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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-14 11:51 [p.27738]
Madam Speaker, with respect to treaties and trade, the approach this government has taken in regard to international relations has supported our economy. By supporting our economy in many different ways, it has had a profoundly positive impact on the generation of jobs.
We can look at the province of Manitoba and at an industry I have cited in the past, which is the pork industry. It provides thousands of jobs in the province. In any given year, we have more pigs than people in Manitoba. Plants out toward Neepawa export 95%-plus of their production to Asia. However, the industry provides hundreds of direct jobs on the factory floor and hundreds of additional jobs outside the factory.
Those jobs would not exist if we did not have the international relations we have today. Whether it is cattle or pork, members will see significant increases in the last few years. I like to believe it is because of the approach, in part, and working with Canadians and other stakeholders, encouraging the development of those industries and taking advantage of the agreements on which we have signed off.
At times, the Conservatives will say that they brought it close to the goal line. As we know, it is not bringing it to the post that matters as much as it is getting it over the post. We have been very successful at doing that.
The CETA agreement is a great example. It involved a couple of dozen countries. It was completely off the rails and had it not been for our current Minister of Foreign Affairs, that deal never would have gotten over the goal line. We are still hopeful the European Union will get behind it 100%, as its respective legislative bodies continue to deal with the issue.
Whether it is recognizing the value of our tax treaties or the benefits of getting engaged with the countries, and we are talking about dozens of countries, Canada has been successful in negotiating these treaties, which provide assurances in progressing on the trade file. In a relatively short period of time, the government has been able to accomplish a great deal on both accounts.
We hear a lot from the opposition benches about tax avoidance. Again, we have seen the government not only talk about it but invest in it. For two consecutive years, the government invested additional monies, almost $1 billion, hundreds of millions in each of two separate budgets, in the Canada Revenue Agency to go after individuals who try to avoid paying taxes.
We have taken this very seriously, along with tax evasion. In three years, the government has done more to go after individuals for tax evasion than the previous government did in 10 years. The same applies to tax avoidance. We have recognized the importance of doing the follow up, of looking at ways to ensure that those who are supposed to be paying their fair share are doing so.
We do not need to take lessons from the opposition, in particular the Conservative opposition, on this because it has virtually ignored the problem by not investing. If anything, it divested. It took money away from the CRA. Cuts were brought by the Conservative administration.
When I put forward a question for the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, he talked about taxation policy. He implied that we needed to go after corporations and make them pay more. I give the NDP an A-plus for consistency on it while it is in opposition, but that is it. I underline the words “while in opposition”.
I have witnessed first-hand an NDP government in my home province of Manitoba. What I hear from the NDP in opposition is in contrast to what I hear from the NDP in government. It is like night and day. When the NDP was in government in Manitoba, it cut corporate taxes seven times, as I pointed out in my question.
We can look at the record and the many comments today by my colleague and friend from the NDP. He has tried to shape the debate as if the NDP is the strong advocate for tax fairness. In the last three years, we have seen a national government not only come up with tax treaties to ensure there is a stronger sense of tax fairness at the international level, but also it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Revenue Canada to go after individuals who avoid or evade paying their taxes. Those are significant sums of money.
All of this together is what we have been able to do in the last three and a half years. I look forward to the next six months. There is a lot more we want to do to continue to support Canada's middle class, those aspiring to be a part of it and those who need to be ensured that there is a sense of social justice.
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