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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-06 10:33 [p.28664]
Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on a question that the member for Yukon put forward.
The Conservatives have attempted to make a big issue out of this, and theirs is the only party in the House that has really taken the position it has. However, when it came time for a vote the other night, it was interesting to see that only 35, about a third of the Conservative caucus, voted for the opposition motion. That speaks quite strongly about the Conservatives' sense of commitment on this issue, let alone supporting the member's statement.
Could the member indicate why so few Conservative voted in favour of their opposition motion?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-06 16:36 [p.28718]
Madam Speaker, the member has an interesting background on this particular issue. He was not always on side with his Conservative Party when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. I respect that of the member opposite.
Listening to the Conservatives speak on this particular bill is a little confusing. The NDP members seem to have taken the position that they are not going to be voting for this bill, because they want expungement. If I listen to the Conservatives, some of them stand up and say that it should be expungement as opposed to a pardon. Others stand up and say that the pardon is good. Overall, it looks like the Conservatives are voting for the bill. It is hard thing to tell for sure.
Could the member give a clear indication of the Conservative Party's position on this bill? Do the Conservatives favour it, or are they inclined to vote against it?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-06 17:08 [p.28722]
Madam Speaker, this has been an interesting process, at the very least. We have seen a dramatic change in social policy, and it is a positive step forward. Providing pardons with this piece of legislation is going to assist a lot of individuals in being able to take further steps in employment and other aspects of life. Parties may disagree with regard to expungement versus pardons, but there is no doubt that it is a step forward, just like the legalization of cannabis itself. Would the member not agree?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-05 22:59 [p.28648]
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to address the chamber on a wide variety of issues. This evening is special in the sense that we are talking about the budget. When we talk about the budget, we talk about priorities and I am happy to share my thoughts on the government's priorities.
As the member for Winnipeg South pointed out, he and I go back 30 years, both on the provincial and national scene. I have learned to respect many of the things he does, especially on issues surrounding the environment, women's issues and Churchill, Manitoba. These are the types of issues he really digs his teeth into and produces tangible results. I respect the effort he puts in, day in and day out, in serving the constituents of Winnipeg South. Combined, we bring the south end of Winnipeg to the north and the north to the south. As he pointed out, it is friendly Manitoba and it has always been a pleasure to work with him in many capacities.
Having said all of that, I would like to pick up on a couple of points. The overriding issue for me has always been to demonstrate that, as a government, we have been very effective in a relatively short period of time. The budget is all about priorities and ensuring the economy and the social fabric continue to move forward. When I say the social fabric, I am talking about diversity. One of the most compelling facts is the number of jobs that have been created since we have been in government: one million jobs. That is a significant achievement.
When we talk about those one million jobs, we ask ourselves how that happened. It is because we have a government that is committed to working with Canadians in all regions of our country. We have a government that is committed to working with many different stakeholders, provinces, territories, indigenous people and municipalities, and by working with Canadians, we were able to deliver in a very tangible way.
I referenced something the other day and I want to repeat it. From day one, we have been focused on Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it, and that has been demonstrated from the very first piece of legislation we introduced, which my colleagues will recall was Bill C-2. It is what gave the middle class of Canada a substantial tax cut, putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians.
If we carry that piece of legislation over to the budget of 2016, the very first Liberal budget under this administration, we saw substantial increases to the guaranteed income supplement, which lifted tens of thousands of seniors out of poverty. There were also substantial increases to the Canada child benefit that completely reformed it, which again lifted tens of thousands of children out of poverty. Through those things alone, we invested in Canadians in very real and tangible ways. We put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians in all regions of our country. In Winnipeg North alone, there is $9 million a month for children, every month, in the form of the Canada child benefit.
This is how to support the middle class and those aspiring to be part of it and how to give a helping hand to those who really need it. By doing that, we increased the disposable incomes of Canadians. It meant more money was being spent in our communities in all regions of our country, and by doing that, we created jobs.
Take that into consideration along with the historic investment in Canada's infrastructure. In the most recent budget we have seen an additional allocation for municipal infrastructure investment. That investment in infrastructure means hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in every region of our country, creating more jobs.
Why have we been able to create one million jobs by working with Canadians? Compare what we did in the last three and a half years to the 10 years of misery with the Harper regime. For Canadians who follow the debate on the budget they will see there really is no change in the opposition today. The only change is the incredible amount of influence that Doug Ford has with the Conservative Party. The Premier of Ontario now sits on that small circular table with Stephen Harper and the current Conservative leader.
An hon. member: Who is in charge?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: That is a very good question that is being posed. Many would suggest that nothing has changed, it is still Stephen Harper. Many would argue it is Stephen Harper behind the curtains. He is still the driving force with the Conservative Party. There is no change.
Every so often Conservatives give a special invite to that circular table. One of the individuals recently there was Jason Kenney from Alberta. There are some interesting individuals at the top of the leadership.
Imagine the discussion. Doug Ford says, “Just wait a minute, Mr. Leader of the Opposition, I need more time to figure out this environment thing”. As Canadians from coast to coast to coast wait for the Conservative Party to tell us what the plan is, we have to wait for Doug Ford to give instructions to the current opposition leader. Sadly, I do not think that is the limit. I believe that Canadians would be surprised at the degree to which the Conservative Party really takes its direction from individuals like Stephen Ford.
That was a Freudian slip: Stephen Harper and Mr. Ford.
The point is that we would like to see more transparency coming from the Conservative Party. At some point its members have to start telling Canadians what they are proposing. It was not that long ago that the current leader of the official opposition said the deficit would be four or five years. Before long the Conservatives are going to adopt the same policy in regard to what we are talking about on the deficit.
It is important for Canadians to realize whenever we talk about deficits that the Conservatives like to give advice, but when Stephen Harper became the Prime Minister of Canada, he inherited a multi-billion dollar surplus. Before the recession, he had already squandered it and turned it into a multi-billion deficit.
Year after year of Stephen Harper Conservative rule in Canada, the deficit was accumulated in excess of $150 billion. Is it any wonder we do not take advice from Conservatives when it comes to managing the deficit, let alone the economy? We have been able to do in three and a half years what took the Conservative Party on the employment file almost 10 years to do. We know we have to invest in Canadians. We have to invest in infrastructure. We believe in Canadians, not just serving the rich.
Conservatives say they support tax cuts. That is balderdash. When they had a chance to vote for tax cuts, what did they do? They voted no. When they had the opportunity to say the rich in Canada, that one per cent, should pay a little more, they voted no. It is a Conservative Party that caters to its friends. The middle class of Canada is no friend of the Conservative Party. I believe that we have a government that will continue to work—
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-05 23:11 [p.28649]
Mr. Speaker, I do not know what it is that I said.
Virtually everything I said was factual and could be supported. I did make one Freudian slip when I said “Stephen Ford”. That was not factual. It is actually “Stephen Harper and Doug Ford.” I apologize for that. However, everything else is a true reflection of reality.
It is interesting that when it came right down to the member's question, he asked about balanced budgets. Really? Is that the best question he could come up with? When we take a look at our deficit-to-GDP ratio, we are actually doing quite well. As I pointed out, the last people we should turn to for advice are those in the Conservative Party of Canada.
In the last 150 years of our Confederation, Conservatives have actually governed for a minority of those years, yet they have accrued the largest portion of the deficit. We do not need to take any advice at all from the Conservatives on how to manage an economy or balance the books.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-05 23:13 [p.28649]
Mr. Speaker, every year Stephen Harper said that he would balance the budget, and that never happened.
Let me give the stats, for those who are following the debate: in 38% of the 151 years, which is a minority, the Conservatives actually accumulated 74% of the debt. Then we can take a look at Stephen Harper. As I said, he actually inherited a multi-billion dollar surplus and said that he would have balanced budgets, but he turned that multi-billion dollar surplus into a multi-billion dollar deficit even before the recession, in his first year.
At the end of the day, we would not be well advised to listen to what the Conservatives really and truly have to say about balancing budgets. They are so far out on the issue.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-05 23:40 [p.28652]
Mr. Speaker, I suspect 30 million-plus Canadians are quite happy to see the Raptors prevail. As they were watching the Raptors, we have been having a very challenging debate in the House of Commons on a budget that will impact many of those millions of people. I congratulate to the Raptors and the fans.
I think it is fair to say that sadly the NDP has been consistent over the last few years with respect to budgets. We have seen a government that has brought in many different progressive measures. It shocks and surprises me the degree to which the NDP continues to vote against what I would have thought it would vote for. A good example of that is the housing issue.
On the housing issue, the NDP made a commitment for a very small allocation in the last election. We, on the other hand, made a commitment of billions of dollars in the national housing strategy.
Why does the NDP continuously not support good progressive social policies?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-04 21:59 [p.28555]
Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to listen to a great deal of the debate that has been taking place on this issue and the whole legalization issue about cannabis. It is a major change in public policy with the way in which it has evolved to where we are today.
It is quite interesting that back in 2015 it was only the Liberal Party talking about the legalization of cannabis. The NDP wanted to decriminalize it and I think the Conservatives were somewhat for decriminalization, but not really advertising it. In fact, they were sending out a lot of misinformation about the legalization of cannabis. Now we are talking about that issue having been resolved as it is legalized.
My understanding is that the Conservative Party now supports legalization of cannabis. If that is not the case, maybe the member can provide a little bit more information on that aspect from his party. Second, if he could clearly indicate where he stands as an individual on the idea of the pardon, given the comments he just made.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-04 22:22 [p.28558]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are talking about pardons for simple possession of cannabis. The member is talking about the issue of housing and a housing strategy. I would ask that he be a little more relevant to the legislation before us.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-04 22:31 [p.28559]
Madam Speaker, the member tried to tie in the idea of half-baked. I could tie in the idea of hypocrisy.
It is interesting to hear NDP members talk about expungement versus a pardon. In the last federal election, the NDP said they were in favour of decriminalization, so the whole issue of expungement or a pardon would not even be a part of what we have been debating today, for the NDP platform.
I am glad that the NPD members have changed their opinion. I am glad they have decided to support what Canadians have been telling the government to do and what the government has done, and that is to legalize cannabis.
Why did the NDP come to the conclusion that the government's approach to the legalization of cannabis was a much better way than what the NDP were proposing in the last federal election?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-04 23:06 [p.28564]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the member brought up a new aspect in the debate. He made reference to communities that are impacted by people growing cannabis.
Whether it is rural or urban communities, what we witnessed in the past was the substantial growth of grow-ops, which have been very damaging to communities in many different ways. I believe that with legalization, we will see the number of grow-ops diminish as the criminal element is taken out of the sale of cannabis. I think there is a silver lining.
Just to get an affirmation from across the way, I understand that the Conservative Party is actually supporting the legislation. The NDP is not supporting it, because it wants expungement. Am I then to believe that the Conservative Party supports pardoning over expungement?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-03 18:52 [p.28449]
Mr. Speaker, I want to express my gratitude to the minister for doing an outstanding job in bringing forward this legislation. I say that with all sincerity because of the area I represent. In fact, just prior to leaving the Manitoba legislature, it was declared in the province that there was a child care crisis. I know the minister is very much aware that there are over 10,000 in foster care, a vast majority of them of indigenous background. There has been a desperate need to see something take place.
I wonder if the minister could provide his thoughts as to how important it was that we bring forward legislation. We owe it to the children. This has been going on for far too long. It at least provides a sense of hope going forward that they finally have a national government that is prepared to address this very complicated and critically important issue.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-03 21:03 [p.28465]
Mr. Speaker, it was years ago, when I was in opposition as a Liberal member, that I personally called for a public inquiry in regard to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It was very frustrating, as we seemed to be going against a wall.
One of the things that I really appreciate is that the Prime Minister has talked about reconciliation and how important it is to have a priority relationship with indigenous people. Today is a significant day, because we are going to pass historical legislation that will provide a great deal of hope for a lot of people.
The report of the public inquiry on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls was released today. I see this as part of a commitment that the Prime Minister made to Canadians, and it speaks volumes in terms of how much we want that relationship to continue to grow. There are other initiatives, such as the calls for action and so forth.
Would the member opposite not agree that today is a significant day for all Canadians, with both the report from the public inquiry being released today and the passing of this legislation this evening?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-14 10:38 [p.27728]
Madam Speaker, there has been a great deal of effort by this government to talk about tax agreements and to deal with trade agreements and their impact on Canada's middle class, which has been overwhelmingly positive. I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts regarding the international approach we have taken as a government with moving forward on things such as tax treaties and trade agreements.
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