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Results: 1 - 60 of 6596
View Diane Lebouthillier Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2020-21 annual report of the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsperson, entitled “Adapting and Delivering in Unprecedented Times”.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, entitled “The Road Ahead: Encouraging the production and purchase of zero-emission vehicles in Canada”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-217, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy in relation to fresh water.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to reintroduce this bill from the 43rd Parliament and from an incredible member who first introduced it in the 42nd Parliament. I am also grateful to the member for Edmonton Strathcona for seconding this bill.
I have worked and consulted over the years with local environmentalists, conservation authorities and members from the Oneida Nation of the Thames on this bill. It calls on the government to commit to a national freshwater strategy.
The Thames River runs through my riding of London—Fanshawe, and we are also fortunate to have several wetlands and environmentally significant areas in my riding. These areas are home to an incredible number of birds, wildlife and vegetation. Of course, we are also influenced by the beauty of the Great Lakes which provide all of our communities with environmental benefits that deserve targeted protections and sustainable planning.
It has been well over 20 years since the government established a policy on fresh water, and environmental conditions certainly have changed over that time. While Canada has seemingly abundant fresh water, very little of it is actually renewable. We need a modernized national freshwater strategy. Protection of our fresh water is vital.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-218, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (psychotherapy services).
She said: Mr. Speaker, today I also have the honour to introduce a private member's bill that would amend the Excise Tax Act to exempt psychotherapeutic services delivered by psychotherapists from the goods and services tax.
I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni who is the NDP critic for mental health, for seconding this bill today. I would also like to thank Stephanie Woo Dearden, a registered psychotherapist from the city of London, who asked me to take action on this issue.
This bill works to ensure that psychotherapists are treated the same as their fellow practitioners in other health care fields are, who do the same kind of work and who are exempt from the excise tax. I urge the government to get behind this very simple but very necessary bill to rectify this blatant tax inequality. The government says that Canadians' mental health is a priority, and this is an opportunity to do something good for Canadians' mental health and for tax fairness in Canada as well.
We all know the impact COVID-19 has had on people's mental health. It was a crisis before the pandemic, and we are certainly seeing the consequences on people now. This is a small but good first step to help people. I am grateful to the people who are working on this issue and who have been calling for tax fairness for psychotherapists for a very long time.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-219, An Act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other Acts.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to table this bill today. I would especially like to thank Linda Duncan, the former member for Edmonton Strathcona, for championing the bill over 11 years in four Parliaments. I thank the present member for Edmonton Strathcona for seconding the bill today.
The bill would amend the Canadian Bill of Rights to add the right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. It enshrines that right in a new Canadian environmental bill of rights that would also provide, among other things, the right to access information about the environment and the right to public participation and decision-making regarding the environment. It brings Canada into line with more than 100 countries around the world that have rights to a healthy environment enshrined in their legal systems.
A healthy environment is an integral part of what makes Canadians proud of our country, and this bill would ensure that all of us have the right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-220, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assault against a health care worker).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce an important bill to Parliament with thanks to the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for seconding it. This legislation would amend the Criminal Code to require a court to consider the fact that the victim of an assault is a health care worker as an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing. Violence against health care workers has become a pervasive and growing problem within the Canadian health care system.
Over the last decade, violence-related lost time claims for front-line health care workers have increased by 66%: That is three times the rate for police and correctional officers combined. This is absolutely unacceptable. Health care workers take care of us when we are at our most vulnerable, and we have a responsibility to protect them in return. This legislation would send a strong message that those who provide such critical services must be treated with respect and security. I call on all parliamentarians to support this vital and overdue initiative.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-221, An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to survivor pension benefits.
She said: Mr. Speaker, today in Canada we still have the “gold-digger” clause that means spouses of veterans who marry after the age of 60 are not entitled to the automatic survivor pension under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act. This clause is archaic, it is sexist and it must be eliminated. It was created in the early 1900s. It was sexist then, and it is ridiculous that it is in place today. That is why I am tabling the bill today, an act to amend certain acts in relation to survivor pension benefits. This bill would eliminate the marriage after 60 clause so that veterans, RCMP veterans and federal public servants who are punished for finding love later in life no longer have that happen to them. The reality is that this is still happening today.
My office worked with a constituent who is a veteran and was planning to get married. The pandemic came and he could not get married until months later. The problem was he was trying to get married when he was 59, but now he has to get married when he is 60. That means his spouse will be unable to access any support. Canada should not be punishing veterans for finding love later in life by pushing them into poverty before they die.
I want to thank the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for seconding the bill and for his advocacy for the health and well-being of the members of the Canadian military. I hope that the government will consider adopting the bill quickly, and finally eliminate this clause as the Prime Minister himself mandated the minister to do six years ago.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-222, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (travel expenses deduction for tradespersons).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to carry forward the work of the always honourable Scott Duvall and table a bill entitled, “an act to amend the Income Tax Act for travel expenses deduction for tradespersons”.
I would like to thank the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for seconding the motion. This bill would allow for qualified tradespersons and indentured apprentices to deduct travel expenses when they travel to job sites more than 80 kilometres away from their ordinary places of residence.
I would like to extend sincere thanks and congratulations to Pat Dillon, the recently retired business manager and secretary treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, who has been a lifelong leader and advocate for the building trades. I would also like to extend my thanks to my dear friend Mark Ellerker of the Hamilton–Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council who continues to push this issue forward. Last, I want to give a special thanks to Stuart McLellan of IBEW local 105, who has already made it very clear to me that while these types of tax deductions already exist for white collar workers, it is well past time to ensure that similar financial supports are extended to the hard-working people in the building trades.
During the last election, both the Liberals and the Conservatives committed to support for tradespersons, so I believe this bill is one that we can find support on.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, you specifically asked that members be as succinct as possible. When members are full-on introducing how various political parties have taken positions on issues, I am pretty sure they have gone beyond the scope of succinctly introducing the bill. Perhaps you could encourage it to move along a little quicker.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I just want to point out that I encouraged members to be succinct at the beginning and that is what the rules say. I will rely on the judgment of the members to be succinct, and I am sure they will do an excellent job of describing the bills that they are putting forward in as short a time as possible, unlike the explanation I just gave.
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, An Act to develop a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to introduce the national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income act.
I would like to start by thanking the member of Parliament for Elmwood—Transcona for seconding my bill, my riding of Winnipeg Centre, the Basic Income Canada Network, Basic Income Manitoba, Coalition Canada, the Basic Income Canada Youth Network, Senator Kim Pate, former Senator Hugh Segal and so many other anti-poverty activists across the country who contributed to the development of this bill.
As we continue to find ways to make it through the pandemic, we know that those who were already left behind are even further behind. This bill is in response to calls to implement a guaranteed livable basic income from indigenous, territorial, provincial and municipal jurisdictions that clearly recognize the need to modernize our social safety net. A GLBI is not a panacea, but a way forward to modernize our social safety net in addition to current and future government programs and supports. It would ensure that all people have the necessary supports and resources to live with dignity, security, respect and human rights as affirmed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I once again would like to thank my constituents and the basic income movement for their support. This is a people's movement.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
I thought my colleague from Kingston and the Islands had an interesting point, although I did not agree with him entirely. He said that we ought to be succinct when introducing private members' bills, and he then cited something he thought was inappropriate in a succinct comment. I do think it is reasonable for members to give an explanation of the content of the bill. I noticed with the last bill, and I have no objection to the bill itself, the member did start by giving a long list of thanks. That would seem to fall outside of succinct.
However, I want to request from you, if you are willing to do it, to perhaps get back to us at some point with a more fulsome description of what you think succinct ought to be. The most precious commodity in the House is time. We do not want to deprive those who are introducing private members' bills of the ability to explain their bills, but I do worry we may see a sort of great inflation and expansion of the time going to each bill, which would ultimately result in less time for other business.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
moved that Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), be read the first time.
He said: Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that has now passed the Senate unanimously three times. It is a bill that would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without consent. It also would create a mechanism by which a person could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they are involved in forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
This is a common-sense piece of legislation that I know has wide support across the House. I want to thank the member for Lac-Saint-Louis for working with me on this, as well as the member for Edmonton Strathcona, the member for Ottawa West—Nepean, the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard and many members of my own caucus.
I know many people are hopeful, after multiple attempts over 15 years to get this legislation passed, that the present Parliament will finally be the Parliament that gets this bill done. I hope in particular the government will be supportive of allowing debate to collapse on this bill after the first hour, so we can move it forward to committee as quickly as possible.
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-12-16 10:22
Mr. Speaker, I would like to succinctly present a petition in support of Bill S-223, which seeks to combat forced organ harvesting. This is something that has been worked on in Parliament for well over 13 years, and petitioners hope the current Parliament is the one that finally gets it done.
View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it was great to hear Bill S-223 introduced, regarding organ harvesting. Bill S-223 seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. It would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person giving the organ. Bill S-223 has passed the Senate unanimously three times, and MPs from multiple parties have been putting forward a form of this bill for over 13 years. This bill passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2019 and is in exactly that same form.
Petitioners hope the current Parliament is the one that finally gets it done.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am incredibly proud to be here to present a petition that was delivered to my office in the riding. This is an important one that talks about the climate emergency we are all facing. The petitioners ask that we see a government that will actually commit to reducing emissions by at least 60% below the 2005 levels, that winds down the fossil fuel industry and ends fossil fuel subsidies, creates good green jobs, and drives for an inclusive workforce that is led by the affected workers and the communities.
This really talks about expanding the social safety net and paying for the transition by increasing the taxes on the wealthiest corporations and through financing from the public national bank.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Mr. Speaker, it is my great honour today to table a petition that is asking the Government of Canada to enact legislation to provide just transition.
Recognizing that we are in a climate emergency and a a climate crisis, the petitioners ask that we address the crisis to reduce emissions in Canada and in the global south, that we commit to a jobs plan to help people transition to new jobs in a new economy, that we expand the social safety net and that we tax the ultrawealthy and corporations to help pay for that just transition.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, on August 15, Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban. The Government of Canada was completely unprepared to evacuate its own citizens as well as the thousands of Afghan allies and their families who supported our nation's military and humanitarian efforts, leaving them in country and at risk of Taliban retribution. The Veterans Transition Network, non-profit organizations and private supporters have stepped in where the federal government has failed.
The petitioners of my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon call upon the government to partner with the Veterans Transition Network and others to launch an immediate evacuation effort of our remaining Afghan allies, relocate them to Canada and safeguard them from Taliban retribution.
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present this petition in support of Bill S-223, which seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. It would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person giving the organ. This bill has passed the Senate unanimously three times and was brought forward by multiple parties over 13 years. I hope this is the Parliament that gets it done.
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and present a petition on behalf of Canadians in support of Bill S-223. The bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person giving the organ.
As we all know, this bill has been presented multiple times in the House of Commons, and we are hoping that this is the Parliament where it finally gets across the finish line.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table this petition on behalf citizens in my riding of Courtenay—Alberni.
The petitioners cite that farmers' markets are an important tool for COVID-19 recovery and, specifically, how important the farmers market nutrition coupon programs are in helping create food security and resiliency by giving vulnerable people access to healthy, locally grown foods and dietary education, as well as positively impacting the physical and mental health of participants by increasing the diversity of fruits and vegetables they consume. A national matching program by the government would assist in meeting those demands, would encourage provinces without a provincial program to create one, and would support those provinces with a provincial program to expand and meet the demand.
The petitioners are calling on the government to create a national matching program for all provincial farmers market nutrition coupon programs across Canada that would match the provinces that already have one and, for those that do not, help them create one.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have to follow my own rule about being succinct, and so I will just say that I am presenting the same petition that was presented by the members for North Island—Powell River and Edmonton Strathcona earlier, which were dealing with the climate emergency.
The petitioners are requesting that the government engage in seven actions, which were listed in the petition. I think the most important point is reducing emissions by at least 60% below 2005 levels by the year 2030 and making contributions to emissions reduction in countries in the global south.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I have 56 petitions to table in the House today.
The first petition is with respect to Bill S-223. Petitioners are calling on the government to support the rapid passage of this bill that would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ without the consent of the person taking it.
Petitioners are hopeful that this Parliament will be the one that finally gets it done. I promise hon. members that petitions on this subject will no longer be tabled as soon as this bill is passed.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am tabling notes the Liberal Party's commitment in its 2021 platform to deny charitable status to organizations that hold convictions about abortion, which the Liberal Party views as “dishonest”.
Petitioners are concerned that this may jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations that do not agree with the Liberal Party on this issue for matters of conscience. It notes that many Canadians depend on these charitable organizations and that previous attempts by the government to impose a values test on charities and deny them funding or charitable status as a result have certainly been poorly received.
Petitioners are highlighting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the freedom of conscience it guarantees. They call on the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values and without the imposition of another values test and also to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the third petition I am tabling highlights concerns about double taxation associated with the GST being charged on top of the carbon tax. Petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to eliminate the GST on federal carbon tax levies and additional costs that the newly announced standards charge.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an article on religious freedom; in particular, the right of individuals to change their religion or belief.
Petitioners raise concern about the growing use of so-called anti-conversion laws that prevent individuals from choosing their own religion, concerns in particular about developments in India, developments in the state of Karnataka and the targeting of the Missionaries of Charity in Gujarat. Petitioners would like to see all Indian states repeal anti-conversion laws. Pakistan's blasphemy law has been used to target people engaging in religious conversion. There are many countries around the world where this impediment exists to freedom of religion.
Petitioners call on the Government of Canada to actively oppose anti-conversion laws in every case where they exist, through both public statements and private advocacy.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights the significant need for oil and gas products and the ability of Canada to provide those products to Canadians and, therefore, calls on the government to work to ending the importation of foreign oil and gas into Canada to support job growth in the oil and gas sector here in Canada, with Canadian energy supplying Canadian energy needs.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition raises concerns about the equalization formula as well as the government's decision to cap the fiscal stabilization program. I was pleased to second a private member's bill from my colleague from Calgary Shepard aimed at lifting the cap on the fiscal stabilization program and supporting greater transparency in negotiations around the equalization formula.
This is a significant concern for my constituents. They call upon the government to acknowledge the significant economic contribution that Alberta has made to Canada, the economic hardship the province has faced as a result of policies of the government and also to support changes to the equalization formula that reflect the concerns that many Albertans have with respect to the equalization program and the fiscal stabilization program.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Falun Gong practitioners seek to advance truthfulness, compassion and tolerance and yet they have faced all manner of persecution including organ harvesting.
Petitioners are calling on the government to use the tools given to it under the Magnitsky act to address these issues; in particular to deploy sanctions against 14 key officials and former officials within the CCP who demonstrate primary culpability in theses atrocities perpetrated against Falun Gong practitioners.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling is in respect to Bill C-7, which was passed in the last Parliament, particularly the government's decision to support a Senate amendment that would allow euthanasia or assisted suicide for those who have been—
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know this has been an issue this week, and the hon. member is violating previous speakers' rulings that generally limit the number of petitions to five in any one proceeding.
The member opened his presentation by saying he had 56 petitions. I would like to quote from page 1172 of Bosc and Gagnon, which says the following:
Certified petitions are presented daily during Routine Proceedings, under the rubric “Presenting Petitions”. A maximum of 15 minutes is provided for the presentation of petitions. To be recognized, Members must be in their assigned places. Members with more than one petition to present on a given day are advised to present them all when given the floor, as individual Members are recognized by the Chair only once under the rubric “Presenting Petitions”. The Chair has on occasion limited the number of distinct petitions presented at one time by a single Member to five. This allows more Members to be recognized within the 15-minute time limitation.
I call on you, Mr. Speaker, to enforce these rules consistently so that every member can have an equal opportunity to present petitions. I would note that yesterday, the hon. member asked for unanimous consent to present 20 petitions and that was denied. It seems that it is quite inconsistent in this House as to what the rules are going to be. I would respectfully request that you issue a ruling consistent with the principles enunciated in Bosc and Gagnon.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I have a couple of observations.
First of all, the NDP raised the same point of order earlier in the week and at the time the Chair ruled that its concerns were not valid, that members do have an opportunity to raise as many petitions as they wish, so it is interesting to see the NDP effectively challenging the previous ruling of the Chair on this issue.
Second, I do want to observe that the intention of the concern allegedly is to allow members the opportunity to present more petitions and you will note, Mr. Speaker, that I remained in my seat while all other members presented all petitions they had to present, intentionally putting myself last so that if there was not enough time, I would not be infringing on the time of other members.
Finally, the passage that the member read says that on occasion the Speaker has limited the number of petitions that a member can table for the purposes of allowing other members to present petitions. It would be very legitimate in a case where there were many members still waiting to present petitions for the Speaker to make use of that provision, but in this case, it is clear that no member is being limited by my desire to raise many important human rights and other issues. I am very surprised that the NDP is making an issue of the desire of a member of Parliament to bring forward petitions that come from his constituents about international human rights issues, justice issues, as well as about legislation that has been before this House.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
It was been previously decided that the Chair has the discretion on how many petitions a member can bring forward. It is at the Chair's discretion. There are two minutes and 55 seconds left in this rubric, and I will allow the member to continue.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your wise exercise of discretion on that point.
The petition I was tabling when I was interrupted by my good colleague was on Bill C-7, a bill that came forward in the last Parliament. At the time, the government chose to support an amendment that came from the Senate, an amendment that allowed individuals who are suffering from mental health challenges to receive facilitated suicide within the medical system.
Petitioners highlight the fact that mental health challenges are not irremediable. The Canadian Mental Health Association states, “As a recovery-oriented organization, CMHA does not believe that mental illnesses are irremediable".
Petitioners are very concerned this policy change completely changes the message to those who are struggling with mental health challenges, effectively offering them suicide instead of recovery as a path forward. They call on the government to reject this policy of facilitated suicide for those suffering from mental health challenges and to protect Canadians struggling with these challenges by facilitating treatment and recovery.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am presenting speaks to the human rights situation of people in Afghanistan, in particular the vulnerable Haraza minority community. This petition was organized and signed prior to the Taliban takeover. Many concerns existed at that time about the persecution of the Hazara minority, and things have become considerably worse following the Taliban takeover.
Petitioners have a number of asks of the government with respect to standing up with the Hazara community. In this petition, they are asking the government to formally recognize the 1891-93 ethnic cleansing perpetuated against the Hazaras as a genocide and to designate September 25 as Hazara genocide memorial day. They also express support for a private member's bill from the last Parliament that aimed at ensuring all development assistance from Canada to Afghanistan was contributing to the advancement of peace and security within the region.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I am tabling highlights the horrific ongoing human rights abuses facing Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China.
Petitioners note mounting evidence of indoctrination, arbitrary detention, separation of children from their families, invasive surveillance, destruction of cultural sites, forced labour and organ harvesting.
Petitioners want to see the government formally recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are continuing to be subjected to genocide. They also want to see the use of the Magnitsky act to sanction those who are responsible for these heinous crimes. Parliament has recognized the Uighur genocide, but we have yet to see that recognition coming from the government.
The next petition I want to present highlights the human rights situation in Ethiopia—
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
Order, please. We are out of time.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2021-12-16 10:42
moved:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, shall be disposed as follows: (a) the bill be deemed concurred in at report stage without further amendment immediately after the adoption of this order; (b) a motion for third reading may be made immediately after the bill has been concurred in at report stage; (c) when the bill is taken up at the third reading stage, a member of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party each be allowed to speak for not more than 10 minutes followed by five minutes for questions and comments and, at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary for the disposal of the third reading stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment provided that, if a recorded division is requested on any motion, it shall not be deferred; and (d) the House shall not adjourn until the proceedings on the bill have been completed, except pursuant to a motion proposed by a minister of the Crown, provided that once proceedings have been completed, the House may then proceed to consider other business or, if it has already passed the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, the House shall adjourn to the next sitting day.
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, with the rising threat of the omicron variant, it is absolutely crucial that Bill C-2 pass in order to bring in the supports that Canadian businesses and workers need.
What we have learned over the past 12 months is that the most important and effective economic policy is one that protects the health of Canadians.
I would like to remind the Conservatives and the NDP, who voted against the bill, that we are still in a pandemic, and our entrepreneurs and workers continue to face significant challenges. This is certainly not the time to let them down.
In these troubling times of rapidly increasing cases of the omicron variant, the federal government is ready to act, and we have the resources to do so.
In the economic and fiscal update presented earlier this week, our government announced the following investments: $2 billion to procure COVID-19 therapeutics and treatments that will save lives and help prevent hospitalizations, $1.7 billion to procure rapid testing supplies in order to identify infections earlier and break the chain of transmission, and $7.3 billion to procure vaccine boosters.
We are facing a serious threat, but we are prepared. Responding to this threat is obviously going to be the federal government's top priority.
Let us take a step back for a moment. When the pandemic hit us, our government rapidly rolled out a full range of effective, broad-based programs to support Canadians through our country’s greatest economic shock since the Great Depression. These actions were necessary and unprecedented in our lifetime.
A mere weeks after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis in Canada, we moved to introduce the emergency recovery benefit to ensure the Canadians who lost their jobs could keep food on the table and a roof over their head. We also introduced the emergency wage subsidy to help our businesses, particularly our small businesses, but also to help our workers and those working for our small businesses.
These supports have been absolutely critical, both for our economy and for our health. As the IMF recently said, “Government budget support measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have saved lives and jobs.”
It is therefore not a coincidence that we, here in Canada, have the second lowest COVID death rate out the G7. It is also no coincidence that we have the second strongest job recovery in the G7. This is a direct result of the resilience of Canadians, but it is also a demonstration of the impact a federal government can have when it puts people first.
Conservative members in this House seem to take a different view, choosing instead to demonize those Canadians that needed support during the depth of the pandemic. For example, the Conservative finance critic said yesterday that CERB recipients were fraudsters stuffing their pockets.
We are talking about a program that helped nearly nine million Canadians and was a literal lifeline for so many. We are talking about vulnerable seniors. We are talking about workers who lost their jobs and needed to put food on the kitchen table. These are our neighbours, our fellow Canadians. They should not be vilified.
I stand behind the supports we put in place. I also stand behind the decision to end the CERB once the economy reopened and jobs were again available. We can, and we have, made the right decisions at the right time in order to support those in need and support economic growth.
From coast to coast to coast, our programs have been a lifeline for workers and businesses. They have helped protect millions of jobs and helped hundreds of thousands of Canadian businesses get through the worst days of the pandemic.
However, let us be clear. These emergency measures were always meant to be temporary and to help us get through the crisis. Fortunately, we are in a new phase and it is very different from the darkest chapters of our fight against COVID‑19. Not only have we recovered 106% of the jobs lost during COVID‑19, but our economy is bouncing back exceptionally well. In the last quarter, the growth rate was 5.4%, which is twice as high as expected.
We also have the most effective and successful vaccination campaign in the world. Indeed, 64 million doses have already been administered and more than 80% of Canadians aged five and up have received two doses of the vaccine.
We have concluded agreements to receive millions of additional doses to ensure that all Canadians have access to the third dose of the vaccine.
Thanks to one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, most businesses here in Canada have safely reopened and our country's employment is now back to well above pre-pandemic levels. However, we know there are still workers and businesses whose livelihoods are being affected as a result of public health measures. That is why it is important to pivot our supports to more targeted measures that will provide help where it is needed most, and continue to create jobs and growth while prudently managing government spending.
Some may wonder how we can tell that we have reached this turning point in Canada's economic recovery from the COVID recession. Allow me to highlight several markers of our government's successful economic response plan that has brought us to where we are today.
Last year, in the Speech from the Throne, our government promised to create one million jobs, a goal we achieved in September of this year when Canada recovered all of the jobs lost at the worst point of the recession. There have been three million jobs recovered since the spring of 2020, a very impressive number. Our plan is working. We have now surpassed our target and have, in fact, recovered 106% of the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic, significantly outpacing the United States, where just 83% of lost jobs have been recovered thus far.
By delivering significant fiscal policy support to the economy and avoiding the harmful austerity policies proposed by the Conservatives after the 2008 recession, our Liberal government has supported a much more rapid and resilient recovery. In fact, our economy is now back to pre-pandemic outputs many months earlier than in the 2008 recession, even though the COVID recession was four times deeper and more significant.
However, as welcome as these economic markers and signs of recovery are, our government recognizes that not all sectors of the economy are there yet. Some of the necessary health and safety measures that continue to save lives continue to be restrictive for our businesses and for certain sectors of the economy, and with the threat of omicron looming, we need to continue to provide support where and when it is needed. What this means for our government is that we are entering what I truly hope and believe will be the final pivot in delivering the support needed to ensure a robust, inclusive and strong recovery for our country.
The service industry continues to stimulate the recovery, but the progress made in the retail sector has been erased in part by the losses in other sectors, including the accommodation and food services sector.
As the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance indicated earlier, many of the business support programs ended in October with the reopening of our economy. However, we know that the work is not over. The federal government must continue to be there to support Canadians. That is exactly what we are doing with Bill C‑2, which is before us today. We are moving on from broad, sweeping support, which was appropriate at the height of the crisis, to more targeted measures that will provide help where it is still needed.
This includes extending the Canada recovery hiring program until May 2022, which would help us finish the fight against COVID and continue to ensure that lost jobs are recovered as quickly as possible. For eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10%, our government would provide a subsidy rate of 50% to enable employers to hire the staff they need to grow. In addition, our government is proposing to deliver targeted support to businesses that are still facing significant pandemic-related challenges.
As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, I am particularly concerned with the struggles still faced by the tourism industry and those who depend on it. Let us not sugar-coat it: The industry has gone through an absolutely devastating 21 months. Tourism revenues decreased by almost 50% between 2019 and 2020, going from $104 billion to just $53 billion, while jobs directly attributable to tourism decreased by 41%. Those numbers are shocking. We must acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of workers in the tourism industry have lost their jobs, and that although many industries have seen strong and sustained recovery, the tourism sector is still struggling to recover its losses.
We must recognize the very difficult situation they face, and that is why we are moving forward in Bill C-2 with a new targeted tourism and hospitality recovery program. This new support program would provide wage and rent subsidies to tourism and hospitality businesses still facing serious pandemic-related challenges. Eligible applicants include hotels, travel agents, airports and other businesses directly related to tourism. However, we recognize that many more businesses rely indirectly on tourism. After all, about 10% of all jobs in Canada are dependent directly or indirectly on tourism. That is why we have expanded the list of eligible recipients to include restaurants, parks, sports facilities, theatres, festivals and more.
I know that this help is absolutely critical. I have spoken to hundreds of independent restaurant and tourism operators, and I have heard first-hand the distress and angst they have at the prospect of closing their businesses, often their life's work. Local businesses, like a favourite neighbourhood restaurant, are what make our communities and main streets home. We cannot leave them behind. That is why we have brought forward Bill C-2 and why it is so urgent that it pass.
To help these businesses that are still facing significant difficulties, our government is proposing to provide support through three new programs for businesses still grappling with major pandemic-related challenges.
The first is the tourism and hospitality recovery program, which would provide support to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants with wage and rent subsidies of up to 75%.
The second is the hardest-hit business recovery program, which would provide support to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with wage and rent subsidies of up to 50%.
The third is the local lockdown program, which would provide businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.
Finally, to ensure that workers who must isolate due to illness or must stay home to take care of a family member can continue to receive financial support, we are extending the recovery sickness benefit and the recovery caregiving benefit.
These measures are essential for our economy and to protect Canadians' health. They should be supported by all parties in the House.
As my time draws to a close in this debate on Bill C-2, let me take this opportunity to address Canadians before we leave for the holidays. I would ask them to book their appointments for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The booster shot is incredibly important. As a mother to a young child, I will also take this opportunity to address Canadian parents from right across the country and encourage them to get their children vaccinated as well.
Let us do everything we can to help the provinces and territories avoid putting in place further lockdown measures. Let us do everything possible to avoid overwhelming our health care system and our hospitals. Let us do everything possible to keep each other safe and healthy.
As this may be my last opportunity to speak before the holidays, I wish you, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and all Canadians a very happy holiday period, a safe holiday season and a healthy 2022.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member, in her capacity as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism, about the 12,000 independent travel advisers across the country who are suffering because of a lack of supports within Bill C-2. As the member may be aware in her capacity as the parliamentary secretary, many of these travel advisers had their commissions clawed back. They were not earning zero income; they were earning less than zero income and had to pay money back to the airlines. With the latest travel advisory, there will be more cancellations, and my understanding is that they are not eligible under Bill C-2 at this point.
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his concern and his dedication to the tourism sector and to independent travel agents and advisers.
As I mentioned in my speech, Bill C-2 will be open and they will be eligible to apply for supports. I also note that we did extraordinary work to support Canadians when they had to cancel their travel plans last year at the height of the pandemic.
We will be there to support Canadians, as I know this is a volatile period. Of course, many plans are being changed right before the holidays. However, this is the right thing to do. We must keep Canadians safe. We do not know what other countries around the world may do. They may close their airspace, and we certainly do not want Canadians to be stranded abroad. That is why we have issued the travel advisory. We will continue to do everything necessary to continue to keep Canadians safe.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2021-12-16 11:00
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. She started it by saying that her government had procured vaccines. That is absolutely true. What I find strange, though, is how, in the economic update, the government used these vaccine procurements as an excuse for why it would not invest in health care until 2027.
My colleague concluded her speech by emphasizing how important the third dose will be, especially to protect our children. I just want to point out that—
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
The hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. I would really like to hear this question; it is very important to me. However, unfortunately, I cannot because of interpretation.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
I thank the member for Edmonton Strathcona. The problem is now fixed and the member for Jonquière may continue.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2021-12-16 11:01
Mr. Speaker, my colleague was urging people to get vaccinated and get the third dose. However, if we want to get people vaccinated, we need to hire nurses, and to hire nurses the government needs to provide health transfers. Does my colleague agree with her government's plan to wait until 2027 to provide financial support to the provinces?
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question, but I want to correct something my colleague said. We will continue to make health transfers to the provinces and territories. That is what we have always done and that is what we will continue to do. That is how Canada's health care system works.
We procured all of the vaccines, we bought the tools and equipment required to administer these vaccines and we sent all of that to the provinces and territories. The booster shots will be no different.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her holiday greetings. I also hope that she has a wonderful holiday season.
She talked about how proud she is of the Canadian government's response with regard to vaccines and also said she hopes this is the final pivot we need to make as we deal with the omicron variant. What I will ask her about, though, is our response globally.
What we know about the omicron variant is that it is happening because we did not allow populations around the world to get the vaccines they need. Is it not smart to not only vaccinate Canadians, as important as that is, but protect Canadians? For an actual global recovery, we will need to vaccinate everyone, but unfortunately the government still refuses to support the TRIPS waiver.
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I feel quite strongly about this. I was the parliamentary secretary for international trade and worked first-hand on this issue.
Canada was a leader at the WTO when we were discussing the TRIPS waiver. Many countries in the WTO did not want to have that discussion. We were actually a convening power to bring everybody to the table. Many other issues are causing countries around the world to have difficulty in providing vaccines to their populations. It is not just access; it is also about vaccine hesitancy and manufacturing capability.
It is a complex issue, but I fully agree with my colleague that this pandemic is not over anywhere until it is over everywhere.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, in the government's fiscal update, the government proposes to provide $37.4 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Transport Canada to support the implementation and oversight of this vaccine mandate for federally regulated air, rail and marine employees and passengers. The government is saying that it is going to provide this funding over a three-year period.
How long does the government plan on leaving in place a vaccine mandate for interprovincial travel? Is the government contemplating doing it for three years, beyond three years or even permanently? What is the government's intention with respect to this?
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the sentiment from which the question comes, but, very respectfully, I would point out that three months ago we had never heard of omicron. Therefore, to ask what our plan is with respect to vaccine mandates for federal workers over a period of the next three years is fooling ourselves into thinking we can plan three years in advance.
What the government is doing, and I believe what all members of the House are doing, is reacting to circumstances as we have information and as we understand how COVID-19 continues to mutate and evolve. We will take whatever actions are necessary to keep Canadians safe. As I have said before, we have to be vigilant and we have to take the appropriate steps at the appropriate time.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague just mentioned that we had not heard of the omicron variant three months ago. That is true, but for over a year, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and the WHO have been warning Canada and all countries that if we do not vaccinate the developing world, a variant of concern will eventually develop and it will come to our country. The fact that Canada and other countries have stood by while only 10% of Africa is vaccinated has helped contribute to the omicron variant.
Will the member stand in the House and state clearly for Canadians that she supports the waiver of the patent rules at the WTO to enable countries like South Africa, India and others to start producing vaccines? Does she support that waiver, because the Canadian government has not said that directly yet?
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, what I support is everybody in this world getting vaccinated. How we get there is very complex. It involves working with pharmaceutical companies. It involves educating populations as to the importance of vaccines. It also involves ensuring that the manufacturing capacity of these developing countries is going to produce vaccines that are safe for our populations.
I fully support the sentiment that my colleague brings to the House about the importance of vaccinating the entire world, but we need to ensure that it is done well and it is done in a smart way. That is the conversation Canada is engaged in at the WTO.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, back on October 21, the Prime Minister and the government announced that, as a priority, they would be coming out with ongoing support programs. That is the essence of this bill.
Could my colleague provide her thoughts on why Bill C-2 is so important, as we want to continue to support people and businesses?
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we came forward with Bill C-2 in response to what we heard on the ground. I have been speaking to businesses and workers. The tourism industry needs the support that is found in Bill C-2. I have been speaking to caregivers, as I am sure others in the House have, and they need the supports that are also found in Bill C-2. We are also extending sick leave benefits through this bill. I do not need to remind the House how incredibly important that is with this new wave of omicron.
Before the House adjourns for the holiday season, we must pass Bill C-2 so we can be prepared to support Canadians in their time of need.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that Canada's inflation rate is at its highest point in 30 years and that the 4.7% inflation rate is growing about 2% faster than Canadians' wages. For the average Canadian, that is equivalent to a pay cut.
We talked about “Justinflation” and said the government was behind this inflation rate. What the Liberals said in their own defence was worse than the allegation. Let me explain. They said that the inflation rate was the result of global supply chains being disrupted by COVID-19, leading to higher prices. That is a bizarre explanation, since it is the prices for Canadian products that are rising the most. For example, the cost of home heating has gone up 26%.
In Canada, we have 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That domestic energy supply provides heating for Canadian families. It has nothing to do with global supply chains.
In addition, gas prices have gone up 43%. What do we have right here in Canada? We have the second-largest oil and gas reserves in the world. In that case, why are we relying on global supply chains?
Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that we are relying on foreign oil in order to save the planet. He even mocked the Conservative Party by saying that those who want to produce oil here simply want to “drill, baby, drill”. However, he is the one who wants to “drill, baby, drill”, just anywhere else in the world besides Canada.
The other day, I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. As I gazed out over the ocean, I saw a big ship that was carrying oil from the Middle East to Canada, oil coming from Egypt. Oil from the Red Sea was loaded onto that ship on Egypt's north coast, on the Mediterranean. How did the Egyptians get that oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean? They did so with the help of a pipeline.
The government is in favour of the pipelines that Egypt built to carry oil from the Middle East to a ship that has to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean. Ironically, that ship burns diesel fuel and increases the risk of oil spills in the ocean in order to bring that oil to eastern Canada at a higher price. Eastern Canadians are paying more for gas and other oil products. Why? It is because the Government of Canada blocked the extension of a pipeline from western Canada to Saint John, New Brunswick.
The Prime Minister says that the cost of gas is too high because of problems in the global supply chain. This policy is even more reprehensible when we know that if he had allowed a pipeline to be built and increased production of western oil, which is green, instead of importing more from the Middle East, our oil could have been delivered to Canadians in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and elsewhere in eastern Canada.
Thirdly, according to the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, the cost of food for a middle-class family will increase by $1,000 next year. A single mother will have to pay $1,000 more to feed her children.
Canada ranks third in the world for the amount of farmland per capita. Why is the government saying that global supply chains are responsible for the rising cost of food in Canada when we have the capacity to produce our own food? We have enough farmers and land to produce our own food, so let us take advantage of that.
In fact, if every Canadian had an equal share of that land, we would each have the equivalent of 33 football fields. Canada clearly has enough land to produce its own food and should be able to manage that, but it cannot because carbon taxes, red tape and other regulations prevent our farmers from producing more food more affordably.
Yesterday, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced that housing prices have gone up 20% to 25% since last year, despite Canada being second only to Russia in sheer size. Canada also has enough lumber to build more houses, so the Liberals cannot blame global supply chains for the rising cost of land in Canada, because the Earth was created thousands of years ago, long before we got here. That land is already here and is not dependent on global supply chains, so the problem is here.
Canada is not producing enough energy to heat our homes and put gas in our cars. We are not producing enough food to feed our people, and we are not building enough houses to shelter them. About 85% of young Canadians say they want to buy a house, but they cannot afford to. As the very wealthy owners of big cottages and palatial homes watch their property values rise, people who have to rent are getting poorer and poorer because the value of the dollar is shrinking by the day.
What are we producing here in Canada? We are producing money. We are printing more money. Perhaps the only way the government has found to support the forestry sector is to produce more paper money. The reality is that when there are 400 billion more dollars chasing the same number of goods, prices go up.
There is another way to go. For example, Switzerland has a 1.5% inflation rate. That is one-third of our inflation rate. Why is inflation lower in Switzerland? It is because they are not printing any money. In Switzerland, the money supply went up 6%, compared to 23% in Canada. Canada is printing four times more money, which is why our inflation rate is four times higher than Switzerland's.
People will say we cannot consume everything Canada produces. It is true that we could not possibly consume all the oil and gas, natural gas, food and all the other products we make. However, one way to fight inflation is to sell more products around the world in order to bring up the value of our dollar. If we export more of our high-value products, that has to increase the value of our dollar, and it means we can buy more on the world markets.
We are seeing this in Switzerland. Since the Swiss franc is worth 8% more than the U.S. dollar, Switzerland has a competitive advantage when purchasing products on the international market. The Swiss franc has far more power, because it is worth more. The Canadian dollar is worth 20% less than the U.S. dollar, so we have less purchasing power in international markets.
Using and producing more of our own resources is not only about providing products to our own population. It also serves to increase the value and purchasing power of our dollar internationally.
Before anyone rushes to say that a stronger dollar is bad for our exports, I would point out that that is not what happened in Switzerland. In fact, the Swiss enjoy a trade surplus in terms of international trade, meaning they sell more to the rest of the world than they purchase. Why? Because they give their businesses the freedom to produce more. The Swiss create products, while Canada prints money. That is what needs to change.
The Conservative Party's policy is about supporting the construction of new pipelines in order to provide clean, affordable energy to our own population and to export it to the rest of the world. It is about allowing our energy companies to produce natural gas to provide Canadians with more affordable heating options. It is about allowing our farmers to sell more of the food they produce at a more reasonable cost. It is about selling 15% of the 37,000 federally owned buildings that are underutilized, especially since the onset of COVID-19 and the increase in teleworking, and converting them into affordable housing.
Rather than printing money, we will create more products, which can be purchased with money. That is our approach: purchase more and spend less. Let us do this with paycheques, not debt.
Statistics Canada reported a 30-year high in inflation. Inflation rising 2% faster than wages means a real pay cut for Canadians, and the government's defence against the allegation that it was to blame was worse than the charge. It claimed that the cause is COVID disruptions to international supply chains. The question is this: Why would we need international supply chains for the products that are rising most quickly in price, when those same products are made here in Canada?
Energy, food and real estate have increased more than almost any other product in the basket of goods Canadians buy. What do we have? We have energy, we have farmland and we have land and lumber for housing, so why is our country so dependent on the rest of the world for the goods that we have beneath our feet right here at home?
Let us go through them.
Home heating has gone up 26% in one year. Canada has 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Why are we depending on the rest of the world to heat our homes, when we have the energy to do it right under our feet here in Canada?
Gas is up 43%. What we do have here? We have the second-biggest supply of oil on planet earth, and yet the Prime Minister says we should not produce it here. He even tried to mock others by accusing them of them “Drill, baby, drill!”, but “Drill, baby, drill!” is his policy. He wants to drill oil wells all around the world; he just does not want any of the wages from those drilling projects to go to Canadian workers.
I stood at the Bay of Fundy, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean two weeks ago, watching a tanker that had travelled from the northern coast of Egypt through the Mediterranean and all the way to Saint John, where it will have been processed at the Irving refinery. Do members know how they got the oil onto that tanker? It was by a pipeline that went from the Red Sea across northern Egypt to the Mediterranean. Do not tell me this Prime Minister is against pipelines. He is in favour of every pipeline that one could build anywhere outside of Canada, as long as it does not use Canadian steel, pay Canadian wages, hire Canadian energy workers or provide jobs to refinery workers in eastern Canada. As long as the paycheques go to other countries, he is 100% in favour of pipelines.
Now, to go back to inflation, the question is this: Why are we paying a premium for Saudi, middle eastern, African and American oil when we have the second-biggest supply here in Canada? That should not be a question of international supply chains; it should be a question of domestic self-sufficiency.
The next issue is food, which is up $1,000 next year, according to Dalhousie University's food institute. It expects that the average family will spend an extra grand feeding itself next year. Why? We have the third-largest area of farmland per capita in the world, and we have the best farmers, so why can we not supply our own nutritious food? The answer is that our foreign competitors do not apply carbon taxes at our rate to the farmers who are producing their food, nor do they face the same kind of regulatory and red-tape obstacles that drive up food production. Therefore, our farmers have to pass those costs on to consumers in the form of inflation, and our consumers then have to rely, embarrassingly and humiliatingly, on foreign supply chains to feed ourselves, even while we have been blessed with the best and the third-largest area of farmland on planet earth.
Then we come to housing. Just yesterday, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that Canada has seen a 20% to 25% increase in real prices, which is the single biggest increase on record ever. Not adjusted for seasonal variation, the average house now costs $720,000 and it is over a million bucks to buy the average house, not a mansion, in Canada's biggest city, Toronto.
We are developing in this country a landed aristocracy of extremely wealthy people who make more money through the appreciation of their real estate than they do from the wages of their labour, while we have a growing class of working millennials who now have no hope of ever owning a home.
According to an Ipsos survey, 85% of millennials say they want to own a home but cannot afford to. Who would be surprised about that when one has to pay a million dollars. One would have to save up $100,000 in order to make a down payment on the average home in Toronto today at 10% down. If a person is saving $500 a month, that is 200 months to save up for a down payment to have the privilege of then bearing a mortgage of $900,000.
We have the second-biggest housing bubble in the world, according to Bloomberg. Again, how does one blame that on foreign supply chains? By definition, land does not have supply chains. It is already here under our feet, and we have the second-biggest land mass on earth. If we spread Canadians out evenly, each and every one of them would have 33 CFL-sized football fields to themselves. We would not actually be able to see another person in Canada if we were spread out evenly. We have more places in Canada where there is no one than we have places where there is anyone, yet we cannot find room to house our own people. This is ridiculous.
Vancouver and Toronto are the second and fifth most unaffordable housing markets in the world when we compare median income to median house prices, more unaffordable than Manhattan; San Francisco; London, England; Singapore and countless other places with less land, more money and more people. Why? One cannot blame international supply chains or COVID for that. In fact, all the land and almost all the housing on the market today was built before the first case of COVID even hit our shores. As a result, one cannot blame any of those things. This is, by definition, a homemade problem, pun intended.
The government's defence for its 30-year high in inflation is ironically worse than the allegation itself. It has created an economy where we cannot supply ourselves with the very things God blessed this land with before we even arrived here. We have more land, yet we cannot grow our own food. We have more lumber, yet we cannot build our own homes. We have more energy, yet we cannot heat or power our lives. We are hopelessly dependent on the rest of the world, and that is why, when prices go up, we are so weak in trying to pay the price for it.
Some will say it is not that simple and we cannot simply supply every Canadian with domestically generated goods. What we can do, where we have to buy on an international level, is have more purchasing power with a stronger dollar. When we compete for scarce global goods, we do so against countries that have real purchasing power.
I give the example of Switzerland. It has increased its money supply by 6% since COVID struck. We increased ours by 23%. What is the result? Its inflation is 1.5% and our inflation is more than three times higher, at 4.7%.
Part of that is because the Swiss franc has real purchasing power. The Swiss can go out into the world market and buy things with their money that we cannot. Their franc is worth 8% more than the U.S. dollar and ours is worth 20% less. Therefore, when there is a widget that a Canadian needs and a Swiss citizen needs and we both walk up and we have the loonie and they have the franc, let us be frank about who is getting that widget. They are getting it, because they have good, sound money. They produce things while we produce cash, and as a result, they have more valuable money.
Before we hear Liberals whine on about how we could not export goods if we had a powerful dollar on the international markets, the Swiss are running a trade surplus, because they do not rely on cheap cash to sell their goods. They rely on a productive economy that generates value to sell their goods.
That is how to increase the well-being of a population. It is how to lift people out of poverty and give them an opportunity. It is not by producing cash, but by producing more of what cash buys.
Let us unleash the free enterprise system to grow more affordable and nutritious food, to supply more affordable homes to our people and to bring the prodigious energy with which our land has been blessed to our consumers. In other words, let us make more and cost less, with paycheques, not debt.
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