Skip to main content
Start of content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Previous day publication Next day publication
Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 096

CONTENTS

Thursday, May 6, 2021




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 096
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    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)(a) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to six petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Official Languages 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages entitled “Conference Interpreters: The Cornerstone of Bilingualism in Parliament”.
     Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Official Languages and all the staff and analysts who did an excellent job on this study of the challenges facing the parliamentary interpretation service in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
     To allow greater flexibility in summoning members, we want to table a supplementary report with two amendments. In recommendation 2, we would like to change the wording to “at least 48 hours” for witness participation.
    In recommendation 3, paragraph b), we would add this at the end:
...or any equivalent ISO-compliant system approved by the House, failing which it will be up to the committee to decide whether or not to hear the witness without the appropriate equipment.

Criminal Code

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I introduce, in both official languages, this bill to amend the Criminal Code and make consequential amendments to another act, in relation to interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders.

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

[English]

Petitions

Myanmar  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting four petitions today.
    The first petition is a new one and, if members will bear with me, there are a number of different elements to it. It highlights the situation in Burma and calls for engagement by the Government of Canada.
    In particular, the petition highlights a number of needs and issues. It calls on the government to suspend high-level political contact with Burma and not recognize the junta State Administrative Council as legitimate government. It calls for the imposition of sanctions, as well as action in terms of the recommendations of the fact-finding mission to Burma. It calls for engagement with international partners to seek a global arms embargo on Burma. It calls for the suspension of all financial assistance and loans to central government channels, including funding to the peace process through the Joint Peace Fund, and redirecting this aid directly to civil society. It calls for support of all efforts to empower a democratic federal government in Burma that recognizes the legitimate voices and concerns of all the various territories and nationalities.
     It also calls for action around cross-border humanitarian assistance to support ethnic civil society and internally displaced persons, as well as those in Thai-based refugee camps. There are significant concerns that have been raised by the Karen Peace Support Network around more than 3,000 Karen IDPs who have fled into Thailand and the challenges they have received in terms of accessing support from Thai authorities and being given access to humanitarian support. The community wants to see greater engagement from Canada with Thai authorities around supporting Karen and other refugee communities that are in Thailand.
    Finally, the petition calls for Canada to renew its multi-year financial commitment to support the Rohingya, which at the time of the preparation of this petition was set to expire on March 20, 2021.
    This petition, in general, reflects the concerns of ethnic minority communities in Burma who are seeking to work constructively with the majority community to advance democracy and at the same time have some specific concerns about the future of the country and ensuring that all communities are heard and respected.

  (1010)  

Conversion Therapy  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting is with respect to Bill C-6, the government's bill on conversion therapy.
    The petitioners are supportive of efforts to ban conversion therapy but are calling on the government to fix the definition to address the reality that poor drafting in the definition would lead to many unintended consequences, consequences that the government has verbally denied will actually be consequences. However, a close reading of the details of the legislation leaves petitioners very concerned, and they are looking for greater clarity from the government on the language of the bill.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition is in support of Bill S-204, a bill currently before the Senate, but which I am hopeful will be before the House of Commons very soon.
    This bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ without the consent of the person it was taken from. It would also create a mechanism by which someone could be deemed inadmissible to Canada due to involvement in forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
    The petitioners want to see this Parliament pass Bill S-204 as soon as possible, noting that it has been over 10 years that various members of Parliament from various parties have been working on getting a legislative initiative like this moving forward.

Ethiopia  

    Mr. Speaker, the fourth and final petition highlights the human rights situation in Ethiopia.
    The petitioners are concerned about the situation in Tigray, as well as other regions. The petitioners call on Canada to be more engaged with the situation, working to end all violence and address the underlying causes of violence, to address humanitarian issues, to support independent monitoring, to call for international investigations into credible reports of war crimes and gross violations of human rights, and to engage directly with the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments around the conflict in Tigray and other human rights challenges in the region.
    Finally, the petitioners want to see the Government of Canada support short-, medium- and long-term election monitoring in Ethiopia.
    I want to remind the hon. members presenting petitions that the key words we want to concentrate on are “concise” and “precise”. Just keep it to a minimum, so that you get your point across and it does not go on much longer.
    The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions to present today.
    The first is e-petition 2997. The petitioners note that animals in puppy mills are kept in cramped, filthy conditions with no opportunity for exercise, socialization or veterinary care. They describe really cruel conditions. They call upon the Government of Canada to ban the operation of puppy mills in the entire country.
    The second petition is e-3063, on mink farming. The petitioners note that the plight of millions of mink in Europe has been highlighted in the news around the world due to mink being culled after the spread of COVID on mink farms between mink and between mink and humans. They again note the cruelty on farms, but really draw the connection to one health approach and the interconnectedness between humans, animals and our environment. They call upon the Government of Canada to ban the farming of mink in the entire country.
    The third petition, e-3096, is also related to fur-farming. Again, it notes that fur-bearing animals are intensely farmed and killed for their fur every year in Canada, that agencies provide public funding to the fur farms sector despite industry decline, that UNEP has listed “unsustainable agricultural intensification” and “increased use and exploitation of wildlife” as two of the seven factors driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases. The petitioners call for the Government of Canada to introduce a nationwide ban on fur-farming for all species of animals.

  (1015)  

Food Policy  

    Mr. Speaker, finally, e-petition 3022 is on food policy. The petitioners note that Canada's current food system, including how our food is produced, processed, procured, distributed, consumed and disposed of, is not aligned with the Canada food guide and the food policy for Canada and is jeopardizing the health of millions of Canadians. They note that during the pandemic, when food security is top of Canadians' minds, it is imperative that Canadians have access to an abundance of affordable and healthy plant-based food.
    The petitioners, supporters of Nation Rising, call upon the Government of Canada to direct a minimum of $390 million over three years, which is 10% of the funding allocated to supply-managed animal agriculture industries in 2019, to operationalize the Canada food guide and the food policy for Canada, including relevant funding to implement a national school food program and overhaul Canada's food system to a plant-based one.

Trans Mountain Pipeline  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise virtually this morning to present a petition on behalf of many of my constituents. It relates to what, at the time the petition was written, was the prospective purchase by the Government of Canada of what was then known as the Kinder Morgan pipeline, now Trans Mountain. Many of the points I have reviewed in the petition are still relevant, such as that it is still the case that there is no proven way to clean up a spill involving bitumen diluted with diluents, a substance called dilbit.
    The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to cease any financial expenditures to promote the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and especially its construction across unceded indigenous lands.

Health Canada  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege today to table a petition on behalf of petitioners from Port Alberni. They are concerned about a Health Canada file that is open right now for a medical marijuana facility at 7827 Beaver Creek Road in Port Alberni. It is a Walmart-size cannabis facility that would be located right across the street from Kackaamin, a first nations family trauma and addictions healing centre, which is doing great work of healing from our shared history of colonialism and residential schools.
    Kackaamin has never been consulted in the initial planning of this facility and has requested that this facility be located elsewhere. The petitioners cite that the purpose of the Cannabis Act is “to protect public health and public safety”. They also cite that the Government of Canada has commitments to reconciliation, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.
    The petitioners call on the Minister of Health to acknowledge the implicit racism in the policy choices of Health Canada's cannabis licensing process and handling of this file and adhere to the purpose of the Cannabis Act and the principle of reconciliation. They would like the minister to expedite review of this file and cancel all cannabis licences and applications at this site, at 7821 Beaver Creek Road, apologize to Kackaamin and reaffirm the government's commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action.

Questions on the Order Paper


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

    The House resumed from May 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    When the House last took up debate on this motion, the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby had 15 minutes remaining in his time for his remarks, and then of course the usual 10 minutes for questions and comments. We will go to him now.
    The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    Mr. Speaker, I say again in appreciation this morning that I am speaking from the traditional territory of the QayQayt First Nation and the Coast Salish Peoples.

[Translation]

    Yesterday, I mentioned that this pandemic had been a tale of two countries: one is a country where billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $78 billion and where banks received $750 billion in liquidity supports, and the other is a country where people are struggling.
    That is the fundamental issue we have to think about as we implement the budget through the passage of Bill C-30.

  (1020)  

[English]

    I spoke yesterday about the impacts of this pandemic. I spoke of businesses closing their doors forever. These are small community businesses, family-run businesses and community businesses that struggled to maintain themselves during the pandemic. I spoke about the front-line workers, health care workers and first responders, all of whom have shown incredible tenacity and courage while going about their jobs of making sure as many lives are preserved as possible through this pandemic. We mourn the 24,000 Canadians who have died so far in this pandemic.
    I also spoke yesterday, and want to engage today, on what has happened to the vast majority of Canadians through this pandemic. The government, through Bill C-30, is basically doing a victory lap. It is saying, even as this third wave crashes upon our shores, that we need to scale back on supports that are given to Canadians.
     This contrasts vividly with the remarkable speed with which the government stepped in, within four days of the pandemic hitting, and provided the banking sector with $750 billion in liquidity supports. The government's first priority, coming through the pandemic, was to make sure that bank profits were maintained. That is a source of shame that should last for the entire government mandate.
     However, to the credit of Canadian democracy, in a minority Parliament the NDP caucus was able to shift the government's priority from banks and billionaires to putting in place programs that would make a difference for people. These included the emergency response benefit, support for students, support for seniors and support for people with disabilities, which I will come back to because it is full of holes and simply inadequate to meet their needs, as are many of the programs that we forced the government to put into place. We also forced the government to ensure sick leave and put in place a wage subsidy to maintain jobs and maintain businesses. We also fought and pushed for rent relief for small businesses.
    All of those things came as a result of NDP pressure. In a minority Parliament, thankfully because of the strength of Canadian democracy, we were able to bring that about. The reality is that there are two countries: one of banks and billionaires, and another of everyone else, where we know that the majority of Canadians are within $200 of insolvency in any given month and we continue to see Canadians struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads. The growing number of homeless people across our country is a testament to the impact of the pandemic and the inadequacy of the government response.
    What does Bill C-30 do? As I mentioned earlier, it basically does a victory lap on all of those supports that the NDP forced the government to put in place. Regarding the response benefit, we see a dramatic cut in July. That is within a few weeks. As this third wave crashes on our shores, we see the government moving to dramatically slash emergency supports. We see that the wage subsidy and rent relief are all going to be phased out over the course of the summer, starting within a few weeks' time, at the very worst time in the pandemic.
    We spoke last night about the crisis in Alberta, which is now the worst-hit jurisdiction in all of North America. At this critical time, the government says its job is done, its mission is accomplished and it is going to start withdrawing those supports.
    We add to this the impact of government policies, for example CRA going after Canadians who were victims of fraud. We have seen over the past few years numerous cases, including with Desjardins, in which private information was leaked out, and fraudsters used it to apply for CERB in people's names. CRA is demanding repayment from people who never received payments in the first place.
    Members will recall that last June the government wanted to go even further. It wanted to put people in jail if somebody else used their private information and defrauded the public. Fraud is a serious issue. The government should have put in place systems to prevent that, but the government overreach of asking people who were victims to pay back moneys they never received is unbelievable. That is how the government is reacting to ordinary people.
    What has it done at this unprecedented time? This is the first crisis in Canadian history where the ultra-rich have not been asked to pay their fair share. Through World War II, Canada put in place an excess profits tax and wealth taxes to ensure that, because we were all in this together, everybody had to pay their fair share. Coming out of World War II, after vanquishing Nazism and fascism, we had the wherewithal to make unprecedented investments that led to the most prosperous period in Canadian history. These were investments in housing, education, health care and transportation.
    What has happened this time? What has the current government done through this pandemic? It has basically given a free ride to the ultra-rich. Canadian billionaires, who have received over $78 billion in increased wealth, are not being asked to chip in or pay their taxes. There is no wealth tax, even though the PBO estimates that would bring in $10 billion a year. There is no pandemic profits tax, even though the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates it would create $8 billion. That would be enough to eliminate homelessness in our country and ensure the right to housing, a roof over every single Canadian's head, yet the government refuses to do any of that.
    The government did put a symbolic luxury tax in place, which is less than 1¢ for every dollar the PBO believes would be raised for the public good if a wealth tax were put into place. Curiously, that is one little symbolic gesture that the Liberals love to wave. They put a tax on yachts, so that means they are taking care of massive inequality, but it is not even in Bill C-30. What we actually see is a shell game. It is smoke and mirrors, with a tiny symbolic luxury tax of less than 1¢ for every dollar that a wealth tax would bring in, and that is not even on the government's radar screen.
    It made the commitment and the promise, but as we have seen with so many other promises by the Liberal government, it is simply not worth the paper it is printed on. To reference previous broken promises, we just need to point to public universal pharmacare. Canadians have been waiting on its repeated promises for over 25 years. Regarding child care, we are told this time that the Liberals really mean it, but there are nearly 30 years of broken promises. Regarding boil-water advisories, there is over a decade of broken promises. The government says it really wants to tackle inequality. That is very rich, given that it has not done that either in the budget or in the budget implementation act.

  (1025)  

    The proposed act includes some curious and somewhat bizarre measures. For example, the budget implementation act acknowledges the increasing poverty of seniors, but says that seniors are only in this crucial poverty over the age of 75. Seniors from 65 to 74 would not get an OAS top-up, but seniors over 75 would. Poverty impacts all seniors, and for the government to discriminate is unacceptable. Also, the government acknowledges that students are having a tough time throughout this pandemic and would waive loan interest payments, but it is still forcing students to pay the principle. Students have to pay their loans back despite having to struggle through the pandemic.
    I mentioned earlier the issues for people with disabilities who have struggled unbelievably throughout this pandemic. The NDP fought, not once or twice, but half a dozen times to finally get a one-time payment of $600 for a third of people with disabilities. Of all the fights that I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, it is the one for people with disabilities that the government resisted the most. Contrast this with the $750 billion given to the Bay Street banks in the blink of an eye. In four days, the government weighed in to maintain bank profits. However, of people with disabilities, who are struggling through this pandemic, who are half of the people who line up at food banks every week and who are many of the homeless in this country, one-third were given a one-time $600 payment. What does Bill C-30 reserve for them? The government has decided that it will do a three-year consultation to figure out whether people with disabilities really have any needs to be met. These people are being asked to wait three years, but it took four days for the government to weigh in with a $750 billion liquidity support bailout package. It is unbelievable, unacceptable and irresponsible.
    Members might ask if there are any elements in the budget implementation act that I support. This government, which is so tired and so prone to spinning and acting rather than actually doing what comes with being the government, was struggling for inspiration. I gather somebody in the Prime Minister's Office discovered that they could be inspired by the 2015 NDP election platform. Tom Mulcair went to the public with a commitment for universal child care and a commitment to raise the federal minimum wage. Members will recall that the Prime Minister and Liberals at the time mocked the NDP for bringing these things forward. Well, that is the only thing that has inspired this government now. After six years of failure, the Liberals discovered that maybe the NDP election platform for 2015 was good and copied some of its elements. Now, in good faith, we say to the government let us get going on a minimum wage and let us get going on child care. We are here to make sure these things happen. We do not want this to be yet another empty Liberal platitude and another empty Liberal broken promise. We want to work with this government to make those things realities and not just other commitments or promises that it breaks for a quarter of a century, which has been the history of Liberal governments.
    My final point is this. We do not see any real response to the crisis in housing affordability. It was Liberals who ended the national housing program, and they have yet to respond in any meaningful way. We also see the tragic, broken commitment to indigenous peoples and dozens of indigenous communities who do not have safe drinking water, and this government is now putting off any commitment to end the dangerous situation of boil-water advisories for another half decade. What message does that send to indigenous people, and what message does that send to indigenous children?

  (1030)  

    Bill C-30 has elements showing that the Liberals were able to copy the NDP platform from 2015. They should be inspired more from what the NDP is putting forward today, resolve these issues on behalf of Canadians and end the appalling levels of inequality that we are seeing in this country.
    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy listening to the hon. member. Often, budgets do not have a lot for NGOs and charitable organizations. As I have done a lot of work in that area, I am very pleased that there are a number of items for them in this budget, which I hope the member supports. They include the community services recovery fund of $400 million; the Canada community revitalization fund of $400 million; the $220-million social finance fund, which is a very creative way of funding socially progressive businesses; and a second tranche for the investment readiness program because the first $50 million ran out. We are also looking at the inventive idea of government social impact bonds and making NGOs and charities eligible for the SBF.
    I was very pleased that those were in the budget, and I hope the member was as well.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I like my colleague very much and I know that he is well meaning. However, we have been speaking about the tens of billions of dollars that the government refuses to collect. Every year, $25 billion goes to overseas tax havens. That means that over the course of the last five years, the government has refused to collect $125 billion from overseas tax havens. A pandemic profits tax would mean $8 billion. Issuing a wealth tax would mean $10 billion a year, each and every year.
    The member talks about a few million here or a few million there for the charitable sector, but we should contrast that with what Canadians are living through: People with disabilities are struggling to make ends meet; there is growing a number of homeless people in this country; and 55% of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency. Despite this, we have no public universal pharmacare, no right to housing and a vague commitment on child care that the government has not followed through with yet. All of these things are needed, and there are billions of dollars that the government is refusing to collect from the ultrarich in this country.
    Am I happy that a few million dollars have been given to the charitable sector? I am not unhappy about that, but it does not meet the needs of Canadians. It does not mean that an indigenous child has—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to the member's comments regarding day care. Day care is largely under provincial jurisdiction, and the Liberals have promised it in every federal election up until 2006. Unfortunately, the federal government is running most of its expenses now with structural deficits that are mostly on the credit card.
    Given these facts, would the member not agree that it would be easier to go to his provincial government, which is NDP in British Columbia, to work toward a day care system that is modelled after the system in Quebec or in any other province? They could use that as a basis for getting started, rather than using a one-size-fits-all “Ottawa knows best” day care solution that will see little to no flexibility for shift workers or students, and will not have the ability to reach people to a large extent in rural communities.
    Mr. Speaker, first off, the member is citing an area where the Conservatives are very contradictory. The Conservatives say they support our public health care system, which is also in provincial jurisdiction, and universal health care, resulting from the work of Tommy Douglas and the NDP, is something that all Canadians accept. There is massive support across the country; it is our proudest institution. Putting into place universal access to child care and early childhood education has the same fundamental benefits. Yes, it has to be negotiated with the provinces. There needs to be standards and the funding needs to come from the federal government.
    That brings me to his second point about structural deficits. The Conservatives, over their decade, left $250 billion in overseas tax havens. The Liberals have done, in their half-decade or more, about half of that. We therefore see in both parties a refusal to make the ultrarich and profitable corporations pay their fair share. If we have deficits in this country, it is because we have had poor financial managers, whether they were Conservative or Liberal.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his speech.
    I was pleased to hear him talk about our two counties because that is what the Bloc Québécois has been saying for a long time now, since our party was created.
    That being said, I was surprised to hear him describe the post-World War I and post-World War II experience in a positive light. Ottawa took that opportunity to create taxes and resume taxation, which was supposed to be left to the provinces. That seems similar to what we are experiencing right now and it shows Ottawa's tendency to take over more and more powers every time there is a crisis. The federal government is launching a gluttonous operation to centralize power, just as we saw following the Patriotes' rebellion and the 1980 and 1995 referendums.
    In the budget, the federal government infringes on the provinces' jurisdictions and is making funding cuts so that it does not have to increase health transfers. That means that the provincial governments' jurisdictions are getting smaller and smaller, and there provinces are now being reduced to mere administrators. That problem could have been remedied had the House adopted the Bloc Québécois's amendment to the amendment, which sought to increase health transfers.
    The member voted in favour of our amendment to the amendment, and I thank him for that. Why did most of his colleagues, including his leader, vote against our amendment to the amendment?
    Mr. Speaker, the question is whether the Liberals are willing to go after tax havens and bring in a wealth tax. As everyone knows, the federal government has enormous power. We should be taking money from the ultra rich and the big corporations that are making huge profits, and putting it towards improving people's lives across the country. This needs to be done through negotiations with Quebec and the provinces.
    Take the health care system for example. It is thanks to the NDP that we have universal health care in this country. However, it must be funded with—
    I apologize for interrupting the member but we need to move on to another question.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting that in this budget the Liberals made clear they would not tax the super-rich. We know that a few years ago when allegations were raised about KPMG shell companies and offshore tax fraud and tax havens, the Liberals not only shut down the investigation, but brought in one of the top KPMG people to handle Liberal finances. I guess those who run offshore shell companies for the uber-rich are probably great at handing Liberal finances. There are hundreds of millions of dollars hiding in offshore tax havens while working Canadians follow the rules and pay their fair share every day.
    I would ask my hon. colleague about the efforts that are needed to force the Liberal government to reopen the KPMG investigation. We need to start naming the names of people who set up these shell companies and of the uber rich who are hiding their money and our taxes in these offshore havens.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Timmins—James Bay always stands on the side of regular families, whether they are in Timmins—James Bay or across the country.
    He pointed out two things. The first is the massive amount of money that the government is ready to ensure can be kept by the ultrarich and profitable corporations. They can take it overseas with impunity. In fact, the Liberals have signed multiple tax treaties with overseas tax havens, which give companies and individuals the ability to take the money offshore. For the second thing, I have good news for the member. The NDP forced a vote at the finance committee, and a study on KPMG and tax havens will be starting this afternoon.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby, if he can, to clarify the NDP position on the study into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, which recommended the shutting down of man camps. In last night's late debate, we noted that the spread of COVID through Alberta is a crisis. The hot spot is the oil sands region, and there is a continuation of construction at places like Site C and TMX, which I know the hon. member opposes, although I am not sure about his leader.
    Can the hon. member clarify what the hon. member for Burnaby South meant when he ducked a question on this last night and did not directly answer the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith? He was asked whether he would shut down the man camps.

  (1045)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is a lot there for a 30-second question.
    No, I did not get a question last night, so the member is unfortunately mistaken. She is also mistaken about TMX. I visited the TMX site. The member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus have pushed hard on this, as the member knows. That is why we got the initial PBO study, and the revision of the initial study, on TMX and the escalating costs.
    The reality is that TMX is not in the national interest. The Liberal government wants to pour more than $18.5 billion into Trans Mountain. We need to invest that money in clean energy and in the just transition. We need to do that as country if we are to really combat climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to virtually participate in today’s debate on the budget implementation act, as this is an important piece of legislation, which I believe we need to pass swiftly in order to deliver much-needed support to my constituents in Scarborough Centre.
    Budget 2021 is an important and transformative plan, and Bill C-30 begins the process of putting this vision into action. It is a vision that recognizes where we are today, which is not yet through a pandemic that is still causing real challenges for many. It also recognizes the need to be ready for a post-pandemic Canada and begin laying the foundation for an economic recovery that would ensure no one in our country is left behind.
    In Scarborough Centre, we are in the grip of the third wave. Most of our community is a designated COVID hot spot. Residents are eager to be vaccinated, and with more and more vaccines flowing into Canada every week, thanks to the diligent work of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, vaccination rates are steadily rising. Vaccinations are a team Canada effort, and I am proud of how the federal and provincial governments are working together. I am especially proud of the hard work being done by local health authorities and our frontline health workers.
    It is clear to me that there is still the need to support small businesses and individual Canadians through this pandemic. My community is one of small businesses. If one drives along Lawrence Avenue East from Victoria Park to Bellamy, they will not see any national chains. They will see countless family-owned and family-run restaurants, convenience stores and small groceries. These businesses are struggling and they still need our help.
    Budget 2021 answers that call. We will extend the Canada emergency wage subsidy and the Canada emergency rent subsidy and lockdown support until September 25, allowing businesses to keep staff on payroll and pay the rent as the pandemic curtails revenues. We will also improve the Canada small business financing program designed for small and medium-sized businesses by expanding loan eligibility, increasing loan maximums and expanding program eligibility.
    The budget also continues important support for individuals and families by providing up to 12 additional weeks of Canada recovery benefit support and expanding availability until September 25. We are committing to maintaining flexible access to employment insurance benefits for another year and extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks.
    Since the beginning of this pandemic more than a year ago, our government has been firm in its commitment to all Canadians. We will be there support them for as long as it takes. At the same time, budget 2021 looks ahead to a post-pandemic Canada and to laying the foundation for Canada to build back stronger, with a recovery that all Canadians can be a part of.
    This pandemic has not impacted everyone equally. While I have been privileged to be able to work from home, many of my constituents cannot. Those with essential jobs, or jobs that cannot be done remotely, have to keep going into work. They stock our grocery shelves and cook our take-out meals. They sort and deliver our online orders. They expose themselves to greater risk, both in their workplaces and during their commutes. They are lower income and often from racialized communities. COVID has hit these communities harder.
    The pandemic has also had a greater impact on women. Last summer, at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, we studied the impact of the pandemic on women. We heard how the pandemic has led to women taking on more caregiving responsibilities within the household, especially in intergenerational households, both for children now doing virtual learning, as well as older parents needing care.
    One of the key messages we heard was the importance of access to quality and affordable early learning and child care as part of any post-COVID recovery. As the first wave of the pandemic receded last summer and people began to return to work, we saw that women who had lost their jobs were not returning to work at nearly the same rate men were. One of the reasons is access to child care, and not all families can even afford child care when it is available.

  (1050)  

    This is not just a social issue; it is also an economic issue. If our economy is going to return to previous levels and grow, we need both men and women to be able to choose to participate in the workforce. A lack of access to child care is a major barrier to labour market access for some Black, indigenous, racialized and newcomer women.
    The words of Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and the Atkinson fellow on the future of workers, really resonated with me. She said:
...there will be no recovery without a she-covery and no she-covery without child care. Let me be really clear. If we don't do this, we are actually voting to move towards economic depression—and not a recession but a prolonged contraction of GDP—by policy design.
     Our budget’s plan for early learning and child care is not just innovative social policy. It is a necessity for our post-pandemic economic recovery. When women can choose to participate fully in the workforce, it is easier for businesses to access the labour and talent they need to grow their business.
     When I was a mother of young children, as my husband and I were just beginning our lives here in Canada, we could not afford quality child care. I had no choice but to stay home and put off entering the workforce and beginning my career in Canada. I cherish the time I got to spend with my boys in their early years, but I want women today to be able to have the choice to make the decision that is best for them. It is their choice, and I support them whatever it is, but I want them to have a choice. This is a policy whose time has come.
    We must also recognize the impact this pandemic has had on seniors. My riding is home to many long-term care homes, which I always enjoyed visiting before the pandemic. It has been painful to see how they have suffered over the past year. Budget 2021 proposes to invest $3 billion, working with the provinces to develop national standards for long-term care, and improve the safety and quality of life for seniors in care.
    I was recently able to announce over one million dollars in joint federal-provincial funding to help two long-term care homes in my riding to improve their air quality and ventilation systems. This is vitally important funding that will keep seniors safer and healthier, as well as the hard-working staff. I am so glad to see the federal and provincial governments working on this. This is what we owe our seniors, and I hope this co-operation can continue to work to develop national standards.
    Since we took office in 2015, 25% fewer seniors are living in poverty. With budget 2021, we are building on that progress by increasing OAS by 10% for seniors age 75 and over, which will help lift even more seniors out of poverty.
    We are also providing needed assistance for our youth, who have seen major disruptions to learning during this pandemic. With budget 2021, we are extending the waiver of interest accrual on Canada student loans and Canada apprentice loans until March 31, 2023. We will also double Canada student grants and create new training and work opportunities for young Canadians, so they gain valuable skills and experience in the workforce. Our youth are our future. We must support them and set them up with the tools and support they need to succeed.
    I look forward to working with my colleagues to see these important initiatives passed, so our constituents have the support they need to make it through this pandemic and build back stronger than before.

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder what the hon. member's view is with respect to comments made by former deputy minister of finance David Dodge, of the Chrétien era, who is also the former governor of the Bank of Canada. He has been saying the budget does not focus on growth, is not a reasonably prudent fiscal plan and does not invest in growing Canada's economic policy. Does she agree with the former governor and deputy minister's comments? If she does not, why not?
    Mr. Speaker, budget 2021 aims to finish the fight against COVID-19 and provide much-needed support to businesses and families finding it difficult to make ends meet. We are investing in them, but at the same time we are also laying the foundation for the post-pandemic recovery. We are investing in our seniors, child care and our youth, so we can lay the foundation for the economic recovery post-pandemic.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, before the pandemic, Quebec's debt to GDP ratio was 31.2%. Now it is 51.2% and will drop slightly to 49.2%. That is pretty worrisome, especially since that projection leaves little flexibility for the future.
    What does my colleague think about the lack of flexibility this budget gives us in case of future crises?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our government, which is working with provincial governments to make sure we end this fight against the pandemic. Over the last year, we have continued to work with provinces and territories. We have made sure we provide the support they need to fight this pandemic. That support has ranged from PPE and vaccinations to investing in the safe restart agreement, where billions of dollars have been provided to the provinces to end this fight against the pandemic and lay the foundation for the economic recovery we all need beyond this pandemic. We will continue working with the provinces to make sure we lay the foundation for an economic—
    We will continue with questions and comments.
    The hon. member for St. John's East.
    Mr. Speaker, during the budget speech, the Liberals announced a symbolic luxury tax with a small tax on the purchase of a yacht costing over $250,000 or a private plane costing more than $100,000, which might gain 1¢ on the dollar of the revenue that would come from a tax of 1% on the wealth of Canadians with over $20 million. They did not even include it in the budget implementation bill we are now debating.
    I wonder if the member for Scarborough Centre can tell us what credibility the Liberal government could possibly have on any notion of tax fairness when we have seen billionaires increase their wealth by $78 billion during this pandemic alone.

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have seen that this pandemic has not affected all Canadians in the same way. Minority communities, racialized communities and indigenous communities have been hit hard. I have seen, in my own riding of Scarborough Centre, that communities with workers in low-paying jobs have been affected, and we have continued to invest in those Canadians.
    Since we came into power in 2015, we raised taxes on the top 1% to lower taxes for the middle class. The NDP voted against that. We invested in the Canada child benefit, which has lifted over a million kids out of poverty. We will continue investing into our middle class to make sure we set a pathway for economic recovery.
     Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-30, which would implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021.
     At the outset, it bears recognizing that budget 2021 is unlike most budgets tabled in the House throughout Canada’s short but storied history. Much has been written about the length of the budget, and, yes, it is the longest budget in our history. It is also the first federal budget in Canadian history to be tabled by a woman finance minister, a glass ceiling long overdue for shattering, and it does come with over two years past since the previous budget, budget 2019.
    Budget 2021 is truly one of a kind, one might say unprecedented, much like these last two years have been, as Canadians persevere through the worst global pandemic health crisis in recent memory. This unique budget responds to these unique times, the serious challenges created and exacerbated by COVID-19. It lays the foundation for a more prosperous future, a more inclusive future, a greener future and a future that we can be proud to pass on to our kids and grandkids, knowing that we seized the moment and emerged from this dark period in our history with a bold vision for a better Canada and the courage to act on it.
    While it is prudent for the government to begin charting our path out of this pandemic, that is not to say that it is yet behind us, far from it. In fact, today, here in Nova Scotia, we are under lockdown. Our schools and shops have moved online, and strict gathering restrictions are in effect; this, as the third wave and its more dangerous, more contagious variants are hammering Nova Scotia with its highest daily case rates of COVID-19 since the start of this pandemic. It is a reminder to all of us how quickly things can change, even with leadership that listens to and respects the expert advice of public health officials.
     Not long ago, Nova Scotia was the envy of Canada, with low cases and no community transmission. All it took was one thoughtless group of interprovincial travellers and, just like that, COVID-19 began to spread across our province like wildfire.
    We are in a race. It is variants versus vaccines.
    That is why on the morning of my birthday, as soon as I became eligible, I signed up for the first vaccine I could, the AstraZeneca. Yesterday, I got my first jab at Boyd’s Pharmasave, a new pharmacy in north end Halifax, opened by Greg Richard and celebrated for its inclusive approach to pharmacy, particularly for the LGBTQ2+ people. I thank Greg.
    Getting vaccinated and defeating COVID-19 are the first steps to the economic recovery outlined in this budget. The sooner everyone is vaccinated; the sooner life returns to something more like normal, the sooner we are safe, the sooner we can hug our loved ones, the sooner our businesses can open up again and the sooner we can all go back to work.
    As our vaccine rollout continues on schedule, putting Canada consistently in the top three of the G20 for vaccines administered by population, budget 2021 would extend our substantial and effective COVID-19 financial aid programs to Canadians and to the businesses at which they work and upon which they rely.
     A year ago, when COVID-19 ground Canada to a sudden halt, the impact on our daily lives and our local economies was immediate. Our government sprang into action. From day one, we promised we would be there for Canadians, and that is exactly what we have done.
     Here are the numbers to prove it: nine million Canadians received the Canada emergency response benefit, putting food on the table for out-of-work families; $2 billion for businesses and non-profits through the emergency rent subsidy; 4.4 million Canadian jobs protected through the emergency wage subsidy; and $8 out of every $10 in financial aid to Canadians through this pandemic has come via our federal government.
    We promised we would be there for Canadians for as long as it takes, and this budget keeps that promise.
    First, the budget will extend flexible access to EI benefits for one more year until the fall of 2022. These changes have made it easier for Canadians to qualify for higher benefits sooner. Next, we will be extending the Canada recovery benefit until September 25 to cover Canadians who do not qualify EI, like self-employed and gig workers. The budget also includes new measures for low-income workers, a significant $8.9-billion investment to expand the Canada workers benefit for one million Canadians, lifting one hundred thousand people out of poverty. Other parties have talked about it, but we are the ones doing it. This budget will introduce a $15-an-hour federal minimal wage.
    For businesses being asked to lockdown to help stop the spread, like those in my riding today, the budget will extend the Canada emergency rent subsidy to the end of September. For businesses that have seen a drop in revenue because of COVID-19, the budget will also extend the Canada emergency wage subsidy to the end of September. We are going further, introducing a brand new program we are calling the Canada hiring benefit. For businesses experiencing a decline in revenues, this subsidy will make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones.
     All told, these investments are our plan to support Canadians in regaining the one million jobs lost to the pandemic. We have done it before, and we will do it again.

  (1105)  

    The pandemic has exposed an urgent need for national action on child care. From the day our finance minister assumed that office, she has made it clear that fighting the so-called “she-cession” is a priority of our feminist government. We cannot allow the legacy of this pandemic to be the scaling back of all the hard-fought advances that women have made in workforce.
     That is why budget 2021 makes a generational investment to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. Our plan aims to slash fees for parents with children in regulated child care by half on average by 2022, with the goal of reaching $10 per day child care on average by 2026. This is a necessary investment, one that is a long time coming. While other parties have talked about doing it, we are the ones actually doing it, putting $30 billion on the table to finally get this done for Canadian families.
    I come to the House from a long career in city planning in the public, private and academic sectors, including in my hometown of Halifax, the riding I am now honoured to represent as a member of Parliament. That career showed me first-hand and up close how vitally important housing was to a community. Without access to housing that is safe, secure, dignified and at a price people can afford, every other goal a person has in life becomes secondary.
     I made the jump into politics in 2015, and became the first city planner elected to this place, because I believed the federal government needed to do more to support the communities Canadians called home, to help undo the decade of neglect by the previous government when it came to community investment, including in affordable housing.
    We spared no time getting to work, and today Canadians have a federal government that is finally making the necessary investments in housing. The national housing strategy, released in 2017, has already delivered $25 billion in housing projects, and remains on track to reach $70 billion by 2027-28.
    At home in Halifax, as our population rapidly grows, so does the need for more affordable housing. I recently announced the new Canada-Nova Scotia targeted housing benefit, which provides $200 a month to qualifying, low-income, vulnerable individuals to help pay for housing.
     To help increase housing supply, our federal government has made major investments in Halifax so far this year, including $8.6 million under the rapid housing initiative to create 52 units in Halifax via three projects in partnership with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, the North End Community Health Centre and Adsum for Women and Children.
    Because of the success of the rapid housing initiative which, as its title suggests, invests in projects that can create affordable housing quickly, budget 2021 proposes a $1.5 billion top-up to this program. This funding will create up to 4,500 permanent, affordable homes on top of the 4,700 we already have built under this initiative, all within 12 months.
    This budget recognizes that building an equitable Canada requires targeted investments that support marginalized communities. To continue down the path of reconciliation, this budget invests $18 billion in indigenous communities, including another $6 billion for infrastructure and $2.2 billion to end the tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls once and for all.
     To fight systemic racism and empower under-represented communities, the budget makes a number of substantial investments, including $200 million toward the Black-led philanthropic endowment fund to support Black-led charities and organizations serving youth; new funding to combat hate and racism during COVID-19, particularly against Asian Canadians; and enhancing the communities at risk security infrastructure program to protect communities at risk of hate-motivated crimes.
     For our seniors, we are building on our progress made; 25% fewer seniors live in poverty than when we took office in 2015. Budget 2021 goes even further by increasing old age security by 10% for seniors aged 75 and older. Today, our investments in senior benefits are over double our expenditure in the Canada child benefit. By 2026, our investments in seniors will surpass the total expenditure of the Canada health transfer and equalization payments combined.
    This is a historic budget. Certainly, its size makes it difficult to speak to all the important investments it proposes. In short, this is the budget that will lead Canada out of the pandemic, chart our economic recovery and build a brighter tomorrow. I hope all members in the House will join me in voting in favour.

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, one thing the parliamentary secretary missed was the investments in growth.
    Both Robert Asselin, the former adviser to Mr. Morneau, the previous finance minister, and David Dodge said that the budget had no answers for investment and growth.
    I am worried about the brain drain in Oshawa. We have Ontario Tech, and to get out of this pandemic, we need to make investments in the technological jobs of the future. A study by Brock University basically said that in 2018, 65% of engineers, technological engineers, software engineers, left the country as soon as they graduated.
    Could the parliamentary secretary point out where the investments in growth are in this budget to keep our youngest and brightest in our country?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, our youth are so terribly important, and we are focused on them through this pandemic. Education is the smartest investment that anyone can make, and our government is absolutely committed to make life more affordable for students. We have made a number of investments in students, including the way student loans are orchestrated. The budget implementation act would also extend the waiver of interest on student loans.
    Beyond that, and more to the member's question, this budget has investments in community infrastructure and the infrastructure of science and innovation. It has investments of $250 million in the aerospace technology and $750 million for a job fund.
     The budget is absolutely focused on growth and emergence from this pandemic in a way that is equitable and green for all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech. He concluded his speech by talking about investments for seniors. I really felt as though he was reaching out to me, ready for my question.
    Does his government think that only seniors who are 75 and over experience financial insecurity?
    Has the government done the math to see how much it would cost to extend that to everyone aged 65 and over, which should be the case?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, seniors are front of mind for this government. In fact, as my hon. colleague knows, this government created a ministry for seniors to specifically look after the health and fortune of them.
    A number of the investments we have made in seniors over the past several years have dramatically increased the amount of the federal budget that goes to seniors. In fact, by 2026-27, as much as $81 billion of the federal budget will be directed toward seniors. As I said in my speech, that is more than the combined health transfer and equalization payments. Today, in fact, our investment in seniors is greater than that of the Canada child benefit.
     We will continue to invest in seniors in a way that rewards them and thanks them appropriately for creating the world we live in today.
    Mr. Speaker, we know this budget will do nothing to end fossil fuel subsidies. We see the federal government giving billions of dollars every year to companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Imperial Oil.
     We know that Canada's richest Canadians increased their wealth by $78 billion this year, yet there is no meaningful action on a wealth tax.
     I think my hon. colleague and the Liberals will vote against the NDP motion to provide dental care to six and a half million Canadians who do not have any coverage today, which would cost $1.5 billion per year as estimated by the parliamentary budget officer. Why does the member not support allocating $1.5 billion so Canadians can have access to this basic health need, when there are tens of billions of dollars of available funds that his government refuses to tax?

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his dedication to Canadians.
     Clearly, especially in the context of the pandemic, there is a long list of things that we would all love to do right away. We have had to make some tough decisions on what gets funded and still maintain what has just be reaffirmed as Canada's AAA bond rating. Our ability to make those investments does come through some changes, as the member mentioned, in tax fairness.
     I want to take this opportunity to touch on the fact that fighting tax evaders in Canada and abroad is a priority for this government. Since 2015, we have invested over $1 billion in the CRA's ability to crack down on complex tax schemes, in increased collaboration with international partners and in ultimately bringing offenders to justice. Changes like that will increase the coffers and allow us to check off more of those things on that long list of very meritorious programs that we need to initiate for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to sit in this virtual Parliament and address the 2021 budget, a budget which unfortunately saw this pandemic as an opportunity to reimagine the economy, rather than something from which Canadians desperately need to recover. This is obviously, as the Liberals say, an election budget. It is an inflation plan. It is an inflation tax. It is not a recovery plan and it is a huge credit card bill.
    If we can contrast, historically in Canada governments used to promote jobs and jobs of the future. Instead, the Liberals have taken this opportunity to promote credit and credit cards. The Prime Minister was even so bold to say he was going to go into debt so Canadians do not have to. Imagine that, we have a Prime Minister who in his private life before politics never did have a job that supported his lifestyle. When the vacations came, it was dad's credit card, along with the ski vacations and the cars. There was always somebody else paying the bill.
    This might explain why the Liberals are now practising a certain type of economics. They call it modern monetary theory. In other words, the Liberals have no plan ever to balance the budget. What they are leaving for Canadians and future governments is debt forever. Some people think this is the highest intergenerational theft in the history of Canada. He is leaving $1.4 trillion to future generations, a burden on our kids and grandkids.
    The amount is huge. The Prime Minister is printing $3 billion a week to service his agenda. Instead of leaving a better economy to our kids, the Prime Minister, with his action, is destroying their opportunities for a better future.
    Here in Oshawa, we have a huge investment in the jobs of the future. We are a university town. Ontario Tech has made huge investments in educating the kids of the future for the jobs of the future, which will help us get out of this pandemic.
    Sadly, in 2018, Brock University did a study with the University of Toronto and the Munk School of Global Affairs. It was entitled “Reversing the Brain Drain: Where is Canadian STEM Talent Going?” This was in 2018, before the pandemic. It found that 65% of Canadian software engineers are leaving Canada right after they get their education here, plus 30% of other STEM students are leaving Canada. In other words, Canada is making investments to educate kids for the jobs of the future, but because of the government's lack of opportunities for kids to stay in this country, they unfortunately are leaving and they are leaving in accelerated numbers.
    The next phase of global growth and recovery is going to be centred on technology. As the Liberals praise themselves that they are building back better, I would say that they are building back broken. This budget, as I just asked the parliamentary secretary, has no incentive for young people to stay.
    As other countries promote growth, Canada stalls with this budget. My colleagues have spoken about Robert Asselin and David Dodge saying that this budget has no answer for investment in growth. We see the United States, and also China, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan, that are all going to be winning the future technological race with our own Canadian students. Our youth is our most important investment and most important resource. We need to do things to keep them in this country.
    I have been working with youth locally and one of the things that they told me is mental health issues are huge and very important in this global pandemic. The provinces asked the Prime Minister for a very simple investment. It was $4 billion and during this horrible pandemic, what did he say to the provinces? He said to wait for it, they will do it later.
    In my member's statement last week, I actually addressed the need for all Canadians, now more than ever, to have improved access to mental health.

  (1120)  

    There are organizations in Oshawa. If members can see behind me, the Simcoe Street United Church houses The Back Door Mission. There is also an organization called The Refuge that really focuses on street youth and youth with mental health issues. However, they cannot do it alone. They need the support of the federal government.
    My colleague from Cariboo—Prince George has been pushing a 988 suicide crisis line in order to help Canadian—
    I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. I cannot recall if at the front end of his remarks he indicated his intention to share his time. I wonder if the hon. member could indicate so to the Chair.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska.
    To finish off my thought on the mental health issue, it matters. The pandemic has had a horrible effect with these lockdowns. Fortunately, the Conservative leader has identified the importance of improving access to mental health in our recovery plan.
    Some of my colleagues have quite rightly said that this budget fails to provide security for all seniors. I got a call from Maurice, a senior in my community, who does not fit in the Liberal agenda of supporting a two-tiered senior demographic. My mom, who is 93, is very pleased, but, unfortunately, this budget leaves many seniors behind. What we are seeing in this budget is the politics of division practised by the Liberal government that is putting one group of seniors against another. This goes against everything that Canadians have stood for in the past as far as fairness to all Canadians when we put budgets forward.
    When we talk about youth in Canada and how to get them to want to stay in our country, raise their families and have a career here, we have to look at their housing opportunities. It has been the Canadian dream to own a home, to invest and stay in this country, but this budget has absolutely nothing to help young people own a home who want to. It addresses social housing, but if we listen to students and young people, they do not want social housing. They want the opportunity to live the Canadian dream. Again, unfortunately, in this budget, we are not seeing that.
    I can say there is one thing about housing in the budget that is a good idea, which is creating the beneficial ownership registry. I am supportive of that. I think it is a good idea, but the 1% on foreign owners is just going to be the cost of doing business. The government has to look at this again because we have to make sure there is a path for home ownership for young people.
    This budget completely omits any emergency support for new businesses. I have talked about some of the small businesses, such as Julie and Victor at the Bulldog Pub & Grill in south Oshawa by the 401. They bought their business just before the pandemic occurred. Conservatives have been asking the government to be more flexible in its programs and we support these programs for businesses and individuals, but there is nothing in the budget for these businesses.
    Then there are veterans organizations. I am wearing my 420 Wing tie today. We had the president attend a Veterans Affairs committee and report on what we could do to help veterans associations. Brian Wilkins and Mike Gimblett from Oshawa gave their input, but nothing is reflected in this budget.
    We know how important it has been to support the government in its efforts to help Canadians through the most significant health and economic crisis in our lifetime. Conservatives have continuously supported these efforts and will be supportive for the number of investments and programs the budget includes for us to make it through this pandemic, but, unfortunately, there is very little to get excited about in the long term. It is just endless debt and deficits. What we desperately needed was a real recovery plan that would secure the future of all Canadians, get folks back to work and help small businesses recover. Conservatives have that plan. We have done it before and we can do it again.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member spent a significant portion of his time decrying what he suggests is a lack of support for young Canadians. I find that hard to believe, given that there is more than $5.7 billion in dedicated support specifically for young people in this budget, which constitutes the largest dedicated youth support package globally of any developed economy and is likely the largest dedicated youth support package in the history of any budget in Canada. The measures include reinvigorating the Canada student loan program, making it more affordable to pay those debts back; delaying the time by which students have to pay them back until they get their feet under them; reducing the cost of education through the Canada students grants program; and literally several hundred thousand job placements for young people so they can help kick-start the economic rebound on the back end of this pandemic.
    My question to the hon. member is: did he simply write that speech without reading the budget at all?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary. He is very good at the Liberal rhetoric and talking points, but he was not listening to my speech and, of course, I looked at the budget.
    What I did say is that there is no investment for growth in this budget. It is not just me saying that, it is Robert Asselin, who actually was the adviser to Bill Morneau who had to leave this government because it was out of control. David Dodge said exactly the same thing.
    If the member would like, I will send him a copy of “Reversing the Brain Drain: Where is Canadian STEM Talent Going?” We are actually good at educating kids in this country, but what I said to the parliamentary secretary and my colleagues is that they are leaving, and they are leaving at an accelerated rate. In my community, we need these students to stay. Sixty-five percent of software engineers are leaving. We need to have a plan to keep them here and keep our youth in Canada. That is what I was talking about, and we need it in the budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on the question that was asked by my colleague.
    The member spoke about supports for young people in his intervention. He spoke about the brain drain, about losing young people as they are leaving our country, and how desperate that situation is.
    I have to say that, in Alberta, cuts to our post-secondary institutions have been devastating, and there are more young people leaving the cities of Calgary and Edmonton than anywhere else in the country. I completely agree with the member that this is a dire situation.
    The NDP is proposing a plan where we would actually relieve some of that student debt, which makes it very hard for students to stay in this country, and it makes it very hard for them to start their life and contribute to our economy. We are looking at up to $20,000 of student debt forgiveness.
     I am just wondering if the member would support the idea of reducing federal student or if he would rather that the federal government continue to make profits on the backs of students.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would point out that relieving the debt of students does not stop them from leaving.
    My comment and my point in my speech is that, since this government has come to office, it has shut down numerous industries. The member is from the west and knows that the oil and gas sector is heavily technologically advanced.
     However, the government is almost incentivizing Canadians to get educated here, but then they are leaving. My concern is that they are our brightest and our youngest, and we need them to come out of this pandemic but also for our country in the future. This budget does nothing to address that in order to incentivize them to stay in our country, and it is a crisis where this Liberal government, again, has dropped the ball.
    Mr. Speaker, our colleague from Halifax indicated that he thought this was an unprecedented budget that was going to spring into action. However, my analogy is that maybe the government started with a broken spring.
    I would ask my colleague to analyze the budget, as he started to in his speech. We have supported many of the programs that have gotten Canadians this far, with the wage subsidy and rental extensions, but this is a huge spending budget, as my colleague has pointed out. About half of it may be there to help us get out of COVID, but the other half is a lot of promises that have been broken before and have had to be repeated in this budget. I wonder if my colleague could expand on that.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is correct when he mentions the word “unprecedented”. There is unprecedented spending and incompetence with respect to where the money is going.
    We are supportive of the programs that are supporting Canadians and businesses to get back to work. However, as I was trying emphasize, unfortunately what the Liberals do for any problem is throw more money at it. We need legislative changes. We need ideas coming from the government.
    We in the Conservative Party have ideas for a recovery plan. It would have been great if the Liberal government had used the pandemic budget as an opportunity to give hope to Canadians and let them know that we are working together for them. However, they have ignored the desires of Canadians in this budget, and it is unprecedented and unfortunate.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the Liberal budget implementation bill.
    As members know, this budget has been criticized by many analysts. It raised many expectations about the management of the pandemic and vaccine procurement. I will not get into that because I think everything has been said about the government's dismal failure, which has caused this third wave since the Liberal government mismanaged the contracts it signed with the companies that are providing us with vaccines.
    There were two other major issues: reopening the economy and proper management of public finances, debt and deficits. I will focus my speech on those two aspects. I have 10 minutes, but we could talk for hours about all the very troubling things in this budget.
    Others before me covered this so I will not talk about the fact that the government managed to do what no one ever thought possible: create a new class of seniors. Deciding to inject money to help seniors was wishful thinking, in other words the government had good intentions, but it decided to give money only to seniors 75 and up instead of giving it to those 65 and up. Everyone fell off their chair when they heard that. It was a clumsy measure and I hope the government will rectify the situation as soon as possible. Every day, we are getting calls at our constituency offices about that announcement.
    The second important element, and I will only talk about this very briefly, is the Liberal obsession with interfering in provincial jurisdictions and desire to grab powers they do not have. We need only think of their interference in health and day care, in particular the fact that they are leading people to believe they are going to establish a day care program to reopen the economy. I can tell you that in Quebec it took more than five years to create and build day cares and to train staff. They are telling us that they want to do this. First, they are interfering in a provincial matter; second, they are leading people to believe that this will help reopen the economy. It will take at least five years for this measure to begin to come to fruition. I can tell you that, in Quebec, not every family has access to a day care space.
    I will come back to the main points of my message: deficits, debt and the reopening of our economy.
    In 2003, those were the issues that motivated me to get into provincial politics. I am older now, I have a lot of grey hair, but, back then as a young father I was concerned about debt and the consequences it can have. The Liberals never talk about tax increases that make life increasingly expensive. Without even asking them, the government takes more money out of taxpayers' pockets to pay for all the goodies they are handing out. It is crazy.
    One of the figures that is striking is when you add up the deficits and debt created by the Liberal government under this Prime Minister since it came to power, since 2015. In the last six years alone, the Liberals have put us $162 billion in debt, and this is not just because of the pandemic. Keep in mind that in 2015, when Stephen Harper's Conservatives left, the deficit had been eliminated. The budget had also been balanced following the global stock market crisis. The Liberal government managed to run deficits during good economic years. These deficits have taken away our ability to deal with this pandemic without creating another gap for future generations and for today's workers who will pay more taxes. That is what will happen when interest rates go up. That will be the reality, whether the Prime Minister likes it or not. Any newly minted economist would be able to explain these basic facts to him.
    What is striking is that, in six years, the Prime Minister has borrowed and added to the debt more than any prime minister in Canada since 1867. Since 1867, every Conservative and Liberal government combined borrowed a total of $630 billion to stimulate the economy and support Canadians. In six years, the government has managed to put us further into debt.

  (1135)  

    This all has consequences not only for our economy, but also for our ability to deal with a potential new crisis. The further we go into debt, the less freedom we have to tackle any new challenges and support Canadians. This government's investments and expenditures are not justified. People will say that I am being partisan because I am a Conservative, but that is not it.
    Allow me to talk about the Parliamentary Budget Officer, an impartial officer of Parliament. Just yesterday he presented a report explaining that the government had announced $101.4 billion in new expenditures over the next three years as part of its economic recovery plan. He said that $69 billion of that $101.4 billion is the figure actually considered stimulus spending.
    He then raised a red flag about the government's data. Much like the Prime Minister, the government acts as though money grows on trees, that money can be printed or that it is no big deal and the budget will balance itself. Those are the words of the Prime Minister himself. The government is telling people that we could see a 2% increase in economic growth and that this would create 334,000 new jobs in Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Officer refuted that and said that a more realistic economic growth would be 1% next year. That would create 74,000 new jobs, not 334,000.
    This government talks a lot and leads people on. The Prime Minister tries to be positive, figuring that people will believe him because he is handsome, nice and well-spoken. He thinks that that should be enough. However, the numbers speak for themselves and cannot be ignored, because taxpayers will be directly affected by the inevitable tax hikes. That is the reality.
    How do the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance explain this?
    They say we can afford to borrow for Canadians because interest rates are low. However, if that is the case, why not just tell Canadians to go buy a house that is twice as expensive because interest rates are low? No problem, since interest rates are low. Why not get a new car? Why should Canadians settle for a small family sedan when they could buy a Ferrari? No problem, because interest rates are low; these things will pay for themselves.
    If this is good for the government, why would it not be good for the taxpayers?
    It is for the simple reason that fathers and mothers, workers and youth who believe in a better future know that this is hard-earned money. They know this because when they take the time to look at their pay slips, they see the line showing just how much money they are sending to the government. They also remember the government expense scandal. I do not want to harp on the WE Charity scandal, with the billion dollars sent to friends who had helped the Prime Minister's family, but those are the facts.
    The government has to lead by example, and it starts at the top. This government, with its free-spending Prime Minister, is sending the wrong message. It is saying that work is not important, that people should not bother saving, that money grows on trees and that, unfortunately, when calls for help come in, we might not be able to answer them because the country is up to its eyeballs in debt. The government will just say it is time to print more money, and that will drive up inflation.
    In conclusion, I think this is a bad budget. It does not set the stage for good economic recovery, and it will mortgage our children's and grandchildren's future. I cannot accept that.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, all day the Conservatives have been critical of the amount of spending in this budget, the budget implementation act, and what we are providing for Canadians. However, I have yet to hear a Conservative talk about what they would remove from this budget in order to bring spending down. That is the basic way governments budget. If they think they are budgeting too much, which the Conservatives believe, they start to look for areas where they can decrease. Instead, as we heard from the previous speaker, all we are hearing about is where funding is missing.
    Can the member tell us where he would start cutting in the budget and who he would take the money from? Would he take it from seniors? Would he take it from younger people? Would he take it from the supports for businesses? I would like him to explain where he would remove money.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, nobody ever heard a Liberal spare a thought for future generations. Nobody ever heard a Liberal, be it the finance minister, the Prime Minister or even my colleague who just asked the question, express any concern about how this growing deficit might affect future generations. Over the past six years, the deficit has been higher than it was under any Canadian prime minister since 1867. The Liberals have never shown that they care about our children and grandchildren even the tiniest bit. It is unbelievable.
    If they had the guts, they would table a plan to balance the budget. They would tell people that money does not grow on trees. We would help them figure out the best ways to support Canadians. Every political party has been willing to help the government whenever necessary, especially by identifying problems with their hastily passed measures, which allowed fraudsters to take advantage of the system. The fact is, Canadians are the ones who will end up paying.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Richmond—Arthabaska for his speech. I completely agree with his criticism of federal centralization.
    However, I want to ask him a very specific question. In 2009, the Conservatives were in power and they set up the Canadian securities transition office, a Toronto-based single securities commission that served as a pan-Canadian securities regulator.
    The current government is taking up that project. At the time, the Conservatives pushed hard for that. What is their position on it now?

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is a very relevant question. I thank my colleague for it, but I do not have an answer for him. I am not an expert in that area and so I do not want to get into it.
    What I would like to say is that there is an obvious difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Liberals are a centralizing government. A Conservative government respects provincial jurisdictions, works in partnership with the provinces and does not criticize provincial premiers from other parties, as the current Prime Minister does, which is causing conflict.
    There is no doubt that our leader and a future Conservative government will focus on working with the provinces to find solutions to the country's problems. If those problems fall under provincial jurisdiction, then our government will work with the provinces so that they can take the necessary measures with the resources they need. As we announced, the provinces need to be given more money for health care, with no strings attached, so that they can do their job. They have the expertise to do so.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I noted with interest the part of my colleague's speech when he talked about the concern many workers have when they look at their pay stubs and the very real struggles many are going through.
     Part of the budget implementation act sets a federal minimum wage at $15 an hour. This is something I ran on all the way back in 2015, and I can remember the Liberals openly criticizing it then, so it is very interesting to see it in this act six years later.
    Does the member support the $15 minimum wage for federal workers? Does he think it is adequate in the year 2021? Does he have any concerns that it would take another six months for it to actually be implemented?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, to be clear, this is for federal employees. It is up to provincial governments to determine the minimum wage in each province.
    The idea is to make sure that workers earn a decent wage. To do that, we need to support our small and medium-sized businesses, we need to support the economic recovery, we need to make sure the right conditions are in place so that all workers can earn as much as possible. This will give them a chance to raise a family, right here in Canada, and fulfill their dreams. That is what everyone wants. However, going into debt, as so many people are doing right now, is not the way to go about it.
    We Conservatives believe in empowering individuals. That is our ultimate goal. We want to help businesses create good jobs and encourage investment in this country to increase our collective wealth. This will automatically result in the best possible wages for all workers, whether they are unionized or not. I think we should all be focusing on ensuring the best possible wages for all employees.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Kingston and the Islands.
    I have been listening with great interest to my colleagues' speeches on Bill C-30, and I am pleased to have a turn to speak to this important legislation.
    Much like budget 2021, this bill focuses on finishing the fight against COVID-19, healing the financial, social, emotional and physical wounds caused by the pandemic, and creating more jobs and prosperity for Canadians across the country. The purpose of Bill C-30 is to help Canada build back better and become a fairer and more equitable country.
    We need to rebuild, but not haphazardly. We need to make sure that we address the gaps that the pandemic has exposed and even exacerbated. As we rebuild, we must protect the most vulnerable.

[English]

    When I mention vulnerable people, I am thinking, for example, of the elderly. The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on our seniors. Since day one, I have received calls from seniors in my riding of Alfred-Pellan. They were worried about the situation and all the measures that were being implemented to ensure our communities’ safety. They were anxious about not seeing their families and their friends. They were preoccupied about the impacts that the situation would have on their finances.
    That is why, building back better also means ensuring that we protect the health and well-being of seniors in our communities. After a life of hard work, they deserve a safe and dignified retirement without financial worries. This question must be asked: What can be done to help them? More and more of them are living longer than before, and many of them rely on their monthly old age security benefits.
     It is in that spirit that our government has reduced the age of eligibility for old age security from 67 to 65. We made sure that seniors, including those who are more vulnerable, can live their retirement in dignity. With Bill C-30, we are implementing another of our government’s commitments, which is to increase the amount of benefits for seniors aged 75 and over.

  (1150)  

[Translation]

    Seniors become more vulnerable with age, especially when it comes to their financial situation. Indeed, Canadians are living longer and longer, and many of them rely on old age security.
    That is why Bill C-30 proposes to amend the Old Age Security Act to increase these monthly payments by 10% for seniors aged 75 or over. By giving an increase to those 75 or older, we are providing targeted support. In practical terms, this would give seniors in this group greater financial security at a time in their lives when they face increased care expenses and a greater risk of running out of savings. The increase will be implemented in July of next year.
    In the meantime, to address immediate needs, the 2021 budget also proposes to provide a one-time payment of $500 in August of this year to old age security pensioners who will be 75 or older in June 2022. The targeted increase to old age security will really improve the lives of people who deserve more support, especially single seniors who are struggling to make ends meet, like Solange, Antoinette and Leonardo, who live in my riding.
    This would increase benefits for about 3.3 million seniors across the country. For those receiving the full benefit, it would mean an additional $766 in annual benefits in the first year, which would be indexed to inflation thereafter. I am thinking of Jeannine, who lives in my riding. She lives alone, and this money would help her buy all the food she needs instead of going without meals to pay her rent.
    I believe that our society has a duty to do more to support seniors. That was true before the pandemic and will still be true afterward. COVID-19 has laid bare society's vulnerabilities and inequalities in Canada and around the world.
    Seniors have felt this on a financial level. Many have run into economic hardship as they took on extra costs to stay safe. They have also faced social challenges. Many seniors in the Alfred-Pellan community and across the country spent the past year isolated from their family and friends. For far too many of them, COVID-19 has been tragic. I am thinking particularly of those living in long-term care facilities. They have been the overwhelming casualties of the pandemic in Canada.
    In fact, another thing the pandemic exposed is the systemic problems that affect long-term care facilities across the country. The situation in these institutions was such that the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to lend a hand to the teams on site. My riding was not spared, and I had the opportunity to meet the soldiers deployed to the long-term care centres in Laval. I am grateful for their work.
     The pandemic has laid bare a rather dire situation, which is why I am so pleased to see that budget 2021 proposes to provide $3 billion over five years to support the provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made when necessary.
    I know that many people are worried about this measure, but I want to assure those who are wary that our government will work with the provinces and territories and respect their jurisdiction over health care. We must protect seniors and improve their quality of life, no matter where in the country they live. This is true for long-term care facilities, which is why this investment is so important.

  (1155)  

[English]

    It is also true for seniors who still live at home. That is why budget 2021 proposes to launch the age well at home initiative to help Canadians age in dignity. With this investment, community organizations could provide practical support to low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors. For example, the program would support initiatives to pair seniors with volunteers who would help them prepare meals, do housekeeping, run errands, do odd jobs around the house or even help them get outside their home.
    This kind of support is what Miguel and Jane from my riding need to allow them to stay in their home. Their kids help, but additional support is much needed. This help is particularly useful to elderly people with no children to look after them, like Anne and John.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Canadians and the economic impacts of the situation are undeniable. However, the consequences have not been the same for everyone. Our government’s recovery plan puts people first, but focuses on the groups that have been most affected by the situation.

[Translation]

    Canadians have been combatting COVID-19 for over a year now. We are all tired, but we cannot give up. Now is the time to finish the fight against COVID-19, get back on our feet and secure the recovery by protecting the most vulnerable. This is certainly true for seniors, who deserve to live out their retirement in dignity.
    I therefore support Bill C-30 and urge all members to do the same.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there is one thing that has been very puzzling to me in terms of the government's fiscal approach. As we know, the Minister of Finance, and of course we are very proud to have the first female minister table a budget, is new to this portfolio. We were well into one year of the pandemic when she assumed the role. At that time she had a mandate letter from the Prime Minister. This mandate letter said for her to create no new programs and to create fiscal guardrails, so what we have is a budget that completely defies the mandate letter from the Prime Minister.
    Could my colleague explain to me if the Liberal mandate letters to the ministers from the Prime Minister actually mean nothing?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for her question.
    The mandate letter clearly sets out what the minister must do as part of her job. The federal government has always been there for seniors. This instruction was always part of her mandate letter.
    Since taking power, we have made improvements for seniors. We reduced the age of eligibility for old age security from 67 to 65. We increased the guaranteed income supplement, and we also exempted those making less than $5,000 from any clawback of the guaranteed income supplement.
    Jeannine, a woman in my riding—
    Order. The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Alfred-Pellan said that the pandemic has exposed the inequalities that exist. He gave the example of one of his elderly constituents, who is pleased that she can buy all the food she needs.
    I have received dozens of calls from seniors in my riding who are forced to rely on food banks. They are outraged that the Liberal government is claiming to help seniors by giving money to food banks. In so doing, the government is admitting that people are unable to feed themselves with the money they have. At the same time, it is creating two classes of seniors by refusing to help those aged 65 to 74.
    How can the member be proud of a budget that creates inequality?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague across the aisle for her question.
    I do not agree at all with her conclusion.
    Earlier, I gave the example of Jeannine, a 79-year-old woman in my riding. She was doing well until her husband died and she began receiving only one pension. The increase we are proposing will make a difference in her life, so she can buy all the food she needs instead of skipping meals to pay the rent.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the people of Eabametoong have now gone over 20 years without access to clean water. We remember when the Prime Minister made the promise that within five years every first nation would have clean water. However, that never happened. The government ignored all the reports saying it had to invest properly, and it would not put in the proper money. We are now told that communities can wait another five years for the Liberal government to start addressing this crisis.
    Why is the government continuing to deny first nation families the basic human right in this country to clean water?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague across the aisle for his question.
    During the pandemic, we were all deeply shocked by the tragedies that occurred in institutions across Canada. The government acted accordingly.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to talk about the budget implementation act and what this budget has to offer.
     For starters, I will note that, as usual, I am perplexed by the approach the Conservative Party has taken on the budget. When listening this morning to the comments from Conservative members, I heard the member for Brandon—Souris say that the budget is too high, there is too much money in it and we are spending too much. However, in the same speech, he went on to say that we need to spend more money on housing, more money on provincial transfers, more money on funding health in the provinces, more money for small businesses and more money for veterans, without giving a suggestion as to where money needs to be taken.
    I asked a question of the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, who spoke just before my colleague. I asked him where he would start to cut funding and where he would remove money in this budget. I also asked him to explain his budgetary process to me. In the response I got from him, he went on about the debt again without actually answering me, and at one point I heard him say that all political parties wanted to help when it was necessary. That perhaps provides the most insight into the Conservative position on this.
     In the beginning of the pandemic, when we had unanimous-consent motions to adopt supports for Canadians, the Conservatives knew they had no choice but to support them because public opinion would have turned incredibly negative toward them. They therefore supported help back then, although perhaps they would have preferred that every person fend for themselves at the time, instead of taking the approach that we should work together, collectively as a society, to get through this.
    Nonetheless, the member for Richmond—Arthabaska stated, in his response to a question, that all political parties wanted to help when it was necessary. My take from what he said is that, basically, it is not necessary for us, as a collective society through the channel of the government, to support Canadians anymore. At least it is a step in the right direction in understanding where the Conservatives are coming from. They appear to be coming from a position that it was important to help Canadians before but not so much anymore. I understand it now, and it starts to provide some clarity.
    I hand it to the NDP—
    Mr. Charlie Angus: Please don't.
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: No, Mr. Speaker, I want to hand it to the NDP. I like to pay credit where credit is due, despite the fact that the member for Timmins—James Bay does not want to hear a compliment.
    The New Democrats fight for what they believe in. They come here and say to put more money into things and that we have to do dental care and support Canadians in this regard. At least they are consistent in their approach. Their approach has been consistent from the beginning. They supported the supports for Canadians. They pushed them hard, and they are continuing to push even harder for more supports now.
     Compare them with the Conservatives, who supported initiatives back then to help Canadians but now do not. It makes me think they are driven completely by their perception of public opinion on matters, as opposed to thinking long term about how to support Canadians in getting through something like this.
    Of course, the members from the Bloc Québécois have also been consistent on this. with regard to health transfers, we know that every time there is a debate in the House, somehow it is linked back to health transfers from the federal government to the provincial government. They are consistent in that regard. I respect that, and I hope that the Bloc and the NDP will support the budget implementation act, despite having identified some concerns.
    It is the Conservative approach that continues to have me baffled. The Conservatives come in here and criticize the amount of spending, and yes, we know that it has been a lot of money. However, nobody, when elected in 2019, could have ever imagined we would be in this position talking about this kind of debt.

  (1205)  

    We are here because of a global pandemic that has impacted the entire planet, and to address what our response to it should be. In the response, there has been a simple choice: Do we let everybody fend for themselves, or do we take the approach that society should work together through the government? We let society as a whole take on the debt and shoulder the burden of the pandemic, socially and economically, to the best of its ability. This is as opposed to watching individuals take on the burden entirely themselves, which obviously, as we know, would have skewed more toward those who are less fortunate, those who are working on the front lines and those who are working more precarious jobs. They are the people who would have been impacted the most had we not chosen to collectively support each other and go through this collectively.
    There is a lot of debt attached to this; there is no doubt about it. However, we made a choice and that choice was clear: We will do this together.
    When I listened to the comments from the member for Brandon—Souris, I noted that even as he was saying we are spending too much but not doing many things, he was still incorrect in his assertion of what we were not doing. I would love to go through all of the elements he discussed: housing; provincial transfers; health funding; health care, and in particular mental health; new supports for small businesses; and support for veterans. I would love to talk about all of this, but I will talk for a few moments specifically about supports for businesses.
    The government has been there for Canadians and businesses from day one, and what is being proposed in this budget implementation act is the extension of benefits, in particular the extension of the wage subsidy for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. It will make sure that people can stay on the payroll and can get through the pandemic so that when we come out on the other side of it, jobs will still be in place, which will help our economy bounce back and rebound quicker.
    There are, in addition to that, more supports for small businesses. What we see in the budget is the new Canada recovery hiring program. The federal government recognizes that if we are going to get back to the low unemployment rate that we had before we went into the pandemic, we need to make sure that we are putting measures in place to help businesses bring new people on board to get the economic engine moving again. There is also the Canada recovery benefit. It is more specifically for individual Canadians. The government has said that it will include an additional 12 weeks in the Canada recovery benefit, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
    The government has made it clear that it is going to be here, whether it is through the wage subsidy, the Canada recovery benefit or the various programs, to make sure that Canadians have the supports they need. The Conservatives know that, and I think it scares them a little, to be honest. In question period, there has never been a question on this, or it has been very rare. I feel for the member for Abbotsford, who is in his new portfolio as the finance critic. He never gets to ask a question in question period.
    The last thing the Conservatives want to do right now is start asking questions about the budget. They do not want to highlight anything in it, because they realize how good it is for Canadians and Canadian businesses. That is why the member for Abbotsford is not getting to ask any questions.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Mark Gerretsen: I am getting laughs and heckles from members on the other side, but they should stand up and explain to me in a question why the member for Abbotsford does not get to ask any questions. He is the critic for finance.
    Why is he not asking any questions in question period? It is because the Conservatives realize that talking about the budget is not in their best interests right now. They would rather go for personal attacks against the Prime Minister and against the Minister of National Defence, and all of these other things they love to drum up scandal about, instead of talking about government policy. If you can hold on and wait, an hour and 50 minutes from now you will get to see it live for yourselves.
    In conclusion, the government is there to support small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the country and its economy. We will be there. We have been there from day one, and we will be there to the end. I strongly believe that Canadians know that, and I am hearing it from businesses in my riding. I look forward to supporting this budget implementation act.

  (1210)  

    The hon. member wavered during his speech and talked directly to members as opposed to through the Speaker. I want to remind him that he is to address all questions, comments and debate through the Speaker.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.
    Madam Speaker, the member said something like, “Society will work together through government to come through this together”. How does he address, for future generations, the legacy the government is leaving with no plan on coming to balance? How does he justify the actions of the government to our children and grandchildren?
    Madam Speaker, for the record, the reason I feel the need to say that society will support itself through the government is because if I say the government is going to support Canadians, these members are going to say that it is not the government's money, as though we do not know that. I am trying to set the record straight so they understand that I know whose money it is.
    To answer his question, I will throw it right back at him. Why is his own political party, on its election platform, saying it is going to take 10 years to balance the budget? It is because governments, political parties and politicians know that although saying the opposite is a great talking point, as long as the economy is growing faster than debt is being taken on, as long as the GDP exceeds the debt being taken on, we are in a good position to continue to grow and to see the economy prosper.
    Madam Speaker, one thing that has come to everyone's attention during the pandemic is the significant inequality that remains in Canada. We have seen a greater impact from the disease itself and from its economic impact on seniors, young people and working people on front lines and in factories. However, we are not seeing the Liberals respond to calls for greater fairness going forward, such as with a dental care plan to help seven million Canadians get access to oral health care they cannot afford, for a fraction of 1% of current health care costs. As well, they refuse to tax the super wealthy, even while billionaires in Canada have increased their wealth by $78 billion during this pandemic. The token luxury tax we have seen on airplanes and yachts is not even in the budget implementation act.
    Why are the Liberals doing nothing to ensure that those who have done so well by Canada's economy are paying their fair share?

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I am borderline offended by the fact the member does not recall that I spoke in favour of the private member's bill he brought forward about dental care. I did not indicate whether I was going to support it or not. I actually thought it was good that he was bringing forward the bill to have a discussion about a national dental care strategy. I strongly believe dental care, like pharmacare, needs to be part of our health care package in Canada.
    The member should not sell out the fact that he does not have the support of all Liberals on his private member's bill. I am sure there are a handful out there who genuinely appreciate what the member brought forward. I certainly appreciate it. Whether the devil is in the details and I can support it at the end of the day, I look forward to continuing my speech when the second hour of his debate comes up.
    Madam Speaker, this is just a reminder that the Green Party exists as well, as far as opposition goes. I will await my colleague's comments on that.
    I would like to point to some substance, and I am not sure how much there was in his speech today, but I really want to get a clear answer on why there was a two-tiered system set up for seniors in this country. Can I have an explanation on the $500 one-time payment and the OAS increase only being extended to those 75 and over? I really need help understanding this.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly have great respect for the members of the Green Party and I apologize if my colleague felt left out when I did not include them when I was talking about the opposition. Maybe it is because I have nothing bad to say.
    To answer her question, what we know from the data is that the older someone gets the more they burn through their savings, the more they burn through their retirement and the more expenses they incur as a result of health care and so on.
    Would the member rather take the available money for those top-ups and give it just to people over 75, or would she rather go all the way back to 65 but give people less money? These are the questions I am sure are being debated in the budgetary process, and I am sure she can respect them. I would love to hear what her position is on that. Do we give more to people over 75 or less to everybody?
    Madam Speaker, growing up I was a huge fan of a television show called Bonanza. Maybe people have heard of it. It was a fantastic show. Let me tell members what I am not a fan of. I am not a fan of the spending bonanza that has gone on here in Ottawa over the last two years.
    When we look at the accumulation of debt, and I am going to talk about this, $509 billion in new debt over two years has been put forward by the government. The Liberals have doubled the national debt in basically two years. Despite doing that, there are glaring gaps in the needs of Canadians, and I want to talk about some that have been basically ignored by the government despite the spending bonanza.
     I also want to say I am sharing my time with the member for Prince Albert.
    The first thing I want to talk about is broadband. This is a massive issue in my riding of Dufferin—Caledon. Not a week goes by that I do not receive a phone call or email from people in my riding decrying their lack of access to affordable high-speed Internet.
    On April 30 I received an email from Andrew. Members from the Liberal government should hear this email because it is heartbreaking. He said, “Dear Kyle, I am writing today for the urgency of us receiving affordable Internet in the very near future. I have been out of work since February of 2020. My daughter has been forced to home school. I am unable to find a job that does not require me to work from home. I use my cellphone data plan and my wife's just to try and look for work. Having no Internet in this day and age with corona is literally crippling myself and my ability to provide for my family.”
    When we talk about the bonanza of spending by the government, why have there not been rapid massive investments in broadband? This is critical in ridings such as mine that have a large rural component. They do not have 5G networks that they can use their cellphone plans on. They do not have unlimited data plans that they can use to work from home or school their children at home, which is what we are doing during the pandemic.
    The failure to rapidly invest in this is a massive failure for the government. It is talking about having everyone hooked up to high-speed broadband by 2030. I became a lawyer because I am not good at math, but my math tells me that is about nine years from now. That is not going to be good enough for Andrew, and it is not going to be good enough for the huge bunch of Canadians who do not have affordable high-speed Internet. It is a shame on the government that it has not fixed it, especially given the pandemic.
    There is another thing I am stunned the government has not moved on, in either the budget or the budget implementation act. On December 11, my colleague put forward a motion for a 988 suicide number.
    The motion for the 988 number was passed unanimously in the House five months ago, and the only thing that has been brought forward by the government is that it may have the CRTC look into it. All we are hearing these days is about the mental health crisis going on in this country as a result of the pandemic. This is hard on people. Having access to a three-digit number for everyone has never been more important than it is now.
    I have spoken about my own personal experience with depression. I can tell members that having access to a number anonymously, and speaking to someone anonymously, would save lives. Sometimes people do not have the strength to call a family member or a friend. A simple number to remember, and that is anonymous, will save lives. Quite frankly, I find the lack of action on this stunning.

  (1220)  

    I also want to talk about new business. In December I talked about Paul, a gentleman in my riding who had opened a new business in April 2020. He had to delay the start in March. Paul has been trying to make things work. He has been doing things like running up his line of credit and looking at ways to refinance his home. Why do new business owners like Paul have to do that? It is because there are no support programs out there for them.
    The government can claim it is not aware of this, except I have raised this in question period and I have raised it during Adjournment Proceedings. The government is well aware that there are no programs for new businesses. Why not fix that in this budget? When we are spending $509 billion, can we not find some money for new business owners who have put their livelihoods on the line to start new businesses? The government is aware of this. All I can say to Paul is that the government does not care if his business succeeds or fails. It is the only message left that we can send to Paul, especially looking at the budget and looking at this BIA.
    Another glaring omission from the government is action on housing prices. A 1% luxury tax for foreign buyers is going to do nothing. We have heard it over and over again. It is just going to be looked on as the cost of doing business, especially when real estate prices are going up 25%, 30% or 40% in a year. The 1% tax is a joke. The government should have gotten serious, because we know foreign buyers are an issue. There are ways to cool the housing market and we know it is a problem. Young people are saying they are never going to be able to afford to buy a house looking at the prices as they are. The government response has been nothing that has worked.
    Recently, I was looking at purchasing a home. When I looked at the price, I was stunned and said, “This seems like an awful lot of money for a house.” Guess what? That house had gone up 50%. It was purchased in August 2020, and by the spring of 2021, it was on sale for 50% more. This is a housing crisis, and the government is doing basically nothing. It has done nothing to address the housing crisis going on in this country.
    One of the big ticket items we heard about was the new national child care plan. With a big fanfare, it was announced that we are going to solve child care in this country. What I learned as a lawyer is that the devil is often in the details, and the details in this case are a little different from what is being announced. I would call it a child care idea, because the government is not actually going to spend any money unless the provinces jump on board. It is a cost-shared program. If provincial governments do not agree to take this on, then the money does not get spent. When we look at the fiscal circumstances of the provinces after 15 months of this pandemic, it becomes increasingly concerning that they will not be able to afford this new program, which has to be cost-shared.
    Of course, no details of how the cost-sharing will be done have been worked out. The Liberals are going to work it out at some point with the provinces while telling them they need to pay this amount of money if they want the federal money invested. Again, it is not a national child care plan. It is a national child care concept. It is an idea that might happen some day if the government can get the provinces onside. To me, that is not a plan, as I keep saying. It is a concept.
    Finally, we have $509 billion worth of debt. Our national debt has doubled. If interest rates go up to fight the inflation that we have going on right now, the government is going to become unable to pay the interest on the debt.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to go back to the first two minutes of my hon. colleague's speech where he talked about the importance of broadband. I know this issue is extremely important for all rural Canadians, certainly an issue that is important to my riding. However, I do want to correct him. He said that the goal of the government was to connect every Canadian by 2030. That is actually false; it is by 2026, so five years from now, and we have invested $1 billion further than the previous investments in 2019.
    His colleagues are saying “cut, cut, cut”, but obviously he is advocating for more funding for broadband. Therefore, what should we cut in the budget or should increase broadband funding?
    Madam Speaker, I would suggest two things in response to that. First, what I have seen is that they want to get a certain percentage by 2026 and 100% of people by 2030. I am saying that we should front-end that money for broadband now and not wait until 2026.
    Second, I talked about Andrew, who sent a heartbreaking email to me. I get many like that all the time. People need these investments now. They need the rollout now. Waiting till 2026 or 2030 will not help people who are home schooling their children or working from home because of COVID. They need to get those investments upfront quickly.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke of the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent in the last two years during these extraordinary times. He also spoke quite passionately about the need to support Canadians with mental health.
     It is well-known that the one in three Canadians who have no dental care suffer not only physical pain and serious medical issues, but also serious mental health issues due to shame, social exclusion and, frankly, lack of employment opportunities.
    The member spoke of a lack of spending in this budget on small business, sending a message to Canadians that the government did not care. Is his and the Conservative Party's vote against the NDP dental care plan a sign that Conservatives do not care about the 13 million Canadians who do not have access to fundamental basic oral dental health?

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I disagree with much of what the member said.
    As I said in response about child care, when we look at specific pieces of legislation, the devil is often in the details. It could be said that it is about X, but it includes many other things. No one should go without dental care. However, the way that motion was put forward, the devil was in the details, therefore I was not able to support it. However, I believe everyone has a right to dental care.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned that some business owners had fallen through the cracks and that this budget did not address that. I have heard from many of my constituents who started a new business just prior to the pandemic and they have not been able to access anything.
    I wonder if you can comment a bit further on what you would have liked to have seen in this budget to help people like your constituents and my constituents who are falling through the cracks.
    I want to remind the member that she is to address the questions and comments through the Chair and not to the individual member.
    The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.
    Madam Speaker, the problem for new businesses is the requirement to show declines in revenue. That has been generally how businesses access the wage subsidy or the rent subsidy. A new business just cannot do that. What should have been developed was a specific program that would allow businesses to access some funds, whether it was for rent or to help pay wages.
    We have been in the pandemic now for 15 months. Clearly, there is a way to design that program so new businesses have some of the supports that other businesses have.
    Madam Speaker, the member touched on many things that I thought were very important, things that the government should take to heart as it goes through the implementation of this budget.
    I have looked at this budget and have talked to my constituents. When they hear about a $354 billion deficit, they say “wow”. I can see it on their faces. They cannot understand how that kind of money can be spent. However, they are there for Canadians. They want to ensure that Canadians are taken care of. They understand that during a crisis such as COVID we need to support each other, so they do not necessarily object to—
    I know we have been down this road before, but apparently the interpreters are having a hard time. They are unable to interpret because of the connection. I wonder if the hon. member can unplug and re-plug his mike or ensure his mike is selected.
    That seems to be better.
    The hon. member.
    Madam Speaker, I will go back to what my constituents were telling me with regard to this budget. When they look at the dollar values, the $354 billion or $509 billion that have been spent over the last two years, they think that is a lot of money. However, in the same breath, they look at it and say that if we have to support each other and this is what it takes to get them through the crisis, they are willing to do it.
    Then they start talking about priorities and whether it has been done right. Did the funds got to the people who needed it? Were the people who needed it the most taken care of? Were the funds delivered in an efficient way? When they start hearing about scandals like the WE scandal and friends and family of Liberal members getting money, they get mad because they feel cheated. They feel they have been taken advantage of and COVID has been used as a reason to do that. That is unacceptable and they are very upset about it. When they hear those things, they distrust government on everything, and that is unfortunate.
    I remember back in 2008-09 when we went through the financial crisis under the Harper government. Billions of dollars were put into the economy through municipalities and provincial governments with zero scandals. Therefore, it can be done. We can empower the public service to get the money out, we can prioritize with the provinces and municipalities to get the appropriate projects established and we can spend the money in a responsible manner so taxpayers get value. I think a lot of people will look back on this situation maybe four or five years from now and will really criticize the Liberal government in how it conducted itself, how it aligned itself with areas and made decisions with regard to the crisis that ended up costing the lives of Canadians and our economy.
    As we approached an actual budget, in January, I talked to all the municipalities in my riding through Zoom. I told them the rumour was there would be $100 billion for infrastructure for municipalities, so we should get our ducks in a line and have ideas of what types of things we would want to prioritize as far as spending. I came across the village of St. Louis. It wants a new fire hall. It is taking on more fire services in the rural areas and wants to put its fire trucks in one location instead of the three locations it has right now. It identified that as one of the priorities it would like to get some assistance on, if it was there.
    I spoke to the mayor of Nipawin, who talked about how the landfill was getting to the end of its life, that the municipality was looking to get a new landfill and having a new partnership with other municipalities. He was trying to figure out a way forward on that.
     Just north of Prince Albert, the Town of Shellbrook, the arm of Buckland and the regional municipality of Prince Albert, it is saying that it really requires water. It is getting together with others to put in a rural water network, costing some $50 million. It is something that would take care of the farmers, the Town of Shellbrook, the acreage owners outside of the city of Prince Albert. It would probably be about 70 or 80 kilometres long. It is a good project that would get shovels in the ground and be of value at the end of the day.
     Those are the types of things at which municipalities are looking.
    One of the other priorities that came out of my meetings with the municipalities was high-speed Internet. They feel so neglected. When they start hearing these big announcements about billions of dollars, in this case, $1 billion over nine years, about $140 million a year, they thought they should be able to do it. Then when they see the actual rollout and the amount per year, they roll their eyes and say that is never heading their way, that they will never get it. Therefore, they are looking for support to do it on their own. They have been looking at new technologies, and I encourage the government to start looking at some of the new technologies as well.
    I have been one of the lucky people in Canada to be involved in the beta testing for Starlink, and it has been fabulous. There have been a few little hiccups, as there are with all systems. Why would the government not embrace Telesat Canada or groups like that, even Starlink, and look at how it can speed this up to get the service to rural Canadians at speeds of some 150 to 200 megabytes a minute down and 40 or 50 megabytes up? Why would we not look at that and ask how we can empower the private sector to provide the service? The technology is there; we just need the will of the government to push it along.
    Another thing a lot of people said was that some sectors had done really well during COVID. Those who sell cross-country skis, Ski-Doos, quads or camping equipment were busy. Canadians love the outdoors and since they were unable to travel, they were spending money on things they could do in their own backyards. The riding of Prince Albert is beautiful and there are a lot of things for people to do in their backyards and still respect social distancing. Companies selling lumber right now are doing great.

  (1235)  

    If we look at those types of businesses, they have done very well, yet some sectors have been left out. People who are in the tourism sector, people who run a fishing lodge in northern Saskatchewan are looking at their second season under COVID, wondering whether they can open or not. They have clients lined up who wanted to go last year, they have held their deposits and now those people want to come this year. They are vaccinated, most of them are Americans, but they cannot get a signal from the government on what the matrix would be for our border to reopen.
    In Saskatchewan, the province has at least given us an idea, based on the number of vaccinations and a combination of things, on when we will start to see the province start to open up. The federal government has done nothing like that. It has not given any signals to Canadians or businesses on what a safe reopening would look like and what steps would be required to have that safe reopening. Because of that, we cannot make decisions.
     If people are running a fishing lodge, to open up that lodge, they need to fly in with their supplies for the year, and that is an expensive trip. Therefore, they do not want to go up there unless they have clients coming. That takes time. They will have to get a hold of their clients and ensure they have processes in place to come to their lodge. They have to ensure their staff is rehired and trained. People cannot just wake up on a Monday morning and say, “the border is open; let's go.” There needs to be some proper signals. While those things do not cost money, we have to be in control of the situation, use the science to our best ability and give our best predictions based on that science, not be secretive or silent. That is not an answer and it is not acceptable.
    We have had a really serious problem right across Canada in our restaurant sector. Some have adapted, some have not. There is no question that they are struggling. If there is a sector that needs help, tourism, restaurants and these types of businesses definitely need help. Where is that in the budget. If they have a new restaurant, like my friend from Dufferin—Caledon mentioned, they do not qualify. What about a ma and pa restaurant that has around for years? The owners are two or three years away from retirement, but all of a sudden they have to dip into savings. They wonder if they should put another $40,000 or $50,000 into it. That money it is coming right out of their savings account. It is coming right out of their RRSPs, and they have to pay tax on that if they put it into their business. There has been no compensation for things like that. There has been no flexibility. People have to make very serious decisions and they do not have good information from the government on which to base those decisions.
    When we look at that, it leads into my next topic, which is mental health.
     I have been very concerned about my staff in my office, and I am sure my colleagues have been as well. One minute, the people are on the phone crying and the next minute they are yelling. The next call is from somebody who is overwhelmed. Our staff are dealing with that call after call. Mental health is a serious issue right now. To think that we cannot find money for the mental health hotline that the member for Cariboo—Prince George asked for seems irresponsible. Where is the government's heart? Where is it priority?
    In the agriculture sector, farmers are grappling. I will highlight the fact that they are spring seeding now. The census is hitting while they are doing that, by the way, which they are not happy about. I want them to have a safe seeding system. There are some things in the budget that they liked, but the one area that concerns them is the $60 million over two years for a nature-smart climate solution, where the government will buy farmland. Why does the government want to buy farmland? Farmers are the best stewards of the land. If we want to set aside land for planting trees, why would we not just pay them for it? We could say that this is marginal land, we will pay them for it and they can take care of it and manage it, just like they do in Europe.
    Again, the government prescribes things instead of consulting and talking to people moving forward.
    In summary, a lot of money is being spent. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. I know the member from Kingston will ask what I would cut from the budget. It is not a matter of cutting; it is a matter of having the appropriate priorities, understanding the needs of Canadians and getting the funds to people who actually need them.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his speech and agree with a number of things. I would like to thank him for supporting science, as well as Telesat and Starlink. I think we have licensed Starlink and we have provided millions to Telesat for exactly what he has asked for.
    Also, I am delighted that he raised mental health; it has been a huge priority for our government. As members know, we made the first-ever agreement with the provinces and territories and there is money in this budget for it. I appreciate his support for that.
    I am glad he raised the census. I hope every Canadian out there fills it out. I did mine. It took about 10 minutes.
    I want to ask him about infrastructure. I am glad he supported that. We have provided more money to that than any government in history. Last summer, one could not go to a community in my riding where the roads were not dug up to deal with sewer, water or paving. It is a great way to inspire the economy.
    He listed some great projects. I wonder if he has checked with his province on the approval of those, because the provinces decide which projects get approved—
    We have to go to questions and comments, the hon. member for Prince Albert.
    Madam Speaker, the census is very important, but to put it on the ground during spring seeding in Saskatchewan is very insensitive. To ask these people to come down off their tractors when they are going 18 hours or 20 hours a day is not the right thing to do. The government should have some compassion and at least give them a little extension on time, perhaps until June, or something like that.
    Regarding infrastructure, the Liberals have been talking a lot about all this money being spent on infrastructure yet we do not see it. Where is it? I cannot touch it. I cannot feel it. I cannot look at it. Maybe it is all in the Liberal ridings. That would make sense as it would go along the theme of Liberal governments taking care of Liberal Party members. Maybe that is what is happening.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I am grateful for his concern for the restaurant, hotel and tourism sectors.
    My riding has a large number of tourism and ecotourism sites that are extremely concerned about the nature of the assistance their sector will be getting, particularly with respect to the programs and their criteria.
    The criteria for some of the programs announced in the past were too restrictive, preventing people from accessing the help they needed. What does my colleague think about this?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have heard much the same concerns. The government could consult to Canadians. It could sit down with the sector and ask what it needs to do to revitalize the sector. One of the things I said right off the bat was that by using science, and basing it off science, it could give this sector an idea of when the borders will reopen so Americans or people from other parts of the world can come freely to Canada and take advantage of our nature and beauty. That would allow them to at least plan and see some sort of future in front of them.
    The other thing is this. What are we going to do to attract more people to our tourism sector? What type of game plan is there? How are we going to work with Global Affairs and people outside Canada to do just that?
     The government should talk to the people who are impacted, understand what the barriers are, remove the barriers so they can proceed, and then it will have a successful program, but it does not talk to anybody but the Liberals.
    Madam Speaker, I was happy to hear my colleague talk about the tourism sector as well, because in Edmonton Strathcona we are the heart of the tourism sector in Edmonton and have tons of restaurants. I have spent a lot of time meeting with restaurant owners, servers, bartenders and other people in the sector. They want additional help for sick time and minimum wage supports. How would the member make sure that the workers in these restaurants are also being protected during this dangerous time?
    Madam Speaker, that is a great question. Safety has to be front and centre. There is no question about that.
     I understand Alberta is going through some tough times right now that we are not necessarily experiencing in Saskatchewan, but if people do not have a job, that is a problem. We have to make sure these businesses are operating so that people have a place to go to work. We need to have that in place in a safe and operable fashion. Vaccines are part of the key to getting to that, and the fact that we do not yet have vaccines in the arms of Canadians is very problematic.
    I feel their frustration and concern for them and their family and I want to make sure we are there to support them. Most Canadians would agree with that. However, when we see money going to WE charities or out the door to Liberal friends, that is when they get mad and get mad really quick.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the House for allowing me to speak about the 2021 budget and explain why I support its implementation.

[English]

    First of all, I need to thank our very first female finance minister for putting forward a budget that should make all women and all parliamentarians proud.
    As the first woman in this most important role, she acts as such a positive and inspiring role model for young women everywhere in Canada. The amazing work that she accomplished, with the help of the Prime Minister and other ministers as well as parliamentarians who were consulted as she was preparing to introduce this budget, is work that she, her team and, frankly, all Canadians can be proud of.
    I truly believe that there is something in this budget for everyone, whether we are tackling the need to support our seniors, women, youth, workers, businesses, indigenous people and racialized communities, or whether it is putting in place what is needed to finally combat COVID-19 with vaccine procurement or Canadian biomanufacturing of vaccines. This budget takes care of Canadians.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    The budget contains several provisions that I am happy about. Honestly, I am thrilled to see that we will continue to support our small and medium-size businesses and the Canadians who were hit hard by the pandemic.
    Today I am going to focus on new measures that I find particularly worthwhile and important. As a former teacher who spent almost all her time working with children, and as a feminist who believes in equality between men and women, I think that one of the most important things in the budget is the Canada-wide early learning and child care plan.
    This measure will provide jobs for workers, the majority of whom are women. It will enable parents, particularly mothers, to reach their full economic potential. Moreover, it will create a generation of engaged and well-prepared young learners.

[English]

    One of the studies we completed during my time on the committee on the status of women in the previous Parliament was entitled “Women's Economic Security: Securing the Future of Canada's Economy”. Throughout the study, we heard from hundreds of women of all backgrounds, and many of them spoke of the need for child care.
    The committee was told that families in Canada have long contended with an inadequate supply of high-quality, universal, accessible, flexible, affordable and inclusive child care, particularly for infants and toddlers. We learned that the lack of child care significantly contributes to the gender wage gap, which should not be a surprise to anyone as traditionally women are most often the ones to stay home to take care of their children. I certainly grew up in a very traditional household where my mom did not work until my brother and I were both in school.
    This unpaid work that women are usually responsible for, which includes hours spent on the care of their children and housework, limits their participation in the workforce and hurts their economic advancement. Furthermore, this disproportionate responsibility for unpaid work negatively affects their access to education, access to job training, the quality of their health and personal relationships, and their current and future financial resources—
    I have a point of order.
    The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.
    Madam Speaker, I believe the member meant to share her time with the member for Nepean.
    I thank the member. I was sidetracked there, and I am not sure if I heard her say that, but I will verify with her.
    The hon. member for Saint-Laurent.
    Madam Speaker, if I did not say it, I definitely meant to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for Nepean.
    However, it goes without saying that women who have this sort of arrangement and who stay at home may experience poverty as seniors, and many of them, as they are not financially independent and are financially dependent on their husbands, may not flee abusive relationships and situations, because they are unable to do so without any money. I am mentioning these points, because I am trying to prove the point that establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system actually tackles several societal issues that we face today.

[Translation]

    Another thing in the budget that is very important to me is the enhanced Canada workers benefit. Our government introduced this benefit in the last budget, and budget 2021 will enhance this tax credit and make it more accessible to low-income workers and families earning income from employment or business.
    Approximately one million more low-income Canadians will have access to this assistance.
    The pandemic showed us just how essential low-income workers are for keeping our society running. They are working in our grocery stores, corner stores and pharmacies. They are working behind the scenes to provide small businesses with all the goods we purchased during this period, and they went to work every day so that those who stayed at home could have the essentials we needed to get through this pandemic.

  (1255)  

[English]

    The budget would allow the government to raise the income level at which the benefit starts being reduced to $22,944 for single individuals and $26,177 for families. For full-time workers, this could mean that a single, full-time, minimum wage worker could receive about $1,000 more in benefits than they would receive under the current system, and could continue to receive the benefit up to $32,000 of net income in 2021.
    The enhancement to the workers benefit would benefit single workers without children the most, because they have limited access to other government supports that are made available to families, such as the Canada child benefit.
     Currently, a full-time minimum wage employee is not eligible for the Canada workers benefit, however, under the new proposed system in budget 2021, they would be entitled to $1,100 with this number being subject to differ, depending on where they live and what the minimum wage is in their province.
    I know many hard workers who will greatly benefit from this extra support, and I am happy we would move forward with this enhancement to the benefit when we implement this budget.

[Translation]

    As a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, I was thrilled to see the section of the budget concerning investments in COVID-19-related biomanufacturing. The budget proposes investing in Canada's biomanufacturing and life sciences sector in order to improve our capacity to develop and biomanufacture vaccines in Canada.
    We now know that COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come. There are variants, and we do not know how long we will remain immune after we receive both doses of the vaccine. During the committee's study of domestic manufacturing capacity for a COVID-19 vaccine, witnesses told us that vaccine procurement is a short-term solution and that Canada must get ready to produce its own vaccines for Canadians in the long term. That is why I mentioned the need for this type of investment during the budget consultations held by the ministers responsible.

[English]

    Budget 2021 will strengthen Canada's biomanufacturing and life sciences sector by providing a total of $2.2 billion over seven years towards growing a vibrant domestic life sciences sector. This support would provide foundational investments to help build Canada's talent pipeline and research systems, and support the growth of Canadian life science firms, including $59.2 million over three years starting 2021-22 for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to support the development of its vaccine candidates and expand the facility in Saskatoon.

[Translation]

    The budget will invest in skills, training and trades and will help workers transition to new jobs. It proposes an investment of $250 million over three years to scale up proven third-party-delivered approaches to upskill and redeploy workers to meet the needs of growing industries.
    The budget also contains measures to grow our net-zero economy and accelerate Canada's net-zero transformation through innovation. It allocates $5 billion for that.
    I am proud of this budget. We are certainly heading in the right direction.

[English]

    I hope that everybody can support it, so that we could get back to helping Canadians and so that we can improve our support to Canadians.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member talked about how the budget protects workers and jobs.
    In my riding, I have, for example, the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport and aviation manufacturing firms, like Boeing, Magellan and StandardAero. I have talked to many of the workers from the airport and these companies. They are struggling to just pay their mortgages. It is a very sad and devastating situation for the industry as a whole.
    I am wondering if the member could comment on why there is no support for the aviation industry at all, including airports, in this budget.

  (1300)  

     Madam Speaker, in my speech I was not able to touch on every subject, but the aerospace sector is definitely being helped in this budget. Specifically in my province of Quebec, a lot of the sector would be helped through this budget. That is another reason I am quite proud of what Minister Freeland has put forward in this budget.
    I thank the member for giving me the opportunity to mention that. I had missed it due to time constraints.
    The hon. member mentioned the minister by name. I would caution her not to do so, as she knows the rules of the House.
    We will continue with questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Madam Speaker, it is great to see the Liberals supporting child care in this budget. It is something I ran on quite proudly back in 2015, and I agree with her that it would make a huge difference.
    My question is regarding the Liberal standard for engaging with the provinces on these sorts of initiatives. This budget implementation act is setting up the legislative framework for the minister to engage with the provinces to get child care up and running.
    However, when it came to Bill C-213, which was NDP legislation to set up a legislative framework for establishing a national pharmacare system, the Liberals voted against it. It seems as though the goal posts are shifting. Could the member clarify for the House what the Liberal standard is for engaging with provinces when trying to build up these national programs?
    Madam Speaker, this pandemic has really highlighted the need to support the most vulnerable, and many would argue, the most vulnerable in this pandemic have been young people and women. It was definitely time. People have been fighting for child care for many years, and I thank the member for his advocacy on this issue.
    When things like this are highlighted during a pandemic or a time of crisis, I believe the federal government needs to work with the provinces in order to establish goals and come up with the right sorts of plans. Right now, the political will is there, and there is definitely a need, as we have all said, to support women and to make sure they are able to have equal access to the workforce.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to speak on the investments made in this budget for artificial intelligence, quantum technology, photonics and genomics. More importantly, I would also like to speak on investments made in the critical minerals required for batteries, which are needed for use in everything from electrical vehicles to energy storage.
    The global economy is moving toward a knowledge-based economy. One of the three objectives for me when entering politics a few years back was to work to ensure that Canadian society and the economy remained robust and competitive in the global knowledge-based economy, thus securing prosperity for our children and grandchildren.
    Canada is prosperous today, and Canadians enjoy a very high standard of living due to the rich natural resources. We have oil. We have gas. We have minerals, and we have forestry products. All of which have provided for our prosperity so far. The natural advantage we have today may not be enough for us in a new global knowledge-based economy. To ensure that this prosperity is also available to our children and our grandchildren, we, as a country, need to be at the forefront of the new knowledge-based economy. Hence, investments in artificial intelligence, quantum technology, photonics, genomics, and the critical minerals required for batteries become very important.
    Artificial intelligence is one of the greatest technological transformations of our age. It has already started making its impact. Many times we do not even know it is making an impact, but it is already there. Canada has communities of research, homegrown talent and a diverse ecosystem of start-ups and scale-ups.
    I am glad that the budget would provide about $440 million in support of a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy. More importantly, it would provide $185 million to support commercialization of artificial intelligence innovation and research in Canada. Investing in research, development and innovation is important, but for me, commercialization is also important. Both have to go hand in hand. We cannot continue to perpetually invest in research without all or part of that research being commercialized. Therefore, I am glad we are making investments in commercialization of artificial intelligence innovations.
    Quantum technology is at the very leading edge of science and innovation today, and it has enormous potential for commercialization. This emerging field will transform how we develop and design everything from life-saving drugs to next-generation batteries. It also will provide a great deal of cybersecurity, which we hope to achieve and see soon. I am happy to state that this budget would provide about $360 million to launch a national quantum strategy. I am sure we will hear more details of this in the coming months.
    Canada is a world leader in photonics, the technology of generating and harnessing the power of light. This is the science behind fibre optics, advanced semiconductors and other cutting-edge technologies, areas in which Ottawa has also got a great number of companies involved. There is a strong history of Canadian companies bringing this expertise to the world. I am pleased that the budget would provide $90 million to the National Research Council to retool and modernize the Canadian photonics fabrication centre.
    Then, there is genomics. Genomics research is developing cutting-edge therapeutics and is helping Canada to track and fight COVID-19. Canada was an early mover in advancing genomic science and is now a global leader in this field.

  (1305)  

    I will give a cost comparison on how fast and how effective this particular technology is developing. The cost to sequence a genome has fallen by millions of dollars. I think in 2001, it cost us about $100 million to sequence a genome. From that, it came down to $1 million in 2008. It fell down to about $10,000 in 2012, and today it just costs a few hundred dollars. We can see how quickly it is changing and how effective it has become. Soon we will have tailor-made medicines available for genetic diseases.
    The budget provides $400 million to support pan-Canadian genomic strategies. This includes support for mission-driven programming delivered by Genome Canada to kick-start the new strategy. In the new global knowledge-based economy, the world is flat. Canadians face equal competition from different parts of the world, and we do not have the advantages our natural resources used to give us.
    The competition is coming from everywhere, especially for new technology professionals and new generations of Canadians in school today. The competition is from Sydney, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; and Frankfurt, Germany. All the world is flat, and we are facing a lot of competition from all over the world.
    Immediately more important is the development of batteries. Many people may not recognize today, but this is also a national security issue. If we do not develop technologies, and if we do not develop batteries, one day we will be dependent on other countries for our energy security and transportation security. Things are changing very fast.
    The trillion-dollar transportation market is quickly moving toward electrification. Major auto companies have already announced phasing out internal combustion engines and transitioning to battery-operated electric vehicles. Canada has rich reserves of the critical minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries and solar panels, along with the other low-carbon technology needed to reach net-zero.
    Canada and the U.S. recently agreed to strengthen the Canada-U.S. joint action plan on critical minerals collaboration to target a net-zero industrial transformation, batteries for zero emissions vehicles and renewable energy storage. Investing in these critical resources is essential for our energy security and will ensure Canada is a vital producer in the supply chain of the future.
    The budget provides funding to create a critical battery minerals centre of excellence at Natural Resources Canada. The centre would coordinate federal policy and programs on critical minerals and work with other partners too. The budget provides $37 million to Natural Resources Canada for federal research and development to advance critical battery mineral processing and refining expertise.
    It is not just enough for us to be part of this operation. We need to have end-to-end capability to be in the battery business. To give an example of how far the cost of batteries has fallen in the last 10 to 12 years, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen from $1,100 per kilowatt hour to just about $100. Soon it will reach much less, which will make the cost of electrical vehicles comparable with that of gasoline vehicles today.
    Things are changing fast. Things are approaching fast where we will all move to electrical vehicles in the very near future. The companies have already announced changes and we need to be there.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his intervention, but I do want to question one part of his speech where he mentioned that Canada has lost its competitive edge in our natural resource sector. I would have to agree with him, but I am agreeing with him because we have lost our advantage because of poor Liberal policies, which are focused on phasing out the oil sands.
    As my colleague is talking about the centre of excellence to build electric batteries, what other components does he think will be necessary to build those batteries if we do not have a petrochemical industry? Where does he feel we are going to make up the shortfall of a lost $678 billion a decade in revenue for every level of government from the oil and gas industry?
    Madam Speaker, just to clarify, what I meant to say is that the global economy is moving toward a knowledge-based economy and the transportation sector is moving toward electric vehicles. That is where Canada comes in. We have certain rare minerals that are required for the production of these batteries, and the investment we are making in Natural Resources Canada is to identify what minerals are required, how to develop them, how to refine them and how we can have a good, solid position in the supply chain that is required for the new generation of electric batteries.
    Madam Speaker, I agree wholeheartedly with my colleague. The world centre right now for critical minerals is in my region: copper, cobalt, palladium and nickel. In terms of innovation, we had the deepest minds in the world at Laurentian University, in the mining engineering program. When Sudbury used to be a moonscape, we created and invested in environmental reclamation. The physics program had a Nobel Prize winner, yet this has been cut by the provincial government, completely hacked apart.
    My hon. colleague is talking about innovation and investment. Will the government commit to working with us at Laurentian to maintain these programs of innovation and to build on this knowledge economy so that we can get these critical minerals into the new 21st century economy?

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, I fully agree with the need for the research and development of critical minerals all across Canada. We need to have a pan-Canadian approach. As the government has already stated, in certain advanced technologies, it is formulating pan-Canadian strategies to develop various important things that are needed for the knowledge-based economy.
     As the centre of excellence for batteries is being set up, I am sure it will also develop a comprehensive strategy, to develop not just the mines and minerals, but also the technologies, and lead to the actual manufacturing of batteries in Canada. Even the U.S. has lagged behind. Today, there are about five major battery manufacturing projects in the U.S., each with over $2 billion in investments. This is changing fast and we need to move very fast. We are going in that direction.
    Madam Speaker, the member mentioned a lot about electrification, about solar panels and the way we want a low-carbon economy. What is his opinion on nuclear energy? Does that actually pose as a distraction for the direction we should be heading, which is in that renewable sector, in that electrification he is talking about?
    Madam Speaker, I am not very knowledgeable on nuclear power generation, but what I am focusing on is the renewable power generation to help solar panels bring energy with the new energy storage system that is possible with the batteries today. All these renewable energy projects will become much more viable and contribute to the total power generation at a much greater scale than what it is today.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.
    Canadians have waited more than two years for the Liberals to finally table a budget, and I would have to argue that it certainly was not worth the wait. It may have been worth the wait if we were looking to build back bigger: bigger government, bigger spending, bigger programs, bigger deficit and bigger, unsustainable debt. When Canadians were looking for a budget that would outline a path to recovery, what we got was a budget focused on re-election, which is truly unfortunate for Canadians, because we are the ones who are going to be paying for the Liberals' re-election budget.
    This was not a recovery budget that Canadians were waiting for. This is a budget that would put unsustainable and suffocating debt on Canadians for generations to come. I want to put it into perspective. By next year, the current Prime Minister will have racked up more debt than all prime ministers in Canadian history combined. Members can let that sink in. That is including the current Prime Minister's father, who had racked up a debt that took decades to try to get under control. This is a budget focused on announcements, photo ops and, more than likely, broken promises, because the Liberals are very good at marketing, but they are very bad at the reality of having to follow through on those promises and the reality of government.
    I want to start off the issues I am going to try to address in my speech with the child care announcement. I do not think there is any question that Canadians are interested in a child care program, especially with the changes we have experienced as a result of COVID-19. However, once again, the Liberals make their ninth or 10th promise on a national child care program, and I am going to guess this is their ninth or 10th promise waiting to be broken. This is the ninth time, let us say, the Liberals have promised a national child care program, but they forget to mention the fine print. The fine print is that it is a fifty-fifty split with the provinces and territories, so it is $30 billion over five years, but it is contingent on the provinces and territories stepping up to split that cost.
    I am not sure if the Liberals, who believe the budget will balance itself, have taken a look at the current financial situation of the provinces and territories, which have been absolutely devastated by this pandemic. Very few provinces are going to have the resources to kick in and pay their share of the made-in-Ottawa national child care program, not to mention that many provinces and territories will balk at having an Ottawa-knows-best child care program that does not work for their families. In fact, it does not work for most Canadian families who do shift work, work in rural and remote communities or would much prefer an aunt, a grandfather or a neighbour to look after their children.
    Conservatives realized this way back in 2006, when we introduced the universal child care benefit, because we knew that hard-working Canadian families knew how to look after their family and their children much better than Ottawa bureaucrats. That is what Canadian families want to see. They do not want to see a government-regulated child care program that provinces and territories cannot afford and that does not meet their needs.
    That is just one program the Liberals are going to be getting and hoping for all these great photo ops and headlines, but when it comes down to the fact of actually being able to deliver on this promise, it will be another promise broken.
    It is clear that the Liberals are doing their regular wedge politics here, trying to pit provinces and territories against one another on which provinces and territories can afford this child care program, but I do have to admit I was surprised to see that the Liberals chose a very vulnerable part of our community and our society to also put in a wedge. The Liberals have chosen seniors to be the next wedge topic in this budget. This was a budget where they should have made hard choices, but what they did, especially when it came to seniors, was choose winners and losers, and seniors under 75 are the losers. This budget would create a two-tier system for seniors in Canada. There are those seniors who would get the 10% increase on their OAS and a $500 bonus in August, not surprisingly maybe a few weeks before the Prime Minister drops the writ and calls an election.

  (1320)  

    How can we pick one group of seniors that is worthy of help and one that is not? We have a two-tiered system for seniors, and we know that seniors have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. They are exhausted, they are tired and, in many cases, they are scared as a result of isolation and being away from their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, instead of ensuring that all Canadians are vaccinated and that all provinces have the vaccines and personal protective equipment they need, the government decided to pick winners and losers when it came to Canadian seniors. I find that to be incredibly disrespectful to such an important part of our community.
    The next area I want to touch on is, like seniors, very important in my riding of Foothills, and that is the agriculture industry. Once again, the Liberals have failed to show heartfelt support for an agriculture industry that has been hit hard, not just by COVID but certainly by issues outside of its control over the last couple of years. Let us look back: We had the harvest from hell, rail blockades, strikes and lost export markets in India and China, which had a serious impact on the industry.
    Thankfully, in my riding of Foothills, we had a great harvest last year. There is a lot of optimism as we head into seeding this spring, and we are just wrapping calving. There was optimism, until April 1, April Fool's Day, when the Liberals announced yet another increase in their carbon tax.
    Farmers operate on a very small margin. They need all of these variables to match up for them to make a profit and be able to keep operating the following season. Doubling the carbon tax, and now announcing that it is going to be up to $170 a tonne in the next couple of years, is devastating to agriculture, which cannot pass on that cost anywhere else, because it is the end-user. Hessel Kielstra, who owns Mountain View Poultry in my riding, showed me his carbon tax bills, and this was before the increase. To heat his chicken barns in February was $24,000 for the month. This is not chump change. Why, in this budget, did the Liberals not exempt farm fuels and agriculture from the carbon tax and give them a break?
    There is no question that agriculture is going to play a critical role when we try to dig ourselves out of this massive fiscal abyss that the pandemic has brought upon us, which was certainly not assisted by the financial recklessness of the Liberal government even before the pandemic. There is no question that agriculture is a key backbone of our economy, and if agriculture is treated poorly, and it is wrong, then not much else can go right.
    I talked to many of my farmers and ranch families about this budget, and one of the other things they found frustrating was the lack of a real plan to ensure that every rural community has access to broadband. Certainly, this was a key issue in just about every rural riding in this country before the pandemic, but there is no question that the need to access broadband in every rural community is critical. We must start treating this like a utility. It is not a want; it is a must-have. We must start treating it like electricity or water, because if we want our rural communities to be able to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world, they must have access to this critical infrastructure. Our farmers are competing in a global market; our small businesses are now going online, and kids are having to work from home. We cannot have these economic development opportunities in these communities if we do not have access to rural broadband.
    In my one minute left, I want to touch on one thing that is obviously very important to Alberta, which is the fact that the energy sector is not mentioned once in this budget. I do not understand why the Liberals do not understand the important impact that our oil and gas sector has on this economy.
     We are in a very difficult fiscal situation. According to the Canadian Energy Centre, between 2000 and 2018 the energy sector generated $672 billion in revenue for every level of government. That is $35 billion a year for municipalities, provinces and the federal government that cannot be replaced. In Alberta, we have felt the disdain for the energy sector, with 200,000 lost jobs. Now we are seeing it with Line 5 being in jeopardy because of the Prime Minister's virtue signalling. Unfortunately, Quebec and Ontario are going to start to feel the pain that Alberta has felt for a long time.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, it is interesting to hear the Conservatives talk about seniors because it was the Conservatives who not that long ago tried to make seniors work two years longer than what they expected to be their retirement, when the age of eligibility was changed for old age security and GIS to 67.
    Can the member explain why he is so critical of the amount of debt this Prime Minister took on, in his words, when all that debt was taken on through unanimous consent motions in his House that he and his party supported? They supported that debt every step of the way.
    Madam Speaker, there was a lot in that question, but the member said we were forcing seniors to work another two years. What was important with that proposal and program was that we were giving seniors the option to work two years longer before they had to retire, and many seniors in my riding appreciated that opportunity. We are living longer and they wanted those opportunities.
    What he does not want to mention here is that this budget makes a two-tiered seniors system. All of a sudden, seniors are now eligible for an increase in OAS and this amazing pre-election $500 vote-buying scheme, but if they are under 75, the government is not really all that worried about them.
    Madam Speaker, this budget implementation act is winding down the wage subsidy program and reducing then eliminating the supports to individuals through the Canada recovery benefit, CRB, which is the successor to the CERB.
    Does the member agree with the NDP that this move is premature and that there are plenty of small businesses across the country, including in the restaurant business and the tourism sector, that will need continued support to recover from the consequences and the economic consequences of this pandemic?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for mentioning the importance of small businesses. That is why Conservatives, from the very beginning of this pandemic, worked with the Liberals and other parties in this House to try to design some of these assistance programs as best we could. In fact, it was the Conservatives who came out and said the initial wage subsidies the Liberal Party had set at 10% were much too low.
    For sure, there are businesses that still need assistance and we want to see those programs still there for those businesses that need it, but this cannot be the new normal. This cannot go on in perpetuity. We have to see a clear path to an end to these lockdowns and restrictions and get Canadian businesses back open, but that will only happen if the Liberal government starts procuring and distributing vaccines as soon as possible.
    Madam Speaker, the Liberals always tell us and accuse us now that we want to cut and cut in the budget, we did not support spending and all of these things.
    With the debt we have and are going to be incurring over the next number of years, if rates go up even just a little bit, and we are approaching $40 billion, can you explain to Canadians the impact that will have on some of the social structures we have in this country?
    I want to remind the member he is to address questions and comments through the Chair.
    The hon. member for Foothills has less than a minute to respond.
    Madam Speaker, I want to put that into perspective. The new debt the Liberal budget has put on is going to cost more than $40 billion a year just to service that new debt at the current rates, so imagine if interest rates go up. That is two years of health transfer payments to the provinces. Health transfers to the provinces could be increased substantially, not to mention other very important social service programs, but unfortunately we will not be able to afford those things in the future. Imagine what $45 billion a year could do if we were not having to spend that money servicing new Liberal debt.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to put some thoughts on the record with respect to Bill C-30. I want to thank my colleague from Foothills for splitting his time with me.
    In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, or CKL for short, agriculture, agri-food and agri-food processing is a bedrock element of our local economy, just like for the previous speaker.
    I want to begin my comments here. Before proceeding, I would also note that as a father of four daughters, my desire is that they face no glass ceilings in their careers. I want to congratulate the finance minister on being the first female finance minister to deliver a budget. My youngest daughter Kiana just completed her masters in economics, and so maybe, one day, she, too, will deliver a budget, hopefully one based on solid economics rather than election politics.
    Back to agriculture, the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system is a key driver of our economy and generates $143 billion, accounts for 7.4% of our GDP, and provides for one in eight jobs, at least in 2018, and more than that this year.
    This budget does include some provisions for up $100 million for rebates from the carbon tax for on-farm natural gas and propane use. At the agriculture and agri-food committee, we are presently finishing a review of Bill C-206, sponsored by my colleague, the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South, which proposes an exemption from the carbon tax for on-farm propane and natural gas.
    No doubt the existence of this private member's bill influenced the government's decision to include this measure. We discussed, and continue to discuss, at committee the utility of a rebate versus an exemption system. Farmers in my riding and indeed farmers all across Canada can thank Conservatives for this initiative appearing in the budget. Nevertheless, it is good to see that this issue is acknowledged, and that is a positive.
    I also want to acknowledge monies targeted to agriculture in the form of incentives as part of programming to address climate initiatives. Practically speaking, though, the costs alone of fossil fuels, of nitrogen fertilizers is enough to encourage their judicious use. Despite that, innovation and environmental responsibility have always been hallmarks of our ag sector.
    As the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has acknowledged, present viable, scalable technologies that reduce agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions are presently lacking. Given that, incentives to encourage development and innovation are far better tools than punitive taxes, as many witnesses at the committee have testified.
    However, if there is one measure that has the potential to move the needle in the adoption of technology in the ag sector, it is the expansion of high-speed broadband to rural and remote areas. The further adoption of precision agriculture, a key technology to build on ag's strong track record of environmental responsibility, is so often hindered by the lack of high-speed Internet access, and the previous speaker echoed these comments.
    While the $1 billion amount announced for the universal broadband fund pales in comparison to other funding promises, it is the increased use of this technology that does have the potential to lower ag greenhouse gas emissions.
    Given all the attention that the deficit of connectivity in rural and remote areas has attracted over the years, all of the promises, all of the election pledges, even before COVID-19, should have led to the ag sector, and indeed all rural Canadians, using world-class broadband infrastructure by now.
    To quote a recent Western Producer editorial, “They didn't and we don't.” The parallels between promises of increased high-speed access and national child care programs are eerily similar, often announced and seldom delivered.
    Specifically, I want to point out the situation in my riding of Pelee Island. While the most southerly inhabited point in Canada, it can be considered as remote as, if not more remote than, many parts of our north. There is no reliable 911 service. As it currently stands, Pelee Island has no broadband Internet available to the public. Internet speed on the island is either dial-up or slow cellular hubs for existing businesses, residents and visitors with huge costs associated for small amounts of data. Stormy weather disrupts this service. Pelee Island is the very definition of remote, with only boat and air access in summer, in good weather, and only air access in winter, again, in good weather.
    My riding lies in southwestern Ontario, a region serviced by the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology, or SWIFT for short. Ten per cent of Canada's underserved broadband area resides in southwestern Ontario.

  (1335)  

    Therefore, under the government's previous connect to innovate, CTI, program, SWIFT's share of funding should have amounted to $58.5 million, yet the amount received was zero, not a penny. Similar to the structure of the previous CTI program, the government has chosen to administer the present universal broadband fund with no pro rata share provisions for under-serviced areas. This budget contains spending measures of $509 billion, over half a trillion dollars, but Canadians were looking for a budget with a plan for growth, for investment in infrastructure and a budget with a debt management plan to recover from the huge impacts of COVID.
    I recently surveyed my constituents on a host of issues. Specifically on the statement that small businesses are the key to economic rebound in Canada, and 87% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed. Only 13% agreed or strongly agreed that multinational corporations were the key to our economic recovery. My constituents and all Canadians were looking not for a government-led spending plan, but a budget investing in infrastructure and creating the climate for a business-led recovery. The small businesses that I relate to in Chatham and Leamington, Blenheim, Ridgetown and many other towns in Chatham-Kent—Leamington need the confidence that their government will manage the country's finances well, so that the climate into which they invest is stable and predictable.
    While this budget talks about some small investments in infrastructure and necessary measures to support small businesses affected by government, what this budget does not contain is a plan to pay for all of the election promises. There are no tax reforms, no financial guardrails anchored to fixed thresholds, no targets and no path to balance. These are the kinds of measures that give small business the confidence to invest and lead our recovery, and that is this budget's greatest failure.
    Is this the spending legacy that we want to leave to our children and grandchildren? Last June I had the pleasure of announcing in the House the birth of my first grandchild. I also stated at the time that it was estimated that her share of the federal interest-bearing debt would be over $39,300 at fiscal year end. I was wrong. According to the budget just tabled, her share of the debt as of March 31 is over $43,300 and the budget predicts that her share of the debt five years from now will grow to over $50,700.
    Here is what really scares me. Today's budget has assumed an average interest rate-carrying cost on our present debt of 1.2%. Yes, today's interest rates are low, but these budget assumptions assume that the average carrying cost will only rise to 1.9% five years from now. This assumption is inconsistent with how the government is funding its annual deficits. The government is printing money to finance its spending and every time in the past when governments have done this, the economy experiences inflation. In fact, we already are.
    Asset inflation is here, as anyone who is trying to buy a house or a two-by-four already knows, and the Consumer Price Index is sure to follow. What follows inflation? It is higher interest rates as the government tries to rein in inflation and prop up its currency, so I have very little faith that interest rates will average 1.9% on the government debt five years from now.
    Who does this hurt? People who have assets with low debt like this scenario, but for those working for a paycheque, their wages seldom keep up to rising costs. Everyday Canadians do not want this inflationary future, so this budget, with so much unfocused inflationary spending, cannot be supported. We will hear the usual refrains from government members that we Conservatives want to have our cake and eat it, too. Conservatives have supported and will continue to support measures to support Canadians and small business, but not the reckless, uncontrolled spending without a plan for our grandchildren.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for acknowledging the first woman finance minister in history presenting this amazing budget.
    Earlier in the debate, it was said that within four days we provided huge liquidity to help small businesses and provide mortgage relief for people who needed it and I would ask if he agrees with that. I am glad he supported infrastructure because record amounts are flowing across the country and economists say that is the best way to inspire the economy.
    The member made a point about the debt. I wonder what items he would not spend money on to reduce the debt that he talked about.
    Madam Speaker, with respect to debt, there are hard choices that have to be made. I am not averse to debt, but this budget does not contain a plan that inspires confidence to invest among our small and medium-sized business owners. What kinds of carrying costs are they going to be facing in the future on the basis of the unfocused spending? There are, by some counts, 270 measures of spending in this budget.
    The member acknowledged my support for infrastructure spending. I agree with that. Let us take broadband, for instance, with $1 billion spread over several years. One billion dollars for something so necessary, in a $500 billion budget, is 0.2%. I am a numbers guy, and that helps me bring perspective to this. There are many, many spending measures and they are not prioritized properly.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for sharing some interesting information about his riding. One of the greatest things in this chamber is that we get to hear about the vast diversity in our country. I learned a lot about his riding, so I thank him for that.
    The best expression of where we are fiscally in this country is that we are experiencing a K-shaped recovery. Obviously, many sectors have really been hit hard, but some sectors have made massive profits. In fact, some of the richest Canadians have made about $78 billion during this last year, so my question for my hon. colleague is on the revenue side.
     Eventually someone is going to have to pay the freight. Does the member agree with the NDP that it is time we bring in some fair taxation measures so that we tax wealth, go after tax havens and close tax loopholes to get a fairer balance, or does he think that working Canadians are the ones who should have to pay for this spending?

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, in principle, going after tax loopholes and tax havens are efforts that I would support.
     The member mentioned the diversity in income and the diversity in how this pandemic has affected different sectors of our economy. That is what I referred to in my speech. I have great fears about inflation coming. Those members of our society who have assets and who have low debt will profit. They will continue to do well in this scenario where costs and asset returns outstrip wages. It is the members of our society who are working for wages, trying to buy their first houses and trying to get into this economy that I have the greatest fears for when inflation inevitably follows uncontrolled spending.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report stating that Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio will be 49.2% at best, if I remember correctly.
    What impact might this have on our finances in the event of a future crisis? Does my colleague think that we have the necessary flexibility if we have to confront another crisis?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will not answer with my own words, but I can reference the report yesterday from Yves Giroux, in which he cites that very concern: With this spending, we are not positioned to take on another crisis. As the previous speaker pointed out, our debt servicing costs top $40 billion. That is almost 10% now of the highest budget in history, which was just announced. That is what is in our future unless we bring some balance and a plan for our financial outlook to this country.
    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my good friend and colleague, the member of Parliament for Davenport.
    It is a pleasure to speak on Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of budget 2021. As I stated during the budget debate, we as a government will continue to have the backs of Canadian workers and businesses as we continue the fight against COVID-19, but we will also take the next steps to position our economy for ongoing recovery and economic growth.
    Simply, our ongoing focus is to strengthen Canada's middle class and help those who are working hard to join it. That has been our goal since Canadians, in the fall of 2015, entrusted us with moving Canada forward. As we fast forward to today, that is what we are laser focused on doing as a government. Strengthening a growing middle class, for me, equals a more inclusive and fair society.
    It is a pleasure to represent the entrepreneurial and hard-working residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge. I wish to take a moment to encourage all residents who are eligible to receive a vaccine, to please make an appointment as soon as possible. My riding is home to a number of hot spots, and we need to ensure that all of our families and friends are safe and that life can get back to normal quickly. That can only occur through vaccinations.
    I describe the budget as ambitious in attempting to answer the challenges we face not only today, but also tomorrow. Bill C-30 begins to implement this ambitious blueprint to build a resilient and more inclusive Canada.
    In 2015, we promised Canadians that we would reduce taxes for millions of middle-class Canadians and raise them for the top 1%, and that is exactly what we did. In 2019, we again promised Canadians we would reduce their taxes by raising the amount of income they could earn without paying federal taxes. Bill C-30 implements that promise.
    Bill C-30 will raise the basic personal exemption amount from $12,298 to $13,220 for the 2020 taxation year and, once fully implemented, to $15,000 for the 2023 taxation period. This tax reduction means that hard-working Canadians, including those in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, will see savings at the onset of $2.9 billion. Once fully implemented, it will result in $5.6 billion in lower taxes for 2023-2024 and thereafter.
    It is estimated that hard-working individuals will save just under $300 per year, while middle-class Canadian families, on average, will save $600 per year. That is $600 for middle-class families to spend on groceries, kids' after-school sports or arts programs, or to put away as savings for their kids' education.
    The increase is estimated to result in an additional 700,000 Canadians, including seniors and young people starting their careers, who will pay no federal tax at all. Just as important is that approximately 40,000 more Canadians will be lifted out of poverty by this measure. That is real progress and that is smart policy. That is how to build a stronger middle class and help those working hard to join the middle class.
    Millions of hard-working Canadians will benefit from this tax reduction and hundreds of thousands will be lifted from the tax rolls. It is great to see that the implementation of the basic personal exemption increase will be done. It is an idea that I have long championed and one I put forth in the 2019 platform.
     Bill C-30 will extend the current support programs through to September, and will continue to assist Canadian workers and businesses that remain impacted by COVID-19. The CEWS and the Canada emergency rent subsidy are programs that I know literally hundreds of businesses in my riding have used, and continue to use during this difficult third wave of the pandemic. Budget 2021 provides certainty and clarity to Canadian businesses on both of these key support programs. The city of Vaughan is home to over 12,000 small and medium-sized businesses and they know that our government continues to have their backs during COVID-19.
    Our goal must not only be to recover the jobs lost because of the pandemic, but to once again create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians. Bill C-30 spurs job creation with a new Canada recovery hiring program that incentivizes the hiring of new workers as we emerge from the pandemic. To build a fairer and more inclusive economy that works for all Canadians, we need to ensure that our tax system is fair and inherently progressive, and that loopholes, unfair tax evasions and tax advantages are prudently closed.

  (1350)  

    In Bill C-30, our government will move forward to implement measures that will limit the benefit of employee stock option deductions for employees of large and well-established corporations. Stock options are valuable and important incentives for newly funded firms, such as tech firms or start-ups, to pay their employees as they grow the business while cash flow, or as it should be referred to free cash flow, is very low. I know how important entrepreneurs are, and how they create jobs and take on risk, and they should be rewarded. However, for well-established firms the tax advantages offered by stock options should be limited. I advocated for this differential treatment of stock options. It is a large measure for tax fairness, which I am very glad to see in Bill C-30.
    In line with our allies such as France, Italy and the United Kingdom, we will move forward with the implementation of a digital tax. Bill C-30 proposes implementing a digital services tax, at a rate of 3%, on revenue from digital services that rely on data and content contributions from Canadian users. The measure would apply to large businesses with gross revenues of 750 million euros or more. It would come into effect by January 1, 2022, and is anticipated to raise approximately $3.4 billion.
    We will continue to provide tools and resources to the CRA as it combats tax evasion to ensure everyone pays their fair share.
    Our government continues to strengthen the disability tax credit and related programs used by Canadians with special abilities. Bill C-30 proposes to remove the time limit for a registered disability savings plan to remain registered after the cessation of a beneficiary's eligibility for the disability tax credit, and to modify rent and bond repayment obligations. This again fulfills a promise of our government to the disability community. As noted in budget 2021, an expansion of the disability tax credit would take place to provide further support and expansion to the number of disabled Canadians eligible for the DTC.
     Bill C-30 implements our budget promise with a major expansion to the Canada workers benefit of nearly $9 billion over six years and $1.7 billion annually. Approximately one million additional hard-working Canadians will benefit, and 100,000 are estimated to be lifted out of poverty with a strengthened CWB. We have a moral obligation to ensure that work allows individuals to live in dignity. We know how important the dignity of work is, but we need to ensure that individuals who are working hard are not falling behind. I have long favoured the Canada workers benefit as an effective income support measure. Along with prior enhancements to the program, namely in budget 2018, approximately three million Canadians will now benefit from this program. The CWB's effectiveness was strengthened with automatic enrolment for the non-refundable credit via the Canada Revenue Agency, which ensures all Canadians who are entitled to the credit will receive it.
    In conjunction with the CWB increase, it is great to see that the minimum wage for federally regulated workers will be set at $15 per hour and adjusted upward annually on the basis of the consumer price index in Canada.
     Bill C-30 implements a number of measures for seniors and students, both of whom we know have been impacted by COVID-19 in different ways. For students, Bill C-30 amends the Canada Student Loans Act and also the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. These amendments will provide students with approximately $3 billion in relief. In addition, no students will have to begin repaying their loans until they earn $40,000 per year. Combined, these measures will support an additional 121,000 students.
    I wish to end by discussing our seniors, including my parents Rocco and Vincenza. These people built our country. They sacrificed, worked hard and built the strong foundations we now rely on. We know that our seniors, including my parents, helped build our country and sacrificed so much. Their fiscal prudence, work ethic and ingenuity continue to inspire me today.
    We will fulfill our promise to raise old age security by 10% for seniors 75 years of age and older effective June 2022. This measure will benefit 3.3 million seniors, and is a $12 billion investment in our seniors over the next five years.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask the parliamentary secretary a question that directly relates to his area of responsibility.
    This pandemic is global in scope, yet the budget missed an opportunity to reform onerous direction and control regulations. Direction and control regulations are unnecessary red tape that reduce the resources our critical international development organizations can bring to the front lines to help the world's most vulnerable.
    I asked the Minister of International Development about reforms to direction and control. She said it was not her primary responsibility. Because this would involve changes to Canada Revenue regulations, I would like to hear clearly from the parliamentary secretary why reforms to direction and control were not included in this budget. Does the government see the need for reform of direction and control regulations? What is the government's view on the Senate bill from independent Senator Omidvar, Bill S-222,which proposes one way of reforming those direction and control regulations?
    Madam Speaker, obviously any changes to the Income Tax Act in relation to what the hon. member is asking this afternoon flow through the Department of Finance. I encourage the hon. member to raise his concerns directly with the Department of Finance, on the CRA side, which is the implementation side. I would love to learn about this further. I somewhat understand the issue the hon. member is raising, and we can take it off-line to discuss it further.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Bob Hartley

    Madam Speaker, last week, a Franco-Ontarian from Hawkesbury and a proud ambassador of hockey made international headlines.
    Last week, Bob Hartley, coach of the Avangard hockey team, won the Gagarin Cup, which is presented to the winner of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
    Bob Hartley has had a career that our region can be proud of, and it all started with a great local team, the Hawkesbury Hawks.
    After taking home the President's Cup in 1993 with the Laval Titan, the American Hockey League's Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears, and the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, he went on to win the Jack Adams Award in 2014 with the Calgary Flames. Last week, he added the Gagarin Cup to his list of achievements.
    Congratulations, Bob. We are all proud of you.

  (1400)  

[English]

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

    Madam Speaker, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and with summer just around the corner, the Save Your Skin Foundation is focusing on increasing awareness and promoting treatment for skin cancer. My wife Kelly is a melanoma skin cancer survivor. While she was fortunate enough to beat it, many others have lost their battle to the stealthy disease, and many others continue fighting.
    It was estimated that in 2020 approximately 8,000 Canadians would be diagnosed with melanoma and 1,300 would die from it. Sadly, these numbers rise every year. Skin cancer is caused by overexposure to UV radiation, with the sun and artificial tanning beds being the main culprits. In the past, I tabled a private member's bill that prohibited youth under 18 from using tanning beds and strengthened warning labels on artificial tanning equipment as carcinogenic. This was enacted by our previous Conservative government.
    The good news is that prevention is easy. This summer, I encourage all Canadians to enjoy the great outdoors and be skin safe: Wear sunscreen, cover up, seek shade, avoid tanning beds and, of course, have lots and lots of fun.

Freedom Kitchen

    Madam Speaker, today I rise in the house to congratulate Freedom Kitchen on its grand opening. This soup kitchen, located in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, officially opened its permanent building, located next to Knox United Church, on April 19.
    Since the start of its pilot project in October 2019, the volunteers at Freedom Kitchen have served over 20,000 meals to the community, many of which were served during the pandemic. Now, with a permanent building, this tireless community organization can build capacity, provide shelter and even help more people in Lower Sackville and surrounding areas. The volunteers at Freedom Kitchen, like volunteers across Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, have shown the strength and selflessness of our community by stepping up during difficult times and donating their own time to help others.
    I invite all members of the House to join me in congratulating the amazing volunteers at Freedom Kitchen on its grand opening.

[Translation]

Quebec Culture

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Quebec Liberal Party moved a motion in the Quebec National Assembly to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Quebec's Department of Cultural Affairs.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to join the Quebec nation's legislature in paying tribute to the men and women who stood up for and promoted our culture.
     From Georges-Émile Lapalme to Nathalie Roy, Clément Richard to Maka Kotto, Liza Frulla to Louise Beaudoin, and all the rest, all of these ministers were strong supporters of a bold, vibrant and living culture.
    I would like to remind members that in order for Quebec culture to continue to flourish and to be seen and heard both here and around the world, it is high time that Quebec repatriated its historical share of all the federal powers and funding for culture, so it can take control of the cultural development of the Quebec nation.
    Long live Quebec culture.

[English]

Allen King

    Mr. Speaker, when the phone would ring, I would answer and be greeted with, “John, what do you want to help with?” It could be anything from a fundraising dinner to a charity gala to a political event. I never knew what it was going to be when Mr. Allen King gave me a call, but I never said no. No one ever said no to Mr. King.
    However, he also gave as good as he got. A political nerd, Mr. King always jumped at the chance to help me with any of my campaigns. He was also the first person everyone called when they needed help with a fundraising event, for a local charity or a project, especially if it had to do with health care or education.
    Last week the community of Okotoks lost a special person, a champion, an incredible leader, a respected businessman, a mentor and a dear friend. My heart goes out to the entire community, his friends and, most importantly, his family and his boys. Mr. King will be greatly missed, especially by the ladies. Okotokans will know what I mean when I say “over and out”.

[Translation]

Mental Health Week

    Mr. Speaker, the pandemic is still affecting people's mental health in a big way. It is burdening young people, workers and seniors. No one is immune. Mental Health Week runs until May 9, and this year's theme is “Get Real”.
     Getting real means naming our emotions, even the ones we do not like. Getting real means recognizing our feelings. Getting real means accepting that we are human after all.
    Organizations in my riding of Alfred-Pellan are doing an amazing job of supporting those who need help. ALPABEM, the Centre d'écoute de Laval and La Ressource ATP are always there to help people in our community.
    Our mental health is important. Our loved ones' mental health is important. Let us take the time to get real about mental health.

  (1405)  

[English]

Founder of Fruiticana

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize an outstanding member of the Surrey community for his generosity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Tony Singh, the founder and president or Fruiticana, recently donated 23,000 pounds of food in two 10-tonne trucks to the Surrey Food Bank, and last fall donated $100,000 to the Surrey Hospitals Foundation to support the Children’s Health Centre at the Surrey Memorial Hospital. Tony Singh, his family and Fruiticana have stepped up whenever called upon, whether it was to welcome Syrian refugees to Surrey, support local charities or help B.C. cancer patients during the pandemic.
    We have seen so many incredible acts of generosity from across the country in the form of donations and volunteering during these challenging times. We thank Tony for his generosity and support to our community.

National Nursing Week

    Mr. Speaker, it is something we have always known, but the past year has really brought it into the spotlight: Health care professionals in this country are incredible, strong and brave people who keep our families and communities safe.
    Next week is National Nursing Week, a chance for us all to thank the amazing nurses in our towns who provide truly compassionate care. There is a good chance the first person we see if we have an issue is a nurse.
    Just a few days ago, a second team of health care heroes from Newfoundland and Labrador voluntarily headed to Ontario to help its overstressed health care system fight back against the third wave of COVID-19. That team of seven people included two registered nurses from my riding of Long Range Mountains, Rory and Alice. I thank Rory and Alice and every nurse across the country, who help keep us all safe.
    If anyone sees a nurse or knows a nurse, please thank them for the work they do. If people truly want to show their appreciation and help make a nurse's difficult job a little easier, they should put up their arms and get their COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn to do so.

Alberta

    Mr. Speaker, Premier Ralph Klein used to say that Alberta is a place where a person can make a million dollars or lose a million dollars. Albertans are team players. We have contributed to the success of Canada through equalization, transfers and the boom that was our energy sector. However, the Liberal government continues to abuse Albertans and pass legislation that alienates prairie Canadians and costs us jobs and our livelihoods. In 2018, the Liberals kicked us while we were down by extending an old equalization formula designed for a booming resource economy even though royalty revenues were structurally anemic.
    Albertans are frustrated. They have a right to be. That is why I tabled the equalization and transfers fairness act as a first step in getting Albertans a fair deal in Confederation. Studies show that the future of equalization is the fiscal convergence of our fiscal capacity. We are all getting poorer thanks to bad Liberal policies.
    Let us secure the future of Albertans, vote yes on my bill, Bill C-263, and get a fair deal for Albertans in Confederation.

Love Over COVID Initiative

    Mr. Speaker, love is more contagious than COVID. Today I am honoured to stand and recognize a leader in my community, Ken Foster, the founder of the Love Over COVID initiative.
    After seeing other community members helping those in need, whether by delivering groceries for seniors or simply checking in on neighbours, Ken was inspired to bring positivity and spread love. Love Over COVID sells tote bags and graphic T-shirts with its slogan “Love is more contagious than COVID”. The simple idea is that we can stay six feet apart and build bridges between the small distances that separate us. The best part about this initiative is that after each purchase, Ken chooses a local food bank in the city the purchase was ordered from and donates all the proceeds to it.
    I encourage everyone to visit loveovercovid.com to purchase a T-shirt and wear one forward to their friends and family. I am proud to have such a caring individual in my riding of Kingston and the Islands. I thank Ken for all of his efforts in promoting Love Over COVID.

  (1410)  

Government Accountability

    Mr. Speaker, after losing their majority and finishing second in popular vote in the last election, one would think the Liberals would have sought to govern for all Canadians.
    Instead, the Prime Minister is using a pandemic as an opportunity to bypass Parliament. Let us not forget move one was the Liberals proposing legislation that would give themselves power to tax and spend with no parliamentary oversight for 21 months. Although that blatant attempt at a power grab failed, the disregard for responsible government has continued. They had no budget for 25 months, proroguing Parliament to avoid the WE scandal investigation, shutting down committees and continuous filibustering to impede evidence of corruption from becoming public. Finally, they introduced Bill C-10 that would allow them to police what Canadians post on their social media accounts.
    It is time for a responsible, ethical government. The Conservative Party is ready, willing and able.

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, this week is mental health week and the government’s failure to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces is having deep and lasting impacts on the mental health of Canadians, especially those living in rural areas.
    I have heard countless stories from my constituents about the many families that have been split apart for well over a year due to COVID, with no promise of reunification happening any time soon.
     Those who live near the U.S. border are watching their American neighbours quickly get vaccinated, and they are keenly aware that it is the government's inability to deliver vaccines that is keeping them from their loved ones.
     Seniors are some of the hardest hit, and with lockdowns severely limiting the number of people they can interact with, feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness have sadly become the status quo for many.
     With the inconsistent messaging and vaccine shortages, the Prime Minister's third wave continues to ravage our population's physical and mental health.
    The Conservatives know that securing our mental health is key to a pandemic recovery, and we will work tirelessly to clean up the mess left by the government.

Sport Fishing

    Mr. Speaker, last summer, Canadians headed outdoors with enthusiasm. Proof can be seen in increased sales for domestic fishing licences. This was in addition to growth in the angling through outreach from entities like the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters or the Ontario Women Anglers, which increase and celebrate diversity in sport fishing.

[Translation]

    As in previous years, these fishers were essential to local economies. With the U.S. border still closed, many family businesses are counting on domestic demand this summer.
    Restrictions have been relaxed, so I encourage fishers to consider visiting my riding, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, which offers new fishing adventures around every corner.

[English]

    From tiny streams to the productive bays of the Great Lakes, Huron and Superior, the region has no end of opportunity for anglers of all abilities and is ready to host them at exclusive American plan lodges, housekeeping cabins, campgrounds and much more.
    Whether it is for the trip of a lifetime or a weekend getaway, once people give this part of Ontario a try, they will be hooked.

[Translation]

Régis Labeaume

    Mr. Speaker, an earthquake struck Quebec City yesterday, and it was felt throughout our nation. Régis Labeaume will be stepping down as mayor of Quebec City after 14 years in office. Mayor Labeaume is, first and foremost, an ambitious visionary, bursting with ideas for his city.
    The rest of Quebec first noticed him because of his fiery personality. We later came to see him as a pioneer, who foresaw the new role that cities would take in Quebec politics, and who was determined to make the only French-speaking capital city in North America shine.
    He was with us as we went through difficult times, like the massacre at the mosque, and he is with us as we enter an era of great pride, with our culture more vibrant than ever. Business is booming, and Quebec City has earned a place among North America's major cities, without losing its unique character.
    Régis needs to spend time with his family, who were generous enough to share him with us. After taking such great care of our city and our capital, he deserves to focus on himself.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank you for everything, Régis, and I hope your term ends on a high note.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are looking ahead to rounding the corner on COVID-19, and our country is at a crossroads. Our country’s future is at stake and Canadians must choose which path to recovery they can trust.
    Our Conservative recovery plan will secure our future to help those who have struggled the most through this pandemic get back to work with a stable, good-paying job. Our plan will take immediate action to help the hardest hit sectors, helping those who have suffered the most, including women and young Canadians. We will enact a comprehensive jobs plan to get Canadians back to work across the country and recover the one million jobs lost during the pandemic. We will work to support small businesses and provide incentives to invest in, rebuild and start new businesses.
    I believe it is time for a new path forward, one of security and certainty. That is exactly what Conservatives can and will deliver.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Affordable Housing

    Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to talk about the benefits of budget 2021 as it relates to one of the priorities of my riding of Sherbrooke, social housing.
    With or without a pandemic, many families struggle to access affordable housing every year, and this is also true in Sherbrooke. The low vacancy rate of 1.3% is alarming, and many people are still waiting for subsidized housing.
    The budget builds on the efforts our government has been making since 2015. We have helped more than one million Canadians find an affordable home. This budget invests $2.5 billion and reallocates $1.3 billion to build and renovate more than 35,000 affordable homes across Canada.
    Earlier this week, we announced the creation and renovation of over 1,500 new affordable housing units in Quebec. These investments will not only create jobs, but also make life easier for thousands of families.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

     Mr. Speaker, the Globe and Mail called the minister's performance “amateur hour” on Bill C-10. OpenMedia said that the Prime Minister has lost the plot with this bill. Michael Geist said that this legislation is an attack on freedom of expression.
    This bill is a threat to Canadians' freedom. When will the Liberal government scrap Bill C-10?
    Mr. Speaker, our artists and creators are among the Canadians who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. They are suffering financially and mentally. Bill C-10 brought them the hope that things would get better soon, with the promise of forcing web giants to invest in stories and music from Quebec and Canada.
    Today, the Conservatives are stalling Bill C-10, siding with web giants against Canadian artists and creators who are deprived of hundreds of millions of dollars. The real question is why the Conservative Party is siding with Google, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, instead of our artists.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, maybe I better share the reviews on the minister's law before he pulls the comments off-line.
    The Globe and Mail called the minister's performance “amateur hour” on Bill C-10. OpenMedia has said that the Prime Minister and that minister have lost the plot with this law. Michael Geist, the leading expert, said, “Bill C-10 represents an unconscionable attack on the free expression rights.”
    When is the government and that minister going to listen to Canadians and scrap Bill C-10?
    Mr. Speaker, our artists are among the Canadians who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. They are suffering financially and mentally. Bill C-10 brought them the hope that things would get better soon, with the promise of forcing web giants to invest in our stories and music.
    The Conservatives are stalling Bill C-10, siding with web giants against Canadian artists who are deprived of hundreds of millions of dollars. Why is the Conservative Party siding with Google, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, instead of Canadian musicians and artists?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the minister does not even understand his own bill. If the CRTC can regulate what Canadians see on their YouTube or Instagram feed, it can control what Canadians see and what they learn about any given topic.
    Last year, that minister mused about licensing media companies. Now he is giving the government the ability to dictate which videos Canadians can see online. This bill is a direct attack on free speech.
    When will the minister drop his talking points, listen to Canadians and scrap Bill C-10?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, maybe the Leader of the Opposition should actually read the bill. Section 2.1 of the bill states that individuals who upload content on social media platforms, such as Facebook or TikTok, are not considered broadcasters. This means, Mr. Speaker, that you and I cannot be regulated by the CRTC. We have kept that clause.
    Again, maybe the Leader of the Opposition should actually read the bill before he starts making statements on it.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, the Quebec government never asked for a moratorium on the processing of skilled workers' applications. Workers, including nurses, must wait 27 months before their applications are approved by the federal government. In the rest of Canada, this step takes approximately six months. Why is this government making Premier Legault and Quebec wait an extra two years for workers in the midst of a pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that immigration is one of the key factors in the economic recovery of Canada, including Quebec. That is why we are bringing in the skilled workers that Quebec needs. We have welcomed more than 7,000 people, or 54% more than last year. We are on track to reach Quebec's immigration targets.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, over the last five months, the Conservatives have asked the government 47 different times to take action regarding the Line 5 pipeline.
    Thousands of Canadian jobs are on the line, from Alberta to Ontario to Quebec. The government is once again missing in action, and now the Michigan governor is calling the project a “ticking time bomb.”
    For the 48th time, when are Canadians going to see the government finally stand up for Canadian workers and for our natural resources sector?
    Mr. Speaker, people will not be left out in the cold. The heating of Canadian homes or the flying of Canadian jets or the operation of Canadian refineries are non-negotiable.
    Line 5 is not just vital to Canada, it is also vital to the United States. Therefore, it is vital to all of North America. Shutting it down would have profound consequences. There are 5,000 direct jobs in Sarnia, 23,000 indirect jobs in the region, thousands of jobs at refineries in Montreal and Lévis, but also in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and that is the case we are making. Line 5 is essential for North American energy security.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims that he was not aware of allegations of sexual misconduct against the chief of the defence staff. He claims he was never briefed about them by the Minister of National Defence.
    He now knows that his Minister of National Defence received a report from the Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman a good three years ago. He knows that the minister did nothing and that, in addition, he kept him in the dark.
    My question is simple: Does the Prime Minister think it is acceptable that his Minister of National Defence decided to withhold these allegations of sexual misconduct against the chief of the defence staff from him?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear that when the information was brought forward, it was immediately passed on to non-partisan public servants at the Privy Council Office who are in charge of Governor in Council appointments and they followed up the next day. No politician should ever be involved in any type of investigation.
    Nonetheless, we are going to stay focused on creating that culture change in the Canadian Armed Forces to make sure we have a harassment-free workplace in the Canadian Armed Forces. That is our goal.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, when asked why he was appointing a gender-balanced cabinet, the Prime Minister replied that it was because it was 2015.
    Now it is 2021, and the Minister of National Defence has deliberately turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct complaints. It is 2021, and the Minister of National Defence has failed to apply Justice Deschamps' recommendations.
    Because it is 2021, does the Prime Minister not think it is time to put an end to the culture of silence in the Canadian Armed Forces by replacing the Minister of National Defence and, while he is at it, by appointing a female minister of national defence who will take care of implementing Justice Deschamps' recommendations?

  (1425)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear that I absolutely disagree with the member's assertions. Any time any complaint was ever brought forward, it was immediately acted upon, just like this one. When Mr. Walbourne brought information forward, it was immediately acted upon and it was followed up the very next day. For the member to assert otherwise is absolutely false.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, we are in a global pandemic. We need to vaccinate all Canadians, of course, but we also have a responsibility to help people around the world. Poorer countries need the COVID-19 vaccine patents to be waived.
     Will the Prime Minister commit to supporting a waiver on COVID-19 vaccine patents, instead of protecting the profits of big pharmaceutical companies?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government has always been, and will always be, a strong advocate for equitable access to affordable, safe and life-saving COVID-19 vaccines around the world. We will actively participate in negotiations to waive intellectual property protection particular to COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS. This pandemic is not over until it is over everywhere and we will continue to work toward a just and speedy recovery.
    Mr. Speaker, the United States has already made a clear commitment that it will be supporting the suspension of patent protection. My question is very clear. We are in a global pandemic and we need concrete steps. Poorer countries are asking for a patent waiver so that they can produce vaccines and save lives in their countries.
    Instead of protecting the profits of big pharmaceutical companies, will the Prime Minister support the patent waiver so that poorer countries can produce the vaccine and save lives?
    Mr. Speaker, let me repeat my response. Canada will actively participate in negotiations to waive intellectual property protection particular to COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS. We have been a leader in the global effort to ensure there is equitable access to successful vaccines and critical medical supplies around the world and we are determined to continue our hard work with WTO members to reach an agreement and to find solutions that will accelerate the production and equitable distribution of vaccines.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer debunked the Liberal myth that the recent budget was about growth. In his report, Yves Giroux said the minister had overstated how much her avalanche of spending would boost economic growth. The minister claimed that her budget would create over 300,000 jobs, yet Mr. Giroux confirmed that only one-quarter of that number would materialize. This budget had nothing to do with growth, and everything to do with fighting the next election. Why did the minister mislead Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, it is that member who is misleading the House with his very question. The PBO report that he refers to examined only a portion of Canada's pandemic recovery strategy, and left out over $30 billion in emergency supports to ensure households and businesses would be bridged through this pandemic so they can contribute to the recovery on the back end. Canadians can rest assured that, unlike the Conservatives, our government is going to be there for households and businesses in our communities, as long as it takes and no matter what it takes.
    Mr. Speaker, the member completely missed my point.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that this so-called growth budget would not grow the economy as promised. He said the minister had overstated revenues, understated deficits, and that much of her spending had nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Clearly, the minister exaggerated how much growth the budget would produce. What is clear is that this is not a growth budget, it is a budget that misled Canadians. In fact, the government used the pandemic to recklessly spend on its own political survival. Why?
    On the facts, his partisan argument contradicts the evidence of the IMF, private-sector forecasts outlined in the budget, and major credit-rating agencies that have reaffirmed Canada's AAA rating.
    As a matter of principle, his solution to the false problem that he depicts is to yank supports for households and businesses at a time when they need it most. Our strategy from the beginning has to been to extend a life raft to those households and businesses to prevent economic scarring, because we know that the economic recovery depends on everyone's participation when COVID-19 is a thing of the past.

  (1430)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, not only did the government take far too long to put out a budget, but it is also overestimating how much this budget will stimulate our economy. Its growth projections were twice as high as those independently calculated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Some of its employment projections were even eight times higher.
    As usual, the Liberals are posturing. What are they hiding from Canadians? Why are they artificially boosting their numbers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to appreciate that the economic growth projections included in the budget are the result of the private sector forecasts, on average, by the major economists at Canadian banks. This is not something that the government has done for partisan reasons; it is designed to ensure objectivity.
     One of those particular banks, Scotiabank, actually pointed to the growth agenda outlined in this budget, when it stated that, “Overall, measures seem well targeted to raise potential output by focusing on economic inclusion, the green transition and measures to encourage business investment.” We know that to bust out of this recession, we need to invest in measures that will include growth, and that is precisely what budget 2021 is doing.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the government has no regard for the well-being of women in the Canadian Armed Forces. Not only did General Vance continue to serve for three years after allegations were made against him, but his replacement is also facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
    In the meantime, the women who suffered because of these men will have to live with the ramifications of these experiences for many years to come. What is the Minister of National Defence's excuse this time for abandoning the brave women serving in our armed forces?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that measures that we have already put in place have not gone far enough and we need to move faster and we will.
    That is why in budget 2021, we are committing $236 million to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the Canadian Armed Forces. We are expanding the reach of the sexual misconduct response centre and we listened to our survivors and we are going to be adding online peer-to-peer support as well. All options to create a safer future for women who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces are going to be considered, to change the culture.
    Mr. Speaker, the media has been unrelenting in its criticisms of the defence minister and the Liberal government for their cover-up of the sexual misconduct allegations in the forces. The Toronto Star editorial board said, “[T]he fact remains that [the Liberals] betrayed its own feminist principles. Most of all, it let down the women who serve in Canada's military.” And “what a failure.” Through this minister, the Liberal “government abandoned the woman who brought forward the allegation against Vance three years ago.”
    Will the defence minister accept responsibility for his failure on this file and this unmitigated disaster?
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member opposite to put the hyperpartisan politics aside and work together as parliamentarians so we can create the culture change that is needed for the Canadian Armed Forces. I look forward to the recommendations of the committee. As we stated, all options are currently on the table to make sure that we can take a much bolder step, because yes, we do owe it to our women in the Canadian Armed Forces to have an absolute harassment-free workplace in the Canadian Armed Forces, something we are absolutely committed to doing.
    Mr. Speaker, the correct answer would have been yes, he is responsible. The Toronto Star went on to say, “The Liberals would have done themselves a favour by rotating [the defence minister] into another position some time ago. But it's too late for that now.” It also said that the minister's “credibility has been so thoroughly shredded by the sexual misconduct scandals paralyzing the Canadian forces that calling for his resignation seems rather beside the point.”
    The minister only has himself to blame. Will the Minister of National Defence admit he is the architect of his own demise?
    Mr. Speaker, I will let the member opposite continue down the mud-slinging partisan politics and I will always remain committed to the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces, something that I have been committed to from day one. When it came to our defence policy adding the funding that is absolutely needed, we made sure that we had a gender-based analysis plus conducted in everything that we do. Absolutely, we have a lot more work to do. We have not been able to go far enough to support the survivors, but we absolutely will and we will get this done.

  (1435)  

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, fraud victims should not have to pay the price for being defrauded, but that is exactly what the Minister of National Revenue is doing to victims of fraud involving the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB. The minister is making them pay taxes on money they did not request or receive.
    The Minister of National Revenue is telling them to pay now, that she will investigate and, if the victims are innocent, then she will pay them back someday. It seems to me that it should be the complete opposite. Can the Minister of National Revenue clearly tell victims to hang onto that money until the investigation is complete?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Bloc Québécois likes to stir up trouble and frighten Quebeckers. I would invite them to stick to the following facts: Canadians who receive a T4A for CERB payments that they did not request should contact the Canada Revenue—
    The hon. member for Manicouagan on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to point out that the Minister of National Revenue did not have her microphone in place and it was hard to hear her, but I think she realized it at the same time.
    I would like to remind all members to put their microphones in front of their mouths so everyone can hear them. We are all interested in what they have to say.
    I invite the hon. Minister of National Revenue to repeat her answer.
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Bloc likes to stir up trouble and frighten Quebeckers. I would invite them to stick to the following facts: Canadians who receive a T4A for CERB payments that they did not request should contact the Canada Revenue Agency as soon as possible. Victims of identity fraud will not be held responsible for any money paid out to scammers.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable. Why is the Minister of National Revenue unable to simply tell victims of fraud to hang onto their money until the investigation is complete? Why is it so hard for her to tell them not to pay taxes on income they did not receive and to wait for the outcome of the investigation?
    Right now, the Minister of National Revenue's unclear messages are not being well received on the ground, nor by the victims, obviously. The minister must realize this. She knows that victims need to hear what she has to say, and she has to say it quickly and clearly.
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Bloc Québécois suffers from Pinocchio syndrome.
    Victims of identity fraud will not be held responsible for any money paid out to scammers. I encourage those who received a T4A slip to call the Canada Revenue Agency.
    We will do everything we can to support them.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is very difficult to get someone on the line. Furthermore, this fraud is causing a second major problem that the Liberals do not seem to have seen coming.
    People will lose government assistance because fraud increases their annual income in the eyes of the federal government. In this case, they could lose their child benefit payments or their GST credit, for instance. They are being doubly penalized. Ottawa is charging them too much tax and cutting their financial assistance. Once again, these people are paying the price for being defrauded.
    What is the minister doing to ensure that no one loses their benefits because their income has been artificially inflated by fraud?
    Mr. Speaker, for the third time, I would like to say that victims of identity fraud will not be held responsible for any money paid out to scammers, and they will not have to reimburse the Canada Revenue Agency.
    I would like my colleague to encourage people to file their tax returns so that they receive the benefits and credits they are entitled to. That is important for the people who need it and for the most vulnerable.

[English]

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, Sarah and her husband had been trying to have a baby for 15 years, and their first little one finally arrived in January. Carrie is expecting her first children, twins, in August. Samantha has two little ones at home and a third on the way. What do these women all have in common? Well, they all lost their jobs due to COVID.
    Most are on EI now, but all will have their first year with their babies cut short because the Liberal government is forcing them back to work, some of them only four weeks after giving birth. Why is the Minister of Employment cutting maternity benefits short for Canadian women?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, since day one we have worked hard to improve and modernize the EI system. We have continued those efforts through budget 2021. We have introduced flexibilities into the EI system for last year and for another year, so women exactly like those referred to by the member can have easier access to maternity and parental leaves, as can all parents.
    We know that there is more to be done on the EI file, and I look forward to working with my colleague on this effort, so every Canadian worker has access to better and more comprehensive supports.
    Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the minister's remarks, this is not the first time the Liberal government has done this. We know that in March 2020, they barred pregnant women from receiving CERB, forcing them onto EI months earlier than planned and cutting short their maternity leave, yet here we are again.
    The Liberal government, we know, is really showering money on everyone at unprecedented levels except, it would seem, on pregnant women. These pregnant women are really being left behind, and there is nothing they can do about it except reach out to their MPs and pray for a solution.
     Mother's Day is coming up this weekend. Will the minister support pregnant mothers and restore their full maternity leave?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question, and I wish all mothers and caregivers across the country a very happy Mother's Day this Sunday.
    We have been working to modernize and make EI more equitable since the beginning. This includes giving parents the choice of taking either 12 or 18 months for parental leave. We have also supported parents who face unique challenges from the COVID pandemic by providing them a one-time credit, enlarging our flexibilities and extending them for another year, and setting a minimum benefit rate of $500 a week for claims after September 27, 2020.
    Of course, there is more to do, and we will keep working so that EI will be there for all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has repeatedly said that he will not let anyone down during this pandemic.
    Unfortunately, he is letting down young mothers who cannot access the Canada recovery caregiving benefit, the CRCB, because they were unable to enrol their baby in day care between the second and third waves of COVID-19 so they could return to work. Creating a national child care system in 2022 will not solve this one-time problem.
    Why is the Prime Minister, a so-called feminist, stopping moms from accessing the CRCB?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that our EI system and the temporary recovery benefits support and include as many Canadian workers as possible and, in particular, women. As we know, they have been hit the hardest with this pandemic. We have introduced flexibilities, which mean that a person will need fewer hours to qualify for both regular and special benefits. We have extended these flexibilities for a year. We have a minimum benefit rate of $500 per week for claims established after September 27, 2020.
    We are there for all Canadian workers, women in particular, and we are committed to modernizing our EI system to be even more there for them.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, during the exchange between the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles and the member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, I was hearing noise in the background. Unfortunately, it was hard to understand what was being said.
    From what I see on the screen, the member for Scarborough—Guildwood's mike is not muted.
    Our technicians are telling me that the member's microphone is now muted.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, I was absolutely delighted yesterday to hear that the U.S. government has recognized the extraordinary realities of COVID-19 and has committed to waiving intellectual property rights, putting the lives of millions of people ahead of big profits for pharmaceutical companies, yet we have heard nothing but platitudes, half promises and deflection from the Liberals. I am proud of Joe Biden and the United States government for its decision to support the TRIPS waiver.
    When will Canadians be able to be proud of our government? When will the Liberals put people ahead of profits?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government continues to be a leader in the global effort to ensure that there is equitable access to successful vaccines and critical medical supplies around the world. We will actively participate in negotiations to waive intellectual property protection, particularly to COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO agreement on TRIPS.
    We agree that the pandemic is not over anywhere until it is over everywhere. We will continue to work with our international partners toward a speedy and just recovery.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the government has clearly failed to control the spread of COVID through our borders. The Liberals were slow to act. Measures have huge loopholes, and enforcement is weak. They apply hotel quarantine rules only to travellers arriving by air, leading thousands to simply cross at U.S. border points. Now we see that the Liberals are allowing two of the four Canadian airports that receive international passengers to fail at enforcing hotel quarantine rules at all.
    Why is the government allowing travellers in Alberta and Quebec to ignore federal quarantine rules, leaving all Canadians vulnerable to variants of concern?
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that we have some of the strongest international travel measures in the world. In fact, all travellers who are travelling for non-essential reasons must submit to a pre-departure test, a post-arrival test, three days in a GAA after travelling by air, 14-day quarantine for all and a day eight test.
    We will work with our provincial and municipal partners to ensure the Quarantine Act is enforced.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, since 2015, this government has been championing the rights of official language minority communities from coast to coast to coast, especially the Franco-Ontarian community.
    As students at Laurentian face an uncertain future, they know this government will support them. Would the Minister of Official Languages tell the House what she is doing to ensure that Franco-Ontarians have access to post-secondary education in northern Ontario?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent work and his excellent question.
    Those of us on this side of the House have always stepped up to protect francophones in minority communities, and we always will.
    Post-secondary institutions are key to the vitality of our linguistic minority communities. I am worried, and our government is worried, about the Laurentian University situation. That is why we are working on solutions. We will work with the province and make sure there is a post-secondary institution for francophones in northern Ontario.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the award for letting the cat out of the bag goes to two Liberal members: the member for Kingston and the Islands and the member for Whitby. They admitted, here in the House, that if their government had done its job in procuring vaccines for Canadians on time, we would not be in this mess.
    Canada is now in a third wave. The Prime Minister keeps making announcements about more vaccine deliveries, but Canadians are still waiting. Canadians and our small businesses are suffering needlessly.
    Can the Prime Minister be just as honest as his two MPs and admit that we would not be here if he had acted on time?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to say that over 17.4 million vaccines have been shipped to provinces and territories to date, and as of today, 14.5 million doses have been administered across Canada.
    We are making tremendous progress, and it is really in partnership with all the provinces and territories, which are administering vaccines to people who are vulnerable to COVID, and in partnership with corporations, communities and unions. All across this country Canadians are getting vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to take get vaccinated when it is their turn.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals keep saying that Canadians should follow the advice of scientists. We agree.
    However, this Liberal government has totally ignored the recommendations of the scientists who developed the vaccines. Scientists are saying that the second dose of the vaccine should be taken three months after the first and the Liberals maintain that it should be four months. Worse yet, a Liberal senator says that we should consider mixing and matching doses because of the security of supply.
    Why are the Liberals playing with the health of Canadians to hide their incompetence?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, those kinds of assertions are not what Canadians want to hear. What they want to hear is encouragement to continue on the path we are on because vaccinations are saving lives and stopping the spread.
    Just recently, Public Health Ontario reported that, out of the 3.5 million Ontarians who have been vaccinated to date, only 0.06% have since become infected, and there were no deaths in any of those cases. In fact, the majority of the cases of infections happened before the 14 days. We will continue to work with provinces and territories to make sure that everyone can get vaccinated when it is their turn.
    Mr. Speaker, given the need for clear, transparent and effective communications on advice regarding vaccine efficacy and safety, what concrete action has the Minister of Health undertaken this week to correct deficiencies and better coordinate public communications between NACI, PHAC, Health Canada, her office and cabinet?
    Mr. Speaker, I think we have been extremely clear throughout this vaccination process that vaccines do indeed save lives and stop the spread. I want to thank Public Health Ontario for its recent reporting, which demonstrated exactly that. I will continue to say that in this House. Certainly, public health leaders are saying that.
    We know Canadians are stepping up to the plate. They are getting vaccinated. We will continue to deliver the vaccines to the provinces and territories. We will continue to be partners in getting those vaccines into arms. We can see the finish line, and we need to get there together.
    Mr. Speaker, no, the advice on vaccines from the federal government this week has not been clear. The confusing communications regarding vaccines the federal government has presided over cannot be allowed to continue, and the person who has the responsibility to make sure this happens is the Minister of Health.
    Can she acknowledge there is a problem and tell us what action she has taken, or will be taking, to correct deficiencies and better coordinate public communications between NACI, PHAC, Health Canada, her and her office, and cabinet?
    Mr. Speaker, I will be perfectly clear. Vaccines are indeed saving lives and stopping the spread of COVID-19. That is the goal that I think every member in this House would agree is an important one and that we are all striving for.
    I will repeat this again: It is important that Canadians accept the first vaccine that is offered to them. If Canadians are questioning if vaccination is right for them, the best place to get credible information is from their health care provider or from a government website at the provincial, federal or municipal level. There are many players working to vaccinate Canadians. I would encourage all members in this House to get vaccinated when it is their turn and to encourage their constituents to do so as well.

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, for years now, the Bloc Québécois has been calling for the Davie shipyard to be awarded a polar icebreaker contract. Today's announcement is not bad news, but Davie still has not been named the third partner under the national shipbuilding strategy. No contract has been signed, there is no start date for building and no timeline.
    Can the government tell us when we will get those dates? Otherwise, the announcement is nothing but electioneering.
    Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is as grouchy as ever, I see. Before, they would say that there was no contract for Davie. Now they say that there is one. They come off as a bunch of grouchy Smurfs.
    The Bloc cannot do anything for the Davie shipyard. The Conservatives never wanted to help the Davie shipyard. We are keeping our promises to Davie.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleagues will understand why I am talking about an election. The government had one contract for a polar icebreaker to award to either Davie Shipyard or its rival in British Columbia, Seaspan. In a surprise move, the government just announced a contract for a second icebreaker, this one going to Seaspan. However, that shipyard had an identical contract withdrawn in 2019 because it was unable to start building.
    Essentially, the government is saying yes to everyone with no regard for Seaspan's construction capacity, timelines or costs. Are the contracts announced today meant to be election promises?
    Mr. Speaker, the only party talking about an election right now is the Bloc Québécois. No one on this side has uttered the word “election”, that is for sure.
    Today we are announcing excellent news for the people of Lévis, for the Davie shipyard and for the entire supply chain. It means thousands of jobs in hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses across Quebec. I would expect the Bloc to be happy about this.
    What is clear is that the Conservatives never wanted to help Davie, the Bloc cannot help Davie, but we are keeping our promises to Davie.

  (1455)  

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, despite signing an international agreement and giving companies five years to comply, the Liberal government has handed out major exemptions to its friends in big business to rules limiting HFC emissions. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency sends such requests packing, as HFCs are a far more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon, while the Liberals said yes to these high-priced lobbyists.
    Why is the Liberal government not forcing these polluters to invest in domestic facilities, like the United States does, instead of giving big exemptions to their highly connected favourites?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has committed to an 85% reduction in HFCs by 2036 through the Kigali Amendment, and we are fully committed to meeting our international obligations. The temporary permits that the hon. member references are given based on technical criteria and are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
    We will continue to work with all industry stakeholders to ensure that we meet our international obligations to phase down HFCs and protect our environment.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, I recently sent the Minister of Immigration a letter to once again condemn the endless delays in the processing of temporary foreign worker applications. Last year, I shared my concerns with him in a letter and also with the House. I also signed an open letter with 14 businesses from the region.
    Nothing has changed. Businesses in Beauce are waiting impatiently for their workers. Millions of dollars in contracts are at stake. Will the minister continue to sit on his hands until the election or will he finally take action on this file? The situation is wholly unacceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, temporary foreign workers are essential for our businesses, farms and health institutions. That is why we facilitated the arrival of temporary foreign workers throughout the pandemic. Last year, we welcomed more than 85% of the agricultural workers we were expecting. I will remain in contact with my colleague to move forward on this file.

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 certainly is a convenient excuse for a lot of things. Did this government take advantage of the pandemic to hand out contracts and millions of dollars to its friends? Businesses in the Quebec region that have been operating for years and are accredited by Health Canada were ignored in the procurement of PPE.
    Can this Liberal government, which was involved in the sponsorship scandal, assure us that this time patronage was not a factor when contracts were awarded during the pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, throughout the pandemic we have provided billions of pieces of PPE, with billions supplied by Canadian manufacturers and suppliers. We thank them. We will continue to ensure we have the supplies we need to protect all Canadians throughout the pandemic.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, young people are the future of Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. Their ideas contribute to building a strong and innovative sector that is ready to meet the changing needs of tomorrow. For them to consider a career in the agriculture sector, it is important that they have contact with our farmers.
    Can the minister tell us how our government will support jobs for young people in the agriculture sector?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that the youth employment and skills program in agriculture is now open.
    This year, about 2,000 young people aged 15 to 30 will be able to benefit from the program. I invite employers in the agriculture sector, from the farm to the laboratory, to offer an opportunity for work experience and be inspired by the energy and vision of our young people.
    The program offers support for 50% of wages to a maximum of $14,000, plus $5,000 for travel and accommodation costs if necessary.

[English]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, since 1960, former prime minister John Diefenbaker's Canadian Bill of Rights has entrenched fundamental freedoms for Canadians, including the freedom of speech. Over 60 years later, the Liberal Party aims to muzzle Canadians' freedom of expression on the new public square that is the Internet. Technology evolves, but freedoms must stand.
    Why in 2021 did the Liberals want to limit Canadians' freedom of speech? I have read the bill and I know the difference between a person and content.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, who is on the heritage committee, should know that proposed subsection 2(2.1) of the bill says that individuals who upload content from social media platforms are not considered broadcasters. He also knows that subsection 2(3) of the act states:
    (3) This Act shall be construed and applied in a manner that is consistent with the freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by broadcasting undertakings.
     He knows that full well and is trying to mislead Canadians.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, recently I asked the government how much debt interest costs when rates rise by 2%, which is the same stress test that new homebuyers are faced with. The Bank of Canada has announced that interest rates will be rising, so with $40 billion a year being spent on interest, the government has already put critical infrastructure systems at risk.
    Why does the minister not have a credible plan to manage debt and ensure that things like infrastructure, security and safety, clean drinking water and our health care systems are sustainable for the long term?
    Mr. Speaker, I direct the hon. member to annex 3 of the budget, which lays out in specific detail the debt management strategy of the government. I point in particular to the fact that by fiscal year 2022-23, we anticipate that the raw debt servicing charges for Canada will be $1.6 billion less than was projected in the fall economic statement of 2019, before the pandemic. The reality is that our AAA credit rating has recently been reaffirmed, specifically because of the measures we put in place to support households and businesses and prevent economic scarring.
    The outlook for Canada is positive according to any economist with credibility in this conversation. I would invite further conversations with the member if he would like to dig into greater detail.

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands accidentally told the truth last night when he said, “When the Conservatives come in here, they are only talking about vaccines. Yes, there is a lot we could have done...better...[in] making sure we were prepared.” He went on to say, “Absolutely, if vaccines came sooner we probably would not be standing in this place right now”.
    Does the Minister of Health agree with her colleague that if we had been better prepared and she had secured vaccines for more Canadians, we could have avoided the Liberal third wave? I certainly do.
    Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased that we have continued to advance the supply of vaccines into this country. In fact, over 28 million vaccines have been moved earlier than was initially planned, and we have vaccinated over 14 million Canadians to date. We will have enough vaccines to supply 48 million to 50 million doses between now and the end of June, and that is putting us at the very top of the G20.
    We are going to continue our work to get vaccines into this country and to vaccinate Canadians as quickly as possible.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, there are a number of vibrant small and medium-sized businesses in my riding of Richmond Hill, some of which have been hit the hardest during the pandemic. Two weeks ago, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade had a productive meeting with the Richmond Hill SME community council.
    Can the minister highlight some of the measures in this budget that are dedicated to entrepreneurship and growing small and medium-sized businesses in our communities?
    Mr. Speaker, it was a pleasure to be there with him.
    Budget 2021 is the most small business friendly budget in Canadian history. From decisive action to lowering credit card fees to historic support for digital and technology adoption, we are making ambitious and targeted investments to accelerate job and business growth, driving a strong, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.
    Our small businesses and main streets are the heart of our communities and the backbone of the economy. I want small businesses to know that we have their backs.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, Chuck Rifici, the former CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada, made a fortune when the Attorney General changed the pot laws. Now it is rumoured that Rifici is going to buy the troubled porn empire MindGeek/Pornhub. It is a company at the centre of international allegations of hosting child abuse and non-consensual sexual assault videos, yet the Attorney General has given it a complete free pass on its mandatory reporting obligations.
    Why is the government ignoring its obligation to make these sites safe for survivors, rather than just a safe investment for its powerful Liberal cronies?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have taken significant steps with respect to the issue of exploitation of a sexual nature online. With respect to Pornhub, we have strong and comprehensive laws in place to ensure that those who exploit children face punishment to the fullest extent of the law. While the overwhelming majority of prosecutions of child pornography are conducted by the provinces, we know that in 2017-18, 3,380 charges were laid for child pornography offences, resulting in 674 prosecutions.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, I am beyond disappointed by the opposition members' fearmongering on freedom of speech, especially when they know they are spreading misinformation to Canadians. It is shameful. They are holding the Canadian cultural sector hostage for cheap political gain and are siding with web giants.
    Can the minister please tell us about and clarify the importance of Bill C-10?
    Mr. Speaker, the bill is about making web giants pay their fair share, not about individual content. The committee decided to include social media companies to ensure that they pay their fair share to Canadian artists and musicians. Think of YouTube making millions of dollars on the work of Canadian artists.
    Tonight at committee, I urge Conservative Party members to let the Canadian heritage committee continue its important work and not delay this bill any further.

[Translation]

    The member for Lac-Saint-Jean on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
    That the House salute and support the decision of the President of the United States to support the resolution presented to the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents for developing countries; and that the House ask the Government of Canada to also support this initiative.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
     An hon. member: Nay.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe if you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent of the House to adopt the following motion: That the House welcome and support the announcement of the President of the United States to waive the intellectual property, particular to COVID-19 vaccines, under the World Trade Organization provisions. and that the House ask the Government of Canada to agree to join the proposed negotiations.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.

Points of Order

Oral Questions 

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, in my response to the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, I had a small slip-up. I referred to our debt management strategy being in annex 3 of the budget. It is in fact in annex 2 where the member will find the government's debt management strategy, including the reaffirmation of our AAA credit rating and the fact that Canada currently has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, as you know, this being Thursday, it is time for an update on our parliamentary agenda. I would also like to remind the House that next week will be the fifth consecutive week of parliamentary work in the House and that we continue to work in our ridings seven days a week.
    I would like my ministerial colleague, the Quebec lieutenant and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, to inform the House of the work that will take place in the coming days, since we are not lazy Smurfs.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and friend.
    This gives me an opportunity to share with the House what we have planned for the coming days.
    This afternoon, we will continue debate on Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.
    On Friday morning, we will begin by debating Bill C-19, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, COVID-19 response, and then resume debate on the budget bill.
    On Monday of next week, we will continue second reading debate of Bill C-19. In the evening, we will resume the concurrence debate on the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

[English]

    On Tuesday, we will continue with second reading debate of Bill C-30, the budget legislation.
     On Wednesday, we will deal with report stage and third reading of Bill C-15, an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
     Finally, next Thursday shall be an opposition day.

[Translation]

    I thank my colleague for his question.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue has three minutes remaining for questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, many progressive measures are within the budget. One that is really quite encouraging is the support for child care throughout Canada. This would add so much value, not only to our economy but to individual families.
     Could my colleague comment on that issue?
    Mr. Speaker, a national child care plan will quickly become a foundational pillar of our social safety net, of our social infrastructure. It will, of course, result in a higher participation rate for women, as many of them choose to re-enter the labour force on a quicker basis. It will result in families saving money. In the riding I represent. in the York Region and in the GTA, it will represent a saving of literally thousands of dollars for Canadian families. Obviously that is very beneficial. It will also result in children receiving excellent care from ECEs across the country.
    I wish to thank the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for bringing forth this initiative for Canadian families from coast to coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, the government is constantly doing the right thing in listening to medical health officials. We would like it to do everything they recommend with respect to protocols around COVID-19. However, when it comes to the opioid crisis, the government fails to do the same thing.
     Medical health officers across the country have said that the government needs to decriminalize the use of opioids to end the stigma against those who suffer with a health issue, not a criminal issue. We not only have one crisis, the opioid crisis, we have two. We have a political crisis that is killing people. It is standing in the way of doing the right thing and implementing health policy as recommended by medical health officers.
    Will my colleague speak to why the government is not decriminalizing the use of opioids, end the stigma against those struggling with addiction and give them the help they need?
    Mr. Speaker, the opioid crisis is a crisis in every sense. We have seen way too many lives taken from their families, especially young people in their 20s and 30s who have unfortunately passed due to this crisis. Our government has put in place literally tens of millions of dollars and has partnered with the provinces to try to stop this crisis. It is a very unfortunate crisis and we must do better, not only as a government but as a society.

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-30, the budget implementation act, on behalf of the residents in my riding of Davenport. The last time I spoke on the budget, I ran out of time and so I will do my very best to be far more succinct today.
    The truth is that this is a historic budget with a huge number of measures that will make a big difference in the lives of Canadians. In fact, in 10 minutes, it is virtually impossible to touch on all the reasons we need to pass the budget implementation act and to relay all the things that matter to Davenport, never mind all the important measures it contains for people right across the country. Instead, I will focus on a few key measures that may have been talked about a little less in the House. I will talk about the federal $15 minimum wage, some of the additional measures and funding for immigration, and the huge increase in funding for a new national action plan to end gender-based violence.
    However, before I get to those measures, there are two huge game-changing segments of budget 2021 about I am super excited. I truly believe that they are once-in-a generation investments in our future and that they will be key to our future economic prosperity and jobs.
     The first is that we are building a national child care program, which aims to bring child care fees down to $10 a day, will be key to the future economic prosperity and jobs in Canada. We are modelling the program on what Quebec currently does. This is a huge announcement for Davenport residents and families in my riding. We are located in the downtown west Toronto where child care costs are among the highest in the country, so I know they are really happy with this announcement.
    Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, spoke to our Prime Minister in July 2016. She said that to boost growth, we needed to employ more women. She indicated at the time that the participation rate for women was 82% in 2015, which was well below the 92% level for men. She also indicated that more women received university degrees than men, but their labour participation rate was 7% lower than men. Thus, there is a lot of room to tap into the underutilized female labour force to anchor strong economic growth. I am delighted that national child care will absolutely enable that. It is good for women, it is good for our economy and it is absolutely critical for Canada's success in the future.
    The second game-changing element in budget 2021 is a green restart to our economy. Of all the letters and telephone calls that come into my riding of Davenport, if we exclude anything related to COVID, a green recovery and a green restart is top of the list. I am delighted that budget 2021 confirms a green recovery will be a core part of our strategy to create one million jobs.
    In addition to the $60 billion that we have already invested in climate action and clean growth since 2015, we have committed an additional $18 billion in budget 2021. These new dollars will be allocated for more investment in renewables, carbon capture and to protect 25% of our land and water. This is in addition to the plan we announced in December 2020, which is outlined in a report entitled, “A Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy”. For the first time in Canadian history, we included a very specific, transparent, costed plan on how we would reach our emissions reduction targets by 2030. I would note that we have become ambitious since that report came out in mid-December. On Earth Day last month, we announced that we would further reduce our emissions targets to 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.
    For years, Davenport environmentalists have been asking for a clear plan, and that has been delivered. I really want to thank the amazing leadership of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for ensuring that we are moving urgently and aggressively to net zero by 2050.
    Beyond these measures, I would like to speak about a number of others things.
     The first is that we are establishing a federal minimum wage of $15 per hours, rising with inflation. There are provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, those wages will prevail. This $15 federal minimum wage will directly benefit over 26,000 workers who currently make less than $15 an hour in federally regulated private sectors.

  (1520)  

    It is no secret that the wages of most workers have not been keeping up with the cost of living and that many Canadians are struggling. We know that the $15 hourly federal minimum wage would be very welcomed by many across this country, and there is a lot of support for it from groups across the country.
    The budget would make much-needed improvements to our immigration system. I believe that immigration is essential to Canada's economic future and positive economic growth. With our declining birth rates and increasing retirement rates, good immigration policy and funding will be fundamental to Canada's success moving forward.
    I am the daughter of immigrants. My parents worked really hard to build a new life here and to contribute to a country that gave them a home and a safe place to raise their children. Indeed, 43% of my riding of Davenport are the first generation of their families in Canada. They were born in other countries, they specifically chose Canada to be their home and they contribute here. My office is a very popular spot for many immigration matters.
    What improvements would budget 2021 make? Budget 2021 proposes to invest almost $430 million to deliver a new digital platform that would replace the outdated legacy global case management system. It also proposes $74 million to enhance capacity and service standards within the client support centre of the IRCC to ensure timely support by phone and email for inquiries related to services offered by the department. It also offers $29 million to be shared between IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency to maintain and enhance processing capacity for temporary resident applications. I pulled out these three examples, but there are a number of other items.
    This investment is huge. It is a game-changer, and it is key to ensuring efficient processing of new Canadians and immigrants. Many of our offices are very much offshoots of IRCC. The better the systems are that we have in place to provide the most timely information to new Canadians and new immigrants trying to come to this country, the better it is for everyone, and the faster we will be able to get them here and contributing to our economy.
    We are also proposing a number of other measures to support temporary workers who come to Canada. Among these are more dollars to support migrant-worker-centric programs and services, to increase inspections of the sites that employ temporary foreign workers, and to improve the service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers, helping migrant workers in situations of abuse to find new jobs. This is important to point out, because we are determined to treat our migrant workers right. They do so much for us, from our agricultural sector to our food processing and health care sectors.
    The final thing I want to point out is that we are providing additional legal aid support, which I know is very important to West Toronto Community Legal Services in my riding. It is to make sure that we provide the support that is needed from a legal perspective to refugees and immigrants who might need it.
    I am going to use the last minute and a half to talk about another thing I am really excited about, which is our commitment to gender equality. We truly believe in gender equality and have done so much over the last five years, from installing a gender-balanced cabinet, enacting proactive pay legislation and contributing over $100 million to feminist and women's organizations, to tackling gender-based violence. I was delighted that we put in a historic amount of money, over $600 million, to enact a national action plan to end gender-based violence. For us to truly achieve gender equality in Canada, it is absolutely critical that we tackle gender-based violence. I am delighted that we are making this commitment in this budget and putting real resources behind it to make sure that we put a plan in place to have a dedicated secretariat.
    In closing, there are so many elements of this budget that are game-changing. It would not only lead to economic growth, more jobs, a green recovery and more equitable and fuller participation in our workforce, it would also support our low-income earners and offer a better immigration system and a real plan to end violence against women. These measures set Canada up to become a more prosperous, more compassionate and more just society. I encourage all my colleagues to support this bill.

  (1525)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's speech. I am curious as to her thoughts about an increasing challenge to Canadian society, which is inflation. When inflation takes place, generally the only people who benefit are those who are wealthier and who own assets. Regular Canadians, especially those who are middle- and lower-income, are those who most often face the most significant consequences from inflation.
    Does the member opposite share those concerns about the circumstances that would see growth in the inflation rate in our country?
    Madam Speaker, I think the cost of everything is top of mind for everyone. It is definitely top of mind for those who live in my riding. I know the Governor of the Bank of Canada is very much keeping an eye on that. It is important to know that we have leaders keeping an eye out on that.
    The other thing I would add is that all the measures we have put in place to support Canadians through this pandemic have helped those on the lower end and our most vulnerable Canadians. They have helped give them a sustained quality of life and helped to ensure that they can afford to put food on the table and pay rent. We have been successful in doing so through all the emergency supports that—

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech, which I enjoyed. I have a very specific question for her.
    It is about something that comes up a lot in my riding. I heard her say something about a fairer and more equitable budget. In the economic update last December, young families heard that the Canada child benefit would be increased.
    I assume it was mentioned in the budget as well, but the benefit was supposed to be increased in January, then again in April and July, yet these families have seen no change in their benefits. It is a question that comes up a lot.
    When will families see this increase in their child benefit?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we are very proud of introducing the Canada child benefit. It has provided wonderful support to families right across the country. My understanding is that it was through Bill C-14, the passage of elements of the fall economic statement, that the Canada child benefit increased. If it has not happened already, my understanding is that it should be happening very shortly.
    Madam Speaker, members are well aware that over 16,000 Canadians have died as a result of the opioid crisis. In fact, in British Columbia more people have died from overdoses due to fentanyl-poisoned drugs than from COVID-19. We have heard from Moms Stop the Harm, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Dr. Bonnie Henry in British Columbia and many medical health officers right across the country that the keys to tackling the opioid crisis are ending the stigma and decriminalizing them.
    The Liberal government states that it listens to medical health professionals when it comes to the COVID-19 crisis. Why is it not listening to the medical health officers and all of these groups? We can save lives by decriminalizing opioids and ending the stigma for a health issue, instead of continuing to take the approach that it is a criminal issue. Why is the government not taking action? Why is it not listening to its own medical health officers?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for being so passionate about this issue. I completely share his passion on this. I know that Canada suffered a 74% increase in opioid-related deaths in the first six months of the pandemic. Budget 2021 proposes an additional $160 million over two years to address the issue. We are working very closely with provinces and territories to not only look at safe supply, but to truly address this issue. On a personal note, I very much believe in treating opioid use as a health issue and not a criminal issue.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that I will be sharing my time with my neighbour from the next riding over, the hon. member for Drummond.
    This is the second time that I have been given the honour of speaking on behalf of the Bloc Québécois about the 2021 budget, the first in two years. This time, I am speaking to Bill C-30, which will implement some of the budget's provisions. First of all, I will reiterate that my party will vote in favour of this bill to implement certain measures in the 2021 budget.
    We voted against the 2021 budget itself because the federal government did not fulfill our two main requests, namely adequate, recurrent health funding, which was the only formal request made by the Quebec government and echoed by the Canadian provinces, and an increase in old age security for seniors aged 65 and over.
    As the Bloc Québécois critic for seniors, I fully support these two requests because they are vital concerns for seniors. Their anger is not going away. I am not the only one saying this. Many seniors' groups, including the Réseau FADOQ, agree. Seniors aged 65 to 74, seniors aged 75 and over, and children and grandchildren under 65 are all feeling frustrated and bewildered. This is happening not only in Quebec, but in Canada as well, since I am also receiving emails in English and comments from anglophones outside Quebec who know that the Bloc Québécois is the party that stands up for all seniors.
    I will therefore discuss three aspects of Bill C-30 that relate to my three main roles, namely critic for seniors, critic for women, and the one I am proudest of, member for Shefford. I will also address the extension of certain economic measures, with which we agree.
    By refusing to increase health transfers from 22% to 35% in Bill C-30, the federal government is once again ignoring the request made by Quebec, the provinces, the Quebec National Assembly and the House of Commons, which adopted a Bloc Québécois motion on this subject in December, to significantly and permanently increase federal health transfers.
    Bill C-30 offers only a one-time increase in health transfers, announced last March. This is certainly not enough to make up for the shortfall that existed well before the pandemic and was exacerbated by the crisis and by population aging. As we have said countless times, we are in a health crisis right now, so now is when we should be taking action, instead of waiting for the crisis to be over.
    It is worth noting that the deficit announced in the 2021 budget is lower than anticipated. It is $354 billion instead of the $382 billion announced in the 2020 fall economic statement. By purest chance, the resulting margin happens to be exactly $28 billion, the same amount that Quebec and the provinces are asking for.
    By refusing to provide that money even as it gears up for a colossal spending spree, the government is not making a budgetary choice, but a political choice at the expense of everyone's health. After seniors waited so long, Bill C-30 finally includes the increase to old age security that the Liberals' promised during the 2019 election campaign. However, the increase will only start in 2022, will only apply to seniors aged 75 and over, and will only amount to $766 per year, or $63.80 a month. This increase is insufficient for seniors and for the Bloc Québécois. It totally ignores seniors aged 65 to 74, who account for practically half of all seniors currently receiving old age security.
    The Bloc Québécois will continue to demand a substantial increase, namely $110 more a month, for all seniors aged 65 and over. We do not accept the Liberals' argument that financial insecurity begins at age 75. However, we will not oppose the decision to give some seniors the assistance included in Bill C-30, which they need and deserve.
    Seniors aged 75 and over will receive a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021, which is consistent with what was announced in the budget. It is merely an election ploy, and seniors know it.
    The bill also implements the 10% increase promised to seniors 75 and over. As of the quarter starting July 1, 2022, the full monthly old age security benefit will increase by 10% during the period when a senior turns 75. It is strange that the increase does not start until 2022. Is this another election promise?

  (1535)  

    The government is not doing as we asked, which is what seniors themselves asked it to do. It is creating two classes of seniors. Why increase old age security only once people turn 75? That is age discrimination, it is ageism. It is not true that only seniors 75 and older are vulnerable.
    Once again, we are asking for an additional $110 per month for all seniors 65 and up. Financial insecurity, poverty and rising prices do not wait until people turn 75 to kick in. Old age security is a universal program designed to compensate for loss of income after retirement. The Liberals seem to think that vulnerable people over the age of 65 do not deserve their attention. They seem to think that financial insecurity does not affect people until they turn 75. To top it off, all it would have cost is about $4 billion. As my colleague from Joliette said yesterday, and as economics reporter Gérald Fillion wrote in an article, Canada's record on supporting retirees, compared to other OECD countries, is dismal. We are in 32nd place.
    Second, as the Bloc Québécois critic for the status of women and gender equality, I note that the bill provides for a one-time payment of just over $130 million to the Government of Quebec to harmonize the Quebec parental insurance plan, since the eligibility criteria and benefit period for EI have been temporarily modified and increased. Quebec has the right to opt out with financial compensation with respect to the maternity and parental benefits program.
    Thus, if the government invests in improving its program, it must pay for the Quebec government to make a matching investment, the same way the government is giving itself the right to compensate any province that wishes to opt out of the federal early learning and child care program. This is a file we have talked about a lot at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. However, the spending authority for this child care program seems to be valid only for the next fiscal year, from April 2021 to March 2022, for a maximum transfer of $3 billion to each province and to Quebec.
    The budget document, as opposed to Bill C-30, mentions different program objectives and the possibility of an asymmetrical bilateral agreement with Quebec. There are two things we must watch out or. First, does the fact that Bill C-30 only deals with the 2021–22 fiscal year mean the government is covering the costs of establishing and improving the child care program until asymmetrical agreements are signed?
     I should point out that “asymmetrical” does not necessarily mean “unconditional”. It is not the same thing, and it is important to be careful. The budget rightly mentions and praises the Quebec child care system several times, which it claims to be inspired by. The announcement that there will be an asymmetrical agreement with Quebec is a positive sign, but only if this agreement comes with, I repeat, full and unconditional compensation for the total costs and for the program's measures. This is also what the Quebec National Assembly is calling for. The expertise is in Quebec.
    Overall, beyond the measures themselves, a new Canada-wide child care program provides another opportunity for federal interference. Family policies and all the associated programs come under the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. This is another example of a government that is getting into the habit of sticking its nose where it does not belong, as it is doing with many other measures, such as the national framework for women's health, the national framework for reproductive health, and so on.
    Why create these unnecessary conflicts with Quebec and the provinces? Why does the federal government not mind its own business? For a government that claims to be feminist, it is time to stop playing “father knows best”.
    As a final point, I really want to commend the resilience of our businesses and the strong entrepreneurial spirit that defines Shefford. They have been hit hard during the crisis, which is why we are asking that the income stabilization programs be maintained as long as necessary. It is clear that many sectors, including tourism and cultural and artistic events, will not resume normal operations until well after November 2021. These sectors are so important to the economic life of my riding, and they need to know that they can count on assistance as long as they need it. They have talked about the importance of predictability and flexibility. The Canada emergency wage subsidy, which has been used by many companies, including some in Granby's industrial park in my riding, will be extended to September 25, 2021, and that is great.
    In closing, I would like to reiterate that our vote in favour of Bill C-30, which implements certain provisions of the budget, does not mean that we are giving the government a blank cheque. We will be watching closely to see how certain programs are implemented, especially for the hardest-hit sectors, including culture and media, which I am sure my dashing colleague from Drummond will talk about more fully in his speech.
    As the member for Beloeil—Chambly often says, the devil is in the details, and there are certainly plenty of details in this budget. However, out of respect for everyone's health, and out of respect for our elders, who have the right to age with dignity by enjoying life, not merely surviving, we must act now.

  (1540)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to talk about my colleague from the Bloc's comments on day care and how the federal government continues to intrude into areas of provincial jurisdiction. This Ottawa-knows-best approach that the federal government seems to have is something that I think should be concerning. I think we can all acknowledge the fact that there is an issue with the availability of spaces and the cost of day care. However, the idea that provinces cannot have their own models and compete against other provinces in terms of improving their services, improving their costs and improving whatever is next, I think, shows conformity rather than competition within the provinces.
    Can the member comment on that and other issues she has with the Ottawa-knows-best approach being proposed by the government?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his remarks.
    In the budget, the federal government's attempts to interfere are clear. This is the mistake the government has made in reacting to a crisis. It really wants to intrude in our jurisdictions and interfere in everything.
    My colleague gave the example of day care. I repeat that it was Quebec that developed this expertise. It does not need Ottawa trying to play the wise old grandfather or father and offering advice, because Quebec knows what to do. In my opinion, the important thing is to have the ability to opt out and do what we have to do based on our needs.
    I will repeat that the provincial governments and the Quebec government are in the best position to set their own priorities, especially with respect to education and day care.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for mentioning the situation about continuing shortfalls and health funding transfers. That is something that the Bloc and the NDP agree on.
    While Canadians are struggling with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, big companies can continue to hide their profits in offshore tax havens. Could the member talk about how unfair that is, how those who profited from this pandemic just are not paying their fair share?

[Translation]