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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 16:41 [p.24051]
Madam Speaker, it is a bit unfortunate to notice that the parliamentary secretary cannot spontaneously speak without any notes about their supposedly great budget engagement.
I went out for a few seconds and I am sure I missed the point where the member said when his government would balance the budget. I am sure I missed that. The Liberals seem to want to be a responsible government, so I am sure I missed that point.
Could the member just repeat to me in which year the government will balance the budget?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 16:46 [p.24052]
Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to something the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said. She said the government always has iconic and historical engagement announcements. I have come to think that it is all the government is about. It is always historical, amazing, so great, but we have never in Canadian history seen a government spend so much money to do so little.
I am very happy to speak today in the House of Commons on behalf of the citizens of Beauport—Limoilou.
Centre Block will soon be closing for complete renovations for 10 or 15 years. I wanted to mention that. There is no cause for concern, however, because we will be moving to West Block. I will therefore be able to continue to speak on behalf of my constituents.
Today I am discussing Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
I will focus on the fact that the members of the Conservative Party are extremely disappointed with the bill. We have witnessed a string of broken promises over the past three years. It is a little ironic that the hon. member for Papineau, the current head of the Liberal government, said during the election campaign that he wanted to do something to make people less cynical of politics, to help them have more confidence in politicians, in the ability of the executive branch, the legislative branch and members of Parliament to do things that are good for Canadians and especially to respect the major promises formally made during the campaign.
A group of researchers at Laval University have created what they call the Vote Compass. It shows the number of promises kept and broken by the provincial and federal governments.
I remember that, to their chagrin, a few months before the 2015 election, the research institute had to acknowledge that 97% of all promises made by Mr. Harper during the 2011 election campaign had been kept.
The Liberal government elected in 2015 broke three major promises and is continuing to break them in the 2018 budget. These were not trifling promises. They were major promises that were to set the guidelines for how the government was to behave and for the results Canadians would see.
The Canadians we talk to are familiar with the three major promises, since I often repeat them. I have to, because this is serious.
The Liberals promised to limit themselves to minor $10-billion deficits in the first two years and a $6-billion deficit in the third year.
What did they do? The first year, they posted a deficit of $30 billion. The second year, they posted a deficit of $20 billion. This year, the deficit is $18 billion, or three times what was announced.
That is the first broken promise, and it was not just some promise that was jotted down on the back of a napkin. In any case, I hope not. In fact, I remember quite well that the promise was made from a crane in the midst of the election campaign. The member for Papineau was in Toronto, standing on a crane when he said that he would run deficits to pay for infrastructure. That is the second broken promise. He said that the $10 billion a year in deficits would be used to inject more money into infrastructure. However, of the $60 billion in deficits this government has racked up to date, only $9 billion has gone to infrastructure. That is another problem, another broken promise.
That is why I was saying earlier that we have rarely seen, in the history of Canada, a government spend so much money for so few results. This is probably the first time we have seen this sort of thing.
I will give an example. He said that he would invest $10 billion in infrastructure in 2017, but he invested only $3 billion and yet racked up a deficit of $20 billion. Where did the other $17 billion go? It was used for all sorts of different things in order to satisfy very specific interest groups who take great pleasure in and boast ad nauseam about the Liberal ideology.
The third broken promise is an extremely important and strategic one. In fact, it was so obvious that we did not even really think of it as a promise before.
All Canadian governments, in a totally responsible manner and without questioning it, traditionally endorsed this practice. If there was a deficit, the document would indicate the date by which the budget would be balanced. There was a repayment date, just as there is for anyone in Canada. When the families of Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are watching today, want to buy a car or appliance, such as a washer or dryer, not only does the seller ask them to get a bank loan, but he also asks them to sign a paper that indicates when the debt will be repaid in full.
Thus, it is quite normal to indicate when the budget will be balanced. We have been asking that question for three years, but what is even more interesting is that the Liberals had promised that the budget would be balanced in 2019, and now there are 45 days remaining in 2018. Telling us when the budget will be balanced is the least the Liberals could do.
There are consequences to running up large deficits, however. The Liberal government has been accumulating gigantic deficits at a time when the global economy is doing rather well, although forecasts indicate that we will enter a recession in the next 12 months. Although times are tough in Alberta and Ontario, where General Motors just closed a plant, the situation is positive. There are regions in Canada that are suffering tremendously, but the global economic context is nevertheless healthy. Knock on wood, which is everywhere in the House of Commons.
The first serious mistake is to run up deficits when times are good. When the global economy is doing well and our financial institutions are making money, we have to put money aside for an emergency fund and an assistance fund, especially for the employees of General Motors who lost their jobs and for all families in the riding of my Alberta colleague who have lost their jobs in the oil sector.
We have to have an emergency fund for the next economic crisis because that is how our capitalist system works. There are ups and downs. That is human nature. It is random. Agreements are signed, things are done, progress is made, and there are ups and downs. The current positive situation has been going on for five or six years now, so we need to be prepared. That is why growing the deficit during good economic times can have very serious consequences.
I would like to talk about another serious consequence, and I am sure this will strike a chord with the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us now. Does anyone know how many billions of dollars the government spends on federal health transfers? It is $33 billion per year. To service the debt, to pay back people around the world who lend us money, we spent $37 billion last year. We spent $4 billion more on servicing our debt than on health transfers.
An hon. member: That is shameful.
Mr. Alupa Clarke: Yes, Madam Speaker, it is shameful. It sure looks like bad management of public affairs. It makes no sense, and I am sure Canadians agree. I am sure they are sick and tired of hearing us talk about $10-billion, $20-billion, $30-billion deficits and so on.
Canada's total debt is now $670 billion. My fellow Canadians, that means that, at this point in time, your family owes $47,000. That is a debt you will have to pay.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage was very proud to announce that the government was giving nearly $6,000 a year per child, through the Canada child benefit, to people earning less than $45,000 a year. They are not giving money away, however; they are buying votes, which is unfortunate, since the very children this money is helping will end up having to pay it back. This is completely unacceptable on the part of the government.
I am proud to be part of a former Conservative government that was responsible, that granted benefits without running deficits and that also managed to balance the budget.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 16:59 [p.24053]
Madam Speaker, I will respond to that, because the Conservatives do not hide and we are not afraid of the truth.
The fact is that the MP for Papineau, the Liberals' leader, the Prime Minister presently, said during the last campaign that never in the world would he present an omnibus bill. There was no nuance. It was, “no omnibus bill, ever”. The fact is that it is the biggest omnibus bill we have ever seen in this Parliament. It is bigger than an elephant. Seriously, it is huge. It is over 800 pages.
The blunt fact is that we were not ashamed of putting forward omnibus bills, because Canadians wanted the House to be efficient. Canadians wanted the House to go forward to make changes when necessary. Sometimes, when we had to debate every article, it did not go fast enough for the quickly changing pace of the world and all the needs of the Canadian people.
Right now the member is trying to engage with people to try to hide the fact that the Liberals are doing omnibus bills. They are ashamed of it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 17:01 [p.24054]
Madam Speaker, I personally believe we should ensure that workers pensions are protected when a company files for bankruptcy.
As a society, we cannot tell workers who have worked for 30 or 40 years and who were counting on a pension that, all of a sudden, for purely capitalist reasons, their pension will be slashed.
There are people in my riding who suffered a great deal when White Birch Paper almost went under. There were unbelievable cuts to employees’ pensions. The only comfort I could find when I met with the people on the board of White Birch Paper, which employed 400 people, was when they told me that their pensions had been cut as well.
The NDP is working hard on this. Good for them, because it is an important issue.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 17:16 [p.24056]
Madam Speaker, I am sure that the member must have skipped one of the paragraphs in his speech where he was intending to announce when the government would balance the budget. That has always been the case in Canada's history. Maybe he could check his speech once more. All of my constituents are calling non-stop every single day about when the budget will be balanced.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-26 10:49 [p.22876]
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise to speak in the House.
I would like to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us now on CPAC or watching a rebroadcast on Facebook or Twitter.
Without further delay, I would like to address the previous speaker's comments. I find it interesting that he said their objective was to prevent foreign influence from third parties.
The bill will pass, since the Liberals have a majority. However, one problem I have with the bill is that it will allow more than 1.5 million Canadians who have been living outside of Canada for more than five years to vote in general elections, even if they have been outside Canada for 10 or 15 years.
These people have a privilege that even Canadians who have never left the country do not even have. The Liberals will let them randomly choose which riding they want to vote in. This is a massive privilege.
If I were living in the United States for 10 years and saw that the vote was really close in a certain riding, thanks to the new amendments made to the bill, I could decide to vote for the Liberal Party in order to ensure that a Liberal member gets elected. That seems like a very dangerous measure to me. It will give a lot of power to people who have been living abroad for a very long time. That still does not make them foreigners, since they are Canadian citizens.
For those watching us, I want to note that we are talking about Bill C-76 to modernize the Canada Elections Act.
This is an extremely important issue because it is the Canada Elections Act that sets the guidelines for our elections in our democracy. These elections determine the party that will form the next government of Canada.
I am sure that the people of Beauport—Limoilou watching us right now can hardly believe the Liberal government when it says that it wants to improve democracy or Canada's electoral system or allow a lot of people to exercise their right to vote. The Liberals' record on different elements of democracy has been deplorable the past three years.
Two years ago when the House was debating the issue, I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The Liberals introduced a parliamentary reform that included some rather surprising elements. They wanted to weaken the opposition, thereby weakening roughly 10 million Canadians who voted for the opposition parties, including the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party.
They wanted to cut speaking times in the House, which is completely ridiculous. I have said it many times before and I will say it again. An MP currently has the right to speak for 20 minutes. Most of the time, each MP speaks for 10 minutes. Through the reform, the Liberals wanted to cut speaking times from 20 minutes to 10 minutes at all times. The 20-minute speaking slot would no longer exist.
I have a book at home that I love called The Confederation Debates. It features speeches by Papineau, Doyon, George-Étienne Cartier, John A. MacDonald, Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, among many others that I could name. These great MPs would speak for four, five, six, seven or eight hours without stopping, long into the night.
With their parliamentary reforms, the Liberals wanted to reduce MPs' speaking time to 10 minutes. They wanted to take away our right to speak for 20 minutes. All this was intended to minimize the opposition's speaking time, to stifle debate on various issues.
What they did yesterday was even worse. It was a clear-cut example of their attitude towards parliamentary democracy. They imposed time allocation. In layman's terms, they placed a gag order on a debate on the modernization of the Canada Elections Act. No example could more blatantly demonstrate their ultimate intent, which is to ram the bill through as fast as possible. It is really a shame. They want to ram this down our throats.
There is also what they did in 2015 and 2016 with their practice of cash for access.
When big-time lobbyists want to meet with a minister or the Prime Minister to discuss an issue, they just have to register and pay $1,500, or $1,575 now, for the opportunity to influence them.
These are not get-togethers with ordinary constituents. These are get-togethers arranged for the express purpose of giving prominent lobbyists access to top government officials and enabling them to influence decisions.
Here is a great example. The Minister of Finance attended a get-together with Port of Halifax officials and people closely connected to the Port of Halifax. No other Liberal Party MP was there. That is a blatant conflict of interest and cash for access.
If Canadians have a hard time trusting the Liberals when they say they introduced this bill because they want to enfranchise people or improve democracy and civic engagement, it is also because of all of the promises the Liberals have broken since their election in 2015.
Elections and electoral platforms form the foundations of Canadian democracy. Each party's political platform contains election promises. Personally, I prefer to call them commitments. The Liberals made some big promises. They said they would run small $10-billion deficits for the first two years and then reduce the deficits. Year after year, however, as they are in their third year of a four-year mandate, they have been running deficits that are much worse: $30 billion, $20 billion and, this year, $19 billion, although their plan projected a $6-billion deficit.
They broke that promise, but worse still, they broke their promise to return to a balanced budget. As my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent has put it so well often enough, this is the first time we are seeing structural deficits outside wartime or a major recession. What is worse, this is the first time a government has had no plan to return to a balanced budget. It defies reason. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, an institution created by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, said again recently that it is unbelievable to see a government not taking affairs of the state more seriously.
Meanwhile, with respect to infrastructure, the Liberals said they were introducing the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history—everything is always historic with them—worth $187 billion. What is the total amount spent to date? They have spent, at most, $7 billion on a few projects here and there, although this was supposed to be a pan-Canadian, structured and large-scale program.
The Liberals also broke their promise to reform the electoral system. They wanted a preferential balloting system because, according to analyses, surveys and their strategists, it would have benefited them. I did not support that promise, but it is probably why so many Canadians voted for the Liberals.
There is then a string of broken promises, but electoral reform was a fundamental promise and the Liberals reneged on it. It would have made changes to the Election Act and to how Canadians choose their government. That clearly shows once again that Canadians cannot trust the Liberals when they say they will reform the Election Act in order to strengthen democracy in Canada.
Let us now get back to the matter at hand, Bill C-76, which makes major fundamental changes that I find deplorable.
First, Bill C-76 would allow the Chief Electoral Officer to authorize the use of the voter information card as a piece of identification for voting. As one of my Conservative colleagues said recently, whether we like it or not, voter cards show up all over, even in recycling boxes. Sometimes voter cards are found sticking out of community mailboxes.
There are all kinds of ways that an individual can get hold of a voter card and go to the polling station with it. It is not that difficult. This Liberal bill enables that individual to vote, although there is no way of knowing if they are that person, unless they are asked to provide identification—and that is not even the biggest problem.
It does not happen often, thank goodness, but when I go to the CHUL in Quebec City—which is the hospital where I am registered—not only do I have to provide the doctor's requisition for blood work, but I also have to show a piece of ID and my hospital card.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-26 12:09 [p.22891]
I believe you, of course, Madam Speaker.
That is completely ridiculous in the current context. My colleague is talking about something that happened a number of years ago. However, in the current context, there are practically no bills. The government's legislative agenda is practically non-existent. What is it introducing right now?
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership has been signed. We are waiting for the USMCA to be examined here in the House so that it can be ratified. We voted only once this week. We are beginning to wonder what we are doing here. The Liberal government is not introducing any meaningful legislation. This week, we had the opportunity to debate an extremely important bill, and the government imposed a gag order on us. Looking at the government's legislative agenda, it seems that we should have been able to take as much time as we needed to discuss that bill.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-26 12:11 [p.22891]
Madam Speaker, our critic for democratic institutions and other Conservative colleagues on the committee presented and tabled 200 possible amendments to the bill. These amendments would not only have strengthened the bill but possibly also given the Conservatives the privilege and honour of voting for the bill.
Concerning the citizens' voting cards, one million cards sent to citizens in the last election contained erroneous information. Also, as an Ipsos Reid poll indicates, 87% of Canadians do not see why it is a problem for them to be required to have another identification card when they present themselves at the polling booths.
It is at the basis of democracy that we make sure that the right person is on the card when someone goes to the polls to vote to choose the next government.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-06-13 21:56 [p.20885]
Mr. Speaker, seriously, it is almost embarrassing to have to follow my colleague from Huron—Bruce, who listed many athletes of Latin American heritage living in Canada and North America who have accomplished amazing things in baseball, football, hockey, and soccer. I loved his fantastic presentation and his fine speech.
As usual, I would like to begin by saying hello to all my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are listening this evening, I am sure.
I am very proud to participate in this debate on Bill S-218, which was introduced in the other place by our valiant and very honourable colleague, Senator Enverga, who sadly passed away over a year ago. God rest his soul. Our colleague from Thornhill is now sponsoring this bill in the House of Commons.
The Liberals are not participating in tonight's debate, which is unfortunate. As a number of my colleagues have pointed out this evening, there are more than half a million people of Hispanic American heritage living in Canada. They have an incredible history, and they play an extraordinary role in our society in many different ways. It is therefore important to talk about the cultural, political, and economic contributions they have made to our country.
I would like to point out that Quebec City is no exception in that regard. Quebec City is home to a large Colombian community, and every year, they host a wonderful fiesta in Beauport Bay, in my riding. I am sure it will be happening again this summer.
I would like to make a comparison and share it with all the members of the House this evening. I would actually like to talk about some of the similarities that unite North America and South America. There are historical, political, geopolitical, economic, sociological, and even anthropological similarities. It is, after all, the Americas. We share two continents and a very common history.
First of all, from an anthropological perspective, this is an important debate, and there are several theories. There is the Clovis First theory, which holds that nomadic peoples came from Asia via the Bering Strait about 10,000 years ago and populated all of America. As a result, the first settlers in North America or South America would have been descendants of those same nomadic peoples from Asia. There are also counter-theories that claim they arrived via the Pacific coast 30,000 years ago. Regardless, the two continents certainly share similarities, anthropologically speaking.
We also share similar histories. This is the New World. Christopher Columbus landed near Cuba, if I am not mistaken. At the time, he discovered the Americas on behalf of the Europeans. He discovered the New World. Jacques Cartier, Jean Cabot, and all those explorers revealed the existence of new, albeit already inhabited, lands to all of humanity, meaning Europeans, philosophers, writers, explorers, and monarchs. They discovered vast lands that were then colonized. We know the history. One very tangible historical legacy that both North America and South America share is colonialism. Conquistadors from South America conquered Central America and even parts of California and Florida, all the way to Tierra del Fuego in South America.
There were the colonialists in New France, which is where I am from, and in New England. Once again, we share similar histories and experiences with colonialism.
Another aspect of our shared history is the earliest form of modern capitalism: mercantilism. In this triangular trade, Europeans sailed to Africa to acquire slaves and brought resources back to England on the same ships. It was all deeply tragic, of course, but it is a historical fact. We must not fear history. Mercantilism is another thing we have in common with South America.
From a geopolitical perspective, it is interesting to note that, around the same time, in the 15th, 16th, or 17th century, South America was divided in two by the pope, though I do not remember which one. The pope divided South America into two vast geopolitical regions, one Portuguese and the other Spanish.
In North America, the treaty that ended the Seven Years' War divided the territory between the British and the French, so from a geopolitical perspective, we have that part of our history in common with South America.
From a political and sociological point of view, there are people's revolutions, such as the American Revolution of 1776. Canada never really had a revolution, but the Patriotes did kill people and spark revolutionary movements that led to ministerial responsibility in Canada. That was a kind of people's revolution.
In South America, Simón Bolívar strove to build a continent-wide federation called Gran Colombia. He even became a dictator. Some commentators portray him as a liberal who became a dictator. Anyway, there were people's revolutions in both North America and South America. That is something else we have in common with the people of Latin America.
Furthermore, economically speaking, we share a willingness with these people to trade between countries and reduce borders when it comes to tariffs and even the sharing of cultures and political systems. In North America, we have NAFTA, which was created in 1988 and ratified in 1992. South America has an equivalent, Mercosur, which was created in 1991 and ratified in 1995.
These two agreements share a similar economic annexation model, but the Latin American countries go a step further because they try to share best policy practices and standardize their social policies, which is no easy feat considering that some South American countries are not quite what we could call democratic.
I would also like to talk about Canada's relationship with South America. Canada was late in discovering South America for one very simple reason. In 1823, Republican American President Monroe implemented the Monroe doctrine, which was very important over the next two centuries. In one of the speeches he gave to Congress, President Monroe told Europeans that all of the Americas were under American imperial control. In other words, Mr. Monroe told the European powers that any European designs on the Americas would be regarded as nothing less than a hostile attack on the United States.
From that point on, the United States started treating South America like their back yard. We saw that in the way they behaved toward Chile, in the days of Pinochet, and in Honduras, when Mr. Reagan brought down that country's government. The Americans treated South America like their back yard.
Here, as great economic and political allies of the United States, we kept our distance from South America because the Americans would not have been happy to see Canada try to foster agreements or diplomatic relations with South American countries since that was their back yard.
All that changed in 1984 with the creation of the Organization of American States, which Canada did not join until 1990. It took all that time for Canada to open up to South American countries because of the Monroe doctrine. It was only in 1990 that Canada, after 30 years of observer status, became a full fledged member state.
Today, after more than 28 years as a member of the OAS, Canada does interesting work exporting its democratic values to South American countries and creating bilateral free trade agreements, including with Peru. That was one of Mr. Harper's many fine accomplishments. There are also the summits of the Americas, including the one that was held in Quebec City in 2001.
That is what I wanted to present this evening. In North America and in South America, we have our particularities and we share some very real similarities on economic, geopolitical, sociological, anthropological and historical levels. In Canada, we are pleased that a growing number of Hispanics are heading to our border to immigrate to our country in order to participate in our beautiful cultural, political, and economic life.
Canada was closed to South America for a very long time because of the Monroe doctrine and U.S. policy, which jealously treated South America as its backyard.
Hurray for Senator Enverga's initiative. Hurray for the initiative of my colleague from Thornhill, who sponsored the bill. Hurray for the Columbian community in Quebec City, which is going to party this summer in Baie de Beauport in my riding.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-31 16:21 [p.20002]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me. First of all, I would like to say hello to all the people of Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are listening today, and to thank them for all their work. They are definitely listening. When I go door to door, many of them tell me that they watch CPAC.
I would like to say something about what the hon. Liberal member for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas said in response to the speech of my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. She engaged in the usual Liberal demagoguery. She asked if we believed in climate change. I really would like my constituents to listen closely, because I want to make this clear to them and to all Canadians: we, the Conservatives, believe so strongly in climate change that, in 2007, Mr. Harper held a joint press conference with Mr. Charest to announce the implementation of the new Canada ecotrust program, supported by a total investment of $1.5 billion. The aim of the program was to give each province hundreds of millions of dollars to help with their respective climate change plans. It is easy to look this up on Google by entering “ecoTrust,” “2007,” “Harper,” “Charest.” Not only did Mr. Charest commend the Conservative government’s initiative, but even Steven Guilbeault from Greenpeace at the time—and I am certain that my colleague from Mégantic—L’Érable will find this hard to believe—saluted the initiative as something unheard of.
There is a reason why greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2% under the decade-long Conservative reign. We had a plan, a plan with bold targets that the Liberals made their own.
Now let us talk a bit about the 2018-19 budget, which continues in the same vein as the other two budgets presented so far by the hon. member for Papineau's Liberal government. I would like to begin by saying that the government has been in reaction mode for the past three years and almost never in action mode.
It is in reaction mode when it comes to the softwood lumber crisis, although we do not hear much about it because the softwood lumber rates are still pretty attractive. However, the fact remains that this is a crisis and that, right now, industrial producers in the U.S. are collecting billions of dollars that they will eventually recover, as they do in every softwood lumber crisis.
The Liberal government is in reaction mode when it comes to NAFTA. They will say that they are not the ones who put Mr. Trump in office, but this is yet another major issue that has been taking up their time in the past year, and they are still in reaction mode. They are also in reaction mode when it comes to the imminent tariffs on aluminum and steel.
The Liberals are in reaction mode when it comes to almost every major issue in Canada. They are in reaction mode when it comes to natural resources development, for example with regard to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Once again they were in reaction mode, because Kinder Morgan said that it would walk if the government could not assume responsibility and tell British Columbia in no uncertain terms that this was a matter of federal jurisdiction.
All of this shows that the Prime Minister is not the great diplomat he pretends to be across the globe, and in celebrity news and other media. He is such a poor diplomat that he was unable to avoid the softwood lumber crisis with Obama. He is such a poor diplomat that he has supposedly had a wonderful relationship with Mr. Trump for the past year and a half. He speaks to him on the telephone I do not know how many times a month, but that did not prevent Mr. Trump from taking deliberate action against Canada, as we saw today with the tariffs on steel and aluminum.
I would like to make a comparison. We, the Conservatives, were a government of action. We negotiated 46 free-trade agreements. We sent Canadian troops to Kandahar to demonstrate our willingness to co-operate with NATO and the G7 and to make a show of military force. We invested hugely in national defence, increasing our investments from 0.8% to almost 1.2% of the GDP following the dark days of Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government. We settled the softwood lumber issue in 2007, during the last crisis. We implemented the national shipbuilding strategy, investing more than $30 billion to renew our military fleet, to renew the Canadian Coast Guard’s exploration fleet in the Canadian Arctic, and to renew the fleet of icebreakers. The first of these icebreakers, the majestic Diefenbaker, will soon be under construction.
Let us not forget that we also told Mr. Putin to get out of Ukraine. There is no doubt that we were a government of action.
When the budget was tabled, several journalists said that it was more of a political platform than a budget. I find that interesting. In their opinion, the political platform contained no concrete fiscal measures to prepare Canada for tomorrow, for the next 10 years, or for the next century, as our founding fathers intended in 1867. Rather, it contained proposals, in particular concerning social housing. The NDP must be very happy. The Liberals promised billions of dollars if the provinces gave their assent. That was a promise.
The Liberals also made proposals concerning pharmacare. Once again, they were conditional on studies demonstrating the usefulness of such a plan. That, too, was a promise. The promises go on page after page in the budget, and it is obvious that it is a political platform. That is why the Liberals used the word “woman” more than 400 times, 30 times on each page. That is just demagoguery and totally abusive.
I would like to quote a very interesting CBC journalist, Chris Hall. Since he works at the CBC, the Liberals will surely believe him. He said that the government recently spent $233,000 to organize round table discussions to find out whether Canadians understood the message, and not the content, of their budget. I will quote Mr. Hall:
In particular, the report said the findings suggest middle-class Canadians—the very demographic the Liberals have been courting since their election with both policy initiatives and political messaging—don't feel their lives are getting better.
They are correct in thinking that their lives are not getting better. Even Chris Hall concluded, in light of these studies, that the 2018-19 budget is not a document that provides guidelines, includes concrete measures, or outlines actual achievements in progress. It is a political document that proposes ideologies.
The budget also contains a number of disappointments and shortcomings, precisely because it does not contain any actions. It does not respond to the fiscal reforms enacted by U.S. President Trump that give American companies an undue competitive advantage.
The 2018-19 federal budget does not address the tariffs on aluminum and steel either, although we all saw them coming. It does not specify what measures will be taken to implement carbon pricing. Most of all, it does not say how much it will cost every single Canadian. You would think it would at least do that. Some analysts say that it will cost approximately $2,500 per Canadian per year.
This budget is full of proposals but has no concrete measures, and it perpetuates broken promises. Instead of $10-billion deficits for two consecutive years, we have $19-billion deficits accumulating year over year until 2045. This year, we were supposed to have a deficit of $6 billion, but it has reached almost $20 billion. The Liberals also broke their promise to balance the budget. This is the first time that the federal government has not had a concrete plan to balance the budget.
We were supposed to run up deficits in order to invest in the largest infrastructure program in history, because with the Liberals everything is historic. Only $7 billion of the $180 billion of this program has been injected into the Canadian economy.
This is a very disappointing budget and, unfortunately, dear people of Beauport—Limoilou, taxes keep going up and the Liberal carbon tax is just the start.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-31 16:32 [p.20003]
Mr. Speaker, it is quite funny. The hon. member spoke about the Canada child benefit and the income tax for workers. The CBC report I spoke about previously said that at the round tables, Canadians said they do not know how much that helped them, and they do not even know that this is going on right now.
People I meet in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, say they are aware that the Canada child benefit is a way to buy votes, and that is it. That is the basic thing the Liberals are doing with that. It is hard for people to make the choice. Of course, it is a lot of money, but they know that it is a lot of money that their kids will have to pay in 30 years, so it is a poison gift. That is all it is about.
Most of the Liberals' measures are not in action but in reaction, and when they are in action, as some surely are, it is a poison gift for the future. How can the government be proud of those kinds of measures, when that is the case?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-31 16:35 [p.20004]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his questions. Questions like these are why I have been urging him to join the Conservatives for three years, along with the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, though I am not too sure about him, since his socialism is a little too intense. I think he may be too deeply entrenched in socialism.
About Davie, it takes political leadership. In 2015, one month before the election, we awarded the contract for the Asterix. It was the crowning achievement of Canada's largest shipyard, which is located in Lévis. Social transfers are also very important. The Conservative government provided health and education transfers with no strings attached. We fixed the fiscal imbalance by giving $800 million to Quebec. Charest acknowledged that in no uncertain terms.
First and foremost, as we have been proving since 1867, and as the history books will surely show, we are a Conservative political government when we form government. We support decentralization and respect the spirit and the letter of the Constitution, the British North America Act, our greatest constitutional document. We respect provincial and federal areas of jurisdiction. That is what is so great about the Conservatives.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 18:55 [p.19918]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the member for Québec, whose riding borders mine. They are both very beautiful ridings.
The minister said something that deeply troubled me. It is one of the Liberals' recurring themes. He said that Canada was back on the world stage; however, we never left it. We simply have a different public policy, a different understanding, and a different approach.
I do not see how they can claim that we left the world stage when we signed 47 international treaties and we sent the Canadian Armed Forces to Kandahar on one of the most dangerous missions. It was a great success. My brother went there in 2006 to fight the Taliban and then al Qaeda.
I do not understand how they can say that given that we established the free trade agreement with the European Union. If that is not an international commitment, I do not know what it is. As I often say in the House, according to the Liberals' rhetoric, they have a monopoly on virtue.
I would like to know if the Liberals are going to move another time allocation motion this evening or if we are going to start a serious debate of their proposed legislation.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 20:38 [p.19928]
Mr. Speaker, I really appreciated the speech by my colleague from Calgary Shepard, who adroitly set out to deconstruct that worn-out Liberal platitude about the environment and the economy going hand in had. It is patently obvious that they do, because we human beings come from the environment, our resources come from the environment, and the economy comes from the environment.
The economy is both a process and a product of the environment we live in. The resources we export, such as oil, are natural resources that come from the environment. The Liberals' platitude is purely political PR.
As I recall, under the Conservative government, we did not sweet-talk anyone. We took concrete action that produced excellent results. For example, we reduced Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 2% while we grew the GDP by 16%.
I would like the member for Calgary Shepard to tell us more about the strides our government made on both the environmental and economic fronts.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 20:43 [p.19928]
Mr. Speaker, here we are in the House, on Wednesday, May 30, at 8:45. I should mention that it is 8:45 p.m., for the many residents of Beauport—Limoilou who I am sure are tuning in. To all my constituents, good evening.
We are debating this evening because the Liberal government tabled very few significant government bills over the winter. Instead, they tabled an astounding number of private members' bills on things like swallows' day and beauty month. Sometimes my colleagues and I can hardly help laughing at this pile of utterly trivial bills. I also think that this process of randomly selecting the members who get to table bills is a bit past its prime. Maybe it should be reviewed. At the same time, I understand that it is up to each member to decide what kind of bill is important to him or her.
The reason we have had to sit until midnight for two days now is that, as my colleague from Perth—Wellington said, the government has been acting like a typical university student over the past three months. That comparison is a bit ridiculous, but it is true. The government is behaving like those students who wait until the last minute to do their assignments and are still working on them at 3 a.m. the day before they are due because they were too busy partying all semester. Members know what I mean, even though that paints a rather stereotypical picture of students; most of them do not do things like that.
In short, we have a government that, at the end of the session, has realized that time is running out and that it only has three weeks left to pass some of its legislative measures, some of which are rather lengthy bills that are key to the government's legislative agenda. One has to wonder about that.
The Liberals believe these bills to be important. However, because of their lack of responsibility over the past three months, we were unable to debate these major bills that will make significant changes to our society. Take for example, Bill C-76, which has to do with the electoral reforms that the Liberals want to make to the voting system, the way we vote, protection of the vote, and identification. There is also Bill C-49 on transportation in Canada, a very lengthy bill that we have not had time to examine properly.
Today we are debating Bill C-57 on sustainable development. This is an important topic, but for the past three years I have been getting sick and tired of seeing the Liberal government act as though it has a monopoly on environmental righteousness. I searched online to get an accurate picture of the record of Mr. Harper's Conservative government from 2006 to 2015, and I came across some fascinating results. I want to share this information very honestly with the House and my Liberal colleagues so that they understand that even though we did not talk incessantly about the environment, we achieved some excellent concrete results.
I want to read a quote from www.mediaterre.org, a perfectly legitimate site:
Stephen Harper's Canadian government released its 2007 budget on March 19. The budget allocated $4.5 billion in new investments to some 20 environmental projects. These measures include a $2,000 rebate for all electronic-vehicle or alternative-fuel purchases, and the creation of a $1.5-billion EcoTrust program to help provinces reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Liberals often criticize us for talking about the environment, but we did take action. For example, we set targets. We proposed reducing emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Liberals even retained these same targets as part of the Paris agreement.
They said we had targets, but no plan. That is not true. Not only did we have the $1.5-billion ecotrust program, but we also had a plan that involved federal co-operation.
Allow me to quote the premier of Quebec at the time, Jean Charest, who was praising the plan that was going to help Quebec—his province, my province—meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets. Jean Charest and Mr. Harper issued a joint press release.
Mr. Harper said, “Canada's New Government is investing to protect Canadians from the consequences of climate change, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.” He was already recognizing it in 2007.
Mr. Charest said, “In June 2006, our government adopted its plan to combat climate change. This plan has been hailed as one of the finest in North America. With Ottawa contributing financially to this Quebec initiative, we will be able to achieve our objectives.”
It was Mr. Charest who said that in 2007, at a press conference with the prime minister.
I will continue to read the joint press release from the two governments, “As a result of this federal funding, the Government of Quebec has indicated that it will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent below its anticipated 2012 level.”
What is more, the $1.5-billion ecotrust that was supposed to be allocated and was allocated to every province provided $339 million to Quebec alone. That was going to allow Quebec to engage in the following: investments to improve access to new technologies for the trucking sector; a program to develop renewable energy sources in rural regions; a pilot plant for production of cellulosic ethanol; promotion of geothermal heat pumps in the residential sector; support for technological research and innovation for the reduction and sequestration of greenhouse gases. This is probably one of those programs that is helping us make our oil sands increasingly environmentally friendly by allowing us to capture the carbon that comes from converting the sands to oil. There are also measures for the capture of biogas from landfill sites, for waste treatment and energy recovery, and finally for Canada ecotrust.
I invite our Liberal colleagues to listen to what I am going to say. In 2007, Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace said the following: “We are pleased to see that after negotiating for more than a year, Quebec has finally obtained the money it needs to move towards meeting the Kyoto targets.”
Who made it possible for Quebec to move towards meeting its Kyoto objectives? It was the Harper government, a Conservative government, which established the $1.5-billion ecotrust fund in 2007 with monies from the budget surplus.
Not only did we have a plan to meet the targets we proposed, but this was also a plan that could only be implemented if the provinces agreed to the targets. It was a plan that was funded through the budget surplus, that did not further tax Canadians, and that provided money directly, without any conditions, other than the fundamental requirement that it had to help reduce climate change, which was philosophically important. Any and all measures taken to reach that goal were left entirely to the discretion of the provinces.
Mr. Harper, like a good Conservative who supported decentralization and like a true federalist leader, said that he was giving $400 million to each province so it could move forward with its plan.
By 2015, after 10 years of Conservative government, the country had not only weathered the worst economic crisis, the worst recession in history since the 1930s, but it had also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2% and increased the gross domestic product for all Canadians while lopping three points off the GST and lowering income taxes for families with two children by an average of $2,000 per year.
If that is not co-operative federalism, if those are not real results, if that is not a concrete environmental plan, then I do not know what is. Add to that the fact that we achieved royal assent for no less than 25 to 35 bills every session.
In contrast, during this session, in between being forced to grapple with scandals involving the carbon tax, illegal border crossings, and the Trans Mountain project, this government has barely managed to come up with four genuinely important bills.
By contrast, we expanded parks and protected Canada's wetlands. Our environmental record is exceptional.
Furthermore, we allowed debate. For example, we debated Bill C-23 on electoral reform for four days. The Liberals' electoral reform was debated for two hours.
I am sad, but I am happy to debate until midnight because debating is my passion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 20:55 [p.19930]
Mr. Speaker, day after day, the government is revealing itself to be a poor manager for our country. Politics, arguments, and ideologies aside, the Canadian Constitution calls for peace, order, and good government. In this Parliament, we can be comforted by the fact that, at the very least, there is peace and order. However, there certainly is not good governance.
Day after day, the Liberals face national crises, sometimes of their own making, and their solutions are almost behind the times. They are unable to balance the budget in a reasonable time, as they promised.
What I particularly liked about the Conservative government, and what I will like about the future 2019 Conservative government, is that it had the political courage to speak the truth and take real action.
Today, we are talking about the environment, and I have a theory. I am sure that the Paris Agreement, which is much more practical and effective, exists because Mr. Harper had the courage to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol before all the international elite. Everyone knew that the Kyoto protocol was not working. There were useless meetings where the international elite set completely unrealistic objectives, when meanwhile all the countries knew full well that they would never achieve those greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Canada was the first and only country to have the courage to say that the Kyoto protocol was not working and that it needed to be updated. It was the only country that had the courage to withdraw. The Paris Agreement and its reduction targets of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 exist primarily because of the Conservative government and the $1.5-billion ecotrust it created in 2007, which was a real and tangible example of federal co-operation.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 20:59 [p.19930]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague could not be more right. The government has yet to propose to Canadians how it is going to respond to the fiscal reform related to the presidency of Mr. Trump, which has already had a great impact on us. I have read the National Post and The Globe and Mail in the last month, and most experts have been telling us that Canada's competitiveness has decreased drastically in the last several months.
We learned yesterday that not only is the government not responding to the fiscal reform being implemented in the U.S., but it is sending $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to a Texas-based company, Kinder Morgan. We have all known the story, of course, since yesterday.
Worse than that, in the autumn session, the government tried to impose fiscal reform that would tax our small and medium-sized enterprises more and more. I am sure that the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is very concerned about that because he is the critic for small and medium-sized enterprises. It is a fiasco, and the government does not know how to deal with it, either domestically or internationally.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-30 23:10 [p.19946]
Madam Speaker, I would ask the member for West Nova to be a reasonable person. I do not know how many times he said that we need to address climate change in a serious way. I am sure he listened to me tonight when I mentioned all of the programs that we put together, like the Canada EcoTrust for $1.5 billion, which represented great federal co-operation with the province in reducing gas emissions.
The member has recited many numbers from the IMF, the World Bank, and the United Nations. Could he give us a number from his government as to how much the Liberal carbon tax will cost each family? He has cited numbers from all of those international organizations, but he is part of a government that has numbers hidden somewhere. How much is the Liberal carbon tax going to cost each family? Can we know this number, please?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-05 18:07 [p.16784]
Mr. Speaker, at the end of my colleague's speech, he said that this new system the Liberals would bring forward with this bill, until we win the next election and delete it, would make it so that the governing party would have a systematic preference for raising money, which would make it stronger for the next election.
Does the member think that it is more than just a privilege that would give the Liberals more strength? Does he think that this is close to real corruption?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-05 18:09 [p.16784]
Mr. Speaker, many people from Beauport—Limoilou are listening to us this evening, and I would like to say hello to them. It is a pleasure to represent them, especially this evening as we debate Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing) an act to amend the Canada Elections Act. This bill basically seeks to legitimize and formalize a palpable and tangible form of corruption in Canada. We first saw this system in the 1990s and 2000s, under the successive governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. However, the federal Liberals have also used this system over 100 times since 2015. They are now trying to formalize and legitimize it by introducing a bill in the House.
What was the system established by Ontario's Liberal government in the 1990s? Two people were responsible for its implementation, namely Mr. Butts and Ms. Telford. Mr. Butts is currently the Prime Minister principal secretary. He works in the Langevin Block. I will always call it by this name because I am very proud of it. Mr. Langevin is a French Canadian who spent his entire career fighting for Quebec's right to have a seat at the cabinet table so that Quebeckers and French Canadians would be heard at the start of the 20th century. Mr. Langevin was also a great source of pride for Macdonald's government. Thus, it is an affront to me that his name was removed from the Langevin Block. I now will return to the matter at hand.
Mr. Butts is principal secretary to the Prime Minister, and Ms. Telford is, or at least I think she still is, the Prime Minister's chief of staff. Incidentally, the Prime Minister's Office is another institution that should be shut down immediately. What did those two individuals do when they introduced this system in Ontario? They made sure that ministers—as well as any backbenchers like myself and other members here who want to advance their career and perhaps become a minister to do great things for this country—would have to conform to a system that would relegate the issues that matter to them to the back burner, issues like the Constitution, the development of francophone communities, their ridings, their constituents, and community groups. The members are told that what matters is filling the party's coffers so that they can win elections, not with well-reasoned arguments, but rather by spending billions of dollars.
This system involved quotas for each minister and anyone who wanted to become a minister. For example, the finance minister and the Ontario health minister each had to raise half a million dollars a year. In this tightly organized system, the cocktail parties and fundraisers hosted by ministers had to be linked somehow to their portfolios. Another thing that surprised me about the Liberal members' speeches is that they do not want to talk about the very clear distinction between partisan fundraising events and cash for access events like the ones the Liberals held over 100 times between 2015 and 2017.
Just like every MP in Canada, I have fundraised with members of my own party, the Conservative Party, or with people who were interested in meeting Conservatives in order to better understand our political philosophy, what we can do for Canada, where we are coming from, and where we are going. In short, they wanted to know our ideas for this great country. However, I have never attended a fundraiser where there were 30 people from the same organization or the same profession who had an existing contract, business project, or other interest to bring to the attention of some federal department.
Every time that I participate in a fundraiser, many Canadians who are interested in politics come to meet the Conservatives to find out more about our political party. However, cash for access fundraisers stem from considerable pressure from the Prime Minister's Office. The justice and finance ministers, for example, are required to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Under this system, every minister purposely and carefully comes up with detailed guest lists that include organizations or individuals that lobby the government on files related to his or her portfolio.
Here are two real-life examples. As recently as 2016, the Minister of Justice organized an event in Toronto. I do not remember the exact date, but this event has been discussed at length today. Most of the people who attended were lobbying the government to make changes to the Criminal Code and the Canadian judiciary, or even to become judges. I would like to know if there was even one Liberal MP at that event or whether even one ordinary Toronto resident was there to learn more about the Liberals' political philosophy—if they have one, other than a desire to be in power. In short, the Minister of Justice had to apologize for organizing this event, since it was so blatant.
It was the same thing when the Minister of Finance met with port authority representatives in Halifax. That event was also attended by businessmen who had very important things they wanted to talk to the Minister of Finance about. Here again, they were not card-carrying members of the Liberal Party who wanted to know more about his vision for the country, and nor were they Haligonians interested in finding out what their 35 or 36 Liberal MPs are doing for Atlantic Canada. They were lobbyists with specific interests who knew full well that paying $1,500—that is now $1,575—would give them direct access to the minister and a chance to voice their concerns or make specific requests.
Those are two of the more egregious examples. Luckily, editors-in-chief at Canada's major daily papers got wind of them. Journalists tend to be pretty lenient with this government, but these two typical cash for access functions stank so badly of corruption that the media ran the stories.
The Prime Minister himself said that this practice lacked transparency and that it likely should not be condoned in Canadian politics because it would only make Canadians more cynical and less likely to want to take part in democracy when they see that it takes $1,500 to gain access to the Minister of Finance. When the media reported that and the Prime Minister and the government acknowledged that it was unfortunate for Canadian democracy, the Liberals decided to fix the problem by introducing Bill C-50, which, as I said from the outset, seeks to formalize and legitimize fundraising activities that provide special access.
What questions were raised in the House by my colleague from York—Simcoe, “Let us go back and see what happens. Is there anything in the bill that would stop the exact same thing from happening again?” The answer is no.
He went on, “Is there anything that would discourage it, because that maximum donation to the party is publicly disclosed anyhow?”
No, this will not prevent cash for access fundraisers from happening again. This is a smokescreen. There is absolutely nothing in this bill that will prevent this type of corruption in Canada. On the contrary, the Liberal government is merely legitimizing and formalizing rampant corruption and giving itself a leg up when it comes to fundraising in Canada.
We must condemn this. It is absolutely shameful.
As the member for Beauport—Limoilou, I strongly oppose this bill.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-05 18:20 [p.16785]
Mr. Speaker, the current government was caught red-handed. It seems obvious that if it had not been caught red-handed, it would have continued organizing these fundraisers. In any case, it is still engaging in this type of activity in a way. The Liberals are just taking a break from their cash for access fundraising events. They will pick up where they left off just as soon as the bill passes third reading, meaning that they will have legitimized and formalized a type of fundraising corruption in Canada. That is what the Liberals are doing.
Let's look at what they are doing with cannabis. It was illegal, but they saw this new product as an unprecedented money-making opportunity for their friends who are in business or play the stock market. This started 10 or 15 years ago in Canada with medical marijuana. Members of the larger Liberal family figured out that legalized cannabis could earn them billions of dollars.
The government has run gigantic deficits and needs to replenish its coffers by taxing a drug. The sole purpose of legalizing cannabis and this bill is to please the Liberal elite and help get the current government re-elected in 2019. We are going to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-02-05 18:23 [p.16786]
Mr. Speaker, bluntly, the answer is simple. The only reason the Liberals did not accept any amendments in committee hearings from experts, all the arguments brought forward by the official opposition of Her Majesty, is that the bill was written in a way that would ensure they could continue cash for access starting next month. That is the single goal of the government: to start cash for access again, put money in their coffers, and get back to power in two years.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-12-07 13:39 [p.16140]
Mr. Speaker, I took part in this debate a few weeks ago and I kept repeating the same thing in what I would call a philosophical critique of the bill.
First, I think that making cabinet gender balanced is a terrible idea because having qualified ministers should be more important than gender parity.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that parity is the Liberals' way to prevent women from advancing to cabinet. Under this bill, women will never be able to make up more than 50% of cabinet. Is that just or fair considering that, for decades, men made up 100%, 70%, or 60% of cabinet? Now, the very clear message to women is that never will they ever represent more than half the cabinet. That is an interesting way of looking at this and I would not be surprised if that were the Liberal's primary objective.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-28 11:49 [p.15663]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Winnipeg Centre, for his speech. His introduction was very interesting because he explained the relationship that indigenous peoples have with animals and the planet Earth, the history of humanity, namely that there is a sacred relationship between man and animals, a reciprocal relationship based on the ethics of living together.
In the 2015-16 budget and in this one, and following the COP21 negotiations in Paris, the Liberal government decided to send billions of dollars to poor countries in the developing world to help them with climate change. It is not a sure thing that they will use the money for that purpose.
I would like to ask my colleague a question. I know that he will understand because he is an anthropologist. From the perspective of intergenerational ethics, can we really ask a generation, or the generation of living Canadians, to pay for the mistakes of their ancestors who have supposedly polluted the planet? Is this legitimate in terms of intergenerational ethics? In terms of the ethics of international relations, is it okay to send billions of dollars overseas to compensate for the mistakes of our ancestors? Do we have to pay for these mistakes?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-28 11:55 [p.15664]
Mr. Speaker, as usual, I would like to acknowledge the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us today. I am sure they have some serious questions with respect to all of the question period speeches they have been watching on television or reading about in the papers.
Canadians are all wondering the same thing: can we trust the Minister of Finance? As we debate the 2017 budget and the proposed spending to achieve the government's objectives, all Canadians are watching the Minister of Finance closely and wondering if they can trust him.
Indeed, over the past three months, the finance minister has done some things and shown some lapses in judgment that have been revealed by journalists, the official opposition, the NDP, and Canadians. Paradoxically, ironically, and sadly, members of the Liberal Party are still smiling and laughing about it today, and not taking it seriously. As my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil was finishing his speech this morning on yesterday's motion, which calls on the government to end the debate on the 2017 budget implementation bill, we saw several members of the Liberal Party laughing and dismissing it all as nonsense. Basically, they are saying the opposition is lampooning them and engaging in gutter politics, but that is not at all the case.
Since July, the Minister of Finance has been saying that he wants to stand up for taxpayers by going after people who cheat when filing their income tax returns to pay less in taxes. To that end, he implemented certain tax reforms, or rather tax hikes for small and medium-sized businesses, which create jobs for the so-called middle class that the government is always talking about. I have a problem with all of that. We should be talking about Canadians, not about classes. Meanwhile, the minister hid from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner that he had a company in France, which owns his villa there. He paid a $200 fine for that just under a month ago.
While he was trying to go after small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, mechanics, and hairdressers, among others, he made millions of dollars on his shares in Morneau Shepell, which he held until recently and were worth roughly $20 million. Instead of putting those assets in a blind trust, he hid them in a numbered company in Alberta. While he was going after small businesses that create jobs in Canada, he failed to disclose to the Ethics Commissioner the fact that he had assets in France and Alberta. What is more, he devised and introduced a bill that seeks to make changes to Canada's pension plans and will benefit three companies that specialize in pensions, including Morneau Shepell.
The Minister of Finance keeps spouting nonsense every time we ask him if we can trust him in light of the revelations from journalists and the official opposition. Yesterday, our venerable official opposition finance critic, the hon. member for Carleton, and several other opposition members, asked a very specific question. It takes a lot for me to feel discouraged, but I am starting to have serious doubts about the integrity of this Minister of Finance.
The hon. member for Carleton reminded him that he introduced a bill in 2015, after the Liberal government was elected, making changes that, according to the Liberals, would increase taxes on the wealthiest. That is not what happened. Several academic papers show that it is not the case. Ultimately, the wealthy are paying less taxes.
In short, two weeks before the announcement of the bill's implications for the stock market, the Minister of Finance—or someone else, but we do not know who—sold millions of Morneau Shepell shares in order to save about half a million dollars. If it was not the minister, can he tell us who it was? Yesterday, during question period, he did not answer.
The situation has only gotten worse over the past three months. After the villa in France, the $20 million in Morneau Shepell shares hidden in Alberta, and the bill that benefited Morneau Shepell, today we learned that someone sold shares to avoid the consequences of the proposed tax increase.
The Minister of Finance must stop playing ridiculous, partisan politics, which are no longer acceptable. It is high time he gave serious answers to the questions asked by the official opposition of Canada. We represent the Canadian people and we hold the government to account to ensure ministerial responsibility. The members of the Liberal Party of Canada must stop making light of the situation. Their Minister of Finance has committed serious violations. He must answer the questions and stop telling us nonsense day after day in the House.
I would still like to say a few words about the 2017 federal budget. Once again, it is a completely ridiculous budget and the Liberals are calling it a feminist budget. The budget should be for all Canadians, not just a special interest group. Of course, we know that the Liberals are centralists and that they work on behalf of special interest groups, including post-materialist groups.
What is more, this budget is in the red and speaks to the many promises the government has broken. Unfortunately, what has defined the Liberals over the past two years is a series of broken promises, including their promise on electoral reform. We are lucky that they broke that promise, because it would be a very bad idea to change the way we vote in Canada. We must retain our Westminster system of voting. The Liberals also broke another promise they made to their environmentalist base by keeping the same greenhouse gas emissions targets as our Conservative government.
Most importantly, the Liberals said that they would run a modest deficit of $10 billion per year in their first two years in office, when in reality they ran a deficit of $30 billion in the first year and $19 billion in the second year, 2017-18. What is even more worrisome is that they broke their promise to balance the budget by 2019-20, even though we are not in an economic crisis or at war. They themselves are saying that the economy is doing great. When we, the Conservatives, ran a deficit in 2008-09, it was because Canada was weathering the worst economic crisis since 1929 and 1930. Today, there is no economic crisis and no war, so there is no reason for the government to be running a deficit.
A recent article in the Financial Post indicated that, according to the OECD, household debt, particularly mortgage debt, is the highest it has ever been. For the past few years, the household debt ratio in Canada, including debt for houses, cars, and all the rest, has been the highest of all the OECD countries. This could have a serious impact on Canada's economic growth.
The Liberals say the economy is doing great. They keep sending Canadians an endless stream of Canada child benefit cheques. Despite adding up to thousands of dollars a year, they do not seem to be working, because Canadian households are more in debt than ever. This debt could be extremely dangerous for the country.
How can we expect Canadians to behave any differently, when the example they are given is a Minister of Finance who cannot be trusted and a government that urges them to spend as recklessly as it does? It is time for the Liberals to get a grip on themselves.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-28 12:07 [p.15665]
Mr. Speaker, the impact is quite clear. In 20 years our kids will pay for all the demands that they have brought forward.
I remind the hon. member across the aisle that I did not say that the content of the budget was ridiculous. I was speaking of the way it was presented and titled as a “feminist budget”. Is it possible in this country or in any parliamentary democracy for a budget to refer to a particular group or gender? This is unbelievable and unacceptable. The budget should be for all Canadians, not only in its content but in the way it is presented.
Financial Post journalist, Mr. Watson said, “Turns out the Harper government was actually terrific for wage growth.”. In the last two years of the government under Mr. Harper, we saw wage growth as we have never seen in Canada. We created 1.2 million jobs in the last decade.
All of the fruits that the Liberal government is harvesting in the last two years are because of the work of the Conservative government from 2006 to 2015 and its $3-billion surplus.
That is the reality. Stop playing politics and work for all Canadians.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-28 12:10 [p.15666]
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I am pleased to elaborate on that. When I hear the government say that the most important relationship is that with the indigenous peoples, I wonder what the problem is. The important relationship is the one with all Canadians. Indigenous peoples are Canadians. I am a Canadian. Everyone here is Canadian. I find that truly absurd.
I would also say that the issue of indigenous peoples and reserves is very complex. It is truly unfortunate to see everything that is going on. To think that there are still reserves that do not have running water is beyond me. I agree with you.
That being said, what bothers me the most is that one of the first pieces of legislation from this government withdrew provisions on transparency on the reserves. That policy was very important because one of the fundamental problems on the reserves is that the native elite are the ones who pocket the money, who benefit the most from it without taking good care of their people. That is a serious problem on the reserves. We legislated on transparency in a very important piece of legislation that indigenous peoples appreciated. Without the transparency provisions indigenous peoples are now unable to hold their chiefs accountable. Once again, this government is working for interest groups and not for Canadians, and especially not for indigenous peoples, other than to issue an apology of course.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 11:17 [p.14549]
Mr. Speaker, the member spoke of equal voices in cabinet.
However, an MP who is not a minister may, at the Prime Minister's invitation, attend cabinet to discuss specific issues, and his or her voice will be equal to that of any other elected official around the table, minister or not.
The member said that, unlike in Mr. Harper's government, today's ministers of state have been given by mandate letter their own specific legal responsibilities.
I would like to ask him if that difference has any real impact on the ground. Will there be a cabinet? Will there be a deputy minister? Will there be documents that the government can bring to cabinet? Will there be a department with an actual physical building? Will there be public servants to oversee? If none of those things are in place, then this bill will not really change anything.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 12:03 [p.14555]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise.
I would like to take a few moments to tell the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening right now that I am truly very disappointed with what the Finance Minister did last week and this week. Canadians have become aware that he misled them for two years and that he did not put his $20 million in Morneau Shepell shares in a blind trust. I seriously expected him to rise last week for his final response in question period to say that he regretted it, and that not only did he no longer have his shares, but he was donating to charity the $65,000 in additional monthly profits that he pocketed for the last two years. That would have been the least he could do. He is an extremely wealthy man. He should have done that, and I do not think that it would have jeopardized his retirement.
With respect to Bill C-24, I will be addressing primarily the aspect of the ministers and the administrative change that means absolutely nothing, as well as the supplementary estimates. I will also very quickly address the issue of regional development. The Liberals are abolishing regional development minister positions. These positions are key, because today 60% of Canadians live in large cities. The same is true almost everywhere in the world. These positions are also important because the voice of rural Canadians is being less and less heard in the House. There will no longer be ministers representing regional development agencies in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec or western Canada. These agencies will no longer exist, or at least they will not have any ministers. These ministers sat at the cabinet table to ensure that every region of Canada had a voice.
The first thing the Liberals did was to make sure that there would no longer be any ministers representing the regions and to entrust all decisions to a single individual, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in Toronto. This has already had a serious impact. Last fall, $150,000 in funds earmarked for economic development in northern Ontario was allocated to a company based in the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s riding of Mississauga. This is precisely the new type of politics the Liberals have been playing.
This spring, an Atlantic liberal caucus subcommittee indicated that they had been told that processing times at ACOA were three times longer since the appointment of a minister from Toronto. It is not surprising, since he himself, as a minister from Toronto, is completely overwhelmed by the affairs of Canada’s great city of Toronto and completely overwhelmed by the affairs of his own department. That is why we need independent ministers who can focus on the region they represent. We are saddened to see the government go ahead and abolish these key minister positions in Canada.
I spoke about Bill C-24 here in the House about six months ago. It was late spring. At that time not so long ago, I was still a permanent member of the powerful Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. It was quite the learning experience for me. I had to read a huge number of documents and learn about many financial, economic, and structural issues. The committee deals with government operations and estimates.
Every four or five months, the committee reviews and analyzes the supplementary estimates, in other words, the credits the government wants to have approved by the committees so that it can close its fiscal year on a sound note. I observed one thing. I do not remember exactly whether it was credit A, credit B or credit C, or which department it was. I think it was the Treasury Board. After it was elected, the government immediately wanted to raise the salaries of the ministers of State, as is proposed in the bill. Normally, to do so, the government must introduce a bill like the one we are debating today concerning ministers’ salaries and allowances.
That is not what they have been doing for the past two years. In fact, the Liberals used the supplementary estimates, by including the votes in the supplementary estimates and getting them approved through the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates for two consecutive years. We Conservatives were a minority. We voted against that funding, but that did not change anything.
If this bill were so important, if it were true, as they claim, that this bill is intended to foster ministerial pay and gender equality, then why did they use the back door to increase salaries? Why did the Liberals not introduce Bill C-24 when they first came to power in 2015? If gender equality were that important to them, they would have introduced this bill as a priority at the outset.
Something about this really surprises me. An hon. member for whom I have enormous respect and who served in the military said that a minister is a minister is a minister. First, that is an extreme extrapolation. One can say that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, but at the same time, a minister is still a Canadian like any other. The part that concerns me is that ministers of state are not on the same footing as ministers. The question is simple: do they have deputy ministers? No, and this bill will do nothing to change that fact, either.
Ministers of state will not have deputy ministers or cabinets, which have a staff of about 40 to assist their minister perform difficult tasks. They will not have the right to submit memorandums to cabinet explaining government issues. Most importantly, they will not have any officials serving under them. For example, the Minister of National Defence has 80,000 public servants under him. Not only is there the civilian administrative wing comprising some 20,000 employees, but there is also the military wing, because military troops are public servants. All told, we are talking 100,000 people.
Ministers of state will not have 100,000 people to manage and give orders to. Neither will they oversee an actual institution, or have headquarters from which to work. For example, Public Services and Procurement Canada is across the beautiful Ottawa River, and there is a huge building there with Public Services and Procurement Canada written on it. About 10,000 people work there.
Ministers of state have none of the prerequisites that would make them equal to ministers. This has nothing to do with gender equality or equity between individuals. Ministers of state simply do not have a minister’s workload. That is the only thing Canadians need to know.
Remarkably, the hon. member of St. Catharines himself said it a thousand times in his speech on administrative changes. That is exactly what it is: an administrative change. It is not a substantial change. The Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, who comes from the Eastern Townships, will not have a building with 10,000 public servants or a cabinet. She will not have anything a real minister has. I am on the Standing Committee on Official Languages, so I recognize that the files she manages are extremely important, but her workload will still be quite a bit lighter than that of the Minister of National Defence, for example.
My colleague from Calgary Shepard made me think of something. It is not true that all cabinet ministers are equal. No one can tell me that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Canadian Heritage are on equal footing. I must say that I prefer heritage to the economy. That being said, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has a portfolio because she is the House leader and she is the Minister of Small Business and Tourism. She has more to deal with than another minister who does not have these two portfolios and these two responsibilities. It is as simple as that.
I wanted to say one last thing, something a little more philosophical. Imposing a gender-equal cabinet comes with its own share of risks. At the end of the day, philosophically and legally speaking, what does it even mean? It means that we will never see an all-female cabinet in Canada. I would even go so far as to say that this is good way for the Prime Minister of Canada to make sure that women never make up more than half a cabinet.
In fact, I would even say that this will stop the advancement of women in politics.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 12:16 [p.14557]
Mr. Speaker, the bill does not speak about equal votes; it speaks about equal voice. I will tell members something interesting. When I was an intern in the Prime Minister's Office, the greatest honour of my life was to be part of a cabinet meeting. There, I was completely astounded to see MPs, not ministers, enter the room and be part of the meeting. They would stand and give their opinion with respect to the discussion. The ministers would acknowledge them, saying that this was the direction they should take. That is equal voice. Those MPs did not need a title or a ministry to have an equal voice. Having an equal voice around a cabinet table has nothing to do with which ministry one has.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 12:18 [p.14557]
Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the case, and I must put forward a great example.
When Winston Churchill was the minister of the Royal Navy in 1918, he went on a ship. Things were not going as they should have, so he went to see the commander. He asked him to bring all the men on board so he could speak with them. The commander said to Mr. Churchill that he should never speak to the soldiers, but he again said that he wanted to speak with the soldiers. He went to one of the lowest-ranking marines and asked him what the plan should be to get out of them of the mess. The soldier told him his plan. Churchill then turned to the highest-ranking officer and told him that he was to do that. Since then, occidental armies have this kind of practice where everyone listens. I was in the army and I know that commanders always ask their soldiers what they should do. Of course afterward it is the commanders who will decide.
Therefore, you are right, sir, the government does not listen to people who do not have a title. However, in the former Conservative government, Harper used to listen to everyone.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:39 [p.10295]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak this afternoon. I am pleased that you are the one in the chair right now.
I am rising today to share some of my thoughts and, of course, those of Her Majesty's official opposition on Bill C-25, An act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act.
It is important to begin by saying that this bill targets some 270,000 federally incorporated companies, which are, for the most part, small and medium-sized businesses that do not sell shares and to which the changes will not apply.
It is important to remember that the amendments proposed in Bill C-25 are the result of a legislative review that was conducted by a House of Commons committee in 2010, two Parliaments ago. Consultations were then held by our government and Industry Canada in 2014.
Like the majority of my colleagues who have spoken to Bill C-25, I think it is commendable and fantastic in many ways that the current government was open enough to use old legislation from the Conservatives' 2015 budget to develop Bill C-25.
However, what my opposition colleagues and I find a little unfortunate is the lack of substance in the bill we have before us at the current stage and, in fact, the lack of substance we see all too often in the current government's bills. I would even say the lack of bills, quite simply. No more than 50 bills have been tabled by the Liberal government since October 19, 2015. The minority government of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper had tabled three times as much legislation by 2007.
Certainly, the bills lack substance. In addition, there is a lack of real change. I will come back to the bill after this aside. The Liberals campaign slogan was “real change”. We can certainly change the things we say. That is obviously what the Liberals have done. However, Canadians expect legislative change, and that is not what we are seeing currently.
The Liberal government is missing several opportunities to do a good job in the House and bring in concrete measures for Canadian society, to address problems affecting workers, seniors, the unemployed, and corporate boards. This is how I am getting back to the bill.
We are delighted that the Liberal government is using legislation that the previous Conservative government worked very hard on. However, in committee, we brought forward two main amendments that, it appears, do not suit the opposition, or rather the government. Excuse me. I misspoke. I saw the future and called the government the official opposition. That will be two and a half years from now.
During the committee stage of Bill C-25, the Conservatives proposed amendments that would have strengthened the bill. First, we proposed to define the word “diversity”, which is an integral part of the bill.
It is one of the key components of the bill since the other side of the House wants to impose diversity, which is still undefined, within various federally regulated corporate boards and institutions.
The amendment we wanted to bring forward would define the word correctly. The need for this was also raised by a number of the witnesses who appeared before the committee. The official opposition critic responsible for this issue and several of my Conservative colleagues met with these witnesses.
The second amendment would require a review of the diversity policy in three years.
There is a reason why the Liberal government did not accept this amendment, which would define the word “diversity”. One of the things this government most often does is present sweeping concepts that they do not want to define. In this case, it is diversity. In another case, it is the 1%. For the next two and a half years I will repeat that the 1% does not exist. We are one of the world’s fairest societies, one of the societies where wealth redistribution is unparalleled in the history of mankind. I really find it incredible. I had the chance to go to university and I can say that any professor or academic would tell you that there is no such thing as the 1%.
I would like to give a parallel example that will explain why imposing diversity could have consequences that are not necessarily what the government intends. I will go out on a limb: I assume that by diversity, they mean cultural minorities of all kinds. Today it is rather fashionable to identify all kinds of minorities, when what really counts is protecting the political minority, first and foremost. I will give an example of some of the consequences that sometimes result from a desire found only in rhetoric. When the Liberals talk about a gender-balanced cabinet, I see rather significant consequences. It is not in law, thank God, but if by misfortune the next government decides to continue with that, this would then become a convention. We would have a sort of parliamentary convention to have a gender-balanced cabinet.
According to the Liberals, having a convention saying that cabinet must be gender balanced means that women will forever hold half the power in the cabinet that forms the government. From another perspective, this also means that from now on, women will never be the majority in cabinet. Is that not a bit ironic to think that for centuries, cabinet was composed mostly of men, and now, with this convention we end up never seeing a cabinet composed mostly of women?
I believe this is a first consequence of this rather dangerous convention, based on misconceptions, dangerous social interpretations, and political capital, which, furthermore, in a way endangers—to put it bluntly—the possibility of having the best cabinet possible. I am sure that my colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, across the way, would make a wonderful minister. I was with him on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. He is incredible, clever and has an outstanding mind. However, because of gender parity, he will probably never be as close to me on the seating plan as he could be. We will never get the best by relying on sweeping misconceptions.
Creating such misconceptions of social reality that can be interpreted differently can have consequences. We therefore need to define the word “diversity” to ensure that this bill will not have negative consequences on corporate administration.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:52 [p.10296]
Mr. Speaker, obviously, liberalism and the capitalist system result in these kinds of problems. A good government must always ensure that wealth is redistributed in the best interests of all Canadians.
That said, if I were told that 30% of Canadians were a lot richer than others, I would say we are starting to have a problem. However, the concept of the 1% leads to dangerous political battles, since it makes Canadians cynical.
Canadians live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, one of the only countries where anyone, even the poorest of the poor, can do their best and succeed, since there is the crown government. Canada presents all sorts of opportunities. We need to stop talking to Canadians as though they were pathetic children. Quite the contrary, we need to show them that this great country is there for them and for their future. We especially have to stop coming up with sweeping concepts that create cynicism day after day in society.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 16:53 [p.10296]
All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is that I profoundly believe that the bonuses that were automatically given to the CEOs were outrageous. Twenty-four hours before people in Quebec and most political figures started to be outraged, I had already put on Twitter that it was dishonourable, dishonourable, and dishonourable.
To answer the hon. member's question more specifically, I would say that is one of the reasons I support the member for Beauce for the leadership. He just basically stands against any subsidies. He specifically said in his platform that he would strike subsidies against companies. However, I often say to my friend the member for Beauce that we still have to be cognizant of the fact that some regions in Canada need subsidies—for example, the Atlantic provinces—to make sure that we increase and support economic development there. Sometimes we have to be straight with our ideas, but we must always acknowledge the needs and the realities of the different regions.
The bonuses for the CEO are outrageous, and we should all hopefully be against that.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-12-05 18:40 [p.7672]
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. I was only able to hear the end, so I hope my question is relevant.
I have spoken with my colleague many times, and he is very professional. He is a lawyer with a large Montreal firm. However, I never thought he would be so partisan as to portray the Conservative era in such a negative light, when we gave the most substantial tax breaks in 50 years thank to 63 successive measures. We also created 1.2 million jobs after the recession.
As a lawyer, my colleague from Louis-Hébert should stick to the facts. Does he not find it odd that he and his government are talking about a tax cut for the middle class, when in reality, it applies only to people who earn over $140,000 a year? A Conservative senator, Larry Smith, did some excellent research that proves it. In other words, this tax cut does not at all apply to those who need it most.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:40 [p.7302]
Madam Speaker, I was going to rise to ask a question, but it seems that I will be starting my speech now. I would like to say hello to all those Canadians who are watching us right now, especially my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou.
I am very pleased to speak in the House to Bill C-26, regarding the Canada pension plan.
My Conservative colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan spoke just before me. I admire his exemplary oratory skills and aspire to achieve the same some day. He talked about how this bill is typical of this and every Liberal government since the dawn of Canada. In fact, this is about taxing Canadians even more in order to fill the government's coffers to help carry out the Liberal government's agenda.
My colleague also talked about the Liberals' paternalistic approach to everything. All the while, he was able to illustrate with clear and concise definitions that increasing CPP contributions was in fact a tax from an economic and social policy perspective. He described in detail the Liberals' typically paternalistic approach to raising taxes.
That was encouraging to me as I wanted to explain that this bill is typical of this government, one that, despite its claims, has been increasing Canadians' taxes every month since coming to power one year ago.
It cancelled various tax credits that we introduced, such as those for children's sports activities or books and educational items. It refused to move forward with its promise to lower the small business tax, which represents a tax hike. It cancelled the universal child care benefit and replaced it with a benefit that was poorly implemented and that, by 2020, will incur extraordinary costs that were not anticipated. The government did not think of indexation, for example. That is not revenue neutral.
The Liberals have also proposed the Liberal tax on carbon of 11.5¢ a litre, which will soon be implemented. They are also increasing the CPP contribution by $1,000 a year for every employee and every employer. Furthermore, they did not reduce the small business tax. They are also making it more difficult to obtain a mortgage in order to buy a home.
On this side of the House, we understand full well that the exponential growth in real estate prices in places like Vancouver and Toronto is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, the Liberals decided to draft a bill that makes no distinction with respect to the different regions of Canada in order to resolve a problem that is affecting only certain cities.
Bill C-26 is part of a general plan to raise taxes for Canadians. This bill is proof that the Liberals are saying one thing and doing another. For the past year, we have been hearing the Liberals talk about strengthening the middle class, but what we are seeing is that they are imposing more taxes on the middle class and introducing measures that will prevent the middle class from developing as it should.
We could even go so far as to say that the government is using the middle class to achieve its own ends and improve its electoral fortunes three years down the road. The government promised us a modest deficit of $10 billion a year. However, that deficit has now grown to $30 billion because of the government's poor decisions and bad management. To fill its coffers, the government has to raise taxes in all sorts of areas, and that includes the Canada pension plan.
In a nutshell, because of Bill C-26, workers will take home $1,000 less every year and employers and entrepreneurs, the people who lead the way in job creation in Canada, will have to give up another $1,000 per year.
I heard what my Liberal colleague said about seniors working hard all their lives and being entitled to a good Canada pension plan. He was talking about workers who are seniors right now. I stood up to ask him a question. Nowadays, more and more of our seniors keep working after retirement. My father-in-law retired from the Quebec public service a few years ago and is now working part-time. The higher Canada pension plan premium will be deducted from every one of his biweekly paycheques. Moreover, the changes to the Canada pension plan will not come into effect for another 40 years. Many seniors, including anyone who is currently a senior, will not benefit from the higher premiums, which are supposedly intended to reduce poverty among seniors.
I would also like to reiterate what my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent was saying a little earlier when he began the debate on Bill C-26. As he explained, what we are seeing right now are two different and opposing political and philosophical outlooks. My colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan provided a good description of the Liberal Party's vision. The Liberals think they know better than Canadians what they should do with their money and how they should use it at the end of the day. That is so paternalistic. It is in this government's DNA. It always thinks it knows better than Canadians what to do about all kinds of things, including how to invest and prepare for a comfortable retirement, if that is possible.
Conversely, we the Conservatives believe that individuals, Canadians themselves, know best what suits them to meet their own needs. That is why, during the 10 years we were in power, we took action and introduced policies that would help return as much money as possible to taxpayers, to maximize the amount of money that would stay in their pockets at the end of the year, as well as maximize the tools available to enable them, in turn, to maximize everything themselves. For instance, I think that the tax-free savings account is an excellent tool. Many people in my immediate family use that measure, as do my neighbours and constituents.
I also want to say that we should look to our ancestors. For example, my great-grandfather built his own retirement nest egg. I am not saying that we should go back to a time when there was no government plan to support those among us who forget to do our due diligence and prepare for old age. However, we must not implement measures that encourage people to neglect their needs and their responsibility to take care of their own retirement. We must always keep in mind the sage advice that our ancestors lived by. In other words, we must create our own nest eggs and ensure that when we reach old age we are able to take care of ourselves as much as possible for as long as possible.
I also think that Bill C-26 reflects two rather different political approaches. I would go so far as to say that my NDP colleagues share this same vision. Currently, every policy from this government is about short-term political gains with a view to re-election in three years, or so they think and want. How many decisions did we make in the past 10 years that were not at all popular? We still went ahead and made them anyway. We were courageous and proud to make those decisions. I am talking about increasing the age of retirement from 65 to 67. That was an extremely courageous and necessary decision. I am sure that I will likely never retire. I will work until I die, as people did for thousands of years. It is too bad.
I wanted to close by saying that one of my hobbies is to watch political debates. I have watched the debates in France, England, and in Germany, and the majority of the western European countries are saying that the age of retirement needs to increase. We said that, but this government is going in the opposite direction. It is very unfortunate.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:51 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, in my opinion, the government has continued on the same path as the Conservatives in that they are increasing the guaranteed income supplement, which is a good thing. We can acknowledge that.
However, the government is preventing seniors who are currently working part-time from thriving. In my riding, most seniors that I meet work part-time. They therefore have to contribute to a retirement plan that they will not benefit from.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:52 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, it is not up to me to suggest measures. The Liberals are in government. What I can say is that their current proposal will not increase or strengthen the CPP, but instead will provide the government with additional revenue to cover its poor financial management.
I would like to say to my colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell that in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the world went through the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. We ran deficits at the time to weather that great storm, and we did so with the best record of all G7 countries as we created more than 1.2 million jobs and had the best employment rate of all OECD countries.
We believe that the government should follow our lead.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:54 [p.7304]
Madam Speaker, we voted against Bill C-2 because it is a false decrease of taxes in Canada.
I would invite my colleagues to chat with Senator Larry Smith, who has done great research and has put forward some amendments at the Senate committee on finance. This is research that shows, without doubt, that the decrease of taxes will only benefit households that make between $140,000 and $170,000 per year. It will not help any household with revenue under $100,000 per year. People with lower incomes are not better off with that. That is my answer to my colleague.
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