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Results: 1 - 7 of 7
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.
I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.
However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.
Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.
The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.
Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.
Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.
Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.
In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.
Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it; it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.
Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.
The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.
This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.
It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.
We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.
Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.
The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.
The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.
Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.
I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.
Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague referred to the Canada-Quebec agreements. I had the chance—anyone could have joined in—to walk with the people from FRAPRU, the Quebec social housing coalition, who left Ottawa roughly a month ago to travel to Quebec City. They will arrive in Quebec City tomorrow. They walked 550 kilometres and stopped in all sorts of towns and villages along the way to talk about social housing.
I had the opportunity to welcome them back home in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, where we walked 1% of the journey together. These people have deep convictions and they are walking on behalf of an entire community of people who need social housing.
In Longueuil—it is not for nothing that they stopped by—there are major housing challenges. The waiting lists are appalling. My team was on the phone with a friend in my riding who is a young professional, a single parent with two children. She came to see my team because she could no longer make ends meet. She pays $1,000 a month in rent.
These situations are commonplace in Longueuil. Fortunately, there are fantastic solutions. People have stepped up. The people on this walk were invited, for example, to have breakfast at Habitations Paul-Pratt, Manoir-Trinité, where seniors have been able to find great social housing and a wonderful quality of life. That is important. These are urgent needs.
I am wondering why we are talking about this today when the government made some lofty promises about great funding, which we were very pleased with. However, 90% of this money will only be disbursed after the government is re-elected. I believe it is horribly Machiavellian to deal with these issues in this way. I can say the same thing about cultural issues. I just blasted the Minister of Canadian Heritage because his committee will release a report in 2020, after the election. That is just appalling. The needs exist right now.
Why does the government not see what people across Canada and especially in Longueuil are dealing with?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. This is obviously an issue that the NDP cares a lot about. It is also particularly relevant to Longueuil—Saint-Hubert since housing is part of everyone's daily life.
I want to point out that this is the 10th anniversary of all of the social developments in the greater Longueuil area. There are three key founding members, namely Sonia Jurado, Mary Claire MacLeod and Hanh Lam. These three individuals were directly involved in absolutely fantastic projects, such as Terrasse Mousseau, a community housing project that is currently under way. It involves the renovation of 170 units that were in a state of complete disrepair. These homes were unfit to live in, but they are being fixed up little by little by relocating people, renovating the units and creating a new living environment. The project is currently in progress. We hope that everything continues to go well because it is a really well-run project.
I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the situation that she talked about at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
It is important to remember that, from 2006 to 2013, 45,000 social housing units were affected by the expiry of CMHC agreements. In 2017, the number of households affected was over 140,000. I am thinking, for example, of a woman I met through FRAPRU. She was about 82 years old. She told me that she had been evicted because she lost her social housing subsidy.
When will the CMHC get involved in that case? What does my colleague think about that, since it is her government that is asleep at the switch on this?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for sharing his point of view, although it reflects a bit of an alternate reality. It is possible to see things from another perspective.
I would remind members that for Quebeckers who need social housing, it was Paul Martin's Liberal government that decreed that every Canadian had a right to suitable housing and decided to take action in that direction. The situation has only deteriorated since then. When it comes to funding for social housing, it has been nothing but a downward spiral.
According to FRAPRU, the right to housing is the cornerstone to ensuring that a number of other rights are respected. It can help meet many other needs, which is consistent with my colleague's vision regarding housing first. However, that is not the reality. At the Longueuil municipal housing bureau, the wait list for social housing is not counted in weeks or months, but rather in years. No joke.
We hear the Liberals crow about their royal benevolence on every possible issue and towards all of their subjects in Canada.
Did the parliamentary secretary or the Minister of Families bother to meet with the people who walked for four weeks with their backpacks, sleeping in school gymnasiums every night, to reach Parliament Hill? Do they not think that perhaps they should have met with those people?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his speech, but especially for his dedication to this file.
When Quebeckers hear the name Pierre Nadeau, they think of a great journalist who had a following on television and radio, but in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, Pierre Nadeau, above all else, is known as a prominent, social neighbour who loves to talk. I am not sure exactly what kind of disability he has, but he has some form of aphasia. He gets around using a mobility scooter and he is very active. He is a development officer at AILIA, a Quebec association whose mission is to make housing, including social housing, more accessible for those who need it.
Nearly half a million people in the greater Longueuil area do not have access to the Montreal metro because there is no elevator access to the Longueuil metro platform. Even if, by some miracle, someone manages to get on, there is no elevator at the central hub, Berri-UQAM.
Does my colleague think that this new legislation will fix these unjust situations?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my colleague on her very heartfelt speech about her community. It is obvious that those folks are lucky to have an MP who is so in tune with their primary concerns.
I do agree that this CPP enhancement is good news, but it is very troubling to know that, when you think about it, her son will be the one who could benefit from this change to the system. In my region of Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, the number of people on the wait list for affordable housing will soon top 2,000. The wait lists are extremely long.
Is my colleague really hopeful that this government will be willing to work on this issue in particular, given that housing is still the biggest single budget expense for most people, especially seniors?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, since it is our first day back, I would first like to wish everyone here a happy new year. I would also like to commend my colleague on his speech, which demonstrated his sincerity and commitment.
Since he spoke a lot about the middle class, I would like to remind members that, before Christmas, we came to the House somewhat hastily to pass tax credit regulations for the much talked-about middle class. However, so far, that initiative has been a bit disappointing, so I hope that the government will make the necessary adjustments. Right now, an average family with two children earning an income of $45,000 will not benefit from those tax credits.
I would also like to check something with my colleague. Unless I missed it, he did not make any mention of the Liberals' much-vaunted promise to invest $20 million in social housing infrastructure. In my opinion, that situation is urgent. There is a major shortage of such housing in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, and the social housing community is very concerned about it. I would like to hear what the member has to say about that.
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