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Results: 1 - 15 of 29
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
2020-02-24 14:00 [p.1423]
Madam Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that has been giving more money to families since 2006.
Our government's monthly tax-free payments have lifted 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty. The Canada child benefit eases the financial pressure on families.
In Hochelaga, the organization Entre mamans et papas is a place where parents can develop positive plans for life and where they can enrich the quality of the parent and child relationship. The organization realized that following a birth, new parents wait impatiently for this important financial assistance.
In October 2019, more than 9,000 payments were made in Hochelaga and more than 15,000 children benefited from these payments.
Every child deserves an equal chance to succeed.
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2020-02-21 10:12 [p.1368]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my colleague opposite, because I love standing up to talk about the Canada child benefit.
As everybody in the House knows, the origins go way back to the baby bonus in the 1940s, following the Second World War. Again, the Progressive Conservative government in 1992 modernized that, but it was in 2015, when we got elected, that we changed it, made it non-taxable and made it available for more people. We reduced child poverty in Canada by an unbelievable margin.
Prior to that, the Harper government increased poverty and increased child poverty. Poverty was at an untenable rate in 2014. With this measure, my riding in particular has received over $97 million, back into the pockets of families to help their kids. That money is not earmarked for any one thing, like sports or the arts. It is for absolutely whatever families need. It is a fantastic program that people in my riding are incredibly appreciative of.
I thank the member for bringing up, because it is a fantastically successful program for everybody in Canada.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, that member has a lot of talent at floating delicately on the water when he is trying to make a point, but I think he is going to sink on this one.
The reality is this is a program, and of course there were other iterations of similar types of program, but the universal child care benefit was brought in by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was opposed by Liberals who said, “No, no. We should just give money to provinces and bureaucrats, and it should be a one-size-fits-all approach to child care.” Conservatives said, “No, we should give parents choice in child care. We should give them resources and let them decide.”
Then, it took a conversion on that topic before the Liberals could ever make it back to power. They realized that they would have to sell out to this Conservative principle that they did not really believe in to get back into power. They decided to rename it and take credit for it. They were going to tinker with some details, make it available to fewer people—
View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2020-02-18 15:05 [p.1163]
Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Kitchener Centre, the cost of living continues to increase for middle-class families. Families are asking that our government take more steps to make life affordable.
Can the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance please update the House on our government's plan to make life more affordable for middle-class Canadians?
View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mona Fortier Profile
2020-02-18 15:05 [p.1163]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kitchener Centre for his advocacy and hard work on behalf of his constituents.
In 2015, Canadians elected our government to strengthen the middle class. As our first order of business, we lowered taxes for middle-class families.
In 2019, we once again lowered taxes for 20 million Canadians by increasing the basic personal amount. Once fully rolled out, this measure will put $600 back in the pockets of the average middle-class family each year. These tax cuts are in addition to investments our government has been introducing, such as the Canada child benefit.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-01-27 11:36 [p.432]
Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging all my colleagues in the House of Commons and wishing them a happy new year.
This is my first chance to speak in this 43rd Parliament of Canada. I am very pleased to rise and speak to everyone, including all Canadians who are watching at home today.
Before I begin my comments on the Speech from the Throne, I want to say that I think it is a remarkable document. It encourages parliamentarians to work together, just as Canadians called for in the last election. They want us to work together for the well-being of all Canadians.
I want to thank my constituents in Hull—Aylmer. The riding of Hull—Aylmer is located just across the river from the House of Commons, in the Outaouais region of Quebec, where the Ottawa and the Gatineau Rivers meet. It is a special place. My constituents are proud of their historic city. They are well aware that, without Hull—Aylmer, there would be no Ottawa.
In the early 19th century, Philemon Wright arrived from the United States and settled in this region to develop the lumber industry. This contributed to the creation of what has become the national capital region and the location of our Parliament.
In fact, our region has been home to indigenous peoples for 8,000 years, well before the arrival of people from Europe or Africa. This is where indigenous peoples came to conduct trade, share stories and build a future together. This is why I think this is the right place for the Canadian Parliament. In our own way, we can work together to help Canadians.
I am very proud to speak in support of the throne speech, which addresses some very important topics and political perspectives vital to Canada's well-being, now and in the future. Front and centre is climate action. There is nothing more important. We must focus on climate action to ensure that we leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a better world. I am very proud that we have committed Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. Major national initiatives are required.
As member of Parliament for Hull—Aylmer, I will be hosting a new public forum, similar to the 24 I hosted during the previous Parliament. This time around, climate action will be the overarching theme of these public forums.
We are working with provincial and municipal representatives, key stakeholders like the Conseil régional sur l'environnement et le développement durable de l'Outaouais, and other individuals who work in this area. How can we better coordinate the efforts of individuals, businesses, key stakeholders and all levels of government? I hope that our region and my riding will achieve net-zero emissions well before 2050. This is very important and I will act accordingly.
I know that our government wants to work with all members and all parties to seriously tackle this issue. No action is too small, and we clearly have a duty to think of some big actions we can take to deal with this issue effectively. We are willing to collaborate with all members of the House to achieve this goal.
The throne speech covers not only broad existential issues like climate change, but also the issue of Canada itself. How do we strengthen the middle class and help those working so hard to join it? My colleague from Winnipeg North stressed the importance of the Canada child benefit. He has been involved in federal and provincial politics for 30 years, and I know his memory on this is excellent.
Back in 1988, I was a parliamentary page. I remember that, shortly after my year as a page, Parliament made a solemn pledge to end child poverty in Canada. That was in 1990, and the pledge was to do this within 10 years, by the year 2000. That was an initiative. It has been 30 years. For 25 of those 30 years, the poverty rate in Canada did not change. In 2015, however, our government launched an initiative for Canadians, the Canada child benefit. It was extraordinary. In just four short years, we reduced child poverty in Canada by a third and the overall poverty rate by a third as well. Now, over 300,000 young Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. If that is not one of an MP's most fundamental duties, I do not know what is. This is extraordinary.
I was a little disappointed that some people voted against this, but I hope all members of the House will continue to support this program. If we were able to accomplish that much in four years, I hope we will be able to keep up this work. That is the commitment we made.
Ensuring that we have a strong and durable economy is another thing that is very important in strengthening the middle class and those working hard to join it. We did that with the new NAFTA that we just signed and that the minister just tabled this morning. Once again, that is very important. Canada is not a huge country with a huge population, but we work hard. We are well aware that our prosperity depends fundamentally on building ties and international trade. That is what we just did with the new NAFTA, which will strengthen the jobs of millions of Canadians.
We did not stop there. In the last Parliament, with the help of many members of the House, we also signed a free trade agreement with Europe, a market of 500 million people. Once again, that is extraordinary. I could talk about reconciliation with indigenous peoples, which is very important to my riding. A large percentage of people in my riding are members of the Algonquin nation. I could also talk about the health and safety of Canadians.
In closing, I would simply like to tell all my colleagues that I think that this document is something that everyone can get behind. I hope I can count on the support of all my parliamentary colleagues to improve the lives of Canadians.
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2020-01-27 17:09 [p.517]
Madam Speaker, a few days ago I was on Twitter and uncharacteristically came across a story that warmed my heart. It was the story of a young third grade boy who came to Newfoundland as a refugee from Syria with his family. I learned that this young boy knew that some of his classmates played hockey and he wanted to play too, but there were a few barriers in his way. He did not know how to play, he did not have anyone to teach him and he did not have any equipment. However, he did know the most important lesson of hockey. Wayne Gretzky said it himself, “Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other and pulling in the same direction to be successful.” It sounds like another sport with which I am familiar.
After some of his classmates told their parents about this young boy who wanted to play hockey, that is exactly what the town did. Residents came together working toward the same goal, to help get him on the ice. The whole community got together to make sure that nothing got in the way of him playing hockey. Before anyone knew it, there was no shortage of hockey gear, people willing to coach him and after this viral tweet, fans from across Canada and the world.
This heartwarming story is a good reminder of two very important things.
The first is that being Canadian is about the kindness that we strive for every day, our commitment to making everyone feel welcome and respected and the things we can accomplish when we come together.
The second is the reminder that issues affecting Canadians do not exist in vacuums. Nor are they unrelated. Being able to participate in sports is not a question of desire or ambition. There are barriers in front of our youth who wish to participate.
For some, it is a question of affordability. For those living in rural areas with little or no public transportation, it can be a question of access. The barrier can also be an absence of spaces that are culturally appropriate for some Canadians.
Sport is not just play. Sport is health and mental health. Sport is peace and community building, it is personally empowering and a connection to our natural environment. Sport is educational, employs thousands of Canadians, drives our economy and helps define us as a nation. Sport has a place in every kid's life and a place in every portfolio in this government.
As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth as well as for Sport, this story emphasizes the intersection of my portfolios. For me, being raised by a single mother in co-op housing, I was very fortunate to have found the sport of kayaking. It quite literally changed my life. However, what if certain barriers had gotten in the way of that? What if the fees at the kayak club were just too high and made it impossible for my mother to pay? I took public transit to and from the canoe club every day. What if the town I grew up in did not have public transit? These barriers to participation are exactly the sorts of things I hope to be able to identify and dismantle in the coming years.
Given the opportunity that I have with this role, I am ready to listen, learn and find solutions so all Canadians can access sport, recreation and physical activity. This includes examining the barriers that women in leadership roles face inside and outside the sport industry, working on expanding Canada's anti-racism strategy and ensuring easier access to sports and community activities for newcomers to Canada.
One of the reasons I find the Speech from the Throne to be such an ambitious action plan for the government's vision for Canada is because it understands this very thing, that no issue exists in a vacuum. The government has put forward goals and targets that are well balanced, interconnected and complementary. No ministry is working alone, but rather, working as a team toward the same goal of a better future for all Canadians. It is incumbent on every member in the House to collaborate and work together to that end.
Next let us talk about the government's plan on climate change.
The implications of climate change are being reminded to us every day. The Australian wildfires have destroyed the natural habitats of almost 100 species. The polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. Youth are looking at us and demanding action. We must not ignore them.
Climate change is hurting the economy and when the economy suffers, it is the marginalized who suffer the most. This an urgent matter of public and global safety. Health concerns that we have never anticipated before are popping up worldwide because of bad air quality and toxins in our food.
Our government understands that climate change is a multi-faceted issue and we have set ambitious goals to meet the challenge. We are committing to protecting 25% of our land and 25% of our oceans by 2025. We are also committing to reduce plastic pollution to zero to help keep our oceans and lakes clean. Our government is launching a program to plant two billion trees, a program that will support 3,500 seasonal jobs, help conserve and restore our forests, as well as help cities expand and diversify their urban forests.
We have a responsibility to tackle climate change and we have put a plan together that gets us to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The government is setting targets that are not only ambitious, but achievable as well. We need to do a better job for all Canadians, but especially for the youth and the most vulnerable. The impacts of climate change disproportionately affect the most marginalized people in our society, such as indigenous, racialized and economically disadvantaged populations.
A big part of doing better means strengthening our middle class and helping more Canadians join it. Working toward a poverty-free Canada is a priority that this government has taken on, and as a co-op kid myself, it is one I feel very strongly about.
During its last mandate, this government made historic gains in lifting families and children over the poverty line, and the Speech from the Throne only reaffirms this commitment to do more.
The government will continue its vital investments in affordable housing, exactly the sort of housing I grew up in with my family. Without access to safe and affordable housing, my mother would have had to choose between paying rent and buying healthy groceries or enrolling my brother and I in sports and after-school activities. Building affordable housing gives Canadians across the country the opportunity to succeed, and co-ops should be included in that plan. Our goal as a government is not just to help our citizens get by; our goal is to help them thrive.
With initiatives like the Canada child benefit, the government has made life easier for parents and families trying to get ahead. In my own riding of Milton, in a typical month the government gave an average of $550 to 15,000 families from 2016 to 2018. I have heard that Milton is the youngest riding in Canada with the most kids, so it is possible it will receive the most, but in the last four years that is an average of $180 million. It is historic.
This opens countless doors for so many families and their children. To a family just getting by, $500 makes a huge difference. It means that one parent might not have to give up his or her career or perhaps can stay in college because the family can now afford child care. The Canada child benefit makes this possible.
Studies show that growing up in poverty hurts children very early on and the effects of poverty will follow them into adulthood. No child should have to face food insecurity. No child should think that access to adequate and culturally appropriate health care is a privilege. In the Speech from the Throne, the government makes it clear that it is taking the steps to ensure these facts become realities in Canada.
The government is aware of the challenges that many Canadians are currently facing in accessing quality health care. All Canadians, regardless of where they live, should be able to access a primary care family doctor.
When we talk about the intersection of issues, mental health is one that is so deeply intertwined with every aspect of our lives. With Bell Let's Talk Day coming up this Wednesday, we need to celebrate all the work that has been done to decrease the stigma around mental health. However, a lot of work still remains and cannot slow down now.
We need to ensure that workplaces across Canada have mental health standards in place. People who want to access mental health services should not have to wait months on end before they get the help they need. These are exactly the sorts of problems our government will tackle, by working to introduce relevant workplace mental health standards and ensuring Canadians can access services when they need them.
We are living in an uncertain time. Many Canadians across the nation are worried about their future. We acknowledge those valid anxieties Canadians might have and we promise to work tirelessly toward a safer Canada.
This government has already taken historic action against gun crime and organized gang activity. We must not wait until the next tragedy to ban military-style assault rifles, a top priority for this government. It will also work with municipalities to empower those that want to ban handguns. We need to take actions that keep Canadians safe. We must also do what is possible to help the rest of the world become a safer place as well.
I now want to take a few moments to talk about the events of the past few weeks. Our country is still mourning the death of the people we lost on Flight PS752. This devastating national tragedy is heavy on the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Over the past few weeks, I have seen communities come together to support the families and friends of the victims through this most difficult time. I attended a vigil in Oakville with my colleagues and neighbours to light a candle and remember, and it was a sad but important moment.
Tragedies like this one should never happen again. Our responsibility extends beyond our borders to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. The government's commitments to providing international development aid and assistance, such as investing in education and gender equality, will create pathways to opportunities, better futures for people worldwide and a more peaceful world. Together, with the help of our allies, we will work together to champion human rights and achieve peace in areas affected by war, poverty and disease.
As we look toward the future, we must ask ourselves what our vision is for Canada. I want to go back to the story of the young boy in Newfoundland who I talked about at the beginning of this response. As a rookie MP, I often find myself asking two questions.
The first one is, “Who am I here to represent?” The answer to that question is easy; it is the people of Milton. As long as the people in the riding of Milton elect me to be their representative, I will be a fierce advocate for them in Ottawa.
The second question is, “Why am I here?” This one is a little trickier, but the story of this young boy made me realize that at the heart of it what we are here to do is work toward a Canada where every young boy and girl, and every Canadian for that matter, can succeed no matter where they come from. When I look at the vision of our government and the goals we have been set, I see us working toward this Canada together.
As I have said throughout my campaign and throughout my time here, I believe there are good ideas on the right and there are good ideas on the left, and we are much stronger when we work together as team Canada.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-01-27 18:07 [p.526]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's well-thought-out comments. We hear a great deal about the fact that virtually from day one this government has given very special attention to Canada's middle class. We have seen tax breaks. In 2015, the first legislation introduced dealt with tax breaks. Additional tax breaks are going to be coming up in this budget. We have seen the enhancement of social programs, such as the Canada child benefit and so forth.
Could the member reflect on the importance of the middle class and give us his thoughts on that from his constituency perspective?
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2020-01-27 18:08 [p.526]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague hits on something that is really important for me. I grew up in what could be best described as a working class family. My father was a truck driver. My mom was an administrative assistant at the local school. There were times when I was younger when we would go to the grocery store and if my father had made a purchase that day and had not told my mother, there was not enough money to pay for the groceries.
When I look at my ideology and why I sit on this side of the chamber, in 2015 we were a government that was focused on supporting middle income people who needed help the most.
In Kings—Hants, many people talk about the Canada child benefit, but one mother in particular in a small community in Canning was moved to tears by the Canada child benefit. It meant she could pay for groceries for her two young girls and ensure they had opportunities to be involved in recreation. That has been the mandate of this government and it will continue to be. I am proud to be part of it.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak to the Speech from the Throne, the roadmap that will be guiding the government.
However, first, as I am rising for the first time in our 43rd Parliament, I would like to take a moment to thank my constituents of Pickering—Uxbridge for re-electing me as their member of Parliament. I am incredibly honoured to be here, and I will continue to work hard to make my community and this country a better place to live. I would also like to thank the countless volunteers who helped with my campaign. Their strong desire and ambition to improve our beautiful country was inspiring, and it is something I will remember and carry with me throughout my time here.
No campaign can be done without family, so I want to highlight in particular my mother Doreen, who has been by my side knocking on doors since my first election in 2006. It is with her help that I am here today, and I am forever grateful.
During these past months, I had the pleasure of meeting constituents across my riding to hear about the issues that mattered most to them. Thanks to their support, I am here today to speak about our government's priorities and how we will deliver for them.
The concern I heard the most while knocking on doors was clearly climate change. From children to seniors, students to parents, the current state and future of our environment is of grave concern. Natural disasters are on the rise, the earth is warming and animals are becoming endangered. The days of inaction are over. I am glad to see in the Speech from the Throne that our government has concrete, tangible goals to combat climate change.
What I am most proud to see, though, is that our government's strong plan to fight climate change does so in a manner that also grows the economy and improves affordability for Canadians.
We are currently at a point in time where Canada has the opportunity to become a leader in the low-carbon economy and to spur green economic growth at home and help develop it abroad, making a difference not only here in our country but also around the world.
This past September, during the climate action strike that took place in Uxbridge, I heard calls from members of my community to reduce greenhouse emissions and plastic pollution. These are two main contributors to climate change and need to be addressed in a smart and efficient manner.
At the climate action strike, I was proud to share that in the previous Parliament our government put a price on pollution. Through this effective pricing mechanism, we are reducing greenhouse emissions and encouraging innovation, overall creating an environment that is cleaner and healthier and an economy that is more diverse and robust.
This measure also puts more money in the pockets of Canadians through the climate action incentive by holding the large emitters accountable for their pollution. It is estimated that a family of four in Ontario is receiving $307 a year as a result of this rebate, which is more than the average family of that size is paying. As a result, the price mechanism and rebate are encouraging Canadians and businesses to make decisions that reduce their carbon footprint, such as investing in greener infrastructure and technologies.
Over the coming term I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen our price inclusion plan, a measure that one of the 2018 winners of the Nobel Prize for economics wrote about and continues to support, as it leads to economic growth.
My community was also glad to hear that we plan on taking action to further reduce plastic pollution. Single-use plastics are currently being found in overwhelming amounts in our landfills, shorelines and oceans, threatening the health of our wildlife and environment. I plan to work hard with our government to further strengthen our legislation to reduce plastic pollution and support the industries that are finding innovative solutions to address this issue.
The Speech from the Throne also set out a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. This ambitious but necessary target will see our government implementing measures that help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient and therefore more cost effective. It will help Canada to be the best place to start and grow clean-tech companies.
Climate change may be our generation's greatest challenge, but it can also be our economy's greatest opportunity. I am proud to see our government acknowledging and embracing the situation. By continuing to invest in Canadians, our country will become a leader and innovator in the low-carbon industry.
Over the past four years, we have seen an incredible amount of growth in our economy. In 2019 alone, we saw the lowest unemployment rate on record, and since the Liberals took office, over one million jobs have been created. It is because of our smart investments and meaningful legislation that more Canadians are working, businesses are growing and our economy is diversifying.
In the last Parliament, our government introduced the Canada child benefit. This generous, tax-free benefit is giving more money to the families who need it most and has been credited with lifting almost 300,000 children out of poverty.
During my time back home, I heard the stories and saw the real success of these developments in my community. For example, families in Pickering—Uxbridge have been receiving payments of $550 on average every month, which is benefiting 10,180 families and 17,820 children. Thanks to this tax-free benefit, families are able to put this money toward the things they need most, from nutritional food, to winter clothing, to paying bills, to enrolling in extracurricular activities. Putting money directly in the hands of parents allows them to use it in ways that better suit their needs.
However, I know there is still more work for us to do, and I am proud that this government is continuing to support Canadians in all walks of life. By further strengthening the Canada child benefit, our government will continue to support Canadian families by helping them worry less about finances and focus more on spending valuable time together.
The rising cost of living is a major concern for the residents of Pickering—Uxbridge, and I am proud to share with them that in our first week back, we tabled legislation to amend the Income Tax Act to lower taxes for the middle class while ensuring that the wealthiest Canadians do not benefit. Once this is fully rolled out, nearly 20 million Canadians will benefit, saving a single person close to $300 a year in taxes and a couple or family close to $600. This tax cut would help Canadians put more money toward groceries, schooling or retirement.
I am also aware that there is a strong need for affordable housing in the Durham region. During the last Parliament, the region saw a great investment, with over $78.6 million in funding, which is being put toward building and repairing 2,535 units. Even with this investment, there continues to be a strong demand for affordable housing.
The Speech from the Throne states that the government plans to continue its critical investments in affordable housing. Ensuring Canadians have a safe and secure place to call home is how we help Canadians realize their full potential, and when that happens, we all benefit. The value of having a home is far greater than just financial. These are the kinds of measures and investments that will truly make a difference in my community, and they will help grow our middle class and help hard-working Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money.
Actions speak louder than words, and our government has clearly demonstrated its commitment to Canadians, as this speech outlines a plan that addresses their concerns and will make our country a better place to call home. By addressing climate change and investing in Canadians, we are innovating, driving the economy, creating jobs and improving our environment for future generations. This is a win-win solution and a direction I am glad to see our government continuing to take.
I was re-elected to be the member of Parliament for Pickering—Uxbridge because my constituents know I will continue to voice the changes we would like to see in our country and communities. I am proud that the Speech from the Throne has laid out an ambitious plan for our government and it is one that I am proud to support. It will bring about meaningful change not only for our generation but for generations to come.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to take part in the reply to the Speech from the Throne. Before I do so, I want to congratulate you on your election. You will make a very honourable Speaker.
I want to express my appreciation to the people of Scarborough—Guildwood who have returned me to this chamber for the eighth time. When I started in 1997, I did not anticipate that I would be here for eight successive elections, but it has been an interesting journey for the last 22 years. The other very encouraging thing is that the percentage of the vote went up to the highest level that I have achieved in eight years.
As we know, elections are strange enterprises at times, with a lot of non-substantive things and occasionally some substantive things. I do not want to dwell on the non-substantive things. Today I want to take the opportunity to reflect on what I consider to be the most substantive issue that affected Scarborough—Guildwood during this election, and that is the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit is, in my judgment, the signature initiative of this Prime Minister. Once he leaves and history is written about these parliaments, that will be one of the things that historians comment on, namely, the significance of the Canada child benefit and its significance to all people in Canada, but particularly low-income people.
The Canada child benefit is a very large initiative. If we go to table A2.6 in the 2019 budget, at page 289, in the top lines we will see the amount of money that is returned to Canadians, that is sent to Canadians as a benefit. There are revenues from taxes that come in and then the first set of lines indicate the benefit amounts that go back to Canadians. The first line in that set of lines shows that $56 billion will go to elderly benefits, the second line shows that about $20 billion will be returned to Canadians in the form of employment insurance and the third line shows that $24 billion will go to the Canada child benefit. That is the second most significant benefit that goes directly to Canadians from their federal government.
It is reasonable to ask ourselves whether we are, in effect, getting value for money. This is of particular interest to me as the member of Parliament for the riding of Scarborough—Guildwood. When we break that $24 billion down, what does that mean to the riding of Scarborough—Guildwood? What that means is that, each and every year, $100 million goes into my riding of Scarborough—Guildwood. That is a significant sum of money for a riding that has about 115,000 to 120,000 people in it. Centennial College would contribute to the riding with a somewhat similar amount of money, I should imagine, or more. The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus would contribute a similar and significant amount of money. The Scarborough hospitals have huge budgets. Toyota contributes a huge amount of money to the riding. I am sure there are other industries that contribute significant amounts of money to the riding.
This is the order of magnitude of the amount of money that comes into Scarborough—Guildwood, and it is even more significant for its people because Scarborough—Guildwood in the last four years had the greatest reduction in child poverty in the country. There was a 25% reduction in child poverty in Scarborough—Guildwood in the last four years, the number one riding in all of the country.
Why would that be? I can think of at least two reasons. One is improved employment opportunities. At the beginning of 2015 the unemployment rate nationally was around 7.1%. Generally speaking, Scarborough—Guildwood is at a higher rate than the national rate. By the election in 2019, the rate was about 5.7%, again with Scarborough—Guildwood slightly above that. Increased benefits and increased employment opportunities would account for some significant elements of that 25% reduction in child poverty.
The second thing has to be the Canada child benefit, because it acts as a guaranteed minimum income for families. I think it will turn out to be a historic initiative, but it will also turn out to be a test case as to whether this is the best way to alleviate poverty and reduce the growing inequality between people who do very well in our society and those who struggle.
Those are the two reasons that I think Scarborough—Guildwood had such a significant reduction in child poverty. We have to ask why that would have such an economic impact on the people of Scarborough—Guildwood, and the most obvious and intuitive reason is that people in the lower-income quintiles actually spend their money on necessities. It is intuitive and it does seem to make sense, but I am very grateful to the people at the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis who put together a paper called “Economic Contribution of the Canada Child Benefit: A Basic Income Guarantee for Canadian Families with Children”. They started to put data, flesh to that intuition, the intuition being that poorer people will spend money on food, shelter and core necessities. Indeed, that is exactly what the data does show.
The number one expenditure of the people who receive the Canada child benefit is increases to their shelter. The second, and this is counterintuitive, is on tax and I will come back to that shortly. The third is transportation, the fourth is food and the fifth is household operations. Four out of the five elements fall within one's sense of intuition, which is that lower-income folks will spend their money on things that they actually need. That seems to be borne out by the data.
The other interesting component of the data is that the benefit decreases as income increases. In the upper echelons of the quintiles that have a higher income, the money starts to get diverted to other things such as savings, investments and various other things, all of which we argue are good things.
However, there is an argument to be made that it is somewhat dead money. The lower-income quintiles spend the money on food and shelter, which goes directly and immediately into the economy, while the upper quintiles spend some on things like investments, etc., which is money that is set aside properly, but nevertheless is money not spent immediately and therefore has no significant immediate economic impact.
The interesting argument is this: if the federal government is a steward of taxpayer dollars, then what is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars in order to stimulate the economy? What the data starts to show on the Canada child benefit is that it is benefit money going directly into the hands of Canadians. Whether it is through elderly benefits, employment benefits or child benefits, that is the money that gives the greatest stimulus, as opposed to tax cuts.
The data really starts to jump out at us. However, I want to deal with one thing before we get into further discussions about the benefits of the stimulative effect of a benefit as opposed to the stimulative benefit of a tax cut, which is that $24 billion is a lot of money. It is actually greater than our National Defence budget; $24 billion is actually greater than almost all other departments.
It is reasonable to ask what $24 billion actually costs. As it turns out, $24 billion does not cost $24 billion, because $13 billion comes back in taxes. For the federal government's $24 billion, $13 billion comes back in taxes to both the provinces and the federal government. Of that $13 billion, $7 billion comes back to the federal government and $6 billion comes back to the provinces. The federal government has a $24-billion investment that really only costs the federal government $17 billion. The provinces have no investment in the Canada child benefit and yet reap a $6-billion benefit. It works rather well for the provinces.
What does $24 billion get us in terms of economic stimulus? It gets us roughly the GDP of the province of Nova Scotia in terms of economic stimulus, or around $46 billion in direct and indirect economic stimulus that is inputted through this investment of $24 billion. That $24 billion provides stimulus that is roughly equal to 0.5% of the nation's GDP annually. Since the inception of the program, it has contributed $139 billion to the nation's GDP.
All sectors of the economy benefit. It is intuitive, but makes a lot of sense that the number one beneficiary is housing. People who receive the Canada child benefit spend their money on housing.
The second is manufacturing. People with kids who receive the money spend it on clothing, shoes, bicycles and other things that need to be manufactured.
The third economic sector that benefits the most is construction.
Every year, this $24 billion in direct and indirect stimulus creates 418,000 full-time jobs and about 70,000 part-time jobs. That is a lot of jobs: 1.4 million jobs since its inception. Those are merely the benefits and the stimuli that can be measured.
There are, of course, a great number of benefits to the Canada child benefit that cannot be measured, that do not fit nicely within the economists' metric. It is intuitive. If a child goes to school properly clothed and with a full stomach, the greater likelihood is that the child will learn a lot better. Similarly, children who are properly clothed and well fed will not have as many negative health issues.
Therefore, the indirect benefits that are not measurable, which I am perfectly prepared to concede, but intuitively make a great deal of sense are huge to families and people with children.
The benefits of the Canada child benefit on the health system are not measurable, but make a great deal of sense. The benefit reduces financial stress. The multiplier is enormous. A healthier child is a more productive child. A better-educated child is ultimately a more productive citizen.
Admittedly, this initiative costs a great deal of money, but it makes economic sense, which I hope I have made some case for from an economic standpoint, health sense and education sense. There is an argument to be made that this is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars.
Let me finish with a comment from one of my favourite Conservatives, and I do not have many favourite Conservatives. I know they are a little upset, but I would recommend they talk to former Canadian senator Hugh Segal, who said, “we don't want 3.5 million...Canadians to be left behind. That's not who we are... It is in our interest to have an economy where liquidity and financial capacity is available to all.”
I submit that my Conservative colleagues should review Mr. Segal's views on this matter. He and his other colleague, former Senator Eggleton, conducted a massive study into Canadian poverty when they were both senators. One of their most significant recommendations was that there be a Canada child benefit and that it act as a minimum income guarantee for all families in Canada.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that Mr. Trudeau will be the one who actually goes down in the books of history for the child tax benefit. I know I have children, and I was very grateful to benefit from the child tax credit.
I am curious to know if the member truly thinks the Prime Minister will go into the books of history for this.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, elections have a lot of non-substantive issues and some substantive issues. I rather hoped we could stay on the substantive issues.
After all is said and done, historians will record that the Prime Minister consolidated all the benefits that accrued to families and to children, wrapped them into one very significant program, and that significant program has alleviated massive amounts of child poverty across the country. Most significantly, the number one riding in Canada for the reduction of child poverty is Scarborough—Guildwood. For Scarborough—Guildwood, the Prime Minister will be, presently and historically, remembered as having initiated a very significant program.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2019-12-13 10:31 [p.388]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my hon. colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood. He spent much of his time talking about the cost-benefit ratio of the Canada child benefit. Near the end of his speech, he said that the costs were low relative to the benefits society will certainly derive. The second part of his speech is very important. When poverty is reduced, people have more opportunities. That is not rhetoric; this is very serious. For our young people to have a good future, it is critical that they not grow up in poverty.
I would like to hear my colleague comment on the importance of a program like the Canada child benefit in his riding.
What effect will it have on the future of young people?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his appointment yesterday. I know him as a very able member of Parliament and he will be a very able parliamentary secretary as well.
With respect to the speech, I made a conscious decision to try to talk only about the measurable benefits of the Canada child benefits. Frankly, it is an economic argument for the benefit. I did not dwell on the intangible, non-measurable benefits. The health benefits, the education benefits, the social benefits and the opportunity benefits, all of which, in my judgment, are largely intuitive, are not necessarily measurable, but they are as important as, if not more important than, the actual economic benefits generated.
A child with a full stomach and a decent set of clothes and shoes is a child who is healthy and who will be better educated. That just makes perfectly good sense. You are absolutely right to say that the indirect, non-measurable benefits are as important as, if not more important than, the measurable benefits about which economists would talk.
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