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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-02-05 13:39 [p.25308]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, who will certainly build on what I have to say.
It is always an honour to speak in the House. I want to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us. Today, we are debating a single tax return for Quebeckers.
The member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges has said some pretty unbelievable things. He asked why the Conservatives raised this topic this year, which is an election year. In reality, we actually talked about this matter in May last year, at our general council meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe. There were 400 Conservatives at this meeting, including members of the Bloc Québécois who were tired of the pointless bickering. The Bloc Québécois will never be in power. At this general council, we adopted the motion calling for a single tax return. The motion received the support of the vast majority, 90%, of attendees. It was quite popular.
That said, introducing this motion at the Saint-Hyacinthe general council was not a casual idea plucked from thin air. Our political lieutenant for Quebec and other Quebec Conservative MPs held public consultations, consultations we called “Listening to Quebecers”.
We held consultations in about 40 municipalities all across Quebec, covering all of Quebec's regional districts. Quebeckers themselves told us they wanted us to simplify their day-to-day lives. Then, a month later, in May 2018, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government, regardless of the party in power after the October 2019 election, to start working on an administrative agreement that would enable Quebec to collect federal taxes and then transfer that money to the federal government. The ultimate goal was to make Quebeckers' lives easier and give them a much easier way to do things.
I would like to re-read the motion for those watching at home because it may not be written out in full at the bottom of their screen. The motion states:
That, given:
(a) the House has great respect for provincial jurisdiction and trust in provincial institutions;
(b) the people of Quebec are burdened with completing and submitting two tax returns, one federal and one provincial; and
(c) the House believes in cutting red tape and reducing unnecessary paperwork to improve the everyday lives of families; therefore,
the House call on the government to work with the Government of Quebec to implement a single tax return in Quebec, as adopted unanimously in the motion of the National Assembly of Quebec on May 15, 2018.
That is the motion that our political lieutenant, the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved this morning.
Why do we want the House to adopt this motion? As I said, over the past few months, we consulted with most Quebeckers as part of our province-wide consultation process. They told us that they needed this to happen because they are fed up. That is what they said. They are fed up with filling out two tax returns.
The Conservative Party of Canada has always had one fundamental goal, which we pursued under the leadership of Mr. Harper when we cut taxes through 163 different measures. Clearly, the most popular measures were the ones that cut the GST from 7% to 6% and then from 6% to 5% and those that sought to cut red tape in half for all federal departments. It just so happens that the Liberals kept this administrative formality because they know how important it is. It is one of the good things they have done so far.
We are also moving forward with that, because it reflects the desire of all elected officials from Quebec. That desire was reiterated a year ago, as I said at the start of my speech.
There is a bit more of a personal reason that residents of Beauport—Limoilou may not be familiar with. I have knocked on 40,000 doors in my riding. I continue to do so. I even did it this Saturday in -20°C weather. I once again thank the volunteer who was with me that day. He was brave to follow me. The member for Louis-Saint-Laurent also went door to door. All the Conservatives in Canada did that.
Saturday, I knocked on the doors of about 50 homes and the topic came up many times. That idea was put forward publicly by the Conservative Party before the Bloc Québécois began talking about it and well before the unanimous motion in Quebec’s National Assembly, because we had heard about it on the ground and we respect Quebeckers. Our fundamental goal in politics is to make life easier for all Canadians, and particularly to avoid them having to pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes in the future.
Today, we have learned something important in the House, and I asked the member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges a question about this, namely, the fact that the true identity of the Liberal Party of Canada is clear for all to see. Perhaps it does not reflect on all of its individual members, although they are part of it, as they are involved in it, but fundamentally, it is a centralist party that does not care about the demands of Quebeckers for greater control. It does not care about the constitutional anguish and anxiety of Quebeckers. In particular, there is no desire to improve the lives of Quebeckers and Canadians through its government policies.
On the contrary, we have never seen a government spend so much money on so few results for individual Canadians. We sometimes get the impression that the government is working for the bureaucracy and government programs instead of working for Quebeckers and Canadians in general. We have seen that identity throughout history. In 1867, George Brown and the Red Party did not want a large federation like Canada created by two founding peoples working hand in hand
From 1867 to today, we Conservatives have maintained our constitutional and political openness to the grievances of both founding peoples and the legal grievances of the Province of Quebec. Remember the total affront by the Liberals in 1982 when they repatriated the Constitution without the consent of Quebec’s National Assembly. We see history repeating itself.
In 1982, Quebec’s National Assembly did not sign the Constitution. As the bastion of the Francophonie in North America, Quebec certainly had a prominent place at the table. Even political conventions and jurisprudence clearly reflected Quebec's crucial role in the matter of the repatriation of the Constitution, but the Liberals, in their arrogance, brazenly repatriated the Constitution without Quebec’s signature, just as they are now brazenly and shamelessly dismissing the unanimous request by the National Assembly regarding a single income tax return.
Under Mr. Mulroney, we resumed an honourable and enthusiastic dialogue. We made every possible effort, despite the extreme pressure on all sides from the elder Mr. Trudeau. We reached the Charlottetown and Meech Lake accords; we tried to bring Quebec into the fold. Later, Mr. Harper entered into administrative agreements, because the time was not right. People did not want a constitutional debate. Just as our leader, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, would like to do, Mr. Harper entered into administrative agreements that helped Quebeckers in their everyday lives, while waiting for the time when we might see a constitutional debate. Later, he got a seat for Quebec at UNESCO, the last thing the Liberals would have done, and the Bloc Québécois would never have had the power to do, as they will never be in power.
Not only did we get a seat for Quebec at UNESCO, but we also acknowledged the existence of the Quebec nation in this assembly, in this Westminster Parliament, on North American soil. We acknowledged that the Quebec people formed a nation within a united Canada. Mr. Harper did that. It was not the Liberals or the Bloc Québécois, who could never do it, as they will never be in power.
What party increased its number of seats in Quebec in the last election? It was not the Bloc Québécois, it was the Conservative Party, which won 12 seats. Unfortunately, due to their many promises, the Liberals were able to win many seats. However, that will change, as they are unable to keep their promises. As the deficit will not be eliminated this year, they will raise taxes over the coming days, months and years if they are re-elected.
By all appearances, this is the same party as it was back in the day. By its very identity, the Liberal Party of Canada has no respect for Quebeckers or for areas of jurisdiction.
A few days after being elected, the Prime Minister and member for Papineau went to New York and told a newspaper that Canada had no national identity. Really? Canada has no national identity? That is not what Quebeckers think. Quebeckers will never be well served by the Liberal Party of Canada. With our leader, the member for Regina—Qu’Appelle, we will give them more independence in their areas of jurisdiction when they seek it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-19 16:03 [p.23589]
Mr. Speaker, as usual, I am very pleased to rise today.
Without further delay, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
As always, I extend my warmest greetings to the many people in Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us today.
Today's debate is very interesting. An opposition motion was moved in the House by the Conservative Party, of which I am of course a member. It reads as follows, and I quote:
That the House call on the government to tell Canadians in what year the budget will be balanced, and to do so in this week’s Fall Economic Statement.
Canadians may be wondering what is happening and how it is possible that we still do not know when the government will balance the budget. That has always been a basic concept for me, even before I got into politics.
It seems to me that any reasonable, responsible government, whether it be Liberal or Conservative—and I was going to add NDP, but that has not happened yet at the federal level—with nothing to hide should indicate in its policy statement, budget, and everyday political messaging a date on which it will balance the budget, or at least a concrete timeframe for doing so.
There are two rather surprising things about the Liberals' refusal to give us a timeframe for returning to a balanced budget. There are two historic elements with regard to the practice that they are currently using.
As the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent keeps saying, we have never seen a government run a deficit outside wartime or outside an economic crisis.
According to Keynesian economics, it is normal to run deficits. Keynes made some mistakes in several of his analyses, but there is one analysis he did that several governments have been adhering to for 60 years now. According to his analysis, when an international economic crisis is having an impact on every industrialized country in the world, it is not a bad idea for the government to invest heavily in its community, in its largest industries, in every industrial region of the country, to ensure that jobs are maintained and that there is some economic vitality despite the crisis.
For example, we Conservatives ran a few deficits in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 because the country was going through the worst economic crisis ever, the greatest recession since the 1930s.
Our reaction was responsible. Why? First, because there was a major global recession. Second, because even though we were a Conservative government, we embraced Keynesianism because we felt it made good economic sense. Through our strategic reinvestment plan, we managed to maintain 200,000 jobs. Not only did we maintain jobs across Canada, but we also repaired infrastructure, bridges and overpasses.
Two years ago, when I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, I read a report that noted this was the first time an economic recovery and stimulus plan had been implemented so quickly. In three or four years, we invested $80 billion in infrastructure to help Canada weather some rough economic times.
The first surprise from the Liberals was that they ran up massive deficits of $20 billion this year, $20 billion last year, and $30 billion in 2015-16, even though there is no major crisis or war going on.
There is a second surprising thing. Let us go back to the time when lords were waging wars against the king of England, which is in the 13th century. In 1215, the Magna Carta resulted from several confrontations between the lords, the capitalist bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, all pleading for their interests with the king. The idea was to create an assembly where they could present their admonitions and complaints to the king and could limit the outrageous sums the king wanted to spend on the holy crusades. That is when our parliamentary system was born.
When I was first elected to the House of Commons, I learned Parliament's primary function. My university professors knew I liked philosophy, but they said I would soon come to realize that, in the House of Commons, discussions are about money, the economy, the country's economic situation and public finances. I learned that, in the House of Commons, debates are almost entirely about public finances.
That is as it should be, since the philosophical and political foundations of the British parliamentary system are accountability and the principle of responsible government allowing citizens to know what their money is used for. In those days, it was the capitalist bourgeoisie who wanted to know, whereas nowadays all citizens expect it. Nevertheless, the process and the principle remain the same. We want to know what happens with our money. Why are there deficits, if any, and most importantly when is the government going to balance the budget? Deficits involve our money, and it is commendable and reasonable to know when the budget will be balanced.
My colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert was just saying how absurd this is. What would a government MP do if an ordinary Canadian asked him to simply tell him when his party would balance the budget? For three years, members of Parliament have not really been allowed to answer such a question, yet it is quite a normal question. They have to come up with foolish answers, think about something else or say that everything is fine because they have been cutting taxes, when in fact each citizen in Beauport—Limoilou pays $800 more every year in income tax.
That amounts to almost $2,000 per family, not to mention the tax credits they axed, the oil that is not being shipped out of the country, all the cuts in exports to the U.S., all the U.S. investment in Canada that has been lost while Canadian investment in the U.S. has increased, not to mention the fact that household debt is at an all-time high. The OECD remarked on this recently. In short, I could go on for a long time without even talking about the USMCA.
Nonetheless, there are some surprising things. What is incredible, and I repeat this every time I give a speech about Canada's economy, is that, in 2015, the Liberals were smart enough and had enough honour to explain why they were running a deficit even though we were not at war or in an economic crisis. At the time, the member for Papineau, under a gigantic crane in Toronto—I remember watching on television from my campaign office in Beauport—Limoilou and that it was partly cloudy and it rained a little—announced to Canadians that the Liberals would run a deficit of $10 billion in the first two years and then a deficit of $6 billion in the third year. He promised a deficit. Everyone was surprised that he was promising a deficit. It was a first.
He added that the Liberals would run a deficit in order to invest in infrastructure, which, he said, had been abandoned, and to invest more in infrastructure in general across the country. At least he was consistent in his comments once he was elected. He announced that they were creating a historic infrastructure plan—everything is always historic with them—worth $187 billion, which is not bad either. That was a continuation of what we had done. We had invested $80 billion over the course of the six previous years. It is only natural to continue to invest in infrastructure in Canada. Some even claim that Canada exists thanks to the railroad. Infrastructure has always been foundational here in Canada.
However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer—which, I repeat every time, as we must not forget, is an institution created by Mr. Harper, a great democrat who wanted there to be an independent body in Parliament to constantly hold the government to account—informed us in a report that, of the $187 billion invested in infrastructure, only $9 billion has actually been spent over the past three years. If I am not mistaken, $9 billion divided by three is $3 billion. The Liberals have invested $3 billion a year in infrastructure, and yet, they ran a $30-billion deficit in the first year.
Let us not forget that the $10-billion deficit was supposed to be for infrastructure. However, in their first year in office, the Liberals ran a $30-billion deficit and only $3 billion of that went to infrastructure. The second year, they ran a $20-billion deficit with only $3 billion for infrastructure, and they did the same again this year. Obviously, we have never seen a government put so much energy into spending so much money in such a reckless and dishonourable way while achieving so little for the economic well-being of the country and Canadians at home.
In closing, setting a deadline for paying off debt is something that Canadian families do at home all the time, for example when paying off their mortgages or their car loans. When people borrow money for a car, the dealer does not just say, “Have a good day, sir. See you around.” He tells them that they need to take out a bank loan and that they have four years to pay it back. There is a deadline for all sorts of things like that.
When will a balanced budget be achieved?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-17 16:32 [p.22548]
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my very hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, in northern B.C.
As usual, I want to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC. I know that many of them do watch us, because they tell me so when I go door to door. They tell me that they watched me the week before. I want to say hello to all of them.
Today's debate is a very important one, since we are talking about harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Some may be surprised to hear me say this, and I am no expert, but it seems to me that the Canada Labour Code does not apply to employees who work in MPs' offices on Parliament Hill. This means that the code would not apply to me or my employees. This is rather surprising, in 2018.
I want to quickly touch on last week, which I spent in my riding. You will see why. I hosted two economic round tables. The first round table was for the Beauport business network, which I created a year and a half ago. There are some 50 business owners in this network, who get together once a month to talk about business-related issues and priorities in the riding. On Friday morning, I also held a round table called “Conservatives are listening to Quebecers”. This round table was attended by social, community and business stakeholders, among others.
Yesterday I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour a question. After all, we are talking about workplaces here, with Bill C-65. I asked her if she was aware that we are in a crisis at the moment, especially in Quebec City, but all over Canada, because of the labour shortage. She made a mockery of it, saying that it was proof that the government has created so many jobs in Canada that businesses can no longer find workers. While that may be true from an objective, Socratic and rational standpoint, she is ignoring a real crisis situation that we are in.
I want to say one last thing before I get to the bill. At the two round tables I hosted, every time I visit businesses in my riding, in all my discussions with constituents and in all the correspondence I receive every day, to which I reply in writing every time, people mention the labour shortage. Some businesses have had to shut down in Beauport—Limoilou and others are scaling back operations, so I think it is very sad and upsetting that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour would make a mockery of my question. The people of Quebec City were not happy to see that on Twitter and Facebook.
Today we are talking about an important bill, the act to amend the Canada Labour Code regarding harassment and violence, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1. It is clear that Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and all Canadians in general support the Liberal government's recently introduced bill. That is certainly not something I say every day, but when it is true, it must be acknowledged. With this important bill, even employees on Parliament Hill will benefit from guidelines and protection to keep them safe from sexual harassment, psychological harassment and every kind of discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.
I can say that this affects us all. It could also affect our family, a cousin, a brother or sister and, in my case, it affects my children. My daughter Victoria is four years old and my son Winston is a year and a half. My daughter started kindergarten a few months ago. It is the first time she has attended school. We definitely do not want her to experience discrimination or harassment. It will inevitably happen because good and evil are part of life, and harassment and discrimination will always exist. That is why it is important to have laws that govern, try to control, eliminate or at least reduce this as much as possible in our society.
I would like to tell you that I have directly experienced discrimination and psychological harassment, but not sexual harassment, thank God. When I was in grade six, I moved from New Brunswick to Quebec. I can see my colleague laughing because he knows that I grew up in New Brunswick. I am from Quebec, but I grew up in New Brunswick. I moved to Quebec when I was in grade six. Children can be very brutal because they lack empathy and an understanding of the context in which they find themselves.
Kids are often oblivious to the harm they inflict on others. I got beaten up at recess every day for a year, so this is a subject I am not unfamiliar with. In my case, the situation made me stronger. Unfortunately, in other cases, it has ruined lives. What we want to avoid is situations where harassment and discrimination destroy lives. It is terrible to see a life completely destroyed after such an incident.
I want to reiterate that, setting politics aside and speaking from a human perspective, all members and all Canadians should support this bill. However, that does not mean there is no need to propose certain amendments, which I will discuss shortly.
The bill is meant to strengthen the workplace safety framework on Parliament Hill. When I think of all the young Canadians who work on the Hill, it makes me even more motivated to support this bill. The people working on the Hill are often young Canadians in their twenties who are full of hope, ambition and energy. They love politics, and they love Canada. They are proud to work for a minister, the Prime Minister, a shadow cabinet member or an MP. These young people arrive in Parliament full of energy and enthusiasm.
There is no denying that, throughout our country's history, members and ministers have behaved inappropriately or committed inappropriate acts, including sexual harassment, psychological harassment and discrimination.
Many of the young victims were surely brilliant, highly motivated and ambitious individuals. Perhaps they were even future Liberal, Conservative or NDP prime ministers, although unfortunately for them, that will never happen now. These were young people who were here for the right reasons, who were not cynical. A lot of young people in Canada are saying they have no use for politics, and that is unfortunate. Those young people should read books on Canadian history to understand what we are doing here today. Some young people have had the courage to get over their cynicism and come to this place, only to become victims of sexual or psychological harassment or discrimination. Careers have been destroyed in some cases, along with their hope and love for Canada. I find that appalling and very upsetting.
This bill sets out to fill a legal void. I would like to remind everyone that Parliament Hill was the only place where Canada Labour Code provisions on harassment and discrimination did not apply. There was a legal void, and it is important to acknowledge that that void played a part in destroying young Canadians who came here full of energy to help build a strong and thriving country on both national and international stages. Everyone wants a workplace that contributes to their quality of life, one where safety is important. Employees perform better in such workplaces.
Most of the Conservatives' amendments were accepted. We successfully introduced an amendment to prevent political interference during harassment investigations. The Conservatives played an active role in bringing the bill to this stage. We successfully introduced an amendment to ensure strict timelines for investigations into incidents of harassment. We proposed mandatory sexual harassment training, training that all MPs received. We proposed a mandatory review of the bill after five years because it needs to be reviewed at regular intervals, as my colleague said.
In closing, since this is Small Business Week, I want to say three cheers for business people. I thank the people of Beauport—Limoilou for the work they do every day. I think they are wonderful, and I look forward to seeing them when I go door to door.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-03-20 13:21 [p.17750]
Madam Speaker, first of all, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the very honourable and very competent member for Mégantic—L'Érable, a beautiful riding that has a beautiful lake I swam in a few years ago. As I always do, I would also like to say hello to the many residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us today and those I meet in my travels, whether I am going door to door or attending events at community centres and so on.
Today I want to talk about the stark realities of budget 2018. I would like to draw a parallel to the disastrous trip to India that my constituents have been upset about and have been talking about so much in recent weeks. This trip was not out of character for this government. The trip was ill-defined and achieved virtually nothing, other than having the Prime Minister dress up in ridiculous costumes—ridiculous only because it was the Prime Minister wearing them. The clothes themselves are not ridiculous; what is ridiculous is the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada wore them instead of wearing the type of clothing he should be wearing to such international meetings. He toured around India making a mockery of the office of Prime Minister, and he was the laughingstock of the international press. He then returned home after announcing hardly anything to Canadians.
This trip pretty much reflects how this government acts every day in the House. It is also exactly like budget 2018: a political agenda with no substance, with page after page of lofty words, and void of any concrete measures.
The Liberals and the Prime Minister, the hon. member for Papineau, brag about forming a government that is not cynical, that will put democracy back on track, that is more transparent, and that wants to restore Canadians' trust in the political system. In my opinion, one of the best ways to restore Canadians' trust is keep the most basic of promises. Not only have the Liberals broken key promises, such as changing the voting system, but they have also broken basic, structural promises that they made with their hands on their hearts in 2015.
The Prime Minister promised to run annual deficits of no more than $10 billion. He also said that in 2018, the deficit would not exceed $6 billion. Less than two weeks ago, the government announced that the deficit for 2018-19 is $18 billion, three times the amount that was promised during the 2015 campaign.
The second broken promise is just as important. The Liberals promised a return to a balanced budget by 2020. As my dear colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent always says in a delightful turn of phrase, never has a Canadian government ever run a deficit outside wartime, such as during the Second World War, or outside a major economic crisis, like the one we went through when Mr. Harper was leading the government. He was a great prime minister, by the way.
The Prime Minister is running major deficits and has no plan to return to a balanced budget, even though our economy is in a favourable position compared to most countries around the world. I will get into this economic situation a bit later. It is unbelievable.
Here is what the parliamentary budget officer thinks about it, as reported by the QMI Agency:
...Canada's fiscal watchdog notes that the federal government's vagueness about [balancing the budget] conflicts with the objectives set out in the mandate letter of finance minister Bill Morneau.
The PBO also notes that the mandate letter from the Prime Minister explicitly asks the minister to ensure “that our fiscal plan is sustainable by meeting our fiscal anchors of balancing the budget in 2019/20 and continuing to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio throughout our mandate”.
Lastly, the article states:
However, in its 2016 budget, Ottawa abandoned its intention of reaching a zero deficit in 2019-20.
Ottawa confirmed two weeks ago that not only will a balanced budget not be reached this year, but it will certainly not be reached by 2023, or by 2045, based on forecasts.
As for infrastructure, it is the biggest joke of all. It is unbelievable. After the election, the government bragged about implementing the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history, a $180-billion program.
I am not the one saying this. Barely a week ago, the parliamentary budget officer said that only $10 billion had been released so far. The media has been covering this story for last few days, thank heaven. All the billions of dollars that should be spent on infrastructure by 2019 will be delayed until 2022, 2023, and 2024.
I will come back to balancing the budget and to deficits. When the Prime Minister promised deficits of no more than $10 billion a year, he brazenly insisted that these deficits were for infrastructure, not for international relations, or for climate change in third-world countries, or for endless funding for all of Canada's diversity groups. No, he said that they were for infrastructure.
The parliamentary budget officer said that the Liberals do not yet have a plan for how the federal government will spend $186.7 billion in infrastructure money over the next 12 years. Is this not the same Liberal government that keeps repeating that meeting environmental targets, for example, requires a plan? The Liberals have no plan for the environment, just as they have no plan for infrastructure. One of their flagship promises, which was so important that it formed the basis for the other promises, was to balance the budget in 2019 and to run annual deficits of $10 billion.
Meanwhile, taxes are going up for the fine constituents of Beauport—Limoilou. The average increase for middle-income families is exactly $840 per year, whereas by the end of 10 wonderful years of Conservative government, from 2006 to 2015, the average Canadian family paid about $2,000 less in taxes. There is an increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions, up to $2,200 per household, there is a carbon tax, up to $2,500 per household, and the cancellation of the family tax cut. This has a direct impact on the people of Beauport—Limoilou. All my neighbours in Beauport—Limoilou have children who play sports or take part in fitness or arts activities. For example, on Sunday mornings, my daughter takes music lessons at the Cascades school of music. It is a great place and I am proud to mention it today. They also cancelled the tax credits for education and textbooks, which could be as much as $560 per student, and they raised EI premiums. This does not even include the disastrous tax reforms imposed by the Minister of Finance, even though he himself wanted to hide some of his income from the federal taxman, frankly.
The sad part is that the debt keeps piling up. After three years in office, the current government has grown the national debt by $60 billion. According to projections by the Department of Finance, in other words, our dear, dedicated public servants, the budget will not be balanced until 2045, which will add $450 billion to the debt. A colleague opposite spoke about 3- to 17-year-old girls not being able to access this or that thing. I will tell her that, in 30 years, fully all of these girls will be paying the debt piled up by the current government. Only one thing is certain: men and women alike will be paying a lot more on the debt in 30 or 40 years, because of the bad fiscal management by this bad government, which, I hope, will be calling it quits in 2019.
What is even more unbelievable is that the government brags about having wonderful financials thanks to its prowess at managing public funds. That is not the case. We know full well that the current growth is primarily due to a recovery in the oil sector. That is good for the entire oil industry, but again, it is not because of the Liberals' sound management. In addition, house prices increased by 16% in 2016, bringing in additional revenue. Oil and gas exports went up. The Canadian dollar fell, and so did interest rates. All those factors combined to produce strong economic growth in Canada. What should we do under such circumstances, when the economy is doing well? We should address the issues and ensure that there is money for potential emergencies, such as the crisis in the aluminum and steel industries, the potential end of NAFTA in a few months, or a global economic crisis that could erupt at any moment.
When the economy is doing well, we must prepare for future crises. The current government is simply being reckless with the Canadian economy. The constituents of Beauport—Limoilou have a right to know.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-15 13:32 [p.17306]
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Lakeland.
As usual, I would like to say hello to the many constituents of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching. Two months ago, as I was going door to door in Limoilou, I met a man who said that he listened to all of my speeches. He talked to me about how the festivals at Cartier-Brébeuf park cause noise disturbances. I want to say hello to him.
First, I would like to say that I am very passionate and care a lot about any issues that affect Canada's veterans, mainly for family reasons. On the Clarke side of the family, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since 1890, and I was no exception. My great-grandfather, William Clarke, served in the First World War and the Boer War. My grandfather, Robert Clarke, served in the Second World War. My father, Patrick Clarke, served our country in Berlin during the German occupation in the 1970s. My brother, Anthony Clarke, served in Afghanistan in 2006 during the campaign in which most lives were lost. I served the country in the reserves and never went overseas. It is perhaps one my biggest disappointments that I was not able to serve this beautiful country in times of war.
My colleagues opposite say that we, as Conservatives, should be embarrassed about how we treated veterans. However, I just shared my family's and my history, and I am in no way embarrassed to be a Conservative. I assure my colleagues opposite that I am being sincere. If the Conservatives had acted poorly towards veterans, I would admit it, if I were minimally honourable and capable of analyzing public policy—which I am. This is not at all the case, however, and I will have to talk about everything that we did for veterans. This is not the primary focus of my speech, but I have no choice, because all the Liberal members have been saying since this morning that the Conservatives were horrible to veterans. Our treatment of veterans is not the focus of this opposition day. Today's focus is the following:
That the House call on the Prime Minister to apologize to veterans for his insensitive comments at a recent town hall in Edmonton and show veterans the respect that they deserve by fulfilling his campaign promise to them, when he said on August 24, 2015, that “If I earn the right to serve this country as your Prime Minister, no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation they have earned”.
Not only did the Prime Minister break this solemn promise in an egregious manner when he stated at a town hall in Edmonton that veterans were asking for too much, but he broke three other promises. The Prime Minister promised Canadians that, if they voted for him, he would restore lifetime pensions for veterans. He broke this promise because the lifetime pension established and presented by the Liberals before Christmas does not really restore the old lifetime pension. Most veterans who elect to pull out of the former system, which applies to those who fought before 2006, will not get 100% of the amounts they were receiving.
The Prime Minister also promised that veterans would not have to fight their own government to obtain the support and compensation they deserve. Yesterday, my great colleague from Barrie—Innisfil introduced a bill that proposes a covenant. It is a commitment, an agreement, or a contract. My colleague from Barrie—Innisfil probably wanted to enter into a proper contract with veterans by changing the Department of Veterans Affairs Act and compensation for the Canadian Armed Forces by amending section 4 of the act by adding the following:
...the Minister shall take into account the following principles:
(a) that the person, as well as their dependants or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;
It is interesting, because the Prime Minister delivered a big speech here yesterday about the relationship that his government and Canada have with our brave indigenous peoples, who have been here for thousands of years. He said we do not need to change the Constitution, because section 35 already says that we recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. The Prime Minister said that instead, we need to change the way we view indigenous peoples and treat them with dignity and respect, and that is how we will give them the recognition they want.
However, that is exactly what my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil wrote in his motion on veterans. His motion called for the concept of treating veterans with dignity and respect to be incorporated into the act, so that bureaucrats and judges would take that concept into consideration when making decisions about veterans' benefits. Sadly, the Prime Minister voted against that motion yesterday. Is that not a shame?
I am disappointed, not only because the Liberals voted against this motion, but also because day after day in question period, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Prime Minister, and his veteran colleagues trot out the same hogwash about how the Conservatives treated veterans disgracefully. Those are lies.
Ours was the first government to implement the new veterans charter. We significantly increased virtually all of the compensation amounts. Every day in question period, rather than actually answering questions and apologizing for what the Prime Minister said, the Liberals spout off this kind of nonsense when what they should be doing is explaining how they intend to respect veterans, some of whom are meeting with a number of my colleagues outside.
Another thing I am disappointed about has to do with Bill C-357, a bill I introduced to create a grandfather clause for veterans wanting to transition to the public service. They could thus avoid having to work another five years to collect full retirement benefits. It is a very simple bill.
I have repeatedly requested a meeting with the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I even told him to forget about my bill and incorporate its amendments into the Treasury Board rules so that the 80 veterans who have to work an extra five years in Canada's public service to retire with dignity can benefit from the grandfather clause. The Minister of Veterans Affairs refused to meet with me. This would cost about $2 million. That is peanuts.
As a final point, in response to my colleagues, I want to point out what we, the Conservatives, have done since 2006. First, we created the position of veterans ombudsman. Second, we announced clinics for veterans affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. Third, we established the Veterans Bill of Rights, which is on my desk in Beauport—Limoilou. On top of that, we announced additional funding to support operational stress injury clinics.
Furthermore, we created the atomic veterans recognition program. We launched an outreach campaign with community partners to identify and support homeless veterans in the Montreal area. In addition, in 2010, we created a community war memorial program, because once again, veterans often need recognition. We also introduced benefits for seriously injured veterans, including the earnings loss benefit, to increase monthly financial support.
All of that was introduced by the Conservative government, and that is not all. We also improved access to the career impact allowance, another measure created by the Conservative government. Is that not incredible? We also created a $1,000 supplement to the career impact allowance for the most seriously injured veterans. That is another Conservative government measure. Lastly, let us not forget the flexible payment options for veterans and Canadian Forces members who are receiving a disability award. That is another Conservative government measure. Is that not incredible, Mr. Speaker?
Despite everything I just said, the bottom line is that the Prime Minister made a solemn promise in 2015, hand on heart and surrounded by top military brass who are now MPs. He said that veterans would never, ever have to fight in court for their rights.
That is what is going on. He broke his promise. There is nothing honourable about that. It is most unfortunate.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 16:41 [p.14618]
Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Bow River.
One thing is certain: the hon. member for Hamilton Centre is a great speaker and therefore a tough act to follow. I must say that I share his respect and admiration for Canada's territories, namely, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon. I have admired that region ever since I was a little boy. In my childhood and teenage years, I had a specific dream, one that I have not totally given up on but is fading as time goes by. We will see what happens in the future. I used to dream that I would live out my old age on Great Bear Lake. I would build a house and live there from about the age of 75 or 80 until the end of my days.
When I was 14, I took a flight from Toronto to Osaka, Japan. Just like the member for Hamilton Centre described it, I flew over the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska. It is true that it is hard to believe just how huge our country is. There are millions and millions of lakes. It sometimes seems that there is more water than land in the north. It is almost frightening. That is when I really understood why winters are so important there for travel, because the ice creates roads everywhere, and so people do not have to go around the many lakes.
Simply put, those territories are incredible, and I want to say right off the bat that I speak here today with utmost humility. As the member for Hamilton Centre was saying, we are talking about Yukon, and it is rare for the people of Yukon to have the opportunity to be heard in the House. I hope my comments convey how much respect I have for the people of Yukon. I will try to raise a few points that the opposition sees as essential to our discussion in the House.
I want to address some of the comments that were made, including one by the hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. She said that the opposition should be ashamed of the way it treated indigenous peoples when it was in power. I find it rather hypocritical for a Liberal member to say that because one of the first things the Liberals did when they came to power was abolish the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.
I can say that as soon as that happened, our indigenous affairs critic got a lot of mail. We heard from a lot of indigenous people. That decision affects indigenous women and it affects indigenous peoples. We developed that legislation to ensure that leadership and the indigenous elite, the first nations chiefs, were accountable not only to the departments, but also to the people living on their reserves. I think that was very respectful toward indigenous peoples to do that. It was something that they wanted. One of the first things that the Liberals did was abolish that legislation. When I go door to door, people often tell me that they think that was an awful decision. My colleague from Yellowhead was talking about it and I completely agree with what he had to say.
I would also like to say that, despite how humbling it is for me to participate in this debate, we must not forget that the Yukon is a territory that belongs to all Canadians. Make no mistake: a territory does not have the same status as a province. For centuries, Canada's north has played an important role in the country's economic development and in weaving the fabric of our country and economy. Yukon has a role to play. It is only natural that the federal government decides when to intervene in the affairs of the Yukon because it is indeed a territory. If we want to make the Yukon a province, then that is another debate.
The member for Yukon said that everyone in his territory, in his riding, which is huge, supports his bill. I understand that. However, I think that there were some good things about Bill S-6, which we introduced in 2015, even if the government does not agree. I also think that there are some negative things about the bill that is currently before us, even if the government thinks that there is nothing wrong with it.
I would like to talk a little bit about those negative aspects. One of the problems I see with Bill C-17 is that it follows the Liberal government's tendency toward centralization.
Why am I talking about a pattern of centralization? The government did away with the regional development ministers and gave all the responsibility to one minister of economic development for Canada, who lives in Toronto. That is an obvious example of centralization. The government also did away with the position of political lieutenant for Quebec, since the Prime Minister claims to be the province's general—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-09-20 15:42 [p.13303]
Madam Speaker, as I mentioned, I will be sharing more of my thoughts on this somewhat mechanical bill. I prefer political philosophy, but as a member of Parliament, I am required to discuss all kinds of topics. I am learning every day, and I am truly happy to have this opportunity.
I will be sharing my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, a beautiful riding that I have visited twice before. The last time was two years ago, and I saw that there had been a lot of construction in Lac-Mégantic. The town is getting back on its feet, and that is a good thing.
I would like to add my voice to the debate on Bill S-2 today. This bill was introduced in the Senate and it would amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to give the Minister of Transport the power to issue recalls and to force companies to fix defective vehicles at no cost to consumers. I quite like the idea of no cost to consumers. We are all consumers. Our constituents are consumers. This is good news for them.
I remind members that it was the Conservatives who essentially introduced this bill in 2015. However, it was not passed before the election period started in the middle of the summer. The election period lasted a long 78 days, as we all remember.
This bill gives the Minister of Transport the power to fine companies, up to $200,000 a day, based on the violation. The bill also gives the Minister of Transport the power to order a manufacturer to conduct specific tests on its products, to ensure that it complies with the act. Furthermore, the bill allows the minister to make exemptions to the regulations, if the exemption would, in the opinion of the minister, promote the development of a safety feature connected to a new technology. This bill also increases the number of notices that companies must issue to consumers once a recall process has been initiated.
I have a few comments to make. This bill is important, but one thing I need to point out, and we all need to remember, is that there has never been a major case of a company failing to voluntarily issue a recall after discovering a defect, or failing to pay for the necessary repairs.
In light of that fact, the justification for urgently pushing this bill through seems weak. Back when we first tabled this bill, we made sure that the consumer would not lose out, and we strengthened protections for drivers and the general public. What we did not do was draw up a set of provisions that would give the minister far too much power and make things difficult for businesses.
As I said, we support this bill in principle, and we want it to go to committee so that amendments can be made.
As a resident of Beauport—Limoilou, I care deeply about road safety. I myself have two young children, a three-year-old and a six-year-old, who both ride in car seats. When I watch the news on TV, I always see far too many car crashes, especially in summer. Car accidents can be caused by fatigue, stress, uncontrollable events, drugs, and alcohol. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of reasons accidents happen.
The government has to do its part by taking all possible steps to make sure no accidents happen because of manufacturing defects. It is important to realize that this kind of accident is preventable.
As I said earlier, as a father myself, every time I get in a car with my children, this worry is in the back of my mind, because car crashes are one of the leading causes of death in western countries and indeed around the world.
I would like to relay an example involving my family that I experienced up close. I was involved in three accidents with my parents when I was a child. One was caused by black ice, but another may have been caused by a manufacturing defect. I was nine years old. It was in the 1990s in New Brunswick, near the Acadian peninsula. We were going down a big hill in a Plymouth Chrysler. I do not believe that this car is still being made today. We were quite pleased with that car at the time. It was red. We bought it brand new, but it was a few years old at the time of the accident. I was with my mother and my brother, who was 15 or 16 at the time. We were going 100 kilometres per hour down the hill.
Suddenly the gas pedal was stuck to the floor and the brakes stopped working. I did not know why. I was just a kid and we were all gripped by panic. I relay all this with a smile because in the end nothing bad happened. My brother had the genius idea to tell my mother to kill the motor. The engine could have exploded, but our lives were at stake. Then he told my mother to pull over to the side and let the car slow down enough to use the handbrake. This all happened in a matter of seconds.
Later, when my parents took the car to the mechanic, the repair costs were quite high. It was the early 1990s. Today we might wonder if that incident was caused by a manufacturing defect. I just wanted give all those in my riding who are watching me, of which there are many I am sure, a personal example where a manufacturing defect, if that indeed was the cause of the accident, could have had very serious consequences.
A few years ago, dozens of relatively serious recalls were announced on the news, and I wondered if any of them affected my Subaru Forester. I did some Internet research and was very pleased to discover that they did not.
In the context of increased globalization and free trade, which I strongly support, automobile manufacturers must take on greater civil and social responsibility with respect to their national customers, in this case Canadians, because a car can be made up of parts from 10 different countries, and that is no exaggeration.
It is therefore vital that we establish safeguards and that we grant Transportation Canada more power so that it can be proactive on this issue. This bill must put a certain amount of pressure on manufacturers that assemble vehicles so that they are highly motivated to guarantee the safety of their vehicles and conduct proper follow up, particularly since these products are one of the leading causes of death in our society and it is possible to reduce the number of incidents caused by technical problems.
In closing, we support sending the bill to committee, but we would like some amendments to be made. For example, we will propose that clause 10.61 be amended to read: “The Minister may, by order, require a company to inform the person or dealership that obtained a vehicle from that company to ensure that any defect or non-compliance in a vehicle or equipment is corrected before the vehicle is offered for sale.”
We also propose that clause 8.1 be amended to read: “The Minister may, by order, require a company to conduct reasonable tests, analyses, or studies on a vehicle or equipment to determine whether there are any defects or non-compliances.”
We also suggest amending clauses 10.4 and 16.13 to ensure that the minister does not have too much discretionary power.
There should be no inappropriate government intervention in auto manufacturing, which is private enterprise.
Three cheers for vehicle and road safety.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-04 17:15 [p.10171]
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here today. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from South Surrey—White Rock. I am starting to learn the names of all the ridings.
It is a great honour and a great privilege to rise in the House today, because it is my birthday. I am 31 years old, and this is probably the best gift I have ever received in my life, namely, to be able to deliver a speech in this democratic chamber on my birthday.
My colleagues likely knew what I was getting at when I asked my friends from Richmond Hill and Bourassa how much of the $80 billion allocated for infrastructure would be invested this year. The reason I asked the question is that, in fact, of the $80 billion that was supposed to be invested in infrastructure as announced by this Liberal government in 2016, almost nothing has been invested. In my mind, then, budget 2017 is a vote-seeking sham, and that will be more or less the subject of my speech today.
In fact, this budget is a false budget, a chimera. According to the dictionary, a chimera is defined as a thing that is hoped for or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. This budget is nothing more than an ideological agenda. It is filled with endless meaningless rhetoric. For instance, on page 11, it talks about keeping Canada’s promise of progress. That is rather interesting. I do not really understand exactly what that means. It talks about innovation on nearly every page, and it also talks about a feminist budget and a green budget.
Today, in rather exceptional fashion, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent said that even though they called it a feminist budget and a green budget, the Liberals nonetheless eliminated the public transit tax credit in their budget. He also rightly pointed out that 60% of the people who claim this credit are women, in particular elderly women. Thus, the Liberals are not walking the talk.
In terms of procurement, no significant investments have been made. Nothing has been said about balancing the budget. In fact, there are reports that we will be in a deficit position until 2051, which is shocking considering that Canadian families cannot be in the red at year's end.
Expenditures for National Defence alone are deplorable. Just in budget 2016, the Liberals deferred $3.7 billion in spending until 2020-21. This $3.7 billion was included in our Canada first program, which was inspired by the Conservative Party of Canada's plan, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, to bring Canada out of the decades of darkness of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments in the 1990s, and to revitalize the army, ensure that military infrastructure returns to good working condition, and to make significant acquisitions to meet all military needs. Instead of getting back on track, the Liberals announced in the 2017 budget the deferral of $8.4 billion in spending to 2035-36.
As I mentioned at the beginning, almost nothing has been spent on infrastructure to date. I suspect that the Liberals will invest the entire $80 billion in 2019 so that there will be construction cranes right across the country. We are going to be tripping over cranes and Canadians will think that this government is incredible.
The Liberals also broke their promise. They said that they would run a small deficit of $10 billion when they are actually running a deficit of about $30 billion a year. What is more, they have no plan to balance the budget, and they did not lower taxes for small and medium-sized businesses as promised during the 2015 election campaign.
Budget 2017 also significantly raises taxes.
When we, the Conservatives, had the opportunity and honour to govern the country, we were the advocates and defenders of taxpayers. We lowered taxes in many ways, first by decreasing the GST from 7% to 5%. We then created the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, and the post-secondary education and textbook tax credit. We instituted income splitting for families, which the Liberals unfortunately did away with. We did all of that with the exceptional result of making taxes lower for Canadian families than they had been since the 1960s. That means that, under our government, after 10 years under a Conservative government, Canadian families were paying about $7,000 less in taxes a year than they were prior to 2004. That is not to mention the fact that we created 1.2 million jobs in 10 years, with the best employment rate of all OECD countries.
Unlike us, the Liberals are raising taxes for families, small businesses, and children. In budget 2016, they already increased taxes on gas and heating, increased taxes on Canadians' savings accounts, increased payroll taxes for businesses, and cancelled many of the tax cuts that I mentioned earlier.
Canadians, thinking it was going to stop there, were very saddened last month to see that the tax increases would actually start all over again. The government is going to tax public transit users by eliminating the public transit tax credit, Uber and ride-sharing, beer and wine, which basically comes down to introducing a weekend tax, as my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent so aptly put it. Donated medicine will be taxed, as will childcare, and small business owners will be saddled with an increase in payroll taxes. Oil and gas companies will be taxed, and so will tourism. In short, this is a disgrace.
I am an elected official from Quebec City, from Beauport—Limoilou. We can see that there is nothing in this budget for Quebec City, which is as surprising as it is appalling; there is nothing there for the Port of Québec, which needs $60 million to attract private investment and launch the Beauport 2020 project. There is nothing for the Institut nordique du Québec for political, social and anthropological research on northern Canada, research that remains very important. There is nothing for the National Optics Institute, a technology innovator in the heart of the Parc technologique du Québec. There is nothing for the Quebec Bridge, which was supposed to be dealt with before June 30, 2016. Finally, there is nothing about the SRB, the bus rapid transit system and there is nothing about the third link.
Conversely, in the last 10 years, the Conservative government, under the fantastic leadership of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, invested almost $1 billion for the Quebec City region alone: in Gilmour Hill, in community infrastructure, in the Port of Québec, in l'Anse au Foulon and in the Ross Gaudreault terminal. A number of investments were made then, to be sure.
In closing, I would like to say that the government should focus on what will really give Canadians a vision and help them 100 years from now by balancing the budget, eliminating the deficit by the end of the year, and paying off the debt. How can we be one of the richest countries in the world and still have so much debt? We need to cut Canadians' taxes, not raise them.
If the economy were going well, MPs could take care of the important things, the things that help us all get along. We could talk about the Constitution, community, and Canadians' rights, but because of this government, we keep talking about the economy when we should be talking about other issues.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-07 11:32 [p.8555]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate having the opportunity to speak this morning. I will be sharing my time with the member for Richmond Centre.
Like the members who have already spoken today, I want to talk about Bill C-36, which is meant to strengthen Statistics Canada's independence. Together, we will look at whether this bill can achieve that official objective because it might also have unofficial objectives.
I think it would be useful to explain to our constituents, including the wonderful people of Beauport—Limoilou, that Statistics Canada was created in 1971 because the federal government has a duty to collect and compile statistics on Canada and its people. Its duty is right there in the law that sets out the federal government's responsibilities. Statistics are therefore under federal jurisdiction. Even provincial statistics are within the agency's purview.
Statistics Canada has been serving Canadians for 40 years. It has produced many studies that I am sure have formed the basis for many of Canada's public policies. Those studies have led to positive outcomes for all Canadians.
In our Liberal democracy, data are extremely important. I used data when I was studying political science, and I use them now in my day-to-day work.
Statistics Canada seeks to produce statistics on the country's populations, resources, economy, society, and culture. Statistics Canada is currently conducting over 300 studies, which will provide us with objective information that will help us make informed decisions while ensuring that the source of that information, the everyday lives of our fellow Canadians, is kept confidential.
I use these data in my capacity as an MP and so do my employees. The data are also used by businesses, universities, and scientists. They are used by the parties to determine their political platforms so that, when a party wins the election and takes office, it can develop informed public policies.
What does Bill C-36 do exactly? After reading the bill, my understanding is that it makes changes to four key areas.
First, the chief statistician would be appointed for a fixed term of five years, renewable for good behaviour and removable only for cause by the Governor in Council. That seems commendable. Although it is not the bill's intention, the chief statistician would nonetheless be authorized to choose where the statistical data would be stored. We think that could be problematic since the government gave the new Canadian statistics advisory council its name and so it obviously expects that council to advise the chief statistician.
Second, the bill provides for the creation of a new Canadian statistics advisory council made up of 10 members. It would replace the National Statistics Council, which currently has 13 members. I will come back to this later since it seems that this change will negatively impact provincial and territorial representation.
Third, under the bill, the consent of Canadians will no longer be required to transfer their census information to Library and Archives Canada.
Fourth, the bill will remove the penalty of imprisonment for Canadians who fail to fill out the census forms, a change that we strongly support.
I would like to say that one of our Conservative colleagues in the previous Parliament, Mr. Preston, had brought forward a bill to repeal the penalty of imprisonment for all surveys. Unfortunately, the bill did not receive royal assent before the writ was dropped.
Obviously, we support this aspect of the bill given that we wanted to make this change.
I will now speak to our position on this bill. We want to debate it in the House and vote to send it to committee for more in-depth study in order to make some amendments. In particular, we find that it is very important to amend the provisions of the bill that would change the National Statistics Council to the Canadians Statistics Advisory Council, a body with 10 members instead of 13.
We believe that this new advisory council would give the Liberals another opportunity to appoint their cronies. We have another concern. Since the council will provide advice about relevance, the surveys could be biased towards the Liberals and even friends of the council.
We find it hard to understand why the government must establish a new council rather than just revising the mandate of the current National Statistics Council, which currently has 13 members representing the 10 provinces and three territories.
Much like we did during the debate on the selection of the next Supreme Court of Canada justice, we voiced our grave concerns regarding the importance of ensuring strong representation from all regions of Canada on the Supreme Court.
Because the council is going to have only 10 members instead of 13, we find ourselves debating the issue through the lens of defending the federation. Obviously, the representation of three jurisdictions in Canada will have to be cut from the council. Does this mean that three of the 10 provinces will no longer be represented on the new council, or have the Liberals decided that the three Canadian territories, that is, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, will no longer be represented? In either case, whether representation on the council is taken away from three provinces or the three territories, we think it is appalling.
As I said earlier, the mission of Canada's statistics agency is to provide information to Canadians, particularly for the development of sound public policies with objectives based on reliable hard facts. At present, the council that is supposed to support the work of the chief statistician so that he can effectively run the agency will not have the support of people who understand the realities of the provinces and territories.
Furthermore, the bill does nothing to address the concerns raised by Mr. Smith, the former chief statistician. He resigned last summer after voicing his concerns, which are being ignored. When he appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on November 16, 2016, Mr. Smith shared his three main concerns with us. This first was this:
...Shared Services Canada represented a major and unacceptable intrusion on the independence of Statistics Canada.
His second concern was as follows:
...the arrangement with Shared Services Canada imposed on Statistics Canada was inconsistent with the confidentiality guarantees given by the Statistics Act to persons and organizations providing information to Statistics Canada for statistical purposes.
His third concern was:
...dependence on Shared Services Canada was hobbling Statistics Canada in its day-to-day operations, reducing effectiveness, increasing costs, and creating unacceptable levels of risk to the delivery of Statistics Canada's programs.
The former chief statistician says he was not satisfied with the government's response to his concerns. I get the impression that this new bill does not fare much better.
For all these reasons, we hope that during review in committee, the government will accept our key amendments.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-16 22:16 [p.3435]
Mr. Chair, I am pleased to rise this evening. I would like to start by seeking the unanimous consent of the members of this committee of the whole to share my time with the member for Yorkton—Melville.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:37 [p.59]
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, hon. members of Parliament, and all Canadians.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville. I want to acknowledge my colleague and congratulate her on her election.
I want to start by congratulating all the members of the House on their wins and on their dedication, which is so important to keeping the democratic institutions that make up our political system alive and well.
I am honoured and extremely proud to rise here for the first time to address all Canadians, and in particular Quebeckers in Beauport—Limoilou. Because of them, I have the unbelievable privilege of being a member of this very important parliamentary institution.
If I am here today, it is also thanks to some important people in my life. First, there are my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. They are the ones who, throughout my childhood, guided me, taught me, and most importantly, loved me. Then, there is my wife Pascale, who has been by my side for 11 years now and supports me in all of my incredible adventures, including politics. Finally, my daughter, Victoria Clarke, reminds me every day of what is important in this life here on earth. I would like to thank all of those who are dear to my heart, including my brother and my sister.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all of our ancestors who built a country based on the principles of the rule of law and political freedom.
Canada, as a whole, is part of my identity. In fact, my parents are from opposite ends of the country. My mother is a French Canadian from Beauport, Quebec, and my father is an English Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia. Canada's duality, an undeniable part of our common history and our political past and present, is alive and well in me and is always driving me.
I do not want to boast, but I have believed from a very young age that having this personal characteristic meant that I had an inescapable duty to participate in Canada's political community.
That is why, since my teen years, my sole purpose has been to serve my country and my fellow citizens. This burning desire, coupled with an iron will, compelled me to become actively involved in Canadian politics at 18 and to join the Canadian Armed Forces at 24.
In recent years, I have been an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada, I have served as a member of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment in Lévis, I have worked with charities in my community, and, to better understand the significance of these activities, Canada's history, and our political system, I earned a master's in political science.
I applied for and received my discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces on November 11, Remembrance Day. On my father's side, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brother and I are all veterans.
That is why the privilege of being named the official opposition critic for veterans affairs is so deeply symbolic to me: it is linked to a long-standing, deeply rooted family tradition.
On that point, I want to thank our party leader for the trust she has placed in me. Our leader and all veterans in this country can rest assured that I take this role very seriously. I will remain politically invested every day, and I will work as hard as I have to in order to hold this government to account when it comes to veterans.
I would also like to present to the House my priorities as the member for Beauport—Limoilou. My team and I have three main objectives we want to achieve. We call them the three Ps: pursue, promote, and participate.
The first objective is about pursuing the economic revitalization of our riding. More specifically, it is about focusing on the development of these main arteries: d'Estimauville, Canardières and des Capucins, 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Seigneuriale.
The second objective is to promote the flow of ongoing investments in local infrastructure.
The third objective is to participate in nurturing the personal growth of newcomers and those most in need by reaching out to them, by knocking on doors throughout my term, in order to meet their needs and, more importantly, overcome the feeling of social exclusion.
Last summer, the previous Conservative government announced its support for a very important project for my riding and the entire greater Quebec City region. I am talking about the Beauport 2020 plan to almost double the area of the port of Québec's wharves. This makes sense because “the port of Québec is a strategic transshipment point between the industrial and agricultural heart of North America and the world. The port is open to navigation year-round and is one of the largest ports in Canada in terms of tonnage and economic spinoffs.” Consequently, I would hope that the new government will stay the course on this crucially important project and ensure that it is completed in accordance with the strictest environmental criteria around.
On another note, I think nothing illustrates the ideal of serving one's country better than donning a military uniform and confronting the dangers that face any free society. We have courageous veterans who did just that for our country and our freedom during the 20th century in various places around the world, and more recently in Afghanistan. Today, in Canada, we have more than 700,000 veterans. If we include their family members, we are talking about millions of individuals. They all have served and serve Canada in their own way.
What amazed me the most when I met with veterans in recent years was the unwavering passion with which they spoke about serving their country and ensuring a better future for all of us, including the MPs in this House.
I was stunned that there was only one sentence about veterans in the Speech from the Throne that opened the 42nd Parliament on Friday. However, the Liberal government has used other communications tools to announce measures that will generate significant annual deficits in the coming years, even if the Canadian economy does well in the global economic context.
The government is proposing to post deficit after deficit, have Canada go into debt in a period of economic prosperity, increase taxes and thereby discourage consumption and economic growth. This will inevitably lead to a significant slowdown in job creation.
Furthermore, the government is proposing to create new measures and to improve others for veterans, which is a very good thing. However, that is where we part ways, because the Conservatives want to finance these measures with the money generated by a healthy economy and not by running deficits in future years.
Where is the long-term vitality of these measures? How can they be permanent if the government is incurring national debt to pay for them? How can the government be sure that these new measures will be sustainable in the long term when they are incurring a deficit to pay for them? Will it do so by raising taxes for Canadians and businesses?
My friends, this is a Liberal smokescreen designed to make Canadians believe that all of the new measures that have been proposed will be implemented. They will not be, at least not permanently. Veterans will be the first to doubt the Liberals' proposals, which I will refer to as the Liberal smokescreen from now on.
We, on the other hand, were and still are in favour of measures for veterans that are sustainable in the long term, measures that are not funded by incurring continuing deficits. In that respect, the previous Conservative government focused on the long-term sustainability of essential services for veterans. That is why we made major cuts to the department's bureaucratic red tape in order to make the department more productive. This measure also made it possible to make necessary cuts to spending and especially to bring about welcome improvements in services to veterans.
Our first priority has always been to ensure that programs and measures for veterans are sustainable in the long term, while maintaining a strong economy based on balanced budgets and, of course, continued tax cuts.
The holiday season is approaching. Soon, we will all gather with our families to celebrate, but also to remember the many sacrifices that our veterans made and are still making today. It is thanks to them that I am here today.
In closing, I would like to say that there is no doubt in my mind that everyone here only wants what is best for veterans. In that respect, when it comes to working for the well-being of veterans, the government will always find in me an ally.
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