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View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-04 13:23 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address some of the failings of the Liberal government over the last four years and reflect upon just how disastrous it has been.
The heckling continues over there. The Liberals never miss an opportunity to get some good heckling in. Our colleagues across the way are chirping loud and doing all they can to throw us off. However, it will not work. I have been chirped at by the best and they definitely are not the best.
I rise today to talk to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. Essentially, it is an extension of the government's attempt to cover up what could be actually the biggest affront to our democracy in our country's history. It has attempted to cover up potentially the biggest corruption at the highest levels of our government, and that is the SNC-Lavalin case. That is what we are seeing here today. I bring us back to that again because I feel I have to. The gallery is packed. I know Canadians from coast to coast to coast knew this speaker was coming up.
I would be remiss if I did not remind Canadians from all across our country that it was day 10 of the 2015 election when the then member of Papineau committed to Canadians that under his government, he would let the debate reign. He said that he would not resort to parliamentary tricks such as omnibus bills or closure of debate. He also told Canadians around that same time that he would balance the budget in 2019. Those are three giant “oops”, perhaps disingenuous comments. I do not think he has lived up to any of them at this point.
As of today, the government has invoked closure over 70 times. Why? Because the government does not like what it is hearing. If the Liberals do not like what the opposition is saying and they do not want Canadians to hear the truth, they invoke closure. This means we cannot debate really important legislation. They limit the amount of time for debate on that legislation. The BIA, Bill C-97, is just one of them. Does that sound like letting the debate reign? It does not.
It is interesting that whenever things go sideways for the Prime Minister, a couple of things happen. We see him even less in the House or something always happens to change the channel. That is what we have today.
Bill C-97 is really just a cover-up budget. We have talked about that. It just goes in line with more and more of the government's kinds of wacky ways, where it says it will spend money and perhaps it doles it out. However, the money is not really going to things that Canadians need the most.
We see $600 million in an election year being given to the media, a media that is supposed to be impartial. That is a $600 million bailout.
We also know that in the previous budget, approximately $500 million was given to the Asian Infrastructure Bank. That $500 million is not being spent in Canada for one piece of an infrastructure.
I rose to talk about a few things. One of the things that is really disappointing for me is this. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, a lot of promises were made, and this one hits home for us. I have brought this up time and again in the House. The Liberals said that they would put an end to the softwood lumber dispute.
I think it was in 2016 that the Prime Minister stood in the House and told Canadians that he was going to have a deal done within 100 days. He had a new BFF, the Minister of International Trade Diversification said. Both were just giddy. They were going to get this deal done and put an end to the softwood lumber irritant once and for all, yet last week, we found out from the Senate Liberal leader that the Prime Minister had other priorities ahead of softwood lumber.
Over 140 communities and over 140,000 jobs are tied to forestry in my province of British Columbia. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in my province, yet it was not a priority for the Prime Minister in renegotiating his NAFTA deal.
What we are seeing with the Liberal government is that rural Canadians are just not its focus.
Last week I also met with some real estate folks and some Canadian homebuilder folks. They told me that the Liberal government's B-20 stress test and the shared equity program, which is geared toward trying to get Canadians into homes, is actually hurting that industry. The real estate industry is saying that the B-20 stress test, which was geared more for Toronto and Vancouver markets but is all across the country, impacts rural Canadians negatively .
Almost $15 billion has been kept out of that industry, meaning that it is harder for Canadians to get into the home ownership they strive for. It is a step into the middle class. People put money toward something they own rather than putting it into something that someone else owns. The government's failed B-20 policy and the shared equity program is hurting Canadians. It is another example of how Canadians are worse off with the Liberal government.
I will bring us to a couple of years ago. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence all have it down pat. They can put their hands on their hearts and say that they really care, yet it is the same Prime Minister who told veterans that they were asking for too much.
Yesterday was a very important day, because we saw the closure of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission and we saw its report. The government knew that this day was coming, but did it put any money in the 2019 budget for that? There is nothing.
The Liberals like to say that Canadians are better off than they were under our previous Conservative administration, but it is actually the opposite. Canadians are worse off since the Liberal government took over. Eighty-one per cent of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the Liberal government came to power. The average income increase for middle income families is $840. The government's higher pension plan premiums could eventually cost Canadians up to $2,200 per household. The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut of up to $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child. They cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student. The government's higher employment insurance premiums are up $85 per worker. The Liberal carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and be as high as $5,000 in the future.
The Prime Minister called small businesses tax cheats. The government's intrusive tax measures for small businesses will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses across Canada.
The list goes on and on. Bill C-97 is just the capping of a scandal-ridden administration, and to that, I say, good riddance.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2017-11-28 13:44 [p.15678]
Mr. Speaker, I wonder where I should begin my speech about Bill C-63. I do not necessarily want to repeat what I already said at second reading. Today, we are at the report stage. I was lucky enough, if you really want to call it lucky, to be the vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Finance. I had the honour of being a very involved, even proactive, participant in the study of the bill in committee.
This huge bill required all of our attention during its final weeks in committee and I wanted to report on how things progressed. I also wanted to report on how the Liberals behave in committee.
It seems that they just plug their ears. When we hear witnesses about a bill, and the witnesses are in general agreement on an issue, it seems that by the end of the process the Liberals have not heard anything. They are practically deaf.
They look at their notes and stick to the guidelines they were given on how to vote on amendments. Even if they can hear as well as I do—I do want to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they are obviously not deaf—when it comes time to vote on the NDP or Conservative amendments, they seem to have completely forgotten what they heard from the witnesses.
I will give a few examples. In the bill, significant amendments were made to the Canada Labour Code to add leave for various reasons. The first types of leave added are for indigenous cultural practices. I moved a very simple amendment, which would ensure that indigenous peoples are consulted about their practices. I must say that in addition to the list of indigenous cultural practices already included in the legislation, which are accepted and which employers will also have to accept, the Governor in Council may make regulations to add other practices. We said that indigenous peoples needed to be consulted first and that this obligation had to be put into the bill. This was rejected. However, it was very clear that this was needed. The Liberals rejected this amendment.
We welcome the initiative of leave for family violence in the Canada Labour Code, but it is for 10 unpaid days. Several witnesses who came before the Committee found that this did not make any sense. How can a victim of family violence be told that she can simply get out of her family violence situation, take unpaid leave and everything will be quickly worked out. Come on.
It defies logic that someone could take unpaid leave to get out of critical and vulnerable situations like those. We tried to amend the labour code to turn it into paid leave, but the Liberals refused to listen to the witnesses and experts who said that it would take at least paid leave.
The same thing is true for family-related leave. Family responsibilities are very important today. Often, both parents work. Family responsibilities can vary widely. The government was proposing three types of leave, again unpaid. Experts agree that it made sense to give paid leave. That is what we proposed. We even proposed five days of paid leave and the Liberals refused that proposal as well, for reasons that they cannot even explain themselves. They simply voted against the proposal without giving any explanations. It is from the opposition, so it surely is not good.
We tried to amend the bill so the leave could be taken in blocks of less than a day. It is very clear, in the bill, that employers can require that employees take a full day of leave or more. Leave related to family responsibilities or family violence may only be for two hours. Nevertheless, for the Liberals, that is out of the question. The leave must be one day or more. They again refused our proposed amendment.
We put forward other amendments on other topics in Bill C-63 that have been extensively discussed. There was the one regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
In addition to the Conservatives’ amendment aimed at reducing the allocation to the government’s poorly designed and misguided bank to zero, we attempted, even though we knew that the government would reject our amendments, to make the process more transparent. Given that most experts were opposed to the bank since, in their opinion, there would be no real return on the investment for Canadians, we asked the Liberals to have the finance minister report to the House on the money invested in the Asian infrastructure bank for each project, so that Canadians would know exactly where their money had gone and which infrastructure project in Asia they had financed.
In my opinion, the Minister of Finance has a strong obligation to be transparent. We are being asked to spend up to $480 million Canadian dollars on this infrastructure bank. Canadians are being asked to invest all this money in a bank, and they are not even being given information about what their money is being used for.
In Asia, there are many diverging interests, and officials who are at the very least questionable will probably benefit from that bank. That is why we asked questions about the transparency of the bank’s accountability mechanisms. Unfortunately, once again, the Liberals closed their eyes and plugged their ears, and refused another amendment, one that made sense. It was not to prevent the bank from existing; it would simply have made it possible to obtain transparency for Canadians, which is a bare minimum.
Bill C-63 also covers another topic, the sharing of cannabis revenues. This topic is in the news and the sharing of revenues is highly contested by the provinces, as we know. The Minister of Finance began to hold preliminary consultations at one point and the provinces were adamant: equal sharing is not acceptable. Most of the responsibilities related to the legalization of cannabis fall to the provinces. It was therefore sensible, in our opinion, to include an obligation in the law setting forth transfers and taxation mechanisms.
The minister should have been required to consult all his counterparts to come to an agreement before being able to set up this type of cost sharing. Once again, the Liberals rejected this sensible amendment that would have prevented the minister from pursuing an approach that imposes the Liberals' way of seeing things onto the provinces.
After the preliminary discussions, the minister made a more definitive proposal on splitting the proceeds from cannabis legalization equally. The cities and provinces are categorically against the idea. They know full well that they will have to bear the full burden, that they will have to change their own regulations in their own laws and in their own jurisdiction. Unfortunately, the federal government is being stubborn and simply does not respect the provinces.
That being said, the Minister of Finance's fingerprints are all over the more than 300 pages of Bill C-63. Today we know how he divested himself of his shares in his company, of which he was still a shareholder when he introduced this new legislation on taxing individuals and corporations. Once again, in this bill, we get the impression that the Liberals want to protect their own interests.
The Minister of Finance left his mark throughout this bill. We might wonder whether he is working for himself or for Canadians, but this bill makes it clear that he is working for himself and that is why I am voting against it.
I hope that all my colleagues will join me in voting down Bill C-63 at report stage.
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