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Results: 1 - 15 of 159
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Mr. Speaker, it is becoming more expensive for average Canadians to pay their bills. Costs are going up across the country, and in Alberta in particular, families are struggling. Car insurance rates have gotten more expensive, electricity bills are higher and just this week parents are learning that they will have to pay out of their own pockets for their kids to ride the school bus.
On top of all this, Canadians are still paying some of the highest fees for cellphones and Internet bills in the world because the government refuses to do what is right and put the needs of people ahead of the demands of the telecom industry.
No matter where people live in Canada, they should be able to stay connected without breaking the bank. Wishing, hoping and claiming that industries regulate themselves just will not work. Canadians need a price cap on their cellphone and Internet bills.
View Ruth Ellen Brosseau Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in 2019, access to a cell network and high-speed Internet are essential services, but these services are getting more and more expensive and less and less reliable. Rather than stand up for the people, the Liberals and Conservatives are allowing big telecom companies to get rich and pocket billions of dollars.
Can the federal government put the people's interests ahead of big telecoms' interests and make a pledge today to lower people's bills and ensure reliable service?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2019-06-11 14:25 [p.28917]
Mr. Speaker, small businesses, families, students and teachers, everyone needs access to the Internet and good cellular services. However, the Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed cellphone companies and telecom companies to gouge Canadians to the point that now they are making $7.5 billion in profits. New Democrats have a plan to stop the gouging. We would place a price cap on cellphone bills.
Why have the Liberals failed to stand up to big telecom? Why have they failed to protect Canadians?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2019-06-11 14:27 [p.28917]
What in the world, Mr. Speaker?
Both Liberal and Conservative governments have let corporations rake in billions of dollars at the expense of Canadians. That is unacceptable. The time has come to stand up for Canadians. However, the problem is that the Liberals and the Conservatives are too cozy with these big companies.
When will the government put people before telecom companies?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2019-06-11 14:28 [p.28917]
Mr. Speaker, we are brave enough to stand up to big telecom when it comes to the services they provide. Access to cellular and Internet services is a necessity for students, teachers, families, Canadians and small and medium-sized businesses. Access is neither affordable nor reliable, however. We are brave enough to make better choices.
When will this government, the Liberals and the Prime Minister join us in lowering costs for Canadians?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-10 12:03 [p.28786]
moved:
That, given telecommunication services in Canada cost more than most other countries in the world, leaving far too many Canadians with unaffordable, inadequate or no service at all, the House call on the government to implement measures that will make those services more affordable, including:
(a) a price cap to ensure every Canadian saves money on their bill;
(b) abolishing data caps for broadband Internet and mandating that companies create unlimited data plans at affordable rates for wireless services;
(c) putting an end to egregious and outrageous sales and services practices through a Telecom Consumers’ Bill of Rights;
(d) revisiting the structure of the spectrum auction to make sure everyday Canadians benefit most from the revenue, rather than repeating the failures of previous Liberal and Conservative governments, which squandered almost $20 billion from previous auctions; and
(e) directing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reverse their rural and remote broadband implementation policy, which condemns these areas, including many Indigenous communities, to years of substandard broadband and wireless services.
He said: Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I want to let you know that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the fabulous member for Jonquière.
I want to praise the work of the member of Parliament for Windsor West. He has been dogged and determined in bringing fairness to the telecom charges people are paying across the country. He does an extraordinary job. He will be speaking in the House a bit later on today. Right now, he is in a press conference, ensuring that journalists across the length and breadth of the country are familiar with the NDP's five-point plan to not only save Canadians money, but also expand telecom coverage right across the country so broadband and cellular services are made available in remote areas where they are not available now.
What does the five-point NDP plan mean and what does it mean if Parliament adopts it? It could mean a savings of up to $600 a year for a Canadian. I want to go into that in some detail, because Canadians are struggling to make ends meet.
As members are aware, half of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency in any one month. Over the past few decades, we have seen more inequality and a greater struggle for average Canadian families to make ends meet. It should be a source of shame for us that the average Canadian family now has the worst family debt load in any country in the industrialized world. That means Canadians have been struggling to make ends meet and for decades, the federal government has done very little to assist them with that. We often find that lobbyists, such as the big Internet companies from the United States, which do not even pay taxes in Canada, have had an influence. The lobbyists for the telecom companies have also made a difference. Therefore, it is common sense, not rocket science, to simply have the federal government take the measures needed to make a difference in the lives of Canadians.
As we know, in the developed world, Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile, wireless and broadband services. It costs them a lot more per month than people who live in other countries. That means price gouging is taking place. The federal government has basically allowed big telecom to gouge Canadians with impunity. That has to end. The NDP five-point plan would put measures in place to ensure that would not happen anymore.
Let us take one example. This has come out of many studies, which have shown consistently that the average price for Canadians who have a two gigabyte plan per month for data, and I am among them, as I am sure many Canadians are, is now somewhere in the neighbourhood of $75 to $76 a month. How does that compare with plans in other parts of the world? Obviously if Canadians are paying too much, then putting measures in place to ensure Canadians are not being gouged makes a great deal of sense.
Similar studies show the difference between what Canadians pay and what people in other parts of the industrialized world pay. If we were in Toronto, a monthly plan for two gigabytes of data would cost about $75.50 a month. What is the price for a two gigabyte plan in Paris? The same two gigabyte plan would cost $30.91. That is a substantive difference. The difference can basically be summed up as the big telecom companies in Canada are allowed to gouge Canadians with impunity. In other parts of the world, governments have taken action to restrict the amount of money that can be gouged from the consumer.
In London, the same gigabyte plan, which is $30 in Paris and $75 in Canada, is $26.56 on average, which is $50 less per month than in Canada. In Rome, for the same plan, two gigabytes per month, one would pay $24.70. Those are European examples.
We can look at a country that is similar to our country, such as Australia, which is a vast land and differing infrastructure. Many parts of Australia are remote, as are many parts of Canada. Australia has put in place measures to ensure it had a cellphone and Internet broadband infrastructure. Australia has found that those same prices are substantially less than what they are in Canada. I mentioned $24.70 and that is the price per month in Australia. Therefore, it is $50 less a month for a two-gigabyte plan in Australia, which faces the same infrastructure challenges, as Canada does, with its vast expanse. It has a better degree of remote broadband and cellphone access. It has put in place a better infrastructure, and the cost per month for the average Australian is $50 a month less than in Canada.
I talked about Italy, and I misspoke a moment ago. In Rome, if one is looking at broadband and wireless access, it would cost $21.11, which is a profound difference to Canada. Canadians are paying about $50 more for a two-gigabyte plan, and this is just one of many examples.
Consumers living in France, the United Kingdom, Italy or in the vast expanse of Australia are paying $50 a month less for a two-gigabyte plan than we are in Canada. There is no other way to explain this except rampant price gouging and governments refusing to protect consumers. That ends today with the NDP five-point plan.
The motion was read earlier, but it is important to reiterate what the NDP five-point plan is proposing.
First, we would put a price cap to ensure every Canadian saves money on their bill. This is a best practice that other countries have put in place and it has saved money for their consumers.
Second, we would abolish data caps for broadband Internet and mandate that companies create unlimited data plans at affordable rates for wireless services. This abolishing of the data cap has also made a substantive difference for consumers in other countries who are paying substantially less, $600 a year less. What could the Canadian population, the middle-class, working-class families, do with that $600 more they are paying compared to the Italian, French, English or Australian consumers. There is simply no way to legitimize or justify the price gouging that is taking place.
Third, we would put an end to egregious and outrageous sales and services practices through a telecom consumers’ bill of rights.
Fourth, we would revisit the structure of the spectrum auction to make sure everyday Canadians benefit.
Fifth, we would redirect the CRTC to stop its interpretation that is guaranteeing substandard broadband and wireless services for rural and remote communities.
This five-point plan makes sense to everybody but the big telecom lobbyists. It makes sense for Parliament to adopt it today. The result would be a $600 saving per year for the average Canadian family. It would make a difference.
Therefore, I urge all members to vote for the NDP five-point plan to reduce the cost of telecom and to expand services in the country.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-10 12:14 [p.28787]
Once again, Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are supporting the big telecom lobbyists, like they have done with big oil and gas. No matter how much money the Liberals pour into companies, for the Conservatives it never seems to be enough. Here is a case where the Conservatives could have taken action for 10 years and never did. That means every Canadian consumer, including consumers in the member's own riding, are paying $600 more than they should be because of the lack of government action. The member threw out a drive-by insult, but the reality is that other countries have put these measures in place. Other countries have protected their consumers and it is about time the Canadian government actually protected consumers.
Another point is that this would also have a profound impact on small businesses. Small businesses are being gouged, including in the member's own riding. Putting these measures in place not only helps individual Canadian families but it helps small businesses that can be competitive and create jobs in communities right across the country.
The average revenue per gigabyte in Canada is up to 70 times for big telecom than it is in other countries. We are talking about excessive windfall profits. We need some common sense and decency and we need to save money for Canadian consumers.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-10 12:17 [p.28788]
Mr. Speaker, I wish the member had listened to my speech, but he will have other opportunities as other NDP members explain it again later on.
The difference I cited is for a two gigabytes per month plan. The average cost in Canada, in places like Toronto or the member's own riding in Winnipeg, is $75.44 per month. In Sydney, Australia, for example, it is $24.70. That is what I cited in my speech and I will be reiterating it throughout the course of the day. There is simply no way to justify Canadians in Winnipeg having to pay $50 per month more for their telecom, wireless and broadband services, than an Australian pays. They have the same infrastructure challenges, apples to apples.
What has happened, though, in Australia is that the government has taken effective measures to ensure there are not these windfall profits and that consumers are not being gouged. That is what New Democrats are bringing to the floor of the House of Commons today.
View Karine Trudel Profile
NDP (QC)
View Karine Trudel Profile
2019-06-10 12:18 [p.28788]
Mr. Speaker, no one in the House would be surprised to hear that cellphone service in Canada today is amongst the most expensive in the world. This should spur us into action. This is 2019 and we live in one of the world's major economies. Canada is a G7 country, and yet we are often a laughing stock.
Canadian consumers are paying as much as tens of times more for their cellphone plans than people in Europe or Asia, so they should at least have access to quality service. In some areas of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, such as Lamarche, which is located between Saint-Fulgence and Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, on Highway 172 heading towards Lac-Saint-Jean, you sometimes have to stop your car and hope that the call does not drop in the middle of your conversation.
Access to affordable cellular and high-speed Internet services has become a necessity these days, both at home and at work. It is an essential economic tool in a large region like Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.
Canadians deserve to have reliable telecommunications service, without having to pay $20, $30 or $40 more than in other OECD countries for a similar plan.
Consider this: a two-gigabyte data plan costs a Canadian consumer the same as unlimited data plans in several dozen other countries. Telecommunications lobbies have long argued that the prices are justified because of Canada's geography and its significant impact on the cost of maintenance, but that argument does not hold water. For example, Australia has even bigger geographic challenges than Canada and yet it is able to offer faster connectivity and more affordable plans than we get here at home.
It is high time for the Liberals to take action, vote in favour of the NDP motion and have the courage to stand up to the Canadian telecommunications giants to provide Canadians with affordable plans.
The way forward is clear. It is unacceptable that in 2019, several regions of a G7 country still do not have quality Internet and cellular connectivity at an affordable rate. This is even more unacceptable when we know that compared to many other countries, Canadian telecommunications companies generate obscene revenues for less service. Canadian providers pocket 23 times as much revenue per gigabyte as telecoms in Finland, and 70 times as much as those in India.
Naturally, this reality is putting off many businesses whose growth directly depends on affordable, high-quality national telecommunications services from investing in Canada. The upshot is that we are losing investors, who would rather focus on countries where wireless and high-speed Internet services are less expensive. This needs to stop.
The Liberals have nonchalantly released a report stating that there is nothing wrong with the rates, the Conservatives are shouting from the rooftops that we should trust market forces to take care of everything, but all the while, nothing is getting done.
To put an end to this farce, the NDP is moving a motion today to make our wireless and broadband services more affordable and more accessible.
Our proposal contains five components. First, we are calling on the government to implement a price cap to lower bills, especially cellphone bills. In Ontario, Rogers' 85-gigabyte plan costs $415 a month. Honestly, Europeans could get a lifetime plan with virtually unlimited data for a tenth of the price. That is just ridiculous.
Second, we are calling for data caps for broadband Internet to be abolished and for companies to be mandated to create unlimited data plans at affordable rates. Together, these two steps, abolishing data caps and mandating companies to create unlimited data plans, would upend the current pricing structure by creating more affordable rates providing better value for consumers.
Every supplier would finally have an inexpensive base plan similar to what is offered in the OECD. That is not so much to ask.
Third, we are asking that a telecommunications consumers' bill of rights be created to eliminate certain unacceptable sales and service practices. This proposal is based on previous recommendations by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to regulate the industry.
Creating this bill of rights that clearly spells out the rights of consumers would help everyone make more informed purchases and above all would be an effective means of combatting certain scandalous sales and service practices. Agreements between operators to increase prices, arbitrary price increases and one-off discounts are a thing of the past.
Fourth, the spectrum auction system is in dire need of an overhaul to ensure that ordinary Canadians benefit fully from revenues. At present, new spectrum licences are auctioned from time to time by the Canadian government. The 600-megahertz band, for example, is prized by operators for its ability to penetrate concrete buildings in urban areas.
The problem is that ordinary Canadians do not benefit from these auctions. In 2001, billions of dollars in licences were granted to telecommunications companies, which do very heavy lobbying. None of these auctions is designed to protect consumers, to lower prices or to increase investments to ensure that Canadians in rural and remote areas have access to affordable, quality services. This must change.
Fifth, we are calling on the CRTC to reverse its rural and remote broadband implementation policy in rural and remote areas. A decision made this fall slashed speeds by half of the speeds announced by the government in 2016 for rural and remote areas. This policy condemns these regions to years of substandard service. For years now, I have been sounding the alarm to protect competitiveness in my region of Saguenay. The region needs access to cell service and high-speed Internet, but nothing is being done to make these services more accessible or affordable.
Since 2015, I have been attending meeting after meeting with local elected officials in Lamarche and Labrecque to advance the cellphone file in that area. The Liberals have always turned a deaf ear. The mayor of Labrecque, Éric Simard, announced a few months ago that approximately half the residents of his municipality were still having connection problems. That is unacceptable.
The government needs to face facts. Its connectivity plan does not meet the needs of the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. There was nothing in the government's last budget to finally give rural and remote areas access to reliable and affordable telecommunications services. The government is giving even more money to rich corporations so that they can expand access to high-speed Internet, but the people of Saguenay know full well that the telecom giants will never do anything to meet the needs of rural areas. These companies would rather invest in urban areas, where they can turn a higher profit.
It is time that the Prime Minister stopped finding billions of dollars just to subsidize his private sector friends. It is time that the Prime Minister had the courage to stand up to the big telecom companies and rein them in. The people of Jonquière have been waiting for years for a program to build cell towers.
When will we be able to benefit from a cellular network designed for the 21st century?
This problem is not unique to my riding. A total of 63% of rural households across the country still do not have access to broadband high-speed Internet and 0% have access in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, where over 70% of major roads and highways still do not have access to proper cellular service.
View Karine Trudel Profile
NDP (QC)
View Karine Trudel Profile
2019-06-10 12:29 [p.28789]
Mr. Speaker, if my colleague had listened to my whole speech, he would have heard me list the five measures that the NDP is proposing in its motion. I am happy to reread them:
(a) a price cap to ensure every Canadian saves money on their bill;
(b) abolishing data caps for broadband Internet and mandating that companies create unlimited data plans at affordable rates for wireless services;
(c) putting an end to egregious and outrageous sales and services practices through a Telecom Consumers' Bill of Rights;
(d) revisiting the structure of the spectrum auction to make sure everyday Canadians benefit most from the revenue, rather than repeating the failures of previous Liberal and Conservative governments, which squandered almost $20 billion from previous auctions; and
(e) directing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reverse their rural and remote broadband implementation policy, which condemns these areas, including many Indigenous communities, to years of substandard broadband and wireless services.
Those are the five measures that the NDP is proposing in its motion. I hope that was clear. I can spend this entire opposition day repeating it if need be. Yes, we read the budget and, in answer to the next question, I will give some examples showing that the Liberal government's investments are inadequate.
View Karine Trudel Profile
NDP (QC)
View Karine Trudel Profile
2019-06-10 12:32 [p.28790]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question about prices.
We need to give small businesses a chance to set up shop in our communities. Earlier, I mentioned the mayor of Labrecque, Éric Simard. Some people in his municipality are still isolated, because the big telecom companies do not think there are not enough people to warrant investment. This means residents cannot choose to work from home, for example, and teens who live in these municipalities and want to pursue higher education have to move to big cities to access all services at a lower cost.
In Saint-Fulgence, in my riding, I often have to pull over in my car to talk on the phone, and my calls get dropped. It is 2019, and it is unacceptable that our calls get dropped when we pull over to use the phone, and that isolated communities do not have access to Internet and other telecommunications services.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-10 12:43 [p.28791]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this motion and to ask a question.
It is important to recognize that Canadians received $20 billion for auctioning off the spectrum from the use of the cellphone and the mobile industry. A lot of people are not aware that $20 billion has gone to the coffers of Conservative and Liberal governments and, at the same time, their policies have also resulted in the highest costs in the world. It is a bad policy because it also is coupled with a lack of coverage to 63% of rural and remote areas.
We heard testimony from the CRTC at the innovation committee this past week where it admitted again that it is cutting the rural and remote speed times down to half the urban times in terms of expectations. On top of that, there is no plan to enforce improvement on that. Why are Liberals building obsolescence for the future of our rural and remote communities?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-10 12:56 [p.28793]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his work at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Over the last year, the member chaired a review of the Copyright Act, which was very difficult. I congratulate him on his efforts in doing that. It was a long process that required a lot of hard work from all parties, and I commend him as the chair.
I take some concern with regard to this particular issue, especially given the fact that his Liberal government already has billions of dollars from the spectrum auction in its coffers. He suggests that a new fund is going to be rolled out in a new budget, which will require a future government to make that resource available. Why did the government not use the previous billions of dollars it had for this, and why is it relying on more Canadian taxpayer dollars for the future? Is he satisfied with the previous government taking $20 billion and now only 30% is required to make this investment into rural and remote areas? Why did the government not act sooner with this money? Where did it go?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-10 13:21 [p.28797]
Mr. Speaker, the member has made the industry committee entertaining and interesting in all aspects. I do enjoy serving with him. It has been a good committee to serve on, and the member has made it a good environment for that.
I want to be very clear about where our current predicament started. It was partly with the member for Beauce as the minister of industry. I do not know if the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola supported the member for Beauce, who has now created his own People's Party. It was the policy direction of basically taking the spectrum auction in and not using it appropriately. The question is, with regard to policy, why we did not actually put more competitive things in place.
There were other expenditures that the previous government did. An example is the implementation of the HST, which the previous government did and the NDP opposed by itself. People now pay HST on their phones and their services, and if they are happy about it, they have the previous government to thank for it. By the way, the $6 billion used to grease the wheels of the provinces is still being paid with interest, because we are still in record deficits, thanks to the record deficit the previous government put us in.
Germane to this discussion is the issue surrounding the cap. The cap is to put in price stability, which is necessary right now. The member described this idea as absurd. However, the reality is that many countries have used this, including our own country when it comes to utilities and telephone prices. Why is that an absurd idea, when other countries use this type of measure to protect consumers?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak to this important issue today. I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Windsor West.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the member for Windsor West, who continues to fight for affordability in the key issue of connectivity. That is really important work. As the dean of our caucus, his leadership and his continued patience with those of us who are new and still learning has been absolutely tremendous. I want to acknowledge him for that.
I represent North Island—Powell River, which is a very rural and remote community. I have a lot of small islands in my riding, a lot of communities that are very hard to access with respect to cell connectivity. A lot of communities are challenged with Internet connection. In fact, several constituents in my riding still use dial-up. That is just the reality facing so many rural communities across the country.
In the last few weeks, I have stood in the House with numerous petitions that desperately ask for more connectivity for cell.
In November of last year, a young man named Duncan Moffat drove off a road between Campbell River and Sayward. He was trapped in his vehicle for seven full days. His cellphone was right beside him, but he could not make a call because there was no reception in that area. For seven days, he lived off the oranges and Gatorade, which he had in the front seat. Luckily he was found by a passing hunter, and he is still with us today.
What was most poignant for me as a mother was hearing the story of when he was found. His mother could not be contacted immediately because she was out in the rural areas, putting up signs alerting people to the fact that her son had gone missing. It was not until she drove into an area with cellphone reception that she was notified her son had been found. This is the reality of many rural and remote communities.
Affordability is a big issue in my riding. There are a lot of hard-working people in my riding and I am really grateful for their input. They connect with me all the time and talk about the challenges they face.
I heard a member earlier speaking about gas prices. Rural and remote communities, like the ones I represent, have some of the highest gas prices in British Columbia right now. Recently, I wrote to the minister to ask for a petroleum monitoring agency to be set up. We need to have more accountability to everyday Canadians about why the costs are so high, especially when at people in those communities have no other way to get to doctor appointments, to go to the hospital, to get to specialists, which in my riding are ferry rides away, hundreds of kilometres away in some cases.
Affordability is exactly what we are talking about. We are talking about the high cost to Canadians of cellular and Internet services. I think it is $20 a month more in this country, sometimes even higher, than other countries. Comparable countries have done similar work to what the NDP proposes today to really take this issue seriously.
I have seniors in my riding who are struggling from month to month to just meet their basic necessities We need to look at all the costs and ensure they are as low as they possibly can be.
The big telecom businesses in Canada are making almost 40% profit every year. They are not taking a portion of that and investing it into rural and remote communities. They are leaving that to small telecom businesses, which are working their butts off every day. I have talked to some of those businesses in my region. They have some great solutions, but they do not see anything happening to make it the next step.
Sixty-three per cent of rural Canadians do not have high-speed broadband. I think of a community in my riding, Gold River, that is doing a lot of active work. It had a mill closure many years ago. A year and a half ago it lost its grocery store. It does not have a bank. People live over an hour away from a larger community. People are really working hard in that community every day to build an economy. What they do not have is cell reception. It has people come out in droves because it is a beautiful place to go. Tourism and community services are very strong, it needs that to attract more people.
Highway 28 and Highway 19 in my riding are two of the most dangerous highways, with thousands of people driving them every day with no cell reception.
Cost matters, but so do these rural communities, which are working every day to make a difference in the lives of their communities. They want to build an economy, but they have been left behind by successive federal governments when the resource-based economy changed. They need to see some of these thing happen.
We need to ensure that rural and remote communities are a priority. We know Canada pays some of the highest costs in the world for cellphone usage. One of the measurements is for two gigabytes, $20 on average. When we see those high costs, I think of some of the people in my riding who have to make a decision whether to their pay rent or buy their medications. We recently heard that many people across the country were $200 away from financially falling apart.
It is motions like this that take concrete action, that take the next step. Companies are making 40% profit. We want to ensure that everyday Canadians stop being gouged by big corporations. When is the government going to take the side of hard-working, everyday Canadians? People are working their butts off and the least we can do is work our butts off on their behalf.
The government has multiple spectrum auctions. From 2001-19, the government has made over $17 billion in revenue from telecommunications companies. Where is that investment in small communities? How are we going to make those prices go down? Rural and remote communities are often forgotten.
When I was first elected, I started getting numerous phone calls from seniors who had been cut off their guaranteed income supplements. It resulted in Bill C-449, which I have tabled in the House, to ensure they would not be cut off. Simple solutions sometimes make the best impact. The solution I proposed was to give seniors a one-year grace period. They receive the guaranteed income supplement and they have a one-year grace period to get their taxes done. Seniors have health challenges and family commitments that make it hard to get their taxes done on time. If we do not look after those who built our country, we fail them.
The bill also asked the CRA to reach out to them and find out why they were not getting their taxes done on time. That is important because some families are challenged because their loved ones have Alzheimer's and do not do what they should do. We need to support them. It would mean that no seniors would be cut off GIS if we gave them a year's grade period. Tens of thousands of seniors would not lose that small stipend that can make the difference between having a place to live or being evicted.
When I look at something as smart as this motion, it is time we seek practical solutions that make a difference, that we support hard-working Canadians over those giant corporations that are making significant profits. It is time to see them as a priority.
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