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Results: 16 - 30 of 161
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2018-11-06 16:48 [p.23354]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are drowning Canadian job creators in red tape and tax hikes. Whether it is the carbon tax, small business tax hikes or the many cancelled tax credits and deductions, the Liberals are driving businesses out of Canada and killing Canadian jobs, hurting workers and middle-class families across the country.
Every other day major oil and gas companies cancel future projects, stop expansions or completely sell their Canadian businesses and take their money to other countries. It is a crisis, and it is not a result of external factors beyond the government's control. In fact, it is a direct consequence of the Liberals' message to Canadians and the world that Canada is closed for business because of the Liberals' added red tape and imposed cost increases.
Context is important. The energy sector is the biggest private sector investor and accounts for over 11% of the value of Canada's economy. To put this in perspective, it contributes twice as much as agriculture and fisheries combined, sectors in which farmers and fishermen also often have jobs in oil and gas. It contributes more than the banking and finance sector and more than the auto sector. The benefits are shared across Canada. Every one job in the oil sands creates seven manufacturing jobs in Ontario. Every one upstream oil and gas job in Alberta creates five jobs in other sectors, in other provinces.
However, spending in Canada's oil and gas sector declined 56% over three years, from $81 billion in 2014 to $45 billion in 2017. More money has left Canada's oil and gas sector since the 2015 election than at any other comparable time period in more than 70 years. The equivalent value would be losing 75% of auto manufacturing in Canada, or almost the entirety of the aerospace sector in Canada, something no one rightfully would accept.
The biggest beneficiary is the U.S. where spending in oil and gas increased 38% to $120 billion in 2017. Today, U.S. investment in Canada is down by more than half. Canadian investment in the U.S. is up by two-thirds. The consequences of these losses are hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work and less revenue for core social programs and services at every level of government in every single province.
Over 115,000 Albertans are out of work and not receiving any employment insurance assistance right now and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs. The Liberals' anti-energy agenda is clearly both hindering the private sector from being able to provide well-paying jobs, but it is also risking the life savings of many Canadians.
Oil and gas companies are a big part of most people's pension plans, and whether through employer provided defined contribution plans or personal investments in mutual funds, chances are that most Canadians are invested in oil and gas. When oil and gas companies leave Canada, the value of those investments in Canada drops, reducing the value of everyone's retirement savings. Now CPP and the Ontario teachers' pension plan are also investing in the United States.
I want to highlight an aspect of this legislation that will compound uncertainty and challenges for Canadian oil and gas proponents. On page 589, in the very last chapter of this 840-page omnibus bill, clause 692 implements sweeping new powers for the federal cabinet to impose regulations on marine transport. Included in these powers is the ability to pass regulations:
(j) respecting compulsory routes and recommended routes;
(k) regulating or prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels; and
(l) regulating or prohibiting the loading or unloading of a vessel or a class of vessels.
This means the Liberal cabinet can block any class of tanker from any route leaving Canada or from docking at any port the Liberals choose. In Bill C-48, oil tankers of a certain size will be prevented from travelling and from the loading and off-loading of crude at ports only off the northern coast of B.C.
This legislation, Bill C-86, would be a dramatic expansion, giving the Liberal cabinet the power to block oil exports from any port anywhere in Canada or to block oil tankers in general from entering Canadian waters. Places like the Arctic could lose access to the fuel tankers that keep power on during the winter. Offshore oil and gas development in Atlantic Canada could be blocked overnight. That is alarming in itself, and it gets worse.
This legislation authorizes a single minister to be able to make legally binding changes to these regulations for a year at a time and even up to three years, regarding “compulsory routes” and “prohibiting the operation, navigation, anchoring, mooring or berthing of vessels or classes of vessels”. One minister with one stroke of a pen can shut down an entire industry with wide-ranging impacts.
This is a pattern. The Liberals repeatedly demonstrate their hostility to the oil and gas sector in Canada. The Prime Minister of course said that he wants to phase out the oil sands, and Canadians should believe him. He defended the use of tax dollars for summer jobs to stop the Trans Mountain expansion. The Liberals removed the tax credit for new exploration oil drilling at the very worst time.
Also, many Liberal MPs ran in the last election opposing the export of Canada's oil to the world. Since they formed government, the Liberals have used every tool at their disposal to kill energy sector jobs.
Canada is the only top 10 oil-producing country in the world, let alone in North America, to impose a carbon tax on itself. While there are significant exemptions for major industrial emitters, it will hike costs for operations across the value chain, and certainly for the 80% of Canadian service and supply companies that are small businesses. Moreover, individual contractors will still have to pay it.
The proposed clean fuel standards—which would be unprecedented globally because they would be applied to buildings and facilities, not just to transportation fuel—will cost integrated oil and gas companies as well as refining and petrochemical development in Canada hundreds of millions of dollars. Canada is literally the most environmentally and socially responsible producer of oil and gas in the world, oil and gas that the world will continue to demand for decades. We are falling dramatically behind the United States and other countries for regulatory efficiency and clarity.
The Liberals imposed the tanker ban, with no substantial economic, safety, or environmental assessments and no real consultation, and a ban on offshore drilling in the north against the wishes of the premier of the Northwest Territories.
The Prime Minister vetoed outright the northern gateway pipeline and then intervened to kill energy east with delays, rule changes and a last-minute double standard. Now, the Liberals' failures have driven Kinder Morgan out of Canada. Construction of the Trans Mountain expansion has never started in the two years since the Liberals approved it, and they have repeatedly kicked the can down the road for months. The consequence is that crude oil is now being shipped by rail and truck at record levels, negatively impacting other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and retail.
The Liberals would add uncertainty and great expense for any resource project that has even a ditch on its property, by subjecting all water to the navigable waters regulatory regime in Bill C-68. Moreover, their “no more pipelines” Bill C-69 would block any future pipelines and therefore stop major oil and gas projects from being built in Canada.
Kinder Morgan is now going to take all of that $4.5 billion in Canadian tax dollars the Liberals spent on the existing pipeline and will use it to build pipelines in the United States, Canada's biggest energy competitor and customer. The consequences are that large companies are pulling out of Canada and investing in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Encana, a made in Canada success story, is selling Canadian assets to buy into projects in the United States. Gwyn Morgan, its founder, did not mince words. He said:
I’m deeply saddened that, as a result of the disastrous policies of the [Liberal] government, what was once the largest Canadian-headquartered energy producer now sees both its CEO and the core of its asset base located in the U.S.
It is estimated that the Liberal failure to get pipelines built is forcing Canadian oil to sell for $100 million dollars less a day than what it should be worth. That is $100 million dollars a day that is not providing for middle-class families, that is not fuelling small businesses, and not generating taxes to pay off the out-of-control Liberal deficit.
RBC recently reported that in 2008, taxes generated by oil and gas were worth $35 billion a year for provincial and federal governments. That is now down to almost $10 billion a year in 2016. That is more than $20 billion a year that could have gone to health care and education or to cover old age security costs, or be invested in building bridges and roads. Of course, the Liberals promised a deficit of only $10 billion a year and that the budget would be balanced by 2019, but none of that is anywhere in sight. They choose to spend recklessly: millions of dollars on perks like renovations for ministers' offices, a $5 million hockey rink on Parliament Hill that operated for a couple of months, or $26 million for vehicles. Never mind the billions of dollars spent outside Canada, building oil and gas pipelines in Asia with Canadian tax dollars or funding groups linked to anti-Semitism and terrorism.
Never has a government spent so much and achieved so little. The end result is Canada is trapped in a debt spiral. The ones who are going to pay for these deficits are millennials and their children, and it makes life less affordable today while federal government debt increases interest rates across the board. That poses significant risks to Canada and leaves us utterly unprepared for a global economic recession or worldwide factors that the government cannot control, unlike the Liberals' damaging policies. Future generations will find that their governments cannot afford services or programs they are counting on, and their governments will be in a trap of borrowing and hiking taxes. That is why Conservatives advocate balanced budgets, because it is the only responsible thing to do for Canada's children and grandchildren.
The out-sized contributions of the energy sector to the whole country's economy and to government revenue is also why the future of energy development in Canada is one of the most important domestic economic questions facing all of us. That is what makes the Liberal layering of red tape and costs on Canadian energy so unconscionable, and the consequences so devastating for all of Canada.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2018-10-03 17:13 [p.22172]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to support Bill C-79, the implementation of the comprehensive progressive trans-Pacific partnership.
We live in unprecedented times. Steadfast relationships we have had for years are being challenged, ideology is taking the place of facts and compromise and trust in international institutions and agreements are reaching a new low. These pillars, which are threatening us as never before, are really the very source of Canada's success diplomatically and economically.
Canada has a proud history organizing multilateral agreements and ensuring they will bring more than just military or economic security. Lester B. Pearson once said about NATO that it should, “promote the economic well-being of their peoples and to achieve social justice, thereby creating an overwhelming superiority of moral, material, and military force on the side of peace and progress.” Trade agreements like NAFTA and CPTPP are excellent examples of what Lester Pearson was talking about.
In the time I have today, I would like to delve into the importance of trade to the future of Canada.
The CPTPP is a major trading bloc, comprising 11 countries, representing 495 million people and a combined GDP 13.5% of the overall global GDP. This is where the next century of growth will occur and the CPTPP is a bridge for Canadian goods and services into this important and expanding market.
Canada is the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world, and the industry employs 2.3 million Canadians. That is one in eight jobs in Canada. When CPTPP enters into force, more than three-quarters of agriculture and agri-food products will benefit from immediate duty-free treatment, with tariffs on many other products to be phased out over time.
This is very important for my riding of Guelph, which is an agricultural centre for Canada, both in research and in production. This is going to create new market access opportunities for Canadian pork, beef, pulses, fruit and vegetables, malt, grains, cereals, animal feeds, maple syrup, wines from Niagara, spirits, processed grain and sugar.
CPTPP will eliminate 100% of the tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products. The vast majority of tariffs would be eliminated immediately, while a smaller number would be phased out over periods of up to 15 years. Tariff eliminations will make Canadian exports of a wide range of products such as salmon, snow crab, herring roe, lobster, shrimp, sea urchins and oysters more competitive, while providing protein to a growing part of the world.
Coupled with Canada's new oceans protection plan, which will help preserve and sustain Canada's coastal waters and fish stocks, the CPTPP will also offer Canadian fisheries a sustainable industry that can supply these growing Asian markets.
The CPTPP will benefit more than just Canada's agricultural sector. This agreement offers plenty of opportunities for Canadian industry. Under this agreement, 100% percent of tariffs on industrial goods and consumer products will be eliminated. The majority of Canadian industrial goods exported to CPTPP countries will be duty-free immediately upon entry into force of this agreement, with most remaining tariffs on industrial goods to be eliminated over 10 years.
Guelph is home to Japanese based employers Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing and DENSO Manufacturing. Even Sleeman Breweries is owned by Sapporo from Japan. This provides us excellent business connections by one of the key countries in the CPTPP. Canada being one of the first of the six signatories and core supporter of the comprehensive and progressive deal that was renamed by Canada, would be a further win for Canadian business and put us where we need to be.
Just as we cannot delay in getting this stable national democracy without progress in living standards, likewise we cannot have one world at peace without general social and economic progress.
The recently announced LNG development project includes Japanese partner Mitsubishi, showing Japan's commitment to investing in Canada's energy market to provide it a stable and trusted future supply of energy that has 25% less CO2 per energy content than diesel and half the CO2 to BTU that bituminous coal has. The $40-billion investment is Canada's largest external investment in the history of our country.
The CPTPP has measures to promote civil society and address concerns around labour and the environment. There is an entire chapter on labour and basic workers' rights. Rights guaranteed in the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work must be reflected in law and practice for member nations. This includes the elimination of child labour, forced labour, discrimination and respect for freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively. Provisions in this chapter are also enforceable.
The CPTPP agreement includes provisions to enhance environmental protection in this region and to address global environmental challenges, which is one of the most ambitious outcomes negotiated by Canada to date. Provisions in this chapter are enforceable through the dispute settlement mechanism of the agreement. Again, it is another first for Canada.
Another way the CPTPP promotes the well-being of the middle class in Canada and other CPTPP nations involved is through a stand-alone chapter on small and medium-sized businesses in the text of the treaty. This is a first for any Canadian trade deal.
This chapter includes provisions to ensure that SMEs have access to information specifically tailored for their use, making it significantly easier for Canadian SMEs to explore and navigate the CPTPP markets and to develop trade with those nations. It also includes enforceable provisions on state-owned enterprises to promote fair business practices.
The world needs more Canada. Canada must use all the tools available to bring positive change to the global community. To confine ourselves simply to the diplomatic sphere denies us one of the most powerful levers at our disposal, namely, our economy.
Trade agreements are an excellent way for achieving these goals. They build on economic growth. They include social and environmental progress. At the same time, they benefit the middle class in the nation's involved.
Once the CPTPP enters into force, it will be one of the largest free trade agreements in the world and it will provide enhanced market access to key Asian markets. However, it is also part of a suite of agreements that we have around the world that include CETA, with us trading with Europe, and now includes the new USMCA agreement that is in stages of development with the United States and hopefully will come into force in the near future.
Canada must be a part of all these agreements. We are actually the only G7 country that is a part of all of these agreements. They give us the opportunity to grow our manufacturing industry and help our farmers and our intellectual properties reach new markets. They benefit Canada economically as well as socially and environmentally.
I am looking forward to supporting the legislation in the next bit. I am looking forward to helping in whatever way I can through the businesses and the people in Guelph.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, let me first publicly congratulate the member opposite for her appointment to parliamentary secretary. That is a big achievement in this place.
I would like to go right to the subject of base erosion and profit sharing. The hon. Jim Flaherty put this in budget 2014, on consultations. It was a subject that the G20 looked at. I am happy to see the government pursue this strategy, because it is important for us to tackle.
The other part of this is, while we can worry about base erosion and profit sharing outside, what I am worried about is our tax base being eroded right now from a lack of investment, where we see the uncertainty that the government has allowed to continue by not being able to negotiate a successful NAFTA negotiation, when Mexico has. At the same time, it is introducing carbon taxes, extra payroll taxes, which ultimately would make us less competitive.
The member's portfolio specifically mentions youth employment. These things will harm the economic ability for young people to get employed in this country if this continues.
This legislation is welcome because it continues the great work of the previous government.
What is the parliamentary secretary going to do to ensure those young people have those opportunities and do not go down to the United States?
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to rise today to speak to an important piece of legislation, Bill C-82, an act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. The bill would, upon royal assent, modify up to 75 of Canada's bilateral tax treaties, also known as covered tax agreements, or CTAs, in order to combat base erosion and profit sharing, or BEPS, as it is more commonly known in taxation vernacular, for those watching at home.
For those Canadians I just mentioned, and indeed for the members of the House who are not tax lawyers, including me, Bill C-82 is quite a mouthful, but basically, the bill purports to make it more difficult for corporations to hide money in offshore tax havens. At this early stage in debate, it is worth discussing a few of the concepts inherent in the bill so that we can have a more fulsome discussion moving forward.
First, the multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting is a multilateral instrument, or MLI, which is the product of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's G20 BEPS project, which began in 2013. Base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS, refers to tax-planning strategies that exploit loopholes in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions where there is little or no economic activity, allowing little to no corporate tax to be paid. Moderate estimates indicate annual losses of anywhere from 4% to 10% of global corporate income tax revenues, or $177 billion to $425 billion annually. In Canada, we are looking at somewhere between $3 billion and $6 billion annually in taxes that could go to pay for any number of important programs or projects to benefit all Canadians. It might even buy us a pipeline or maybe pay off a third of the annual deficit, if the Liberals were so inclined.
Leaders of the OECD and G20 countries, as well as over 60 other countries, jointly developed 15 actions to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure more transparent tax regimes. The purpose of the MLI is to allow signatories to swiftly implement tax treaty related measures to prevent BEPS. The goal of implementing the measures in the MLI is to end treaty abuse and treaty shopping by transposing, in existing tax treaties, these jurisdictions' commitment to minimally include in their tax treaties tools to ensure that these treaties were used the way the signatories initially envisioned. Once implemented, the MLI would modify up to 75 existing bilateral tax treaties with, at minimum, the adoption of the OECD treaty-abuse and improved dispute-resolution standards.
It is important to note that there are scales on which Canada can adopt the 15 actions included in the MLI. Its treaty-abuse standard consists of two parts. First is an amended preamble, suggesting that covered tax treaties are intended to eliminate double taxation without creating opportunities for non-taxation or reduced taxation through tax evasion or avoidance. Second is a broad anti-avoidance rule, referred to as the principal purpose test, or PPT. Under the PPT, any tax benefit could be denied where it was reasonable to conclude that one of the main reasons for the transaction was to avoid paying taxes unless it was established that granting the benefit would be in accordance with the object and purposes of the relevant provisions within the treaty.
The other minimum standard is the adoption of mandatory binding arbitration to assist in resolving treaty-based disputes in a timely and efficient manner. Initially, Canada took a conservative approach toward the MLI, agreeing to implement the minimum standards. However, recently, the government has shifted that approach and has announced its intention to remove some of its initial reservations on optional MLI provisions, namely, those pertaining to dividends, article 8; capital gains, article 9; dual residency tie-breaker rules, article 4; and relief from double taxation, article 5.
I believe that this is an important factor to consider, because following ratification, Canada would be unable to add any reservations. However, signatories could withdraw or narrow a reservation following ratification.
The provisional MLI position of each country indicates the tax treaties it intends to cover, the options it has chosen and the reservations it has made. Signatories can amend their MLI positions until ratification. After ratification, countries choose to opt in with respect to optional provisions or to withdraw reservations. This makes the debate and analysis of Bill C-82 very important at committee stage.
Make no mistake, the Conservatives do support, in principle, Bill C-82. We want a full vetting at committee and we want to ensure the bill will meet the expectations of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I think everyone in the House would agree we must get this right.
I would like to turn our attention now to the four additional provisions added to Bill C-82.
The first addition is to implement a one-year holding period to access treaty-based withholding tax reductions on dividends under a covered tax agreement. A covered tax agreement, or CTA, is an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation enforced between countries to the MLI and for which countries have made a notification that they wish to modify the agreement using the MLI. Double taxation is a taxation principle referring to income taxes paid twice on the same amount of earned income. It could occur when income is taxed at both the corporate level and the personal level.
Double taxation also occurs in international trade, when the same income is taxed in two different jurisdictions, and that is the area we are most concerned with here today. Income may be taxed in the jurisdiction where it is earned then taxed again when it is repatriated in the business's home country. To avoid these issues, countries sign treaties for the avoidance of double taxation. It is the abuse of that system which fosters the need for the bill we are discussing today.
The withholding tax reductions on dividends generally apply where the recipient of a dividend is a company that owns, holds or controls more than a certain amount of the shares or voting power of the dividend-paying company. However, article 8 of the MLI will deny access to the special relief if those ownership conditions are not met throughout a one-year period, including the day of the payment of the dividends.
The second optional provision would add an examination period of one year preceding alienation of the property in determining whether a CTA would exempt capital gains on the sale of equity interests that would not derive their value principally from immovable property.
According to Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP's article, “Canada tables NWMM to ratify MLI; Updates MLI reservations”: It states:
Canada’s domestic “taxable Canadian property” rules impose a five-year lookback period for determining whether shares derive their value principally from certain types of Canadian properties (such as real property and resource properties). By contrast, many of Canada’s tax treaties exempt gains from being taxed in Canada where the shares sold by a resident of the other state do not derive their value principally from immovable property in Canada at the time of disposition. Article 9(1) of the MLI, which Canada proposes to adopt, will allow the source country to tax such gains if the relevant value threshold is met at any time during the 365 days preceding the disposition.
The new provision on capital gains will also extend the application of existing provisions in Covered Tax Agreements that do not already provide for such taxation to allow taxation of gains from both shares and other equity interests (such as interests in partnerships and trusts), in each case provided the relevant immovable property threshold is met during the 365-day testing period.
The third change [Article 4] is to adopt a provision for resolving dual resident entity cases...Article 4 of the MLI adds certain factors that the competent authorities should take into account when determining residency status: place of effective management, place where the entity is incorporated or otherwise constituted, “and any other relevant factors.”
The fourth and last addition is the adoption of a provision of the MLI that will allow certain treaty partners to move from an exemption system as their method of relieving double taxation, to a foreign tax credit system.
There are a number of considerations I would like to raise, considerations I hope will be addressed at committee.
On article 4, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, in its analysis, warns:
The new article on dual resident entities does not provide for a clear result where the entity is a dual resident by virtue of a corporate continuance. Some such entities may be governed by the laws of both the jurisdiction under which they are created and the one to which they are continued. The U.S.-Canada treaty contains a tie-breaker rule that provides that such an entity would be resident only in the jurisdiction where the entity was created. By referring to the place where the entity is incorporated or otherwise constituted as a relevant factor, the new MLI provision may be signalling that a similar approach should be applied...
Whether there is a one-size-fits-all template that can be applied to address the concern or that this is best solved by an agreement between signatories is not clear. I again encourage the committee to look into this matter and provide some clarity on this.
Article 5 of the MLI allows countries to adopt one of three different options when removing such treaty-based guarantees. It is unclear at this moment which of the three options the government intends to implement. This may be a matter for the government to decide after ratification or it may not.
In any event, some time to consider witness testimony on the options available to eliminate the issues of double taxation will provide some guidance, I think, for the government when the time comes to implement an option.
The government did not announce an intention to remove its reservation on article 7(4), which would specifically allow treaty benefits that would otherwise be denied under the PPT to be granted in full or in part by the competent authorities in appropriate circumstances.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP cautions that this is problem, illustrated with this example. It states:
...assume that an investor would be entitled to a 15% withholding tax rate on dividends had it made a direct investment into Canada, but instead invests into Canada through an intermediary that would have been entitled to a 10% withholding tax rate. A denial of treaty benefits under the PPT could lead to a 25% withholding tax rate on dividends to the investor.
Without the provisions in Article 7(4) the mechanism to allow for remedies will not exist.
According to Osler:
This is particularly important, for example, for private equity and other collective investors that may be resident in multiple jurisdictions. Canada has also not provided any additional guidance on when or how the PPT is intended to apply to private equity and other collective investment vehicles--despite many suggestions that further guidance is needed (either on a unilateral or bilateral basis).
I would strongly encourage the committee to examine this matter and pay particular attention to the very broadly worded PPT, which may be open to various interpretations.
Gowling WLG's partner, Laura Gheorghiu, in her article on the MLI tax treaty and what it means for taxpayers, brings to our attention concerns regarding article 8. She states that article 8:
...addresses the reduction of the 25% domestic dividend withholding rate under most CTAs to 5% where the dividend is paid to a corporation that, at the time of the payment, owns, holds or controls directly (and in certain CTAs, indirectly) at least 10% of votes (or in certain cases holds more than 10% of the shares) of the dividend payor. Article 8 will deny the reduced treaty withholding tax rate unless the applicable ownership conditions are met throughout a 365-day period that includes the day of the payment of the dividends. For this purpose, ownership changes resulting from corporate reorganizations (e.g. amalgamations) of the dividend payor or shareholder are ignored. This...holding period is meant to ensure that non-resident companies that engage in certain short-term share acquisitions will not benefit from the lower treaty dividend withholding tax rates.
The application of the hold period rule will be problematic in practice because the 365-day period can straddle the transaction date. Where the holding period test has not been met at the transaction time, the corporate dividend payor has a difficult choice to make. If it withholds at the lower rate, it exposes itself to the risk that the shareholder will not meet the holding period test and, therefore, the payor will be liable for the additional withholding tax and penalties. Alternatively, if it withholds on the dividend at the domestic rate, and the test is met, the shareholder will then need to apply for a refund of the excess withholding, which will engender additional costs and delays.
As of today, 84 countries have signed the MLI including Canada. Six more are interested in signing and 10 have ratified the convention.
It is interesting to me that the United States has chosen not to sign the MLI. Rather than pursuing legislation to recoup unpaid taxes in an investment like the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS, the U.S. has chosen a different approach.
When the OECD first announced its plan to go after tax planning and double taxation by multinationals, the U.S. had the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the OECD. Since then, the U.S. has passed historic corporate tax cuts as part of the tax cuts and jobs act, lowering its headline corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, less than the OECD average.
The U.S. has also made significant changes to the international taxation of its U.S. multinationals.
The U.S. has taken steps to address BEPS and non-taxation of multilateral income by creating strong incentives for companies to relocate investment, economic activity and profits in the U.S. through a more competitive tax code..
To be clear, I am not advocating for the abandonment of Bill C-82 As I mentioned earlier, the Conservatives support the principles behind the bill, but we also support lower taxes for Canadians and businesses. Lower corporate taxes, reducing red tape and creating an investor-friendly climate is something we need to do in concert with Bill C-82. The more investment dollars we can attract and retain in Canada, the less taxes we need to spend in pursuit of those who exploit loopholes in tax rules.
In 2013, the previous Conservative government supported the effort to establish the OECD G20 BEPS working group to curtail profit shifting and tax avoidance.
The Conservatives support measures to crack down on tax evasion. Aggressive tax avoidance is a major source of lost tax revenue for high tax jurisdictions like Canada. However, let us remember that the vast majority of citizens, residents and businesses in Canada pay their taxes and follow the rules. Having a fair tax system for all Canadians and corporations that do business in Canada is fundamental to a healthy and equitable economy.
I want to quickly talk about what is happening when there is a lower-tax environment, something we do when we lower regulations and red tape and allow businesses to thrive in open and free markets. We are seeing that, as I mentioned, in the United States. The last number I saw was that there were 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the United States. Obviously, when that happens, wages go up, which we are seeing that all across the board, unemployment goes down, bonuses are given out and employees are better off than they were before. More money in more people's pockets gives them more options, more choices in their own lives to spend on projects and things they feel are important to them.
When we look at what is going on in Canada, we are almost doing the exact opposite: taxes are going up; red tape and regulations are grabbing onto businesses, they are strangling them; and businesses are looking for options elsewhere. We are already seeing it in the energy sector.
We have lost out on tens of billions of dollars worth of investment because of the government. Investment is fleeing; we are losing jobs, families are worse off than they were before; and we are going in the opposite direction in what most countries are doing, including one of our competitors, the United States. This is important to note because those of us on this side of the House believe that lowering taxes, allowing free markets to weed out bad actors, allowing people to have more choice and freedom in their daily lives is the best way to have a free and open society, like we do here.
With careful consideration of the bill and amendments at committee, these measures would prevent treaty abuse, improve dispute resolution and reduce the incidence of tax avoidance. However, I also laid out another case as well.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I know my friend is a supporter of the free market for the most part and I do appreciate that.
I would point out to him a couple of things. One way to fix that would be a flat tax, which would fix the problem of tax avoidance altogether. This is the place for debate and we can discuss that back and forth.
I would also point out that as investment is currently fleeing this country in tens of billions of dollars in the oil and gas sector, jobs are being lost and opportunities are going south of the border where the environment is more favourable to business.
We are already seeing that the money the Liberal government paid to nationalize the Trans Mountain pipeline, those taxpayer dollars went to the United States to build infrastructure in that country. We continue to fund projects in other countries rather than attract investment to ours. It is totally backward. Do not even get me started with the Asian infrastructure bank, where we are paying to build pipelines in other countries except ours. We did nationalize, which we did not have to do, but that is a discussion for another day.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-09-28 12:09 [p.21990]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my almost neighbour from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for his warm welcome.
Today, we are debating Bill C-82, which does not exactly have the most exciting title in the world but does address an extremely important issue. I am referring to the Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. There may be complicated bills that come before the House, but it is rare to have one with a title that takes up a significant amount of the time we have to debate it.
All joking aside, tax avoidance and tax evasion are key issues. The urgency of dealing with these issues is becoming increasingly evident, not just to us as legislators, but also to Canadians. This may seem like a subject that is not necessarily of interest to the average person. When we go door to door in our ridings, when we have an opportunity to speak with constituents at various events held in our ridings, the income tax act and the tax agreements signed with other countries may seem like issues that are not top of mind. Our constituents are focused on daily life, sending their children to school, looking after their health and managing their own budgets.
The thing that stands out to people is the fundamental inequity of this situation. People pay their taxes and the Canada Revenue Agency chooses to relentlessly go after single mothers who may have simply misunderstood a form or whose situation may have changed—maybe they separated from their child's father for example. I personally know individuals who have gone through shameful situations. I am not sure if my colleagues have had the chance to read the letters that the CRA sends those people. Even as members of the Standing Committee on Finance, I wonder if we would be able to understand the pages and pages of text and wording that is so complicated it has no meaning. We should not have to hire an accountant or, in some cases, a lawyer, because of the actions of an agency that is supposed to be a sound manager of taxpayers' money.
This situation is bad enough, but it is even worse when we consider that CEOs, the wealthiest individuals and unfortunately quite often friends of those in power, benefit from all these exemptions, all these poorly drafted laws, all these agreements that do not go far enough. Unlike the single mother, to continue with that example, they are able to take vacations in Barbados. Then they leave their money there while they are at it. It is unacceptable.
As a society, we cannot accept that. Our collective wealth, the social contract in which we are engaged as citizens of a society by paying taxes, and the work we call on the government to do on our behalf with our money, is one of the most fundamental aspects of our society. When we consider that some people do not want to fulfill this contract, do not want to meet this commitment, then we realize that we have failed somehow. Somewhere the government has failed in one of its basic duties.
These policies, these failures, are opening up a deep, dark gap of inequality between the rich and the not-so-rich. It is odd, because the Prime Minister loves talking about the middle class and those working hard to join it. In reality, when I am in my riding, I do not see a middle class and people working hard to join it. What I see is that certain citizens are honest and hard-working, and others do not need to lift a finger because they know full well that they will always enjoy the favour of the people in power. That is what is deplorable.
In my riding, there are some people who are relatively well off. They are the kind of people the Prime Minister loves to go after and brand as cheats. They are business owners running small and medium-sized companies, and to some people, they may appear to belong to a more privileged class. They have earned a good living and worked very hard on their businesses, but they are not the ones who should be targeted.
There are also people in my riding who struggle to put food on the table and can barely scrape together their rent or mortgage payments. In terms of means and lifestyle, these people could not be further apart. However, they have one thing in common, and it is what motivates me as an MP. They are all honest, and they all believe this:
“A rising tide raises all ships.”
The idea is that we live in a society where the wealth we share should benefit us all. They agree on that. The issue is the wealthiest 1%, which sometimes means literally 1% of the population but sometimes means Liberal Party donors who are friends with the Minister of Finance. They are the ones benefiting from a system that is totally broken.
Let us dig into the substance of the bill. Kudos to the member for Sherbrooke, who has been doing excellent work as our national revenue critic. He is doing amazing work on this extremely complex issue. Some people find this hard to believe, but he is Canada's youngest ever federal MP. His hard work got him re-elected, and he is so up on his issues that he can handle this extremely complicated file.
I also want to give a shout-out to the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, who is doing great work as the NDP's finance critic. That is our job, after all.
We moved a motion in the House in this regard and so did our colleague from Joliette. We are calling on the government to do more and to solve the various problems and failures related the system that I just talked about a few moments ago in my speech.
The bill before us seeks to implement multilateral instruments and to address the fact that some of our agreements with other countries are expiring. These instruments are an important step that will enable to make changes to our multilateral and bilateral agreements more easily.
People need to understand that agreements, accords and conventions that Canada has signed with other countries often exacerbate the problem. We are being told that all of these agreements are being signed to prevent double taxation. For example, a business or individual would have to pay taxes in Canada or another country. However, the legislation and other aspects of the legal framework need to be updated because they facilitate tax evasion and tax avoidance, even though ideally they should not.
We will support the bill because we think it contains good measures that are a step in the right direction. However, let us be clear. Our support for this bill at second reading is not a blank cheque. We are far from supporting the Liberal government's approach, which has failed to date. The fact that we are supporting this bill also does not excuse the fact that the government has not taken action on any of the other issues related to tax evasion and tax avoidance that are of concern to us.
Let us look at subsection 95(1) of the Income Tax Act and section 5907 of the Income Tax Regulations. Dividends from a foreign subsidiary are exempt from taxes in Canada. That means that there are companies that are making a lot of money and they are even doing business with Quebec and Canadian consumers. They are making their money here but inflating their profits because they are exempt from paying taxes in Canada.
Closing loopholes is just a matter of common sense. We are not talking here about companies that do 95% of their business in other countries and 5% in Canada. We are talking about companies that do the opposite. We are basically talking about companies that conduct most of their business in Canada or the United States but that have opened a bank account in another country where they do almost no business at all. That is a major shortcoming, and the government has still not updated the legislation, even though it would have been quite easy to do. The bill that we are debating contains elements related to tax evasion and tax avoidance, but it does nothing to address the relevant aspects of the law.
It is funny, because earlier today, I heard a Liberal member say this has been one of the government's priorities since its first day in office. The Liberals have been in power for three years now, and nothing has been done despite pressure from civil society, prominent members of society, and even some former Liberal Party candidates. So many Quebeckers have called for action on this. We and our colleagues from other parties have been proud to speak on their behalf. Échec aux paradis fiscaux and the non-partisan Réseau pour la justice fiscale Québec are just two great examples of groups that are standing up and speaking out.
Just as an aside, not to be mean, but that is what happens when the 41 Liberal members from Quebec remain silent. When so many groups and individuals in Quebec are speaking up, those MPs come off as being not only silent, but also deaf because they are not getting their constituents' message.
I find it deeply troubling that no party that has ever been in power is blameless in this matter. I have only to come back to the example I mentioned earlier in my question to a Conservative MP. In the last Parliament, during debate on the bill on the free trade agreement with Panama, which was negotiated and signed by the Conservatives, I raised an extremely important point demonstrating that the issue of tax evasion and tax avoidance is nothing new. For years we have been talking about it, and for years the federal government has failed to take the necessary steps that Canadians expect.
To come back to the agreement with Panama, that country is known to be complicit in tax evasion and tax avoidance. The United States can hardly be called progressive, especially in light of recent events, but even they realized that when making free trade deals and opening up their markets to countries like Panama, it was vital to include a formal requirement demanding the return of any government or taxpayer money that had been stashed away by individuals who refuse to meet their obligations to our society. Through that agreement and other measures, the United States managed to recover some of the money, although there is still a lot of work to be done.
However, what has Canada done about this? We only raised the issue without even discussing the problems associated with environmental protection or labour conditions in Panama. We ignored these crucial issues. Even if we focus on just this one element, the government did nothing when we raised the issue.
This is very worrisome because the government keeps telling us that its negotiations will be based on progressive values and that it will discuss reconciliation with indigenous peoples, gender equality and environmental protection. Naturally, I agree with that. After all, the NDP are proud to raise these issues every day in the House of Commons.
However, when we have a progressive agenda, we must also promote fairness. We must take action to eliminate the gap between the friends of those in power, the people who can afford to vacation in Barbados and take their wallets with them, and the honest people working hard in our communities, the rich and the not so rich, business people, single mothers and everyone else who is harassed by the Canada Revenue Agency. That has to stop. I am repeating myself, but I have to.
I can only hope that when the government negotiates these agreements, it will recognize that we must continue on this path and demand better conduct from certain rogue international stakeholders. I may be suffering from misplaced optimism because this government has a bad track record on this.
When the Liberals came to power, they boasted that Canada is back, but what is Canada doing? It is allowing Netflix, Facebook, Google, and American multinational corporations to get away with not paying their fair share of taxes. Then it allows Liberal Party billionaire donors and friends of the Minister of Finance to do the same thing and shirk their obligations to our country. Then it allows environmental delinquents to evade their obligations. We do not even respect our own obligations. In addition, Canada keeps exporting arms to countries like Saudi Arabia. On that, we might say that the Liberals are trying to redeem themselves, according to media reports.
All of this is relevant to the debate on Bill C-82 because the bill talks about a multilateral instrument. If Canada really is back, then it should be showing some leadership in helping countries that want to combat tax evasion, tax avoidance and all the other problems I just listed. Instead, Canada is sheltering delinquent players and prolonging a situation that has existed for far too long.
I would like to explain why all of this is so important in a way that the people at home can understand. I do not mean to be condescending—far from it. When I myself get letters from the Canada Revenue Agency, my first reaction is often to wonder what it is all about. When people get these letters, they sometimes ask their friends if they are going to jail, because they cannot understand them. That is how single mothers, sick people and people with disabilities are treated when they try to claim benefits they are entitled to.
The member for Sarnia—Lambton said that this is criminal. She herself rose in the House of Commons to talk about diabetic people being targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency, which is totally unacceptable. However, the Minister of National Revenue keeps bringing up this $1-billion figure. She keeps talking about money, but unless the law and agreements are changed, we are just throwing money out the window. That is a very apt phrase in this case, because, after all, that is what the rich in our society are doing, and it is all the more laughable because this money is landing well outside the federal government's coffers. That is unacceptable.
I would now like to say a few words to all of my constituents. It is all well and good to debate the fiscal code of conduct and the Income Tax Act, but it is important to recognize that the government has consistently failed when it comes to closing the gap between the rich and the poor. To accomplish that, the government must start with simple, practical measures.
By supporting Bill C-82 at second reading today, I am once again imploring the government to take action to put an end to tax evasion and tax avoidance, which it could have done by supporting the NDP's motion. The government needs to put an end to this injustice, which weighs heavily on the minds of honest Canadians who are trying to live their lives and benefit from a community and from an important social contract under which everyone must contribute their fair share.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2018-09-18 11:09 [p.21460]
Mr. Speaker, as I have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-79 today, I would like to extend my best wishes to people in Edmonton Centre, who are braving the snow and looking forward to a sunny fall before the snow actually stays for the winter.
I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. We are beginning the debate on Bill C-79.
Our government strongly believes that the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, or CPTPP, is the best deal for Canadians and for our economy. The CPTPP is a historic new agreement between Canada and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, namely Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Once it comes into effect, the CPTPP will constitute one of the largest trading blocs in the world, representing close to 500 million people and 13.5% of global GDP. The agreement will generate major economic benefits for Canada thanks to trade with countries like Japan, our fourth-largest trading partner and top source of investment from Asia, and with fast-growing economies like Malaysia and Vietnam.
Today, I would like to speak to how the CPTPP will facilitate foreign investment into Canada and provide protections for Canadians looking to invest in CPTPP markets. Investment at home and abroad is vital for the Canadian economy. Foreign investment contributes to job creation across the country. It also promotes trade by facilitating integration into global value chains, improving access to new technologies and enhancing our competitiveness.
According to economic modelling by Global Affairs Canada, the CPTPP will spur an additional 810 million dollars' worth of investment into Canada, and will encourage increased and diversified Canadian investment throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It will achieve this by creating a predictable investment environment to ensure that investors are treated in a fair and equitable manner in all CPTPP markets. If a company is going to invest its capital abroad, it needs to know that capital is safe and secure and is going to provide a return on investment.
The CPTPP will establish a comprehensive and enforceable set of investment protection provisions. It will provide new, more robust obligations on non-discriminatory treatment of CPTPP businesses and investors. These will benefit Canadian businesses through better protection from expropriation or nationalization without compensation, elimination of unfair requirements on foreign investments that favour domestic industries, and easier transfer of capital and profits to and from the host country.
To ensure that these obligations are observed by all member countries, the CPTPP also introduces and includes a fair and impartial mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, is an important component of international trade and investment agreements. With an ISDS mechanism in place, Canadian investors will have greater confidence that they will be treated in a fair and transparent manner in other CPTPP markets. It will also provide an impartial means to resolve any investment-related disputes in the event that specific obligations under the CPTPP are breached by a government. Such protections will help facilitate two-way investment by providing a transparent and predictable investment-friendly environment.
The agreement, once implemented, will encourage Canadian companies to look to fast-growing markets across the CPTPP region to grow their businesses. It will encourage investment in Canada and CPTPP countries. It will also connect Canadians with partner investors and businesses in new markets, and help our businesses further integrate into global supply chains. In doing so, it will create new opportunities and generate jobs for Canada.
It is important to emphasize that while the CPTPP's ISDS rules will help protect Canadian investors abroad and serve to attract foreign investment to Canada, the rules outlined in the CPTPP will also preserve the Government of Canada's right to regulate to achieve legitimate policy objectives. Under the CPTPP, Canada has taken certain exemptions to CPTPP obligations that allow continued policy flexibility to regulate in the public interest in sensitive areas such as health, education, indigenous affairs, culture, fisheries and certain transportation services.
Foreign investors in Canada and all the other CPTPP nations will be required to follow the same laws and regulations as Canadian investors, including laws and regulations aimed at protecting the environment and maintaining high workplace health and safety standards.
The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, or ISDS, gives investors a way to resolve disputes without resorting to the national justice system of the host nation, but it is not a blank cheque. Damages could only be recovered if specific requirements under the agreement were violated. The ISDS tribunals would never have the power to nullify government decisions or laws. They would only be authorized to grant investors compensation for damages resulting from violations of the treaty.
By suspending certain ISDS provisions that were included in the original TPP, the CPTPP ensures that the ISDS complies with Canada's standard, balanced approach to investment obligations in free trade agreements.
This reflects the concerns that were heard from Canadians through extensive consultations, and I am proud to say that the CPTPP gets ISDS right.
To reiterate, CPTPP will not prevent Canada from protecting the environment or maintaining or enhancing labour, health, and safety standards. In short, it will allow us to continue promoting the values that Canadians cherish, which are the values that make us Canadian.
I would like to highlight for residents of Edmonton Centre, and for all Albertans, that this CPTPP is one of the most comprehensive trade agreements that our country will enter into. It comprises 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Once approved, it will open up a market of an additional 500 million consumers, resulting in 40% of the world economy being able to trade with us when we add in CETA, NAFTA and South Korea. This demonstrates our commitment to opening up new markets. It is an important agreement because it will eliminate over 95% of tariff lines, representing over 98% of total trade and over 99% of Canada's exports.
I want to highlight the importance of this for Alberta industry and Edmonton companies. Let us take a look at the agriculture provision.
When CPTPP enters into force, more than three-quarters of agriculture and agri-food products will benefit from immediate duty-free treatment, with tariffs on many other products to be phased out gradually. This means new market access opportunities for Canadian pork, beef, pulses, fruit and vegetables, malt, grains, cereals, animal feeds, maple syrup, wines and spirits, and then processed grain and pulse products as well. All of these products hail from my province of Alberta.
Let us take a look at industrial goods. Under the agreement, 100% of tariffs on industrial goods and consumer products will be eliminated. The majority of Canadian industrial goods exported to CPTPP countries will be duty-free immediately upon the entry into force of the agreement, with most remaining tariffs on industrial goods to be eliminated within 10 years. That is also good for Alberta and Edmonton businesses.
On forestry and value-added wood products, CPTPP will eliminate tariffs on all Canadian exports of forestry and value-added wood products. Many will enter into force immediately, while others will be phased out over 15 years.
With regard to services, our economy is diversifying in Alberta. Many companies in my own city of Edmonton will love the provision in CPTPP that will provide more secure access through greater transparency and predictability in the dynamic CPTPP region.
I would like us to think about professional sectors like engineering, architecture and those related to environment and mining. My riding of Edmonton Centre alone is headquarters to the seventh-largest engineering and design firm in the world, Stantec, and one of the world's largest construction companies, Poole Construction Limited, known as PCL. This is the kind of free trade deal that allows these companies, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, to continue expanding around the world.
In terms of government procurement, this agreement will provide more transparency and opportunity for companies in my hometown of Morinville, in St. Albert and in Edmonton to compete on the global stage. It is what we promised Canadians during the campaign. It is what our government has been doing. It is what we will continue to do: opening up markets, creating jobs, and growing the Canadian economy.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2018-09-18 12:06 [p.21468]
Mr. Speaker, the CPTPP includes investor-state provisions that will allow investors to sue Canada for regulating in the public interest on issues like health and the environment. Why does the member support an agreement with such harmful provisions? Maybe he could elaborate on that.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the issue of the provisions the hon. member refers to is quite clear. If we have a free trade agreement, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure that measures are followed. That is why, for example, in the NAFTA negotiations, we are calling for the same thing from the United States, namely to protect the impartial mechanisms that are used to assess requests from companies, individuals and governments. I do not understand what makes the NDP think we can have free trade agreements without a mechanism to ensure that measures are followed. In the meantime, it is clear that the NDP does not support any free trade agreement.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2018-09-18 16:59 [p.21511]
Madam Speaker, my colleague from Foothills and I are both Albertans. We are both very much cognizant of how much trade matters to our province. Going back to last spring, the headline in the Financial Post is “Foreign direct investment in Canada plunges to its lowest level in years".
Is there any hope in the TPP agreement that resources from western Canada can get to these markets should the federal government find its way to actually get one of the three pipeline tidewater projects that it inherited built?
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2018-09-18 17:00 [p.21512]
Madam Speaker, there are opportunities for our energy products from western Canada to be part of the TPP, but unfortunately, our problem is that the infrastructure is not in place because the Liberals have done such a poor job of this. They like to say that we built no pipelines at tidewater but that is not the case. We built four major pipelines including part of the line 9 reversal, which includes additional capacity to tidewater.
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
2018-09-18 17:00 [p.21512]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak on the subject of trade again. In the 21 years I have been in Parliament I have spoken on numerous occasions on our country's trade agenda. It is critically important, we all know. We are a small population with large natural resources, so foreign trade is extremely important for us.
In the early days, our trade with the U.S.A. was very high. We had a great trade relationship with the U.S.A. with our integrated economies. At that time we were in the opposition and we had a Liberal government in power. The Liberals talk about their trade agenda today, but they moved very slowly. At the time of prime ministers Chrétien and Martin, they did not sign too many trade agreements. They talked a lot about it, but they did not sign any meaningful trade agreements.
Also, during that period of time the NDP was expressing some concern. Let us be very clear. The NDP has always opposed any trade agreement.
Then we recognized the fact that Canada needed to open up its markets and not rely on one market. Henceforth, our government's efforts were directed toward that, with the help of the department of foreign trade and foreign affairs. We have some very excellent public service officers who have had extreme experience in negotiating trade deals. They are non-partisan, and look after the interests of Canada. I want to make that point very clearly, because this government is trying to put their work down as if the public servants in the departments do not know what is good for Canada. The fact of the matter is, when our Conservative government came into power it realized that we needed to push this agenda very strongly. As my colleague has stated about the number of trade agreements we signed, let us not forget how many FIP agreements we signed around the world as well, because FIPA is the first step in going into international trade. The member for Abbotsford, who led the file, worked extremely hard to ensure the groundwork was laid. Let us make it very clear that the groundwork was laid by the Conservatives.
The groundwork for CETA was laid by our government. The groundwork for TPP was laid by our government. NAFTA was, again, the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney. As we go forward, the groundwork for all trade agreements was done by the Conservatives.
Sure enough, when we changed government, the Liberals now recognize that these trade agreements are important. However, as usual, trying to please everyone, they do not look at the bigger picture and were more concerned with other agendas, and less for trade. It was only after the president of the U.S.A. started saying he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA, and with so many conditions, that we now face a situation where we need new markets. Suddenly, the Liberals have woken up. We cannot forget the Prime Minister leaving the other leaders waiting in Vietnam for them to talk about TPP. All the other leaders were there.
We get an idea of what the Liberals are talking about in changing the TPP. We had been negotiating with the same governments for a long period of time. Do they think they have suddenly changed and have started accepting what the Liberal government is trying to say, and that the markets have changed in the TPP? That is nonsense. They have their position. Even though they are tinkering to make it look like it is a Liberal agenda, it was our government that laid the groundwork, and as far as it is concerned, it is delayed again.
With the Trans Mountain pipeline now dropped, getting our resources to tidewater has been delayed and the impact on the economy is very strong. Now we see no pipeline to tidewater, no oil going out, and NAFTA now under challenge.
Now, suddenly, the Liberals have woken up and are saying they need TPP. Before that, if these things had not happened, the government's lacklustre agenda on trade would have been moving very slowly. Therefore, today I will say very clearly that I am very glad to have spoken in the House for 21 years on trade promotion for Canada, and to be the last speaker on this so that we can get this thing going very quickly. We need it implemented so we can get Canadian businesses working.
Indeed, the NDP will always voice concerns about it and talk about job losses. However, the great part of the whole thing is that when the economy moves forward collectively, everybody gains. Even though there might be a slight change in a sector, they will gain over the long term. If we contract our market, then the loss of jobs is far higher than we can anticipate.
Talking about farmers, my colleague sitting next to me is a successful farmer in Alberta, and he is also looking for markets to sell his crop. Therefore, when the NDP members say that the farmers are very worried, I can say that my colleague sitting next to me who is a farmer is not worried. He is looking for the opportunity that will allow him to sell his grain on the world market. This is what Canadian businesses are looking for. Therefore, let us look at the larger picture of what is important for this country. It is important for this country to have good trade agreements, so that Canadian businesses have a level playing field with other countries.
Trade agreements make level playing fields. As we see with China, we have an unlevel playing field. China has its own rules, which are not compatible with ours, and this is why the Chinese are not very keen. Neither were we, as the Conservative government, keen on opening free trade with China, because we have different regulations and systems. However, with other countries, and now with the opening market of Japan and all of these countries, we are looking at the growing economies of the world. We should be part of this growth, so that Canadians can benefit with jobs, jobs, jobs. Therefore, we need a collective approach from the government so that we can move forward.
I have to say one thing. I want to tell you guys here to wake up and smell the—
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dean Allison Profile
2018-09-17 12:20 [p.21371]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome my hon. colleague to the role as the new Minister of International Trade Diversification.
I have a couple of questions for the minister. I want to point out that this party and its leader said in June that we would pass the bill at all stages so we could move forward on this initiative. It was also this party and its leader who said that we would come back in the summertime and move forward on this. It was also this party, under the former leadership, which had strong chapters on environment and labour, which remain virtually unchanged with the CPTPP.
I did read the article on the port of Montreal receiving 20% more, and we see that trade is up 12%. The challenge is that exports are only up 1% to CETA countries, to European countries.
Given the fact that the minister talks about certainty and the best place to do business, the challenge we have right now is around regulation and red tape. It is around getting some types of rules in place so people understand and can invest in energy, etc. in our country.
What will the government do to show the world that we are a predictable and reliable place to invest in?
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Jim Carr Profile
2018-09-17 12:21 [p.21371]
Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working with the member to ensure the bill can move as expeditiously as possible through the House of Commons and the other place.
The hon. member knows that in order to have expedited processes, unanimous consent of all parties of the House is required. This was not possible, and he knows that. However, I take it from his very constructive intervention that he will work with us to ensure the process is as smooth as it can be, and we both undertake to have serious conversations with our counterparts on the other side of the House to ensure the bill moves as fast as we know the Canadian people want it to move.
The member also knows that we have taken many steps to ensure the regulatory process is more clear, that the timelines are predictable and that investors understand at the front end precisely what is involved in the process. We think that is a step forward. We hope that for many years to come it will serve the people of Canada.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2018-09-17 12:26 [p.21372]
Mr. Speaker, it is great to back in the chamber, this place of democracy in Canada.
I listened intently to the minister's speech. One of the things I heard over the summer was about the business climate in Canada, particularly in northern Alberta, Peace River—Westlock, the riding I come from, where we are seeing mass amounts of capital fleeing the province of Alberta and Canada. I know the government wants to use this to say that Canada is open for business. What is the government's plan to ensure we can get some of these major energy projects up and running again, particularly in northern Alberta?
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