those from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, say that there has been far less investment in infrastructure than anticipated and that the returns have not really materialized. A lot of money is being invested, but are we seeing a return, and is it worthwhile?
    Those are some of the questions the Liberals will have to answer.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP say they are not too sure whether or not the investments that have accrued the deficit were worth it.
    The member in essence was referencing infrastructure and there is no doubt that plays a role in it but so does the Canada child benefit program, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, the increase to the guaranteed income supplement and the tax break to Canada's middle class. Combined, this has all contributed towards a much healthier economy that has ultimately generated over one million jobs since we have been in government and working with Canadians in all regions.
    As we get closer to an election, I am wondering if the member could be clear on whether or not we can anticipate the NDP will take the same approach they took in 2015, when they said they would balance the budget.

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I see that the member is taking the same approach he took in 2015, that is, giving the government full credit for creating jobs, just as the Conservatives did in 2011 and in 2015.
    The government can take action to facilitate certain things, but all economists agree that taking full credit for job creation is utterly absurd.
    The member mentioned infrastructure. I hope he is reading the Parliamentary Budget Officer's reports, because, in terms of infrastructure, the money is quite simply not there. One of the Liberals' most important promises was to create an infrastructure bank. The infrastructure bank was supposed to support the creation of infrastructure.
    For us, it was clear that the bank would be a tool to help privatize infrastructure revenue. In fact, the bank, which was established four years ago and is already weighed down by cumbersome bureaucracy, has managed to make just a single investment. It granted Montreal a loan for its light rail project. That has been its only investment. Actually, it is not even an investment; it is a loan that will be paid back.
    I am listening to the Liberals talk about their plans for the upcoming election campaign. They say they are going to do this and that thanks to the infrastructure bank. It makes no sense. It is a huge empty shell. The only reason the infrastructure bank would ever come to fruition would be to satisfy shareholders and their investment funds. We will have to start charging tolls or user fees. Canadians will end up having to pay for their own infrastructure, which they already invested in.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when our government was elected in 2015, we promised Canadians that we would fight for the middle class. We have kept that promise. We have created over one million jobs since being elected and an overwhelming majority of those jobs are well-paying, full-time jobs.
    Recently, Canada saw its lowest unemployment rate in over 40 years. Recent numbers also show that Canada saw a decrease in the number of people living in poverty, from 10.6% to 9.5%, between 2016 and 2017. That means over 900,000 people have been lifted out of poverty, including 300,000 children, over 150,000 seniors and many adults.
    Since we were elected, we have seen a rise in the median after-tax income of Canadians, to $81,500. In Surrey Centre, our infrastructure investments are paying off, from the $125-million Simon Fraser sustainable energy and environmental engineering building, completed now with $45 million from the Government of Canada, to the $61-million brand new RCMP forensic lab that is about to open, to the over $900 million given for public transit funding to help renovate Surrey Centre SkyTrain stations, buy new energy-efficient buses and replace the 1976 expo-era SkyTrain cars with new comfortable and quiet cabins. Our plan is working.
    The multiplier factor is evident everywhere. Dozens of new IT and health care innovators have opened up. Kwantlen Polytechnic University has built a new urban campus. The Fraser port is growing on a rapid scale and the city is firing on all cylinders. Our transit ridership is the highest in the world, and last year, ridership went up by over 15%.
    I was 15 years old when I designed my first home, and by the time I was 16, I was designing homes as a business and for others. Beginning in 1991, I designed over 700 homes in a seven-year period, from the age of 16 to 23. Those were the years of opportunities that helped me launch my career and secure my livelihood. As I see the willingness of young people to work equally hard today, it upsets me to know that they are undoubtedly faced with more barriers to initiate and secure their housing dreams.
    The average price for a detached home in greater Vancouver exceeds $1 million, while the average price of an apartment or condo is $660,000. These prices often take the prospect of buying a home off the table. In turn, many young people and families are compelled to rent instead of buy. For those who do rent, the prices have become incredibly high as well. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, but today, too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market.
    As the member for Surrey Centre, I am all too familiar with constituency concerns about housing insecurity, as well as the impact this insecurity has on the overall quality of life of my constituents. Whether they are young persons hoping to start their careers or a couple looking to start a family, buying a first home remains a challenge, with many young people believing that home ownership is increasingly becoming an unattainable goal in their lifetimes.
    Recently, I held a round table in my riding of Surrey Centre with the Minister of Finance's former chief of staff and director of policy. Housing affordability, the stress test and mortgages were the three main points brought up by the Homebuilders Association Vancouver, mortgage associations, the construction industry, home builders, real estate trade organizations and other trade organizations throughout the Lower Mainland. The round table sparked positive conversations on how to mitigate pressure and make home ownership affordable and easier.
    By listening to the needs of Canadians and encouraging dialogue, I am proud to say this government has continued its commitment to improving housing affordability in this country, and this is exemplified in budget 2019. The inclusion of the first-time homebuyer incentive will drastically change the housing prospects for current and prospective Surrey Centre residents.
    The first-time homebuyer incentive targets young families who wish to enter the market and buy their first homes. This will help people like Karina, from my office, or Julian, who will be able to buy their first homes when this program is implemented. Those with a household income of less than $120,000 will be eligible to have a 10% reduction in their down payment with the help of CMHC.

  (1240)  

    In addition, the homebuyers plan helps with the down payment and costs associated with the purchase of a first home. Paying a lower down payment, new homebuyers will pay reduced monthly mortgage payments. The new homeowners, in turn, will require smaller loans and new homeowners will not be beholden to the CMHC for any kind of repayment until the place is sold.
    This incentive is inclusive in its objective of making a new home affordable for all Canadians. This includes new Canadians, single parents and youth who could greatly benefit from this break and form of security.
    Division 19 of the national housing strategy recognizes the importance of housing to the well-being of all persons in Canada, reflects the key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing and focuses on improving housing outcomes for those in greatest need.
    In 2017, the government launched the rental construction financing initiative, which is a four-year program that provides low-cost loans for the construction of new rental housing for modest and middle-income Canadians. To provide more affordable rental options for middle-class Canadians, budget 2019 proposes an additional $10 billion over nine years in financing through the rental construction financing initiative, extending the program until 2027-28. With this increase, the program will support 42,500 new housing units across Canada, particularly in areas of low rental supply.
    The government is also committed to working in partnership with the province and the municipality to ensure a tri-levelled affordable housing strategy for Surrey residents. In conjunction with British Columbia's affordable B.C. plan and Surrey's affordable housing strategy, the government's new homeowner incentive is a proactive measure to ensure that a future in Surrey is possible for young people and families.
    In addition to the measures announced on March 15, 2019, the ministers of finance for Canada and British Columbia announced their intention to create an expert panel on housing supply. The panel will examine factors that currently limit housing supply and recommend the actions governments can take to ensure that together we are building better, more affordable and more inclusive communities.
    These new incentives add to an already existing, ambitious national housing strategy that was released in 2017. Our government committed over $40 billion over the following decade to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast with housing affordability. This strategy considers the distinct housing needs of Canadians such as seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
    Our goal is to cut chronic homelessness in half, remove 530,000 families from housing need and invest in the construction of up to 100,000 new homes. However, our government knows that these changes cannot, unfortunately, take place overnight. This is why our government has introduced new measures in budget 2019 to help relieve the pressures on Canadians.
    Throughout this government's time in office, we have taken significant steps forward in terms of backing the middle class, and budget 2019 is another step in the right direction. From achieving the lowest unemployment rate in years to instituting the first-time homebuyer incentive, we have shown that we want to invest in Canadians and their families. Additional projects that were established to actively help Canadians hoping to get into the housing market are the rental construction financing initiative and the national housing strategy.
    We will continue working hard to ensure that for middle-class Canadians home ownership is not a pipe dream, but rather, an achievable goal.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I was quite impressed by the fact that my hon. colleague started his speech talking about his own life as an entrepreneur. I do not want to fight about age, but at a young age he had a great talent for creating wealth and I congratulate him.
    My question is about the current situation, rather than about when he was young. Four years ago, he was elected on a promise that in 2019 the deficit would be zero. What is the deficit today?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for making nice comments about my earlier career.
    When we were elected, we promised Canadians that we would invest in jobs, infrastructure and the middle class. We have delivered on those promises. We have created more jobs than ever in the history of this country. We have brought the unemployment rate down to the lowest ever recorded in this country. We are the best economy in the G7 when it comes to growth and are the envy of the world currently.
    My constituents are extremely happy, as I see that investment and growth right in Surrey Centre with new companies and new businesses opening up. The biggest complaint I ever receive is about not being able to find enough employees. I have yet to receive a complaint about someone not being able to find a job. That is the best indicator of a great economy.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that a budget is always about making choices.
    The government is currently making choices by leaving stock option deductions for CEOs in place and subsidizing big oil companies with its pipeline purchase. We are losing billions because of this, while there is a housing crisis going on across the country. The hon. member talked about the crisis in his riding. There is a crisis in my riding too, but it is a hundred times worse in the north, especially in indigenous communities.
    The government is putting all sorts of things in the budget, so why did it not take advantage of this latest budget to introduce a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people that includes much-needed funding?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am definitely concerned about housing, especially with respect to indigenous communities and bands. The current housing strategy will benefit thousands of urban aboriginals living in cities. In fact, Surrey is home to one of the largest urban indigenous populations. These measures will help them even more. There is still work to be done. A lot of work is being done on water treatment facilities. No band, no reserve and no place in Canada should have a boil water advisory.
     When it comes to indigenous housing, the member is right. The government should and will commit to creating more housing in those communities, so everyone benefits from this great economy.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, from Winnipeg Centre all the way to Surrey Centre, I want the member to know that division 7 of part 4 would amend the Old Age Security Act to provide, in July 2020, a new income exemption for the purpose of calculating the guaranteed income supplement. This new exemption excludes the first $5,000 of a person's employment and self-employment income, as well as 50% of the person's employment and self-employment income greater than the $5,000, but not exceeding $15,000. This will be great for seniors. It will allow them to continue working, while ensuring they receive those benefits.
     We are providing our hard-working seniors with the things they need to be successful.
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I heard from my constituents.
     In the summer, prior to the budget, some seniors in my riding came to my “chai with Sarai” events and some of my other programs. They said that they needed a little space, a bit of room. They wanted to work hard and stay active. The cap was set decades ago at $3,500 and they asked for it to be increased to $5,000, de-escalating up to $15,000.
     Like the member for Winnipeg Centre, I advocated for that with the Minister of Finance. I was happy to tell seniors that it was included in this budget, and they were ecstatic.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, not to sound like a narcissist, but I wonder if we currently have quorum in the House.
    And the count having been taken:
    No, we do not. Call in the members.
    An hon. member: Are you sure?
    And the count having been retaken:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): We now have quorum. They came to hear the speech of the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, to whom I give the floor.
     Mr. Speaker, again, not to sound narcissistic, but if we are going to talk, there should be people here to listen.
    We are here today to debate the government's bill, which would implement the main measures of the budget. Budgets are highly technical and theoretical, but this gives us a chance to really dig deep.
    My first observation is about the budget, as introduced by the minister, election promises and the format of the bill, which is 370 pages long and covers many topics that have nothing to do with the budget. This is called an omnibus bill.
    I will remind members that four years ago, back in 2015, the Liberals made a promise. During the election campaign, they made several promises to Canadians in order to get elected. These promises were scrapped, however. The fourth paragraph on page 30 of their election platform states the following:
    We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.
    [The former prime minister] has used prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances. We will not.
    [The former prime minister] has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals.
    This is exactly what we are debating today. Today we are debating an omnibus bill into which the government inserted measures that have nothing to do with the budget. Four years ago, the Liberals promised not to do this, but they did it anyway.
    Must I remind the House that, at around the same time last year, we were all here studying the previous budget implementation bill? The government had slipped in a dozen or so pages of legal provisions to allow companies facing prosecution for corruption, among other charges, to sign separate agreements. These provisions were not properly debated by parliamentarians. The Senate asked the minister to testify, but he refused.
    That is what gave rise to the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Last year's bill included a process to allow for separate trials or agreements. That led to the director of public prosecutions' decision to proceed to trial on September 4. Ten days later, the former attorney general agreed to this proposal, and that is when partisan politics seeped into the legal process. That is what later led the former attorney general and the former president of the Treasury Board to be booted out of the Liberal caucus for having stood up and told Canadians the truth.
    I am talking about this sad episode in Canadian democracy precisely because what we have before us today is a government that was elected under false promises, a government that promised the moon and sought to be pure as the driven snow but, in the end, did not keep its promises. That is essentially it. We have an omnibus bill.
    Now let us talk about what is really going on with this bill, the government's budget implementation bill. What is the deal with this budget? Once again, we must not forget that the Liberals got themselves elected on the basis of budget promises they most certainly did not keep. The last paragraph on page 76 of the Liberal Party platform mentions the planning framework, the budgeting framework. It says right there in black and white:
    With the Liberal plan, the federal government will have a modest short-term deficit of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years....
    The platform also stated that the deficit would decline in the third year and that Canada would return to a balanced budget in 2019-20.
    That was the promise that got the Liberals elected. Their bold but not-so-brilliant idea was to make a solemn pledge to run small deficits and eliminate the deficit entirely in 2019-20. That deadline has arrived, and what happened? Those modest deficits ballooned into three big deficits in excess of $70 billion. This is 2019-20, the year they were supposed to get rid of the deficit, but instead, this year's deficit is $19.8 billion.

  (1255)  

    Twice now I have asked the Minister of Tourism and the Liberal member for Surrey-Centre, if I remember correctly, to tell me the amount of this year’s deficit. They can never come up with the simple and yet very serious figure of $19.8 billion. How can we trust these people who get elected by promising, hand on heart, that they will generate only small deficits and zero deficit in 2019, when they generated three large deficits plus a huge one on the year they were meant to deliver a zero deficit?
    What the Liberals fail to understand is that a deficit is a bill that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. A deficit today is a tax tomorrow. It will have to be paid sooner or later. Why did this happen? Because we are living beyond our means.
    I would like to remind the House that, historically speaking, deficits are permitted under special conditions. You will remember that we ran deficits during the war. We had to defeat the Nazi menace. We will soon be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6. It was not until Prime Minister Louis Saint-Laurent that fiscal balance was restored, and I am not just saying that because I happen to represent the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    It was in the early 1970s, under the Liberal government led by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the current Prime Minister’s father, that we began running deficits in times of prosperity.
    It was unfortunate for the Canadian economy. Indeed, fast forward 50 years and the son of the prime minister who ran deficits in times of growth is doing exactly the same thing, running four huge deficits in a period of rapid global economic expansion.
    I truly have a great deal of respect and esteem for the Minister of Finance, as I do for all those who run for election and offer their services to Canadians and who, proud of their personal experience, wish to put it to good use. The Minister of Finance had a stellar career on Bay Street. We might even call him a Bay Street baron for having administered his family’s fortune so well. When he was head of the family company, Morneau Shepell, he never ran deficits.
    When he was in the private sector, the Minister of Finance never ran a deficit, but since he moved to the public sector, since he has been using taxpayer money, since he has been using money that belongs to Canadian workers, he has been running back-to-back deficits.
    How many have there been? There have been one, two, three, four budgets, and there have been one, two, three, four deficits. Four out of four, that is the grand slam of mismanaged public funds, while, in the private sector, he was a model money manager, an example to be followed.
    To say the least, he is now neither a model or an example to be followed. Generating deficits during periods of economic growth is the ultimate heresy. No serious economist will tell you that this is a good time to generate a deficit. Quite the contrary, when the economic cycle picks up, it is time to put money aside.
    They were very lucky. When they were elected, they took over the G7 country with the best economic track record. When we were in power, we were so intent on serious and rigorous management that we were the first G7 country to recover from the great crisis of 2008-12. That was thanks to the informed and rigorous management of the late Hon. Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. These people inherited the best economic situation among the G7 nations, as well as a $2.5 billion budget surplus, which will not be the case in five months if Canadians choose us to form the next government.
    Worse still, in the past four years, they have taken advantage of the sensational global economic growth and, of course, the economic strength of the United States, which has been experiencing growth for several years. What did they do with it? They made a huge mess of things, and the monstrous deficits they have been running these past four years will be handed down to our children and grandchildren to pay in the future.
    That is why we are strongly opposed to this bill, which flies in the face of two election promises: to do away with omnibus bills, and to only run small deficits before balancing the budget in 2019.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my honourable colleague for his speech and for giving us his version of history, but the facts say otherwise.
    If we look at Canada's economic history, we see that the Conservative government we replaced generated huge deficits. It racked up more than $150 billion in debt. Perhaps that was an anomaly, so let us take a look at the previous majority Conservative government, that of Mr. Mulroney. It racked up over $350 billion in debt. The debt generated by the Conservatives amounts to half a billion dollars. That is huge. Since Canada’s national debt is approximately $700 billion, we could say that the Conservatives are responsible for more than half of it.
    How can my colleague criticize our government with any amount of integrity or honesty?
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say that my honourable colleague is my MP when I am in Ottawa, since I live in his riding, on Montcalm Street in Gatineau.
    Four years ago, my colleague got elected by saying that the Liberal government would achieve a zero deficit by 2019-20, yet today, it is showing a $19.8-billion deficit. Must I also remind my honourable colleague that, while the Conservative Party was in power, we faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Recession? Nevertheless, as I said in my speech, although perhaps my colleague was not listening, under our government, Canada was the first G7 nation to recover. That is the exact opposite of what we are seeing now. The government is compulsively running deficits in a period of strong economic growth.
    My colleague has a lot of nerve to talk about the former Conservative government, but I would remind him that this former Conservative government succeeded that of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who literally pioneered the running of deficits in times of economic growth.
    If my colleague wants to talk about former governments, can I mention the former Liberal government and the sponsorship scandal? When will the Liberal Party reimburse the tens of millions of dollars they pocketed during the sponsorship scandal? That issue has yet to be dealt with.
    The election campaign will begin in a few weeks. What credibility will my colleague have when he said that the government would achieve a zero deficit in 2019 and we now have a $19.8-billion deficit? The Liberals have no credibility at all.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about the credibility and value of Liberal promises. In a single bill, the Liberals have managed to break three sacred promises they made during the last campaign.

[English]

    I want to make a couple of comments in English. My friend talks about the 2008 budget, when the Conservatives were forced to spend money. He was not here, but he will recall that the initial iteration of the Conservative budget under Harper, leading into a global recession, was actually meant to massively cut back on expenditures in Canada. It was only when threatened with their own government's demise and having to seek permission from the Governor General to shut down all of Parliament when facing a non-confidence vote that the Conservatives reversed course and made virtue out of a crisis, saying, “Oh, here is our new budget responding to the global recession.”
    This is an omnibus budget bill. Buried in it are significant changes to our refugee laws. It is obviously not a budget item to change immigration or refugee laws. One of the reasons my colleagues on the Conservative side are not arguing about this today is that they agree with the Liberals. In fact, they pushed the Liberals on these refugee claims, that they should be handled differently, much to the chagrin of many of the refugee advocates who previously advocated for the Liberal government.
    Could the member verify if that is true, and maybe fully rectify the historical record of how deficits were first created under the Harper government?

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent has no more than 30 seconds.
    Mr. Speaker, because I so appreciate his presence here in the House, I was going to pay extravagant tribute to my colleague who, unfortunately, will not be running in the next election.
    I would simply like to remind him of the facts. Because of our government, Canada was the first G7 country to recover from the crisis. Like my colleague, I admit that I am very disappointed to see what this government does with omnibus bills. It inserts elements that have absolutely nothing to do with the budget. It should have learned from its mistakes in the SNC-Lavalin scandal that cost it so dearly. They had to boot from caucus two former honourable ministers who stood up for the truth, the facts and the law of the land.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to the 2019 budget. This budget is called “Investing in the Middle Class”. Improving life for middle-class Canadians has been our number one priority since we were elected.
    Four years ago, the people of Brampton South elected me to represent them. Since 2015, I have been working in Ottawa to deliver on the promises I made throughout my campaign. Everyone in this House has made a commitment to serve Canadians. This is partly done by investing in initiatives that will boost the quality of life for all Canadians. The budget this year is an example of the opportunities that Canada can provide to Canadians.
     Our government's commitment to serve Canadians through investment can be seen in Brampton. In 2016-17, Brampton was given almost $60 million through the gas tax fund, and in 2017-18 we introduced a one-time top-up to the gas tax fund for infrastructure investments. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, Brampton was given over $33 million.
    Since November 2015, we have had millions of dollars in federal funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit the city of Brampton. In addition, Brampton will benefit from a federal investment in the GO Transit Metrolinx regional express rail. From the $1.9-billion investment, over $750 million will be invested in the Kitchener corridor to improve commute times for residents of Brampton, Peel, Toronto and Wellington.
    People in the middle class deserve a government that recognizes their potential and encourages their growth. I believe that the budget represents our belief in them as it looks toward our promising future. Canadians have put their faith in our government to present new ideas and deliver results. The 2019 budget reflects the needs of families, employees, students and seniors. It is a solid plan to give them a better future.
    A better future starts with investing in young people and their education. Students are often kept from pursuing their education because of financial obstacles. The 2019 budget would lower interest rates for students and give them a six-month period to pursue their future plans before gathering interest on loans. The budget also seeks to support students who are parents or have disabilities. It also promotes programs that encourage the enrolment of indigenous students in post-secondary education.
    These are just some of the ways in which we advocate for the success of the next generation. Budget 2018 strengthened our economy and ensured a low unemployment rate.
     This is also the time to address the climate emergency. Budget 2019 has a strong plan to create eco-friendly solutions while maintaining an affordable lifestyle for Canadians. The budget intends to make zero-emission cars $5,000 cheaper, as well as encouraging their building. The creation of a home retrofit program will lower electricity and energy bills for Canadians.
    We have been fighting climate impact since 2015. We have invested $1.5 million in Brampton under Public Safety Canada's national disaster mitigation program for the riverwalk study. We committed $175,000 for an environmental assessment strategic plan and sustainability framework for it as well. We have also committed $10 million for 10 water projects in Brampton and $22 million in funding for erosion protection initiatives in the Toronto, Peel and York regions.
     Thinking of the future generations also includes supporting new families. An issue we see come up again and again is the struggle for young families to invest in long-term housing. The 2019 budget introduced the first-time homebuyer incentive, which would encourage home ownership by making housing cheaper. The incentive would help thousands of first-time homebuyers over the next three years. Budget 2019 also makes plans to build 42,000 new rental housing units, as well as to provide $300 million to begin the housing supply challenge. Through these changes, we are promoting happy homes without unnecessary costs.

  (1310)  

    Access to affordable housing is essential to promote the security and well-being of all Canadians. When Canadians are provided with a comfortable home life, it is easier for them to do well in the workplace. So far, we have been successful.
     However, because our workforce and economy are continuously growing, employees can be left without access to training that improves their professional skills in their present and future jobs. The 2019 budget introduced the Canada training benefit program, which would give working Canadians better and more consistent skills training, financial aid to pay for the training, employment insurance support and job security. This is the next phase in our plan to strengthen the middle class.
     While the middle class flourishes, there is still a percentage that has been left behind. Without quality health care, Canadians face some of the highest drug prices, leaving them unable to afford the prescriptions they need. No one should have to choose between buying the medicine they need or putting food on their table.
    I am proud to be a member of the health committee, where I helped study the development of a national pharmacare program. We then made 18 recommendations to the government through the report “Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for All Canadians”. I am proud to see the government acting on the report.
    Budget 2019 aims to make prescriptions more affordable by announcing plans for the Canadian drug agency, which will work to lower prescription costs. The Canadian drug agency will connect all provinces and territories, giving them access to prescriptions. Through this plan, Canadians will save $3 billion each year.
     With less time spent worrying about their health, housing and job security, Canadians will have more time to focus on the things they care about. For many, this involves becoming more involved in their communities.
     Infrastructure funding is necessary to get ahead with local and municipal governments, which is why we are investing an additional $2.2 billion into infrastructure funding, especially under the circumstances where certain provincial governments have not been doing their part. Budget 2019 recognizes that advances in public transit, housing and community facilities make all the difference.
     Local projects and community services are at the heart of Canadian society. Included in these services are locally based projects that encourage seniors to be active members of the community. Seniors have made significant contributions in these areas and are now more than ever capable and interested in participating.
    Budget 2019 aims to maintain the guaranteed income supplement to ensure seniors get the most out of their retirement. It also takes direct action to protect their pensions by automatically registering seniors who are 70 or older but have not applied yet to receive their retirement benefits with the Canada pension plan. This will help tens of thousands of seniors across Canada.
    Our budget also supports pay transparency, something our government has pushed for relentlessly. These measures will make it easier for our government to look at wage gaps and begin to solve them. This will help improve the status of women further. We know that when women make only 87¢ on the $1 compared to men, something is wrong.
     Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, have pay transparency measures. Canada needs to join these countries in making wages available for public view. When we can inspire employers to act on unfair wage gaps, we will improve the status of women all over Canada. This is not only the responsible thing to do, but it is morally right.
    Budget 2019 is not just a list of numbers, names and affected demographics. It is a detailed plan of action, which can lead Canada into a better and brighter future. By investing in the middle class, we invest in all Canadians. This budget represents what our nation's focus should be. Informed, careful and planned budgeting is what will lead to Canada's prosperity.
     I urge my fellow members to support the budget.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the work that the member for Brampton South and I did together on the health committee. I have a question about the budget.
    As everyone in the House knows, Oshawa has had some really rough times with the closure of the GM plant. This year the government will have a $20-billion deficit. Because the world economy has been doing so well, there are $20 billion in new revenue. I hear my Liberal colleagues talk about creating one million new jobs.
     I want to throw out a scary statistic for my Liberal colleagues and also for my colleagues on this side. If we look at a $20-billion deficit and $20 billion in revenue, the $40 billion extra spent this year is enough to have one million Canadians making $40,000 a year just to sit at home. If this is the type of job creation the Liberals are talking about, I really have a problem with that.
    Right now Canada's competitiveness has gone down three points in the G7. We are the point where we have gone down to the 13th least competitive.
     My colleague has an auto sector in her community. She has seen job losses. Could she point out in the budget if there is anything that will help the Brampton plant when it is time to acquire a new mandate for that plant? Is there anything in the budget that will help these plants compete properly with American plants so they can get a new product in those plants?

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said, budget 2019 is not just a list of numbers, names and affected demographics. It is a detailed plan of action that can lead Canada into a better and brighter future.
    We have important investments in the innovation sector. We are improving our infrastructure. We are lifting thousands out of poverty. We have helped to create one million new jobs. I know a lot more needs to be done. I know my hon. colleague would prefer that money go into the pockets of the wealthiest 1%, but we know that meaningful changes come with investment in the other 99%. As I said, we need to do a lot more.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member a question through you.
    Most people in my riding do not have enough money to buy an RRSP. Many of them have difficulty paying their rent or buying groceries at the end of the week.
    How will it help them to be able to buy a house with an RRSP that they do not have?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, since 2015, we have lifted tens of thousands of people out of poverty and cut the rate by 20%. We know there is more work to do. We launched the first national poverty reduction strategy and that will help to lift more Canadians out of poverty.
    Mr. Speaker, something that comes to my mind when we talk about the budget and what we have done to help middle-class families is the Canada child benefit, which we changed when we came into power. We started to send it to people tax free. We stopped sending it to the wealthiest people.
    Could the member expand on what that has meant for her riding and the people in it? In my riding of Avalon, each year approximately $48 million go to needy families, which is spend on their children and the necessities they need. It is tax free. Could she please comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, when I was door-knocking last Saturday, I had very good feedback. This July, we are doubling the Canada child benefit. It is good news and it benefits the kids. When I meet with their mothers, they are so happy with this. We are lifting 300,000 kids out of poverty with the Canada child benefit. I am very happy with the approach of our government.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address some of the failings of the Liberal government over the last four years and reflect upon just how disastrous it has been.
     The heckling continues over there. The Liberals never miss an opportunity to get some good heckling in. Our colleagues across the way are chirping loud and doing all they can to throw us off. However, it will not work. I have been chirped at by the best and they definitely are not the best.
     I rise today to talk to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. Essentially, it is an extension of the government's attempt to cover up what could be actually the biggest affront to our democracy in our country's history. It has attempted to cover up potentially the biggest corruption at the highest levels of our government, and that is the SNC-Lavalin case. That is what we are seeing here today. I bring us back to that again because I feel I have to. The gallery is packed. I know Canadians from coast to coast to coast knew this speaker was coming up.
     I would be remiss if I did not remind Canadians from all across our country that it was day 10 of the 2015 election when the then member of Papineau committed to Canadians that under his government, he would let the debate reign. He said that he would not resort to parliamentary tricks such as omnibus bills or closure of debate. He also told Canadians around that same time that he would balance the budget in 2019. Those are three giant “oops”, perhaps disingenuous comments. I do not think he has lived up to any of them at this point.
    As of today, the government has invoked closure over 70 times. Why? Because the government does not like what it is hearing. If the Liberals do not like what the opposition is saying and they do not want Canadians to hear the truth, they invoke closure. This means we cannot debate really important legislation. They limit the amount of time for debate on that legislation. The BIA, Bill C-97, is just one of them. Does that sound like letting the debate reign? It does not.
    It is interesting that whenever things go sideways for the Prime Minister, a couple of things happen. We see him even less in the House or something always happens to change the channel. That is what we have today.
     Bill C-97 is really just a cover-up budget. We have talked about that. It just goes in line with more and more of the government's kinds of wacky ways, where it says it will spend money and perhaps it doles it out. However, the money is not really going to things that Canadians need the most.
     We see $600 million in an election year being given to the media, a media that is supposed to be impartial. That is a $600 million bailout.
    We also know that in the previous budget, approximately $500 million was given to the Asian Infrastructure Bank. That $500 million is not being spent in Canada for one piece of an infrastructure.
    I rose to talk about a few things. One of the things that is really disappointing for me is this. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, a lot of promises were made, and this one hits home for us. I have brought this up time and again in the House. The Liberals said that they would put an end to the softwood lumber dispute.

  (1325)  

    I think it was in 2016 that the Prime Minister stood in the House and told Canadians that he was going to have a deal done within 100 days. He had a new BFF, the Minister of International Trade Diversification said. Both were just giddy. They were going to get this deal done and put an end to the softwood lumber irritant once and for all, yet last week, we found out from the Senate Liberal leader that the Prime Minister had other priorities ahead of softwood lumber.
    Over 140 communities and over 140,000 jobs are tied to forestry in my province of British Columbia. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in my province, yet it was not a priority for the Prime Minister in renegotiating his NAFTA deal.
    What we are seeing with the Liberal government is that rural Canadians are just not its focus.
    Last week I also met with some real estate folks and some Canadian homebuilder folks. They told me that the Liberal government's B-20 stress test and the shared equity program, which is geared toward trying to get Canadians into homes, is actually hurting that industry. The real estate industry is saying that the B-20 stress test, which was geared more for Toronto and Vancouver markets but is all across the country, impacts rural Canadians negatively .
    Almost $15 billion has been kept out of that industry, meaning that it is harder for Canadians to get into the home ownership they strive for. It is a step into the middle class. People put money toward something they own rather than putting it into something that someone else owns. The government's failed B-20 policy and the shared equity program is hurting Canadians. It is another example of how Canadians are worse off with the Liberal government.
    I will bring us to a couple of years ago. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence all have it down pat. They can put their hands on their hearts and say that they really care, yet it is the same Prime Minister who told veterans that they were asking for too much.
    Yesterday was a very important day, because we saw the closure of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission and we saw its report. The government knew that this day was coming, but did it put any money in the 2019 budget for that? There is nothing.
    The Liberals like to say that Canadians are better off than they were under our previous Conservative administration, but it is actually the opposite. Canadians are worse off since the Liberal government took over. Eighty-one per cent of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the Liberal government came to power. The average income increase for middle income families is $840. The government's higher pension plan premiums could eventually cost Canadians up to $2,200 per household. The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut of up to $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child. They cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student. The government's higher employment insurance premiums are up $85 per worker. The Liberal carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and be as high as $5,000 in the future.
     The Prime Minister called small businesses tax cheats. The government's intrusive tax measures for small businesses will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses across Canada.
    The list goes on and on. Bill C-97 is just the capping of a scandal-ridden administration, and to that, I say, good riddance.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have issues with the speech given by the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George, particularly when he mentioned the B-20 stress test.
    The Liberal government has brought in measures to bring affordability to the housing market. His leader, the Leader of the Opposition, is wishy-washy on this subject. One day he says that he will eliminate the stress test, but the next day he says that he will think about it or revisit it.
    Is the hon. member's leader and his party going to take the stress test away, or are they just going to revisit it?
    Mr. Speaker, our leader has been very clear. He has said that he is going to actually fix the government's failed piece of legislation. As a matter of fact, it was brought up at committee, and when asked to study the devastating impact the B-20 stress test is having on the market, the Liberals voted no. They did not want the truth to come out. Plain and simple, it is just another cover-up.
    Mr. Speaker, to continue with what the member for Surrey—Newton mentioned on the B-20 stress test, we know that people all across the country have been heavily impacted. None of the measures in the budget will help offset the impact of the B-20 stress test on young people and young families trying to get into housing. I would like the member's comments on this.
    About $480,000 is what the shared equity mortgage plan would allow for, plus the down payment. In the GTA area specifically, when I looked at the price of homes, only about 500 homes out of over 20,000 listings would be eligible for this plan. It would be marginal. That is what CMHC said. It would have a marginal impact on the market. It would not be transformational in any way, but the government would put at risk $1.25 billion to play the real estate market.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on whether this would be a wise use of our money instead of just fixing the B-20 stress test.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, what we have seen with the B-20 stress test is that it is forcing new homebuyers, some first-time buyers and millennials, to alternative lending institutions, which, of course, as we know, have higher interest rates. This is actually putting those millennials, the very same people the government says it wants to protect, at more of a disadvantage. We are also seeing that it impacts Canadians in rural communities the most. We are also seeing that if they are being denied a home, they are actually taking some of those funds they were going to put into home ownership and are buying higher-valued vehicles. They are still finding a way to spend that money, just not on home ownership, which is actually putting the Canadian market and Canadians at a further disadvantage.
    The government has not thought this through, and it is having a detrimental effect on the industry.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. When answering a question, I mentioned the Canada child benefit, and I just want to correct the record. It is not doubling; it is being indexed to inflation.
    Thank you for clarifying that.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, asking for clarity from the Conservative Party is something we really need to do more often. For example, we just asked about the stress test, and I can appreciate the concerns related to that, but there are two other areas I think Canadians deserve some clarity on.
     We are still waiting for the Doug Ford approach on what the Conservative Party nationally is going to be doing on the environment. We are told that it will be at the end of the month. I guess Mr. Ford and the Conservative brain thrust here in Ottawa are meeting to come up with that on June 28. We are anxiously awaiting that.
    There also seems to be a bit of a flip-flop with regard to deficits. Originally, the Conservatives were saying that they could do it in a year, possibly two. Now they are saying four or five years, and so forth.
    I wonder if my friend could tell me to what degree he believes the Conservatives are actually being transparent with Canadians, when they are not telling them what their true intentions are. The member wanted to focus on the press, for example. What are their true intentions for the CBC? There are so many issues. So much needs to be more transparent. When can we anticipate that from the Conservative Party?
    Mr. Speaker, that is like the pot calling the kettle black.
    We have been clear and transparent right from the very beginning. I would remind my colleague across the way that it was literally two weeks into the 2015 campaign when the Liberals' fully costed plan came out. We will take no lessons from the folks sitting across the way. I would warn them to not get used to the seats across the way, because October is coming, and they will be on their way.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is time to take a look at the Liberals' record. There are two and a half weeks left in this Parliament. The budget implementation bill that is before us today is the government's last. Anything not contained in that bill will have to wait until after the election. Budget 2019 is consistent with this government's approach of saying one thing and doing the opposite.
    First, let us talk about this so-called green government. Since the last election, bitumen extraction in Alberta has skyrocketed. We are talking about an increase of 25%. That is no small thing. Extraction grew even faster than under Stephen Harper. In fact, production has grown so much that it has exceeded transport capacity.
    Today, the Liberals and the Conservatives would have us believe that there is a pipeline problem, but that is not the case. There is an overproduction problem, which is not the same thing. To limit overproduction, the government is proposing to support new investments in the oil sands with accelerated capital cost allowance. A total of $2.7 billion in taxpayers' money will be wasted on this tax expenditure.
    In one year alone, the government announced $19 billion in new oil investments. The oil industry certainly got the message. If you look at production estimates, it is clear that the industry wants to maintain the level of growth it has seen the past four years. This will result in more overproduction and cause prices to continue their downturn. This is meant to make us believe that more pipelines are inevitable and that we have no choice but to export and pollute more.
    The direct consequence of this government's policies is that energy east will be forced back on us. The Liberal government is working to keep us in the 20th century, bogged down in the tar sands.
    Mr. Alain Rayes: Where do you get your gas?
    Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Mr. Speaker, at my daughter's school there is a big banner saying “zero tolerance for bullying”. The previous Conservative member who spoke accused the Liberals of bullying, and now the member for Victoriaville is hurling epithets and questions at me. There should be zero tolerance for bullying here too. We have a right to speak without being interrupted.
    To get back to what I was saying, that is not what we need in Quebec. We have already started to go green. GHG emissions per capita are two and a half times lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A policy for the 21st century is to make polluting expensive and avoiding pollution profitable.
    I can already hear the Liberals saying that they created the carbon tax, so let us talk about it. The government imposes a tax, then gives the money back to those who paid it. It is a circle that does not result in any real transfer of wealth from polluters to the good guys. It does not make it profitable to go green. It will not result in a true green shift. It does not entitle anyone to make green speeches. It is merely an image, just like the government has been since it was elected: an image, no more, no less, but definitely no more.
    Let us move on. In the lead-up to the budget, the Bloc québécois reached out to Quebeckers, and what we consistently heard was that their main priorities are health and education. There is nothing about that in the budget. Health transfers have been capped at 3% for two years, and yet, health costs in Quebec have risen by 5.2%. You do not need a Nobel prize in mathematics to see that there is a problem. The healthcare system is stretched to its limit, and wait times are getting longer. Something has to give, and everyone knows it.
    Everything I have just said about the healthcare system also applies to education. Teachers are as burnt out as nurses. It is the same problem, except that, in this case, transfers were capped at 3% 15 years ago. Health and education are Quebeckers’ two main priorities. There is nothing about that in Bill C-97. The government decided to gradually move away from Quebecker’s priorities. That is abundantly clear in Bill C-97.
    Now, let us look at the measures the government has taken to stimulate the economy. Its primary measure involves infrastructure. In and of itself, that is a good thing, but the methods used are another story. By multiplying specific programs, each one with very strict criteria, Ottawa has ruined everything. Federal requirements have caused a tug of war with Quebec and will paralyze the entire process. The result is striking: the money is starting to trickle down just before the election. We had to wait a long time. In the first two years of its term, the government spent $100 per Quebecker and $700 for each Canadian outside Quebec.

  (1340)  

    We know the federal government is building precious little infrastructure. It owns barely 2% of all public infrastructure, while the provinces and municipalities own 98%. Through federal transfers, the government is financing infrastructure that does not belong to it, that is not within its jurisdiction and that it does not have the means to prioritize intelligently. The government had good intentions, but the whole undertaking has been a monumental failure on the ground.
    The money is not flowing. The federal criteria are too rigid and do not meet communities' needs. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to transfer blocks of infrastructure funding. They promised to mind their own business and do their job. That is yet another broken promise, and Quebec is paying the price.
    As I said, my leader and I have been travelling around a lot listening to Quebeckers. People do not realize how future-focused Quebec is. Quebeckers are creative and innovative. Yesterday's tinkerers are now developing video games, designing new aircraft and working on artificial intelligence. Year after year, Quebec accounts for between 40% and 45% of Canada's tech exports, even though its share of Canada's economy is only half that much.
    In metropolitan areas across Quebec, there are at least 5,000 technology startups. I think of it as Silicon Valley North. What is in Bill C-97 for technology? Is it an aerospace policy? No. Is it patient capital to let our technology start-ups develop here in Canada rather than being bought out by U.S. web giants? It is not that either.
    However, there is some venture capital to help out the rest of Canada. That is how it is in all areas. When Quebec succeeds, Ottawa is not there. Take supply management, for example. Our regional agriculture lends itself well to local distribution. That is the future. Instead of helping, the government is hurting agriculture. It has signed three trade agreements with three breaches, and not a single penny has been paid to farmers.
    We scoured Bill C-97 for the compensation, but it is not there. Our producers were taken for a ride. They will get nothing before the election. That is also the case for Davie. Does Bill C-97 announce a review of its horrible naval strategy? The answer is obviously no.
    The same goes for the fight against tax havens. These loopholes allow banks and multi-millionaires to get out of paying taxes. The government needs to act fast, but instead, it has legalized three new tax havens. In my private member's bill, I proposed a working solution to close the loopholes, but, of course, all the Liberals but one voted it down. Like the sheriff of Nottingham, they would rather defend fat cats than low-income workers. The Conservatives also voted against my bill, but at least they were being true to type. Unlike the Liberals, they do not try to dress up as Robin Hood.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague, who is also a young MP.
    Does he think the government is doing enough on the environment? The government boasts that it is going to meet its targets, yet all the reports released to date, including one from Environment and Climate Change Canada, say that Canada is not on track to meet its targets, even though they were set by the Harper government.
    Our greenhouse gas emissions went up by 12 megatonnes over last year. It would take Canada 200 years to meet its reduction targets. The government is still subsidizing the fossil fuel sector. It has no overall plan for moving jobs to renewable energy sectors. There is ample proof that six to eight times more jobs could be created in renewable energy than in fossil fuels.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît for her question. Her comments were very astute.
    As I said in my speech, under this government's watch, oil sands extraction has increased by 25%. That says it all. This government says it cares about the environment and that it is polluting less, yet extraction has increased by 25% in four years.
    Next, I talked about their notorious carbon tax. They are rewarding those who pollute. This is not a wealth transfer or incentive for those who pollute less, nor is it a penalty for polluters. It is an empty gesture that is meant to sound environmentally responsible, but when we really look at the actions taken, it is not the same thing. That is why Canada's reputation around the world on environmental matters has plummeted to zero. This is simply not good enough, considering the urgency. Urgent action is needed. We cannot afford to let the situation deteriorate any further. All reports from the IPCC and scientists are telling us that we need to act now, that strong action is needed right away.
    These measures could also help Quebec's economy. We have everything we need to transition to a green economy, a forward-looking, 21st century economy. The only thing missing is the will on the other side of the House, which clearly is not there. We hear nothing but empty rhetoric.

  (1350)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on the member's comments with regard to a price on pollution. The Province of Quebec has been very progressive in terms of its attitude on having a price on pollution, and we see that as a very strong positive. I would argue that the national government having a nationwide price on pollution ultimately complements some of the fine work that has taken place in provinces like Quebec.
    One of the goals of having a strong national government is to ensure that we have a healthier nation with regard to our environment, or a healthier planet as a direct result. In many different ways, there are lots of positive progressive measures happening in different regions of our country. Quebec is a very good example of the price on pollution.
    Would my colleague across the way not agree that it is good that Canada has a national price on pollution?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his words of praise for Quebec's carbon pricing system, which is working quite well, though much still remains to be done.
    With respect to the national carbon tax, I would say that its criteria are lacking. Major polluters are currently exempt, and only consumers, meaning Canadians, are paying it and receiving a cheque in return.
    If we really want to leverage this measure to bring about a change in behaviour, we have to start by going after the main emitters, rewarding those who do good things for the environment and punishing those who increase pollution.
    Yes, it is a good idea, and it sounds good, but as for the real, concrete impact, the Bloc Québécois and I believe it is not enough.

[English]

    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon will have about eight minutes, and then two minutes when we return, as well as five minutes of questions.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to budget 2019, a budget that makes it easier for Canadians to thrive and join a prosperous middle class.
     Housing affordability is a large part of this budget. That is because Canadians have told us that the rising cost of housing is one of the biggest barriers to getting ahead in life. Housing supply has not kept up with demand, which has driven up costs to the point where an adequate place to call home has become out of reach for too many families. This means they do not have the safe, stable base they need to find work, study, raise their families and contribute to their communities.
    This is why our government developed a national housing strategy, which includes a number of initiatives to boost the housing supply, focusing primarily on the needs of the most vulnerable populations. These programs are already having an impact on communities across the country by giving more Canadians safe, affordable rental homes. In fact, budget 2019 includes an expansion of the successful rental construction financing program, which will add significantly to the rental housing supply and, in turn, bring down the cost to rent.
    Today, I want to speak about an innovative program in the budget that makes it more affordable for young Canadians to buy their first homes. While it is true that whether one rents or owns it is still a home, many Canadians aspire to own their own homes. When first-time homebuyers purchase a home, it frees up even more rental supply and leads to lower rental costs for those in housing need.
    Unfortunately, for too many Canadians, home ownership is increasingly out of reach. Beginning in September, the first-time homebuyer incentive will help more young Canadians buy their first homes by reducing their mortgage payments. Eligible buyers who have the minimum down payment required for an insured mortgage will be able to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
    The new program will provide funding of 5% of the purchase price for existing homes and 10% for newly constructed homes. Rather than making ongoing monthly payments on the shared equity portion of the mortgage, the buyer would repay the incentive at a later date. This keeps monthly costs down for homebuyers so they have money for everyday expenses.
    Details of the program are being finalized and will be announced at the end of the year. However, I can tell my colleagues in the House that for families a buying $400,000 home, this program could save as much as $228 per month and up to $2,700 per year per family.
    Officials at the Department of Finance and CMHC have worked hard to develop a program that is balanced and achieves our objectives of helping first-time buyers without undoing the progress we have already made through measures that prevent excessive borrowing and limit house price inflation. It does this by focusing specifically on those who need help the most.
    Younger Canadians who have a household income of about $120,000 a year or less have trouble affording home ownership. It ensures they do not take on too much debt by limiting total borrowing to four times their income. In addition, to be sure the program does not end up contributing to the house price inflation, we have capped it at $1.2 billion over the next three years. The inflation effect will be minimal, less than 0.5% at the most, if that.

  (1355)  

    This program will make home ownership more affordable for young Canadians in a way that is more effective than the measures some other people have suggested. Measures like reducing the mortgage insurance stress test or extending the maximum amortization period to 30 years would simply put Canadians into greater debt. The rate of home price inflation would be five to six times greater than the maximum anticipated by the first-time homebuyer incentive.
    Finally, by doubling the incentive for the purchase of a new home, the new program will encourage new supply to meet housing demands, which in turn keeps prices down for all Canadians.
    This program will work in all markets, including Vancouver and Toronto. Even with a cap of four times the household income, first-time buyers will have the option. It may not be a condo in Yaletown or a house in Riverdale, but there are starter homes in both metropolitan areas that could be purchased using this program. In fact, based on last year's activity, more than 2,000 homebuyers in Toronto would have been eligible for this FTHBI, and over 1,000 homeowners in greater Vancouver would have been eligible.
    Budget 2019 will also establish a fund to help existing shared equity mortgage providers scale up their businesses and encourage new players to enter the market. The fund will provide up to $100 million in lending over five years and will be administered by CMHC.
    Our support for Canadians trying to purchase their first home does not end there. Budget 2019 also provides first-time buyers greater freedom to invest their RRSP savings by increasing the homebuyer plan withdrawal from $25,000 to $35,000.
    We have also proposed the new housing supply challenge. This $300-million initiative will help municipalities and other stakeholder groups to find ways to break down barriers that limit the creation of new housing.
    Infrastructure Canada and CMHC will collaborate on designs for the new measures.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

    Mr. Speaker, the findings of the report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls are tragic and devastating. We must start by acknowledging the courage of the women and families who broke the silence and testified.
    The report's findings should come as no surprise to anyone. We must provide access to basic services and protect fundamental human rights. These findings are, for the most part, the same as those of the Erasmus-Dussault commission, which was held 25 years ago, and those of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The solutions are also very similar.
    The recent events in Val-d'Or, the cases of kidnapped indigenous children, and the revelations of sexual abuse, especially on the North Shore, have opened Quebeckers' eyes. The thousands of missing and murdered women must serve as a wake-up call for Canada.
    We must take real action to change our nation-to-nation relationships and, above all, to put an end to violence and discrimination.

[English]

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, today Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan. This is a time to celebrate the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his message of harmony, peace and love, while also understanding the importance of giving to others.
    Over the past month, it has been an honour to join my Muslim brothers and sisters at iftars. I am thankful for the meaningful relations I have been able to form with the Muslim community over my many years of public service.
    Many Muslims are celebrating in Surrey-Newton and throughout Canada, and I want to wish them and their loved ones Eid Mubarak.

Veterans

    Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to two amazing people from my riding, Sergeant Daryl Minifie and Sergeant Darren Reid.
    On Saturday, I presented Daryl with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for his ongoing work for other veterans. He is currently legion president as well. I also presented Sergeant Darren Reid with a Legionnaire of the Year Award for his local and national work in support of all veterans.
    Daryl and Darren are both Afghanistan veterans, members of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and actively involved with Flesherton Markdale Branch 333 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Both of these men have served their country with honour and distinction.
    I am honoured to ask you, Mr. Speaker, and every other member in this House to please join me in thanking them for their tireless work in support of veterans everywhere.

Health Research Grant

    Mr. Speaker, 77 years ago a couple from Saskatchewan arrived in Hamilton with their young son, looking for work. Last week that boy, Charles Juravinski, and his wife of 63 years, Margaret, astounded us with an endowment of $100 million to support research at Hamilton's hospitals and universities. It is one of the largest legacy gifts in Canadian history. This is on top of the $50 million they have already donated to health care. It will create an annual perpetual research grant of up to $5 million.
    At age 90, Charles and Margaret are getting their affairs in order, but thankfully for their friends, they have no thoughts of leaving our social and cultural scene any time soon.
    Charles will never forget the lessons he learned growing up in a Ukrainian family in Saskatchewan during the Depression. Charles and Margaret are bequeathing us good health, so we say to them na zdorovie and sto lat.

  (1405)  

Margaret-Ann Armour

    Mr. Speaker, last week we sadly lost a truly remarkable Canadian. Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour persevered to excel in chemistry, a traditionally male-dominated field. She was recognized globally for her critical research and teaching in hazardous chemical waste handling and disposal.
    Later in her career at the University of Alberta, she was appointed associate dean of science for diversity, channelling her unstoppable energy to advocate for women pursuing STEM careers. She co-created Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology, or WISEST, and the WinSETT Centre. Among my favourite events were the annual presentations by high school students during WISEST summer internships.
    Among her many accolades, she was awarded a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, a Canada 150 ambassadorship and multiple honorary degrees. Perhaps the most fitting for this scholar, who lived her life by doing science as if people matter, was the naming of an elementary school after her.
    Her effervescence and warm hugs will long be remembered by the many women in STEM careers.

[Translation]

Waterloo Knights of Columbus

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to pay tribute to the Waterloo Knights of Columbus, who are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.
    The tremendous work they do for the less fortunate and the support they give to charities and young people are invaluable. For 100 years, these good people have been making charity a part of their daily lives. Considering the many activities they organize in Waterloo, I can confidently say that they are a solid and indispensable pillar of our community.
    The members of the Waterloo Knights of Columbus have made a lasting mark on our community. They have improved the lives of thousands of people and helped to make our society better. On behalf of the people of Shefford, I would like to tell them how proud and grateful we are for their commitment and devotion.
    Congratulations and happy 100th anniversary.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, last evening my constituency received some devastating news: Canfor announced the closure of its mill in Vavenby, and 178 people will lose their jobs. The Canfor mill had been the major employer of Vavenby and the area, and it is tragic news for this community.
    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated situation. In B.C., companies have been cutting back shifts and closing mills as the lack of log supplies and low prices endure. More closures are expected to come. In fact, the province will likely lose 12 mills in the next decade, according to a report commissioned by Forest Economic Advisors Canada.
    It is long past time for the government to take some action. We need to have the Trans Mountain pipeline approved; we need the U.S. softwood lumber tariffs lifted; we need broadband investments, and we need western diversification to support these small towns that must diversify or die. Time is of the essence. Rural Canadians deserve better.

Ramadan

    Mr. Speaker, for the billions of Muslims across the world, the past month has been one of reflection, perseverance and gratitude. To mark the end of Ramadan, our Muslim brothers and sisters will celebrate Eid al-Fitr. After a month of fasting and spiritual reflection, it is a time for celebration and to honour the values of Islam.
    I was proud to have the opportunity to host an iftar dinner in my community of Brampton West, at the Brampton Islamic Centre, and to connect with our Muslim brothers and sisters during the holy month. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the mosques in my riding, Brampton Islamic Centre, Masjid Al-Salam, North Valley Islamic Centre, Yaseen Musalla and Masjid Mubarak, for all they do in our community and for sharing the values of kindness, peace, unity and generosity, the same values we are proud to share as Canadians.
    To all those celebrating in Brampton West, across Canada and around the world, Eid Mubarak.

Great Cycle Challenge

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize one person working to make a difference in my riding: Daphaney Doss from Xaxli'p First Nation. Daphaney is preparing for her second Great Cycle Challenge cancer fundraising ride. Last year she travelled 250 kilometres and raised $1,300.
    Daphaney is truly an inspiration. She rides to honour the loss of two family members and to raise cancer awareness for those in her community and surrounding areas. I would like to thank Daphaney for her outstanding community service as she continues to motivate others and make a difference.
    I encourage Daphaney to keep up the great work. We are all behind her.

  (1410)  

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised he would bring in some kind of golden age for our immigration system, but four years later it is clear that the reality is completely different. Illegal immigration has ballooned, and those who want to come the right way are very frustrated by the ease with which people are jumping the line. Those who live in China, India or the Philippines cannot just walk across the border into Canada, and people languishing in refugee camps around the world know it is wrong that they do not have the same opportunity to access the refugee system as people living in upstate New York.
    The family reunification system is deeply broken, and no action has been taken to improve credential recognition. Meanwhile, organizations seeking to help privately sponsor refugees, Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Ahmadis and Christians stuck in Thailand, gays and lesbians escaping Iran, Rohingyas, Yazidis and many others, organizations wanting to help the world's most vulnerable on their initiative and with their own money, experience road block after road block.
    So much for helping refugees. The government is getting in the way of Canadians who want to help the most vulnerable. On immigration and refugees, the Prime Minister is clearly not as advertised.

[Translation]

Châteauguay—Lacolle

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to remind the House of some of the things our government has accomplished in my riding since taking office.
    First, the hazardous wreck of the Kathryn Spirit was quickly and safely dismantled by our government.
    Businesses, organizations and municipalities received nearly $8 million, not counting regional contributions and the doubling of the federal gas tax fund for municipal infrastructure.
    Our Canada child benefit put over $6 million a month back in the pockets of some 11,000 families, tax free.
    We organized approximately 30 round tables and consultations with various stakeholders and created our youth council, which is looking into the issue of climate change.
    Lastly, I sponsored a bill that is currently before the Senate to change the name of my riding to the more accurate Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
    A lot has been accomplished, but there is still work to be done.

Marguerite Charlebois

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes to talk about the fabulous Marguerite Charlebois.
    Armed with a great sense of humour and an infectious joie de vivre, this wonderful woman has been serving the House of Commons since January 1981, when Pierre Elliott Trudeau was leading the government.
    Marguerite worked as a server in the parliamentary restaurant for 15 years before becoming a hostess, the job she has cheerfully held for the past 23 years. On the eve of her 79th birthday, she is planning to retire for what would actually be the third time.
    I know that our beloved Marguerite is with us today. On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to thank her for her 38 years of service to the House. We wish her good health, happiness and fun in her well-deserved retirement.
    Marguerite, you are so precious to us. You are one in a million.

[English]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, British Columbia is the largest producer of softwood in North America. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in our provincial economy. It generates $33 billion in output and $13 billion in GDP. B.C. leads the world in sustainable forestry practices. Over 140,000 jobs are directly attributed to forestry in British Columbia, and over 140 communities in our province are forestry-dependent. About $8.6 billion in wages are generated by the forestry industry.
    However, last week, in the Senate, the Liberal leader said that the Prime Minister missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to renegotiate NAFTA with softwood in it and put an end to the softwood lumber dispute once and for all, because he had other priorities. This was not his priority.
    Mill closures and work curtailment notices are being seen across our province, yet hard-working forestry families are not the Prime Minister's priority.

  (1415)  

Cloverdale—Langley City

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the residents of Cloverdale—Langley City. I humbly offer my thanks and gratitude for the honour of serving them in the 42nd Parliament. I have had some great jobs in my life, but this one is by far the best.
    I heard their issues on the doorsteps, and that is why I am so proud to be part of this government, which responded.
    In our first month in office, we cut taxes for the middle class, saving each person $720 every year. We introduced the Canada child benefit, which brings $84 million tax-free annually to Cloverdale—Langley City.
    We invested $1.3 billion in transit south of the Fraser, including $650,000 for the next phase of the SkyTrain expansion down Fraser Highway toward Clayton and Langley City, and expanded bus services throughout our neighbourhoods. We invested more than $10 million in our growing communities in Cloverdale-Langley City. Upgrades happened to the Cloverdale Athletic Park, Penzer Park and the Museum of Surrey.
    With their support, I will continue the work I started this term in the 43rd Parliament.

[Translation]

Tribute to the Women of Hochelaga

    Mr. Speaker, the riding of Hochelaga is full of talent.
    Since we often pay tribute to men, today I want to honour Hochelaga women, like Victoire Du Sault, who became the first female shoemaker in Quebec around 1890. She launched the shoemaking business on which the Dufresne family of Hochelaga built its fortune. Then there is Mary Travers, a very popular singer from the 1930s who performed under the name La Bolduc. She raised a family on Létourneux Street and was the first woman in Quebec to make a living as a singer. There is also Diane Dufresne, a big international rock star, and Louise Harel, an MNA, minister and party leader who is active in provincial and municipal government.
    I could also name plenty of less-known women who founded, supported and exported our many community organizations, such as Jeannelle Bouffard, Jacynthe Ouellette, Manon Bonin, Anne St-Pierre, Monique Blanchet, Johanne Cooper, Nicole Forget Bashonga, Manon Bouchard, Edith Cyr, Jeanne Doré, Jacinthe Larouche, Sylvie Boivin, Barbara Jomphe and Fabienne Larouche. There are many other incredible women in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, but I do not have time to list them all in one minute.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, protecting Canada's environment is something that is important to so many Canadians, and we need to look at the current Liberal government's record. It put in place a carbon tax that affects only 8% of major emitters. It has dumped millions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. It has essentially put in place reverse tariffs on Canadian manufacturers while allowing other major emitter countries to import goods like steel into our country. We are buying environmental goods and we are punishing our own manufacturers because of the carbon tax. This is not how we are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. A carbon tax does not work.
    A Conservative environmental plan will never put in place a cash grab instead of policy that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes to the environment, the Liberal leader is not as advertised.

[Translation]

Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives want to govern, but Canadians have not forgotten their record from the last time.

[English]

    Here are a few of the Conservatives' highlights. The previous Liberal government left them a $13-billion surplus, and the Conservatives turned it into the worst accumulation of debt in Canadian history: almost $150 billion in 10 years. With pipelines, there is nothing to highlight. On the environment, they did nothing on climate change, but they muzzled scientists.

[Translation]

    As far as social programs are concerned, the Conservatives closed veterans services offices, eliminated the court challenges program, cut funding to women's rights organizations and abandoned our seniors, not to mention their contempt for first nations.
    In four years, our government has supported the middle class, lowered taxes for small businesses and created one million jobs. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in 40 years, and we have a plan for fighting climate change.
    Under the Liberals, poverty among children and seniors is declining. Under the Conservatives, it is Canada that declines.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, middle-class taxes are up $800 per family under the Liberal government, and it is starting to hurt.
    MNP, the accounting firm, reports that almost half of Canadians are less than $200 away from insolvency every month. In April, over 11,000 Canadians did go insolvent, a 9% annual increase over the previous year.
    When will the government realize that Canadians are taxed to the max and cannot afford to pay any more?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government realized back in the fall of 2015 that it needed to lower taxes on middle-class Canadians.
    When people say things, it does not make them true. The fact of the matter is that nine million middle-class Canadians have lower taxes, because we lowered the tax bracket between $45,000 and $90,000 by 7%. We added on the Canada child benefit, making sure that nine out of 10 families are better off.
    The facts are clear. In 2019, a typical family is $2,000 better off than in 2015 under the previous government.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister does not think anybody who takes the bus is middle class, so he raised their taxes by taking away their transit tax. He does not think that soccer moms and hockey dads are middle class, so he took away their children's fitness tax credit. He does not think students are middle class, so he took away the education and textbook tax credits. That does not even include the carbon and payroll tax increases.
    What is worse is what is to come. The government is spending at an unsustainable rate requiring higher taxes, if it is re-elected. Why will the government not tell the truth about the higher costs that Canadians will pay when the Liberals no longer need their votes but still need their money?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we were able to manage to lower taxes on Canadians even with the $150 billion of additional debt left to us by the previous government. What we have said is that what we need to continue to do is to ensure that Canadians are successful.
     We took away boutique tax credits, because we wanted to make sure that the broad cross-section of Canadians were better off. That is what the Canada child benefit did. That is what the lowering of middle-class taxes did.
    The Liberal approach is helping Canadians, not just the friends of Conservatives.
    Mr. Speaker, people who take the bus, people who put their kids in sports, students who go to university and college, I am happy to call those people Conservative friends.
    However, they have no friends on that side of the House, because these Liberals will continue to raise taxes on middle-class Canadians, another $23-billion spending increase and a promise-breaking deficit to go along with it.
    Why do the Liberals not just admit that after the election, if, God forbid, they are back, there will be massive tax increases to pay for all of this out-of-control spending?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the continued focus on how Canadians are doing, because we want to reiterate that a typical family of four with two children is $2,000 better off this year than they were back in 2015.
    We will continue our approach to making sure that we help middle-class Canadians, and we will continue to focus on how we can ensure that the economy does well. Our investments have made a really big difference for Canada. We are going to continue to invest in Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance must remember that four years ago, when he decided to offer his services to Canadians as a candidate and Minister of Finance, he promised to run three small deficits and then no deficit in 2019. Four years later, the reality is three huge deficits and a deficit of nearly $20 billion in 2019. His credibility when it comes to managing public funds has evaporated. Sadly, his word has become worthless, since he promises one thing and does the opposite.
    Does he at least realize that a deficit is a tax on future generations?
    Mr. Speaker, we made an important promise, to invest in the future of Canada and Canadians. Fortunately, our investments have been very good for our economy. Unemployment is at its lowest in 40 years. More than a million new jobs were created in four years. This is a great economic situation, and things are going very well for Canadians. We will continue with our approach of investing in our future with optimism.
    Mr. Speaker, what is unfortunate about the Minister of Finance is that back when he was a Bay Street baron, if I may call him that, he managed private sector money very realistically and very responsibly. Throughout his career in the private sector, he never ran up a deficit. Ever since he started taking care of taxpayers' money, however, it has been deficit after deficit. There have been four budgets and four deficits. That is the grand slam of mismanagement of public funds.
    Will the minister finally admit that he did not keep his promise and his commitment for a zero deficit in 2019, and that a deficit is a tax on future generations?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, in both the private sector and the public sector, it is important to have faith in the future. With the faith we have in our country, we have invested in our future. That is a good thing, because we are now in a much better situation than before. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. That is clear. We began at 7.2% under the previous Conservative government, and it is now 5.8%. That is making a big difference for Canada and for Canadians.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, 65 years ago, individuals and corporations paid the same amount of income tax. Since then, the balance has tipped in favour of corporations. Corporate taxes have been cut, and individuals have been forced to make up the difference, because the Liberals and Conservatives refuse to put people ahead of corporations. We have the courage to do things differently.
    Will the Liberals commit to helping people and making sure the rich pay their fair share?
    Mr. Speaker, we started by changing our approach. We cut taxes for the middle class by 7% for those who earn between $45,000 and $90,000 a year. At the same time, we added another bracket for the wealthy. This is important for our country. It is very good for the middle class, and it has helped us develop an economy that is working well right now.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in the 1970s, individuals and corporations paid the same amount of tax. Now, corporations pay only a third. Conservatives and Liberals have slashed corporate tax rates and failed to crack down on offshore tax havens.
     Who does this benefit? It is not everyday families. They do not use offshore tax havens, but the Westons, Irvings and the richest families in Canada sure do. While the Liberals and Conservatives help the richest save billions, they have failed to invest in housing, health care and pharmacare. Does the government not agree that the rich should pay their fair share?
    Mr. Speaker, I am not really sure where to start, but perhaps we could start with the fact that, yes, we have a corporate tax rate that is competitive with the United States. However, at the same time, what we have been able to do is to ensure our system works for all Canadians.
    We have lowered taxes for middle-class Canadians. We raised taxes on the top one per cent. We went after ensuring that we have an approach to dealing with offshore taxation that could actually work by putting in place rules to ensure that we can see through people's holdings in other countries. We have made important movement on all these fronts, ensuring our tax system works so our economy can work for investing in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are continuing to put the richest ahead of everyday people. They let KPMG off the hook for tax avoidance. They helped Sears financiers over the workers at Sears. They let drug companies protect their profits instead of helping Canadians who cannot afford the cost of medication.
    Now Canada ranks 25th out of 37 countries on services for people. Liberals must stop helping their wealthy friends and start investing in people. Why are the Liberals refusing to ensure that the rich pay their fair share?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been investing in Canadians as can be seen through the Canada child benefit where 300,000 kids have been lifted out of poverty. As we see when it comes to the economy, through the leadership of the Minister of Finance, we have one of the fastest growth rates among the G7 countries. When it comes to the economy, there are over one million jobs that have been created since 2015. What is really important to note is that 75% of those jobs are full-time jobs. When it comes to Canadians, their wages have gone up. We will continue to invest in the middle class.

[Translation]

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been clear. They are having a hard time making ends meet and are disappointed in the Liberal government. The Liberals cannot take the same old approach as the Conservatives. They must stop spending money to help rich corporations.
    Canadians need universal pharmacare and affordable housing. We need to make better choices in order to get better results.
    When will the Liberals start putting ordinary people ahead of their friends in high places and their rich corporations?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me the opportunity to talk about the impact our investments are having on the middle class.
    First of all, nearly one million jobs have been created, we have the lowest unemployment rate since 1976, and we have one of the strongest levels of economic growth in the developed world. In addition, the size of the debt relative to the economy is dropping, and it too will soon be at its lowest level in 40 years. Lastly, we have the lowest poverty rate in the history of Canada.
    This is all great news and demonstrates the importance of investing in the middle class, which helps everyone and the economy.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Manitoba Hydro is planning to build a transmission line to the U.S. to export clean green energy. Unlike the useless Liberal carbon tax, the Manitoba–Minnesota transmission project would actually help the environment by increasing the amount of green energy. Five years of consultations have been done and this project has been approved by the National Energy Board and Manitoba's clean energy commission.
    Why is the Prime Minister blocking this product and not allowing it to get started?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians understand that for good projects such as this to move ahead and grow the economy, we must protect our environment and respect the rights of indigenous peoples.
    We are working hard to ensure that we are discharging our duty to consult with indigenous communities. There are outstanding issues between the proponent and the indigenous communities so we extended the time to give them time to resolve those issues. We hope they will be able to resolve those issues.
    Mr. Speaker, that is a complete fabrication. The Manitoba Hydro line was approved by two independent regulatory agencies and all outstanding issues have been addressed. This project would reduce emissions by providing clean electricity to areas of the U.S. that currently burn coal. However, the Prime Minister is blocking this green project and costing Manitobans hundreds of millions of dollars and Canadian jobs.
     The Prime Minister is politically interfering and trying to kill yet another Canadian energy project. Why?
    I encourage the hon. opposition House leader to be judicious in her choice of words.
    The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.
    Mr. Speaker, we will not follow the failed process of the Harper era that led to large energy infrastructure projects being challenged in the courts because they failed to put in place meaningful consultation that allows us to fully discharge our duty to consult with indigenous communities. We know that good projects such as this can only move forward when we look after the environment and we are meaningfully engaged with indigenous communities.
    We encourage the proponent to continue their conversations with indigenous—

[Translation]

    Order. The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, federal and provincial areas of jurisdiction go back to 1867. A prime minister's job is to maintain healthy, productive and harmonious federal-provincial relations, but this Prime Minister is paternalistic and centralizing.
    When will the Prime Minister show some respect for the provincially elected representatives of all Canadian provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, respecting jurisdiction means investing with the provinces.
     This gives me an opportunity to talk about the announcement we made yesterday together with the government of Quebec. We are making a historic investment in excess of $500 million to rehabilitate the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel and transform the 20th-century bridge-tunnel into a 21st-century piece of infrastructure.
    That is what we mean by “working with the provinces”. It was a joint announcement and it is a joint investment. We are going to work together for Quebeckers and for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that, in most cases, this Liberal government interferes and makes decisions at the federal level without taking the provinces into account. It does not respect Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick or Quebec, for starters.
    Things have gotten so bad that, at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference last Friday, the Prime Minister said he was prepared to bypass the provinces to achieve his objectives.
    Why does the Liberal government have so little respect for provincial governments and premiers?

  (1435)  

     Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, respecting jurisdiction means working with the provinces. That is why I was very happy to be in Halifax on Sunday working with the Province of Nova Scotia to announce two major transportation corridor projects. Our federal government is working with the provinces to make life better for Canadians.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the spring construction season has started but no shovels are in the ground for the Trans Mountain expansion. In 2016, the Liberals delayed their approval by four months and then failed to exert federal jurisdiction, while they actually funded opponents to use every tool to stop it. Last year, the Liberals' consultation mistakes delayed construction by another six months. In April, they delayed their second approval by a month. Now Liberal MPs on the natural resources committee question if a decision will even happen on June 18.
    What exactly is the plan for construction to start immediately on June 19?
    Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the hon. member and the members of the official opposition to actually listen to their leader or the premier of Alberta who believe that the process we have put in place is the right process. Maybe they should talk to the energy minister for Alberta as she believes the process is the right process. If they really believe in this process, they should not have voted to defund and kill the process that would allow us to get to a decision on this project by June 18.
    Mr. Speaker, this minister has totally and utterly failed his constituents. Under the current Liberals, three companies that wanted to build pipelines in Canada are gone and building them in the U.S. Not an inch of new pipeline is in service in Canada, but the U.S. added 35,000 kilometres of new pipelines since the TMX was proposed.
    The Liberals must give a timeline for construction, transparency on costs and a plan to use all federal powers to get the Trans Mountain expansion built. Missing this construction season will cost taxpayers billions more. What is the plan to guarantee construction will start on June 19?
    Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward on building pipelines. We are the government that gave approval to the Enbridge Line 3, which is almost completely done on the Canadian side. We are the government that gave approval to the Nova Gas line, which is completely done here. We are the government that had been advocating for the Keystone XL pipeline.
    We put in place a process to move forward on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in the right way to ensure that we are engaging with indigenous communities in a meaningful way, a process that the Conservatives tried to kill.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, families told their truths. Sophie Merasty, who lost her sister Rose, said, “We have always known this was a genocide.... The violence we face happens in all aspects of our lives—at every level, in every institution, in every interaction.”
    On behalf of all Canadians, will the Prime Minister honour this truth and state clearly that Canada committed genocide against indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people? Will he commit to implementing all recommendations from the inquiry, with dedicated resources and a timeline that is accountable to the public?
    Mr. Speaker, the inquiry presented its final report, in which it found that the tragic violence that indigenous women and girls have experienced amounts to genocide. As the Prime Minister has said, we accept these findings. Our job now is to develop a national action plan, as called for by the inquiry to implement its recommendations, that is distinctions-based and flexible. The final report makes it clear that action is now required not just from governments and institutions but from all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released 231 calls for justice to protect indigenous women and children. The calls include providing sufficient and readily available transit between cities in rural and northern communities. I have asked the current Liberal government 18 times to provide safe and affordable transportation in Saskatchewan, following the closure of the STC and the Greyhound service cuts.
    Will the Liberals act now to ensure indigenous women and girls have access to safe transportation options?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, this is precisely the reason why, after Greyhound pulled out, we decided as a government to work with the provinces that wanted to fill the void left by Greyhound and not filled by other transportation companies. We would be there at the table with them. I am glad to say that, in the case of the Government of British Columbia, we will be co-financing the transportation costs associated with some northern routes, including the Highway of Tears.

[Translation]

Auditor General of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is getting in the way of the Auditor General.
    Canadians rely on the integrity of our government institutions to be transparent.
    We all know that rewarding cronies is the Liberal way of getting favours or keeping officials quiet.
    Why is the government prepared to obstruct the work of the Auditor General with impunity, instead of allowing him to do what he is mandated to do, namely to conduct independent audits?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the Conservatives are finally taking an interest in officers of Parliament. After all, it was their party that cut $6.4 million from the OAG's budget and fired the auditor general.
    We increased the OAG's budget by $41 million, something the Conservatives voted against. Why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is very unfortunate that the Liberal government has been governing for four years and it takes no responsibility or accountability for anything it has done.
     This is the first time in Canadian history that the Auditor General has said that he has not been given the resources to fully audit the Liberal government. His request for new funds was rejected, and now audits have been dropped.
    How can the Liberal government always find money for its friends, but when it comes to holding it to account, the cupboards are bare?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for giving me the opportunity to remind the House of the record of cuts, muzzling and obstruction of the previous government.
    This is just another officer of Parliament who the Conservatives do not respect. They have told the PBO that they will not allow him to audit their platform. That is probably because they know their climate non-plan will cost more than ours. Just ask Doug Ford in Ontario.
    Where was that member when her party was thinking of burning the AG's budget—
    Order, please. The hon. member for Chilliwack—Hope.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government uses its power to punish its enemies and reward its friends.
    If its SNC-Lavalin, the Prime Minister fights to get it out of troublesome court cases. If one is a decorated vice-admiral, that vice-admiral gets a Prime Minister promising that he will be in court before an investigation is even complete. If one is a cabinet minister who speaks truth to power, that cabinet minister is fired and kicked out of the Liberal Party. If its an anti-Conservative group like Unifor, that group gets to decide how to hand out $600 million to the media in an election year.
    When will the Liberals stop trying to stack the deck in their own favour?
    Mr. Speaker, let us just take a walk down history lane here and look at what the Conservatives have done.
    There is only one party in Canada's history that has been found several times to have broken election laws: robocalls, the in-and-out scandal and actually having a member of Parliament go to jail for spending over the limit. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Let us not talk about the so-called Fair Elections Act that they put in place to made it harder for Canadians to vote.
    We will take no lessons from the party opposite.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government had no problem putting its fingers on the scales of justice in the Mark Norman case. It did not hesitate to try to interfere in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. It sees nothing wrong with allowing foreign funding to continue to pour into special interest groups in Canada. It is unapologetic for putting an anti-Conservative group like Unifor on a panel that will decide how to hand out $600 million to the media that will cover the upcoming election.
    Why are the Liberals so desperate to use the power of government to punish their enemies and reward their friends?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, it appears my colleague opposite did not hear the answer the last time, so if he does not mind, I will repeat it.
    There is only one party in the House that has been found to have broken election laws on numerous occasions. Let us go back. Let us remember the robocalls. Let us remember the in and out. Let us remember that one of its members of Parliament was found to have overspent and actually went to jail.
    When it comes to this side of the House, we made it easier for Canadians to vote. We gave the Commissioner of Canada Elections more power to enforce our laws. We have ensured that we are protecting our elections from foreign cyber-threats.
    Order, please. I know it will shock members to hear that they will hear things in the House they will not like sometimes, but we still have to allow each other the opportunity to speak despite that.
    The hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry has called for serious action to help the families of women who have gone missing.
     Families across northern Saskatchewan expect action from the Liberal government after the genocide of indigenous women. The families of Happy Charles and Myrna Montgrand need mental health supports and funding to help find their loved ones.
    Will the Liberals commit today to provide all the necessary resources toward missing and murdered women in northern Saskatchewan?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ending this national tragedy. We know that the actions and policies of past governments directly led to the loss and extinguishment of indigenous languages, culture and traditional practices.
    We are thanking the commission for the report and carefully reviewing all the recommendations. Our job is now to work with the survivors, families and our partners to develop a national action plan to implement those calls for justice.
    We must work together to end the ongoing tragedy and Canadians should expect no less, including the people in northern Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Indigenous Services went to Grassy Narrows to sign an agreement based on a two-year-old promise to a community that has been ravaged by mercury poisoning. However, he returned empty-handed.
     Today, in committee, adding insult to injury, the minister blamed the chief, saying that the chief just “changed his mind”.
    Let me be clear. Grassy Narrows is calling for what it was promised, including a mercury care home and treatment centre. Grassy Narrows deserves justice, not gaslighting.
     When will the Liberal government quit the blame game and keep its promise to the people of Grassy Narrows?
    Mr. Speaker, I was in Grassy Narrows, because building a health facility there is a priority for us. The hope was to sign an agreement to move forward in addressing the needs of the community. It is part of a process of consensus building and negotiation in the best interest of the outcomes for that community and looking after those who are no longer in the community but need attention and care.
     These conversations are ongoing. We will continue working with Chief Turtle and his council until we agree on a solution that meets the health needs of Grassy Narrows, not only now but in the long term.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, our government has been working hard to advance gender equality, and our plan is working. One million jobs have been created and there are now more women working then ever before.
    Women's organizations are at the forefront of gender equality, yet they often remain underfunded, undermined, despite the vital role they play.
     Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality please tell the House how our government will change the way government funds women's organizations to make them more sustainable and stable for the future?
    Mr. Speaker, once again, there is very good news for gender equality and the sustainability of the women's movement.
    The new partnerships with the Community Foundations of Canada, the Canadian Women's Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada will bring funding to women's organizations to a level never reached before. Women's groups know first-hand how a decade of being underfunded and undermined by a government can roll back equality rights, but we are standing with them.
     I want to thank the hon. member for Long Range Mountains for her great advocacy.

  (1450)  

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has always had excellent relations with Mexico. However, the Liberals' poor management of the border and the cancellation of the visa program for Mexico are creating a safety risk for Canadians. More than 400 individuals linked to Mexican cartels have entered Canada to expand their territory and engage in criminal activity.
    Can the minister tell us what steps have been taken to address the situation?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am rather surprised that the hon. gentleman continues to use statistics that have been totally discredited. In fact, he asked this question in the standing committee yesterday, and I indicated to him that according to the records of the CBSA, the number of Mexicans that had been connected or linked to the alleged cartels was not 400, but in fact three. It is not 300, but three, and they are among those who have been deported from Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for shouting so much. It shows a lot of respect for the House.
    That said, the minister mentioned that the number of Mexican cartel members in Canada is three, not 400.
    So much the better if this is true. Can the minister tell us where these three individuals are and whether they will be deported to Mexico quickly?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in all the hubbub of the House, I think the hon. gentleman missed the last part of my previous answer. I indicated that those three, including another 27 who had criminal issues, had all been deported from Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, this week we learned that the Liberal government offered access into Canada as a reward for many people who sued the government based on the flawed and terribly managed family reunification program. I do not think there is anyone in this place who would say that access into our country is something that should be frittered away as a result of a lawsuit. This action was described by somebody as likening Canada to a third world country.
    Is the government expecting further lawsuits on this issue?
    Mr. Speaker, let me correct the record with respect to the Conservatives' record on the parent and grandparent program: a backlog of over 167,000 cases, a six to 18 year wait time to sponsor loved ones. They mismanaged the program so badly that it went off the rails for two years.
     We have eliminated the backlog and we have reduced the wait times to under two years. So they do not forget, this is exactly what the Conservatives said about this program, a party that now pretends to care about family reunification—
    The hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, under the former Conservative government, we admitted an average of 20,370 people. Under the Liberal government, it was 18,768 in the family reunification.
    I am really tired of the minister abdicating his responsibility to manage our border. He cannot allow people to skip the line at Roxham Road and give out access to our country through settlements and court cases, while people who are legally trying to enter this country have to wait.
    When are the Liberals going to stop bringing disorder and unfairness to Canada's immigration system?
    Mr. Speaker, this is what the Conservative Party recently said about the parent and grandparent program. The party describes this program as a “burden” on the federal government in terms of support as well as a drain on provinces. The party that pretends to care about family reunification is at the same time trying to describe parents and grandparents as a drain on Canada, as a drain on provinces.
     We are the party that cares about family reunification, not the Conservative Party of Canada.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, the government still has no plan to deal with the labour shortage in rural areas like mine, despite the disastrous consequences for many businesses. Everyone agrees that immigration is one solution, but it is a long process. I asked the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to open an office in Saint-Hyacinthe to help SMEs and agri-food companies, but nothing has happened.
    Why is the minister ignoring the people in my riding and in rural areas?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the increased volume of labour market impact assessment applications. Due to the fact that we have the lowest unemployment rate ever since we have started measuring, we have a new problem, and that is that it is hard to find labour in all different sectors, including in the agricultural sector.
    My department is trying to deal with the 40% surge in applications this year. We have dedicated more money and more resources. We are also looking at the way that we are processing LIMAs to find more efficient ways to get employers the workers they need.

[Translation]

Rural Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, 13 of the 39 municipalities in my riding have little or no cellphone coverage. While big cities will soon have 5G service, some regions are still fighting to get 3G. Two weeks ago, I asked why the Liberals view and treat people in the regions as second-class citizens when it comes to cellphone service.
    The minister told me that telcos will be able to invest more thanks to the accelerated capital cost allowance. However, there is no guarantee that this will result in more investments in the regions. On the contrary, telcos will be able to invest more in the 5G service offered in big cities.
    The minister is supposedly responsible for rural economic development. When will she wake up and start working for our regions?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we know all Canadians need access to broadband as well as mobile networks, to participate in the digital world and also for safety.
    That is why our fall economic statement incentivized businesses to expand networks to rural areas. We are also making mobile projects eligible under the CRTC broadband funding.
    In budget 2019, we announced our commitment to make sure we have 100% access to high-speed broadband for all Canadians. We have a plan and it is working.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, Alberta cancelled the carbon tax and gas prices have fallen across the province. The same thing cannot be said for rural British Columbia.
    Yesterday, in Vavenby, Canfor laid off 178 workers. There is no employment, but the Prime Minister is happy to have them pay extra for gas because that is exactly what he wants.
    When will the Prime Minister stop punishing rural Canadians and take real steps to address the high price of gas?
    Mr. Speaker, let us be clear about what Premier Kenney said. He said that climate change is the “flavour of the month”.
    This is actually an existential threat. If we look at what is happening in Alberta right now, we see that forest fires are starting even earlier.
    I have another fact. It was found that Doug Ford's climate plan costs twice as much to do less. It costs twice as much money for taxpayers.
    Taking action on climate change is something we need to do. We can do it in a way that makes life affordable, creates good jobs and ensures we do not leave the biggest debt to future generations through inaction on climate change.
    Order. I ask colleagues to show a little respect for each other. I am sure they would want the same shown to them.
    The hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, this government is out of touch. Canada's environment commissioner and many organizations, such as the UN, are saying that Canada will not achieve its Paris targets.
    In committee, I asked the minister whether Canada was going to meet its targets. She said yes. What a lack of honesty and transparency.
    This government needs to be honest. When will it tell Canadians that the Liberals in power will not meet the Paris targets?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know whether the Conservative Party will support our climate emergency motion, which is very simple. It basically states that climate change is real, that it is an emergency and that we need to meet our Paris targets.
    I have a simple question. Will the Conservatives join the others and vote in favour of the motion?
     Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I had no problem hearing the question from the hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. He should listen to the answer, whether he likes it or not, out of respect for the House.
    The hon. member for Abbotsford.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to pretend they are going to meet their Paris targets, yet the evidence is overwhelming: Every single credible source, including the minister's own department, says the targets will not be met. Nevertheless, every day the minister gets up in the House and repeats loudly, and sometimes very loudly, something she knows to be patently false, in the hope that Canadians will totally believe it.
    When will the minister admit that the Liberals will not meet Canada's Paris targets?
    The hon. member for Durham will come to order.
    The hon. Minister of Environment.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not have to repeat talking points. I am just going to say the truth.
    The truth is that we have a climate emergency and we need to take action on climate change. Inaction costs us even more.
    We just found out that Doug Ford's “climate plan” is actually costing twice as much as our federal climate plan. Taxpayers are paying more to do less.
    We need to take action on climate change. Why will the Conservative Party not recognize that the environment and the economy go hand in hand and that we need to take action for the future of our kids?

[Translation]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the dream of owning a home seems increasingly unrealistic for my constituents in Toronto—Danforth.

[English]

    While many of my constituents are trying to save for what will likely be the largest investment of their lives, we continue to see people who are failing to pay their fair share.

[Translation]

    Could the Minister of National Revenue update us on the government's progress in combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance in the housing market?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Toronto—Danforth for her interest in an issue that is important to her constituents.
    Our government recognizes the importance of ensuring a fair housing market for all Canadians. That is why the CRA has increased audits of real estate transactions in British Columbia and Ontario.

[English]

    Since 2015, CRA auditors have reviewed 41,700 files in Ontario and British Columbia, resulting in over $100 million in penalties, and have identified over $1 billion in additional taxes.

[Translation]

    I can confirm—
    Order. The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.

[English]

Interprovincial Trade

    Mr. Speaker, it is easier for small businesses in my province to sell goods all over the world than to other provinces. Due to the Prime Minister's failure to lead, there is still no free trade within our country. This is an absolutely absurd situation.
    Provinces are starting to step up. However, the Liberal government would rather defend its protectionist status quo. Will the government do what Canadians are demanding and stand with premiers Kenney, Moe and Pallister for free trade in this great country?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that internal trade in this country needs to be freer. This is a very important issue. The IMF came out recently, when it was looking at Canada, and identified the fact that we could actually increase our GNP if we had freer trade across the country. That is why we are working towards this goal.
     We know that most of these barriers are at a provincial level, so I am encouraged to see provincial leaders taking action on this. The federal government has taken significant action. In our most recent budget, we took away all federal constraints, for example, to moving alcohol across our country.
    Now we need to work together with the provinces to get this done.

  (1505)  

Persons with Disabilities

    Mr. Speaker, dozens of workers with developmental disabilities were fired from their jobs after the Liberal government shut down the National Archives program that employed them. Liberals have promised to find them meaningful work within government, but nothing has been done. When the Prime Minister was asked about the fate of these workers, he gave empty talking points.
     These workers deserve better. They want to know, will the Liberals commit today to replace those jobs they took away?
    Mr. Speaker, on the eve of our third annual National AccessAbility Week, and of course with Bill C-81 having gone through this House last week, I can assure every Canadian that we will find jobs for these workers. In fact, we are showing them the dignity of giving them meaningful work so that they contribute to government operations.
    I have been working with the organization. No one will be without a job.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the global transition to a low-carbon economy is among the great challenges and opportunities of our lifetime. Our government has been a leader in the transition to a clean energy future. However, to succeed, we must engage expertise from around the world.
     Could the minister update this House on how Canada is showing clear leadership, bringing together international partners from government and industry to solve one of the most important global issues of our time?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Don Valley North for his hard work.
    Last week, Canada hosted the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation. We brought together over 25 countries to help build a more sustainable energy future that supports workers and communities and creates middle-class jobs.
    We highlighted the leadership of women, indigenous peoples and young Canadians in Canada's energy sector, and highlighted why Canada is the place to invest.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Liberals are all talk and no action when it comes to the crisis with China. Today we have learned that the crisis with China is about to get worse. The Chinese government has now set its sights on our livestock industry.
     The Canadian Meat Council is telling producers that they cannot count on the Canadian embassy to defend their interests in China. When will the Prime Minister realize that his inaction is devastating Canadian farmers and ranchers?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that we have been working very closely with producers in all sectors for months now. We are monitoring the situation, and reopening the Chinese markets, including the canola market, is our top priority.
    A working group is taking a very serious look at this issue, and we are following its recommendations. Yesterday, I confirmed the deadlines for the new advance payments program. I can assure the House that we are working with our farmers and for our farmers.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's family reunification system is wrong-headed. Ottawa terminated immigration services at the embassy in Cuba without notice or explanation. People seeking sponsorship to join family in Quebec have to undergo medical tests in other countries, go back to Cuba, and then come to Quebec and pay thousands of dollars.
    What is the government going to do to fix this situation and finally let Quebec and Canadian families be together?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada and Cuba have long enjoyed a special relationship. Immigration plays a key role in preserving the strong ties that unite the people of our two nations.

[English]

    However, as a government, we have a unique responsibility to protect the health and safety of all our employees. Cuban nationals seeking to apply for travel documents to Canada will continue to have access to services online, and Canadians and permanent residents will continue to be able to submit documents directly to our embassy in Cuba.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is not an answer.
    Children are currently stranded in Cuba without their families because Canada cut consular services. We cannot ask minors to figure out how to get a visa for Mexico, pay to get there, figure out how to get a doctor's appointment and collect all of the necessary paperwork in a foreign country. The families are the ones who suffer.
    Can the government tell us when services will be restored? What is the government waiting for?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was in Havana nearly three weeks ago, and I spoke with diplomats at our embassy. I want to thank them for their excellent work, and I want to assure our diplomats and all Canadians that the health and safety of our diplomats and their families is our number one concern.

[English]

Pharmacare

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith are having an increasingly difficult time paying the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs. It is clear that it is beyond time to implement a universal pharmacare program. The new NAFTA includes provisions that extend patents on drugs from eight years to 10 years and will keep the cost of drugs high for consumers longer. What is the government prepared to do to keep pharmaceuticals affordable for those who need them, and to stop the excessive profiteering of big pharma?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that no Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescriptions and putting food on the table. That is why we are taking bold steps to help Canadians save billions on drugs, including joining the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical alliance, proposing major reforms to regulations, laying the foundation for national pharmacare in budget 2019 and devoting over $1 billion to high-cost drugs for rare diseases. We will not rest until all Canadians can get and afford the medications they need.

[Translation]

Family Caregivers

    Mr. Speaker, I am confident that you will find the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:
    That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the contribution that family caregivers make to the well-being of seniors, people who are sick, and people with reduced mobility, as well as the crucial role they play in the context of an aging population; and (b) advocate for a world family caregivers' day at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
     Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Ways and Means

Motion No. 33  

     moved that a ways and means motion to introduce an act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act be concurred in.
     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.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 1333)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Aubin
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bendayan
Bennett
Benson
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brosseau
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chen
Choquette
Clement
Cormier
Cullen
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Garneau
Garrison
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hébert
Hehr
Hogg
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Laverdière
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Manly
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Philpott
Picard
Plamondon
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Rogers
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Yip
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 200


NAYS

Members

Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Anderson
Barlow
Barrett
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Cooper
Davidson
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Eglinski
Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster)
Falk (Provencher)
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Liepert
Lloyd
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Martel
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Rayes
Reid
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 78


PAIRED

Members

Fortin
Fry
Gill
LeBlanc

Total: -- 4


    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1

     The House resumed consideration of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon has two minutes remaining in his speaking time.
    The hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
    Mr. Speaker, 100,000 Canadians would be able to buy their first homes. We have already received a great deal of positive reaction to budget 2019 and its progress in boosting affordability. Canadians are pleased with the way it would help young householders realize their dream of home ownership and encourage the construction of new homes.
    For example, Heather Tremain, CEO of Options for Homes, had this to say:
The Federal budget takes concrete steps to address Canada's housing affordability problem and will help to improve access to home ownership for middle income earners.
    We understand the many benefits that come from having a safe and adequate home that one can afford. Through budget 2019, we are once again demonstrating that the Government of Canada is back in housing. We are delivering an ambitious, comprehensive and realistic plan that would create much needed new housing, protect the affordability of existing homes and include new support for first-time home buyers. This is a plan that would benefit generations to come.
    I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to support the budget implementation bill for the benefit of our economy and a more inclusive and prosperous society for all Canadians.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member spent the last part of his speech talking about this supposedly great new initiative for first-time homebuyers. In the majority of his riding, which is part of Abbotsford, British Columbia, and Mission, British Columbia, there are no homes a person could buy, and receive money, that would qualify for this.
    Is the member aware of the top-end limit for this initiative, and could he tell us how many people in Abbotsford and Mission would actually qualify, based on this program, which I can tell him right now, would not apply to his region?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about my colleague's riding. I had the privilege to announce $11.8 million for 67 affordable units. We are going to provide rental units for 30% less than the market price. I also had the privilege to announce $7 million for 36 units to look after women and children, rental space that will also be offered at 30% less.
    These are the good things we are doing in his riding.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, despite what my colleague said about access to housing, I will still be voting against this bill.
    I hosted a luncheon in Saint-Hyacinthe on the topic and I learned that there are now over 200 families on the waiting list for low-income housing there. Seniors in the region are also in dire need of it. A number of people have told me that they spend 30% to 50% of their income on housing.
    The students and people under 30 in my riding are saying they are in debt. They do not have RRSPs with which to buy a house.
    This budget does not reflect the reality of the people in my riding at all. I cannot fathom how my colleague can say that they have solved the housing problem.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I do not think we need to convince a whole lot of people on this pretty straightforward deal. About 100,000 Canadians will be eligible to buy a home within the next three years. For people who want a $400,000 home, we will pay a 10% down payment so they can buy it. This is for newly built homes. The federal government will chip in a 5% down payment for someone buying a second-hand home. I think this is very good news for first-time homebuyers.
    Our government is making home ownership more affordable for the first time, allowing people to lower their monthly mortgage payments. I urge both sides of the House to pass this piece of legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening all day to the Liberals say they have created a million jobs. I have a number for my colleagues and I would like them to pay attention to it.
    This past year alone, the deficit was $20 billion, and because the world economy is doing so well, there has been a $20 billion increase in income. That is $40 billion. If the Liberals had decided to create jobs, this year alone they could have paid one million Canadians to sit at home and do absolutely nothing. They could have given each and every one of them $40,000 with the amount of debt the government is going into.
    Right now, there is nothing in the budget to help with our competitiveness and productivity. The scary thing is that in my community and in those like mine that depend on manufacturing, we have to get more competitive.
    Is the government going to choose deficit jobs that are created due to government deficit and spending, which do not really add anything to our productivity, or is it going to do something serious to help manufacturing jobs in my community?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for bringing up the one million jobs we created in the country, 75% of which are full-time jobs.
    We lifted 300,000 children over the poverty line. Our 10% increase in GIS benefited 900,000 seniors, putting many over the poverty line. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in our country for the last 40 years. We have the lowest tax rate for small businesses out of the G7 countries. The list goes on.
    When people work, they bring more taxes into our coffers. I think we are going in the right direction. We will continue to help Canadians.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on this bittersweet day to speak for the last time in this storied institution.
    On June 28, 2004, the fine people of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound elected me for the first time. It is an honour and a privilege that I have never taken lightly. They have sent me back here four more times.
    I was born and raised on a farm in Amabel Township, the oldest of seven children. I attended a one-room rural school for six years before moving to a huge three-room rural school for grades seven and eight. I then attended Wiarton District High School. In May of 1972, while in grade 11, due to irreconcilable differences, along with a bit of Irish stubbornness, I left school while still only 15. It is not something I am proud of, but sometimes we all make mistakes in life. We have to live with those decisions and learn from them.
    The reason I even mention this is that one of the things that makes Canada so great is that, with hard work and determination, we can be anything or do anything we put our minds to.
     I had always wanted a farm, so after taking a couple of farm business management courses at Georgian College, and with the help of my parents, I started to piece together my future. Later that summer, I met this cute blonde girl from the other side of the tracks and on August 26, both at age 16, we had our first date. Three years later, on July 26, 1975, we got married. We raised our three sons, Brett, Curt and Cole, on our 330-head cow calf farm just south of Wiarton in Keppel Township.
    I never had political aspirations but politics seemed to find me. In November 1991, I ran for township council as a councillor. I also served terms as deputy reeve and reeve in Keppel Township before being elected as the first mayor of the amalgamated Township of Georgian Bluffs in 2000 and then elected warden of Grey County in 2002. After being re-elected as mayor in November of 2003, I decided to seek the CPC nomination on March 2, 2004. I was successful and the rest is history.
    Here we are, 15 years later, after five federal elections. I am very proud of having two private member's bills passed in this House unanimously: the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act and the Transboundary Waters Protection Act. I also worked very hard to see the end of the long-gun registry in 2012, something that was very important to my riding.
    I have always been a constituency MP. That is what got me elected and that is what has kept me elected.
    I will not miss the weekly trips to Ottawa or the political BS that comes with this place, but I can tell members I will sincerely miss the many good people I have met in my time here, like former colleagues Loyola Hearn of Newfoundland; Gail Shea of P.E.I.; Denis Lebel of Quebec; Stella Ambler and Daryl Kramp of Ontario; Leona Aglukkaq of Nunavut; Merv Tweed of Manitoba; Lynne Yelich of Saskatchewan; Rick Casson, James Rajotte and Monte Solberg of Alberta; and John Duncan of B.C. We still stay in touch and we will always remain friends.
    The many Hill staff I have worked with, and this is only some of them, are such great people that I want to name some of the ones I have had special relationships with over the years. They are Amy Mills, Kelly Williams, Ann Marie Keeley, Kim Purchase, Regan Watts, Bryan Rogers, Semhar Tekeste, Luwam Ghebre and Sean Murphy, just to name a few. They are the people who do the work behind the scenes and are sometimes not appreciated. However, I have valued working with them.

  (1605)  

    I have worked across party lines with people like the member for Sydney—Victoria, heck, I have even been to his farm, and the member for Cape Breton—Canso, who could not be here today I understand. However, while I have tried to overlook the fact that he is a Liberal, I just cannot accept the fact that he still cheers for a hockey team that has not won a Stanley Cup in over 52 years instead of cheering for my beloved Boston Bruins. It is just shameful. As well, I have worked with the member for Malpeque, whom I have butted heads with on the agriculture committee many times, but I have always respected him as we both always worked hard to try to make things better for farmers and agriculture across this country.
    I also want to thank my staff, both present staff who are here today and former staff. Dianne Ackert has been with me for 12 years. She is unable to be here, as her mom is very ill and in the hospice. Our thoughts are with her mom. Chad Richards has been with me for seven years; Shea Angus, four years; Pam Sparkes, three years; as well as Kim Davis, who is also here, who has joined us in the last year. I thank all of you for your hard work over the years.
    I also want to recognize former staff, and some are here today, Anna Marie Young, Genielle Hay, Dianne Byczok, Madi Murariu, Deborah Ingraham, Carol Weir, Kyleigh Benninger and Clarissa Sookram-Whipple, whom I am still thankful to call friends as well. I also want to thank my EDA, my five campaign managers and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on my behalf in five elections.
    To my present colleagues, what a team. It is indeed an honour to have worked with all of you. Please stay in touch. To my leader, I am proud that we were both elected on the same day in 2004, and I look forward to seeing you become Prime Minister in October.
    I want to thank my and Darlene's good friends, Lisa and Carm Myles, who drove seven hours last night to be here today. As well, I wish them a happy 36th anniversary today. However, there is something wrong when people drive to Ottawa on their anniversary but we appreciate their being here.
    I want to thank my siblings, Linda, Tom, Jerry, Brad, Mary Lou and Paul, my nieces and nephews, and their spouses, for their support over the years, as well as my two biggest fans, my mom and dad, who are no longer with us but I know are watching down on us today.
    To Colonel Alex Ruff, who has earned the right to try to replace me in October, thanks for being here today and good luck this fall.
    Lastly, to my wife Darlene. Your mom told you to never marry a farmer or a politician. You ended up with both, so being a bit of a black sheep, how did that advice work out for you? You have always supported me in everything I have tackled. I could not have done this without you. Thank you.
    In closing, I have been so fortunate to have served in this grand place for 15 years and to have been a part of some great accomplishments, but I also reflect on some sad times. Losing my great friend, Jim Flaherty in April 2014; the shooting on October 22, 2014; and losing my seatmate, Gord Brown, just over a year ago will always stay with me.
    However, it is time for me and my family to move on. It is time for me to spend more time with my four beautiful grandkids. Chesney, Shailan, Brookelin and Liam, here I come. It is time for more fishing and hunting, and much, much less politics. After 10 elections, my wife and I are both electioned out. Darlene says that my “give a darn” button is busted. She is right.
     It has truly been a slice, Mr. Speaker, but I am out of here.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to give some of my thoughts about my good friend from Owen Sound. As the two of us ride off in the sunset in our tractors and leave this wonderful place, I will say a few things.
     We were on the agriculture committee together when we were in opposition in government, but I never noticed much difference. We both worked hard together. It was a pleasure working with him, especially on agriculture.
    Whether it was at committee, or at community centres across the country or in people's farmhouse kitchens, we were always there for the farmers and the people who produced the agriculture products for our country. I appreciate the work he has done. We are from different areas, but we worked well together.
    I wish him, Darlene and his family all the best.
    I would like to ask him a question. He came to our farm, ate the Eyking eggs and stayed with us. Will he and his lovely wife Darlene come back and have a feed of lobsters down on our beach?
    We will do a couple of rounds of questions and then come back to the hon. member for a brief comment at the end.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to join our colleagues in thanking the member for his service. We had a brief time sitting on committee together. However, as members of the House know, MPs who travel together stay together in a sense. The most cross-partisan friendships that one will find are usually among those who have had the chance to travel together, as the member and I did.
    I want to thank him. I know when we go through a variety of issues, or miss our families, or have health issues or whatnot that crop up, it takes a lot to be here. The amount of service that goes into it by members who have been here as long as he has is probably underappreciated by the public, and I will say that on the record.
     On behalf of the New Democratic caucus and myself for having had the opportunity to work with him, I want to thank him for his service.
    I certainly hope he makes the best of that time. A lot goes on in this place, but at the end of the day, there are things beyond this place that are far more important to us both for our health, but especially for our happiness. I thank the member very much.
    Mr. Speaker, I too, like all my colleagues on both sides of the House, want to wish all the very best to the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound. I knew him for about six years prior to his election in 2004. We both had the privilege of sitting on the Niagara Escarpment Commission. For the record, we did not always agree on preserving the escarpment commission, etc, but we certainly enjoyed each other's company.
    I remember being so pleased and proud when he obtained the candidacy in 2004. I was completely confident, certainly hoped and prayed, that we would have the opportunity to continue to serve together. It has been a great 15 years for me serving with the hon. member, and a great six and a half years on the escarpment commission.
     I, too, wish him all the very best.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, for the member for Sydney—Victoria, yes, my wife and I enjoyed our last trip there. I searched and searched to find eggs in stores that did not have the name of “Eyking” on them.
     Having said that, a lot of the time in politics partisanship goes way too far. We all put our socks and underwear on the same way, no matter what our different beliefs are, and I enjoyed that. The member mentioned lobster. An old friend of mine who I used to hunt with but who has moved on had a saying, “If you don't want me to come, don't invite me”. So yes, we will be there.
    My hon. colleague from the NDP is right. We served on committee for a year or a year and a half. I have a lot of respect and time for him. We may have disagreed there, and that democracy is all about that. However, the respect was always there, coming from both ways. I sincerely thank him for his comments.
    My hon. friend and colleague from Niagara Falls talks about the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Yes, those were tough years to deal with. While my hon. colleague tried to destroy the escarpment, I did my best to help save it.
    I have short story. I knew the member for Niagara Falls had been in this place for nine years, from 1984 to 1993, and I had no idea he was going to put his name forth. When I called him to tell him I had won the nomination, he said, “Mine's tomorrow night.” I said, “Thanks for telling me.”
    I am going to miss all my colleagues in this place, and I thank him for his comments.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for those watching, I would like to say that we just heard our colleague from Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound say farewell. I would certainly like to join the other members of the House in thanking him for his service to Canadians.
    Today, I am speaking to my constituents in Gatineau, a number of whom have been through quite a lot in recent years, including tornadoes and flooding. These last four years, we have made tremendous progress together under this government. I am of course referring to the Canada child benefit, which, in Gatineau alone, has put over $6 million in tax-free cash back into the pockets of parents every month. Furthermore, with summer fast approaching, students are working hard and benefiting from the fact that we doubled funding for summer jobs. We also brought back order, respect and stability to our public service, which had important needs to meet, challenges to face and growth to achieve given this government's ambitions.
    I could have talked about any of those things, which were all of great benefit to the people of Gatineau. However, I want to focus on two or three of the innovative measures set out in this budget that I care about, both as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and as the member for Gatineau.
    This budget implementation bill explores new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Gatineau is home to many construction companies and tradespeople. Every year, these people build houses and office buildings, thereby enabling the Government of Canada to continue its work through federal construction projects. We owe a great deal to the people of Gatineau who work hard and use their hands and their heads to help us build the infrastructure the Government of Canada needs.
    This budget implementation bill will enshrine the prompt payment principles in law. We worked with some of our colleagues, including the member for Humber River—Black Creek, the member for King—Vaughan and many others, to follow the lead of some of the provinces, including Ontario, that have legislated to ensure that the contractors working on major construction projects, the subcontractors, the subcontractors' subcontractors and all those who are part of the supply chain get paid on time in accordance with the terms of their contract. That means that suppliers will be paid, materials will be paid for and everything will be done in a smooth and orderly fashion in accordance with the principles of justice, transparency and fairness. These are Canadian values, Liberal values, that I believe we should all support.
    This is a major modernization in the management of our construction projects. This principle aims to ensure that a formal contract award process can be launched in the event that an agreement cannot be reached with the contractor. This very fast and inexpensive process will ensure that subcontractors, and by extension their employees, such as trades people and construction workers, for example, are paid in accordance with current standards and their contractual terms.

  (1620)  

    The Government of Canada is proud to be taking a leadership role. Public Services and Procurement Canada is now acting as an administrator. We have provided this leadership through a 14-point plan and the new legislative measure in the Liberal government's fourth budget. We are proud to be ensuring timely payments in the construction industry.
    The second thing I want to discuss was also a very important issue of general interest to the riding of Gatineau, if not the entire national capital region. We have invested considerable sums in the Terrasses de la Chaudière complex, the Place du Portage complex, the Lester B. Pearson building and all the Parliament buildings, for example. We are making significant investments to repair and upgrade our institutions and federal buildings. We are doing so as a sign of respect not only towards the machinery of government, but also, of course, towards those who work in it.
    I was proud to launch the new concept of “co-working”, which involves making offices available in the suburbs, in Orléans or at Place de la Cité in my own riding of Gatineau. There will be offices where employees of certain departments will be able to work if their child has a dentist appointment, for example. They can work closer to home that day. This is another show of respect and another investment in our infrastructure.
    The Government of Canada is stepping up. My colleagues in the House may think it is not necessarily a good political move for the government to invest in its own offices. However, it is very important for the government and for the public service in the national capital region.
    Since Confederation, the Government of Canada has also had the solemn responsibility of ensuring that Canadians are able to travel between both sides of the Ottawa River. We have five bridges, including the most recent one built in 1973. At the time there were 650,000 people in the entire national capital region. Now there are nearly 1.5 million people, and not a single lane has been added since 1973.
    The City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have plans to invest in public transit. These are necessary investments and the Government of Canada will help with traffic flow by investing more than $80 million in the renovation of the bridges that are in service. The Alexandra Bridge will be replaced. What is of most interest to the people of Gatineau is the construction of a sixth crossing between Gatineau and Ottawa in the east end.
    We will update the pertinent data and work with our partners. I have committed to being the champion of this new bridge. I believe I have really helped advance this project, but the work is not done. There is more to do, and we must continue to advocate for this project. I want to reassure those watching that we have made considerable progress. I invite them to continue supporting our efforts so that we can build a sixth crossing in the national capital region.
    We will continue to invest in our public services, our public servants and our government. In the national capital region, we are honoured to be part of the effort to build the best country on earth, Canada.

  (1625)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's comments about the Canada summer jobs initiative and about increasing the number of students and so on. While we are grateful for that, what he did not say is where the money is coming from. We now have a $20-billion deficit added to the previous deficits. We are borrowing money, paying huge amounts in interest to pay for student summer jobs.
    Does the member realize that the current debt is costing Canadians over $26 billion every year in interest payments alone? How can he justify using borrowed money to pay students who, when they graduate and when they have children, will have to pay back these huge debts and all of the accumulated interest as well?
    Mr. Speaker, I am rather shocked and surprised. The member may be surprised to realize that we have one thing in common: We both come from an area that graduates a heck of a lot of students. There are two universities, maybe a college, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Certainly in the Ottawa-Gatineau area there are l'UQO, Ottawa University, Saint Paul and Carleton, of course. We are very proud of our institutions of higher learning.
    These students require these investments in summer jobs. These students require the first start that these grants to employers and other public institutions give. After his party left us an environmental debt of $150 billion in borrowed money, I am very shocked to hear the member now question the money we are investing to make sure young people continue to contribute to this country. I am very surprised at that.

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, since my colleague talked about something other than Bill C-97, I will do the same and talk about something that he must have forgotten in his speech, and that is the problems with the Phoenix pay system, which affect so many people in his riding.
    This topic is fresh on the minds of public servants in Sherbrooke, and that must be the case in his riding as well. The unions are still very angry with the government for making nice promises that it did not keep. The problems with the Phoenix pay system persist and are getting worse over time. My colleague is well aware of that, since he is in charge of this government file. He did not keep his promises.
    Two budgets ago, the Liberals announced the end of the Phoenix pay system. Today, as we speak, in June 2019, Phoenix is still the pay system being used by the federal public service.
    In 2015, he made a promise, but he failed to fulfill that promise before the end of his term. He is asking his constituents to put their trust in him again. He thinks that this time he will fix the problem. I wonder what message that sends to public servants, the public service and the people of his riding.
    What does he say to his constituents who are fed up and disappointed with his performance within the Liberal government?
    Mr. Speaker, of course our hearts go out to all the public servants who are still having problems with the Phoenix pay system.
    I can assure my hon. colleague that we have rebuilt capacity within government by hiring about 1,000 compensation advisors. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars. That is an indication of just how poorly planned the botched system we inherited from the Conservatives was. It was a total fiasco. They saved money and balanced their budget by firing some 700 compensation advisors, but none of that savings was real, and it ended up costing public servants dearly. They cut so many corners with the supplier that the Phoenix pay system could not function as required and staff did not get the training they needed to do the job properly. At the same time, they took away the old system. We did not have a choice between the old system and the new system. We had a choice between Phoenix and no pay system.
    We promised to deliver a new pay system that meets public servants' needs and expectations, and that is what we are going to do. Pilot projects are launching this fall. We are making the necessary investments. In the meantime, we have one-third fewer outstanding transactions than we had last year. We will not rest until all the outstanding transactions have been processed and we can be sure that our public servants are being paid accurately and on time.

[English]

    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 Vancouver East, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, Poverty; the hon. member for Drummond, Social Development.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to be standing in this place to give my thoughts on the bill that is before us. It is unfortunate that with yet another omnibus bill, one that clocks in at almost 400 pages, we are unfortunately having to debate this bill under the yoke of time allocation, which was moved earlier this morning. I believe this gives us five hours for report stage and five hours for third reading for a bill of this magnitude.
    This is the fourth Liberal budget I have had to sit through. I was one of those members who were elected in 2015 and have served the entire duration thus far. I have noticed two things with respect to the Liberals and their budgets. They like to always repeat two things. Number one is that they were the ones who brought in a middle-class tax cut, and number two is that they are lifting all of these children out of poverty with the child benefit. Let me address the first one before the government House leader cheers too loudly on that front.
    I want to point out two facts. Number one is that in 2017, according to Statistics Canada, the average income in Canada was $46,700, and the median income was $35,000. Now the Liberals are claiming this as a middle-class tax cut, when in fact it is actually the middle-income tax bracket cut, which they lowered by 1.5%. This is very important, because they keep on perpetuating this basic thing. The middle-income tax bracket starts at $46,000 and goes up to $93,000. This means that this benefit is not going to help the average Canadian. I can also clearly speak for most of my constituents. They do not have incomes that go into that range, or if they do, they are getting maybe the first amount.
    What the Liberals did, however, by giving that tax cut for that bracket was give themselves all the maximum tax cut of about $675,000, because a member of Parliament's salary allows the member to command the full benefits of that tax cut, when most Canadians, as evidenced by Statistics Canada, are not in fact benefiting from that tax cut. I have spent almost four years in this place listening to Liberals talk about that, and the evidence does not back them up. It is not the middle class. It is a middle-income tax cut of 1.5%, and the wealthiest of Canadians under $200,000 of income are the ones who benefited the most. Let us get that out of the way.
    The other thing is with the child benefit. I will give it to the Liberals that for a lot of families it was absolutely great to see an increase to child benefits. There is a big “however” to that. When I go door knocking in my riding, especially in the south end, in Langford, which is populated by a lot of young families, the biggest concern they have is with the availability and affordability of child care. There are simply not enough spaces. Yes, it is nice to get that bump up in child benefits, but if the primary caregiver, whether it be one partner or the other, wants to go out and get a second job, it is actually the lack of availability of spaces that is really holding that parent back.
    Furthermore, I talk to small businesses in the region that have three, four or five employees. When they lose one employee because that person is going on maternity leave, they are losing a huge part of their workforce. If small businesses could have that national child care system the NDP has been advocating, that would help them, because that employee could make a return to work in a timely manner, safe in the knowledge that his or her child has a space to go to. It makes economic sense, which is why we have had chambers of commerce talk about it.
    As to this particular bill, I want to talk about some of the things that are missing. In British Columbia we have an opioid crisis, which has absolutely ravaged our province. I believe we lost 4,000 people across the country in 2017. It has been absolutely devastating, yet in this budget we do not see any further resources to help those front-line workers who are dealing with this. We do not see any move by the federal government to match the government of B.C. in declaring this a national emergency under the federal Emergencies Act, which would allow the federal government to deploy more resources.

  (1635)  

    Pharmacare was a missed opportunity. I brought this up during the Adjournment Proceedings debate last night, when I was following up on a question I had asked in February. It needs to be said again.
    The Liberal Party first promised a national pharmacare system in 1997, 22 years ago. The Liberals have had the benefit of having had majority governments in 1993, 1997, 2000 and again in this mandate, the 2015 mandate. Here we are, at the very tail end of the Liberal government's majority mandate, and what do we have? We have an expert panel that will release more recommendations, which are probably going to be a repeat of what we all know, that a national pharmacare system would save Canadians money. We know it has to be comprehensive, universal and fully public. It is the missing part of our national medicare system.
    The Liberal government likes to make a great big deal about its national housing strategy, but when we look at the numbers, the lion's share of the money actually starts flowing after the next federal election. I appreciate that the Liberals keep on getting up and talking about all the things that are coming. I have dug into the numbers in my riding. A lot of the funding announcements are actually federal funding that was already in place before the national housing strategy.
    If the Liberals want to raise the issue, I have the phone number for Mayor Stew Young of the City of Langford, one of the fastest growing municipalities in all of British Columbia, if not Canada. He could tell them where the federal government has been. MIA is what he will say.
    I have a lot of students in my area. My riding is home to Royal Roads University. We have Vancouver Island University, the Cowichan campus. Of course not too far away, we have the great University of Victoria, which is where I attended school.
    The price of tuition has gone up considerably since I went to university. I remember I thought it was fairly high back in my day. However, these days I look at the costs that students are paying, the debt they are being saddled with and the fact that the federal government is still collecting interest off that debt.
    When a person gets into their late 20s and early 30, those are supposed to be the most productive years of their lives. We are asking them to start a family, start that new job. However, if they are saddled with that crushing debt and having to pay interest on it, interest which the federal government is collecting, that is a missed opportunity. I do not know why we are profiting off this crushing student debt. That opportunity was missed. I certainly hope that the students who are intending to vote take note of that and take note of where the different political parties stand on that issue.
    I will end with the total missed opportunity that comes with the federal government's continued subsidies on oil and gas. This was a clear Liberal promise on which they have failed to deliver. We can look at the billions of dollars go into an industry, which we know we have to start levelling off if we are to meet our climate targets. We have a carbon budget. We are not meeting it.
     For people who complain about the cost of doing so or the cost of transition, I would ask them to look at the forecast for the wildfire budget in British Columbia for this year. What will the costs be of mitigating and adapting to climate change? What about the billions of dollars we will to have to spend to help people when their homes are flooded out, when their farms are burned or when they cannot even produce a crop because of successive droughts and/or floods.
    These costs are coming our way and they are going to be momentous. They are going dwarf to anything. The fact is that the government is continuing to subsidize this industry when the new economy of the future, the renewable energy economy of the future is the one that is growing. It is the one where the jobs are and it is the one demanding the skill sets of many of our oil and gas workers.
    We need to stop subsidizing oil and gas. We need to put our money in the economy of the future. This is a missed opportunity to proclaim loudly that in 2019 we understand the science, that we know the deadline we were working against and that we absolutely must honour not only the present but our children's future by making that transition. It will require a Herculean effort. Unfortunately, what I have seen thus far is not matching the reality in which we live.
     With that, I will be voting against Bill C-97. Again, it is full of missed opportunities. We could have done so much better.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, as has been pointed out in this chamber many times, the member and his colleagues ran on a solemn vow to balance the budget at all costs and made some extravagant promises. We knew the NDP would not keep that commitment.
    We know that every time members of New Democratic Party stand in the House and say that we are not going far enough on this or we are not spending enough on that, they know very well that they would not have been able to do as much as this government has done, whether it is in child poverty, the environment, economic development, or on giving the middle class a tax break. None of those things would have been possible under an NDP platform.
    It has been four years and the NDP has never furnished us with a proper explanation. Why does he espouse these views now when he ran on a pledge that would have prevented him from accomplishing any of that?

  (1645)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will paraphrase a quote, that generals who fight the last war are doomed to lose the next one. If the hon. member wants to rehash what went on in the 2015 election, that is fine, I will entertain his wish.
    What he is neglecting to say is the source of revenue the government has consistently neglected to go after. The Liberals are putting policies in place for the upper 1% by not going after tax cheats, tax dodgers and tax havens. That is where it can find the revenue.
    Furthermore, if the government had put in a national child care system by making those investments and allowing more parents to enter the workforce, who can then pay income tax, it would have found the additional revenue.
    I did run under that platform. We were proud to support it. However, the member is neglecting to tell the other half of the story. The Liberals consistently do this when they bring the issue up in the House of Commons. I would remind the hon. member that it is 2019.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford has pointed out that the Liberals are now trying to hold the NDP to its electoral promises, when they break so many of their own. It is quite funny.
    Bill C-97, the omnibus legislation, includes a few things on which both of our ridings would agree, although we probably would want to have some discussions on them.
    The first is that the Canadian Credit Union Association was promised two red tape reduction measures in the budget. There is only one in it. What does the member think about that?
    Second, instead of actively campaigning to work with provincial premiers to open up the wines of his region and my region, the federal government is abdicating completely. It has eliminated any reference in the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act in the omnibus bill. Then they are trying to sell it like they are somehow opening up opportunities. Really what they are doing is abdicating the field. What does the member think about that part and what do these things mean for his riding?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a been a proud member of a credit union for a number of years, simply because I find it is more responsive to the needs of local communities. Credit unions have local representation. They are involved in this. They make those investments that really matter. They have democratic control over how policies are made.
    I would love nothing more than for the House of Commons to enjoy the fine wines of the Cowichan region, whether it is Emandare, or Averill Creek or a whole host of others. I know our two regions are certainly big wine producing regions in British Columbia. I wish people in other provinces could enjoy the fruits of labour of the incredible farmers we both have.
    Yes, there are missed opportunities. I am glad the member highlighted those facts. It is important to remind Canadians of what we could have achieved with this opportunity in the dying days of the 42nd Parliament.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
     The bill would help bring the proposal outlined in budget 2019 to life and help improve the lives of Canadians, including my constituents in Brampton West.
     For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to speak to many pieces of legislation in the House and provide my voice on how our government's policies would improve the lives of my constituents in Brampton West. Budget 2019 is the accumulation of four years of making Canada a better place to live for all Canadians.
    Let me talk about the current economic situation.
     First and foremost, for the last three and a half years, Canada's economy has been booming. We have been investing in our middle class. One of the first things we did was cut taxes for the middle class. We introduced initiatives like the Canada child benefit. We are putting more money in the hands of those who need it the most. With that, we have created an environment of growth.
    Since November 2015, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the finance minister, Canadians have created over one million jobs. One million more families are better off than they were before. If we compare our record, that is one million more jobs created in the last three and a half years than the Harper Conservatives could do in 10 years. The majority of these jobs are full-time. The unemployment level is the lowest it has been in decades. We have lifted more than 300,000 children out of poverty. A typical Canadian family is $2,000 better off under our plan than it was under the Stephen Harper plan back in 2015. That is real change, and we know our plan is working.
    While it is important to celebrate the milestones that we have achieved, it is also important to acknowledge that a lot of work needs to be done.
     Today in Canada, especially where my constituents live in Brampton West, once affordable properties are now out of reach due to high demand. Therefore, in budget 2016 and in budget 2017, we established Canada's first-ever housing strategy that would invest $40 billion over 10 years to build and repair affordable housing units. This gives future homeowners greater options when looking at the housing market and makes housing accessible to more people than ever before.
    In budget 2019, we are taking another step to support first-time homebuyers, including new immigrant families in Brampton West. To help make home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers, budget 2019 introduces the first-time homebuyer incentive. This incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers, who have the minimum down payment of an insured mortgage, to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
    Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the homebuyers plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time homebuyers greater access to their registered retirement savings plan to buy a home. I know this initiative will benefit many young families in Brampton West looking to purchase a home or a condo. It gives them the option to put more money down by accessing a larger portion of their savings and helps them deal with the cost of living by lowering their monthly mortgage payments.
    I would like to talk a bit about our health care.
     Our health system is one of which Canadians are extremely proud. We all recognize that it is one of the best systems in the world. From my background as a registered nurse, I have seen the impact it has not just in our communities, but in hospitals. We also recognize that the cost of prescription medication is a significant barrier to many Canadians to get the treatment they need. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for a prescription and putting food on the table or going without needed medication simply because he or she cannot afford it.
    To address these challenges, budget 2019 announces steps to move forward with a national pharmacare program. This is very important to my constituents in Brampton West. We have been advocating for this with the government and in my previous role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.

  (1650)  

    We are establishing the Canadian drug agency. This new national drug agency would build on existing provincial and territorial successes and take a coordinated approach to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians. Negotiating better prices could help lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians up to $3 billion per year in the long term. The extra savings would mean more money going to my constituents and more investments in Canadians.
    We are also creating a national formulary, a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs, to be developed as part of the Canadian drug agency. This would provide the basis for a consistent approach to formulary listing and patient access across the country. It would set out a clear path toward a national pharmacare program.
    In addition to these essential steps, we are introducing a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, to help Canadians get better access to the effective treatments they need.
    These changes will put the foundation in place as we wait to hear from the advisory council later this year on the implementation of national pharmacare.
    This budget provides more money directly to the communities and municipalities that need it. Through a doubling of the gas tax fund infrastructure top-up, our government will be transferring more money directly to municipalities so they can fund projects that are important to their communities.
    It is unfortunate that the provincial government in Ontario is impeding the flow of federal dollars to our municipalities. This has been having a tremendous effect in my community in Brampton.
    We are working directly with our municipalities to ensure that essential projects move forward. I am proud to be part of a government that is working with municipalities on behalf of Canadians and delivering for them.
    Brampton will be receiving close to $50 million through this fund so that it can invest in services that Bramptonians rely on most, such as public transportation, recreation centres and our parks.
    We have seen what is happening in Ontario. While the provincial Conservative government is failing and continuing to make cuts on the backs of Canadians, our government continues to deliver for Canadians.
    Our government is also thinking forward by investing in the new frontier for our safety. That frontier is cybersecurity. Digital technologies are increasingly knitted into the lives of Canadians, so in order to protect our information, we need a plan. Canada's skilled workforce and world-class universities can help us become leaders in cybersecurity research and development.
    To promote collaboration among Canadian cybersecurity centres of expertise, budget 2019 proposes to provide $80 million over four years to support Canadian cybersecurity networks across Canada that are affiliated with post-secondary institutions. The funding proposed in budget 2019 would mean that institutions like the Ryerson University cybersecurity centre in Brampton will get the funding they need to create well-paying jobs and solidify our cybersecurity infrastructure.
    This cybersecurity centre was part of a project by Ryerson University to establish a full satellite campus in Brampton, something the Brampton community and all members from Brampton advocated for years. The campus would have provided a post-secondary education experience for young Bramptonians closer to home. It would have created jobs and attracted new talent to Brampton. The project was unfortunately, once again, gutted by the current provincial Conservative government.
    Where it made cuts to our health care, education and communities, we will continue to invest in and for Bramptonians and make those investments.
    Canadians are among the most skilled and highly educated workers in the world. However, today the evolving nature of work means that people may change jobs many times over the course of their working lives or may require new skills to keep their jobs in a changing economy.
    That is why we are providing Canadians with a tool called the Canada training benefit. This program would help provide more choices for my constituents so they can find the jobs they need to be successful in fulfilling their careers, while also not endangering their current employment.

  (1655)  

    The changes we have brought forward over the last four years and the changes included in this budget make me extremely proud of our government, which recognizes the importance of investing in the middle class. I hope to be part of this truly progressive government over the years so we can continue to bring real change and keep bringing investments into Brampton so our constituents can continue to thrive, not just in Brampton but in communities all across Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, on the first-time homebuyer incentive, the shared equity mortgage program, I looked up Brampton and I could find only 98 listings that would qualify for this particular initiative, because it caps at $120,000, the maximum price of the home is $480,000, and it is 5% down on a previous property or 10% down on a new one. When we make the calculation, the officials at CMHC could not tell me where they got the 100,000 from, and it does not offset the impact of the B-20 stress test. In fact, I asked every single organization involved in real estate, whether on construction sites, realtors or brokers, and they all said that it would not offset the impact of the B-20 stress test, which has seen, in one year, 33% of first-time homebuyers drop out of the market. It is a punishing decision by the government to insist on continuing with the B-20 stress test.
    How can the member support a government policy that would not achieve any of the goals and, instead, would throw away $1.25 billion, when there is an easier, simpler and cheaper solution?

  (1700)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, yet too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market.
    For 10 years, the Conservatives, such as the Leader of the Opposition, did absolutely nothing to address this issue, whereas we have actually invested $40 billion in the national housing strategy. In Brampton alone, just two weeks ago, we announced 89 affordable housing units through the national housing strategy. With this budget, particularly with the first-time homebuyer incentive, we are making home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers, like the ones in my community.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the difference between the Liberal Party of Canada, which my colleague is a member of, and the New Democratic Party, could not have been any clearer.
    The NDP announced an ambitious plan to transition to green energy and a green economy. The estimated cost of this transition is $15 billion. This announcement, made in Montreal by our leader, is only the beginning.
    The Liberals already have plans to invest these $15 billion into a pipeline project that has already cost Canadian taxpayers $4.5 billion. If the expansion goes ahead and a second pipeline is built, the government will spend an additional $10 billion. We are talking about approximately $15 billion for a pipeline that transports dilbit from the oil sands.
    What does my colleague tell her constituents who care about the environment? Which plan should they choose, the one that invests $15 billion into the energy transition or the one that gives the fossil fuel industry $15 billion?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the member, as we sat on the finance committee together, but it is hard to take New Democrats seriously. They have flip-flopped on so many issues. They wanted to balance the budget at all costs on the backs of Canadians in 2015. They voted against the Canada child benefit and the middle-class tax cut. They say one thing and do another.
    Our plan for the environment has been very clear. We are putting a price on pollution and investing in public transit. Those are things that matter to my constituents. I am extremely proud of what we have been able to do, and I am really looking forward to what we will be able to achieve in the coming years.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for touching on so many things in a short period of time, but she really got my attention when talking about training people in new technologies as workforces change. She was a nurse and my wife was a nurse. My wife saw a lot of change over the years, going to the metric system and the new technologies in nursing. Could the member comment on how this could help health care in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for all the work he does on behalf of his constituents, and to thank his wife as well, who served as a nurse.
    With this budget, we introduced the Canada training credit. This would help working Canadians get the skills they need to succeed in the changing world. This is a new tool that would help working Canadians find the time and money to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers.
    This is extremely important for health care. We are moving in such a way that people need more training. The digital economy is here, and we need to be innovative in everything we do, which is exactly why we are ensuring that people are prepared for the new skills of the future.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-97, an honour but also a concern.
    It is also an honour and a privilege to bring the concerns of my constituents of North Okanagan—Shuswap to this House and debate them as their member of Parliament. Perhaps the greatest honour I have ever known, aside from being blessed with a loving wife and becoming a parent, is to represent the people who have entrusted me to carry their issues and best interests forward, on their behalf and for the good of Canada.
    We all come to this place with the intention of representing our ridings and the great people in them, and some of us are very successful at it. What I have seen over the last three and a half years is a government and a Prime Minister who have strayed away from representing the people. The Liberals have put in place a bureaucracy and a larger government with priorities far ahead of what the average Canadian's needs are. The most glaring example of that is the government's out-of-control spending, the lavish sense of entitlement of the Prime Minister and the ballooning budgets that we see year after year after year.
    Bill C-97 is an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019. It is 396 pages, which is not a massive omnibus bill, but it is massive in its own right. This budget adds almost another $20 billion in deficit. This has been happening for multiple years now, with the government and its out-of-control spending.
    Most people have difficulty envisioning what $20 billion would look like; a big $20-billion pile is very hard to envision. Most average Canadians cannot quite put that picture together. When I am talking to the good people in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap, I explain to them that the $20-billion increase to debt that the government seems to be putting forward every year works out to about $540 for every man, woman, child, veteran, senior and grandparent. It is another $540 per year, year after year after year, that the government is taking out of their pockets.
    Then I ask people if they can envision what those dollars would look like in their hands and what they could do with that money in their pockets. That is when they start to get really angry, as they realize they could do far better with the dollars in their pockets rather than sending them to an out-of-control government with out-of-control spending habits. Then I also explain to them, especially those in the workforce, that they are actually on the hook for double that amount. It is over $1,000 for every working person, because only 50% of Canadians are employed full time and might be able to pay back some of this debt the government is piling on. That is when they get really upset and ask what we can do, and ask that we do everything we can to eliminate the out-of-control government and its out-of-control spending.
    Average Canadians must base their lives on what they can earn, borrow and pay back within their working years. Average Canadians understand these principles. They strive to pay off their debts and provide a starter investment for their children or leave a bit of inheritance for their children or grandchildren, whatever that may be.
    In contrast, we currently have a Liberal government that thinks nothing of spending beyond not just its means but the taxpayers' means. What it really comes down to is a government that is spending beyond the taxpayers' means right now and adding debt year after year after year.

  (1710)  

    This is a government that does not believe in setting aside anything for a rainy day. Instead of leaving something in the bank for future generations, it is passing on a massive debt load that current and future taxpayers will have to pay back.
    On top of this increasing debt load the government is passing on, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars offshore. Upon joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the government committed Canada to a roughly 1% share of the bank, worth about $256 million. This will all be spent over the next five years.
    When I explain this to the good people back home in North Okanagan—Shuswap, they start to envision what that kind of money could have done back home. When I talk to people there, they think of the projects we talked about in the pre-budget consultations I do every year. I go around to every community, every first nation and the chambers of commerce to meet with their boards and ask what they would like to see in the budget. I compile all that information in a condensed, concise version and provide it in a letter to the finance minister well in advance of the annual budget each year. Unfortunately, what we see in return is not reflective of what average Canadians need.
    The dollars being spent offshore in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are going to build pipelines in China. They are going to build major projects overseas, but no Canadian operations will be involved in those projects. All that funding will simply go offshore rather than being used to put Canadians to work.
    That really upsets the people back home when I tell them. They have requested funding and support for youth space in their small communities, such as in the village of Chase, so that their youth can have a place to be active rather than out on the street. The Sicamous community has put forward the idea of a joint project involving the community and the local first nation band, the Splatsin. They can see what these projects can do for the community and they can see the revenue generation it could create. However, those funds are not there, partly because the government has decided to send them offshore.
    I have seen requests from communities asking for help in purchasing emergency equipment or in upgrading their fire halls. Again, that funding is not available, because it has been sent offshore or has been spent to service the increasing debt, as we have heard in some of the speeches this afternoon. These are debt service costs from the increasing deficit the government continues to pile on.
    I have also heard communities ask for a bit of a kick-start in developing economic plans. First nations bands and small communities have asked me about this. They want to know how they could possibly get some assistance and guidance in putting an economic plan together. Again, the money is not available, because it was spent elsewhere.
    We have heard much talk about the mortgage stress test. I hear a lot back home about the shortage of affordable housing. I use the term “housing that is affordable”. The term “affordable housing” rings to most people as low-income, income-assisted or payment-assisted housing. However, it is housing that is affordable at all levels that we need. I believe that it is not just in my community but right across the country. For every chance we have to move someone into a first home or into a retirement home or into a rental home, an opportunity is opened up for someone else.
    Those are the kinds of things I see average Canadians in my riding asking for.

  (1715)  

    They are asking for things like highway improvements. They are asking for things like electrification for the small community of Seymour Arm, which is currently off the grid and using diesel generation to power the community. These kinds of things would really help small communities move forward and get together, but the funds are not available, because the current government is deciding to use them on lavish vacations or offshore spending or for servicing the debt.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the hon. member's speech, and indeed, fiscal responsibility should always be a guiding principle in public administration. However, it is also responsible and forward-looking to make investments for the future. As a matter of fact, when we talk about investing, we talk about a return at some time in the future.
    I would like to ask the member a question regarding a project that is taking place in Montreal. It is a $6-billion project, to which the government is contributing $1.3 billion. This is a light rail system that will benefit future generations that have to take light rail to school. It will improve productivity in the future and bring about greater economic growth.
    Should this project have been put on hold, awaiting the balancing of the budget, or is it a good investment for the future and for future generations?
    Mr. Speaker, on those types of big projects, infrastructure projects here in Canada, I cannot disagree that they are worthwhile projects. However, when we have a government that is sending money offshore, building pipelines in China and spending $4.8 billion on a pipeline here in Canada but is refusing to move forward on the investment to expand that pipeline to build our Canadian economy, I say that we have a government that has failed.
    Mr. Speaker, we were talking about the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and one of our members on this side mentioned one project. We also have the GO Transit project in southern Ontario, with $2 billion in debt financing to open up GO. As well, we can think about what providing electric trains in our region is going to mean for the future of transportation in southern Ontario and within the member's riding. There has also been an investment in a seniors residence for indigenous seniors.
    Would the hon. member not agree that investing in our future and investing in projects such as these is good for Canada and good for each of our communities?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is referring to some projects the Liberals have actually managed to get off the ground in Canada. However, the bigger project, the one that would really benefit western Canada, which seems to be ignored or just kicked down the road further and further, is the Trans Mountain pipeline.
    When I did a survey of my constituents in my riding, I asked if they felt that projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline should move forward in the best interest of Canada. The response I got back was almost 80% supportive. I believe that 79.4% were supportive of that project, yet we have a government that has been here for almost four years and has failed to move that project one inch closer to the goal line.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague made the comment that people cannot visualize what $1 billion is. Well, the Liberals this time around this year had a $20-billion deficit. They also had $20 billion in extra revenue because the world economy is doing so well. That is $40 billion they spent that they did not plan on and that no one planned on having. To put that in perspective, that is like giving one million Canadians a cheque for $40,000 and allowing them to sit at home doing nothing. If this is the Liberal idea of a job creation plan, I think we have to question that.
    I would like to ask my colleague a very important question. If the Liberals continue to go down this route of deficit spending, which we have seen in Ontario, where Ontario became the worst sub-national government in the world, and these deficits become the taxes of the future and the cuts of the future, what does the member think will happen to our country? Will it be exactly what has happened to Ontario?

  (1720)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague on this side of the House for putting forward a question that is really relevant to what is happening here, which is increasing debt.
    I come from a small business background, which many of the people in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap are from. They understand that small businesses can invest when times are good but need to put something away for those rainy days when times are not so good.
    We know about global economic cycles, especially the North American economic cycle we go through about every eight to 12 years. Indications are that we are now coming to a cycle where we could be looking at a major slowdown. All the current government has done over the past four years of moderate economic growth is pile up so much debt that the cost, in a few years' time, if we have a slowdown, is going to be an increasing burden, and we are going to have no choice: We can either push the country further into debt, which is the absolute worst thing we can do, or try to find efficiencies in the way we manage government. The way the government is operating, it is harder—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.
    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the House tonight to speak to this important budget, budget 2019.
    As members and Canadians know, the economy has been moving very quickly and successfully. Canadians have created over one million jobs since 2015, and over 110,000 jobs in the last month alone. That is extremely impressive.
    We have also seen, with our investment of the Canada child benefit, that we lifted over 300,000 Canadians out of poverty. That is another very important signal of success that we have moved forward on for our economy. As well, we have seen and are seeing the lowest unemployment rate in 45 years. When we took office here, the unemployment rate was at 7.1%. It is now at 5.7% to 5.8%. That is a strong indication of how strong our economy is moving forward. That is because of the budgets and investments we have made over the last four years. This budget is a continuation of that philosophy.
    I want to talk about veterans. As members know, I have the largest number of veterans in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia has the highest number in the country per capita. We have made some big investments over the last three and a half years for veterans, of over $10 billion. Even in this budget, we have again made some major steps forward.
     The first budget was on transition. We have been working hard to find a seamless approach with a joint committee between DND and Veterans Affairs. It is in place and we are seeing some very positive steps forward in that area. However, we were only focusing that transition on ill and disabled veterans. Now we have included, in this bill, non-ill veterans, which is another very important factor.
    We have enhanced the education and training benefit for veterans, which is $40,000 for six years of service or $80,000 for 12 years. We have now added the reservists to the list of those who can benefit from those programs. Those are very big steps that the veterans community was asking for and that we were able to put forward.
    The other investment is the veterans survivor fund. Prior to this budget, the benefits and pensions of veterans who got married after the age of 60 would not be moved over to their spouse or partner. We made sure that we would bring forward investments to correct that as well, which was another important ask from our veterans community.
    There are also investments in the Juno Beach Centre. We are celebrating, on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day. We want to remember the loss of over 14,000 Canadians during that important time.
    That is just a quick run-through of some of the investments in the veterans sector. Let us talk about the young people in this country.
    We need to make sure that we are helping those young individuals to move forward and we have included some major steps in this last budget. Regarding student loans, we know that if students get a job they have to make over $25,000. We talked about that in previous budgets. Now we are saying that they will pay a prime rate but will not have to pay the plus 3%, which was a big one. Also we said that there will be no interest on the loan and no payments for the first six months, which is a big change as well.
    For first-time homebuyers, we have set up an opportunity for young people. If they are purchasing a home for $400,000, they would have to put 5% down, which would be $20,000, so their loan would be $380,000. However, with the shared-equity strategy that we have put in place, their loan now is $340,000 and that is major. That is a savings of $225 per month. If I run that through for 30 years, it is $81,000 that an individual would save. That is a very important investment, as members can note.

  (1725)  

    As for student summer jobs, when the Conservatives were in power the number of summer jobs was the lowest that had existed in this country. Now that we are in 2019, there is the greatest number of summer jobs. In my riding alone, there are 255 individuals who are going to or are working in those summer jobs. That is $770,000 invested in that portfolio for students in my riding. As members can see, it is a broad approach that we are bringing forward, a coordinated strategy.
    Then, we have brought in some investments in the Canada training program, which is a very important new program. It is tax free and people can save up to $250 a year, $1,000 every four years, for upgrading. That is something that we did not have access to. All members in the House know that young people today will often change jobs. The technology is moving so rapidly that this training is essential. We also have a program where people can draw from EI during the four weeks they are attending upgrading courses, which is extremely important.
    We need to talk about seniors. We know that by 2034, seniors will represent about 25% of Canadians. That is a very high number. In the Atlantic provinces, the number is even higher than that. We need to focus on seniors. My riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook in Nova Scotia had the highest increase between 2011 and 2016. The Conservatives were going to move the retirement age to 67 and we said that was unacceptable. Canadians who have worked up to the age of 65, if they so desire to retire, they should be able to retire in dignity. Therefore, we ensured that the age of retirement stayed at 65, which was a crucial investment.
    We have made investments to the GIS, the guaranteed income supplement, in two areas. The first one is a big investment of approximately $950, which allowed 700,000 seniors to move above the poverty line. That was very important, as well.
    On health care, pharmacare, we are going to move forward. We have had a committee study a national pharmacare program. We should be able to deliver that in the very near future. We have made some investments in the Canadian drug agency to lower the costs. A national dementia strategy is very important. I met with a group in Sackville last week, in my riding. Northwood is trying to open an adult day program for dementia patients. Again, that is very important as well.
    I must also include some of the investments on reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We have eliminated over 80-some boil water advisories. We have promised that by 2021 there will be no more boil water advisories. There is an investment for indigenous peoples for entrepreneurship and economic development, and for start-ups and expansion for Métis small businesses. Those are big investments for indigenous people.
    I would like to finish off, of course, with the African Nova Scotian community. We have made some major investments there as well. The black community is the oldest black intergenerational community in Canada. It has the biggest Black Cultural Centre in Canada. Two months ago, the Prime Minister was in the Preston area. It was the first time a Prime Minister ever stepped into the Preston area.
    There are some very successful initiatives that we are moving forward on. One is the anti-racism strategy investment, which will allow community-based focus groups to come forward with all kinds of different projects. There is also some capital investment, up to $25 million over five years, for projects and capital assistance to help the vibrant black community continue to grow.
    I have to close with the trade deals. We have brought three trade deals to the table, successfully. That is 1.5 billion people trading in and out of Canada.

  (1730)  

    It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Criminal Code

     moved that Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (abuse of vulnerable persons), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about seniors and vulnerable persons in our society, whether they are physically handicapped, have a mental condition or other. Bill C-206 focuses on the sentencing of individuals who perpetrate crimes against people specifically because of who they are: vulnerable.
    The bill would amend section 718.2 of the Criminal Code by bringing further protection to seniors and other vulnerable persons to ensure that they live in safety, dignity and without fear.
    As a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer for many years, I have seen many horrific crimes, brutality, theft and suicide. Fortunately for me, I have been able to take all the bad, the ugliness and the violence and push it to the back of my mind and I can forget about it. How much good we did and the people we helped save and set on the right course in life is very important to me.
    However, there was always one type of crime I felt I could not accept, the lack of appropriate penalties in our Canadian Criminal Code, specifically for crimes against vulnerable persons. My bill would introduce tougher penalties for those who consciously use the weakness of vulnerable groups to financially, physically, sexually or emotionally abuse them.
    It is difficult for the abused to admit to people that they are victims of abuse, especially at the hands of someone they know and trust. When trust is abused, the penalties should be severe. Perpetrators should be held to account with firm punishment. We must have harsher sentences for these types of perpetrators.
    Criminals who target the elderly should know that they will not get away with it. Older people should not have to fear being targeted. We need stronger penalties to deter and tackle criminals who target the elderly and the disabled. There are hundreds of cases of abuse in which the offenders did not, in my opinion, receive fair punishment for their actions.
    We should not tolerate or express any sort of sympathy toward conscious cruelty against seniors and other vulnerable groups. Their security should be of concern to us in Canada and their abuse should be treated as a human rights issue of the utmost importance.
    I must point out that technically a judge already considers the vulnerability of a victim, including age and disabilities, when deciding on a sentencing term. It is just not specifically stated on paper or in the act. The bill would simply add it on paper as a requirement.
    As people grow older, they become more isolated, so the risk of abuse increases. Punishment fails to deter would-be abusers who see older people as a soft target and we must do more to protect older people and vulnerable people. Bill C-206 would change that.
    A large part of the Canadian population is either a senior or will soon be one, including me. I am already there. The demographic data released by Statistics Canada in the 2016 census shows there are approximately 5.9 million seniors in Canada.

  (1735)  

    According to government statistics, by 2031, around eight million people will be aged 65 or older. That will be almost a quarter of Canada's population. Many Canadians require care and assistance, and that number is only growing.
    Offenders who exploit their weaknesses for their self-benefit and decrease the self-worth and dignity of vulnerable adults and seniors must face greater punishments in law. Statistics provided by the Department of Justice state that approximately 24% of disabled persons were victimized at least one in their lives and about 45% of seniors aged 65 and older reported experiencing some form of abuse. This is scary, especially when a quarter of our population will be in that age bracket very shortly.
    However, according to the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, only 20% of elder abuse comes to the attention of responsible authorities. Why? Because many of the victims do not want to report the abuse for various reasons. These reasons include the dependence upon a caregiver who is abusive, fear of not being believed or even deep shame and humiliation because of what happened to them.
    Moreover, in 32% of the reported elder abuse cases, the offender is related to the victim as a child or an extended family member. That is shocking. We can only imagine how many cases of such abuse remain unreported as the elderly are reluctant to bring charges against their family members or relatives.
    It is therefore the responsibility of all of us in the House of Commons to protect those who cannot stand up for themselves by adopting measures that would deter potential offenders from committing these crimes. This is exactly what my bill is designed to do. Adopting it would mean two things: prescribing tougher penalties for the offenders and justice for the victims.
    Bill C-206 covers four forms of abuse: financial, physical, sexual and emotional. I will speak about each to show how they affect vulnerable people.
     The first is financial abuse, one of the most common forms of abuse against vulnerable groups.
     In 2014, CBC News reported that Toronto police arrested a wife and husband who defrauded a 94-year-old woman, within four years, of $25,000 in cash, jewellery and furniture. The wife was hired as a housekeeper and became involved in the everyday activities of this victim. At some point, she forced the elderly lady into a smaller room and moved into the apartment with her husband. If it were not for a courier from a local pharmacy who, during his weekly deliveries, noticed that something was wrong when an unknown person answered the door, the consequences for that woman could have been more grave than just the money.

  (1740)  

    Under the Department of Justice, not a single reported Canadian case contains a definition of “elder abuse”. In fairness, there are some cases where the extreme age of the victim was taken into the sentencing factor, which is very good. However, my bill, Bill C-206, would take away the use of discretionary decisions and make it mandatory for the sentence to be increased due to the fact the aggravated crime was committed against a vulnerable person. This is not new in Canadian law. It is missing in certain parts of the Criminal Code and I want it to be used more broadly, especially for the crimes about which I have been talking.
    In another example in the same year, 3,000 kilometres away in Edmonton, Global News wrote an article on a man who was accused of defrauding his grandmother of $265,000. He acted as his grandmother's attorney under a power of attorney agreement.
     Fraud and financial abuse in general can occur not only among family members, but also with people who the victims trust the most. These cases are connected to the victim's trust and dependancy on the caregiver who is abusing the victim and, due to the simple fear of being physically abused, the victim will not report the caregiver. This is not acceptable today. These abuses are happening because offenders do not get fair punishments. They rely on the vulnerability of others and take advantage of them.
    Physical abuse is the second form of abuse I want to address.
     Statistics show that people with disabilities are more likely to be assaulted compared to people with no disabilities. Another disturbing case happened in Ottawa involving a personal support worker who pleaded guilty to assault charges for an incident at a retirement home. He delivered 10 punches to an 89-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
     In my many years in law enforcement, this is one of the worst types of crimes I have ever encountered. Should such offenders be treated equally to those assaulting healthy and capable people? I do not think so. Their punishments should reflect the gravity of their crimes. Currently, those abusers, even if convicted, rarely get punished.
    Advocates for people with disabilities have confirmed that vulnerable groups are often abused. If we look back at the report that came out yesterday, people who are vulnerable are being picked on.
    In October 2014, the CBC posted a story about a 19-year-old mentally disabled woman being sexually assaulted on a bus in Winnipeg, while her support worker was sitting a couple of rows ahead. I am a father and a grandfather. To me, a 19-year-old is still a child. What this child experienced was traumatic for both her and her parents. She has a right to be safe. That is why we need a stronger law.
    In the spring of 2017, a support worker in Ontario walked away with a guilty plea for only one count of assault and no criminal record in exchange for the court withdrawing 13 counts of sexual assault.
    We need to be stiffer in our penalties. This is where my bill, Bill C-206, would come into play. The vulnerable in our society should enjoy an increased level of protection. They need to be confident in our legal system and must be assured that those who would try to use their vulnerability will always get a fair punishment.
    The last but not least form of abuse I would like to cover today is the emotional or psychological form of abuse. I would like to add that all previously discussed forms of abuse are very much connected to emotional abuse in the sense that they have a great psychological effect on the victims.
     There is no dignity in disrespecting a vulnerable person. There is no dignity in taking advantage of a vulnerable person. It is a crime and it must be punished in a greater way than it is being punished now. The cases I have talked about are not single cases; there are hundreds of them out there.
    How do we change this? Canada needs harsher penalties for those who exploit vulnerable people and take advantage of their weaknesses. Tougher penalties for the abuse of vulnerable persons would make abusers think twice before committing these kinds of offences and would provide more safety for those who cannot protect themselves.
     My bill would ensure that those criminals who would disrespect and use the weakness of others would not be able to get away with a simple conviction or a guilty plea, leaving the families and friends of victims desperate and disappointed in our criminal justice system.

  (1745)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Yellowhead for his advocacy.
     As the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Seniors, I know first-hand that abuse to seniors is a lot more prevalent than we probably know, and I want to thank him for bringing the bill forward.
    Given the fact that my colleague has worked in the field of policing and given his comments tonight, I would like to ask him what his thoughts are with respect to our decision to create a ministry of seniors. Also, in budget 2019, we brought forward financial increases to the new horizons for seniors program specifically to help elder abuse, elder fraud and isolation.
    I would like to get my colleague's opinion on those initiatives.
    Mr. Speaker, any committee that is formed to assist seniors in any capacity will definitely help. However, my bill does not only stick with seniors; it is anybody who is in a vulnerable position. We need to ensure that in our courts, when people are found guilty, they will dealt with more severely if they have assaulted a 95-year-old man or a person in a wheelchair
    What I am trying to get to with Bill C-206 is that there have to be consequences if someone picks on vulnerable people just because they are vulnerable.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's dedication to preserving the dignity of seniors.
     In the last Parliament, almost all parties agreed with the proposed elder abuse legislation. In that bill was an aggravating factor with respect to when someone either physically or financially assaulted a senior. That needed to be taken into consideration when sentencing after someone had his or her day in court.
    Could the member explain how his legislation is different and why it is appropriate today?

  (1750)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is different in two ways.
    First, it would make it mandatory. Right now is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the judge to look at the aggravated sentencing. Let us take that away. Automatically, people will be punished greater if they assault a vulnerable person than if they assault someone else, just as if someone defrauds, steals or takes advantage of a vulnerable person.
    The second part that comes into play is the fact that there are criminals out there. There are people who prey upon the vulnerable. The public needs to know that if people prey on a vulnerable person, they will pay a greater penalty if caught than if they were to prey on another person.
    Mr. Speaker, given that the member has a large amount of personal experience in these things, what is one thing he would like to ensure people in his riding know about this legislation, as well as the people in this room and Canadians in general?
    Mr. Speaker, the message I want to get out to all Canadians is that vulnerable people must be respected regardless of their vulnerability, whether it is age, a disability, the way they were brought up or lifestyle. If people choose to perpetrate crimes against vulnerable persons, I want to get the message out that they are the worst types of criminals and we need to deal with them in a more severe manner than we do today.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the second reading debate on Private Member's bill, Bill C-206, an act to amend the Criminal Code.
     At the outset, I want to to acknowledge the laudable objective of the bill and thank the member from Yellowhead for giving us the opportunity to debate this important social issue this evening.

[Translation]

    Bill C-206 amends the Criminal Code to specify that the physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse of a person over the age of 65 or of a person 18 years of age or older who depends on others for their care because of a mental or physical disability is to be considered an aggravating circumstance for sentencing purposes.
    The member for Yellowhead said that the bill seeks to give vulnerable s