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View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-04-12 12:58 [p.27064]
Mr. Speaker, I am going to be sharing my time today with my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent. For those who are watching at home and who may be quickly bored by my speech, if they hang in there for 10 minutes, they will hear a much better speech after by my colleague.
I am very pleased to join the debate today on the Liberal budget. The Liberals have presented what I call a Dr. Strangelove budget or, in this case, “How I stopped worrying and learned to love the debt”. That is what the government wants Canadians to believe: “Do not worry, we can continue to spend forever. Do not worry, the economy will grow forever. No recession will ever happen again. Do not worry, we can rack up debt to the very end of time and it will not be a problem. Do not worry about about interest payments. Do not worry about the fact that our interest payments are growing from this fiscal year of $26 billion and to $33.2 billion per year in just a four-year period.”
That is $149 billion that we are going to be paying, transferred out of the pockets of taxpayers to rich bondholders on Bay Street, just over a five-year period. It will be $149 billion. In the fourth year, 2023, it is going to be $33.2 billion. Now, that is more than we spend per year in EI payments. That is more than we pay out in the child benefit program. That is more than we pay out for national defence.
Here we are with the Liberal priority of paying off rich Bay Street bankers and bondholders instead of defence, instead of families and instead of those on EI. To put it in perspective, with that money, the Liberals could pay for 2,750 refrigeration units for the Weston family. Let us think about that. The Liberals could also provide their own billionaire island for every single cabinet minister, so they could go to their island and not worry about violating the ethics laws. Liberal ministers could go to their own billionaire island and not worry about being invited by a paid lobbyist.
“Do not worry” is what the Liberals are saying. Do not worry about the declining productivity rate that Canadians are suffering through. Do not worry about disappearing foreign investment.
That is one thing I do worry about, though. We see foreign investment fleeing Canada. We see the oil industry devastated, $100 billion fleeing to the States. We see the Liberals giving Kinder Morgan $4.5 billion to take out of the country and invest in pipelines in the States. Who do we see interested in investing in Canada, which the Liberals are only too happy to see? It is Huawei. We see Anbang investing in Canada, thanks to the Liberal government. We see the Chinese Communist government-controlled CCCC construction firm trying to buy out local Canadian infrastructure companies. The Liberals are all willing to invest in Canada but not regular people.
“Do not worry,” say the Liberals. Do not worry about the fact that the debt is going to rise to over three-quarters of a billion dollars over the next five years. That is not including Crown corporations. When we throw in the Crown corporations, it is well over a trillion dollars of debt that Canadians are going to be carrying. This money has to be worrying, but “Do not worry. Stop worrying. Learn to love it,” is what the Liberals are saying.
Canadians are worried. We sent out a request to my constituents, asking for their response, asking what they think of the debt and if they feel they are further ahead than when the Liberals took over. This is what they are saying. This is not the made-up information that is in the budget, such as “Billy went to buy an electric vehicle and got a handout from the government.” These are real Canadians, real people living in Edmonton West, and this what they are saying.
Elmer wrote in and said, “It's worse off and it's not improving. They are so concerned about the ramifications of Oshawa's GM plant closing. What about Alberta? We've had no oil revenue and, therefore, severe unemployment problems for over three years, but I have not seen any concern about Alberta's unemployment situation.”
We used to have four Liberal members of Parliament. We have not had any of them stand up, supporting Alberta. We had four MPs in Liberal Party from Alberta, which are now down to three because of a scandal. We used to have two in the cabinet and now we are down to one, again, because of a scandal.
The member for Calgary Centre stood up and publicly stated that he would pound his fist on the desk at the cabinet table to make sure pipelines were built. What has happened? Absolute crickets from the member, he has done nothing.
The natural resources minister is based in Edmonton in the riding of Edmonton Mill Woods. What has he done for Alberta? Absolutely nothing.
In the budget, $27 million are provided for the diversification of the western economy and there are $100 million for oil and gas support. What did the Liberals put aside for subsidies so wealthy people could buy electric vehicles? Almost half a billion dollars. Even though the Minister of Natural Resources is from Edmonton Mill Woods in Alberta, only $27 million have been provided for diversification.
What about the member for Edmonton Centre? I asked him for his thoughts on the no new pipeline bill, Bill C-69. I asked him about the offshore tanker ban that did not ban tankers, just Alberta oil. I also asked him about all of the Liberals' other punitive policies against Alberta. He stood and said that he was proud of them. He was proud to push through Bill C-69, which ensures we will not see a single new energy project ever again in Alberta. He was proud that our oil was banned on the west coast, while we happily bring in oil from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. This is shameful.
I received a letter from a lady named Holly, who was asked if she was better off. She said, “Seriously? Can anyone be better off? We lost our small business of 20 years. We paid our taxes and paid our staff. The bank took our house, which guaranteed our small business loan, which we hadn't missed a payment on. All of our employees, including four family members, are all out of work. We are jobless and homeless, and the government just keeps on destroying the economy.”
Let us remember back to a couple of years ago when the Prime Minister was in Calgary and confronting these things. His comment was, “Just hang in there.” People like Holly cannot just hang in there. The government's policies are destroying the livelihoods and hope of people living in Alberta.
Brian writes, “Worse off—I live in subsidized housing in Edmonton—the cost of living has gone up a great deal but not our income. We all got a raise from the Alberta Government, not even $2. 30% of that goes to my apartment cost, so what did I get? We got a carbon tax—30% of that went to our apartment cost. Anything we get, 30% goes to the cost of our apartment.”
The Government members stand again and again, as they did just recently, to note the Liberals' $40-billion national housing program. Apparently, it is $50 billion now. The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, or IFSD, which is headed by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, has looked for this money. It writes that the Liberals', “NHS looks like” nothing except a “glossy document that accompanied its announcement....unfortunately, for now, the NHS is virtually nowhere to be seen in the federal fiscal framework.”
With respect to the Liberals' $40 billion, the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary responsible for this both stood to say that the Liberals housed one million people. They actually told people this. That was until the Toronto Star, the prophet of North America, said this was not true and that the number was actually 13,000. The Liberals' own department results showed it was 13,000 and the Liberals claimed it was one million. However, they say, as they just did now, this is worth $50 billion.
The IFSD said that it could only find $1.3 billion budgeted in the first five years and $5.1 billion budgeted over 10 years.
As a last comment, I would like to note comments by a man named Helmut. He said, “Worse than a year ago. As a senior on income security, the provision is not keeping pace with high rise in expenses....”
This is what we are hearing from Canadians when we talk to them. They are barely treading water. They are not getting ahead, as generations have before them. Every time they take a step forward, the government drags them back two steps, whether it is done with the carbon tax, taking away other tax credits or pushing up debt, which pushes up interest rates. Canadians are not getting ahead.
On Tuesday, when Jason Kenney becomes premier of Alberta, we will take our first steps toward fixing the problems in Alberta. On October 21, we will take the next step, when we turf the government and bring back a Conservative government.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-06-12 22:48 [p.20803]
Madam Speaker, if only the Liberals were as efficient in governing as they are in skullduggery around such issues, Canada would be a much better place.
My colleague brings up some very valuable points. The U.S. treasury department is, right now, investigating Russian interference in its energy industry. Russia views the U.S. and Canada as major energy competitors. Without its energy industry, Russia would be bankrupt, so it is against the interests of the U.S. and Canada to grow their energy industries. Russia is funnelling money, as the U.S. treasury department says, into Tides U.S.A. Tides U.S.A. sends its money to Tides Canada, which then funnels it to Leadnow, which campaigns on behalf of the Liberal government of Canada.
Now the government is introducing Bill C-76 that will open the floodgates for more foreign money coming into Canada and Bill C-69 would also allow equal standing for radical environmentalists from the U.S., Russian activists, and a Canadian appearing before the regulatory regime.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2017-10-30 17:27 [p.14701]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to discuss Bill C-49.
However, before I get to the meat of the bill, I want to quote from liberal.ca/realchange, which says, “We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny. Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals.” It goes on to say, “We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.” However, what do we have before us? Like budget bills and others before it, the Liberals have introduced an omnibus bill.
In the bill, there are air passenger rights, with subsections on liberalized international ownership rules; joint ventures between air carriers; increased access to security screening services; rail initiatives with subsections under locomotive voice and video recorders; freight rail policy framework; and another area under marine initiatives that includes items such as would amend the Coasting Trade Act and the Canada Marine Act to permit Canada port authorities to access Canada Infrastructure Bank loans and loan guarantees to support investments in key enabling infrastructure.
We also know the infrastructure bank was introduced in a different omnibus bill. Ironies of ironies, the Liberals put time allocation on this omnibus bill after promising to never do either. The Liberals said that they would never be so cynical as to introduce omnibus bills and they were so sure they would never use them that they made it a campaign promise to show Canadians they were so different from Stephen Harper. With this broken promise, it once again shows that the student has become the master.
While I am on broken promises, I will review some of the other broken promises of the government, such as a revenue-neutral middle-class tax cut. The Liberals said this tax cut would pay for itself by increasing taxes on the wealthiest. Unfortunately, it has not. The tax cut is costing all Canadians $1.2 billion annually from the federal treasury. It is like borrowing against a line of credit and saying we just got wealthier, but it is not.
The Liberals promised modest deficits. They said that annual deficits would be just $10 billion a year, but they blew that out of the water pretty fast. Even with the economy doing well, the Liberal deficit will still be almost 100% higher than they had promised. They promised balance budgets. They said the budget would be balanced, probably balancing itself, with a $1-billion surplus in 2019-20. Now we know they will not commit to a balanced budget ever.
The Liberals promised revenue-neutral carbon pricing. They said the plan would be revenue neutral for the federal government, but we know that is not true because they are charging GST on the provincial carbon taxes, which is expected to cost Albertans and British Columbians almost a quarter of a billion dollars over two years.
On electoral reform, we were famously told that the 2015 election would be the very last using the first past the post balloting system. On this side, we have always said that if the government is going to fundamentally change the way citizens elect their government, there should be a referendum. Therefore, I am not that sad to see this promise broken, but it still shows a pattern.
The Liberals make promises to get elected and then throw the promises under the bus faster than, say, the revenue minister threw Revenue Canada employees under the bus over her mess-up with taxing minor employee benefits.
The government promised an open and transparent government. This one is an omnibus of broken promises.
I will read from the mandate letters to ministers, which state, “You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments”. Here are some of the merit-based appointments. The former chair of the Liberal election campaign in Ontario was appointed to an ambassador role. A failed Liberal nomination candidate was appointed to the VIA Rail board. Another failed Liberal candidate, who already said she would run again, was appointed as the director of the Hamilton Port Authority. A Liberal described as a friend of Gerry Butts, who ran twice for the Liberals unsuccessfully, was given a plum government position in San Francisco at double—yes, double—the official pay scale.
The finance minister's mandate letter includes this doozy, “your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.” Here we have the finance minister, who, before entering politics, lobbied for a change in the pension system that would benefit his company, Morneau Shepell. What did he do after he was elected and became the country's top financial regulator? He sponsored the very bill he lobbied for before entering politics, but excuses it by saying he was following the letter of the law.
There is also the failed Access to Information Act we debated just recently. The Information Commissioner herself said that she was very disappointed with the act, that it was being used as a shield against transparency, and that it was failing to meet its policy objectives to foster accountability and trust in our government.
I will now move on to Bill C-49. It is unfortunate the government has once again chosen to break its promise and presented yet another omnibus bill to the House.
Bill C-49 is like a game of three card monte. That is where the dealer shows that one of the cards is the target card and then rearranges the cards quickly to confuse the player about which card is which. Except in the case of Bill C-49, instead of the queen of hearts, the minister is presenting the passenger bill of rights as the target. He hides the flaws and omissions of the bill under the guise of passenger protection, referring constantly to the much-reported United Airlines incident where someone was dragged from the plane, as if something like that had happened here.
He also tries to pretend that government regulation is what is needed to prevent those situations in Canada. We all have our own horror stories of airline travel. What would address this issue is not half-hearted regulations, but more competition.
Changing the foreign ownership limit to 49%, up from 25%, is a good start, but why limit it at all? If we want improved service and other issues, then open up the market to more competition. We saw how this worked when WestJet entered the market. Nothing has done more to force better pricing and service from airlines across the country than having WestJet expand across Canada.
Why not focus on this, instead of measures that are rolled out populist-style to take advantage of consumer sentiment influenced by a viral video.
A University of Toronto report has found that relative to Americans, we often pay between 50% and 100% more for comparable travel between Canadian cities. Various expert reviews of the airline industry, including by the Competition Bureau, have recommended allowing a right of establishment for foreign carriers on domestic routes to put pressure on our airlines to improve.
The airlines might argue that foreign carriers would only operate on lucrative routes. However, Canadian carriers are under no obligation to fly to money-losing destinations currently, and there is no proof that the airlines are presently cross-subsidized to operate otherwise unprofitable routes.
One of the problems of this part of the bill is that it amends the Canada Transportation Act with regard to joint ventures, taking away decision-making authority from the Commissioner of Competition, and places the power in the hands of the minister. Yes, giving the minister the power to interfere for political reasons is just what is needed to improve airline service and lower rates—said no one ever.
The CAA, the Canadian Automobile Association, notes that the Bill C-49 relies on a complaint from a passenger in order to trigger action. The Canadian Transportation Agency cannot initiate domestic investigations on its own. Advocates and organizations can not intervene and each complaint is handled as a one-off, adding time and delays.
It is worth noting that the CTA was able to initiate hearings into the recent infamous Air Transat situation only because it concerned an international flight. The CTA would not have the authority, even under Bill C-49, to decide itself to hold a hearing into a similar situation if the flight occurred within Canada. Nor would the CTA be able to examine any broader systemic issues the CTA might note that did not come from a specific complaint and would have to ask the minister for permission to investigate them.
Noted passenger rights advocate, Gabor Lukacs, says the bill is “smoke, mirrors and has no teeth”, and contains no provisions about the enforcement of rights of the passengers. He says, “This strikes me as an an attempt to shield airlines from complaints and further prevent the public from ensuring their right.”:
He says that Bill C-49 contains no provisions about the enforcement and that it passes the buck to the Canadian Transportation Agency to establish standards at some point in the future. What we need is more competition, not relatively toothless regulations basically responding to a United Airlines' video that went viral.
We do not need regulations that will increase airport costs and thus ticket costs, which will happen as airports expand screening services and are permitted to independently decide how to cover costs. We all know how that will end: with consumers paying more.
There is quite a few other issues on this bill. We would have preferred that it be broken up into several bills to address.
It is unfortunate that once again the government is hiding poor legislation in an omnibus bus, and Canadians will be the poorer for it.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2017-02-13 13:37 [p.8834]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-30 to implement the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union and its member states.
Before I start, I would like to pass my thanks on to my colleagues, the member for Abbotsford, the member for Battlefords—Lloydminster, and former Prime Minister Harper, for their hard work in bringing this about.
I want to start with the obvious. Trade is good. Trade makes markets better. Trade lowers prices for consumers and gives them more options. Trade does not make life better just for wealthy Canadians; it makes life better for all Canadians.
I am always proud to stand in this House to defend agreements and legislation that make life better for Canadians. I spoke to Bill C-30 at second reading back in November. In that speech, I spoke to four points about why I am supporting the agreement. I want to expand on a few of them today.
First, as I mentioned, trade is good for Canada. A more competitive market means Canadians have access to the best products, at the best prices. Lowering or eliminating tariffs on goods that we import for our own consumption means that the price we pay for these goods will drop.
Again, I will always stand up to defend policies that lower prices for my constituents, and for all Canadians.
Trade agreements help Canadians from both perspectives: consumers benefit when we have lower prices and producers benefit when they can have greatly expanded markets to sell their goods.
Farmers in Alberta can now sell their products to not only people in Ontario, Quebec, and B.C., but once CETA passes, basically duty-free to Belgians, Germans, the French, and every other country signatory to this agreement. The EU represents some 500 million people, with almost $20 trillion in economic activity. The EU's imports alone are worth more than our entire GDP.
If we want our producers to grow, we must ensure they can access newer, bigger, and hungrier markets. When our producers have more customers, they need more workers to fill that demand. I do not think I have to remind members in this House that we could use a few extra jobs in Alberta right now.
CETA is projected at a $12-billion annual increase to our economy. I know $12 billion can be an abstract number, but a $12-billion increase is equivalent to adding $1,000 to the average family income each and every year, or 80,000 jobs.
Some of those jobs will help my constituents in Edmonton West and the constituents of colleagues across Alberta.
CETA will help Alberta grow, access new markets for our goods, and will help Albertans access products at lower prices.
For our producers, the EU is already Alberta's fourth-largest export destination and our third-largest trading partner. The EU currently imports over $2 trillion annually, of which Alberta makes up $1.4 billion. We have just .07% of the European market. We have plenty of room to grow. Alberta's main exports to the EU include high-value items as well as resources, such as nickel, turbo-propellers and other machinery, cereals, medical instruments, cobalt, electrical machinery, mineral fuel and oil, services, wood pulp, inorganic chemicals, meat, animal feed, grains, seed, fruit, plastic, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, beverages, iron and steel products, and animal products.
For our consumers, nearly 100% of all non-agricultural products will be duty-free and nearly 94% of all agricultural products will be duty-free.
Once in force, CETA would eliminate tariffs on almost all of Alberta's exports and enable Alberta's job creators access to new market opportunities in the EU. Eliminating tariffs on almost of all of our exports means we would have more competitive pricing to offer to the more than 500 million new customers. It is like moving our lemonade stand from a neighbourhood street corner to Times Square. The potential for us is enormous.
CETA would also provide Alberta exporters with a competitive advantage over exporters from other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the EU. That is like moving our lemonade stand from the neighbourhood street corner to Times Square where our competitor is stuck in a location with no traffic and higher costs.
On the day CETA's provisions enter force, 98% of Canadian goods would be duty-free. For agriculture and agrifood products, almost 94% of EU tariffs on Canadians goods would be eliminated, rising to 95% once all phase-outs are complete. This duty-free access would give Canadian agricultural goods, including beef, pork, and bison, preferential access to the European market.
I know some of my colleagues have this stereotypical image that Albertans are all ranchers and cowboys. I hate to play into that stereotype, but I cannot pass up this opportunity to remind the House how important beef is to the Albertan economy and what CETA means to this. According to the CBC, because of CETA, Canada is poised to supply about 1% of all the beef needs in Europe under this new pact. That would mean $600 million for Alberta, $600 million in new business, $600 million in new jobs.
As well, the following industries in Alberta would benefit. The first one is metals and minerals. Alberta's metals and minerals sectors include natural gas, conventional oil, coal, minerals, and the oil sands. More specifically, Alberta's metal refinery and mineral sector is a foundational industry that allows for infrastructure development as well as energy and natural resource production in Alberta. It generated 28% of the province's total GDP in 2011, and employs more than 181,000 Albertans, creating employment opportunities that provide some of the highest earnings in the Alberta economy. Exports of metals and minerals currently face tariffs as high as 10%.
There is agriculture and agrifood. Alberta has more than 50,000 farms with crop and livestock production. They produce an abundance of world-class agriculture commodities. The agriculture and agrifood sector employs nearly 76,000 Albertans and contributes 2.5% to the GDP. Between 2010 and 2012, the exports of agriculture products to the EU suffered tariffs of over $35 million. That is $35 million that can be reinvested in the economy, jobs, and productivity improvement.
There are forest products. The forest products sector employs nearly 19,000 Albertans and represents a significant component of the economy. Forest product exports to the EU average $62 million and face up to a 10% tariff right now. These barriers would be eliminated under CETA.
There is advanced manufacturing. Alberta's advanced manufacturing industry employs more than 28,000 people. Between 2010 and 2012, Alberta's exports of advanced manufacturing products to the EU averaged a quarter of a billion dollars, which face tariffs as high as 22%. Industrial machinery, one of Alberta's key advanced manufacturing exports to the EU, faces tariffs of up to 8%.
Alberta is a major producer of chemicals and plastics. It employs 11,000 Albertans, an important part of exports to the EU, with exports averaging just under $100 million a year. These exports currently face tariffs of up to 6.5%. Again, these would be eliminated.
In addition to beef and agriculture products, CETA would also provide for increases in eligible trade for products with high sugar content. This stipulation would enable a company like PepsiCo, which has a large bottling facility in Edmonton's west end as well as other parts of Alberta, to continue to ship its products abroad and find new customers in new markets duty free. The stipulation for sugary products would also help local Edmonton start-ups, such as JACEK Chocolate Couture, which opened in Sherwood Park last year, and has now expanded into Canmore as well as downtown Edmonton. It will help it to hire new employees and reach a massive new market base.
CETA will open up markets for our burgeoning alcoholic beverage companies, which products are very well known to members of the Alberta Conservative caucus. There are over 50 breweries in Alberta, including favourites like Big Rock, Alley Kat, and Yellowhead. There are distilleries like Eau Claire Distillery, which makes gin and vodka from only local Alberta grains, and Park Distillery, based in Banff, that makes a vodka with glacial waters from the Rockies.
Closer to my home in Edmonton, there is Red Cup Distilling in Vegreville. I am wearing the button today supporting Vegreville. There is also the Big Rig Craft Distillery in Nisku, by the Edmonton airport, where people can get brum, which is basically rum made with sugar beets instead of sugar cane. I want to note it is called brum and not rum, so as not to run afoul with the rum lobby. If the all-powerful rum lobby is watching on CPAC today, please note I called it a brum and not a rum.
Edmonton is home to many head offices of world-class companies that are said to grow, compete, and win with access to this huge new market. PCL Construction has finished Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton, the finest hockey and event arena in the entire world. Stantec engineering, Booster Juice, and Weatherford are all based in Edmonton.
Edmonton is also renowned for its start-up culture, and many new enterprises will benefit from increased access to markets and added IP protection. TappCar is a ride-share company that has gained ground by working with municipal governments rather than circumventing local laws. Drizly is an app that arranges liquor deliveries. Should it expand to the Parliament Hill area, I am sure that sales will spike massively. My wife's personal favourite is Poppy Barley shoes, which has grown from a small, shared office space downtown to Edmonton's famous Whyte Avenue, with pop-ups in Toronto.
Edmonton also boasts having three of the top fifteen start-up companies in Canada, as named by Metabridge. The first is LoginRadius, which does customer analytics and serves over 1,000 businesses worldwide. There is Mover, a company that handles cloud file migration. The third company is Showbie, which helps teachers, schools, and students get connected across technology platforms.
Edmonton's bread-and-butter business, the oil and gas sector, stands to benefit tremendously from CETA by increasing market access to our oil and gas products. The Prime Minister wants to phase out oil and gas, but CETA represents a grand opportunity for Canada's job-creating and economic-driving industry to capitalize on new customers.
Supplier diversification is one of the European Union's top energy priorities. Currently Russia has 31% of the EU's oil and gas import market share, making it first. Canada has just 1% of the market share, placing us 26th. It is well known that Russian President Putin uses his country's oil and gas reserves as a weapon. Given that Russia supplies almost one-third of the EU's oil and gas, this position is strong. The EU needs to diversify, wants to diversify, and Alberta has plenty to offer. Not only will this create wealth and jobs in Alberta and the rest of Canada, it will help to free Europe from the bullying and blackmail of the Russian president and deprive him of his desperately needed revenues that he uses to threaten our democratic allies. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper famously told Putin to get out of Ukraine. CETA will help us get him out of Europe's oil and gas business.
As CETA reduces and eliminates tariffs across the board for oil and gas products, Canada and Alberta are well poised to fill the gap and become a crucial energy ally. This is an opportunity that we should not pass up, and frankly cannot pass up. The government may perhaps one day support energy east, and then we can ship Alberta oil to Quebec and New Brunswick for refining and stop sending jobs and billions of dollars to despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia.
Beyond energy, free trade helps foster greater co-operation between our democratic allies. We strongly support international trade initiatives that strengthen the bonds with friendly countries, increase economic productivity, and drive prosperity and job creation.
The world is full of uncertainty, and prior champions of trade and co-operation are retreating. This comes at an unfortunate time for Canada. Our country has the fastest-growing population in the OECD, and the west has the fastest-growing and youngest population in Canada. We have products. We have workers. We have the businesses. We will continue to have more people and more products over the next few years, and we need places to sell these goods.
CETA is an opportunity for us to secure access to the largest single market in the world at a time when other countries are retreating. Not only will this agreement help to give our job creators access to growing and demanding markets, it will give Canadians a head-start advantage over our competitors who are retreating from the global marketplace.
Even after all of these benefits I have discussed and talked about, CETA's detractors argue that the costs outweigh the benefits. They will say that CETA gives too much power to corporations and will allow them to sue governments for compensation if they change policies. The argument is callously thrown around as a holistic and negative point. It is just an assertion.
According to a summary in The Globe and Mail, CETA opens up a new process called the investment court system, or ICS. The ICS essentially acts as a permanent tribunal to handle complaints brought by businesses. Canada and the EU have hailed the ICS as a breakthrough offering a high level of protection for investors while fully preserving the right of governments to regulate and pursue legitimate public policy objectives, such as the protection of health, safety, and our environment.
It is perfectly legitimate for businesses that act in good faith and set up shop in new countries because of a trade agreement to be able to protect themselves from arbitrary changes by the host government. If governments agree to and sign a trade agreement, they agree to be bound by the provisions of that trade agreement with some exceptions. It is unreasonable to make governments the sole power holder in this arrangement.
If we expect companies to come to Canada, to do business in Canada, to create work for Canadians, and create wealth for our country, we must be able to guarantee them some modicum of stability and predictability, or at least grant them some recourse if a future government makes arbitrary changes that violate the provisions of that trade agreement. This is a two-way street, and businesses do not deserve less protection just because they are creating jobs, making investments, and earning profits.
At the same time, it is also important that governments are able to react to changing circumstances and create legislation that is good for Canadians in the event that exceptional circumstances arise. This is why CETA has built in provisions to protect both business and government.
I want to note here that Canadian investment in the EU was almost a quarter of a trillion dollars as of 2014. That is Canadian investment that will also be protected from the whims of a changing political landscape in Europe.
The Consider Canada City Alliance is a partnership with 12 of our largest cities. These cities represent 63% of Canada's GDP and 57% of our population. They work to increase investment in Canada and grow trade opportunities.
Our own highly respected Edmonton Economic Development Corporation is part of this coalition. Michael Darch, president of the CCCA states:
We see Canada moving toward creating the largest trading and investment block in the world. The cities that comprise the Consider Canada City Alliance account for 63% of Canada's GDP fully understand that our economic prosperity is built on global trade and investment....
Modern commerce is much more than moving goods across the borders. It is about financial and knowledge-based consulting services, digital commerce and entertainment, and the freedom of movement for the skilled workers who are creating the 21st century global economy.... CETA addresses these and many more opportunities. Canada is demonstrating leadership in building the agreements necessary to protect our economic future and guarantee access to prosperity for all Canadians.
The Consider Canada Alliance has listed its top five reasons for supporting CETA. Number one is “dollars and sense”. It “will increase Canada-EU trade by 20% and boost Canada's economy by $12 billion...”
Number two is “unparalleled market access”. “Once...CETA comes into force...investors in Canada will have assured preference access to both NAFTA and the EU” with nearly one billion customers combined and a GDP of over $35 trillion.
Number three is “enhanced investor protection”, as I just mentioned. “CETA will provide Canadian and EU investors with greater certainty, transparency and protection for their investments.” Again, I note, Canadians have invested a quarter of a trillion dollars in the EU. That is Canadian investment that will be protected from the whims of a changing landscape in Europe.
Number four is “easing of investment restrictions”. “The net benefit review threshold under the Investment Canada Act will be raised from the current $600 million to $1.5 billion, following CETA's entry into force.”
Number five is that it “signals open trade, not closed borders”. “While populist movements in some developed countries appear to be antagonistic to expanding trade agreements, Canadian cities are welcoming aggressive investment interests from across Europe and around the world during investment missions conducted in partnership with Federal [and provincial] colleagues.”
Again, I repeat, trade is good. Trade lowers prices and enables competitive and valued Canadian businesses to expand, hire new employees, and prosper in a globalized world. Trade helps strengthen ties with our allies. We will always support international initiatives that nurture greater co-operation between Canada and our friends overseas. Free trade allows billions of dollars in Canadian exports to reach new markets and ensures that European goods flow into Canada at competitive prices for our consumers. Free trade will help Alberta's businesses grow and prosper at a time when Alberta needs it most.
I am proud to support this agreement that will help Alberta's small and large businesses, Albertan consumers, Canadian industry, Canadian producers, and that will deepen our long-standing ties between Canada and Europe.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2017-02-13 13:57 [p.8838]
Mr. Speaker, we need dispute resolution to protect companies that are investing in Canada to send a strong signal that Canada is a safe place to invest. We have it seen in Alberta, where the current NDP government is changing rules on long-term investments, and it is driving companies out. Some of our largest job creators have said that they are not going to invest in Alberta anymore. They are moving to Texas because of arbitrary government changes to laws.
Canadians have invested a quarter of a trillion dollars of Canadian wealth in the EU. Our investments in Europe have to be protected from the whims of government changes just as much as we need to protect the money of investors in Canada who are making jobs for Canadians, investing in our infrastructure, and investing in our communities.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2016-11-15 17:26 [p.6780]
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-29, the government's fall budget update.
Nearly two weeks ago, the Minister of Finance rose in the House to deliver a fall economic update to reassure Canadians that no matter what issue they faced, it was a Liberal top priority and it would be taken very seriously.
Unfortunately, it is very cold comfort to the tens of thousands of Canadians who have lost their jobs, have seen their wages fall, and their savings depleted. It is funny that the Liberals, who will say just about anything to win an election and have taken promise breaking to new levels in the past year, are once again asking the House and Canadians to simply trust them, that they know what they are doing.
As an adult, I have learned that people will say anything to get what they want, and this seems like more empty rhetoric. The government is asking us to give it more billions, that it will work out and not worry. It is starting to rank right up there with, “Don't worry, the cheque is in the mail”, and “Dad, get us that new dog. We will walk it and we will pick up after it”. “Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you”. Fool me thrice, now things are just getting silly.
Our world is filled with uncertainty. We live in a time where we simply cannot predict where we will be in five years. However, when faced with high uncertainty, the solution is not to throw cash at various ideas on the off-chance that maybe, just maybe, it might create a job.
Let us look at where we are right now. Since coming to power, the Liberals have turned a comfortable surplus into a bottomless deficit. They have raised taxes, promised to raise more taxes, and misdirected question about raising other taxes. Projects get announced, then delayed, postponed, ignored, swept under the rug. The money gets promised, trumpets are sounded, press releases are sent in a flurry of self-praise, but the shovel does not hit the ground. So far only one project has actually been started. It is like a press release to project ratio of about 100:1 right now. All the while there has not been a single, net, full-time job created in the past year.
When the Minister of Finance delivered his economic update, I was looking for three basic things: how many jobs would be created; what was the plan to return the budget to surplus and pay down the debt; and what was the Liberal plan to increase economic growth? The Minister of Finance did not provide answers. Rather, he simple told Canadians to relax, trust him, he knew what he was doing.
Perhaps members will forgive me for being a tiny bit uneasy about our country's future, given what the government has and has not done in the time it has held its majority, such as ignoring economic data and experts, manipulating data to fit its failed narrative and refusing to back down when it is shown that its strategy is not working.
We live in the best country in the world, and Canadians put their trust in a government that told them to look forward to sunny ways. We are still waiting for the sun to appear, and the horizon does not look much brighter.
Let us look at what the government presented.
First, the Minister of Finance acknowledged how much his government had spent so far, and then laid out how much more he needed to spend, because the first bout of billions had no return. Therefore, let us spend billions more.
He talked about high-minded ideals such as establishing an infrastructure bank, spending money on public transit, and made honourable mention to getting Canadian products to market. These are nice ideas, but they are not new. The government has had the same talking points since day one, and Canadians have not seen a return for the billions of taxpayers dollars spent.
What we actually get are economic growth forecasts downgraded and downgraded some more. We have seen a drop in full-time employment. We have received yet another promise, and been told, yet again, to wait, trust them, they know what they are doing.
The government says that conditions are out of its control, but is it not a little puzzling that a more competitive Canadian dollar, higher oil prices, and a massive jump in government spending has produced such anemic growth? The first plan is not working, and we can probably guess that more of the same will not have a different outcome.
Next, the government talks about “delivering a more open and transparent government” by, among other things, improving “clarity on government spending”. We approve this in theory, but the plan to increase clarity on government spending so far involves limiting debate on government estimates and making it harder for parliamentarians to adequately scrutinize spending by limiting the amount of time for parliamentary review.
In order to cement this clarity, the government wants to change the long-held rules of our Parliament to accommodate its work load, but we are told it is only for a couple of years then it will be changed back. The most basic purpose of our Westminster parliamentary system is the oversight of spending, and the government wants to change the laws to limit this oversight, then asks us to trust it, that it will be okay.
After a while repeated assurances, promises, and demands for trust wear thin when report after report shows its plan is not working. More and more Canadians are losing that trust. After reading this document, it is for good reason.
The finance minister gave lip service to global economic conditions. He mentioned them, then ignored them and indicated that the government was committed to carrying out policies that flew in the face of these conditions, policies such as its much loved carbon tax, despite the lack of multilateral co-operation with our largest trading partner and major competitor, and the push back of provinces under which it was imposing this scheme.
We as Canadians often fall over ourselves to assert our independence from our American cousins and friends, but the government is planning to go the extra mile.
The best strategy to differentiate two geographically and economically similar countries in order to attract new talent in global investment is not the Liberal strategy of higher taxes, more regulations, and a more overbearing government. That is not the formula for success.
The Liberals are not backing down. They are ignoring global conditions, common sense, and the basic economic principles of competition. No, they are not backing down. It is truly disappointing because no one benefits from this posturing, not the vulnerable, not the seniors, and certainly not the middle class, the Liberals' favourite talking point.
The Liberals love talking about the middle class. They love saying that the middle class is a top priority for their government, speaking like they actually understand the plight of the average Canadian. They patronizingly tell Canadians how to live their lives and control what they save, how much they save, and where they save, all the while pretending they are blazing new trails for the middle class, when neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Finance has ever actually been a member of the middle class.
It is extremely easy for the government to raise taxes by just a small amount, or increase the debt by a small amount, or make things harder for Canadians by just a small amount, because it has never seen the impact these small amounts have on a Canadian family.
When parents hand children a path forward on a silver platter, they are not like the vast majority of taxpayers. Every time the government institutes new taxes or takes on more debt, it further indicates that it does not understand the impact of these policies.
When the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister defend their tax policies by saying that Canadians and small businesses can afford another $1,100 a year in CPP payroll taxes, or another 10¢, 15¢, or 20¢ per litre in new gas taxes to pay for their carbon tax, they are truly disconnected from the rest of the country.
Yesterday, The Globe and Mail published a study suggesting that nearly one-quarter of Canadians were worried about how to pay for groceries. Food banks today reported record increase in usage. Canadians are struggling. Food bank usage across the country is increasing, especially in Alberta, but the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister are not listening.
However, we have been listening. Canadians tell us that they do not want to pay higher taxes, not while they are dealing with such uncertainty; not when they do not know if their job will be there for them in the next five years, two years, or even one year; not when their federal government abandons all reason and common sense to satisfy the desires of its backroom high-minded donor class; and especially not when we receive talking points, promises, and demands for trust, without seeing any meaningful results.
I want to reiterate what I had hoped to see from the economic update. I had hoped the finance minister would acknowledge that times were tough and Canadians could not afford to pay higher taxes. I had hoped he would acknowledge that the time to institute punishing, unilateral carbon taxes was not when we had not created a single full-time job in a year. I had hoped he would acknowledge that deficits in the tens of billions actually had to be paid back. Above all, I had hoped the finance minister would reassure the House and Canadians that his plan was an actual plan.
Plans have targets, objectives, goals, and real tangible methods of achieving those targets. This update is more like a casualty report, another few billion packed on to the deficit, another few billion in new debt each year, no realistic plan to create jobs, no tangible results from the pain already endured.
I am worried about our future, and rightly so. There is enormous uncertainty in the world and we need an actual plan. What do we tell our children in 30 years when they are out of work in a stumbling economy, burdened by billions in debt, deficits, and interest payments, unable to see the path forward? Canadians deserve better.
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