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Results: 1 - 15 of 58
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
2019-06-04 11:57 [p.28476]
Mr. Speaker, I have been here for over 23 years, and I have always spoken to budget bills, whether the Conservatives were in opposition or on the government side. That is because a budget is what defines our economy; a budget is what defines where Canada's economy will move.
My colleagues on this side have highlighted, in very great detail, what is wrong with this budget bill put forward by the Liberal government. Let me start by saying certain things. I have been sitting here and listening to the Liberals when they get up. They like to attack us, calling out Mr. Harper's name all the time. The Liberal members have used Mr. Harper's name more than anybody I have ever heard. Somehow it is in their psyche that the former prime minister should be used to highlight their deficiencies.
Let me just show, using facts, why they are wrong. The international Institute for Management Development puts together a yearly world competitiveness ranking. Within one year, Canada has fallen three spots on the world competitiveness ranking, from 10th in 2018 to 13th this year. We are the lowest of the G7 countries. In 2018-19, the Liberals were in power. We fell from 10th to 13th.
Let me say this. In the same report, previously, from 2007 to 2015, Canada rose from 10th place to fifth place. That was under the Conservative government of former prime minister Harper. Let me repeat that for the Liberals who speak from their points. Under their regime we dropped in the ranking, going from 10th to 13th, the lowest of the G7 countries. During the period when we were in power under former prime minister Harper, which was 2007 to 2015, we rose from 10th place to fifth place. This is something they should take into account every time they talk about it.
When it comes to economic performance, government officials, business efficiency or infrastructure, the institute says we are not in the top five countries in this index. This is terrible management. Business investment in Canada under the Liberal government has fallen by an annualized rate of 10.9%. This is the second time it has fallen by over 10%. What a shame. This is the management record of the Liberal government.
The Liberal government seems totally oblivious to economic conditions. I come from Alberta. We have seen the devastating impact the government has had on my province. In my city of Calgary, the downtown is completely empty. Right now, businesses in the suburban area are suffering from tax hikes, because the downtown, which used to be the core economic sector in Calgary, has half its buildings empty. That is since the Liberals came into power. They had the opportunity to fix that.
The Liberals bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, but even if they started construction on it, what about Bill C-69, and what about Bill C-48, the tanker bill? Those bills are a direct attack on Alberta.
Albertans are now reeling from the disastrous management of the government. When the father of our current Prime Minister was there, that was the first time Alberta was suffering. I was there at that time. The government tried to seize the oil royalties. The finance minister was Marc Lalonde. It was a disastrous result. Since then, the Liberals have never recovered in Alberta. During the election of 2015, the current Prime Minister said that he would do business differently than his father in Alberta. Lo and behold, those sunny days are gone. This is something that, again, he has not fulfilled.
I am talking about Alberta and the energy sector. The energy sector benefits the whole country. It is not only Alberta's sector. It is British Columbia's, Quebec's, Ontario's, the Maritimes', everyone. It is one of our key sectors.
What is very important is that our companies have spent billions of dollars on clean technology. I will give one example. I was on the foreign affairs committee in the opposition. At that time, in the oil fields of Sudan, Talisman, a Canadian company, had a percentage of the operation in Sudan. All these NGOs that are based in western Canada found that it was easy to target a Canadian company, so they went after the Canadian company, accusing it of all kinds of crimes committed against the environment. The ultimate result was that Talisman sold its shares to China and to India. The next day, all the protests were over.
Has oil stopped? No, it has not. Whom will they target? They will target Canadians. Why will they target them? It is an easy way to do it for these environmentalists. All of a sudden, they disappeared. That shows that the targets of these environmentalists are where they are doing it right now.
I want to go on to another issue, which is the media outlets these guys are giving money to. I can tell members why it is going to be a problem. What about the ethnic media? There are a huge number of ethnic media in the country. Are the Liberals going to give money to the ethnic media, or are they only going to give money to the old Canadian media that are sitting here on the national scene? Are they the only ones who are going to benefit? This is a slippery slope. I will accuse them of discrimination if they do not give money to the ethnic media.
On the panel, there sits a guy who is absolutely anti-Conservative. He said the day before yesterday that he has a right to speak freely. Absolutely. We in the Conservative caucus warn their labour union that he is absolutely right that he can speak, but he is not going to sit on an independent panel and decide which media are going to get money. That goes against democracy. That goes against the principles of democracy. It puts all journalists under a cloud. These journalists had better wake up, because they are going to be under a cloud. Can we trust them when they are getting money from the government? Any time anyone else gets money, they oppose that. How can I believe that what these journalists are writing is unbiased? All indications are that the government is using the money it has to buy votes and to buy publicity. It is a slippery road. It is best not to get involved. The whole country has media, so it is easier for the Liberals not to do that.
In my conclusion, let me say clearly that this is an absolute economic disaster by the government.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-10 13:12 [p.27645]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be joining the debate on Bill C-55 to contribute a couple of thoughts.
My colleague from North Okanagan—Shuswap gave an excellent overview of the contents of the bill and the substance of the amendments being proposed by the Senate. It has proposed a couple of measures that would improve accountability.
There is a series of common-sense ideas. They are very technical in nature. When I went through them, they gave me pause. I though about the implications for the minister of the requirement to consult and how to consult? I thought about how the government would deal with applying some of the other measures in the real world.
A lot of what we do in Ottawa is put theory into legal practice and provide the wording for what we want departmental officials to do on the ground. However, there is also an entire portion related to the application of the legislation and regulations. We want to know how it will work in the field. How will the ideas in this chamber, brought forward by the government through legislation and by government members and opposition members through amendments, actually work out in the real world?
It is not enough to have good intent. It is also what happens on the ground. The reality on the ground is extremely important in whether the legislation will achieve those goals. Intent is fine. I think intent is laudable. We talk a lot about that as politicians. However, it is the results on the ground that count the most. Did we achieve the goals we set out? Do we have a metric to measure how the legislation is working?
The member from North Okanagan—Shuswap gave an excellent overview of the work both parties on the opposition side have done in proposing amendments and improvements to the bill at various stages, going back to when the bill was before the House of Commons committee. Between 25 and 30 amendments were proposed at that time to try to improve the legislation.
I have been on different committees, and often I have seen government legislation that has technical flaws in it. Some of the flaws are inadvertent. They are simply copied and pasted from other pieces of legislation. Perhaps they had a good intent at one time, but when we sit down with officials and stakeholder groups, we quickly realize that they would have several unintended consequences. I will get to one of the unintended consequences of the MPA processes.
When sections of bills are being changed, or improved, as the government would say, I have seen members try to amend them at committee. I have done this myself. I have proposed amendments to government legislation that I thought would improve a bill and fix it in a substantive way, perhaps by amending a definition, as I tried to do on the medical assistance in dying bill, to provide a more technical definition.
With respect to Bill C-55, we are talking about Senate amendments that, as I mentioned, would improve the accountability of the minister to both Parliament and Canadians. They are common-sense ideas. Whether the amendments and the ideas therein are properly executed deserves further investigation and deliberation.
Bill C-55 would maximize the minister's powers. I have mentioned several times in this chamber, on other pieces of legislation proposed by the government, how opposed I am to maximizing ministerial discretion, especially on things like MPAs, which have an immense economic impact on the livelihoods of people in smaller communities, people who depend on fisheries for their livelihood.
It is incumbent upon any government and any member of Parliament to ensure that ministers are reined in and do not have free rein to do as they wish. Too much of the legislation that has passed in the House leaves it up to cabinet, through orders in council, to decide what the details will be.
I will draw the attention of the House to the cannabis bill, which decriminalized or legalized the sale and distribution of cannabis in Canada, and to the impaired driving bill. These bills created a litany of regulations that were basically to be written by a minister and then approved by cabinet at some point.
Some of them were very basic concepts, like definitions that should simply be taken out of a dictionary. We have the same situation here, where the minister's discretion and ability to intervene and interfere in a local area's decision-making process is very broad.
That is a deficiency in any government legislation, because often when we then ask those ministers to return to committees and provide a summary, provide some type of semblance of what was done with the powers, in almost every situation that I have experienced so far, I have been disappointed when ministers returned to committee to explain how they used the powers. They either went way overboard in their application or fell far short and actually did not pass a regulation that met the requirements of Parliament, thus being unable to achieve the goals that the legislation set out.
Just yesterday, at the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, where eventually the regulations that Bill C-55 would enable will make their way for gazetting and review and approval, I saw another instance of a government regulation being used by two previous governments, both Liberal and Conservative, whereby the officials in the department had collected information they were not legally allowed to collect.
Then an amendment to a piece of legislation was passed in 2012, and at that point, that collection of information was legalized. The logical question that all parliamentarians asked, including members in the government caucus and members of the Conservative caucus and members of the NDP caucus, was that if this collection of information was legalized in 2012, was it illegal before that? That was what the legal counsel for the committee was telling members of Parliament was in fact the case—that the government officials had improperly collected a whole suite of very sensitive, proprietary, corporate economic information.
My worry with Bill C-55 is again the broad discretion being given to the minister during the consultation process and the set-up of the MPA.
I want to quote Jim McIsaac of the BC Commercial Fishing Caucus, who said:
Right now on the west coast we have 10 or 12 different MPA processes. It's impossible for the fishing industry to engage in all of these in a kind of comprehensive way. We need a place where we can sit down and set some of these overarching objectives. If we don't do that, it's just going to disintegrate into a mess. It won't be durable going on. We need a way to bring all available knowledge into these.
That speaks to some of that consultation overload. Consultation is a great thing. I participate in government consultations when they post them on the website. I will mention one right after this, on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, just as an illustration of where I think the problem with this consultation on the MPAs exists.
Having 10 or 12 MPA consultation processes at the same time overwhelms one particular industry. It is too much in one area for one group, one sector, one group of workers in an economy to be able to answer to when we want in-depth, valuable information to be provided. We do not just want boxes checked.
The government has indicated that it does not agree with the Senate amendments and did not agree with many of the Conservative amendments at the House of Commons committee when the bill found itself there, and in this legislation what the government is trying to do is outsmart everybody. I think that is the greatest folly. It is a Yiddish proverb. It is one that has been used many times. We as parliamentarians should know, and the government should know, that it is impossible to know everything.
That is what consultation is supposed to be about. It is the process of discovering what we do not know; it is not supposed to be about affirming what we think we know. It is about discovering what we do not know.
In this case, my thought is that if we do 10 to 12 different consultations, again as with these MPA processes, it will overwhelm a particular industry. I am much more familiar with energy site consultations on indigenous communities at the Alberta provincial level. In a prior life, I worked for the Alberta finance minister at the time and the minister of sustainable resource development at the time. Our sustainable resources in Alberta do not happen to be fisheries. Unfortunately, fisheries are not a major sector in the Alberta economy, but they are a major sector in the British Columbia economy, and we should be worried by what we hear.
We should be worried when groups are telling us that the proposal in the legislation may overwhelm their ability to provide in-depth valuable information, whether it is traditional knowledge or qualitative or quantitative data that their industry collects just as part of doing business and part of proposing what they think. Again, the consultation angle here is that there could be an overwhelming number of them and that would make it very difficult for them to meet it.
I want to provide another quote for the chamber's consideration from Christina Burridge, the executive director of the BC Seafood Alliance. She states:
Closing large areas to fishing off the west coast does little for biodiversity, little for conservation, little for the men and women up and down the coast who work in our sector and who are middle class or aspire to the middle class, and little for the health of Canadians, who deserve access to local, sustainable seafood.
Again, that is valuable input from another organization that feels these proposed MPAs might have a fine purpose in mind, but the difference being the intent and impact on the ground, the reality of what will be done.
Several members have mentioned during debate on the legislation that they are concerned that the minister will have simply too broad a series of powers to do as he or she wants, such as to declare a certain area, cut out a certain border for the MPA first and then consult after the fact. However, the economic impact is immediate. People in the area who depend on this type of fishery or it is a significant part of what they do on a daily basis will not be able to continue to do so. They will have to consult with the minister as part of an organization or individually.
There is always the possibility that the government will of course listen to a particular stakeholder group and will defer. It will move boundaries. It will change them to meet the demands. However, the impact will have already happened. There will be already investors, perhaps or individuals who will have changed their behaviour, either their purchasing behaviour or the fishing practices they had. In the meantime, people still have to make an income at the end of the day. They still have to make ends meet. They still have to pay their one's taxes, because the government will never let up on that. They still has to attain some type of middle-class lifestyle. People cannot just lay down their tools and wait for the government to finish its consultation process. They cannot wait for the minister to be satisfied that they have met the requirements of the law.
Some of the defects and shortcomings in the bill could be addressed by some of the proposals in a Senate amendment. We can look back, as the member for North Okanagan—Shuswap mentioned, to some of the amendments proposed on the Conservative side at committee about improving the way the consultation would be done to protect the workers out there. Part of the amendments proposed here also touch upon some of the announcements made by the government.
The government made an announcement that it intended to spend about $1.5 billion on ocean protection off the west coast. It was part of its goal to reach some of its international targets and it was part of the process toward attaining and ensuring the construction of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, so meeting some of the public concerns that individuals had. I have a couple of issues in how this legislation and those dollar announcements matter.
We heard from the previous auditor general, who passed away tragically from cancer. He filed a report late last year, saying that the government was more interested in big dollar announcements in its news releases. He went in-depth in attacking the government's means of testing how it was achieving its goals. He said that it rated its success according to how much money had been shovelled out the door, not the actual impacts on the ground. He had a more broader critique on how the government had managed its operations.
Bill C-55 operationalizes MPAs in a lot of ways. It is much meatier legislation than people might realize. Many people realize that the consultation processes and the conservation of these broad maritime ecosystems and the termination of economic activity in many of these areas for certain types of fisheries or the potential of certain types of fisheries is a big operational part of government.
Time and time again, in different parts of the government, we have seen their inability to meet their own department plans, which every minister tables in the House. There are many shortcomings on that side, such as loading up departments with more work while cutting back on the total FTE count of employees in the department.
The government seems to rate its success simply by how much money has gone out the door, or sometimes, if the money has not even moved, by the quality of the news release being put out and the dollar figure. If there is “billion” in the number, the government will say that it is a job well done, that the mission was successful and that it has achieved its goals.
I will go back to the TMX pipeline for a moment, because I am a member who represents a Calgary riding and I am an Albertan. The TMX pipeline is a perfect example. The government created an investment environment, or a public policy situation, where a company felt obliged to give public notice to its shareholders after a board meeting that it was thinking of backing out of the pipeline expansion. It was not going to meet its goals. The government had created that environment, and it felt obliged to expropriate the pipeline from Kinder Morgan and purchase it for $4.5 billion.
Here comes the operationalizing component. My worry about Bill C-55 is whether the government will be able to operationalize all of this and whether it is overwhelming communities with too much consultation. The government has not been able to build a single inch of pipe to twin the TMX line to the west coast, despite the fact that it promised legislation, despite the fact that it promised, over 300 days ago, that it would get the pipeline built, and despite the fact that almost two construction seasons have been thrown away.
I hear a member on the government caucus side from Toronto heckling me. I remind him that the previous government approved four pipelines. I remind him that the previous government had a record of actually building pipelines. I also remind him that under his government's watch, the government he defends, over 7,000 kilometres of pipe has been cancelled in this country.
The LNG Canada project on the west coast is a $40-billion project that was approved by the regulator in 2012 and approved by the previous Stephen Harper government. They approved it. It took six years before the company felt that the business environment was good enough. For three years, from 2015 to 2018, the project was on the cusp of being cancelled. The only thing that saved the project was that the government exempted it from the carbon tax. That is the only reason the company went ahead with a $40-billion project. As well, under the government's watch, 78 billion dollars' worth of LNG projects have been cancelled.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-04-09 13:48 [p.26872]
Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear about the government's instincts. When it comes to many pieces of legislation, the Liberals' instincts are wrong. Their instinct is to manage to bureaucrats and to the wealthiest few in this country.
I want to walk people who are watching through Bill C-88 as an example of why this is the case and also compare it to something that just happened in the last 24 hours that proves that the government really does not care about the environment but does care about bettering the interests of the Liberals' corporate donors and the wealthy companies in this country.
Part 2 of bill C-88 would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders, when in the national interest, to prohibit oil and gas activities and freeze the terms of existing licences to prevent them from expanding during a moratorium. For those who are watching, what that means is that like Bill C-69, the no more pipelines act, the government is introducing yet another piece of legislation that would allow the cabinet or the Liberal Party of Canada to interfere politically in the review process, or essentially in the economy, in a way that is not positive.
What do I mean by that? Part of what we have seen in terms of the economic downturn in Canada, when it comes to the natural resources sector, and what we will hear from anyone who wants to look at Canada as a potential place to invest, is that the Liberal government, led by the Prime Minister, has made it uncertain and unstable for people to invest in Canada because of pieces of legislation like this.
If we were sitting around a board table or were a small business trying to decide whether to make an investment, one of the questions we would ask is what the government was going to do with regard to regulations or whether a project was going to go forward. What the government has done with bills like part 2 of Bill C-88, which we are discussing today, and Bill C-69 is say that it would politically interfere in their decision and make a decision that would be in the Liberals' best interests politically, whatever they might be. That would not help investment in Canada. That would not help protect the environment.
Liberals might say that this would help protect the environment, but it would not. All it would do is create an environment of uncertainty so that people could not and would not invest in natural resources projects in Canada. It is a convenient way for them to kick the can down the road.
Rather than standing up and saying that as a government, as a political party, this is what the Liberals' vision is for natural resource development in Canada, they are saying, “Maybe we will do something at some point. Why don't you invest? However, we may pull that football away through legal provisions” such as the one they are introducing in the bill. That is why it is important for Canadians to pay attention to this.
With regard to protecting the environment and perhaps protecting average Canadians, we saw something remarkable happen yesterday. The environment minister not only signed off on $12 million worth of taxpayer money going to one of the wealthiest companies in Canada, Loblaws, to buy new fridges, she also staged a taxpayer-funded announcement at a Loblaws store. Twelve million dollars of taxpayer funds went to a company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year to buy fridges, and then tax dollars were used for the minister to get a photo opportunity for doing that.
One could argue that Loblaws is a very successful company. If everyone is so committed to protecting the environment, why could Loblaws not just buy those fridges itself? Why was the government's policy instinct not to incent the company, either through regulations or tax credits or something that would be better for everyone in the country and would put everyone on a level playing field? Why was the Liberals' instinct to give money to this company, which can afford lobbyists to fill out very complicated grant applications? Why was it the Liberals' instinct to give money to a wealthy company that could have done this itself instead of something that would have evened the playing field for all Canadians and incentivized business?
I like to call it “reverse Robin Hood”. The Prime Minister has a really great track record of doing everything possible to take money away from Canadians. It includes this announcement and the SNC-Lavalin scandal and things like the carbon tax, which will never reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as giving opportunities to wealthy companies that have lobbyists.
I believe in the economy. I believe that we should create an opportunity for companies to thrive. What I do not believe is that the government should be using tax dollars to pay for fridges for a company that has done three things that I will describe.
First, it makes hundreds of millions of dollars of net profit every year. It made about $3 billion in net revenue and $800 million in net profit last year. It is doing okay. I think can afford a few fridges.
Then this company was involved for years in a price-fixing scheme on bread that by all accounts impacted poor people in Canada the most.
Also, early last year, reports broke that this company was involved in a fight with the Canada Revenue Agency over $400 million in claims over a bogus offshore account. That was a CBC headline.
What was the minister thinking? I know what she was thinking. I would like to chalk it up to incompetence, but when we look at SNC-Lavalin and this announcement, it is not as if she signed this accidentally. It was not, “Oh, no; I accidentally signed this.” She scheduled a funding announcement for it. She took pictures with somebody.
When I talked about this issue yesterday, somebody named Amanda from Lundar, Manitoba, wrote to my office to say that the dairy cooler in the family grocery store she owns in her community had broken and that she cannot afford to replace it. She said she just cannot afford it. She asked why the government is so out of touch that it thinks the right thing to do is to give $12 million to a big company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars and then increase her taxes to pay for it. That shows how out of touch the government is.
The government has no desire to fix the environment. It is like the Prime Minister saying he is a feminist. Now he is saying he is fixing the environment, but he is finding ways to give money to Loblaws.
Loblaws should be concerned. Loblaws should know better. In terms of any brand credit that Loblaws gets from this, I know the company is managing profit and loss for their shareholders, but did the board members think this was a good idea? Come on. There is $12 million for new freezers when that company made $800 million in profit. Why should Amanda have to go without a dairy freezer—
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kitchener—Conestoga.
I am happy to have this opportunity to speak to this motion today. Housing is a basic need, and I have no doubt that the importance of having this need met is recognized on all sides of this house. If we agree that all Canadians should have a realistic opportunity to own their own homes, and all Canadians should have access to safe and affordable housing, the question then becomes how we meet these goals. How do we empower vulnerable Canadians to help lift themselves out of poverty, and what action will have a long-lasting and meaningful impact?
To start, the very first line of this motion identifies a significant problem with the Liberal government's housing strategy. The problem is that 90% of the funding the Liberal government has announced is scheduled for far beyond the next federal election. This is not the first time we have seen this. There seems to be a pattern with the current Liberal government. The Liberals make a great big funding announcement with the intention of spending that money well beyond their mandate.
For the most part, what the Liberals have offered Canadians in their housing strategy are promises. Unfortunately, we know that failing to deliver on their promises is the norm. Therefore, action should be taken today in the medium term and in the long term to strengthen our communities. For this action to be successful, the federal government cannot go it alone.
The text of the motion we are debating today calls on the federal government to take specific action, but what it seems to be missing is the inclusion of the roles of other levels of government and the private sector in addressing housing needs in Canada. Social housing falls under provincial jurisdiction, and this is not recognized in the motion. The federal government certainly shares some of the responsibility when it comes to housing in Canada, but again, I would state that the exclusion, or even the downgrading, of the involvement of the provincial government from the motion before us is problematic.
Another concern that I know has already been raised by many of my colleagues today, but I would like to reiterate, is the language used in the text of the motion relating to housing being a human right. The legal implications of this language could be tremendous. The recognition of a right to housing in federal legislation again conflicts with jurisdiction on this issue. I would caution that its adoption could have many unintended consequences.
While this motion offers opportunities for the federal government to spend money, this approach is probably too simplistic. A discussion on access to safe and affordable housing must recognize that a need for housing is often a symptom of poverty. A fulsome debate must also consider poverty reduction and the barriers many face in lifting themselves out of poverty: education, addictions, health issues, disabilities and so on.
A strong economy is key to reducing poverty. In fact, a strong economy is key to making housing more affordable and accessible for all Canadians today and in the long term. First, any government-funded social program is dependent on a strong economy to ensure that funds are available in the long term. When the economy is succeeding, government revenues are available, but if we tax our economy to death and chase away investment and opportunities, the shelves will be bare for social programs. That is why it is so important to have a realistic plan, a plan to create jobs and opportunities for economic growth. Unfortunately, there is no such plan.
The Liberal government has been failing Canadians when it comes to the economy. Its high-tax agenda is chasing away business and investment opportunities. The energy sector is a perfect example of lost economic opportunity.
Prior to the current Liberal government, there were three private companies willing to invest in three pipeline projects. These projects would have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars in economic activity. However, now the Prime Minister's disastrous policies have chased away all of the investment interest. Not only is the government not succeeding in growing the economy, it is actually hindering it.
The average Canadian is paying more and higher taxes with less money in their pockets to spend on their priorities, which includes less money to spend on their rent or their mortgage. Canadians want to work, provide for themselves and make meaningful contributions to our communities. The federal government should not be creating barriers to that goal. Unfortunately, the failed policies of the Liberal government are hurting Canadians.
The availability of rental housing has also been part of the discussion today. If home ownership were encouraged and achievable for more Canadians, it would have the potential to address the vacancy rates in Canada for rental housing, but the Liberals have not encouraged home ownership. In fact, they have discouraged it. The current Liberal government made changes to mortgage rules that make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, and essentially make home ownership out of reach for many Canadians, particularly young Canadians. A federal housing strategy should also recognize the need for measures to increase affordable and responsible home ownership across the country.
When it comes to homelessness reduction, it is important to consider programs and strategies that have already seen some success. One such program is the housing first approach, which was introduced by our former Conservative government. This program reversed the traditional approach of addressing homelessness by providing a home first with no strings attached to a homeless individual and then made social programs and services available to them. The pilot program of this approach was successful in helping many move along the homeless continuum into independent housing and ultimately become self-sufficient. The success of this pilot program was followed with an expansion of it.
The expansion of the program and the housing first approach received widespread support from stakeholders across the country, including the support of the sponsor of the motion, the member for Saskatoon West. At the time, the member stated that, “We're most excited about the emphasis on housing first, getting people into safe, affordable housing and bringing support services around them so people can stay housed.”
This program was helping Canadians through proven, evidence-based homelessness reduction programs. If a program is helping to reduce homelessness, it should be continued and even expanded. That is why I, like many, was discouraged when the Liberals diverted 65% of the housing first investment target to other programs. While the Liberals' housing strategy commits a lot of taxpayer funds to address the need for housing in Canada, there is a reason to question the strategy's ability to make real progress in this area.
I thank the member for Saskatoon West for tabling this motion and providing the opportunity to have this important debate. Moving forward with measures that will help provide a better quality of life for vulnerable Canadians and all Canadians should always be a priority. Access to safe and affordable housing is essential to a better quality of life.
As the federal government looks to address the housing need in Canada, the focus should be on proven and evidence-based programs. We need to identify and remove barriers from home ownership. We need to take concrete action to support the Canadian economy, and we must acknowledge and address the cause of the housing need and not just address the symptoms. We have to not only respect the provincial jurisdictions over housing, but also work co-operatively with other levels of government and the private sector.
As I said at the beginning, let us look at solutions that can be implemented today and not down the road.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
2018-06-12 12:22 [p.20712]
Madam Speaker, we are taking action in investing in new technology, $8 billion in new technology in renewable energy.
I would appreciate if the hon. member for the federal NDP would appreciate the actions being taken by the Alberta NDP on climate change. It has put a cap on overall emissions from the oil sands. It is phasing out coal. It has put a very effective price on pollution. I hope the federal NDP will support the provincial NDP to get that action going and get the resources to market so it can pay for all the steps that need to be taken in order to protect our environment.
It is so disheartening and disappointing to see the federal NDP completely ignore the needs of workers in Alberta, to completely ignore the comprehensive action the provincial NDP has taken.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
[Member spoke in Dene]
Today, I am happy to speak in support of the motion presented by the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou and would like to congratulate him on his lifetime achievement award for advancing the rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit people. It is humbling to sit in the House of Commons next to the hon. member and to work across the hall from him every day.
One of the first things that surprised me when I was elected to represent the people of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River was the number of invitations I receive here in Ottawa, as I am sure my colleague can attest to. Our offices receive hundreds of invitations every month for events across the city, such as film screenings, meetings of foreign dignitaries, lunches with community stakeholders, issue briefings with industry professionals, book launches, protests, and more. At virtually every single one of these events, there is one thing that is always said, which is that we recognize that we are on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin people.
Statements like these are important. Recognizing the unsurrendered land of first nations, Métis, and Inuit people is an important step toward our national project of reconciliation. Acknowledging that the lands we live on have their own history reminds all Canadians of our colonial history and the injustices committed against first nations, Métis, and Inuit people.
Just this past week, the Liberal government has proven that the recognition of our people is just words and false promises. When the Liberal government decided to purchase the Kinder Morgan pipeline assets for $4.5 billion, it said it was in the best interests of Canadians to purchase that leaky 65-year-old pipeline.
This is the same government that feels the need to tell us every day that climate change is real and that we should invest in green technology. This is the same government that tells us that it believes debate is important while pushing for time allocation and presenting omnibus bills. This is from the same government that promised changes to the electoral system, but abandoned that promise. This is coming from the same government that has tirelessly told us that its relationship with first nations, Métis, and Inuit people is the most important relationship it has. This is the same government that believes in a nation-to-nation consultation and insists on denying the rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit people. This is the same government that will not support my private member's bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday.
The government is not protecting the rivers and lakes that first nations, Métis, and Inuit people use every day for hunting, fishing, and trapping. First nation, Métis, and Inuit people believe that water is life, and protecting it from waste, pollution, and damage is crucial. Nothing about the government's purchase of the pipeline would do anything to protect our land or our water. It is awful that the government thinks it can hide this fact. First nation, Métis, and Inuit people strongly believe that water is life and they will protect it at all costs.
We have heard repeatedly from the Minister of Natural Resources that the Liberals have consulted with 43 first nations who have given their consent for this project, which is enough for the Liberals to purchase this pipeline and force this project. If the government did its due diligence, it would find that there are far more first nations, Métis, and Inuit people who are opposed to the pipeline than in support of it.
We could go back and forth all day with lists of who supports and who opposes this pipeline, but I believe that today's motion is more about the principle than resentment.
[Member speaks in Dene]
I am a Dene woman who comes from northern Saskatchewan, and 75% of the people in my riding identify as first nation or Métis people. Many struggle to find work, affordable housing, access to clean water, or health care that meets their needs.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline project does not reach my home province, but the decisions the government has made are felt by the people back home. Too often I am told that our community lacks the resources to do a number of projects. There is never enough money for clean water, mental health, youth programs, or health care. Therefore, it comes as a shock to many in the north that there is now enough money for pipelines. People at home have been encouraged by the government's action on UNDRIP and the indigenous languages act, and love to see first nation issues placed at the highest importance in Ottawa, but have seen their hopes for a better future crushed by the news that companies in Texas are more important than they.
However, not all hope is lost. Folks back home regularly tell me how inspired they are by the resilience of the first nation people in British Columbia. We recognize the importance of the elders guiding us against the pipeline, and we are inspired by their stories of resilience and strength to protect the rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit people.
We recognize the bravery of the first nations challenging the government in court. We stand firmly with the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and the Assembly of First Nations. We raise our voices in support of the protesters on the ground opposing this pipeline. The fight for first nations, Métis, and Inuit rights has been going on for generations, and we will continue that fight in the future.
The concern of folks in northern Saskatchewan is that if the rights of first nations people in B.C. can be violated today, then perhaps it will be those of the people of Saskatchewan next. We hear so much about the duty to consult, the idea of free, prior, and informed consent, and how important it is to the Liberal government, but when it comes down to actually getting that consent, the government has shown that words are more important to it than action.
We hear from companies all the time about how they have done consultations with first nations, Métis, and Inuit people. Often, these consultations are single two-hour meetings held in languages that are not spoken by the locals. We know that when documents are signed, the vast majority of first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples are uninformed and intentionally excluded.
A true consultation, with a goal of obtaining free, prior, and informed consent, takes time. First nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples are the ultimate judges on whether the consultation process has been meaningful.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am shocked that today the government has chosen to completely disregard its obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Last week, the Prime Minister voted in favour of developing a recognition and implementation of rights framework in partnership with indigenous peoples, and five days later he has failed his first test.
Does the Prime Minister understand that respecting the rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples means respecting even those who do not agree with him? The Prime Minister cannot tell me that I do not understand.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity today to speak to the budget implementation act. Ronald Reagan once said, “Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” That quote is often interpreted as tongue in cheek, but it is a fairly good description of the current government's economic policy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
With this budget bill, we have an opportunity to discuss a whole range of problems in terms of the government's economic plan, problems that are well summed up in that quotation. I am going to address as many of them today as time allows, the first being the carbon tax and the carbon tax cover-up.
We have a government that is imposing new taxes on Canadians at a feverish pace. In particular, through the carbon tax, the Liberals are requiring every province to impose a carbon tax. If a province will not, the Liberals will themselves impose a carbon tax on that province. This carbon tax is not revenue neutral to the federal government, because we know that the government will collect GST on the carbon tax, and the Liberals have consistently refused calls from the opposition not to collect GST on the carbon tax.
The Liberals believe that this is the right approach, but they also believe that Canadians should not have access to the information they used to make their determination. We have an ongoing carbon tax cover-up in which the government refuses to give Canadians basic information about how much the federal carbon tax will cost. The provinces that have imposed carbon taxes have been, in fact, much more forthright with the data.
I would say that if the government has an opinion on the carbon tax one way or another, it should be willing to present the information and the analysis that led it to that decision so that Canadians can see it, agree with it or disagree with it, and have that discussion. Instead, it is a government that, on the one hand, claims to be confident in the rightness of its position, but, on the other hand, refuses to give this information.
We have in this budget bill the government moving forward with its federal carbon tax and continuing to refuse to give information about how much it will cost the average Canadian family. We know this will impose significant costs on the economy as a whole. Canadians have a right to know, the middle class and those working hard to join it have a right to know, how much the carbon tax will cost them.
There is a discussion on how we support economic development, which is always part of the budget and certainly is quite in discussion today. Our approach, on this side of the House, is to say that the best way to encourage economic development is to think about existing businesses and also to think about businesses that do not yet exist and could exist. It is to create the conditions for economic growth, for investment, and for new, innovative ideas, not to prejudge where those ideas are going to come from or what they are going to look like.
Government is inevitably poorly disposed to fully know where the next big economic opportunity is going to be. Economic growth does not happen because the government decides it is going to spend a whole bunch of money on this supercluster fetish we have. Instead, economic growth happens when individual entrepreneurs have new ideas, and they make sacrifices to make investments in themselves and their communities and their own businesses that then allow for growth and job creation. The approach we take is to favour simplification of regulations and tax reductions for individuals and businesses, especially small businesses, that create opportunities.
Under the previous government, we lowered the business tax rate, which actually led to an increase in business tax revenues. Business tax revenues went up as the rate of business taxation went down, and that shows that giving opportunity and resources and mechanisms to the private sector is how to create jobs and opportunity. Even the government was better off from lowering business taxes. We lowered the small-business tax rate. We had it booked in as being lowered to 9%. The current government broke that promise, and then un-broke that promise, at least for now, as a justification for some of the draconian regulatory changes it wanted to make for small business. The Liberals have an on-again, off-again relationship with supporting small-business tax reductions, but Canadian small-business owners know they can go steady with the opposition.
The way Liberals have approached small business to try to make these regulatory changes that increase costs and reduce certainty for small business is not the way to create confidence in our economy or to attract investment. Our approach was to lower personal income taxes, lower business taxes, and, by the way, always to target those tax reductions to those Canadians who needed them the most.
We cut the GST, which is the tax everybody pays. We lowered the lowest marginal tax rate. By any standard of progressivity, the tax reductions that the Conservative government made were more progressive than any the Liberal government has even talked about. In fact, we know from various analysis that have been done that the Liberal government is increasing taxes through the carbon tax and other changes, including the elimination of tax credits and so forth, that hit those in the middle class and those working hard to join it very hard. It also hits small businesses, the engines of economic growth. These businesses are not looking for a government subsidy. They are not looking for a supercluster. They are looking for the regulatory and taxation environment that allows them to succeed.
The Liberal government's approach is totally different. It thinks that the Prime Minister, in his wisdom, knows best where the next big opportunities will come. The Liberals then pick these areas of government spending to create economic growth, allegedly, while increasing the burden on those small individual operators who do not ask for government subsidies, but simply want to be left alone to create opportunity. It is asking successful small businesses to pay more so that other big, well-connected insiders will pay less.
We do not think that is the right approach, spending hard-earned Canadian tax dollars subsidizing business. We do not think that is fair to other businesses that do not receive those subsidies. We do not feel those policies are fair to ordinary Canadians, who have to pay taxes, that then go to already wealthy companies. That is the Liberal approach, which is subsidizing friends and insiders through corporate welfare instead of creating conditions that allow for long-term economic growth and success through innovation.
The approach of the government, on the one hand, trying to constrain the private sector and, on the other hand, wanting to then subsidize things is most evident in the case of its approach to pipelines. All the government had to do, if it wanted pipelines to succeed, was to continue with the successful policies under the previous government, which got four pipelines built and led to a fifth one being approved. The Liberal government will tell us that the Conservatives did not get any pipelines to tidewater except, except.
It was under the Conservative government that every pipeline project that was proposed was approved. It stretches the imagination to think how it expects pipelines that were not proposed to have been built. We approved pipelines through a strong, fair but clear and accessible process to be built. Under the Liberal government, it immediately acted to kill the northern gateway pipeline.
Canadians are probably wondering why the government is buying out and subsidizing one pipeline to the west coast, while it intentionally and then further through legislation is killing another pipeline to the west coast. If it just got out of the way, perhaps we would have two pipelines proceeding to the west coast. Certainly we would have one.
There is the energy east pipeline, which, by piling additional burdens and challenges on, the government stopped. Then, after killing pipelines, intentionally, directly through government policy, it decided that there was actually one in which it wanted to look more interested. We still do not know if the strategy is going to bear fruit. It is spending $4.5 billion buying the existing pipeline, not building a new pipeline or even expanding one. It is spending $4.5 billion buying existing pipeline infrastructure. Then the government says that it will spend a whole bunch more, billions of dollars more, on a project that when the previous government was in place, the private sector was quite ready and keen to build. Now the Liberal government says that it is going to spend all this money to build it.
What happens if it does not work out at some point along the way? It is very likely the government will just be pouring more and more money into something that could have and should have been done by the private sector.
The government's approach to the economy is a failed approach. It is to tax and regulate success, while piling on money in subsidy to everything else. We in the opposition present a strong alternative that will actually lead to economic success in the long term for Canada.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-04-30 17:00 [p.18934]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill C-48 again.
There is a content creator on YouTube who does these great videos called “honest trailers”. He discusses what movies should actually be talking about when they do their trailers. I would like to do the same with Liberal bills, because quite often we hear these grandiose names.
For example, for the budget, I would rename it the “Dude, where is my infrastructure budget?”, because no one seems to know where the infrastructure money went. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer could not locate $7 billion of it. I do note that of the $7 billion, he was able to find that it was costing Canadian taxpayers $700,000 of spending for every job created.
I also called it the “Honey, I sank the kids” bill, because $100 billion in added debt is going to stick to our children and our grandchildren in the coming years. However, I stuck on a different name, the Vantablack bill. Vantablack is the darkest substance known to man, so I called it that because of the lack of transparency in the budget bill. In fact, it is so lacking in transparency that even a supernova could not bring light to it.
An issue with the budget bill was, for example, that the finance department refused to respond to either us or the Parliamentary Budget Officer about some five-year spending projections. There was vote 40, which the treasury board president has brought forward, which will allow him to spend $7 billion without any oversight from committees, Parliament, or votes once the money has been done. The government that brought us an $8 million hockey rink is going to be given $7 billion without any oversight or transparency.
With Bill C-48 there could be a lot of names, but I am going to call it the “hypocrite bill”. The name “hypocrite bill” could also be applied to a lot of other bills. For example, the government talked big on military spending, but it is not mentioned once in the budget. The Liberals also talk about helping the middle class, yet burdened it with tax hikes and hundreds of billions of dollars of added debt with no mention of how it will ever be paid back.
As well, the government brags about a gender-balanced cabinet, but they give all five junior ministries to women. No government since the Trudeau Senior government has given all five of the junior ministries to women.
The Liberals killed energy east by constantly changing the goalposts and requiring upstream and downstream emission considerations. At the same time, they have given hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to their friends in Bombardier to pay out millions of dollars in bonuses, by the way. Apparently Bombardier jets do not emit emissions. The Liberals have given millions and millions to Ford motor companies because apparently Ford cars now run on pixie dust.
Let us look at the general hypocrisy around Bill C-48. Do not let anyone be fooled. It is not about banning tankers; it is about killing the northern gateway pipeline once and for all and killing Alberta jobs.
The Liberals like to talk a lot about human rights, but they blocked Alberta oil, the cleanest, most ethically produced oil in the world, to bring in oil from some of the worst human rights-abusing countries in the world. We bring in oil from Saudi Arabia, where there are some of the worst oppressions of women and of the LGBTQ community.
The Liberals brought in oil from Nigeria, where the government will murder a person for being gay. Think about that. We are bringing in oil from Nigeria and giving them money. Instead of creating Alberta jobs, we are getting oil from people who murder gays just for expressing who they truly are. We bring in oil from Angola, a country that Human Rights Watch highlights for its heavy government oppression. However, we buy their oil and block Alberta oil.
This is really interesting. Just last week, the Liberal government banned the famous Angolan human rights crusader Rafael Marques from Canada. We have open borders to all those fleeing the tyranny of the U.S., where one million Canadians still live. I hope they are going to flee as well. The Liberals will allow open borders for that, yet an award-winning human rights crusader from Angola is banned by the government. However, we will buy their oil.
The Liberals talk about evidence-based decision-making, so let us look at the facts on tanker safety.
We allow tankers into the Vancouver harbour to pick up oil in Burnaby from Kinder Morgan, where it currently is. We are planning, if Kinder Morgan gets built, to move that up to one freighter a day. That is perfectly fine. The Liberals approved that.
We allow what is called an Aframax tanker to move under the Second Narrows bridge in North Vancouver or Burnaby, where there is a width of 137 metres across the narrows.
The government now also says that a tanker moving through a width of 1,400 metres, through the Douglas Channel from Kitimat to the open seas, is not safe. Not only is the Douglas Channel 10 times the width of underneath the Second Narrows Bridge, but it would be escorted with three pilots for the entire passage. That is something we do not do when bringing in Venezuelan oil, Saudi Arabian oil, or Nigerian oil on the east coast. It is something we currently do not do when we bring in ships through the much narrower passage from North Vancouver to Burnaby.
The TERMPOL document for northern gateway added many other safety measures, such as radar on Gil Island, and more response gear, which we also do not offer for the tankers coming in through North Vancouver or the east coast.
Let us talk about the hypocrisy of the government's empty statement on nothing being more important than the nation-to-nation relationships. We heard in the government operations and estimates committee that no industry does better in Canada than the energy industry in working with indigenous groups, indigenous business, and providing jobs and prosperity to indigenous people of Canada. Who does the very worst on engaging them? It is the Canadian government.
This is what the first nations are saying. Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Métis said that they and other first nations are disappointed by the political decision, not the evidence-based decision, but the political decision, made without their input. Mr. Ghostkeeper said that 30 bands were looking forward to the shared prosperity that northern gateway would bring, with $2 billion in set asides.
Again, let us remember. It is Suncor, Syncrude, Enbridge. These are all the companies that were named in the government operations and estimates committee as companies that do the very best of any industry in providing prosperity, jobs and opportunities for first nations, and we are throwing it aside.
Chief Derrick of the Gitxsan first nations said that the Prime Minister did not even want to hear from supportive bands.
The government will consult with every U.S.-financed radical environmentalist group on pipelines in the industry. It will even take taxpayers' money to give to these radical environmentalist groups, saying, “Here, take some taxpayers' money from Alberta, from all across Canada, and go out and work against the Canadian interest.” It is working against what the government has said is in the national interest. Will the government listen and consult with first nations? No, of course not.
I want to talk about some of the safety issues. B.C. coast pilots are some of the very best pilots in the entire world. They have a safety standard for shipping off of B.C. that far exceeds what we do on the east coast. I want to talk about their record.
Since 2007, the very worst year for incidents has been a 99.94% success rate. There was not a single issue of an oil spill from tankers since Kinder Morgan was built 63 years ago. Not one. On regular shipping, the very worst year was 99.94%. In 2017, it was 99.97%. They have gone above and beyond, as I mentioned.
With the portable pilotage units they put on their ships in case their ships piloting or GPS goes down, they can control it as well. They spend $600,000 a year in training for the pilots. As I mentioned, they have a perfect record for moving liquid bulk vessels of over 40,000 dead weight. These are the experts.
They did a computer program when northern gateway was being considered. The experts said that moving ships down, even without pilots, would be perfectly safe. However, the plan was to include three pilots. Here we have the experts saying it is perfectly safe without all the added measures, and they have offered to put on these additional measures to make them extra safe. The government shot it down.
Bill C-48 is not about coastal safety. If it were, the government would shut down the east coast and Vancouver as well. This bill is all about killing Alberta jobs, and about killing once and for all the northern gateway pipeline.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-04-30 17:12 [p.18935]
Mr. Speaker, speaking of being out of touch, I would love for the member to ask Canadians if they support giving taxpayers' money to radical environmentalist groups that kill jobs in Alberta and that want to kill the very pipeline this government says it supports.
The Liberals say they support building Kinder Morgan, and then they go out and give money to a U.S.-backed environmentalist group, and say, “Take this money from taxpayers in Alberta and B.C., and go and stop the Trans Mountain pipeline.”
If the member wants to talk about being out of touch, that is a perfect example from the government, and I thank my colleague for bringing that point up.
View Ron Liepert Profile
View Ron Liepert Profile
2018-04-27 11:15 [p.18852]
Madam Speaker, my constituents are outraged. Many are highly skilled, highly talented, highly educated, unemployed energy workers.
Last week, they saw reports of the Prime Minister speaking in Paris and talking about phasing out the oil sands. That does not give them much hope. Of course, that was not the first time he said that.
This week my constituents learned that the government was using our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to provide summer jobs, not for students who do good work with seniors and others who are less fortunate in the community, but to protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline.
A number of students in my riding did not get summer jobs this year because faith groups would not sign on to the Liberal government's values test. Meanwhile, radical environmental groups are receiving funding so they can protest against a project that the government allegedly supports.
It is time for the government to quit supporting radicals who break the law and go back to supporting actual students who work for good jobs in the community.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2018-04-27 11:30 [p.18855]
Madam Speaker, the government claims it wants Trans Mountain built, and it claims it wants to help unemployed energy workers in Alberta, yet it funds a group that is committed to stopping all pipelines, especially Trans Mountain.
Do the Minister of Infrastructure and his colleague, the member for Edmonton Centre, support using taxpayers' dollars to fund protesters whose sole job is to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline?
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2018-04-27 11:31 [p.18855]
Madam Speaker, the Liberals made a political decision to veto the northern gateway pipeline. They made last-minute changes to kill energy east. Eighty-seven billion dollars in investment has been driven out. Now they are funding professional protesters to kill the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Is this just the latest step in the Prime Minister's plan to phase out the Canadian energy sector?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2018-04-25 14:26 [p.18733]
Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister claims to be trying to build public support for this pipeline, perhaps he can explain to the House why his government gave a grant to an environmental lobby group that specifically used those funds to hire an activist to protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Does the Prime Minister not realize that paying groups to protest against these projects is exactly part of the problem?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2018-04-25 14:28 [p.18733]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has signed off on a grant that will go specifically to hire an assistant who will “work directly with [a provincial organizer] and the field organizing team to help our network stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline....”
Does he not realize that he is funding the very groups that are protesting against the project that is in the national interest?
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