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Results: 1 - 15 of 1240
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We shall call the meeting to order.
We have the Minister of Finance, Mr. Morneau, here. We're still doing our study of pre-budget consultations for 2020, under Standing Order 108(2).
Minister, we have a request. Because of the makeup of the committee now, the official opposition has four members. They'd all like to get on. Is it possible to stay 10 minutes longer?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
As you can see, I have some colleagues from the finance department here with me. If there are questions that any of you would prefer to send their way, I'm obviously happy to acquiesce.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of this committee.
Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. You have my congratulations and thanks for the work that you have done in your own pre-budget consultations.
As we look ahead to our next budget, I think the first thing that we need to think about is where we are right now, and how we got there.
As shown in our latest economic and fiscal update, in December, our economy is doing well and continues to grow at a good pace. In fact, we are on track to have the second-fastest growing economy in the G7 this year.
Since 2015, the dedicated work of Canadians, supported by our investments, has created more than a million jobs, most of which are full-time. The unemployment rate is at a historic low, companies are making substantial profits, and salaries are on the rise.
But there will always be potential challenges ahead, from continuing protectionism around the world to the near-term challenges raised by the coronavirus.
Overall, Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio remains the lowest among G7 countries, keeping our country in an enviable position among our peers. A relatively low level of debt is a major competitive advantage, and we as a government remain fully committed to maintaining it in an unpredictable world. Around the world, we've also seen the easing of trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
At home, we are calling for all parliamentarians to support swift passage of the new NAFTA, CUSMA. It's a good deal for Canadians, and it will bring us more certainty in our trade with our most important partner. We want to build on the progress of the last four years in a way that's responsible, makes a real difference in the lives of Canadians and sets us up for the future.
We must continue to invest in Canadians and to encourage economic growth, while remaining financially responsible.
As we look to budget 2020, we'll continue moving forward with our plan to strengthen and grow the middle class, make life more affordable and prepare Canada for the future.
Our parliamentary priority when the 43rd Parliament opened was to introduce a proposal to lower taxes. This proposal would raise the basic personal amount to $15,000 by 2023 and lower taxes for close to 20 million Canadians. By 2023, single individuals could save close to $300 in taxes each year, while families, including those led by a single parent, could save nearly $600 per year in taxes. About a million more Canadians will no longer pay federal income taxes in 2023 on this basis. To ensure that this tax relief goes to the people who need it most, we are also planning on phasing out the benefits of the increased basic personal amount for wealthy individuals.
This proposal, combined with measures like the Canada child benefit and the middle-class tax cut introduced by our government, would see a typical family of four be better off by more than $2,300 this year compared to 2015. Once the proposed increase in the basic personal amount is fully phased in, in 2023, this family would be better off by more than $2,800 every year.
We know that this year's federal budget will be an opportunity for us to introduce other measures that will improve the lives of people all across the country. To do this, we are inviting all Canadians to express their ideas on the ways in which we can continue to ensure the growth of the middle class and of the economy.
As you know, the Department of Finance Canada holds pre-budget consultations each year, in parallel to the important work of your committee. The consultations enable us to interact directly and openly with as many Canadians as possible, including community workers and leaders, so that their views may be considered in the process of developing the budget for 2020.
My colleagues, Minister Fortier, Parliamentary Secretary Fraser and myself began our pre-budget consultations on January 13. Since then, we have organized round tables and townhall meetings across the country. During those consultations, we hear directly what Canadians have to tell us about the subjects that concern them most.
I organized a townhall meeting in my constituency and two round tables in Western Canada, in Vancouver and Calgary, where I had the opportunity to hear comments from young people and from business and community leaders on their priorities for the 2020 federal budget.
Canadians have also told us about their 2020 budget priorities by email, through online surveys, and at round tables. This year, the pre-budget consultations are focusing on the points that we know are important to Canadians: strengthening the middle class, protecting the environment, keeping Canadians healthy and safe, and working towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Through those consultations, Canadians can express their views on subjects such as those. What, in their opinion, is working and what do they see as concerns? What can we do to continue to make the cost of living more affordable? How can we create more good, well-paying jobs? How can we strengthen the middle class? What can the government do to fight climate change? What can we do to ensure that our communities are safe? What steps can we take towards reconciliation? How can we build a more sustainable future for all?
As of Monday, we have read comments from more than 18,000 Canadians through our online survey. This number is greater than last year. The survey questions focus on the four themes I mentioned earlier. Canadians have until February 21, when the consultation period ends, to tell us about their ideas.
I know this committee's pre-budget consultation work has been focused on the theme of our transition to a low-carbon economy, and I want to take a moment to outline the work that our government is doing.
Our government introduced Canada's very first national plan for climate change. Since then, we have made targeted investments to build a low-carbon economy. They include investments in energy efficiency for homes, schools, hospitals, universities, municipalities, indigenous communities, businesses, and much more. These projects help to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and the energy bills of Canadians.
Across Canada, we are helping communities build public transit, helping reduce pollution and congestion. We are also investing in renewables and in clean tech, and we are giving businesses incentives to find innovative ways to reduce their emissions. As the low-carbon economy grows, we're making sure to attract and create the jobs of the future here in Canada. We'll keep working to reduce emissions and to grow the economy.
As we prepare budget 2020, we'll take the ideas of Canadians and put them toward our work to build an economy that works for everyone, that keeps Canadians safe and healthy, that protects our environment and that moves Canada forward on the path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Thank you.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
This is obviously a question that is very important, not only for this committee but for Canadians. We are paying very close consideration to the economic impacts of the situation we're in, as we work to negotiate toward a peaceful conclusion.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
As you can appreciate, this is a fluid situation, and we are working together with industry and with Canadians to get ourselves to, as I've said, a negotiated situation. We're watching those impacts and trying to reduce them through discussions and ways that we can actually relieve the situation as we work through this negotiation.
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
As I think you might know, the impacts are significant on multiple fronts. They're impacting people individually, as well as individual businesses. As the situation is very fluid, it's something we're staying on top of, but we're unable to come to conclusions without—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
A coalition of business groups says that half a billion dollars of goods are not moving every day as a result of this blockade, but we want to know the real cost of your government's inaction and your unwillingness to enforce the rule of law and bring this illegal blockade to an end. So, if you could please send in writing to us the daily costs that our economy is absorbing as a result of your inaction on this issue, we'd really appreciate it.
I'll move on to the next issue of cost.
What would be the cost to all three levels of government of a decision by the federal government to kill the Teck Frontier mine in northern Alberta?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate the question.
The Teck Frontier decision is an important decision. It's obviously gone through a rigorous process, a process that's coming before cabinet in the near term. One of the things that we'll be considering is all of the information that's brought forward as we determine the right step forward for—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
How much revenue would governments lose if the project did not go forward?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
As I said, what we know to be important is that we consider the rigorous process, the information that comes to cabinet, so we can look at the right decision on this going forward, and we will do that. It's coming soon.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
So, you don't know the cost to the governments of killing the Teck Frontier mine. It is reported to be $70 billion that the governments—all three levels—will lose if your government kills this project.
You claim that your government has been negotiating with the first nations regarding the blockade. Since the blockade began, has your government met with any of the 20 first nations communities' elected councils that have approved and support the Coastal GasLink?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
The situation we find ourselves in is obviously one that's extremely challenging. We know that the path forward has to consider our objective, which is to get to a peaceful conclusion that allows our economy to function and respects all parties to the situation. So, we—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's remarks didn't even acknowledge the existence of the 20 first nations communities that have signed agreements to support the Coastal GasLink. It sounds to me as if their voices don't matter to this government. It really harkens back to a sort of colonialist mentality where the government just ignores people it disagrees with and only talks to those with whom it agrees.
Why hasn't your government engaged with those 20 first nations communities that desperately want this project to go ahead so they can lift themselves out of poverty and give hope to their young people? Why aren't you engaging with those first nations communities?
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