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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ... ...Show all topics
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 14:00 [p.29298]
Mr. Speaker, according to the Canada Revenue Agency, tax evasion costs us $26 billion and banks and oil companies reap the rewards.
That is $26 billion that is not being taxed and used to pay for our nurses or to renovate our schools and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Canada Revenue Agency calculates how much money people are hiding, but not how much money people keep in tax havens with the CRA's permission. Corporations and banks are allowed to engage in tax avoidance. That is what the Liberals are hiding when they talk about tax fairness.
The CRA will put a citizen who owes $100 through hell to get that money, but Ottawa allows banks to hide billions of dollars in Barbados.
The Liberals even legalized three new tax havens during their term. They say that the net is tightening on tax cheats, but it is more like a window that is opening.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
NDP (QC)
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-05 21:16 [p.28634]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of my caucus. I am sure that other members will have a chance to do the same, but I am deeply honoured to be taking part in the third reading debate on Bill C-97.
This bill has already been heavily scrutinized here in the House and at the Standing Committee on Finance, and its sheer size has provoked much debate. The bill is more than 400 pages long. It is yet another omnibus bill. Its content has also sparked debate. I would be remiss not to mention the content of the bill, as well as everything that the government left out. I am going to focus on the aspects of the bill that we consider most problematic, as well as the things that were completely left out of this last-chance budget.
It is 2019, and this is the government's last opportunity to deliver on its mandate and vision for the country. It is already June 2019. The latest budget was tabled in March, and this bill seeks to realize the vision outlined in budget 2019. This is the Liberal government's last bill, its last chance to turn its ideas and its vision for the nation into reality. It goes without saying that everything that was left out, everything that still has to be done and everything the Government of Canada is leaving unfinished will have to wait until later.
We will have to take the word of the Prime Minister, who, during the next election campaign, will try to convince Canadians that he will have time in the next four years to do what he did not have time to do in the past four years. We know full well that many promises have been broken over the past few years. Some were much bigger than others. Take electoral reform. Many Canadians remember quite clearly that this was a solemn promise. The Prime Minister repeated it almost daily during the election campaign. Nearly a year and a half later, he did not hesitate to break that promise, brushing it aside by saying that he changed his mind, that it was not a good idea after all, and that he would not be moving forward with electoral reform. This is a government that broke some of its signature promises, such as returning to a balanced budget. I know that my Conservative colleagues like to bring that up quite a bit.
Clearly, this government, which is nearing the end of its term, is suffering from a lack of credibility in terms of its campaign promises, and it will soon try to convince Canadians that it needs another term to complete what it did not have time to do in this last budget. Canadians are not stupid. They know what this Prime Minister's word is worth, because they have had four years to see him at work, to listen to him and to see what he had to offer Canadians. The people of Sherbrooke, Quebec and Canada will realize that his word is unfortunately not worth very much. This is the kind of thing that fuels cynicism among Canadians, and among my constituents back home in Sherbrooke. I often hear people say they are disappointed by politics and politicians. I am trying to get them interested in politics again, but when a government like this one, formed by the Liberal Party of Canada, breaks so many promises so shamelessly, it fuels cynicism about politics. That is why people will be so wary of any of the campaign promises made by the Prime Minister of Canada, and with good reason. We have to give them some credit. They will be right to doubt him, because the Prime Minister has broken so many of his promises during this last term.
This is a last-chance budget. Today we are debating the government's budgetary policy, its execution and its implementation. That is why, on our side of the House, we will ultimately have to vote against it. We will be forced to vote against Bill C-97 at third reading because it does not meet Canadians' needs. Clearly, on many issues, the government has not responded to the concrete problems Canadians are facing, and it is not about to do so over the next few months.
We will be voting against this budget, and we hope that many members will do so as well. We need to send the government a clear message. Its fiscal policy has not worked so far, and the rich are getting richer. We saw this recently. I will give just one example, that of KPMG. The accounting firm and its clients once again reached an out-of-court settlement after they were caught avoiding taxes using a scheme that was dubious and questionable, to say the least. It was certainly questioned by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The Canada Revenue Agency recently made a proposal to these clients. They were told to pay their taxes and the matter would be closed. They could move on once they paid their debt to society.
These people had a minimum of $300,000. For every file that KPMG opened, the client had to pay the firm at least $300,000 to put the scheme in place. In addition, the firm would take a cut of the tax savings that their clients realized with the Isle of Man scheme.
The scheme was revealed to the general public, so I will not repeat all the details. We know that the clients moved money abroad to a place with low taxes. They managed to avoid paying taxes by using all kinds of strategies, such as shell companies and fake directors. In its agreements with clients, this accounting firm demanded a cut of the tax savings. That is not something to be taken lightly. The firm promised tax savings and took a percentage off the top. This week, these clients signed a settlement with officials of the Canada Revenue Agency. With this settlement, they can put the matter behind them, close the books, pay the taxes, say goodbye and carry on as if nothing happened.
That is the message the Government of Canada decided to send all Canadians today. It conflicts with the standard messaging that the government and the Minister of National Revenue has been delivering up to now, about how the net is tightening, how tax cheats will pay, and how there never has been and never will be an amnesty. The Canada Revenue Agency and the minister even sent out photos showing people in handcuffs back when the KPMG scandal broke. She said that tax cheats would pay for their actions and that criminals would be put behind bars.
Today she is sending a different message. People who could afford to spend $300,000 on a scheme, plus a percentage of the money they saved on taxes, can afford to pay lawyers to get them off the hook with just a slap on the wrist.
Understandably, most Canadians, including most of the people of Sherbrooke, find that frustrating. They see rich people who can afford to pay the accounting firm and who have the means to defend themselves in court against charges relating to these borderline schemes getting off with a slap on the wrist, and my constituents find that frustrating in the extreme. I know my colleagues are frustrated too, but, unfortunately, the government decided to do nothing. Rather than do something, the government decided to follow in the Conservatives' footsteps and give preferential treatment to people who can afford to pay accounting firms, tax experts and lawyers to defend them against these charges and emerge virtually unscathed. Sure, they will pay the taxes they owe. It is the least they can do, but the government is signalling that they can keep doing this. The worst-case scenario is that they will end up in the Tax Court of Canada like the family from Vancouver and end up signing a settlement to close the books.
This sends the message that, under the current government, it is acceptable to engage in tax evasion and shady schemes. The government is turning a blind eye to all of that. That is the sort of behaviour that is perpetuated by the implementation of this budget and the government's budgetary fiscal policy.
We heard some powerful, compelling testimony in committee. The witnesses spoke to many parts of the bill, which is 400 pages long. This bill affects many laws and makes significant changes to many sectors of our economy. However, some provisions have nothing to do with the economy, but the government threw them all into the budget implementation bill anyway. It is therefore difficult for parliamentarians to speak to the bill as a whole.
We will soon have to vote on this 400-page bill. It will be a single vote, even though the bill makes many changes to many different laws. Earlier today, we voted on the amendments to this bill at report stage. We therefore had the opportunity to speak to many parts of the bill. At third reading, there will be just a single vote either for or against the bill as a whole. When the Liberal Party was on this side of the House, it spoke out against this practice. The Liberals criticized omnibus bills at every opportunity, because omnibus bills do not allow parliamentarians to vote on each measure or group of measures.
Since we have to cast a single vote on the bill as a whole, we need to consider the pros and cons of the bill. Today, it is clear that the cons outweigh the pros. Although we recognize that the bill contains some good measures, we have no choice but to vote against this budgetary policy.
The government has tried to make up for its blunders on several issues by presenting amendments in committee or at report stage. Earlier today, we debated the amendments that the government had proposed, with a royal recommendation, to change the bill. The government had to backpedal to fix things, particularly as regards the housing act.
The section on the housing act fell well short of what Canadians and housing experts had expected. The experts said that the right to housing is a fundamental human right, something the government refused to acknowledge in the first draft of the bill. It had to fix that, just like it had to fix other parts of the bill.
In committee, we tried to get the government to see reason on certain issues. We wanted it to provide a list pertaining to student loans as quickly as possible. In the bill, the government proposes starting to charge interest on student loans after six months. We tried to persuade it to just make student loans interest-free. It is not right to ask former students to pay interest on loans they took out to train for a career.
In committee we learned that this interest brought $700 million annually into the coffers of the consolidated revenue fund of Canada. That money funds the government's priorities when it could stay in the pockets of young people who just completed their studies and are entering the workforce. Those young people have to save money to get into the real estate market and invest in our economy in various ways. The government is currently taking $700 million out of the pockets of young workers who are fresh out of school, and putting that money in the consolidated revenue fund.
The government is giving former students a six-month relief period when it could have gone further by permanently eliminating interest on student loans and stopping government funding by students. The government rejected this proposal.
As far as worker health and safety is concerned, representatives from the Canadian Labour Congress told us in committee that the flexibilities of the Hazardous Products Act benefited industry to the detriment of the health of the workers who are exposed to these products in the short or long term. They could have accidents with these hazardous products. The government is easing the rules to give the chemical products industry a free pass, which jeopardizes the health and safety of Canadian workers. In committee, the government once again sided with industry and the major lobbies in this country to ensure that their profits keep going up every year.
Furthermore, a large number of witnesses spoke out against the changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Bill C-97 is, quite simply, anti-refugee. It creates two classes of refugees: those who enter Canada regularly and those who enter irregularly. The government is creating two parallel systems that it claims complement each other or are nearly identical.
The government could have simply turned to the Immigration and Refugee Board, which does a very good job and which needs more resources. Unfortunately, it decided to create two classes of refugees. One refugee even testified in committee that if the government's heartless bill had been in force, he might not be in Canada right now because he would have been sent back to his country, where he is in danger. Numerous experts called this a bad idea. That is why we are compelled to oppose the bill.
Now let's talk about pensions, which were not protected and which continue to be at the bottom of the order of creditor priority in the event of bankruptcy or insolvency. They could have had the courage to respond to the concerns heard at consultations. Most people said that the order of creditor priority had to be changed. The government decided to ignore all the experts' recommendations.
That was also the case for stock options. The economic update indicated that the government would address this situation, which is clearly problematic because it benefits the wealthy. It even says so in the budget document, but they decided to ignore the issue. In this budget, which is its last chance, the government decided to do nothing and wait until after the election to solve the problem, even though we know this government will be gone in October 2019.
The Liberals gave in to the pharmaceutical lobby on pharmacare. They gave them more time to rake in the biggest profits of the corporate world at the expense of taxpayers. They were given a free pass. The government is asking Canadians to trust it even though it broke many promises. It says that it will keep this one and that we must trust it, even if it has been saying so for 25 years.
As for oil companies, the Liberals continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions of dollars every year. This budget would have been a good opportunity to put an end to that.
Also, household debt continues to rise. Canadians are within $200 of insolvency each and every month, and the government is doing nothing to fix that.
Furthermore, the media bailout has been the talk of Parliament Hill and elsewhere. The media just want tax fairness. Of course, they also need some assistance to meet certain challenges, but above all, they need tax fairness. The government needs to put an end to the double standard that is giving web giants a free ride when it comes to taxes. They are exempted from paying income tax and sales tax, and are raking in billions of dollars in ad revenues, while our local and national media can barely make ends meet and take in sufficient ad revenues.
This is a bad budget bill. The government missed out on its last opportunity to show some courage and make the right choices.
I can assure the House that Canadians will not give the Liberals another term, since they merely spew empty rhetoric and make lofty promises, and have not honoured their commitments over the past four years. Canadians will turn to an alternate serious and credible solution, like the NDP, so we can finally fix the problems facing our society in 2019.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-04 12:10 [p.28477]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague whether he believes the budget implementation bill should have included a clause to eliminate stock options for CEOs, who tend to be quite well-off already. Rich CEOs are still being protected, unlike less wealthy Canadians.
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
2019-06-04 12:10 [p.28477]
Mr. Speaker, the difference between the Conservatives and the NDP, and of course, the NDP is similar to the current Liberal government, is that we allow businesses to make their own decisions. We allow the business community to run businesses out there. Governments do not like interfering in business affairs. We will only interfere if it is in the interest of the public.
In general, businesses in this country, under our government, when we were in power, had a free hand to make proper business decisions, which is why I read the report, and I am going to read it again. Under the Liberal regime, we fell in the world competitive ranking from 10 to 13. During our regime, Canada rose from a ranking of 10 to five, something the Liberals should wake up and smell.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-04 13:39 [p.28490]
Mr. Speaker, it is time to take a look at the Liberals' record. There are two and a half weeks left in this Parliament. The budget implementation bill that is before us today is the government's last. Anything not contained in that bill will have to wait until after the election. Budget 2019 is consistent with this government's approach of saying one thing and doing the opposite.
First, let us talk about this so-called green government. Since the last election, bitumen extraction in Alberta has skyrocketed. We are talking about an increase of 25%. That is no small thing. Extraction grew even faster than under Stephen Harper. In fact, production has grown so much that it has exceeded transport capacity.
Today, the Liberals and the Conservatives would have us believe that there is a pipeline problem, but that is not the case. There is an overproduction problem, which is not the same thing. To limit overproduction, the government is proposing to support new investments in the oil sands with accelerated capital cost allowance. A total of $2.7 billion in taxpayers' money will be wasted on this tax expenditure.
In one year alone, the government announced $19 billion in new oil investments. The oil industry certainly got the message. If you look at production estimates, it is clear that the industry wants to maintain the level of growth it has seen the past four years. This will result in more overproduction and cause prices to continue their downturn. This is meant to make us believe that more pipelines are inevitable and that we have no choice but to export and pollute more.
The direct consequence of this government's policies is that energy east will be forced back on us. The Liberal government is working to keep us in the 20th century, bogged down in the tar sands.
Mr. Alain Rayes: Where do you get your gas?
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Mr. Speaker, at my daughter's school there is a big banner saying “zero tolerance for bullying”. The previous Conservative member who spoke accused the Liberals of bullying, and now the member for Victoriaville is hurling epithets and questions at me. There should be zero tolerance for bullying here too. We have a right to speak without being interrupted.
To get back to what I was saying, that is not what we need in Quebec. We have already started to go green. GHG emissions per capita are two and a half times lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A policy for the 21st century is to make polluting expensive and avoiding pollution profitable.
I can already hear the Liberals saying that they created the carbon tax, so let us talk about it. The government imposes a tax, then gives the money back to those who paid it. It is a circle that does not result in any real transfer of wealth from polluters to the good guys. It does not make it profitable to go green. It will not result in a true green shift. It does not entitle anyone to make green speeches. It is merely an image, just like the government has been since it was elected: an image, no more, no less, but definitely no more.
Let us move on. In the lead-up to the budget, the Bloc québécois reached out to Quebeckers, and what we consistently heard was that their main priorities are health and education. There is nothing about that in the budget. Health transfers have been capped at 3% for two years, and yet, health costs in Quebec have risen by 5.2%. You do not need a Nobel prize in mathematics to see that there is a problem. The healthcare system is stretched to its limit, and wait times are getting longer. Something has to give, and everyone knows it.
Everything I have just said about the healthcare system also applies to education. Teachers are as burnt out as nurses. It is the same problem, except that, in this case, transfers were capped at 3% 15 years ago. Health and education are Quebeckers’ two main priorities. There is nothing about that in Bill C-97. The government decided to gradually move away from Quebecker’s priorities. That is abundantly clear in Bill C-97.
Now, let us look at the measures the government has taken to stimulate the economy. Its primary measure involves infrastructure. In and of itself, that is a good thing, but the methods used are another story. By multiplying specific programs, each one with very strict criteria, Ottawa has ruined everything. Federal requirements have caused a tug of war with Quebec and will paralyze the entire process. The result is striking: the money is starting to trickle down just before the election. We had to wait a long time. In the first two years of its term, the government spent $100 per Quebecker and $700 for each Canadian outside Quebec.
We know the federal government is building precious little infrastructure. It owns barely 2% of all public infrastructure, while the provinces and municipalities own 98%. Through federal transfers, the government is financing infrastructure that does not belong to it, that is not within its jurisdiction and that it does not have the means to prioritize intelligently. The government had good intentions, but the whole undertaking has been a monumental failure on the ground.
The money is not flowing. The federal criteria are too rigid and do not meet communities' needs. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to transfer blocks of infrastructure funding. They promised to mind their own business and do their job. That is yet another broken promise, and Quebec is paying the price.
As I said, my leader and I have been travelling around a lot listening to Quebeckers. People do not realize how future-focused Quebec is. Quebeckers are creative and innovative. Yesterday's tinkerers are now developing video games, designing new aircraft and working on artificial intelligence. Year after year, Quebec accounts for between 40% and 45% of Canada's tech exports, even though its share of Canada's economy is only half that much.
In metropolitan areas across Quebec, there are at least 5,000 technology startups. I think of it as Silicon Valley North. What is in Bill C-97 for technology? Is it an aerospace policy? No. Is it patient capital to let our technology start-ups develop here in Canada rather than being bought out by U.S. web giants? It is not that either.
However, there is some venture capital to help out the rest of Canada. That is how it is in all areas. When Quebec succeeds, Ottawa is not there. Take supply management, for example. Our regional agriculture lends itself well to local distribution. That is the future. Instead of helping, the government is hurting agriculture. It has signed three trade agreements with three breaches, and not a single penny has been paid to farmers.
We scoured Bill C-97 for the compensation, but it is not there. Our producers were taken for a ride. They will get nothing before the election. That is also the case for Davie. Does Bill C-97 announce a review of its horrible naval strategy? The answer is obviously no.
The same goes for the fight against tax havens. These loopholes allow banks and multi-millionaires to get out of paying taxes. The government needs to act fast, but instead, it has legalized three new tax havens. In my private member's bill, I proposed a working solution to close the loopholes, but, of course, all the Liberals but one voted it down. Like the sheriff of Nottingham, they would rather defend fat cats than low-income workers. The Conservatives also voted against my bill, but at least they were being true to type. Unlike the Liberals, they do not try to dress up as Robin Hood.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
2019-06-04 15:02 [p.28504]
Mr. Speaker, the dream of owning a home seems increasingly unrealistic for my constituents in Toronto—Danforth.
While many of my constituents are trying to save for what will likely be the largest investment of their lives, we continue to see people who are failing to pay their fair share.
Could the Minister of National Revenue update us on the government's progress in combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance in the housing market?
View Diane Lebouthillier Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Toronto—Danforth for her interest in an issue that is important to her constituents.
Our government recognizes the importance of ensuring a fair housing market for all Canadians. That is why the CRA has increased audits of real estate transactions in British Columbia and Ontario.
Since 2015, CRA auditors have reviewed 41,700 files in Ontario and British Columbia, resulting in over $100 million in penalties, and have identified over $1 billion in additional taxes.
I can confirm—
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-06-04 20:42 [p.28546]
Mr. Speaker, people in Vancouver East expect their government to make life affordable, sustainable and fair for all Canadians. They expect their government to be on their side.
In Vancouver East, I have heard from my constituents time and time again that we need real measures to make life affordable for Canadians, that we need immediate and urgent actions to protect our climate and environment. On behalf of the constituents of Vancouver East, I have been strongly advocating for measures such as affordable housing, public universal pharmacare, environmental protections, climate action and tax fairness. Instead, we now have a country faced with many crises.
We have a climate crisis, where if we do not take immediate action our planet will not be inhabitable for our future generations. We have a housing crisis, where people are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and getting priced out of their own communities. We have a criminal crisis, where billions of dollars in profits from criminal acts were laundered last year in Canada. We have an opioid crisis, where Canadians are dying every day.
We have a humanitarian crisis, where so many indigenous women and girls have gone missing and are murdered. The impact of colonialism is so deep and so rooted in systemic racism and failures that the national inquiry on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls has declared that is a genocide.
It was deeply disappointing to see how budget 2019 failed to meaningfully address our many crises, never mind the many other challenges faced by Canadians.
For many constituents of Vancouver East, the number one issue facing our generation is our climate and environmental emergency. To meet our goals under the Paris Agreement, Canada has to lower its emissions to 325 million tonnes by 2030. According to the government's own performance report, we will only get down to 500 million tonnes, which means we are not even close.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stated last year that we have 12 years to avert climate disaster through a drastic overhaul of all our current economic systems. We now have only 11 years left to achieve this. As the clock ticks, people have been demonstrating persistently for immediate action for climate protection and the preservation of natural resources from our leaders, especially our youth, who will be most affected by the consequences of our inaction. The government has a responsibility to create the systems and frameworks to protect our environment and our future generations.
Many scientists have stated that the technology already exists that can maintain quality of life without further impacting our climate and environment. We simply need the political will and courage to change. And yet here we are, buying leaky pipelines and adopting the previous Conservative government's weak carbon emissions target, as if we do not have a climate crisis at our door.
On another critical issue, we are still waiting on government action to address our housing affordability crisis.
Housing has long been declared a basic right by the United Nations, and Canada has signed and ratified a number of international human rights treaties that identify the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right.
In our national housing strategy, most of the funding in that new strategy had been announced years earlier and most of that funding, a full 90% of what was announced in budget 2017, has been off-loaded for spending after the next election. Even at that, the vast majority of that funding will not flow until 2024. It is a cynical communications strategy that plays politics with people's real struggles.
The government, in an attempt to inflate the result of its limited housing programs, has even resorted to double-counting the results for “rhetorical advantage”. Instead of playing numbers games, what we need is for the government to make real investments now. To that end, the NDP is calling for a commitment of 500,000 units of affordable housing across Canada.
In addition, despite decades of promising a national pharmacare program, after being lobbied by big pharma 680 times, the government has once again let big pharma win the day.
I recently met an individual who told me that she is taking her daily medication every other day in an effort to save money. This is wrong. No more excuses. Canadians need and deserve comprehensive public universal pharmacare coverage now.
On a related matter, we also need accountability for the opioid crisis. While the U.S. has successfully taken on big pharma for misbranding OxyContin with the intent of defrauding and misleading, here in Canada, the government is refusing to take action. Instead, budget 2019 continues with the blanket tax break for the richest corporations.
Tax havens are still in place and will continue to take over $16 billion every year from much needed programs for all Canadians, and of course, big oil continues to receive subsidies. In fact, the “2019 Spring Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development” was highly critical of the government's accounting of tax and non-tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
As we now know, 47 billion dollars' worth of profits from criminal acts was laundered last year in Canada. It is extremely disturbing that money laundering has so extensively permeated the country. Equally disturbing is the fact that the report by Dr. Peter German, in B.C., revealed that no federal resources are being used to tackle money laundering. Literally, in the federal money laundering unit, no one is working on the issue of money laundering. This explains why there are so few prosecutions and convictions in money laundering cases.
During last year's statutory review by the finance committee of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, numerous expert witnesses agreed that to combat tax evasion and money laundering, the federal government needed to work with the provinces to establish a central public registry that would provide the identity of the beneficial owners of corporations and trusts. The Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of B.C., argued that this kind of registry is needed, in part by citing a study from Transparency International Canada. The study showed that it is impossible to determine the true owners of more than half the real estate properties for sale.
Denis Howlett, of Canadians for Tax Fairness, emphasized that the registry must be “in an open, searchable format”. Barrister and solicitor Mora Johnson added that a transparent public register would enable those searching the database to track the most common methods taxpayers use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and to find individuals involved in money laundering. However, when all was said and done, the Liberals and Conservatives chose to join forces and ignore the recommendation of the majority of witnesses that a public register be established.
I also strongly believe that we need to increase oversight of home sales to ensure that sellers are not falsely reporting their secondary investment properties as primary residences, as this rule-skirting allows people to avoid paying capital tax gains.
I raised this issue when I was still the MLA for Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant. One way to address this is to ensure that proof of residency through income tax filing is provided at the completion of the sale transaction. With increased oversight and crackdowns on this behaviour, the increased tax revenue could be set aside in an earmarked fund dedicated to increasing the affordable housing stock in Canada.
Canada needs to put significant resources and effort into law enforcement, prosecution and adjudication to effectively tackle this problem. We can do this. We need to do this.
I have gone on also about the immigration issues that call for the government to not jam through the refugee determination process in this budget omnibus budget bill. The Liberals refuse to listen and are going ahead with it. Experts have already called on the government to stop this now. It would put people at risk, and most particularly, it would put women and girls at risk. For a feminist government, this is not acceptable. It still has a chance to do that. I hope that the government will listen to the experts.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-05-31 12:47 [p.28361]
Mr. Speaker, one thing we have not talked enough about is tax havens and tax loopholes for the rich. That is not being dealt with in this budget.
CEOs are still getting the CEO tax loophole. They are paying less taxes than everyday Canadians who have worked hard to earn their money and pay their fair share of taxes, whereas CEOs who have had a big win are getting a deal wherein they can pay less taxes. One would think that if people receive a big win, they would pay their fair share and would be happy to support the Canadian economy, the very economy that helped them get the big win.
Eighty-eight per cent of the CEO stock option loophole goes to the 1%. That has not flowed to everyday Canadians. Regular business people do not benefit when only 12% of that CEO stock option loophole is in the hands of the other 99%.
I would argue that the CEO stock option loophole be closed and that the $1 billion should be injected back into the Canadian economy so it can do really important things, some of the things the member talked about, like ensuring that veterans get the services they deserve.
Does the member support closing the stock option loophole whereby 88% of its benefits go to the 1%? Does he agree that executives should be paying their fair share to the Canadian economy like every other working person in this nation?
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-05-31 12:49 [p.28361]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Vancouver Island brings up a great point, and I agree that the government has misdirected priorities.
We have put in an Order Paper question on this. We have repeatedly heard the Minister of National Revenue say that the Liberals have hired so many people and invested half a billion dollars to crack down on overseas tax cheats. We asked who they are focusing on, and they have admitted that the majority of the new hires are going after small Canadian businesses. At committee, we asked her about this because we had a pharmacist say that the CRA was going after them for accepting a $50 gift card. The minister admitted that they are directing CRA.
We have seen the government try to push through tax increases on McDonald's workers who get a free hamburger as a duty meal. My own son, when he was working at a department store, would have to pay added tax on his two-dollar staff discount for a bag of chips. The government's priorities are so backward that only a complete change of government is going to address it.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)

Question No. 2371--
Mr. Scot Davidson:
With regard to the March 2019 leak of information related to the Supreme Court nomination process: does anyone in the Office of the Prime Minister know who leaked the information, and, if so, who leaked the information?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2372--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to federal spending from January 1, 2019, to April 1, 2019: (a) what expenditures were made in each of the following municipalities (i) City of Saguenay, (ii) City of Saint-Honoré, (iii) Municipality of St-Ambroise, (iv) Municipality of Saint-Fulgence, (v) Municipality of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, (vi) Municipality of Saint-Charles-de-Bourget, (vii) Municipality of Bégin, (viii) Municipality of Saint-Nazaire, (ix) Municipality of Labrecque, (x) Municipality of Lamarche, (xi) Municipality of Larouche, (xii) Municipality of Saint-David-de-Falardeau; and (b) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans given to any group, broken down by (i) name of recipient, (ii) date of funding, (iii) department or agency that provided the funding, (iv) amount received, (v) program under which the funding was granted, (vi) purpose of the expenditure?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2373--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to housing investments and housing assets held by the government: (a) how much federal funding has been spent in the riding of Jonquière on housing over the period of 1995 to 2018, broken down by year; (b) how much federal funding is scheduled to be spent on housing in the riding of Jonquière over the period of 2015 to 2019, broken down by year; (c) how much federal funding has been invested in cooperative housing in the riding of Jonquière over the period of 1995 to 2018, broken down by year; (d) how much federal funding is scheduled to be invested in cooperative housing in the riding of Jonquière over the period of 2015 to 2019, broken down by year; (e) how many physical housing units were owned by the government in the riding of Jonquière over the period of 1995 to 2018, broken down by year; (f) how many physical housing units owned by the government are scheduled to be constructed in the riding of Jonquière over the period of 2015 to 2019, broken down by year; and (g) what government buildings and lands have been identified in the riding of Jonquière as surplus and available for affordable housing developments?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2374--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to claimed stock option deductions, broken down by the 2015 and 2016 taxation years: (a) what is the number of individuals who claimed the stock option deduction whose total annual income is (i) less than $200,000, (ii) between $200,000 and $1 million, (iii) more than $1 million; (b) what is the average amount claimed by an individual whose total annual income is (i) less than $200,000, (ii) $200,000 to $1 million, (iii) more than $1 million; (c) what is the total amount claimed by individuals whose total annual income is (i) less than $200,000, (ii) between $200,000 and $1 million, (iii) more than $1 million; and (d) what is the percentage of the total amount claimed by individuals whose total annual income is more than $1 million?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2375--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to the statement in Budget 2019 that, “since Budget 2016, the Government has taken many actions to improve the fairness of the tax system”: (a) what is the name of each of these actions; (b) what is the total amount collected by the Canada Revenue Agency, broken down by each of the actions in (a); (c) of the actions in (a), how many actions sought specifically to address aggressive international tax avoidance; and (d) of the actions in (a), how many sought specifically to address international tax evasion?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2376--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to the Offshore Tax Informant Program, for each fiscal year since 2015-16 to the current date: (a) how many calls have been received; (b) how many files have been opened based on information received from informants; (c) what is the total amount of the awards paid to informants; (d) what is the total amount recovered by the Canada Revenue Agency; (e) how many current investigations are the result of information received through the program; and (f) how much money is involved in the current investigations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2377--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to advertising paid for by the government for each fiscal year from April 1, 2016, to the present date: (a) how much did the government spend on advertising; (b) what was the subject of each advertisement and how much was spent on each subject; (c) which department purchased the advertising and what are the detailed expenditures of each department in this regard; (d) for each subject and department mentioned in (b) and (c), how much was spent on each type of advertising, including but not limited to (i) television, specifying the stations, (ii) radio, specifying the stations, (iii) print, i.e. newspapers and magazines, specifying the names of the publications, (iv) the Internet, specifying the names of the websites, (v) billboards, specifying their locations, (vi) bus shelters, specifying their location, (vii) advertising in all other publicly accessible places; (e) for each type of advertising in (d), was it in Canada or abroad; (f) for the answers in (b), (c) and (d), how long did the advertisements run for; (g) for each advertising purchase, who signed the contracts; (h) for each advertisement, who was involved in the production; (i) for each advertisement, was a third party involved in its publication or did a third party coordinate other advertisements based on the government advertisements; and (j) for each advertisement, did the purchase and publication coincide with a specific event, such as a sporting event?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2378--
Mr. Kevin Waugh:
With regard to wrapping or other advertising expenditures for the exteriors of buildings since November 20, 2017, broken down by department, agency, Crown Corporation, or other government entity: (a) what is the total amount spent on wrapping or advertising, broken down by individual building; (b) what are the details of all wrapping, tarp, or similar type of advertising on government buildings, broken down by individual building, including (i) vendor, (ii) scope or description of services or goods provided, (iii) date, (iv) amount, (v) file number, (vi) address of building?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2380--
Mrs. Kelly Block:
With regard to the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft by Transport Canada: (a) what specific safety tests were conducted by Transport Canada prior to the certification of the aircraft; (b) what specific tests results did Transport Canada use from the United States' Federal Aviation Administration in lieu of Transport Canada conducting its own tests; and (c) did Transport Canada rely on any testing information provided directly by the manufacturer instead of conducting its own tests, and, if so, which tests did Transport Canada rely on the manufacturer’s information for?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2381--
Mr. Ed Fast:
With regard to government funding in the riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of all grants and contributions to any organization, body, or group, including (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant or contribution was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) what is the total of all funding provided in (a)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2382--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the sewage lagoon which burst at the North Caribou Lake First Nation this past winter: (a) why did Indigenous Services Canada initially refuse to provide emergency repairs to the lagoon; (b) what amount has the government provided for repairs to the lagoon; and (c) when was the funding commitment conveyed to the North Caribou Lake First Nation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2384--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
With regard to the government’s investigation into the leak of information about the reported $10.5 million payout to Omar Khadr: (a) what specific measures did the government do to investigate the leak; (b) how many individuals were assigned to duties in relation to the investigation; (c) what were the findings of the investigation; (d) how much did the government spend on the investigation; (e) did the government refer the leak to the RCMP; (f) which departments and agencies were involved in the investigation; and (g) what are the details of any contracts related to the investigation, including (i) amount, (ii) date, (iii) vendor, (iv) description of goods or services?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2385--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
With regard to expenditures on government advertising with Internet search engines such as Google and Bing, since January 1, 2016, broken down by year: (a) what are the details of all expenditures, including (i) amount, (ii) date and duration of contract, (iii) vendor, (iv) name of search engine, (v) purpose of advertisement or summary of campaign; and (b) what is the total of all expenditures in (a)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2386--
Mr. Luc Thériault:
With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Saint-Maurice—Champlain, for each fiscal year from 2010-11 to date: what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to every organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2387--
Mr. Larry Maguire:
With regard to the government's agriculture trade commissioners based in Canadian consulates or embassies in foreign countries: how many were employed, in each country, from fiscal year 2015-16 to date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2388--
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach:
With regard to the 12 benchmark tax measures specific to the fossil fuel sector identified by the Department of Finance: (a) has the department finished assessing the measures and, if not, why did the department not respect the December 2018 deadline established in its action plan; (b) how many measures are still being assessed; (c) what is the assessment deadline for each measure in (b) or the deadline for all assessments; (d) what is the estimated annual cost of each of the 12 measures; and (e) how many of the measures that have been assessed constitute inefficient tax subsidies in the opinion of the department?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2389--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to the partial inclusion of capital gains tax expenditure, for the 2018 taxation year: how many individuals can claim this exemption, broken down by the 2018 federal income brackets of (i) $46,605 or less, (ii) between $46,605 and $93,208, (iii) between $93,208 and $144,489, (iv) between $144,489 and $205,842, (v) over $205,842?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2394--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the staff of the Office of the Prime Minister, as of February 1, 2019: (a) how many earn an annual salary of $150,000 or more; (b) how many earn an annual salary of $200,000 or more; (c) how many earn an annual salary of $250,000 or more; (d) how many earn an annual salary of $300,000 or more; (e) of those who earn an annual salary of $200,000 or more, how many received a performance bonus; and (f) of those who received a performance bonus, how much was each of those bonuses?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2395--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the government’s GoHere Washroom Locator App participation announced on December 11, 2018: (a) how much has been spent on joining this program; (b) how much does it cost to maintain participation in the program; and (c) how many full-time equivalents monitor the government’s participation in the program?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2396--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the Phoenix Pay System: (a) to date, how much is the government owed in overpayments; (b) of the amount in (a), how much has been collected and how much remains to be collected; (c) how many new pay issues, or transaction errors, have been logged since March 31, 2018; and (d) of the transactions listed in (c), how many are serviced in Miramichi and how many are serviced by other government departments based elsewhere?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2397--
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
With regard to the recent government mail-out for the Climate Action Incentive payment in the form of a mail card: (a) how many cards were printed and what was the associated cost to print the cards; (b) broken down by province, how many cards were mailed out and what was the associated cost to mail the cards; (c) what are the details of all expenditures related to the mail-outs, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) description of goods or services rendered, including quantity; (d) were carbon offsets purchased to offset the production of these cards and, if so, what are the details of any such expenditures; (e) was 100% recycled paper used and, if not, why not; and (f) what is the carbon footprint associated with the production of the cards, including estimated greenhouse gas emissions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2398--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
With regard to the Capacity-Building Fund of the Women’s Program under the Department of Women and Gender Equality (formerly Status of Women Canada), what are: (a) the names of each organization that submitted an application for the funding; (b) the names of each organization that received or will receive funding under this grant period; (c) the amounts of funding awarded to each organization receiving it, broken down by name; (d) the names of each organization whose application did not result in funding; and (e) the detailed descriptions of the funding allocation under this program to organizations operating federally, provincially, and regionally?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2399--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to funding of Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP), since January 1, 2008, and broken down by year: (a) how many times has the government required repayment of the government contributions to a Registered Disability Savings Plan since the RDSP was established; (b) how many RDSP holders have passed away before being able to draw on their RDSP; (c) how much funding has been recovered by the government from RDSP contributions in percentage and total dollar figures; (d) how many times has the government waived repayment; (e) what conditions must be met in order for repayment to be waived; (f) how many times has an RDSP holder passed away while having children under the age of 18; and (g) what is the average value of a recovered portion of an RDSP?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2400--
Ms. Marilyn Gladu:
With regard to the $1.5 million grant provided by the government to La Passerelle I.D.E. by Public Safety Canada under the Crime Prevention Action Fund: (a) how much of the grant has been paid out to date; (b) what was the original purpose of the grant; (c) does the government believe that this money has been spent appropriately by the receiving organization and, if not, does it plan to recover any of the funding; (d) what specific action has the government taken with the organization to ensure that the money went towards its intended purpose; and (e) is the government concerned with the report in the Toronto Star that innocent women who are not sex workers have had their names put forward by the organization and, if so, what action has the government taken in response?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2401--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to Global Affairs Canada providing over $900,000 in funding to Wi’am through a $4.8 million payment to Kairos Canada as part of the government’s Women of Courage: Women, Peace, and Security program: (a) when did the government become aware that it was funding a group which supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sactions (BDS) campaign; (b) what is the government’s position on the statement from the director of Wi’am that “The world needs to be liberated from this guilty feeling that Israel has tried to instill in them and the world should be helping Israel shed its victim identity through BDS”; and (c) will the government immediately stop any funding to Wi’am and, if not, why not?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2402--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to concerns that federal government job advertisements on Facebook were microtargeted at certain demographics while excluding other demographics, since November 4, 2015: (a) which government jobs were advertised on Facebook; (b) what are the details of all job advertisements, including (i) date advertisement started, (ii) job title; and (c) for each advertisement, which ones were microtargeted at certain demographics and what demographics were (i) included, (ii) excluded?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2406--
Mr. David Anderson:
With regard to the government’s handling of the Canola crisis: (a) how many times has the Minister of Agriculture met with or called the Minister of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China to discuss the matter; (b) for each instance in (a), what (i) was the date, (ii) was the type (telephone, in person, etc.), (iii) were the results; (c) how many times has the Prime Minister met with or called the Chinese President to discuss the matter; and (d) for each instance in (c), what (i) was the date, (ii) was the type (telephone, in person, etc.), (iii) was the results?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2407--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the appointment of Ministerial Special Representatives since November 2015, broken down by year and individual appointment: (a) what is the name of the Ministerial Special Representative; (b) which Minister appointed them; (c) were they paid for their services; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, how much were they paid in total, including expenses for travel, etc.; and (e) what was the stated purpose of their appointment?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2409--
Mr. Peter Julian:
With regard to government advertising since November 4, 2015: (a) how much has each department, agency and Crown corporation spent on advertising (i) on Facebook, (ii) on Xbox, Xbox 360 or Xbox One, (iii) on YouTube, (iv) in sponsored tweets on Twitter, (v) on Instagram; (b) for each advertisement, what was its (i) nature, (ii) purpose, (iii) target audience or demographic profile, (iv) cost; (c) what was the media authorization number of each advertisement; and (d) what are the reference numbers of the documents, reports and memoranda concerning each advertisement or its after-the-fact evaluation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2410--
Mr. Wayne Stetski:
With regard to the Rental Construction Financing Initiative: (a) what are the details of projects approved to receive loans, including the number and sizes of proposed rental units, project locations, interest rate, and repayment period; (b) on what basis has the government calculated affordability of proposed rental units of varying sizes for approved projects; and (c) how will the government ensure rental units in approved projects remain affordable over the long term?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2411--
Mr. Gord Johns:
With regard to the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) announced by the government in 2016: (a) how much money, has been allocated to Transport Canada under the OPP, since 2016, broken down by year; (b) how much money has been spent under the OPP, by Transport Canada, since 2016, broken down by year and by program; (c) how much money has been allocated to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans under the OPP, since 2016, broken down by year; (d) how much money has been spent under the OPP by the Department and Fisheries and Oceans, since 2016, broken down by year and by program; (e) how much money has been allocated to Environment and Climate Change Canada under the OPP, since 2016, broken down by year; (f) how much money has been spent under the OPP by Environment and Climate Change Canada, since 2016, broken down by year and by program; (g) how much money has been spent under the OPP on efforts to mitigate the potential impacts of oil spills, since 2016, broken down by year and by program; (h) how much money from the OPP has been allocated to the Whales Initiative, since 2016, broken down by year; (i) how much money has been spent under the OPP on the Whales Initiative since 2016; and (j) what policies does the government have in place to ensure that the funding allocated under the OPP is spent on its stated goals in a timely manner?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2412--
Mr. Gord Johns:
With regard to the communities which comprise the federal electoral district of Courtenay—Alberni, between the 2005-2006 and current year fiscal year: (a) what are the federal infrastructure investments, including direct transfers to the municipalities and First Nations, for the communities of (i) Tofino, (ii) Ucluelet, (iii) Port Alberni, (iv) Parksville, (v) Qualicum Beach, (vi) Cumberland, (vii) Courtenay, (viii) Deep Bay, (ix) Dashwood, (x) Royston, (xi) French Creek, (xii) Errington, (xiii) Coombs, (xiv) Nanoose Bay, (xv) Cherry Creek, (xvi) China Creek, (xvii) Bamfield, (xviii) Beaver Creek, (xix) Beaufort Range, (xx) Millstream, (xxi) Mt. Washington Ski Resort, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure, (iii) project; (b) what are the federal infrastructure investments transferred to the regional districts of (i) Comox Valley Regional District, (ii) Nanaimo Regional District, (iii) Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, (iv) Powell River Regional District, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure, (iii) project; (c) what are the federal infrastructure investments transferred to the Island Trusts of (i) Horny Island, (ii) Denman Island, (iii) Lasquetti Island, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure; (d) what are the federal infrastructure investments transferred to (i) the Ahousaht First Nation, (ii) Hesquiaht First Nation, (iii) Huu-ay-aht First Nation, (iv) Hupacasath First Nation, (v) Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, (vi) Toquaht First Nation, (vii) Tseshaht First Nation, (viii) Uchucklesaht First Nation, (ix) Ucluelet First Nation, (x) K’omoks First Nation, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure, (iii) projects; (e) what are the infastructure funding of Pacific Rim National Park, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure (iii) project; (f) what are the funding of Highways, including but not limited to, (i) Highway 4, (ii) Highway 19, (iii) Highway 19a, (iv) Bamfield Road, broken down by (i) fiscal year, (ii) total expenditure, (iii) projects; and (g) what are any other infrastructure investments provided through the funding of national parks, highways, Build Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Gas Tax, Small Crafts and Harbours, BC Ferries, etc., broken down by (i) fiscal year (ii) total expenditure, (iii) project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2413--
Mr. Gord Johns:
With regard to each of Canada’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres (MCTS Centres): what was (a) the projected spending compared to the actual spending for the 2012-13 through 2018-19 fiscal years, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location; (b) the total number of staff for each MCTS Centre from the 2012-13 through 2018-19 fiscal years, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location; (c) the projected staffing at MCTS Centres for the 2019-20 fiscal year, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location; (d) the total expenditures related to travel and overtime of staff members in the western regions from the 2012-13 to 2018-19 fiscal years, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location; (e) the projected MCTS officer graduations from Canadian Coast Guard College, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and at all other accredited institutions in the 2018-19 fiscal year; (f) the total number of officer shifts which “ran short” at the MCTS locations in Victoria and Prince Rupert, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location; and (g) the total expenditures on building and equipment maintenance at each MCTS Centre, broken down by (i) year, (ii) location?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2414--
Mr. Gord Johns:
With regard to the government's use and receipt of credit cards since 2015-16 to 2018-19: (a) how much has the government paid in credit card merchant fees, broken down by (i) year, (ii) company, (iii) amounts withheld, forgone or otherwise held by either credit card companies or service providers; (b) how many credit cards does the government currently have in use for staff, and which companies provide them; (c) for cards provided by the government to staff, what is the annual fee paid by the government per card; (d) does the goverment provide any cards to staff that include redeemable rewards and, if so, what are these rewards and who collects them; and (e) how much has the government paid in late or overdue balances, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2415--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to the new, coordinated plan to deliver $5 billion to $6 billion in new investments in rural broadband Internet service over the next 10 years: (a) when will the details of the new plan be announced; (b) will the government release the details of the new plan to the public; (c) what minimum speeds will be required to be eligible for funding, broken down by (i) Connect to Innovate, (ii) the new Universal Broadband Fund anticipated by the government; (d) what minimum monthly usage allowances will be required to be eligible for funding, broken down by (i) Connect to Innovate, (ii) the new Universal Broadband Fund anticipated by the government; (e) which costs will be eligible or ineligible, broken down by (i) Connect to Innovate, (ii) the new Universal Broadband Fund anticipated by the government; (f) of the proposed $5 billion to $6 billion in investments, (i) how is the funding broken down by department or agency, (ii) what percentage of the funding will be allocated to private-sector partners, (iii) what percentage of the funding will be allocated to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, (iv) what percentage of the funding will be allocated to not-for-profit partner organizations; (g) according to the government’s estimates, what percentage of households and businesses do not have access to broadband Internet service in the current year; (h) what is the annual target to deliver broadband Internet service to households and businesses between 2021 and 2030, inclusive, broken down by year; (i) what is the annual projection to deliver broadband Internet service to households and businesses between 2021 and 2030, inclusive, broken down by year; and (j) do budgetary considerations explain why the target of providing 100% of households and small businesses with broadband Internet access cannot be achieved before 2030 and, if so, what are these budgetary or other considerations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2416--
Ms. Karine Trudel:
With regard to financial assistance applications made to the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions, for each fiscal year from 2015-16 to date, broken down by regional office: how many requests were approved and how many were rejected when submitted for the approval of (i) the regional director, (ii) the director general, (iii) the vice-president, (iv) the president, (v) the minister?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2417--
Mr. Michael Cooper:
With regard to Bill C-337, Judicial Accountability through Sexual Assault Law Training Act: did anyone in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Office of Leader of the Government in the House of Commons or the Privy Council Office advise the Leader of the Government in the Senate to delay or prevent passage of the Bill in the Senate and, if so, (i) who provided the advice, (ii) what advice was given, (iii) when was the advice provided?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2418--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to the Impact Canada Initiative: (a) what is the overall budget; (b) how were members of the Impact Canada Advisory Committee chosen; (c) how much compensation or remuneration is being paid to members of the Advisory Committee; (d) are members of the Advisory Panel required to recuse themselves on any funding advice which may benefit any entities which they own or are employed by and, if not, why not; and (e) what are all the funding decisions made to date by Impact Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2419--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With respect to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and with respect to the agriculture stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: (a) how many applications has the government received for temporary labourers for the 2018 crop harvesting season for each program; (b) how many applications have been approved thus far for the 2018 crop harvesting season for each program; (c) how many applications have been denied thus far for the 2018 crop harvesting season for each program, including rationale; (d) how many applications did the government receive for temporary labourers for the 2017 crop harvesting season for each program; (e) how many applications were approved for the 2017 crop harvesting season for each program; and (f) how many applications were denied for the 2017 crop harvesting season for each program, including rationale?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2420--
Mr. Robert Aubin:
With regard to VIA Rail’s high-frequency rail proposal for the Toronto–Quebec City corridor: (a) did the Canada Infrastructure Bank have meetings with (i) Transport Canada, (ii) Department of Finance Canada, (iii) Infrastructure Canada, and, if so, for each of the meetings in (a), what were the (i) date of the meeting, (ii) location of the meeting, (iii) meeting participants, (iv) topics of discussion, (v) names of potential investors; and (b) was a public-private partnership or public-public partnership option assessed or is one being assessed, and, if so, what delivery model options for the public-private partnership were discussed or assessed?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2421--
Mrs. Sylvie Boucher:
With regard to the G7 Summit held in Charlevoix in 2018: (a) what are the total expenditures to date; (b) what is the breakdown of expenditures by financial code, including a description of what each code represents; and (c) what are the details of all contracts related to the Summit, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date and duration of contract, (iv) description of goods or services provided, (v) quantity of goods or services provided, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2422--
Ms. Sheri Benson:
With regard to all federal programs, services, grants, transfers, contributions, and all other initiatives related to the construction, upgrading, renovation, and maintenance of all public and private housing projects between fiscal year 2014-15 and the current: (a) what are all the projects funded for each electoral district; (b) what is the specific fund or program each project was funded through; (c) what is the dollar amount contributed by the federal government to each project; (d) what are all the other funding partners for each project, including (i) provincial, (ii) municipal or Indigenous governments, (iii) private owners, (iv) renters, (v) investors, (vi) contractors or operators, (vii) not-for-profit organizations, (viii) individual or household, (ix) other; (e) what is the dollar amount contributed by each funding partner for each project; (f) what is the number of new housing units or dwellings created by each project; (g) what is the number of existing housing units or dwellings renovated by each project; and (h) what is the completion date or expected completion date for each project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2423--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With respect to the announcement in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement making available up to $755 million on a cash basis over 10 years to establish a Social Finance Fund, and specifically with respect to the reference on Page 167 of Budget 2019, Investing in the Middle Class, regarding Renewable Funds (British Columbia) provides early-stage growth capital to for-profit social enterprises with the potential to create social or environmental change in industries such as clean technology and sustainable agriculture: (a) what is the exact funding amount earmarked for Renewable Funds (British Columbia); (b) what are the definitions of “sustainable agriculture” and “clean technology” with respect to this Fund; (c) how will that funding be allocated between clean technology and sustainable agriculture; (d) who are the “professional investment managers” who will manage the allocated funding; (e) what is the application process for enterprises seeking funding under this Fund; and (f) which government departments or agencies oversee this Fund?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2424--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the First Nations On-Reserve Housing Program, the British Columbia Housing Subsidy Program, the On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program, the First Nation Market Housing Fund, and the British Columbia New Approach for Housing Support, since November 2015, broken down by (i)program, (ii) year, (iii) region, (iv) First Nation: (a) how much has been allocated to the program; and (b) how much has been spent through the program?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2425--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to Government of Canada delegations to the United Nations in New York or Geneva, broken down by department and fiscal quarter since November 4, 2015: (a) what was the number of individuals in and accompanying each delegation, including (i) ministers and parliamentary secretaries, (ii) exempt staff, (iii) public servants, and (iv) guests; (b) what was the total cost for each category of attendee outlined in (a); and (c) in the case of guests, what was the rationale for their invitation to join or accompany the delegation for each case?
Response
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2371 Information leak related t ...8555-421-2372 Federal spending in Quebec8555-421-2373 Housing investments and ho ...8555-421-2374 Stock option deductions8555-421-2375 Tax fairness actions8555-421-2376 Offshore Tax Informant Program8555-421-2377 Government advertising8555-421-2378 Wrapping and advertising e ...8555-421-2380 Certification of the Boein ...8555-421-2381 Federal funding in the con ...8555-421-2382 Repairs to the sewage lago ... ...Show all topics
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
CPC (AB)
View Matt Jeneroux Profile
2019-05-16 17:57 [p.27979]
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to be able to stand and speak on behalf the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge. He is a dear friend, and I believe that this is a very important piece of legislation that he is bringing forward here in the House. It is an honour to speak on it.
I would also like to thank Senator Percy Downe for introducing this bill in the Senate. It is a shame that the government plans to oppose it, but I hope government members will listen to all of the reasons that this bill makes sense for the government and for Canadians.
It is timely to be speaking about Bill S-243 now, as the majority of Canadians just finished filing their taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency. We also just found out that the Canada Revenue Agency wrote off $133 million owed by a single taxpayer.
CRA employees discussed the large writeoff in an internal memo in September of 2018, and the media reported on this memo in April. However, we do not know who the taxpayer is or whether it is a person or a corporation. We also do not know whether this writeoff is related to government subsidies, which is something Canadians should know.
The aim of this bill is to keep the CRA accountable for tax collection efforts. It would also require the CRA to report on the tax gap, which is the difference between taxes owing and taxes actually collected. The bill would also require the CRA to publish information on convictions for domestic and offshore tax evasion. Data shows that the offshore tax gap for the 2014 tax year was between $0.8 billion and $3 billion.
The CRA has published information about the tax gap related to the goods and services tax. In 2014, here the offshore tax gap was estimated to be about $4.9 billion. The CRA has also shared the domestic personal income tax gap for that same year, 2014, at $8.7 billion. In that one year, the money owed for the tax gap, which could have been as high as $16 billion, could have funded many programs or eased the tax burden for many Canadians.
Conservatives believe in making life more affordable for Canadians and in keeping taxes as low as possible to stimulate the economy. When the government loses a significant amount of money because of a tax gap, it means that taxes could be raised for the rest of us. This penalizes law-abiding Canadians.
I support Senator Downe's bill, which is sponsored by the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge here in the House, because it makes sense and makes the CRA and those Canadians not living up to their responsibility to pay taxes more accountable.
Some Canadians are concerned that reporting on the tax gap could threaten their privacy, but this bill balances the privacy of individuals with transparency and accountability for the CRA. The information would be reported to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, so its intent is not to name and shame average Canadians.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia all report on their tax gaps. These governments all indicate that they report this information because it helps their revenue departments understand how and why non-compliance occurs. This information is helpful to policy-makers, who can then make better-informed decisions about tax policy and also help the government better manage its resource allocation.
Canada should have this system. Mandating measurement of the tax gap ensures that future governments and parliaments have all of the information necessary to take action on the tax gap.
Many of us are aware that offshore tax evasion is a problem in Canada. Almost 1,000 Canadian taxpayers, including individuals, corporations and trusts, were named in the Panama papers three years ago.
The CRA told media last month that it had identified 894 taxpayers and had finished reviewing 525 of these cases, resulting in $14.9 million in federal taxes and penalties. This number will rise as audits continue.
Although the CRA told the media the amount of taxes assessed, it did not say how much of that money has actually been collected. Senator Downe's bill, if passed, would require the CRA to report that type of information to Canadians. As I mentioned before, this type of information would be incredibly helpful to our policy-makers. Many other countries use this information, and Canadians would be better served if our policy-makers also had this kind of information.
Most Canadians work hard all year and diligently file their taxes. These are honest people who would never attempt to cheat the government. However, we see wealthy Canadian individuals and corporations attempt to cheat the tax system all the time.
Tax money is used to fund services we enjoy, such as health care, transit and roads. The CRA should be able to say how much money it has collected as a result of the Panama papers. This is in the Canadian public interest.
Similarly, it should be allowed and able to tell us why $133 million was written off for a single taxpayer. That money could provide significant funding for public services, and Canadians deserve to know why this taxpayer or corporation received special treatment while the rest of us diligently work to pay our fair share.
I have had many constituents complain about dealings with the CRA, including poor levels of service or the agency repeatedly requesting documentation that has already been provided to a different branch. The Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman, which operates at arm's length from the CRA, has experienced an increase in complaints over the last few years. In 2017, the taxpayers' ombudsman said the biggest complaints were: first, the struggle to even get through to the CRA call centre, which can be a huge headache, especially around tax time. Other complaints included receiving inconsistent and incorrect information from the call centre agent and the lack of information sharing between different branches of the CRA. Many Canadians have been asked to produce the same information or documents more than once, because the person's file was not properly shared between departments.
The taxpayers' ombudsman called these problems “systemic” and said there are other deeply rooted problems. The CRA acknowledges that it needs to do more to better serve Canadians, and representatives from the agency will be travelling across Canada over the next month to conduct in-person consultations on how the CRA can improve its services. I have no doubt they will receive plenty of feedback. I am hopeful that the CRA will take this feedback and then implement it to create a better-run system, which Canadians deserve.
I know it is not just the CRA that has these problems. A recent Auditor General report found that other government departments, including immigration, employment insurance and the Canada pension plan, did not answer their phones for the millions of Canadians who called them in 2017 and 2018. It is obvious the government needs to make huge improvements to give Canadians the accessible service they require and deserve.
I hope these consultations by the CRA are fruitful and we will see a service improvement in the near future. I know how seriously Canadians take the CRA, except for wealthy Canadians who keep their money in offshore accounts without thinking of the consequences. For many Canadians, getting a letter from the CRA is anxiety-inducing, and dealing with audits and investigations can cause high levels of stress.
When Canadians owe the CRA money, most work to pay that money back, whether it is through installments or a lump sum payment. Most people would not dream of running out on the bill, so to speak, so they should not be unfairly penalized when corporations and wealthy Canadians run out on their tax obligations.
If this bill passes, it means increased accountability for the CRA, which is in the best interests of taxpayers. The changes proposed in this bill require the CRA to report on all convictions for tax evasion in addition to reporting the tax gap, as I mentioned earlier. This data would be reported to the Minister of National Revenue in the CRA's annual report, which is tabled in Parliament. The Minister of National Revenue is also required to provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with data to calculate the tax gap.
These amendments, which would be inexpensive to implement, would increase transparency, which the government allegedly values. Publicly available reports on the gap between income taxes owed and taxes collected will provide a metric for judging the efficacy of measures to combat income tax evasion. This is important information for Canadians to have access to. Many other western nations publicly post this information. Canada is already behind standard practice in this regard. Conservatives support any measures to enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the public service.
Bill S-243 is a common-sense amendment to the Canada Revenue Agency Act, and I support the amendments.
I thank Senator Downe for his work on this bill, and the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge for helping to get the bill through the House of Commons. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill today.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-05-16 18:14 [p.27981]
Mr. Speaker, for the people watching today, what Bill S-243 would do, in technical jargon, is amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act to require that the CRA report on all convictions for tax evasion, including international tax evasion, and that the tax gap or the difference between estimated taxes owing and actual taxes collected be included in the annual report it submits to the Minister of National Revenue for tabling in Parliament. It would require the minister to provide data for calculating the tax gap to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
The Conference Board of Canada estimates the tax gap at between $9 billion and $50 billion. That is a lot of money. What could that be used for? It could be used to reduce the deficit, spend money on things that we need and maybe not tell veterans in Canada that they are asking for more than we can give.
I find the parliamentary secretary's speech ridiculously hilarious and I do not even know how to summarize her defence of voting against this bill. I am going to give this lecture to the CRA bureaucrats in the lobby who wrote that audacious speech that she did not even bother to edit before coming in here and reading it.
To the CRA bureaucrats watching, first, none of us on this side of the House would be the man and then take the man's talking points into the House of Commons to argue why CRA bureaucrats would not provide this data for not doing their job, number one. That is just ridiculous. It is actually laughable.
Second, some poor political staffer put the one attack line in her speech. My colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge made a wonderful comment, which was summarized as follows: “Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves for not doing 10 years ago the thing that we are not going to do today.”
Come on. We know that this is important, which is why my colleague has spoken against it, but the delicious part of the argument to not support it was the argument of privacy for financial records.
I am going to give credit in a nod of bipartisanship to this point. The lobby coordinator of the New Democratic Party, Anthony Salloum, said it is really rich for the Liberals to be making an issue about the privacy of personal banking records when it was they who wanted Statistics Canada to dive deep into people's individual banking records and then stood day after day in the House of Commons saying it was all good. They said there was no problem with the government being able to see if people went to the 7-Eleven at 10 o'clock at night and bought a delicious blue Slurpee, because that is the role of government.
They did that for a month. Day after day, they said it is the role of government, that the man should be able to see everything people buy, that there is no issue with privacy and everything is A-okay. Now, today, they are saying that Canada Revenue Agency bureaucrats are all of a sudden concerned with privacy.
As a member of Parliament, I have to hire someone in my office just to do casework, and I have had cases in which people had their files locked in some CRA bureaucrat's desk or left by the water cooler. The incompetence of this bureaucracy is staggering at best and irresponsible at worst. Anytime somebody stands in the House of Commons to talk about privacy, that person should at least read the speech that the bureaucrats provided and think about whether it makes the individual sound like a super-villain. I think the parliamentary secretary forgot to do that today.
In all seriousness, we need to ensure that we are addressing the issue of the tax gap, because it is a source of revenue that we are not tapping into and it disadvantages Canadians who are paying taxes fairly if we are not collecting taxes in an appropriate manner. In fact, it creates a disproportionate burden of taxpaying on one aspect of Canadian society as opposed to another.
Since I have a moment to talk about the Liberal government's ability to prosecute tax evaders, I am going to point to a CBC story in 2018 that talked about governments around the world being able to recover $500 million in taxes thanks to the Panama papers.
However, the article said that this is in stark contrast to the CRA's effectiveness at catching offshore tax cheats and comes in the wake of a CBC investigation that found that few, if any, of the criminal convictions the agency cites in defence of its record have anything to do with offshore tax evasion.
In fact, of the court cases the government had cited in Parliament to defend its record on cracking down on offshore tax evasion, a 2017 CBC article said that few, if any, had anything to do with millionaires hiding money in overseas tax havens.
As a further point of proof, the parliamentary secretary's boss, the Minister of National Revenue, or the minister of bluster, since she has a tendency to stand in the House and repeat nonsensical talking points that have nothing to do with the question asked, said in 2016 that her agency had already started to identify 45 targets for audits. However, three years later there are no tangible outcomes.
The nice thing about this bill is that it would force the bureaucrats who wrote that very staid and weird speech to determine what our tax gap is on an annual basis and help ensure that Canada is retrieving those taxes, so that complying Canadians do not shoulder this burden of taxes on their own.
I want to point out the government's hypocrisy. When it saw that it was potentially losing billions of dollars to tax evasion, its action was to increase taxes on law-abiding Canadians. In terms of the results of its tax increases, my colleague, the shadow minister for finance, made a wonderful intervention in the House that is worth repeating.
He stated that the CRA data that had recently been released demonstrated that “in the first year after the tax increase took effect, the government actually collected $4.6 billion less from the wealthiest 1%.”
He went on to say:
Finance Canada released documents almost exactly a year ago today in its annual financial report, on September 19, 2017, in which it revealed almost exactly the same phenomenon. Revenues went down from the wealthiest 1%.
As my colleague pointed out, the government said that this was all “due to one-time factors”, but we know there were some wealthy individuals who moved money around to avoid paying their fair share.
It is worth pointing out that one of those individuals was the Minister of Finance himself; the minister of the french fry yacht. He announced a tax increase to take effect on January 1, 2016. He sold shares in his own company, Morneau Shepell, just 30 days before that, in order to ensure his capital gain would be taxed at the earlier, lower rate and he would not have to pay the same higher taxes he imposed on everyone else.
We see the Liberals' record and the absolute ridiculousness of making the argument on privacy after they were going to allow Statistics Canada to look at Canadians' personal banking records. We see the track record of the Minister of Finance on this. We understand that bureaucrats are not motivated to have transparency in terms of their efficacy. The role of the executive branch is to go to bureaucrats and thank them for their public service and let them know that it has a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers and is going to make these changes. This is what we need to do in this place.
By voting against this bill, we understand what real change means to the Liberal government. It means absolutely nothing.
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2019-05-14 10:18 [p.27725]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House to speak to Bill S-6, an act to implement the convention between Canada and the Republic of Madagascar for the avoidance of double taxation, which is another important step forward in our government's continued commitment to Canadians to strengthen tax fairness.
The measures proposed in this bill strengthen our efforts to build a fair and equitable tax regime that will benefit all Canadians. Bill S-6 is a tax convention that complements other tax treaties we already have with many other international partners.
To ensure that our economy is really working for everyone, we must have a fair tax system, and all Canadians must pay their fair share.
After all, through the taxes we pay as Canadians, we can provide greater support to the middle class, reduce inequality and build modern infrastructure that will get our products to new markets and help create good jobs all across the country.
For nearly four years now, we have been committed to taking action to foster growth and inclusive prosperity, while maintaining fairness for all taxpayers.
A fair tax system is crucial to ensuring that more and more people benefit from a growing economy. When Canadians have more money to invest, save and grow the economy, everyone benefits. Our government began taking steps in that direction from the very beginning.
In fact, one of our first legislative actions was to raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to cut taxes for the middle class. Over nine million Canadians are benefiting from our middle-class tax cut. Single individuals who benefit from the middle-class tax cut are saving on average $330 each year, and couples that benefit are saving an average of $540 each year.
We also took action to provide simpler, more generous and better targeted support to those Canadian families that needed it the most. We did so in 2016 by replacing the old child benefit system with the Canada child benefit. Across Canada, the CCB payments are worth about $24 billion and benefit 3.4 million Canadian families every year. As a result of the Canada child benefit, nine out of 10 Canadian families are better off. I am very proud to mention to the House that the Canada child benefit has helped lift over 300,000 kids out of poverty.
To ensure that the Canada child benefit continues to play a vital role in helping Canadian families, our government strengthened the benefit by indexing it to the cost of living, as of July 2018, which is two full years ahead of schedule.
Thanks to the middle-class tax cut and the CCB, a typical middle-class family of four receives on average about $2,000 more each year to help with the costs of raising their children, which is $2,000 more than they received in 2015. Those numbers are not according to me, they are according to the OECD, which published a study last summer, highlighting how big a difference those two measures had made in the lives of so many Canadian families.
We are not stopping there. Small businesses are one of the key drivers of the Canadian economy. They represent 70% of all private sector jobs, and that is why our government also lowered the small business tax rate. We did that because, when small businesses succeed, all of Canada benefits. We lowered the small business tax rate not once, but twice. As members know, we first lowered it from 10.5% to 10% in 2018 and then we lowered it to 9% in January of this year. For a medium-sized SME, that represents an additional $1,600 a year compared to 2017. That money can be used to create jobs, invest and buy new equipment. With those two consecutive reductions in the small business tax rate, the combined federal-provincial-territorial average tax rate for SMEs is now 12.2%. That is by far the lowest in the G7 and the fourth lowest among the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, countries.
Thanks to these measures that have helped boost Canadians' confidence and stimulate economic growth, over a million jobs have been created in Canada since 2015. These new jobs brought Canada's unemployment rate down to the lowest it has been in 40 years and fostered economic growth, making Canada one of the strongest economies in the G7. Our goal is to maintain that growth in the long term.
Our long-term plan is working, and Canadians can feel confident their government is working hard to ensure they can keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
Tax fairness is an important step in this process. Tax fairness has been, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of the government's promise to Canadians to strengthen and grow the middle class and grow the economy now and over the long term. In each of our budgets, we have taken legislative action on both international and domestic fronts to enhance the integrity of Canada's tax system and give Canadians greater confidence that the system is fair for everyone.
Our government has also boosted the capacity of the Canada Revenue Agency, or the CRA, to crack down on tax fraud and tax avoidance. Investments made over the past two years have enabled the CRA to better target persons who pose the highest risk of tax avoidance and evasion. The CRA now has better access to information on Canadians' overseas bank accounts as we have put in place the common reporting standard. With this new system, Canada and more than 100 other countries now exchange financial account information to help us identify when Canadians are avoiding taxes by hiding money in offshore accounts.
The CRA needs other types of information from foreign countries to ensure that all taxpayers pay their fair share of taxes. That is why the tax convention to be implemented by Bill S-6 establishes a system for the exchange of tax information between Canada and Madagascar. Our efforts have focused mainly on fighting tax evasion and fraud because these practices result in heavy financial losses for the government and, by extension, for all Canadian taxpayers.
Recently, we passed important legislation through the House to introduce a multilateral convention to allow Canada and many of its treaty partners to implement tax treaty-related measures to counter a practice known as base erosion and profit shifting, BEPS. BEPS refers to the international planning used by some corporations and wealthy individuals to inappropriately avoid paying taxes by shifting profits earned in Canada to other offshore jurisdictions.
Just last month, budget 2019 proposed to invest an additional $150 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, to step up our efforts on tax evasion. This new investment would allow the CRA to fund new initiatives and extend existing programs. This includes taking action to enhance tax compliance in the real estate sector by investing in the creation of four new dedicated real estate audit teams at the CRA that focus on high-risk areas, notably in Vancouver and Toronto.
Budget 2019 also takes action so the CRA can stay ahead of non-compliance schemes driven by the use of new advanced technologies. Budget 2019 proposes to invest $65.8 million over five years to improve the CRA's information technology system. This would replace legacy systems and modernize the infrastructure used to fight tax evasion.
A modern tax system will help provide more opportunities to Canadians. It will also help create a trading environment in which business owners and entrepreneurs will have the means to invest. They will be able to develop their businesses and create more well-paying jobs for the middle class. That is why, in a world of challenges and constant change, it is so important for Canada to continue developing and updating its network of tax treaties.
The bill we are looking at is part of those efforts. Because Canada is and always will be a trading nation, our tax system has to be designed in such a way to help Canadians seize the incredible opportunities that international trade and investment have to offer. Tax treaties with our trading partners are absolutely fundamental to creating those opportunities.
Canada's 93 tax treaties make up one of the broadest networks in the world. The tax treaty being considered with Madagascar in Bill S-6 is part of our countless efforts to strengthen Canada's ties and international co-operation.
Canada and Madagascar have had diplomatic relations since 1965 and share a common French-language heritage. Both Canada and Madagascar are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
Enhancing our competitiveness depends on opening up more markets and ensuring those markets are available to Canadian businesses. Tax treaties provide the certainty needed to support trade and investment between two countries. They also permit the exchange of information needed to help prevent international tax evasion.
Bilateral double tax conventions are used to eliminate tax barriers to trade and investment between two countries. They achieve this in a number of ways.
Tax treaties also provide a mechanism for jurisdictions to resolve tax disputes. The Canada-Madagascar tax convention will promote certainty, stability and a better business climate for taxpayers and businesses in both Canada and Madagascar.
These are all important goals.
In closing, four years ago, we committed to investing in growth while maintaining tax fairness for all taxpayers. A fair tax system is essential to giving as many people as possible the opportunity to reap the benefits of economic growth.
As I said, tax fairness has been and will continue to be a cornerstone of our efforts ensure that Canadian prosperity is inclusive.
We are working with international partners and we are investing to give the Canada Revenue Agency the tools it needs to do its work and ensure that everyone pays their fair share.
We will also ensure that the government continues to provide programs that help all Canadians and that Canada remains positioned as an attractive country for those seeking to work, to invest and to do business.
The benefits of Bill S-6 are clear. The tax convention between Canada and Madagascar will promote fiscal certainty and a better business climate for taxpayers and businesses in both Canada and Madagascar. Furthermore, the convention will help solidify Canada's position in a world that thrives on competition to attract foreign business and investments. By increasing its number of convention partners, our government is helping to create the ideal conditions for the long-term economic growth needed to strengthen the middle class.
Our government is committed to growing the economy by helping all Canadians. We maintain that a strong economy is a result of a strong middle class, and our policies and our results reflect this.
Over the past three years, the government has invested in Canadians and in the things that matter most to them and we will continue to do so. Bill S-6 is part of that plan for inclusive and long-term prosperity in this country.
I urge all hon. members to vote yes on this important legislation.
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