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View Todd Doherty Profile
View Todd Doherty Profile
2019-06-04 13:23 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address some of the failings of the Liberal government over the last four years and reflect upon just how disastrous it has been.
The heckling continues over there. The Liberals never miss an opportunity to get some good heckling in. Our colleagues across the way are chirping loud and doing all they can to throw us off. However, it will not work. I have been chirped at by the best and they definitely are not the best.
I rise today to talk to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act. Essentially, it is an extension of the government's attempt to cover up what could be actually the biggest affront to our democracy in our country's history. It has attempted to cover up potentially the biggest corruption at the highest levels of our government, and that is the SNC-Lavalin case. That is what we are seeing here today. I bring us back to that again because I feel I have to. The gallery is packed. I know Canadians from coast to coast to coast knew this speaker was coming up.
I would be remiss if I did not remind Canadians from all across our country that it was day 10 of the 2015 election when the then member of Papineau committed to Canadians that under his government, he would let the debate reign. He said that he would not resort to parliamentary tricks such as omnibus bills or closure of debate. He also told Canadians around that same time that he would balance the budget in 2019. Those are three giant “oops”, perhaps disingenuous comments. I do not think he has lived up to any of them at this point.
As of today, the government has invoked closure over 70 times. Why? Because the government does not like what it is hearing. If the Liberals do not like what the opposition is saying and they do not want Canadians to hear the truth, they invoke closure. This means we cannot debate really important legislation. They limit the amount of time for debate on that legislation. The BIA, Bill C-97, is just one of them. Does that sound like letting the debate reign? It does not.
It is interesting that whenever things go sideways for the Prime Minister, a couple of things happen. We see him even less in the House or something always happens to change the channel. That is what we have today.
Bill C-97 is really just a cover-up budget. We have talked about that. It just goes in line with more and more of the government's kinds of wacky ways, where it says it will spend money and perhaps it doles it out. However, the money is not really going to things that Canadians need the most.
We see $600 million in an election year being given to the media, a media that is supposed to be impartial. That is a $600 million bailout.
We also know that in the previous budget, approximately $500 million was given to the Asian Infrastructure Bank. That $500 million is not being spent in Canada for one piece of an infrastructure.
I rose to talk about a few things. One of the things that is really disappointing for me is this. When the Liberals came to power in 2015, a lot of promises were made, and this one hits home for us. I have brought this up time and again in the House. The Liberals said that they would put an end to the softwood lumber dispute.
I think it was in 2016 that the Prime Minister stood in the House and told Canadians that he was going to have a deal done within 100 days. He had a new BFF, the Minister of International Trade Diversification said. Both were just giddy. They were going to get this deal done and put an end to the softwood lumber irritant once and for all, yet last week, we found out from the Senate Liberal leader that the Prime Minister had other priorities ahead of softwood lumber.
Over 140 communities and over 140,000 jobs are tied to forestry in my province of British Columbia. Forestry is a cornerstone industry in my province, yet it was not a priority for the Prime Minister in renegotiating his NAFTA deal.
What we are seeing with the Liberal government is that rural Canadians are just not its focus.
Last week I also met with some real estate folks and some Canadian homebuilder folks. They told me that the Liberal government's B-20 stress test and the shared equity program, which is geared toward trying to get Canadians into homes, is actually hurting that industry. The real estate industry is saying that the B-20 stress test, which was geared more for Toronto and Vancouver markets but is all across the country, impacts rural Canadians negatively .
Almost $15 billion has been kept out of that industry, meaning that it is harder for Canadians to get into the home ownership they strive for. It is a step into the middle class. People put money toward something they own rather than putting it into something that someone else owns. The government's failed B-20 policy and the shared equity program is hurting Canadians. It is another example of how Canadians are worse off with the Liberal government.
I will bring us to a couple of years ago. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence all have it down pat. They can put their hands on their hearts and say that they really care, yet it is the same Prime Minister who told veterans that they were asking for too much.
Yesterday was a very important day, because we saw the closure of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission and we saw its report. The government knew that this day was coming, but did it put any money in the 2019 budget for that? There is nothing.
The Liberals like to say that Canadians are better off than they were under our previous Conservative administration, but it is actually the opposite. Canadians are worse off since the Liberal government took over. Eighty-one per cent of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes since the Liberal government came to power. The average income increase for middle income families is $840. The government's higher pension plan premiums could eventually cost Canadians up to $2,200 per household. The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut of up to $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit of up to $225 per child. They cancelled the education and textbook tax credits of up to $560 per student. The government's higher employment insurance premiums are up $85 per worker. The Liberal carbon tax could cost up to $1,000 per household and be as high as $5,000 in the future.
The Prime Minister called small businesses tax cheats. The government's intrusive tax measures for small businesses will raise taxes on thousands of family businesses across Canada.
The list goes on and on. Bill C-97 is just the capping of a scandal-ridden administration, and to that, I say, good riddance.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2007-02-02 10:04 [p.6321]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-31, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act.
On June 22 the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs tabled a report in the House entitled, “Improving the Integrity of the Electoral Process: Recommendations for Legislative Change”. The report was based in part on the recommendations that we had received from the Chief Electoral Officer. While there have been discussions about fundamental changes to our entire electoral system, these should not detract from the efforts that have been made to improve our existing system.
The government tabled a response to the committee's report on October 20 and agreed with a vast majority of the recommendations that were made by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Bill C-31 was subsequently introduced on October 24 of last year.
The proposed bill would amend the Canada Elections Act to improve the integrity of the electoral process by reducing the opportunity for electoral fraud or for error. It would require electors before voting to provide one piece of government issued photo identification that shows their names and addresses or two pieces of identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer that show their names and addresses, or they can also take an oath or they might be vouched for by an elector who does have photo identification.
The proposed bill would amend the Canada Elections Act to, among other things, make operational changes to improve the accuracy of the national register of electors. It will facilitate voting and enhance communications with the electorate. It amends the Public Service Employment Act to permit the Public Service Commission to make regulations that will now extend to the maximum term of employment of casual workers. We see this as an improvement.
While the government did not incorporate the committee's recommendations in Bill C-31, it stated that when it did not accept these recommendations, it had a fundamental disagreement in principle, or the items required further study, or we had received inadequate testimony and had been unable to reach a definitive decision during the committee proceedings.
A key concern of the Liberal committee members was to ensure that the bill allowed aboriginal status identification to be deemed acceptable proof for voting purposes. Government officials have clarified that the text of the bill requires government issued photo ID with an address or government issued photo ID without an address. This would include band status cards, but they would have to be accompanied by a letter from the band council or something like a phone bill that would have the person's number, name and address to corroborate the claim that he or she was indeed an eligible voter in that specific riding.
A second concern that the Liberal committee members have is ensuring that the enumeration process is strengthened on the reserve communities. The government has suggested, rather than send the bill to committee, that the committee simply pass a motion calling on the Chief Electoral Officer to strengthen enumeration in reserve communities.
My riding of Sydney—Victoria is in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It has the highest population of aboriginals in Atlantic Canada. There are three communities: Wagmatcook, Membertou and Eskasoni. Eskasoni is the largest aboriginal community east of Montreal. These communities are overcoming some major challenges and it is very important that as they are taking charge of their destiny, they get involved in our electoral process.
These communities contain 4,000 status aboriginals. Voter turnout in these areas has been historically lower than in the rest of the communities in my riding. I would hope this measure could help increase the voter turnout.
According to the 2001 census, 4.5% of the riding is aboriginal and I think this measure will go a long way to bring voter turnout up to match the portion of the population. Indeed, Eskasoni is probably the fastest growing community in my riding. It deserves representation so that its infrastructure and social needs can be addressed.
As the bill has emerged from the work of the all-party committee, sending it back to the committee would somehow be redundant, given that the government has assured the opposition that the aboriginal ID concerns are addressed in the text of the current bill.
On this side of the House we support changes to the Canada Elections Act that protect against the likelihood of voter fraud and misrepresentation. We need to be assured that the aboriginal photo identification is acceptable. We also support strengthening the enumeration process, particularly on the reserve communities and in other areas where there is low voter turnout.
Before I became a member of Parliament I did work in underdeveloped countries. As a member of the trade committee and the foreign affairs committee we visited many countries with my colleagues. Many of these countries were just embarking on a democratic process.They use us as an example.
It is not only important for Canadian citizens to be encouraged to vote, but it is also important that we encourage other citizens of the world to fully participate in democracy. I encourage all my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to support this legislation.
Voter turnout continues to be low. I never thought I would see a 60% turnout from an area that used to have some of the highest participation rates in the country. Even in my riding where people are generally more engaged politically there continues to be a lower turnout. There is nothing more frustrating for voters when their name does not appear on the list.
The ID provision in this bill actually will make it easier for voters to engage in the political process. I am sure all my colleagues have seen that problem and will agree with that.
My riding is on the north shore of Cape Breton Island. It stretches from Bras d'Or Lake in the southwest to Cabot Strait in the northwest all the way to St. Paul Island in the northeast. Sydney is our largest centre, along with North Sydney, Sydney Mines and New Waterford. They are all communities in my riding.
As I stated before, there are also three Mi'kmaq reserves: Membertou, Eskasoni and Wagmatcook. They want their voices heard. I believe this bill will bring greater confidence to the system.
A government issued ID photo is a small requirement to protect our precious right to vote. Indeed, even without an ID a voter still may be sworn in. That makes Canada by far one of the easiest jurisdictions in which one can exercise one's franchise.
There are other components to our system that make Canada a model for the world, including our system of professional returning officers. In my riding of Sydney—Victoria we have always been blessed with competent returning officers and our electoral staff. They undergo more training than ever before and this adds to the credibility of our system.
I believe the bill in a small way helps keep faith in the integrity of our system and that is why I am support the bill.
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