Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-18 21:27 [p.29360]
Madam Speaker, I could not resist standing, because there was so much boom and bust and bluster from the member for Durham that it provoked me to ask a question.
There was a lot of fiction and very few facts in his remarks this evening. The fact of the matter is that we should be thanking the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the negotiating team for getting a pretty darn decent agreement at the end of the day. The Conservatives, on the other hand, in the initial stages of the negotiations, were taking the position that we should just cave in and give the Americans what they wanted.
The member for Durham talked about supply management, but what did President Trump put on the table when he was speaking with the dairy farmers from Wisconsin? He said he wanted the supply management system gone in its entirety. That is not where we ended up. We saved supply management. Yes, we gave a little bit of access, but we saved the system and negotiated a good agreement for Canada.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-18 23:27 [p.29375]
Mr. Speaker, I hope this is parliamentary, because I would like to quote the hon. member for Fredericton, who said that the member for Durham talks all kinds of crap.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-18 23:28 [p.29375]
Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I was trying to make the point that the doom and gloom from the member for Durham and what he tries to allege as facts are not facts at all.
I would give him credit in terms of the shipbuilding deal. The Conservatives like to talk about that deal. That is because the best proposal in terms shipbuilding came from the Irving shipyard in Atlantic Canada, and I congratulate the shipyard for putting that proposal in.
What the member for Durham failed to mention was that the lowest spending in Canadian history in terms of the military in this country was under the Stephen Harper government, in which he was a member of cabinet.
The member also mentioned that the United States spends more on agriculture than Canada does on the military. That, in fact, is true. However, for farmers in this country, for primary producers in this country, who he talks about from time to time, the Harper government, under the leadership of Gerry Ritz as minister of agriculture, cut the safety net for farmers in this country by 50%. What a failure.
The member loves to talk about the section 232 tariffs. Who negotiated those tariffs away? The fact of the matter is that this Prime Minister and this Minister of Foreign Affairs negotiated those tariffs away. They protected Canadian interests so that we could move ahead with prosperity.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-14 10:54 [p.29116]
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's remarks.
There has been a lot of discussion by a number of people from the west coast not so much on the Senate amendments but on the Fisheries Act itself and where it is going. I am from the east coast and I agree with the member that more always can be done.
What was not mentioned in a lot of the comments that have been made trying to get over the damage done by the previous government in terms of fisheries habitat and so on, is the fact that saving fisheries habitat at my end of the country is different from that at the member's end of the country. We have small brooks, small streams, even smaller fish.
I wonder if the member could talk about how important habitat restoration is beyond economic issues. There is the recreational fishery. Families enjoy going fishing. We need a healthy fish habitat in order to have that. I wonder if he might comment on that area, that it goes beyond just the economics of fishermen that one would think would be related to the Fisheries Act but to the community itself and the individuals that live in them.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-06-11 17:22 [p.28942]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I realize the Chair offers a fair degree of latitude with respect to relevance and repetition, but perhaps you could bring the member back to the Senate amendments to the Fisheries Act. I do not see the link between forestry layoffs and the Senate amendments to the Fisheries Act, but I expect you will have him explain that to us.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-10 19:49 [p.28851]
Madam Speaker, one thing I can certainly say about the member for Abbotsford is that he can string quite a line together, but not with much fact.
The facts of the matter are that pretty nearly all during the Harper years we had huge trade deficits. The member talked about the TPP. It was this government that had to complete the negotiations because the Conservatives could not. He talked about the 46 different trade—
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-10 19:50 [p.28851]
Madam Speaker, the member talked about the 46 different trade agreements the Conservatives signed. We did some research when the Conservatives were still in government. Do members know how much trade that really amounted to? It was four and a half days' trade with the United States. They are just numbers on the table. They are not really effective agreements. Four and a half days' trade with the United States was all the Conservatives negotiated.
Why does the member for Abbotsford not admit that the Prime Minister and the international trade minister completed the deals that the Conservatives could not complete? They also stood up to Donald Trump the way he should be stood up to.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-06 10:50 [p.28666]
Mr. Speaker, it is really appropriate to be splitting my time with the member for Surrey--Newton, because he is on one coast of Canada and I am on the other, and just like this budget, we cover the country from coast to coast.
It gives me great pleasure to speak to Bill C-97. This bill does what we set out to do in 2015, building on our series of budgets to grow the economy, so needed after the disastrous decade of the Harper years. The measures in Bill C-97, to be implemented by the budget implementation act, would do what Liberals do best: investing wisely and working with the private sector, the provinces and communities to strengthen the social and economic fabric of this country.
The prudent investments in this bill build on the fall economic statement, which I think could have been called a business budget. Part 1 of the budget implementation act relates to that fall economic statement.
The fall economic statement strengthened the very core of the business community's ability to compete by challenging head-on the U.S. tax reforms. It did many things, but I will name three: one, allowing businesses to immediately write off for tax purposes the full cost of machinery and equipment used in the manufacturing and processing of goods; two, implementing a new accelerated investment incentive, an accelerated capital cost allowance across all sectors of the economy; three, launching an export diversification strategy. That really assists our businesses in terms of being able to retain capital, attract investment, invest in new equipment, machinery and technology and be competitive in export markets. That just touches on three of the points in the fall economic statement.
From strengthening business opportunities in the fall economic statement, this bill seeks to give greater opportunity to Canadians and communities. In fact, I think this section of the bill could be called “the people's budget”. For my province, Prince Edward Island, over a four-year term in government, major federal transfers of equalization, the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer, have increased by $93.4 million to $647 million.
Of course, colleagues know from the smiles they see on people's faces in their communities and their ridings that the legacy program of the Canada child benefit has made a huge difference for families all across the country. Nine out of 10 families are better off. On Prince Edward Island, for families with children, the Canada child benefit has meant $100 million over the last year tax-free to those families. That is investing where the money needs to be invested. The money that goes into those families' pockets is spent in the local economy. It assists their children in child care and education, and it makes a much more progressive economy. Money is actually then spent in the community.
However, this Liberal government did not stop there. We know that early learning and child care are critical to give children the best start in life. Therefore, the Government of Canada and the Province of Prince Edward Island have signed an agreement that allows for the transfer of $10.6 million over three years for regulated early learning and child care, to give children their best start in life.
Let me turn to the other end of the age spectrum, to seniors, who have been so instrumental in building this country we are so fortunate to call home.
The budget provides additional funding, increasing the funding for the new horizons for seniors program by $20 million per year. It is an excellent program. It works in every riding. I encourage seniors groups and others to apply for that funding, because not only is it an expenditure spent in the local economy, but also it assists seniors with the programs they need. This program has a solid record of improving the quality of life of seniors and promoting their participation in communities and the workforce.
The budget implementation act goes further and proposes a series of measures to help Canadian seniors keep more money in their pockets by ensuring they receive the Canada pension plan benefits they are entitled to and stay active and be a valuable asset in their community. This builds on the concrete steps we have taken to improve the retirement security of Canadians.
I will turn to the budget. I know there are members on the other side who love to read this almost daily.
With respect to retirement security, page 62 lists measures that will really help seniors.
The government is enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, which will raise the maximum CPP retirement benefit by up to 50% over time. It is restoring the eligibility age for OAS and GIS benefits to 65. It is increasing guaranteed income supplement top-up payments by up to $947 per year for single seniors, and introducing legislative changes so that couples who receive GIS and allowance benefits and have to live apart for reasons beyond their control can receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes.
Investing in the lives of seniors has been the focus of this government's emphasis, with the Prime Minister appointing a minister of seniors to ensure that programs and services are designed to respond to the needs of seniors.
I will quote from page 70 of the budget document itself, for those who wish to refer to the page.
These further investments amount to $40 billion for the 10-year national housing strategy, which will help ensure that vulnerable Canadians, including low-income seniors, have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford; $6 billion over 10 years for home care, to allow provinces and territories to improve access to home, community and palliative care services; $77 million in additional funding for the enabling accessibility fund, to improve the safety and accessibility of community spaces; making it easier to apply for employment insurance caregiving benefits, and introducing a new employment insurance caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks to support individuals who are providing care to adult family members. That is important to do.
For communities directly, this budget tops up the federal gas tax refund by $2.2 billion. It doubles the amount for most communities, large and small, and is money they can invest in infrastructure, business and to make their communities more economically sustainable. In P.E.I., that amounts to $16.5 million in added investments for communities.
Basically, Bill C-97 touches all segments of the economy, as well as people and tax measures that allow our businesses to be more competitive. It challenges, head on, the tax reform in the United States.
This is a budget implementation act that is building on the foundation we have already put in place as a government and putting our country in a place where it can be prosperous and successful in the years to come.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-06 11:02 [p.28667]
Mr. Speaker, it was indeed a great pleasure to be on the finance committee and travel the country with the member. We were in his hometown in Alberta at one point, where people talked about many of the issues that the member raised.
The fall economic statement is where the measures were put forth in terms of the accelerated capital cost allowance and being able to expense investments in new equipment for manufacturing and processing. That is where we see the measures in place that will keep the business community competitive even given the kinds of tax reforms that have taken place in the United States.
In terms of the other measures that the member mentioned, employment insurance payroll deductions have in fact declined. That is one thing this government has done on a consistent basis. The CPP is an investment in retirement. It should ensure that employees will have some security. They know they will have more security in their retirement years.
All the measures we put together are good for the business community, and I am proud of that. On productivity, yes, we need to do more.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-06 11:05 [p.28668]
Mr. Speaker, that question relates to a critical issue, but we have obligations. When people cross the border, they are immediately arrested and checked to ensure they are asylum seekers, and that is important to do. We meet our international human rights obligations as a government, and we enhance that in this particular budget by making clear what the rules are. We have also increased the funding to enable border agents and the RCMP to take the measures they need to in order to ensure that our country is secure and that the human rights of those entering the country are protected.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-06-06 15:49 [p.28711]
Madam Speaker, I find it quite fascinating to hear the member for Yellowhead say that Bill C-93 does not go far enough, that it should include some minor offences and that processes should be free and easier to get at.
I invite him to comment on the measures taken by the previous Conservative government, a government of which he was a member. It jacked up application fees, increased the waiting time to the point where the backlog is substantial, as is the hardship for many of the people in the very situations he described. That is the record of the Conservative government.
How does he square that with the position he has taken on this bill?
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-05-13 15:31 [p.27692]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague indicates that there is some sort of distinction between consultation and engagement and that somehow this statute falls short. I am wondering if he has read the statute, in particular subsection 33(1), which says:
In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister by this Act, the Minister
(a) shall cooperate with other ministers, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, with provincial and territorial governments and with affected aboriginal organizations, coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including those bodies established under land claims agreements;
It says “shall”, not “may”. The statute mandates engagement. There has been no amendment put forward to alter paragraph 33(1)(a). It addresses the very perceived problem the hon. member spent much of his speech talking about. Has he read that provision of the statute?
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-05-13 15:55 [p.27695]
Madam Speaker, I also would like to thank my colleague for his work on the fisheries committee. As a Newfoundland and Labrador member of Parliament, he would be abundantly aware that negotiations were successfully concluded recently between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada with respect to the Atlantic Accord, including the designation of the Laurentian Channel marine protected area.
Could the member speak to what he is hearing from his constituents with respect to the level of consultation, the level of engagement between the respective governments and the stakeholders for this to be allowed to happen?
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-05-13 16:08 [p.27697]
Madam Speaker, lest I be accused of stirring the pot, since my colleague talked about the Conservatives' passion for the environment, I would just like to take a look at the track record with respect to MPAs. The targets were established in 2010. The Conservatives were in power for five years after that. The amount of marine areas that were protected was 1% and now we are at 9%.
What does that say about the passion for the environment, and how does that align with the views of my colleague's constituents?
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2019-05-13 16:29 [p.27700]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech and his passion for this topic. It is very clear that he has an extensive background and experience in these matters, as we heard in his speech. There were actually a couple of things in there that I could agree with. When he talked about how important the terms and conditions are, he was absolutely right. In any marine protected area, the restriction on any activities is tied to the conservation objectives of that marine protected area, and they are not uniform.
There were a couple of things in particular that I wanted to ask my colleague about. One, he seemed to indicate that if this act passes, it will be possible for the government to shut down everything. No, what this bill does is give the minister the power to make an interim protection order. What that order does is freeze the footprint. Everything that was allowed in that area the day before the order is allowed the day after the order and for the next five years. Therefore, the suggestion that everything can be instantly shut down with the stroke of a pen is dead, categorically, wrong.
The other thing my colleague said is that the government is going too fast on this. However, the average time for the establishment of a marine protected area in this country is seven to 10 years. Is that too fast?
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