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View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-05-31 14:11 [p.28373]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Motion No. 230. I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, for the motion. I know my colleague is a very committed to his constituents. On this side of the House, he is famous for his annual tour throughout his riding, when he puts tens of thousands of kilometres on his van, his bike and even his canoe, getting out to know his constituents. I am very happy that he has brought this motion forward, representing the desires of his constituents to live more affordable lives and save money on essentials.
I would also like to recognize that this motion was also put forward in a private member's bill by the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle a short while ago. Again, the intent was to provide more affordable lives and lifestyles for Canadians. Roy Rogers is famous for saying he never met a man he did not like. The current government is the same, in that it never met a tax it did not like, and its desire to keep taxing home energy seems to be part of that.
Home heating is a necessity; it is not a luxury. I have had the pleasure of living across the country, from Victoria to St. John's and a lot of places in between. Even in Victoria, where I have lived three separate times, I have seen severe winters. In the winter of 1996, I was living in Newfoundland, where winter is year round. In 2001, the year of the big snow, there was 22 feet of snow in Newfoundland. I remember shovelling my driveway after a snowstorm in June, but never in my life had I seen as much snow overnight as I did in Victoria in 1996. We got about three feet of snow overnight. A lot of houses in Victoria are not set up like houses in the rest of the country to deal with cold, so the heating is on non-stop when it turns cold, which, in Victoria, is usually at about 15°C.
The fact is that Canada is a winter country. I have lived in Fort McMurray, in Edmonton three times, in Toronto a couple of times, as well as Ottawa and St. John's.
An hon. member: Winnipeg.
Mr. Kelly McCauley: I have not lived in Winnipeg, though my family is from Winnipeg. I have lived in Huntsville, Scarborough and Lake Louise and I have seen the effects of winter. As I said, heating our homes is a necessity and not a luxury.
I will note that in Edmonton, not this winter but the winter before, there was a record 176 consecutive days when the temperature dropped below 0°C and we had to heat our homes. Putting GST on top of home heating punishes Canadians. I would also note that on the last day of those 176 days, even as the temperature dropped below zero, I opened my front door and there was a spider hanging there, so my nightmares continue even in the winter.
Essentials are not taxed in this country. Groceries are not taxed, medical supplies are not taxed, sanitary products are not taxed, so home energy should be no exception. We asked the people of Ontario after years of provincial Liberal governments what it is like paying the GST on catastrophically high energy bills. People are getting punished.
Alberta has a carbon tax, which thankfully was just repealed by new premier Jason Kenney. Albertans were paying more in carbon tax than for energy, and then they were paying GST on the energy, as well as on the carbon tax. It puts a lie to the Liberal line that the carbon tax would be revenue neutral. In B.C. and Alberta alone, there was over a quarter of a billion dollars collected in GST alone. The PBO report, which Liberals like to reference so much, neglects to mention that there is GST on their imposed carbon tax, which goes straight into the coffers of the government.
I want to applaud my colleague from Langley—Aldergrove, who is fighting cancer right now. I want to let him know that we are thinking of him and that he is my prayers every night. He put through a private member's bill to remove the GST on the carbon tax, not to allow a tax on a tax.
What happened? Well, people on this side voted to eliminate the GST to help everyday Canadians, but of course, our Liberal colleagues voted against it, because again, there is never a tax they do not like.
Every dollar saved under this motion would be a dollar in the pockets of Canadians. I want to go over how much people would save on this. By 2022, people living in Newfoundland would be saving $151 a year; in P.E.I., $155; in Nova Scotia, $135; in New Brunswick, $142; in Quebec, $93; in Ontario, $116; in Manitoba, $95; in Saskatoon, $127; in Alberta, $121; and in British Columbia, $92. Therefore, the average Canadian would save over $100.
Why is this important? We heard recently in a report that 50% of Canadians are only $200 a month away from insolvency. They are just $200 away from not being able to pay their bills for food or whatever. That $200 is not very much, and so every little bit, every extra dollar in Canadians' pockets, is going to help them.
What would be covered under this rebate? All home energy, including electricity, natural gas, heating oil, propane, wood pellets, other heating sources for primary residences, would be exempt from the GST, and the CRA would get the utilities to rebate directly.
Earlier in my speech, I spoke about putting an Order Paper question to the government asking how much taxpayers' money it actually wasted sending out postcards. The Liberals submitted that it was $1 million. However, we just found out today that the total was actually $3.5 million the government wasted on postcards to send out to Canadians to let them know that they were going to get a GST rebate.
We heard a Liberal member earlier stand up and say that he is against the motion, that it is not good for the economy and that we need every penny we can get. Under this member's plan, we could have helped 31,000 families, or we could send out a postcard and waste $3.5 million, and that is a priority for the government. It had a chance to help 31,000 families or send a partisan, politically driven post card. What did they choose? They chose the partisan, politically driven postcard instead of helping 31,000 families. Every action the Liberals take has an effect on Canadians. They could have helped 31,000 Canadian families and chose not to.
I will go back to some of the comments from my constituents who are having difficult times right now in Edmonton and why it is important that we push this through to save them the GST on their home heating.
I got a note from Karen, who said, “l'm a senior with a fixed income and everything going up, it gets tighter every year.” Do members not think she would like to have the GST off her home heating? Maybe she could be one of those 31,000 families we could have helped instead of sending a postcard in the mail.
Bruce writes, “A lot worse off! I am 62 years old. I was forced into early retirement.... I take money out of my RRSP and Canada Revenue hammers me with taxes”. At 62, it is difficult to get back into the workforce, especially in Alberta after the government punished it with a tax on its energy industry. Do members not think we could help that person by rebating his GST on his home heating in Edmonton, when we have winter, God bless us, six or seven months a year?
Another said that he is worse off with higher taxes, including the carbon tax, and that there are fewer opportunities at work. Do members not think that we could help him with this instead of standing here and virtue signalling on a carbon tax? Of course not.
We have Sam, who says that he is worse off as prices are going up and up, and he is on a fixed income.
I would like to help seniors in our riding. We put through a motion on helping to protect them from fraud. They are on fixed incomes. Again, these are people we could help every single day across the entire country by taking the GST off home heating.
Conservatives support it. Canadians support it. I hope the government will get in line and support it as well.
View David de Burgh Graham Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to announce that the most recent edition of my newsletter was sent to over 69,000 households in Laurentides—Labelle last week. When the House announced that we would soon be able to have our householders printed in colour, I immediately signed up for the pilot project. The newsletter is a way to initiate conversations with constituents, acknowledge the contributions of those who make a difference in the riding, and build a better partnership between my region and the federal government.
I humbly acknowledge the work of my team and the Hill's Printing and Mailing Services. I would particularly like to recognize Samuel St-Amand, Kim Lanctot, and Sara Drouin. Thanks to them, my riding is once again leading the way. The people of Laurentides—Labelle are the first in Canada to receive an improved householder printed in colour. I have already received very positive feedback about this.
View Candice Bergen Profile
View Candice Bergen Profile
2018-02-06 10:23 [p.16794]
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be able to rise today to speak to our opposition day motion. I want to thank our leader, the leader of the official opposition, for sharing his time with me today.
Let us begin with a simple question. What is this motion about? I appreciate the comments that came from my hon. colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona. He asked a question about why we introduced this motion and why it appears to be narrowly focused.
I am a big believer that if one is not faithful and honourable in the small things in life, one will not be faithful and honourable in the big things in life. I believe that same principle applies to us here in the House of Commons. Character is what one does when no one is watching. Character is what one does when one knows one can get away with it. We are calling this specific issue to light. We have been talking about it during last week and this week, because we believe that Canadians deserve a prime minister who will be faithful and honourable, an integrist, in those things that look small. It is not so much about the $200,000, although that is a big amount; it is about a prime minister who, if he is truly sorry, will follow through on what might look like a small thing and pay back the money to the taxpayer. We will then be able to see what kind of character he and his government have when it comes to the big things.
In a nutshell, this motion establishes what we as members of Parliament all adhere to, and should be adhering to, in our behaviour. It is what Canadians would expect from us. This motion establishes and reaffirms our commitment as members of Parliament to be accountable and transparent.
Sometimes as we are doing our duties, we break the rules. We do not do it maliciously. However, sometimes it is done knowingly. I will give two examples where we, as members of Parliament, should be responsible if we break those rules.
Letters sent to the general public are covered under our franking privileges. We are allowed to send letters out to our constituents. There had been some changes in the rules around whether we could send letters to people outside of our constituency. There was a certain point during that transition when members of Parliament sent letters to people outside of their constituency and then found out afterwards that they were breaking the rules. Those members of Parliament could not just say they were sorry for breaking the rules and did not know those were the rules; rather, they had to make it right. They had to personally write a cheque to the Receiver General to cover the taxpayers' costs for when they broke the rules. It may or may not have been malicious, but the rules were broken and amends had to be made. That is the right thing to do.
Here is another example. Let us say that a member of Parliament was given five tickets for him or her and their family to attend an Elton John concert. That member of Parliament then tells the House of Commons that he or she will be going on parliamentary business and claims a plane trip, hotel, and per diems. However, the House of Commons then comes back and asks if that was parliamentary business. It is discovered that it was not and that he or she had taken an illegal gift, thereby doubly breaking the rules. Obviously that member of Parliament would be asked to pay back the cost of the trip, hotels, and per diems. That is also the right thing to do. That is probably an example of knowingly breaking the rules.
Those are two examples where members of Parliament broke the rules, and in breaking the rules used taxpayer dollars and were asked to pay those dollars back. Dare I say that if they did not pay those dollars back, their wages would be garnisheed. The House of Commons would not give them a choice; they would have to pay back those expenses. This motion establishes that we all agree with that. On this side of the House, we all agree with that. I certainly hope that the Liberal members of Parliament would agree with that as well.
This leads me to the biggest example that we have thus far, and what I would say is the biggest breach. That is the one we have been talking about for the last couple of weeks, which is the Prime Minister's illegal holiday.
This is the second time in less than 24 hours that I have risen to speak about it. It seems like more and more often, all we are talking about in this place is the Liberals' conflict of interest. Whether it is the Minister of Finance or the Prime Minister breaking the rules, being investigated, or not recusing themselves from discussions, this is a Liberal pattern that does not seem to end.
Last evening during the debate on Bill C-50, the Liberals' cash for access legislation, I pointed out to the House that the Liberals' very own bill has a requirement to pay the money back when fundraisers stray outside of the rules. It is a sound principle, and one that is mirrored in all kinds of regulatory and legal structures. Why is there a common requirement to pay it back, whether to us as members of Parliament, the general public, in society, or even in Bill C-50, if they fundraise illegally? Why does it exist? It is so that there is a meaningful incentive to encourage people to follow the law. It is that simple.
That is exactly what today's motion calls for. However, regrettably, we are not simply talking about an abstract principle. We have a very real and serious case before us. It is the former ethics commissioner's report on the Prime Minister's winter trip to the Aga Khan's island, better known as billionaire island. In her report, Mary Dawson said that the Prime Minister broke not one, not two, not even three, but four separate requirements of the Conflict of Interest Act.
I want to thank the quick-thinking member, our Leader of the Opposition, as he was the one who submitted the original request for an investigation once the news broke. We were asking the Prime Minister about the trip, and he constantly said it was a legal vacation and he was with someone who was a close friend. We have now found out that he had not talked to the Aga Khan in over 30 years. They are not close friends, and it was blatantly misleading Canadians. The Prime Minister knew very well that he had not seen or talked to the Aga Khan in over 30 years, but he got up day after day in the House, and he forced the House leader to defend his illegal behaviour. In doing so, and this brings it back to the motion, he incurred expenses of over $200,000 of taxpayers' dollars.
This is not a question of him having incurred those expenses anyway. If that were the question, no one would have to pay restitution. Everyone would say, “I would have received a car anyway. Even if I stole a car and did not give it back, I would have needed a car anyway. I would have used some money anyway, so I took someone else's money, but I would have found a way to get money anyway.” That is the most illogical defence I have ever heard, and I am surprised that we are still hearing it from the Liberals.
The fact is that the Prime Minister broke the law, and in doing so he forced the RCMP to be complicit in his breaking the law. I would be incredibly interested to know if anyone in the Prime Minister's Office or who was part of his security team told him, “We are all now breaking the rules by taking this illegal holiday and going on this helicopter.” If he was told, did he say to them “Oh, don't worry. The rules don't apply to me. I can do whatever I want because I am the Prime Minister.” He likes to refer to himself in the third person, even when he is outside of this place. It is quite remarkable to watch.
Instead of answering questions about this, instead of paying back the money, the Prime Minister was signing autographs during question period yesterday. The House leader had to answer for his irresponsible illegal behaviour, and he sat there signing autographs. Not only is it shameful, it is embarrassing to watch. If the Prime Minister cannot be accountable, honourable, and transparent in what is considered something small, then what do we have? Let us be honest, he has a family fortune. We are not talking about someone in poverty who cannot afford to pay for something they shoplifted. We are talking about someone who brags about his family fortune. He can afford to pay the taxpayer back.
There is so much connected to this breach, including, as our leader talked about, when we have a government that is disrespectful, cold hearted to our veterans, to our men and women in uniform. Would the Prime Minister please show leadership, be accountable, pay this back, and let us get on with doing something good for Canadians and stop taking from them?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-06-02 13:44 [p.3948]
Mr. Speaker, I think today's debate will go down in history, as the motion really did strike a blow for democracy, where parties were prepared to put Canada first and partisan interests second. As we go forward, I want to ask the parliamentary secretary if she agrees that it would be a good thing to encourage every member of Parliament to use the mechanism of our householder to share information with Canadians about why first past the post is a perverse voting system and to share with them a range of options and ask for their feedback in that way.
View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karina Gould Profile
2016-06-02 13:44 [p.3948]
Mr. Speaker, while I would not say that we should prejudge Canadians' reflections on different electoral systems, I think it is an absolutely terrific idea to use our householders and the tools we have at our disposal to share what different options are available to Canadians and to invite them to submit their feedback. At the end of the day, we want to hear from as many different people as possible.
Throughout the election campaign and over the past number of months, I have asked a number of people in my riding for their thoughts. I am indeed considering doing that exact thing, putting this information into my householder, inviting feedback, and using that to guide me in my own decision and my own thinking on this matter.
I thank the member very much for an excellent suggestion.
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