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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 Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)

Question No. 2426--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the government’s CC-150 (Airbus), since July 1, 2017: what are the details of the legs of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) point of departure, (iii) destination, (iv) number of passengers, (v) names and titles of passengers, excluding security or Canadian Armed Forces members, (vi) total catering bill related to the flight?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2427--
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
With regard to Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) in Canada, for the three most recent tax years available: (a) what is the total number of persons with at least one TFSA, broken down by age groups (i) 18 to 24, (ii) 25 to 34, (iii) 35 to 54, (iv) 55 to 64, (v) 65 and above; (b) what is the total number of persons with TFSAs, broken down by Fair Market Value Bracket (i) under $100,000, (ii) $100,000 to $250,000, (iii) $250,000 to $500,000, (iv) $500,000 to $1,000,000, (v) $1,000,000 and above; and (c) what is the total Fair Market Value of TFSAs, broken down by age groups (i) 18 to 24, (ii) 25 to 34, (iii) 35 to 54, (iv) 55 to 64, (v) 65 and above?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2428--
Mr. Mario Beaulieu:
With regard to federal spending in the riding of La Pointe-de-l'Île since 2015: what was the total amount of federal investments, broken down by year, department and project in the riding?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2430--
Ms. Linda Duncan:
With regard to Canada’s commitment in the Feminist International Assistance Policy to join global partnerships that promote sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for women and girls: (a) what steps is the government taking to ensure support for this work is sustained and scaled up beyond 2020; (b) does the government intend to commit to the Future Planning Initiative’s call for $1.4 billion per year for ten years for SRHR initiatives, including $500 million per year for the neglected areas of SRHR; and (c) will this funding be in addition to the official development assistance promised in the 2018 and 2019 budgets?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2433--
Mr. John Barlow:
With regard to the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs Program: (a) what was the total number of applications; (b) how many applications were (i) approved for funding, (ii) rejected or denied funding; and (c) what is the number of applications that were (i) approved for funding, (ii) rejected or denied funding, broken down by riding?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2434--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
With regard to the $450 million Champions stream of the Low Carbon Economy Fund: (a) how many potential applicants submitted an expression of interest to Environment and Climate Change Canada, broken down by (i) small and medium-sized businesses, (ii) large businesses, (iii) provinces and territories, (iv) potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; (b) how many organizations were invited to submit a formal proposal, broken down by (i) provinces and territories, (ii) municipalities, (iii) Indigenous communities and organizations, (iv) small and medium-sized businesses, (v) large businesses, (vi) not-for-profit organizations, (vii) potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and (c) how much has been spent to date, broken down by (i) business name, (ii) province and territory, (iii) potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for each business funded?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2435--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to the Phoenix pay system, and specifically with respect to problems experienced by constituents in the riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford: (a) how many open cases currently exist in the riding, and has a case officer been assigned to each; (b) what is the length of time each case has been open; (c) how many cases have been resolved within the current prescribed service standards dating back to the introduction of the Phoenix pay system; and (d) how many cases have not been resolved within the current prescribed service standards dating back to the introduction of the Phoenix pay system?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2436--
Ms. Hélène Laverdière:
With regard to the handling by Canada's National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (NCP) of a Request for Review from the not-for-profit Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) of Switzerland regarding the Ottawa-based multinational Sakto Corporation and the role of the Department of Justice in this case: (a) following receipt of the Request for Review from the BMF in January 2016, did any person who was a member of, or associated with in any capacity, the NCP committee receive written or verbal notification of potential legal action from Sakto against any members or persons associated with the NCP committee, the NCP as an institution, federal employees, Cabinet ministers or ministers’ staff, or the government as a whole, in regard to this Request for Review; (b) what are the names and institutional positions of the persons who received and are aware of such notifications of potential legal action, and what are the names and institutional positions of persons and institutions of the government, ministers, or federal employees against whom such potential legal action was directed; (c) what was the stated cause or basis of potential legal action for the Request for Review in (a); (d) what role did the threat of legal action play in the NCP change of position from its draft initial assessment of October 2016 to dismissal of the case in March 2017 in a draft final statement; (e) which Members of Parliament were implicated by Sakto, and who engaged these Members of Parliament on behalf of Sakto during the NCP assessment process; (f) what are the names and institutional positions of the persons, including any ministers, who were approached by these Members of Parliament, and what actions did those persons who were approached take, including details of written or verbal communications with the NCP committee and its staff, in particular; (g) were members of the NCP committee, their staff and associated civil servants urged, encouraged or instructed by any Member of Parliament or minister, or their staff, to dismiss or consider dismissing the Sakto case that was under review and, if so, by whom; (h) what are the names and positions of the persons who challenged the NCP's jurisdiction on behalf of Sakto, and what was the nature of this challenge, including actions and details of written or verbal communications with the NCP committee and its staff, or others, and what are the names and positions of the persons who were aware of Sakto's challenge of the NCP's jurisdiction; (i) what is the name of the Deputy Minister of Justice to which Sakto’s made submissions, including details of the submissions, and what action, verbal or written communication did the Deputy Minister of Justice undertake in response; (j) why did the NCP decide to take the decision of removing a published final statement that had been posted on its web site for ten months; (k) on what legal basis did the Department of Justice issue cease and desist letters regarding documents issued by the NCP related to the Sakto Request for Review to BMF and OECD Watch; (l) on what legal basis did the NCP issues a cease and desist letter to MiningWatch Canada; (m) why and at whose request did the Department of Justice and the NCP issues these letters; (n) how did the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of International Trade Diversification explain the process followed by the NCP in this case, and what are the details of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities’ and the Minister of International Trade Diversification’s written or verbal responses to the Secretary General of the OECD, or any other staff of the OECD; and (o) has the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities or the Minister of International Trade Diversification briefed or discussed the Sakto Request for Review with the Prime Minister, any staff now or previously employed in the Office of the Prime Minister, or any staff now or previously employed by the Privy Council Office, and, if so, what are the names and positions of these persons, what exactly was communicated to each of theses persons by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of International Trade Diversification regarding the Sakto Request for Review and the topics raised in this question?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2437--
Ms. Hélène Laverdière:
With regard to the Canada–Mexico Partnership, Canada's relationship with Mexico in the areas of mining, energy and the environment, and visits between both countries, since October 2018, with members of the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador: (a) what are the agreements reached between Canada and Mexico with regard to training, technical support, exchanges and other types of support pertaining to consultation of Indigenous peoples and other mining-affected communities and their participation in natural resource development projects; (b) what are the agreements reached between Canada and Mexico with regard to training, technical support, exchanges and other types of support pertaining to increasing public confidence in mining; (c) what are the agreements reached between Canada and Mexico with regard to training, technical support, exchanges and other types of support pertaining to good governance and best practices in the mining sector; (d) is there a guide, guidelines, model or other document that outlines what the government considers as good governance and best practices, used in this or other similar collaborations; (e) what are the agreements reached between Canada and Mexico with regard to training, technical support, exchanges and other types of support pertaining to security and human rights in mining and energy activities; (f) is there a guide, guidelines, model or other document that outlines what the government considers to be exemplary in terms of security and human rights in mining and energy development projects, used in this or other similar collaborations; (g) what are the agreements reached between Canada and Mexico with regard to training, technical support, exchanges and other types of support pertaining to sustainable mining; (h) is there a guide, guidelines, model or other document that outlines what the government considers to be sustainable mining, used in this or other similar collaborations; (i) have there been or will there be training or capacity building sessions between Canada and Mexico in the areas of consultation of Indigenous peoples and other mining­affected communities and their participation in natural resource development projects, increasing public confidence in mining, good governance and best practices in the mining sector, sustainable mining, or security and human rights in mining and energy activities and, if so, (i) when have these taken place during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, (ii) when have these taken place with members of the incoming administration of President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, between October 1 and December 1, 2018, (iii) when have these taken place or are scheduled to occur after December 1, 2018; (j) what are the objectives of the training or capacity-building sessions being provided in the areas of consultation of Indigenous peoples and other mining-affected communities and their participation in natural resource development projects, increasing public confidence in mining, good governance and best practices in the mining sector, sustainable mining, or security and human rights in mining and energy activities; (k) what is the nature of the technical support or capacity building that Canada is providing or envisions providing to Mexico in the areas of consultation of Indigenous peoples and other mining-affected communities and their participation in natural resource development projects, increasing public confidence in mining, good governance and best practices in the mining sector, sustainable mining, or security and human rights in mining and energy activities, including (i) who is providing such training or capacity building, (ii) who is participating on the part of both countries, (iii) what funds have been allotted for this work, (iv) what is the source of these funds; (l) what exchanges have taken place or are planned or envisioned to take place between Canada and Mexico in the areas of consultation of Indigenous peoples and other mining­affected communities and their participation in natural resource development projects, increasing public confidence in mining, good governance and best practices in the mining sector, sustainable mining, or security and human rights in mining and energy activities, including (i) who is participating on the part of both countries, (ii) what funds have been allotted for this work, (iii) what is the source of these funds; (m) what was the program and related agenda of Mexican public officials from the Lopez Obrador administration who visited Canada in October and November of 2018, including (i) meetings held, (ii) mine sites visited, (iii) other events, (iv) guests present, (v) main takeaways and agreements reached, (vi) whether informal or formal; (n) what policies, norms or official guidelines do Canadian public officials need to respect with regard to security and human rights of communities affected by mining and energy projects when collaborating with the Mexican government in these areas; (o) what policies, norms or official guidelines do Canadian public officials need to respect with regard to security and human rights of communities affected by mining and energy projects when engaging with the private sector for related activities and investments or potential investments in Mexico; and (p) what mechanisms exist in the case where there are complaints as a result of violations on the part of Canadian public officials of the policies, norms or official guidelines delineated in (n) and (o)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2438--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
With regard to the decision of the Canadian Armed Forces to refuse to extend peer support services to survivors of military sexual trauma: (a) what are the research and resources the department used to make this decision; (b) what is the title and date of each report; and (c) what is the methodology used for each report?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:14 [p.27306]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon and speak to an important piece of legislation, Bill C-82, which is a further step in our government's agenda and plan to build an economy that is fair and where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
A fair tax system forms the foundation for a stronger middle class and a growing economy, instills confidence in Canadians and helps create opportunities for everyone. It is important not only as a matter of fairness but as a means of safeguarding the government's ability to invest in programs and services that help Canada's middle class, including residents in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge and Canadians working hard to join the middle class.
In my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, residents work hard and pay their taxes diligently—
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:15 [p.27306]
Madam Speaker, in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, which I am privileged to represent, the residents work hard and pay their taxes diligently. They want assurance of our tax system and its fairness, assurance that everyone is paying his or her fair share.
As a government, since being elected we have invested over a billion dollars in the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure that we have a system that works for all Canadians and that our country can have confidence in this department. As we all know, tax season has now come to an end. Millions of Canadians have filed their returns, and they can be assured that our government is putting in the resources necessary for a timely, efficient, fair service for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Tax fairness is something that is important to me and to our government. In addition to Bill C-82, with budget 2019, which followed a wide-ranging review of federal tax expenditures introduced in budget 2016, our government has brought forward a number of changes to make our tax system fair, efficient and transparent, and to ensure that tax expenditures do not unfairly benefit the wealthiest Canadians rather than the middle class and those working hard to join it.
I am proud to announce that our government's actions are expected to recoup over $4 billion annually in revenues that have been reinvested in the Canada child benefit, in seniors and in those Canadians who need it the most. In my riding, the Canada child benefit delivers benefits to over 16,000 kids monthly, nearly $5 million to over 9,000 families.
We know that in late February, Statistics Canada, in its annual income survey, noted that we have lifted 825,000 Canadians from coast to coast to coast out of poverty. We have seen a reduction of nearly 20% in poverty rates across Canada. At the same time, over the last three years, we have created over 900,000 new jobs, a majority of them full-time and in Canada. That is attributed to the hard-working entrepreneurial spirit that people have in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge and across Canada, and we have helped lay the foundations for this strong period of growth that continues today.
In addition, in budget 2019 we will limit the usage of the stock option deduction, a measure that benefited only 2,330 individuals who claimed approximately $1.3 billion of employee stock option deductions. We will limit the use of the employee stock option deduction to ensure that it is only used in new start-ups and young firms.
Before I left the private sector for the public sector, to run and be elected as a Liberal member of Parliament, one of the things I advocated for was an adjustment to the employee stock option deduction that was and had been in use for many years. I already knew that it was unfair, that it was something that was not necessary for our economy to grow, and that it did not benefit middle-class Canadians. I am happy that our government came through and put this measure in the current budget.
In addition, as a reminder, the first thing our government did when elected was cut taxes for nine million middle-class Canadians and, yes, ask the 1% to pay a bit more. The second thing we did was cut taxes on small businesses by lowering the small business tax rate to 9%, which represented a $7,500 tax saving annually for small businesses. In my riding, there are over 4,000 small businesses that potentially can reduce their taxes this year by approximately $7,500. They can use this to reinvest in their human resources, in their capital equipment and in greater dividends for themselves, for personal use.
We have introduced policies, including in Bill C-82, that ensure that our economy is strong, that our tax system is fair, efficient and transparent, and that all Canadians and all wealthy Canadians are paying their fair share. These measures by our government will help strengthen confidence in Canada and encourage investment. They will help support Canadian businesses as they grow, expand into new markets and create more good, well-paying jobs with great benefits.
Ensuring taxpayer fairness is a complex process requiring ongoing engagement with a wide range of partners both at home and around the world.
I would like to add that for a number of years, I sat on the Accounting Standards Board's User Advisory Council here in Canada. Members can rest assured that I am quite aware of the intricacies and the difficulties of ensuring a fair and transparent accounting system and a fair, transparent and efficient tax system and of coming up with norms and regulations that are uniform internationally, which we have done and that are contained in Bill C-82.
The bill would ensure that corporations do not shift profits from a jurisdiction with a high tax rate to a jurisdiction with a low tax rate or, in some instances, shift profits from a jurisdiction where there are tax rates to a jurisdiction where no tax rates exist and they would have zero tax payable. We want to avoid that situation. Residents in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge and across Canada depend on the programs and services that we as a government deliver, and we need to ensure that those government programs are funded equitably by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
The bill being considered today is another step forward in this process. It proposes to implement a multilateral instrument, or MLI, in respect of conventions for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. When we refer to fiscal evasion, it is exactly what I mentioned earlier: profit shifting from one jurisdiction to another to lower one's tax bill and to avoid paying taxes. In other words, with Bill C-82, our government would not only be making Canada's tax system a fairer one, it would also help to escalate the fight against aggressive international tax avoidance.
Bill C-82 proposes to allow Canada to implement treaty-related measures to counter a practice known as base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS. As this chamber has already heard, BEPS relates to strategies by which wealthy individuals can use loopholes to shift profits to low-tax or no-tax locations to avoid paying taxes. The multilateral instrument this bill seeks to enact is a product of a worldwide initiative involving over 100 jurisdictions, including Canada, again demonstrating Canadian leadership on the world stage to get done what is needed and what is right. It is the first multilateral convention to modify the application of bilateral tax treaties. It allows signatory nations to implement measures developed from the OECD/G20 project to counter the practice of base erosion and profit shifting and to do so in a timely manner. We are not talking about forward many years; we are talking about the near term.
Just as importantly, the MLI allows signatories to work more effectively together in the fight against aggressive international tax avoidance. In addition, the MLI contains provisions to improve dispute resolution under Canada's tax treaties.
While some of the provisions of the MLI are required, others are optional. The mandatory provisions meet the minimum standards established by the OECD, as agreed to by all the signatory jurisdictions, and each signatory is free to choose among the provisions that are optional. Our government proposes to adopt a number of the optional provisions of the MLI upon ratification in addition to the mandatory ones.
There are three provisions in particular I would like to reference that would prevent or reduce opportunities for inappropriate tax avoidance, which, again, is shifting profits from one jurisdiction to another. They look at transfer pricing and a number of measures wealthy individuals or some corporations utilize to reduce their tax bills, such as moving resources to a foreign jurisdiction so as to not pay taxes where the revenues are generated.
First would be a 365-day holding period for shares of Canadian companies held by non-resident companies. It would ensure that the lower treaty-based rate of withholding tax on dividends would not be available in the case of short-term share acquisitions.
Second would be a 365-day test period for non-residents who realize capital gains from the disposition of shares or other interests that derive their value principally from Canadian immovable property. It would aim to prevent non-residents from obtaining a treaty-based exemption from Canadian taxes on capital gains in inappropriate circumstances.
Third would be a provision for resolving dual-resident-entity cases to prevent potential double taxation, which would also help to protect against a company's ability to manipulate its tax residence to avoid or reduce its taxes.
Additionally, Canada would retain the option to adopt additional provisions of the multilateral instrument after ratification.
By implementing the optional provisions I mentioned, together with the required minimum international standards, Canada's ability to protect its tax base would be enhanced and would support the international effort to tackle base erosion and profit shifting.
Overall, the multilateral instrument is an international approach that makes it possible to implement necessary changes in a timely and efficient manner. It is an important tool in combatting aggressive international tax avoidance, and it would benefit both Canada and our international tax partners. Again, there are approximately 100 countries that have signed on to BEPS.
I am glad to see Canadian leadership on that front. That is what we have demonstrated as a government time and time again in the last three and a half years since we were elected and given the privilege of serving this great country and the 37 million residents that inhabit it.
The multilateral instrument this bill proposes to put in place, with its provisions designed to address aggressive tax avoidance, represents another step in our government's efforts to ensure tax fairness for Canadians. Again, we have lowered taxes for middle-class Canadians, nine million of them, with an approximately $20-billion tax cut, and have asked the wealthiest 1% to pay a little more. We know that the recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer looked at that tax cut and actually put a stamp of approval on it, saying that what we attempted to do in terms of lowering taxes for middle-class Canadians and ensuring that the 1% paid a little more actually worked. There was a net benefit for our economy.
We made a promise to middle-class Canadians that we would lower their taxes and make sure that everyone paid their fair share. While we have introduced a middle-class tax cut and reduced the small business tax rate, Canadians need to have confidence that the system will, at the same time, help grow the economy and ensure that the benefits of growth can be felt by everyone.
For many years, economic growth could not be defined as inclusive. For the last three and a half years, we have seen what inclusivity of economic growth means. It means lifting 825,000 Canadians out of poverty. It means creating 900,000 new jobs, the majority full time, the majority private sector. It means the lowest unemployment rate in over 40 years. It means wage growth, real wage growth, which we have not seen in Canada for many years. It means that Canadians are optimistic about their future.
We do face challenges in certain sectors, and our government is there to address those challenges, working in partnership with those sectors and those industries. That is the good work we were elected to do, and that is the good work we will continue to do.
I encourage all hon. members to support the proposed legislation, Bill C-82, which would implement such an important tool for tax fairness.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-02 15:28 [p.27309]
Madam Speaker, as the member knows, I support this legislation as well. It is one of the few Liberal initiatives that actually makes some sense. I have called it in the House before a tax treaty for tax treaties. That is really what it is.
The member talked about many other things that had very little to do with the contents, so I am just going to ask him a question on that point. Originally the Liberals promised that the so-called increase on the top 1% would pay for itself. That is actually the wording they used, “pay for itself”. That is not what the Parliamentary Budget Officer found. He found that the top income earners in Canada were paying a higher share of total income being collected, which was not the point.
Would the member agree with me that the effect of the tax changes the Liberal government introduced gave a bigger tax cut to every single member of the House of Commons than it did to those earning $45,000 or less?
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:29 [p.27309]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague and friend, the member for Calgary Shepard, who I have the privilege of sitting on the finance committee with.
What I will say is that when we look at our overall tax system and the way it works, and if we look at the elasticity of tax in terms of the way the Parliamentary Budget Officer wrote about it in the report, our tax cut worked. We allowed nine million middle-class Canadians to receive a tax cut. They used that income to invest and save. We also adjusted the top tax rate. There was some front-loading in the first year, which many had anticipated. What we are seeing is that upper-income earners are still responding with their labour supply. They are still responding. We are still seeing growth in the economy. We are still seeing growth, I would say, in incomes.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer's report was, in my view, an endorsement and a validation of our policy of reducing taxes for middle-class Canadians and asking the 1% to pay a little extra.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, in my riding of North Island—Powell River, there are some serious concerns regarding the fisheries. For many years, successive governments have not supported restoration and local community hatcheries. That has put a lot of the community members I represent in great financial difficulty.
When we look at this legislation, we have to recognize that the gap between the richest Canadians and low-income Canadians is growing. In fact, the 100 richest Canadians now hold as much wealth as the bottom 10 million Canadians combined.
In the last two elections, the Liberals promised to cap how much could be claimed through the stock option deduction. However, they backed down on that promise more than once after they took power. Why did the government decide to do this? Why not keep that promise?
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:31 [p.27309]
Madam Speaker, I want to put on the record that I grew up in northern British Columbia, in Prince Rupert. My mother and her five sisters worked at a cannery. That is how they made their income. I worked at a cannery. Unfortunately, many of those canneries no longer exist, as the industry has changed quite a bit.
I note that in budget 2019, we have put in approximately $100 million for the restoration of the salmon industry. I would love to follow up with the member on the exact details.
In budget 2019, our government aligned our stock option rules with those of the United States. We will still allow the stock option deduction for small firms and new technology firms, because we need those innovators in Canada. Many firms that come into existence do not generate cash flow right away. Stock options are a form of payment in terms of compensation for their employees. For existing and mature firms, we have eliminated the tax deduction beyond $200,000.
This is real progress and real change.
View Bob Bratina Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear some endorsement from the other side regarding some aspects of our budget.
It is important for people to know that informed consultation goes on in the decisions we make with regard to the finances of the country. Certainly, the great experience my friend from Vaughan—Woodbridge has had in that field speaks to the integrity of our process.
How much intense consultation was there regarding the issues we brought forward? I know there were some controversial consultations early on. They were changed somewhat because of the input we received from people like the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge. Could the member tell us about the consultation process?
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:34 [p.27309]
Madam Speaker, I come from a very humble, middle-class background, having grown up in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. However, through a lot of work, I had the privilege of working on Bay Street and Wall Street for over 20 years.
Our government does listen and consult when it puts forward changes in how businesses operate and in our tax system. This has been a fundamental principle since our government entered office.
Bill C-82, a multilateral instrument, went through vast consultation with our international partners. Bringing this legislation forward would ensure that shifting profits from one jurisdiction to another would not occur. It would lessen that opportunity. It would ensure that Canadians continued to have confidence in our tax system's ability to fund the programs and services they utilize and need on a daily basis. It would allow us to take a step forward on a national pharmacare program and to take a step forward on the Canada child benefit, which we have done by indexing it two years ahead of time. We have brought in measures such as a $1.7-billion tax cut for seniors through the guaranteed income supplement exemption amount.
Many measures we have brought forward we have been able to do through consultation with Canadians, similar to what we have done for Bill C-82.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-02 15:36 [p.27310]
Madam Speaker, a question was raised a few minutes ago in regard to the issue of income inequality. One of the things that I like to think we have done very successfully in government to address that issue is increasing the tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%, while at the same time decreasing the tax on Canada's middle class. We also put in a boost of income through the Canada child benefit and things such as the guaranteed income supplement.
Could my colleague and friend provide his thoughts on how that actually assists in ensuring that there is more equality?
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
2019-05-02 15:36 [p.27310]
Madam Speaker, if we look at all the policies we have implemented and where Canadian families are today, we see that an average family of four is $2,000 better off today than it was three and a half years ago. We know that has been done through a middle-class tax cut, which was funded by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. We know those are progressive policies. We know that all Canadians need to pay their fair share of taxes. However, we know that Canadians in the middle class deserve a break. We understand there are affordability issues. We have addressed some of those affordability issues in the budget with regard to youth and students, with regard to seniors and with regard to housing affordability.
We have also asked a very fundamental question. We have asked the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay a little more, because we need it for the betterment of society. We cannot allow our society to further go down the path of income inequality. We have stopped that and we have improved that. We have seen the results as, again, over 825,000 Canadians, in all 338 ridings across this country, have been lifted out of poverty. It is a great success and we should all be proud. It is a 20% reduction of our poverty rate. Those are the measures behind it, which have reduced inequality in this country and are giving more and more Canadians hope. We as a government need to be proud of that record.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-02 15:38 [p.27310]
Madam Speaker, God is an honest payer, but a very slow one, as the Yiddish proverb goes. It means that for all the good things we do during our life, the treasures await us in heaven, which is a very common thing many Christians believe. The National Prayer Breakfast was this morning, so I thought I would begin with a Yiddish proverb that many know.
However, it also applies to taxes, because what we expect from Canadians, Canadian corporations and those doing business in Canada is to pay their taxes honestly and not to engage in aggressive tax planning and tax avoidance schemes, which this bill proposes to make more difficult by implementing a multilateral tax treaty. In this House, I have previously called it a tax treaty for tax treaties.
Those who are listening in or those who are in the gallery may be wondering what BEPS is, because many members have mentioned it. It is base erosion and profit shifting. I am going to provide a definition and I am hoping that everybody will be able to follow along.
The definition from the OECD is an example, so it is easy to figure out. Company A, which resides in the Cayman Islands, wants to provide a licence for the use of intellectual property to company C in South Africa. South Africa, however, has not concluded a tax treaty with the Cayman Islands and would thus be entitled to apply its domestic withholding tax rate on outbound royalties.
Hopefully, everybody is getting what I am getting at here.
However, a European country has concluded a tax treaty with South Africa that reduces its withholding tax rates on royalties. This country does not itself levy a source tax on royalties. Therefore, company A establishes a letterbox company in this European country and diverts the royalty payments through the letterbox company to reduce the tax withheld by South Africa. In this example, the principal purpose of establishing this arrangement, including the letterbox company, is to obtain the lower withholding tax rate available under the tax treaty between South Africa and the European country.
This is what we call base erosion and profit shifting. It is something that very large corporations routinely engage in and have been accused of in the past. It is sometimes called “the green jersey”. I have heard it called “the single malt”, depending on the jurisdiction it comes from. Typically, it heavily impacts high tax rate countries, such as Canada, the United States and others. Low tax rate countries are impacted as well, as they lose a lot of their ability to raise taxes on behalf of their citizens, because they are not able to track the money as it moves around. The companies are not honest payers in those situations, nor will they be slow ones in the future, unlike the Yiddish proverb I mentioned. We want to ensure that large corporations, large multinationals and individuals doing business in other countries are paying their taxes honestly and that they are not slow to do so but pay them on time and when they are expected to.
This is a tax treaty for tax treaties. I support this piece of legislation, because we want to ensure that our tax system is both fair and efficient, and that we are able to collect the taxes owed to the government. We know how much difficulty the Canada Revenue Agency has had collecting that information. Hopefully, now it will be looking at what the tax gap is.
I want to draw the attention of the House to article 28 and article 29 of this tax treaty, because that is the only part of the legislation I had concerns with at committee. This tax treaty will not return to Parliament to determine whether we continue with certain reservations or not. What this tax treaty is proposing to do is take Parliament out of consideration after the bill is passed by this House and by that other place as well. What will happen in those situations, with the many reservations the Canadian government has indicated to our multilateral partners, is that if in the future cabinet were to decide that we wish to participate in them, that particular matter will not return to the House and will not be taken up for consideration.
I think that was a matter brought up by Patrick Marley at committee with respect to articles 10, 12 and 13. He mentioned that, because of that, he had some concerns that perhaps Parliament would lose its ability to impact the tax treaty choices and specific implementation provisions in the future, perhaps when some members of this House are no longer here, or I am no longer here, and the contents of the treaty would not be well known.
That is literally the only part of the treaty that I have concerns with. Outside of that, I think the generalities of it are the MLIs, ensuring that our multilateral partners are harmonizing the rules with us and that we have the same rules applied across many different countries. This would ensure that we are able to collect the taxes that are owed to the Canadian treasury. We would also be able to ensure that tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning are reduced to an absolute minimum.
There are many examples of these types of companies that engage in it. Some of the largest ones, like the one that produces the smart phones in our pockets, typically have trademark and copyright subsidiaries that simply trade in the trademark. There is no actual business being conducted in the different jurisdictions; they simply charge a royalty for its use.
Starbucks is a great example. I have used it before and I am still waiting for their lobbyists to call me and complain that I used it as an example.
Starbucks engages in this practice by charging a royalty on its logo and its name, which it puts in a different jurisdiction. Then its Canadian, American and other subsidiaries—holding companies, sometimes—pay a royalty to the other place that does not charge any taxes on the royalty. That is the type of base erosion we are trying to avoid and do away with.
Before I continue, I will mention that today, May 2, is a special day. As I do on almost every May 2, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my father-in-law and my wife, who were both born on the same day. If I did not do that, I would not want to go home tonight and could not guarantee I would return next week. I say a very happy birthday to both of them.
May 2 is also a special day for those who, like me, are of Polish heritage. Constitution Day is the day the original Polish Constitution was created. It is the founding document of many European constitutions, including the American constitution. Guaranteed rights are set out in it. The principle of “no taxation without representation” comes partially from that original document, a principle that again is found in documents like Bill C-82, the tax treaty of tax treaties. That same principle applies here as well.
We are trying to ensure that the taxes owed to the people of Canada are paid by the corporations and individuals who owe them. I simply do not see a reason that we should not be enforcing as many of the provisions as we possibly can.
Many of our OECD and G20 partners will be participating, although the United States of America will not be participating in this multinational convention. However, we have many tax treaties with our neighbours to the south that will ensure they meet their obligations to us and we meet our obligations to them. They will ensure that taxes owed in both jurisdictions are indeed paid.
We know that the partial goal of the government with this document and with budget bills is to collect the difference between what is owed and what is actually collected. Many officials at committee said their hope is that they will be able to close that tax gap and collect the taxes they have not been able to collect. It is estimated that roughly $23 billion in profits that should have been declared in tax in Canada were shifted to a lower-tax jurisdiction. That is a large sum of money, but it would not be the full $23 billion; it will be a faction of that amount. It is all part of the government's attempt to find and scrounge every single last dollar to pay down the deficit.
Kudos to the government. It is about $20.3 billion off the target it set for itself in 2015, and it will still be off its target well into 2040.
I was at a town hall yesterday, and several constituents asked me whether the Canadian government was ever intending to reduce the deficit to zero and start paying down the national debt. I had to tell them that unfortunately, no, that is not the case, that there is no such intention in any government document at this point. It simply tracks how big the deficit and the national debt will be. For the first time this year, the Government of Canada owes over $700 billion on behalf of taxpayers. If we include crown corporation debt, it goes to over $1 trillion. After the next few terms, we are expecting to see another $250 billion to $300 billion added to the national debt, and that number excludes crown corporations.
Initiatives like this try to seek justice on behalf of Canadians by trying to collect the taxes owed in other jurisdictions, an important part of closing the tax gap. I will be supporting this piece of legislation, as I did at earlier stages of the bill and at committee. My only concern, which I am putting on the record so that future parliamentarians will see it, is provisions in articles 28 and 29 that shift the responsibility from Parliament to cabinet to decide which reservations can be done away with. Those will be done by orders in council. My understanding from officials at committee is that a simple order of cabinet would do so. It is a defect in the bill, but the defect is not sufficient to cause me vote against it. I invite all members to vote in favour of it.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Is the House ready for the question?
Some hon. members: Question.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
moved that Bill C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be concurred in.
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