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Results: 1 - 15 of 636
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-19 14:14 [p.29383]
Mr. Speaker, it is a historic day. On June 19, the Hillcrest mine explosion in Alberta killed 189 miners. It was Canada's worst mining disaster.
lt was also the day that Hungarians threw out Soviet troops, thus ending Soviet occupation, restoring their democracy and restoring their freedoms.
June 19 was also the day that the comic strip Garfield appeared in print for the first time.
Today Canadians are also learning that according to the PBO, the Liberal carbon tax will need to increase to a minimum of $102 per tonne, adding 23 cents to a litre of gas, to meet the Paris targets. Canadians now see that the Liberal carbon tax is a revenue plan, not an environmental plan.
Another reason today is a historic day is that at 5:00 p.m., the leader of Canada's Conservatives will unveil the first credible environmental plan that has the best chance of achieving our Paris commitments, exposing the Liberal carbon tax plan as a fraud and that this Liberal Prime Minister is not as advertised.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 13:04 [p.29290]
Mr. Speaker, I think the member opposite is following the advice of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, “if you say it louder...people will totally believe it.”
He should know that over the past year and a half, every single provincial government that has pushed headlong into this consumer-directed carbon tax has been defeated at the polls. Canadians are repeatedly saying that enough is enough. They are tired of being nickel-and-dimed.
The parliamentary secretary will know that the Alberta government got rid of its carbon tax, but it does have a price on the largest emitters in the province. The member just said that basically the federal backstop is only meant to impose a carbon tax on those jurisdictions that are not pricing it. Alberta is, and we have been told by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that, as of January 1, we will be paying two taxes, one for the largest emitters based in Alberta, which is our jurisdiction, in our province, and now this revenue-generating carbon tax that Albertans have said they do not want.
What does the parliamentary secretary have to say to that?
Let us say goodbye to the member for Edmonton Centre, too.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-17 12:31 [p.29167]
Mr. Speaker, this is terminology that the hon. gentleman likes to use quite often in the House. I count eight substantive amendments that the government is accepting or has modified from the Senate. The minister said that the government has considered this and is satisfied with it, and therefore it is moving time allocation, which provides us with only five hours.
Several members who have penitentiaries in their ridings have risen on our side of the House. They would like to go back to their constituents and get their opinion on this, and I would like to go back to former prison guards who live in my riding. However, today we are being told there are five more hours and that is it.
The member for Peace River—Westlock mentioned this was four minutes at this stage of debate. How many members can speak in four minutes? Very few could provide substantive feedback. The time allocation being moved today by the government is shutting down debate. I have seen this time and again, both at standing committees of the House and on other legislation.
I spoke to Bill C-83 before and mentioned all my concerns and worries that constituents had explained to me over the distinct sections and technicalities of the bill. The issue now is that, with only five hours left, it gives us literally no time to return to our constituents to get their feedback on these eight substantive amendments.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-17 15:04 [p.29188]
Mr. Speaker, nearly two million people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets to protest the draconian new extradition law that would have seen residents and visitors, including Canadians, sent to China to face trial in communist-controlled courts. They are on the streets to defend their hard-earned democracy. The extradition law is a clear assault on Hong Kong's autonomy. There is mounting pressure for Hong Kong's PRC-controlled leader, Carrie Lam, to resign after trying to ram through this law and silence peaceful protestors with violence.
What action is the government taking to support the people of Hong Kong and the 300,000 Canadians living there?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 10:14 [p.28661]
Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition on behalf of 40 petitioners today on Bill C-350 and Bill S-240. They are concerned about the trafficking of human organs obtained without consent and for financial gain.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 10:45 [p.28665]
Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned housing, which is one of my favourite subjects right now, especially in the budget, with the 100,000 so-called first-time homebuyers who will be helped. However, neither CMHC nor the Department of Finance could point me to the document where the numbers actually came from. They each said that the other one knew how they got to the number. It is interesting that the member thinks that it would help that many people, because there are no details about the program available.
Perhaps the member could tell me if there would be a special fee assigned with the government purchasing equity in a person's home, because the government would then own a share of the home. Will the homeowner be able to buy out the government's share early, before selling the house? Will there be any other terms and conditions associated with the shared equity mortgage? Does the member know that the Mortgage Brokers Association said that it would take eight to 10 months to set up the IT system to enable the rollout of this program? Is the member aware that the chartered banks have similarly said that it would take much more than two months to do so? Will there be a special premium on the shared equity mortgages?
I would like to hear from the member on this matter.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 11:34 [p.28672]
Mr. Speaker, the member talked vehicle electrification.
An amendment moved by one of the new Liberal MP members on the committee was to go from a 15 kilowatt battery to a 7 kilowatt battery to be eligible for two of the financial measures in the budget. However, by doing so, the Liberals would effectively allow for luxury electric vehicles, $100,000-plus vehicles, to be discounted on purchase, about $55,000 off their taxes. I was at committee when officials confirmed this would be the BMW 530e, BMW 330e and the Audi e-tron series of vehicles.
If we are talking about vehicle electrification, would we not first start with transit and vehicles that the regular, everyday person could afford? Could the member speak about that and about the priorities of the government?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 12:39 [p.28682]
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if you could direct the Sergeant-at-Arms to have whoever is having conversations outside the chamber to quiet down, because they are extremely loud at this point. We cannot hear anything on the floor.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-06 15:04 [p.28705]
Mr. Speaker, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has over $48 million of Canadian pension dollars invested in Hangzhou Hikvision and Zhejiang Dahua tech companies, which are two firms working closely with China's military. These companies are playing a significant role in China's internment of over one million minority Uighurs. These growing labour camps are euphemistically referred to as “vocational schools”, but the Uighurs in these camps can expect a starvation diet, torture, forced labour, beatings and worse.
Will the government direct the board of the CPP to divest from these companies, yes or no?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 20:46 [p.28629]
Mr. Speaker, maybe to the chagrin of my Liberal colleagues across the way, this is not my farewell statement. They will have to put up with me a little longer. I listened to a lot of the statements made by retiring members and, again, I offer a heartfelt thanks for their service to Canada.
There are some members like the member for Victoria, whom I appreciated working with on several committees. I know that many of us will miss him. Even though he was a New Democrat, he was one we could have a decent argument with and come away still friends at the end of the day.
There is a Yiddish proverb that says, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at the people he gives it to.” That is what I want to start with. I know I have a 20-minute statement on the budget with questions and answers. I am not splitting my time. I do not want to do that, but I want to talk about this Yiddish proverb because the government has spent a prodigious amount of money over the last four years. We know that today's debt is tomorrow's taxes.
The government now has a total debt of $705 billion. If one includes Crown corporation debt, it is over $1 trillion. I know there will be Liberal MPs who will say to look at the previous government, which increased the national debt as well. The counter-argument is that they had the Great Recession in 2008-09. As I remember it, the Liberal Party members clamoured for more spending. They actually wrote a coalition document with the New Democrats and the separatist Bloc Québécois, demanding even more spending. The government of the day decided that it would find a middle ground and not spend us off a cliff, but that it would do what the House of Commons was indicating, which was to spend cyclically into the economy.
Budget 2019, which this bill tends to introduce and make real in the lives of people, I call it a distraction budget. Last year, I called it the refrigerator budget. There is an extra $41.3 billion of new spending over five years. The campaign promise of the Liberal Party was that there was supposed to be a surplus of $1 billion this year. It is a $19.8-billion deficit instead, $19.7 billion the year that follows, $14.8 billion in the year after, and $14.1 billion the year after that. It is successive years of deficits.
If we look at the financial statements on the—
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 20:49 [p.28630]
Mr. Speaker, I am usually the one rising on points of order about too much noise in this new interim chamber, which is beautiful but not very functional, as I like to remind members. I have been quoted in the Hill Times as having said that.
To return to budget 2019, as I mentioned, successive budgets have increased spending. I went back to previous years' budget documents. I went all the way back to budget 2016. I looked at budget 2015. There is actually a gap in this year's spending. What budget 2015 expected to spend this year was $302.6 billion. Instead, what the government is intent on spending is $329.4 billion, which is a gap of $27 billion between what the government expected to do in 2015 and what it is now expecting to do in 2019.
One of the great problems of the current government is its inability and maybe disinterest in controlling spending. Every solution requires gobs of new spending. Every problem requires gobs of new spending. Every single year, Canada's GDP growth keeps being revised downward. In the economy, there is a cycle of 10 to 12 years and we reach a recession. Sometimes they are short recessions; sometimes they are prolonged recessions.
Again to my Yiddish proverb, if we want to know what God thinks of money, we look at the people he has given it to and look at what they have done with it. The Liberals have achieved far too little for the money that they have spent.
I want to talk about the housing proposals inside the budget and some of the housing policies and ideas the government has put forward. The Liberals are far lacking in both what they should be trying to achieve for first-time homebuyers and the damage they have done by introducing the B-20 stress test and the Minister of Finance's stress test on insured mortgages. It is an issue I have raised in the House repeatedly. I have raised it at the finance committee repeatedly. I had Liberal MPs vote me down twice on a request to do a study of the B-20 stress test. The first time it was without saying a single word. They did not rebuff my argument on why it should be done. The second time, they did have an argument but it was not very strong.
In budget 2019, the first chapter of the budget that the BIA would implement is on housing. I am glad the Liberals have a chapter on housing because young first-time homebuyers across my riding deeply care about being able to achieve the dream of home ownership.
When I lived in Edmonton and purchased my first condo, for my wife and me it was one of the great achievements in our lives that we had put aside enough money and were able to qualify for a mortgage. We got a longer amortization of 35 years. Some people say that there are now 25-year amortization periods for insured mortgages, but there are still 30 years for the uninsured market, and there is a difference between the two.
Taxes have gone up. It is harder for people to accumulate savings over time in order to have a down payment. Now we have a successive series of government decisions, with policy direction being given to the CMHC, policy direction being given to chartered banks and lenders on insured mortgages, and the B-20 stress test, an OSFI rule that is given the blessing of the government, that are hurting opportunities to get into housing, especially for young people.
What I want to avoid is a situation where we eliminate an entire generation, a cohort of people, from being able to get into the type of home that suits their needs. That is different for different people at different times in their lives. When people are younger and starting a family they need a bit more space. When they are getting toward retirement, they want to downsize so they need to sell their house and move into something smaller that suits their needs.
When the government begins to introduce different policies and legislation, that starts to gum up the workings of the real estate markets. I say “markets”, plural, because there is no such thing as a single real estate market in Canada. We do not compare a home in Vancouver to a home in Calgary, to a home in Halifax, to a home in Ottawa. Those real estate choices are very local. They are things such as schools, access to public transit or perhaps there is a baseball diamond near a home as there is near mine so my kids can go and play there. Those are the choices that really matter to people.
The decision the government made with the B-20 stress test has heavily impacted the market. I am going to be referencing a TD Canada report and a CIBC economics report to make my point. There are defects inside the BIA. There are defects inside the budget and how the Liberals are trying to address the housing problem for young people, especially for first-time homebuyers.
Approximately 20% to 30% of first-time home buyers have been pushed out of the market by the B-20 stress test. The statistics have shown this, whether we use Statistics Canada, CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association, or Build Canada. Build Toronto has shown there is a 100,000 unit gap in the last 10 years of built dwellings in the Toronto area.
When the B-20 was introduced, two reasons were given for it. OSFI said that the reason for introducing these much harsher stress tests, 2% to qualify for a mortgage, was to ensure the stability of the banks. What happened, according to TD, was that by introducing this rule, over the past year, 2018 and now into 2019, it had pushed lending to the B market, the B lending. That is not to say monoline lenders are bad, they just typically have higher interest rates, they offer different terms, and it is actually a 2% increase. In Toronto, in the GTA area, it is far higher.
What the government has done is it has moved into the unregulated market by introducing the B-20 stress test.
The second reason was given by the Minister of Finance in January. He said publicly that the reason was to reduce prices. That is not the reason this Parliament allows OSFI to regulate insurance, securitization and lending. The reason for that is the stability of chartered banks and large lenders.
OSFI regulations are not supposed to be used to manipulate prices in different real estate markets. That is mission creep. That is policy creep. It is far beyond the scope of what Parliament intended when it gave the government the ability to set regulations through this independent, autonomous regulator.
I always remind people that regulators are arm's length but within arm's reach. That is something I learned when I worked for the finance department in Alberta. They still have to abide by the wishes of the government and the general direction. The decision-making, the individual regulatory tools they have are truly up to the regulator to decide. However, this one in particular, the B-20, we know from TD Economics that the side effect was that a lot of people were pushed into mono lenders, B lenders, the unregulated market, which defeats the purpose of OSFI having introduced it.
Ahead of B-20, we know that mortgage origination started to soften well before. If we look back, and this is a CIBC economic report, going all the way back to the third quarter of 2013, we saw an increase in mortgage origination to about the first quarter of 2015, and then it started to slide downwards. It is proof apparent that this rule did not have to be introduced, because mortgage origination, people taking out new mortgages, was on its way down for well over a year before the Minister of Finance introduced his stress test on insured mortgages.
I have no idea why he would introduce a 2% stress test on insured mortgages, when it is on a fixed term. There was always a stress test on variable mortgages, because, reasonably put, if the government is offering insurance through the CMHC, or through Canada Guaranty or Genworth, two private providers, taxpayers are on the hook, because they are backing up that policy.
On variable rates, it makes sense to ensure that the lendee can actually pay it back in case something happens in the market, such as the interest rates go up. On a fixed rate, five-year mortgage, there is absolutely no reason to do that. Over a five-year period, on average, and Statistics Canada will bear this out, people's incomes go up, their ability to pay goes up, their circumstances change, but typically it is for the better.
We can look at CIBC Economics, and it is called “Mortgage stress test: the operation was a success, but” and then it goes into all the side effects of having introduced this rule. It is by Benjamin Tal.
I have another graphic about which I want to talk. One of the things I heard, and it is in the chapter in the budget, where it talks about housing, is the a worry about affordability. It is also a worry about Canadians taking on too much debt.
I sit on the Standing Committee on Finance, and I heard this repeatedly at committee from officials, Liberal members of Parliament and the CEO of CMHC, whom I will speak more of later. They worried that Canadians were taking out mortgages that were too big and were taking on too much debt. Chart 5 of the CIBC report notes that in 2012, in the third quarter, just under 50% of people had an average credit score of 751, which is an excellent credit rating. If a person's credit report says 751 or above, that is excellent.
The number has been creeping up as well. Well before B-20, it started to creep up to 50%, 51% and then to 52%. It is not that people were being irresponsible. In fact, the average credit score of those seeking a mortgage loan is going up. Nevertheless, the government has done nothing for unsecured loans. It is still just as easy to get a credit card.
Bank of Canada officials came to my office to explain the Bank of Canada's financial statements. I told them that if I got unsecured loan and spent $30,000 on a boat, the government would pat me on the back for consumer spending. If I then crashed the boat and claimed it on my insurance, the government would be extremely happy again because I might replace it with a new boat. That is $60,000 spent. However, the government is worried about mortgage debt.
In Canada, because of our culture, people are pretty conservative when it comes to borrowing, especially on their homes, delinquency rates are at historic lows. I think it is 0.15% in British Columbia and 0.23% in Ontario. Every statistic I can find from the major chartered banks and every trend line I see from economic shops show that although there was a lending problem, the lending problem was not directly related to the mortgages people were taking out; it was related to unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal lines of credit and home equity lines of credit.
In fact, when the government introduced B-20, which is also in a report, there was a sudden spike in reverse mortgages, as people were taking more equity out of their homes. Interestingly, this number has been going up for about 10 to 15 years. It is a tool people use. Their homes are their savings so they take money out of them. There was a spike in January 2018. As soon as everybody knew the new stress test was coming, the number went up.
An interesting report came out of Toronto asking about housing. It asked what young people and their parents were doing. A third of parents admitted that they had given their kids an early inheritance gift of, on average, $50,000. This speaks to the problem of pricing in the greater Toronto area and the greater Vancouver area.
What the government and the Minister of Finance did was impose a one-size-fits-all policy, the B-20 stress test, across the board and across the country, as though every real estate market in the country has the exact same problems. Instead of introducing variants and designing a policy tool for specific problems, they went around whack-a-mole and hit everybody.
I know I have to be careful. I hear the parliamentary secretary got in trouble with Premier Doug Ford when he called for him to be whacked, although I did say “whack-a-mole”.
This is a policy tool. I am not saying people in housing should not be worried about what the government is doing in budget 2019, because the government has now given an answer to the problem. Its answer to the problem was to introduce shared equity mortgages. In the BIA, it is introducing a mechanism by which the CMHC will be a Crown agent acting on behalf of the government.
For those listening at home this late in the evening, who perhaps have insomnia, the Crown borrowing program will allow the government to borrow $1.25 billion to buy shared equity stakes between 5% and 10%, depending on whether a house is new. A new home gets 10% and one that already exists gets 5%. The government says this will help 100,000 first-time homebuyers.
When I asked Department of Finance officials where they got this number, they said from CMHC. When I asked CMHC officials where they got this number, they said from the Department of Finance. Nobody could explain to me where this 100,000 number came from. The CEO of CMHC gave it his best shot. The only way this number makes sense is if we look at insurance mortgages and assume that over the next three years, we will only be able to help about 30,000 to 40,000 people. Actually, the Minister of Finance said the same thing in Toronto.
Then I went to MLS listings online to find what kinds of properties were out there. In the greater Toronto area, I found about 500 properties out of 20,000 listings that these shared equity mortgages could potentially apply to, and I specifically excluded those with parking spots, which are very expensive in the greater Toronto area, especially downtown. They are quite expensive to get, but that is not the goal of this. We do not want anybody living in a parking spot in a tower in downtown Toronto. That is not our goal.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:07 [p.28632]
I hear the parliamentary secretary saying they are.
This tool is not the answer to it.
When I questioned people at Mortgage Professionals Canada how long it would take the brokerages to get their IT systems ready to go, because they need IT systems to do their underwriting, securitization, double-check loans and all the details that need to be figured out, the said eight to 10 months. That is eight to 10 months on a program the government wants to be effective in September.
When I asked the Department of Finance officials about the details of the program, the terms and conditions, the fees, if there would be a premium on these shared equity mortgages, they told me they did not know those details because they had not been decided yet.
When I asked the CEO of CMHC, I was told it had not decided yet what those details would be. When I asked when the board of CMHC was informed that it would be handling the shared equity mortgages on behalf of the Government of Canada, he told me the night of the budget. That means the board of CMHC had no idea it would be administering this large-scale program.
If we want to know what God thinks of money, we should look at the people he has given it to, what they have done with it and how badly they have mismanaged it. With a problem like housing, the policy tools chosen to address it are completely inadequate.
I will not be supporting this bill and I encourage all members not to support it.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:08 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, I do not want to start a Yiddish proverb battle on the floor of the House of Commons. I do appreciate the member because he is thoughtful and an adept chair of committees. He stickhandled the last committee he was assigned quite nicely.
However, this is an issue of debt and deficits. While the member is telling us to look at the wonderful investments the Liberals have made, it is all with borrowed money. Part of a responsible government is ensuring that it has the means to provide these investments. It cannot just be looking at borrowing on the markets, passing the bill to future generations and hoping the investments actually work out.
I met with the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy. It is deeply disappointed by these so-called investments the government is putting through. The people there want to see more put toward basic research. A lot of what the government is putting the investments toward is engineering work instead of basic scientific research. It is a disappointment.
If we want to know what God thinks of money, we should look at the people he has given it to.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:11 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, the member for Sherbrooke is correct.
Witnesses at the Standing Committee on Finance said that the government will be playing the stock market with part of people's homes. We have no details on how this will work or how much it will cost. The president and CEO of the CMHC said that this measure would have a marginal impact, while some Liberal members in committee described it as transformative. They said that this would change everything.
Even reports from the CIBC and TD Bank say that the impact on the market would be 0.2% to 0.4%, at most. This is a marginal impact. Furthermore, the government wants to spend $1.25 billion on this project, when it could be doing something else with the money. This is a big failure for the government in this budget.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:13 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, one of the things we heard from stakeholders who presented at committee was that 200,000 Canadians will not see a job created because of these changes by 2021.
We know that the residential construction market is one of the areas where a lot of people work. We can imagine all the trades that go into building a home, whether it is a condo, a row house, a duplex or whatever it is. We heard that 147,000 first-time homebuyers were unable to get into the type of home they wanted. The Canadian Home Builders' Association said that. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the number of new mortgages coming out dropped by 11.9%. Then there is the government overreaching with the B-20 stress test, the Minister of Finance's stress test, and then panicking, I think, and being unwilling to admit it made a mistake.
Even at committee, the Liberals would not admit they had made a mistake, so now they are trying shared equity mortgages, throwing it up there to see if it will work. That is not the right way to be doing policy-making in this country. It is okay to admit a mistake and then dial it back. That is what all the big banks have been asking for.
I will mention one last thing. I asked every single stakeholder whether shared equity mortgages would offset the impact of B-20, and not a single one said they would.
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