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Results: 1 - 30 of 287
View Chandra Arya Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chandra Arya Profile
2019-06-19 15:10 [p.29393]
Mr. Speaker, this government has made unprecedented investments in giving more Canadians a place to call home.
This week, we unveiled details about the new first-time homebuyer incentive, which will help middle-class families by making their mortgage payments more affordable.
Could the Prime Minister tell the House how the first-time homebuyer incentive will help middle-class families in my riding of Nepean and across Canada achieve the dream of buying their first home?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2019-06-19 15:10 [p.29393]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Nepean for his question and his hard work.
With the first-time homebuyer incentive, we are helping middle-class families achieve the dream of home ownership by increasing the RRSP withdrawal limit and reducing their monthly mortgage payments without increasing the amount they need to save for a down payment.
We are putting home ownership within reach for more middle-class families. We are building on our historic commitments to giving more Canadians a safe and affordable place to call home.
View Carol Hughes Profile

Question No. 2477--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the Investments to Combat the Criminal Use of Firearms (ICCUF): (a) what has been the total cumulative federal actual spending on ICCUF since its inception; (b) what are the total number of firearm prosecutions initiated; and (c) what are the total number of successful firearm prosecutions?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2480--
Mr. Brad Trost:
With regard to the total number of serving RCMP officers in each province for each year since 2001: (a) how many were charged with a criminal offence that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (b) how many were convicted of these crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; (c) of those charged with these crimes, how many remained on active duty, broken down by crimes that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent; and (d) how many lost their jobs as a result of these criminal charges that were (i) violent, (ii) non-violent?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2485--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to corrections to government websites since January 1, 2016: (a) how many corrections have been made to erroneous, incorrect, or false information placed on government websites; and (b) what are the details of each correction, including the (i) website address, (ii) information which had to be corrected, (iii) corrected information?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2486--
Mr. Ben Lobb:
With regard to Access to Information Requests received since January 1, 2016, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: (a) how many requests required extensions in excess of (i) 180 days, (ii) one year, (iii) two years; (b) in how many cases was the information released in the time period noted in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; (c) in how many cases did the government fail to provide the documents in the time period set out in the original extension letter sent to the requestor; and (d) what is the longest extension for requests currently being processed, broken down by each department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2487--
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
With regard to concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about information shared on Facebook: (a) what specific safeguards does each department and agency have in place to ensure that information individuals share with government entities on Facebook is not exploited; (b) does any government department or agency collect information obtained through Facebook, including on interactions individuals have with the government on Facebook and, if so, what are the details, including (i) type of information collected, (ii) number of individuals who have had information collected since January 1, 2016; and (c) what specific action, if any, has each department or agency taken to safeguard information since the concerns were raised by the Commissioner?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2488--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to the establishment of the Canadian Drug Agency proposed in Budget 2019: (a) where is the Canadian Drug Agency, or the transition office set up to create the Agency, located; (b) will the Agency be a stand-alone Agency or a division of Health Canada; (c) how many employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to the Agency or the establishment of the Agency; (d) which government official is responsible for overseeing the creation of the Agency; and (e) what are the details of all consultations the government has conducted in relation to the Agency, including (i) name of organization, individual, or provincial government consulted, (ii) date, (iii) type of consultation, (iv) results of consultation?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2489--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministers between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) department’s internal tracking number?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2490--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to materials prepared for Ministerial exempt staff members between January 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019: for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is the (i) date, (ii) title or subject matter, (iii) recipient, (iv) department’s internal tracking number?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2491--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the government’s sale of assets over $1,000 since January 1, 2016: (a) what were the assets sold, specifying (i) the asset sale price, (ii) the name of the purchaser, (iii) whether multiple bids were received, (iv) for what amount the asset was purchased by the government, (v) the reason for the sale; (b) was a third party used for the sale and, if so, (i) what is the name of the third party, (ii) was this contract tendered or not; (c) in the case where a third party was used, how much was the third party paid for their services; (d) for the government’s sale of stocks, (i) how much of the stock was sold, (ii) how much does the government still hold; (e) for sale of privately held companies in which the government held a position, (i) does the government still hold a position in the company, (ii) did the government have a market assessment done before the sale and, if so, by whom, (iii) what was the difference in the amount the government projected from the sale and the actual amount received; (f) how much income did the asset bring in during the year prior to its sale; and (g) how much was spent marketing the sale of each asset?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2492--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to each expenditure contained in each budget or budget implementation bill since fiscal year 2016-17, inclusively: (a) has the Department of Finance done an economic impact analysis of the expenditure; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what is the date, name and file number of any record which constitutes part of that analysis; (c) has the Department of Finance relied on any economic impact analysis of any organization outside government on the expenditure or not; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, (i) which organizations analysed the measure, (ii) what is the date, name and file number of any record obtained from that organization which constitutes part of that analysis; and (e) what were the findings of each analysis in (b) and (d), broken down by expenditure?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2493--
Mr. Deepak Obhrai:
With regard to government advertising since January 1, 2016: (a) how much has been spent on billboards, advertising and other information campaigns, broken down by (i) date released, (ii) cost, (iii) topic, (iv) whether any analysis of the effectiveness of the advertising campaign was carried out and, if so, the details of that analysis, (v) medium, including publication or media outlet and type of media used, (vi) purpose, (vii) duration of campaign (including those that are ongoing), (viii) targeted audience, (ix) estimated audience; and (b) what are the details of all records of related correspondence regarding the aforementioned billboards, advertising and other information campaigns broken down by (i) relevant file numbers, (ii) correspondence or file type, (iii) subject, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2494--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to penitentiary farms, and agriculture and agri-food employment operations of CORCAN: (a) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions presently engaged, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (b) in what agriculture and agri-food employment operations are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions planned to engage in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and in what numbers, broken down by location; (c) are offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions engaged, or will they be engaged, in agriculture and agri-food employment operations, at any time, off of Correctional Service of Canada premises and, if so, to what extent, at what locations, by whom are those locations managed, in what numbers, and for what purposes, listed by location; (d) does Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any contracts or relationships, with respect to labour provided through agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by contract or relationship; (e) does the Correctional Service of Canada or CORCAN have any supply agreements, with respect to products generated by agriculture and agri-food employment operations at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with Feihe International or Feihe Canada Royal Milk and, if so, when were they engaged, for what purpose, for what length of time, under what conditions, for what locations, and how will offenders at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions be involved and to what extent, broken down by agreement; (f) of the $4.3 million allocated over five years in Budget 2018 for agriculture and agri-food employment operations at penitentiary farms, how much has been spent, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year; and (g) what funds have been spent from Correctional Service of Canada's capital budget on infrastructure, equipment, and improvements to penitentiary farm and agriculture and agri-food employment facilities at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, at what locations, and for what purposes, broken down by fiscal year since 2015?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2495--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to Parks Canada water level management: (a) on the last occasion in June, July, or August 2018, for which data is available when a 12 inch stop log was removed from the Bobs Lake Dam, (i) what was the maximum water level increase (in centimetres) measured at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively, (ii) what was the period of time before the maximum water level increase was registered at Beveridge Dam, Lower Rideau Lake, and Poonamalie Locks, respectively; (b) what are the water levels on Christie Lake, in 5 centimetre increments, from 154.5 metres to 156 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL) in relation to the rates of water flow, in cubic meters per second (CMPS), leaving Christie Lake at Jordan’s Bridge (at the east end of Christie lake); (c) what are the water flow rates on Christie Lake, in Cubic Metres per Second, leaving the Bobs Lake dam, less the out flow rates at Jordan’s Bridge, in 0.5 CMPS increments, in relation to the rate of water level rise, expressed in Millimetres per Hour; (d) how will the new Bobs Lake Dam be managed to mitigate upstream and downstream flooding and the potential resultant environmental and property damage; (e) what have been the daily water levels, from January 1, 2000 to the present date, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam, (iv) Lower Rideau Lake; (f) what have been the daily maximum water flow rates, in cubic meters per second, for each of (i) Bobs Lake, (ii) Christie Lake, (iii) Beveridge Dam?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2496--
Mrs. Rosemarie Falk:
With regard to government contracts awarded to IBM since January 1, 2016: (a) how many sole-sourced contracts have been awarded to IBM; (b) what are the descriptions of these contracts; (c) what are the dollar amounts for these contracts; and (d) what are the dates and duration of each contract?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2497--
Mr. Michael Barrett:
With regard to the government’s claim that it’s Senator selection process is “non-partisan”: how does it reconcile this claim with the Globe and Mail story which stated that “The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledges that it uses a partisan database called Liberalist to conduct background checks on prospective senators before appointing them to sit as independents”?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2498--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to partnerships signed between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Huawei since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each partnership including (i) date signed, (ii) duration of partnership, (iii) terms, (iv) amount of federal financial contribution; and (b) does the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor approve of these partnerships?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2499--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the approximately 103,000 non-citizens who were found to be on the National Register of Electors illegally: (a) how many voted in the 42nd General Election, held in 2015; (b) how many voted in each of the 338 electoral districts in the 42nd General Election; (c) how many voted in any federal by-election held since October 20, 2015; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by each riding where a by-election has been held?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2500--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
With regard to government commitments and the 271 commitments which, according to the Mandate Tracker, the current government has failed to complete as of May 3, 2019: (a) what is the government’s excuse or rationale for not accomplishing each of the 271 commitments not listed as completed or met, broken down by individual commitment; and (b) of the 271 commitments which have not been completed, which ones does the government anticipate completing prior to October 2019?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2501--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With respect to the West Block of Parliament: (a) is West Block subject to the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, is the building subject to regular fire safety inspections, and on what dates have fire safety inspections taken place since January 2017; (b) is West Block subject to any other form of fire or safety codes or acts and, if so, what are those codes or acts, and what is the extent to which West Block is subject to each; (c) does West Block, as a whole, comply with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified; (d) is each space within West Block in compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and, if so, on what date was this certified, broken down by room or space, as applicable; (e) has each of West Block’s stairwells and exits been inspected for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what were the details of instances where concerns, instructions, or conditions were expressed or imposed for compliance purposes; (f) is West Block, or any space or part thereof, subject to or in receipt of any exemptions or waivers to the Ontario Fire Code or the Fire Protection and Prevention Act and, if so, what are the details for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the exemption or waiver, the authorizing section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act, the reason for the exemption or waiver, the date of application for the exemption or waiver, the date the exemption or waiver was granted, by whom the exemption or waiver was granted, any instructions or conditions that accompanied the exemption or waiver and, if applicable, the date on which the exemption or waiver expired, will expire, or was revoked; (g) has West Block, or any space or part thereof, since January 2017, had a request for an exemption or waiver denied and, if so, identify for each instance the location, room, or space, the subject of the request for exemption or waiver, the applicable section of the Fire Code or Fire Protection and Prevention Act under which the request was denied, the reason for the denial, the date requested, the date the exemption or waiver was denied, by whom it was denied, and any instructions or conditions that accompanied it; (h) what spaces in West Block have been identified as being potentially hazardous due to a likelihood of congestion in the event of a fire, evacuation, or other emergency, identifying in each instance the space, the identified hazard, the reason, and any amelioration actions or procedures that have been adopted; (i) have any complaints or concerns been received respecting West Block’s doorways, exits, stairwells, or exit, emergency, or traffic flow signage and, if so, identify in each instance the nature and details of the complaint or concern, the date on which it was received, the institutional or professional affiliation of the source of the complaint or concern, and any actions taken to ameliorate it; (j) respecting installed exit signage, which consists of overhead or high, wall-mounted rectangular signs featuring a white human figure on a green background, what requirements, guidelines, or standards governed and informed the selection, design, placement, and function of this exit signage; and (k) respecting installed exit signage, what are the reasons for using the white-on-green signage, versus red, text-based signage or other types of signage?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2502--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to federal government investrnents in housing, for each of the fiscal year since 2015-16: (a) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the city of Vancouver; (b) what was the total amount of federal funding spent on housing in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (c) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the city of Vancouver (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (d) how much funding was allocated to each of the following programs and initiatives in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway (i) the Rental Construction Financing initiative, (ii) Proposal Development Funding, (iii) lnvestment in Affordable Housing, (iv) Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, (v) Non-profit On-Reserve Funding, (vi) Prepayment, (vii) Reno & Retrofit CMHC, (viii) Renovation Programs On Reserve, (ix) Retrofit On-Reserve and Seed Funding; (e) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the city of Vancouver for (i) Non-Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co­operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co­operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (f) how much federal funding was allocated to housing subsidies in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway for (i) Non­Profit On-Reserve Housing, (ii) Co-operative Housing, (iii) Urban Native Housing, (iv) Non-Profit Housing, (v) Index Linked, (vi) Mortgage Co-operatives, (vii) Rent Geared to Income, (viii) and Federal Community Housing Initiative; (g) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the city of Vancouver; (h) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as grants in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway; (i) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the city of Vancouver; (j) what was the total amount of federal housing funding distributed as loans in the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2503--
Mr. Don Davies:
What is the total amount of federal government funding for each fiscal year from 2015-16 to 2019-20 allocated within the constituency of Vancouver Kingsway, broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative, (iii) amount?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2504--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Allowance for people aged 60 to 64 program: (a) how many people receive this allowance each year; (b) how many people apply; (c) how many request are approved; (d) for the request that are denied, what are the three most common reasons invoked; (e) how many people are deemed ineligible, and what are the three most common reasons; (f) what was the total budget to deliver the program, broken down for the last five years; (g) what was actually spent in the last five years, broken down by province and territory; (h) how many full-time equivalent and part-time equivalent work directly on the program; (i) how much does the program cost to administer; (j) how is the program marketed; (k) what were the advertising costs and how much was budgeted and spent in the last five years; (l) has the government reviewed this program and, if so, what was found; and (m) for the reviews in (l), are there reports of reviews available online and, if so, where?
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2477 Investments to Combat the ...8555-421-2480 Serving RCMP officers8555-421-2485 Corrections to government ...8555-421-2486 Access to Information Requests8555-421-2487 Concerns raised by the Pri ...8555-421-2488 Establishment of the Canad ...8555-421-2489 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2490 Materials prepared for min ...8555-421-2491 Sale of assets8555-421-2492 Expenditure contained in e ...8555-421-2493 Government advertising ...Show all topics
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-18 10:04 [p.29263]
Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer entitled “Federal Program Spending on Housing Affordability”.
View Bruce Stanton Profile

Question No. 2454--
Mr. Murray Rankin:
With regard to the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik and his claims that Canada violated his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since June 1, 2018: how much has it cost the government to litigate the case, broken down by (i) the value of all legal services, (ii) disbursements and costs awards for Federal Court file numbers T-727-08 and T-1580-09?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2455--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to the restrictions announced in April 2019 by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Chinook salmon fishing in British Columbia: (a) did the government do an economic analysis of the impact of the recreational fishery restrictions on the fishing tourism industry for 2019, and, if so, what were the findings of the analysis; and (b) did the government do an economic analysis of the impact of the restrictions, both recreational and commercial, on the various communities and regions of British Columbia impacted by the restrictions and, if so, what were the findings of the analysis?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2456--
Mr. Larry Maguire:
With regard to the procurement, deployment, usage and maintenance of all new and existing information and communications techonolgies (ICT) and all related costs incurred by the government in fiscal year 2018-19: (a) what was the total level of overall spending by each federal department, agency, Crown corporation, and other governement entities; (b) what are the details of all these expenditures and related costs, including salaries and commercial purchases; (c) how many full-time employees, part-time employees, indeterminate appointments, term employees, contractors and consultants were employed to manage, maintain and improve ICT systems and infrasturcture in each federal department, agency, Crown corporation or other government entities; and (d) what is the ratio of all ICT support workers (full-time, part-time, indeterminate, term employees, contractors and consultants) to non-ICT employees in each federal department, agency, Crown corporation, and other government entities?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2457--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to the caribou recovery agreements negotiated, proposed, or entered into by the government since November 4, 2015, including those currently under negotiation or consultation: (a) for each agreement, has an economic impact study been conducted and, if so, what are the details, including findings of each study; (b) for each agreement, what is the total projected economic impact, broken down by (i) industry (tourism, logging, transportation, etc.), (ii) region or municipality; and (c) what are the details of all organizations consulted in relation to the economic impact of such agreements, including (i) name of organization, (ii) date, (iii) form of consultation?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2459--
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, since its creation: (a) what is the number of meetings held with Canadian and foreign investors, broken down by (i) month, (ii) country, (iii) investor class; (b) what is the complete list of investors met; (c) what are the details of the contracts awarded by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided; (d) what are the details of all travel expenses incurred, including for each expenditure the (i) traveller’s name, (ii) purpose of the travel, (iii) travel dates, (iv) airfare, (v) other transportation costs, (vi) accommodation costs, (vii) meals and incidentals, (viii) other expenses, (ix) total amount; and (e) what are the details of all hospitality expenses incurred by the Bank, including for each expenditure the (i) guest’s name, (ii) event location, (iii) service vendor, (iv) total amount, (v) event description, (vi) date, (vii) number of attendees, (viii) number of government employees in attendance, (ix) number of guests?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2460--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to ongoing or planned government IT projects over $1 million: (a) what is the list of each project, including a brief description; and (b) for each project listed in (a), what is the (i) total budget, (ii) estimated completion date?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2461--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to international trips taken by the Prime Minister since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of each trip, including (i) dates, (ii) destination, (iii) purpose; (b) for each trip in (a), how many guests who were not members of the Prime Minister’s family, employees of the government, or elected officials, were on each trip; and (c) what are the details of each guest in (b), including (i) name, (ii) title, (iii) reason for being on the trip, (iv) dates individual was on the trip?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2462--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to government expenditures on gala, concert or sporting event tickets since January 1, 2018: what was the (i) date, (ii) location, (iii) total cost, (iv) cost per ticket, (v) number of tickets, (vi) title of persons using the tickets, (vii) name or title of event for tickets purchased by, or billed to, any department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2463--
Mr. Dave Van Kesteren:
With regard to Minister’s regional offices (MROs): (a) what are the current locations of each MRO; (b) how many government employees, excluding Ministerial exempt staff, are currently working in each office; and (c) how many Ministerial exempt staff are currently working in each office?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2464--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the statement by the Minister of Indigenous Services on April 30, 2019, that “Kashechewan will be relocated”: (a) where will the community be located; and (b) what is the projected timeline for the relocation?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2465--
Mr. Luc Berthold:
With regard to the government’s response to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in certain parts of the world: (a) what specific new measures has the government taken since January 1, 2019, in order to prevent ASF from coming to Canada; and (b) what new restrictions have been put in place on imports in order to prevent ASF from coming to Canada, broken down by country?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2466--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to usage of the government's fleet of Challenger aircraft, since January 1, 2019: what are the details of the legs of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) point of departure, (iii) destination, (iv) number of passengers, (v) names and titles of passengers, excluding security or Canadian Armed Forces members, (vi) total catering bill related to the flight?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2467--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to all government contracts awarded for public relation services since January 1, 2018, broken down by department, agency, Crown corporation, or other government entity: what are the details of these contracts, including (i) date of contract, (ii) value of contract, (iii) vendor name, (iv) file number, (v) description of services provided, (vi) start and end dates of services provided?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2468--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to Service Canada’s national in-person service delivery network, for each Service Canada Centre: (a) how many centres were operational as of November 4, 2015; (b) what were the locations and number of full-time employees (FTEs) at each location, as of November 4, 2015; (c) how many centres are currently operational; (d) what are the current locations and number of FTEs at each location; (e) which offices have changed their hours of service between November 4, 2015, and present; and (f) for each office which has changed their hours, what were the hours of service as of (i) November 4, 2015, (ii) May 1, 2019?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2471--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the government’s Connect to Innovate Program first announced in the 2016 Budget: (a) what is the total of all expenditures to date under the program; (b) what are the details of all projects funded to date under the program, including (i) recipient of funding, (ii) name of the project, (iii) location, (iv) project start date, (v) projected completion date, (vi) amount of funding pledged, (vii) amount of funding actually provided to date, (viii) description of the project; (c) which of the projected listed in (b) have agreements signed, and which ones do not yet have a signed agreement; and (d) which of the details in (a) through (c) are available on the Connect to Innovate section of Industry Canada’s website and what is the specific website location where each such detail is located, broken down by detail requested in (a) through (c), including the subparts of each question?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2472--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to concerns that infrastructure funding has been announced, but not delivered, in Kelowna, British Columbia, since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the total amount of funding committed in Kelowna; (b) what is the total amount of funding paid out in relation to the funding committed in (a); and (c) what are the details of all projects, including (i) date of announcement, (ii) amount committed, (iii) amount actually paid out to date, (iv) project description?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2473--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the Connect to Innovate Program and specifically the project to close the Canadian North Fibre Loop between Dawson City and Inuvik: (a) what is the current status of the project; (b) what are the details of any contracts signed in relation to the project, including the date each contract was signed; (c) what amount has the government committed to the project; (d) of the funding commitment in (c), what amount has been delivered; (e) what is the start date of the project; (f) what is the projected completion date of the project; (g) what are the details of any tender issued in relation to the project; (h) has a contractor been selected for the project and, if so, which contractor was selected and when was the selection made; and (i) which of the details in (a) through (h) are available on the Connect to Innovate section of Industry Canada’s website and what is the specific website location where each such detail is located, broken down by detail requested in (a) through (h)?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2474--
Mr. Kerry Diotte:
With regard to all expenditures on hospitality since January 1, 2019, broken down by department or agency: what are the details of all expenditures, including (i) vendor, (ii) amount, (iii) date of expenditure, (iv) start and end date of contract, (v) description of goods or services provided, including quantity, if applicable, (vi) file number, (vii) number of government employees in attendance, (viii) number of other attendees, (ix) location?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2475--
Ms. Sheri Benson:
With regard to the Non-Insured Health Benefit (NIHB) Program, and the provision of medical transportation benefits in Saskatchewan for each fiscal year from 2012-13 to the current : (a) what is the number of clients served; (b) what is the number of approved trips; (c) what were the approved transportation service providers and the number of trips approved for each; (d) what were the approved modes of transportation and the number of trips per mode; (e) what was the average wait time for approval of applications; (f) what was the number of trips that required lodging, accommodations, or other expenses unrelated to the provision of the treatment being sought; (g) what were the reasons why additional expenses in (f) were approved and the number of applications or trips approved for each; and (h) what was the number of appeals launched as a result of rejected applications, the average length of the appeals process, and the aggregate results?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 2476--
Ms. Sheri Benson:
With regard to the 2019-20 federal budget presentation of March 19, 2019, and issues related to the Phoenix pay system for public servants, as of today: (a) what is the total number of affected clients; and (b) what is the total number of affected clients in each electoral district?
(Return tabled)
8555-421-2454 Abousfian Abdelrazik8555-421-2455 Restrictions on Chinook sa ...8555-421-2456 Information and communicat ...8555-421-2457 Caribou recovery agreements8555-421-2459 Canada Infrastructure Bank8555-421-2460 Government IT projects8555-421-2461 International trips taken ...8555-421-2462 Government expenditures on ...8555-421-2463 Ministers' regional offices8555-421-2464 Statement by the Minister ...8555-421-2465 Outbreak of African Swine Fever ...Show all topics
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2019-06-06 10:49 [p.28666]
Mr. Speaker, I will go back to the last question from the Conservative Party. When the Conservatives talk about affordable housing, all they talk about is affordable home ownership, as though that is the be-all and end-all of affordable housing.
I am wondering if the member for Surrey--Newton can talk a bit more about how he sees affordable housing impacting the lives of the most vulnerable, and in particular those in his community. Does he think that the national affordable housing strategy will have an impact in creating good, new opportunities for people in his riding?
View Sukh Dhaliwal Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Sukh Dhaliwal Profile
2019-06-06 10:50 [p.28666]
Mr. Speaker, our government is proud that the minister rolled out $40 billion over the next 10 years to deal with the housing strategy.
The hon. member asked about my constituency of Surrey—Newton. Part of that funding went into Surrey—Newton. I was there with the minister to put shovels in the ground, and now the building is almost ready. Seventy-three families will benefit from that.
View Gord Johns Profile
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-06 11:22 [p.28670]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
Yesterday was World Environment Day. Tomorrow is World Oceans Day. We would hope that the government would have some imagination, knowing that we are in a state of crisis. There is a climate emergency happening right now, and if we do not take action, there will be catastrophic climate change, which we are seeing right now.
I am from Vancouver Island. In January, as members are probably aware and have heard me speak about, we had the largest windstorm in recorded history. In February, we had the largest snowstorm in recorded history. In March, we had the largest drought in recorded history.
Here in Ottawa, on the river, in two of the last three years we have had the largest floods in the recorded history of this region.
We are having forest fires on Vancouver Island right now, for the first time in my memory, and I was born and raised on Vancouver Island. The salmon are struggling to make it to their migration routes. The Cowichan area is at 25% water levels. Members have probably heard from my colleague in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford that the government needs to invest in the Cowichan weir and invest in ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, we have not seen the bold action we need.
We have talked a lot about climate and economic equality. The time for talk is over. We need bold and courageous action. Our leader from Burnaby South has put forward a bold, courageous plan, power to change, to move us forward. It is a plan that includes working together, taking climate leadership, creating good jobs for everyone, improving where we live and work, improving how we get around, powering our communities carbon-free and protecting our land and water.
We talk about getting results. We know we need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030. There is an incredible movement happening, as we know. Greta Thunberg, a young woman from Sweden, is leading a movement around the world. She is mobilizing youth. Youth are asking to be heard, and we are listening at our end of the House.
I walked with Youth Environmental Action in the Comox Valley. There were 300 young people from George P. Vanier high school and Mark R. Isfeld Secondary and the elementary schools. Grandparents, parents, cousins and aunts and uncles walked with them in support to give them strength and ensure that they are being heard and that we bring their voices to floor of the House of Commons. Just last week, at Wood Elementary School in Port Alberni, the kids walked out and demanded action on climate change. We need to listen to them.
Last week at the FCM, there was a new climate caucus created. Local governments are not seeing action from the federal government. They are calling on us to take further action, bold and courageous action. We need to listen to local governments and their leaders in our communities.
It is a privilege to follow my friend from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who is the first electrification critic from any party. We have an opportunity to take bold action and electrify vehicles across this country. It can be done. In Norway right now, 53% of vehicles are electrified. Norway's goal is that by 2025, any new vehicles sold will be EVs. It is happening around the world.
Taking bold climate action is good for the economy. Sweden has reduced its emissions by 25% and has grown its economy by 50%. California has seen its GDP rise by 35%, and it has reduced its emissions by 25% per capita. This is the kind of bold leadership that helps grow the economy, tackles inequality and moves us forward in taking this crisis seriously. This is the kind of bold leadership our country can take. There are models around the world and there are leaders around the world who are doing this. We need to join them.
I am calling on the government to take real action. In their budget, the Liberals committed $300 million to an energy retrofit program. We wanted to see that. It is something we are happy to see get started.
However, when the Liberals talk about balancing the environment and the economy, there is no balance. They bought a raw bitumen pipeline for $4.5 billion. We know that if they twin it, that will accelerate to $15 billion. Therefore, $300 million and $15 billion is not balancing the environment and the economy, far from it.
Organizations in my riding, like Hakai Energy Solutions and Synergy Electrical Installations, have been calling for a home energy retrofit program, something that is bold and courageous, and $300 million across this incredibly large country of ours will not get us there.
I wanted to touch on that, because this is a crisis. There are so many opportunities for us to move forward.
Before I go any further, I would like to take a minute to recognize my colleague, the member for Avalon, who is the chair of Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. He is turning 60 on Saturday. I wish him a happy birthday, and I hope we all can do that. It is always nice to acknowledge our colleagues in the House.
The government has talked about investing in our salmon and fish. We are in a crisis in British Columbia. Six species, Chinook salmon being one of them, are endangered and six are threatened. This is impacting sport, commercial, indigenous and recreational fishers all across the coast of British Columbia with recent closures.
The government talks a good game. It talks about how it is investing in salmon at record levels. It talks about a coastal restoration fund, $75 million over five years coast to coast to coast, which is a drop in the bucket. That is $15 million a year that has been slow to move out and that has not shown up in most of the communities I represent. We are in a state of crisis with our salmon. We know restoration dollars go far. However, our hatcheries have not seen an increase in 29 years.
I just met with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Chief Moses Martin and his council asked me to bring the message to Ottawa, that the government needs to accelerate money in enhancement and it needs to do it right away.
The Liberals announced their new B.C. restoration fund of $142 million. They understand and say that there is a crisis, but what do they do? They rollout $17 million for the whole coast of British Columbia. Again, organizations like West Coast Aquatic in my riding have been denied funding from coastal restoration funds. They have been denied money from the B.C. salmon restoration fund. This is not how we deal with a crisis.
Again, this is how the Liberal government continues to respond to crises, whether it be on our salmon restoration, climate crisis or our housing crisis, rolling out a 10-year plan.
The Liberals talk a good game about the oceans protection plan and plastics. We have not seen them invest in mitigating the impact of plastics. We hope this month when the Liberals rollout their response to my motion, Motion No. 151, on a national strategy to combat ocean plastics, there will be money behind it to take on these really important issues and also some regulations to eliminate single-use plastics, like the EU and India have done. It is real action.
I also want to talk about the oceans protection plan. The Liberals had scheduled to spend $145 million in 2017-18; they spent $105 million. They scheduled to spend $263 million in 2018-19; they spent $217 million. The shortfall total is $86 million. This is their world-class delay in spending money, not their world-class oceans protection plan.
Again, people in my communities are not talking to their neighbours, saying “Hey, there's a world-class oceans protection plan protecting our oceans”. In fact, they are saying that the government is not acting with the sense of urgency we need to protect our oceans.
It is the same thing for housing. Real estate prices have gone up over 50% in my riding over the last three years. The government has been slow in dragging out its funds.
On indigenous languages, the government has been slow in getting money out the door. It does not provide the flexibility that is needed for indigenous languages. In fact, there is a project in my riding for an indigenous languages revitalization pole and the government has no flexibility to fund that, which is very important to the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
A lot of issues and things are not in this budget, such as pharmacare, money for the opioid crisis, and I could go on and on.
I hope the government is listening. I hope we see some urgent action on these issues on which we can work together.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-06-06 11:38 [p.28672]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about one of the most important achievements of not just this budget implementation act, but also of this government with respect to the right to housing.
The provisions in the amendments that have been tabled and have now been accepted in the first round of voting establishes for the first time in the country's history, a systematic approach to realizing fundamental rights to housing to achieve basic human rights.
The legislation we have put in place proposes three very specific things. I want to talk about how the legislation and how these sets of amendments will make a significant difference, not just in the housing needs of Canadians today but for generations to come.
First and foremost, 40 years ago when Canada signed the U.N. declaration of social development, and close to a decade ago when the sustainable development goals were produced, the fundamental right to access a housing system were part of the international treaties the country signed. Since then, the country has wavered, on a national level, on provincial levels and on municipal levels, in attaining exactly what those covenants should mean, not just to a country but to people who are in need of housing.
The first and most important thing we did in the legislation was to clearly state that access to a system of housing and a systemic accountability model to produce housing to meet the needs of Canadians so all Canadians would have a safe, affordable and adequate place to call home had to be enshrined in law. This government and future government will have a responsibility to sustain and realize that right and progressively move toward the elimination both of homelessness and a core housing need in all communities for all Canadians.
Enshrining this in law means that before this housing strategy expires, a future government, in much the same way Canada health accords are renewed, will have to sit down with provincial, territorial and indigenous partners, as well as municipalities, and renew the agreement to ensure that the rights of Canadians are not systematically denied ever again. This fundamentally will prevent the argument we often hear from the other side.
Almost 30 years ago, a federal government backed out of providing direct support for housing programs and even though it stepped back in gingerly in the late nineties, it never really fully returned until this government took office in 2015.
We have established a system for housing and a renewal system for the housing accords. We have also produced $55 billion in funding to realize the housing needs of Canadians, not including almost $3.5 billion and close to $6 billion for indigenous housing. There is still much work to be done, particularly in the area of urban and indigenous housing, work that is funded, in part now, but nowhere near the levels needed to ensure all Canadians have a right to housing.
The second thing we have done is set up a housing advocate with an advisory council, which is housed inside the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It will effectively test the government on its commitment, assess the effectiveness of the government delivery of this program and hold the government accountable in a public way through reports to Parliament. It requires the minister to table a response to systemic gaps in the housing system or flaws or delivery mechanisms that are not being effectively applied to ensure all Canadians in all corners of the country get the housing they require.
This accountability model is not housed inside CMHC or inside the ministry. It is housed inside the Canadian Human Rights Commission so it is clear, distinct and independent. It has the ability to identify not just problems with the structure and the system of the housing strategy, but also to look outside that strategy to see where the it does not reach particular communities in particular ways and investigate on its own to ensure hose gaps are identified.
On that point, the ability to investigate, to study, to make recommendations and to do independent work as an advisory committee and as the housing advocate means that where there are systemic gaps, the government of the day will be advised of those, will be asked to respond to potential remedies produced by this group and will have to respond to Parliament and to Canadians as to how the remedies will be acted upon. This is a fundamental sea change in the way in which the housing programs are designed and delivered on a national basis. According to the United Nations rapporteur on housing, it sets a global standard not just on realizing the progress of rights to housing, but also setting that public accountable process.
One other thing that has drawn the attention of housing advocates and activists across the country is the composition of the advisory panel itself. It is going to have people with expertise and people with lived experience to help direct the research, to help direct the findings and to help direct the reporting to the minister.
For the first time ever, people who have lived in precarious housing situations, whether they are women who have had to couch surf, youth who have been gapped out of housing as they age out of care and end up in shelters and struggle to find housing, or chronically homeless individuals who have been on the streets for periods of time and live through the shelter system of this country, will be part of the collective community that provides advice to the ministers to make sure that we get the housing system right.
This is landmark legislation. It is profoundly long overdue. I am extraordinarily proud to be part of a government that has delivered on it. Our government has received accolades from the housing sector. This legislation has received endorsements from key organizations, such as the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, from ministers and from municipal councillors. There was a strong reception of this legislation at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' housing forum just last week.
For the first time ever, Canadians see a federal government that not only has a national housing strategy but that has found a way to project it into the future. It has found a way to hold itself accountable to the most vulnerable people in this country, those with lived experience.
Above all else that has happened in the last four years of this Parliament, this is one of the most profoundly important developments in human rights, which we can all be proud of. It does not mean, however, that there is not more work to do. That is why an additional $10 billion was invested in the national housing strategy. That is why this government has also taken steps around low-income home ownership and is providing pathways to home ownership, in particular for first time homebuyers. That is why this government is also committed to a distinctions-based approach with indigenous communities to make sure that housing on reserves and in traditional territories is properly attuned, that we get the right dollars and the right programs in place, and that they are self-managed, self-directed and delivered by indigenous communities themselves.
However, the biggest piece of the housing puzzle that is missing is urban indigenous housing. All of us, as we look towards the next election, in the final days of this session of Parliament, have to focus our attention there.
In the province I come from, close to 86% of indigenous people live in urban centres, off reserve or away from treaty lands. Those people, particularly women, are not well served by a housing system that does not recognize a fourth component of indigenous housing, which is urban indigenous people. The Supreme Court has directed us to act in this area. While there are programs available, those programs are nowhere near scaled to the needs that are presented. We also have not worked hard enough to develop the urban indigenous housing sector itself to make sure that whatever we do provide as funding is entirely self-directed, self-designed, self-managed and self-realized by indigenous communities.
I can assure the House that as I look towards re-election, and I will be re-offering in the fall, the number one priority for me, as a housing activist who has come to Parliament to work on these issues, is that the urban indigenous housing file be solved within the next term of Parliament. It has to be addressed immediately upon re-election. It has to be funded to meet the needs of a community that is in dire need.
With respect to the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls genocide that was reported on this week, I would argue that we would not have that number of people, women in particular and two spirited individuals as well, if those individuals had safe and secure housing off reserve they could go to. They would have been safe and secure if housing was guaranteed as a human right. They would have been safe and secure if our country had been as invested in housing over the last 30 years as this Liberal government has been over the last four years.
This achievement on the right to housing, this achievement in terms of the sustained investments our government is making in building housing, repairing housing and most importantly, subsidizing housing, is a profound change we have orchestrated in this term of office. That is one of the reasons we have lifted so many people out of poverty. That is one of the reasons we have created so many jobs in so many communities. That is one of the reasons we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
All the challenges faced by the federal government are made that much easier to solve when housing is not seen as a crisis but as the best tool we have to solve the social problems confronting Canada. It is a federal responsibility.
I am proud to be part of a federal government that has not only delivered but has found a way to make sure that future governments also deliver. Every Canadian has the right to have a safe, secure and affordable place to live. This government is going to make sure that happens by 2030. This government is making results on the ground now and will continue to fight for those results in the years ahead.
I hope we have the support of all parliamentarians to realize this extraordinarily important national objective.
View Joël Lightbound Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Joël Lightbound Profile
2019-06-05 17:10 [p.28599]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-97.
This bill will help implement major investments included in the 2019 budget. Most importantly, it will give the government new tools to help middle-class Canadians, reduce inequality and ensure that in Canada prosperity is truly inclusive.
I will stress that I am talking about new measures. Bill C-97 builds on our accomplishments and the progress we have made these last four years. We have to remember how we got here and how we achieved the results we see in Canada today. In 2015, the situation was very different. Economic growth was slow or even stagnant. Unemployment was up, and Canada was in a technical recession. Wages were not going up fast enough, but the cost of living, as we know, just keeps increasing.
Some families were having a tough time making ends meet, while saving for the future or for an emergency. In the fall of that same year, Canadians made a different choice. I think it was a very smart choice, in all impartiality. They chose a plan that would invest in the middle class, a plan that would make big investments in health, housing and the environment, while also staying fiscally responsible.
One of the first things Liberals did as a government was to ask the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to contribute a little more so that middle-class Canadians could have more money in their pockets. Today, over nine million Canadians are benefiting from the middle-class tax cut.
In 2016, we introduced the Canada child benefit. This measure has helped lift almost 300,000 children out of poverty. What is more, our government indexed the Canada child benefit payments two years ahead of schedule, so that benefits could keep pace with the rising cost of living. In July, benefits will increase with inflation to ensure that hard-working parents continue to have the support they need with the high cost of raising their kids.
With the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families with children are receiving more money than they received under the previous system of child benefits, where cheques were sent to families of millionaires, something that the Harper Conservatives and today's Conservatives fought to preserve while voting against the Canada child benefit.
For the 2019-20 year, on average, families benefiting from the CCB will receive around $7,000 to help with the high cost of raising kids, an amount that will continue to rise with the cost of living, as I have mentioned. According to the OECD, and I understand it is not the Fraser Institute, which the Conservatives like to quote, even though the studies they refer to often in the House have been debunked by just about anyone serious who has taken a look at it, precisely, because they fail to take into account the Canada child benefit.
However, according to the OECD, when the CCB is combined with the middle-class tax cut, a typical, middle-class family of four in Canada, on average, now has $2,000 more in their pockets than they did under the Harper Conservatives. This is significant progress.
We did not stop there. We replaced the old working income tax benefit with the more generous Canada workers benefit. The new benefit puts more money in the pockets of more than two million Canadian workers who are working hard to join the middle class.
In addition, to support Canada's hard-working entrepreneurs, we cut the small business tax rate twice, dropping it to 9% in January. It is now the lowest small business tax rate in the G7, and the fourth lowest of the 36 members of the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which I just referred to.
The results of the measures adopted by our government since fall 2015 speak for themselves. More than one million jobs were created in the Canadian economy. Last year, all job gains were in full-time positions. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in more than 40 years, and salaries are increasing faster than the rate of inflation. In sum, the country is heading in the right direction and the Canadian economy is booming.
Moreover, employment gains have greatly benefited groups that are often under-represented in the labour market, such as new immigrants, single mothers, indigenous peoples living on reserve and young Canadians who do not have a high school diploma. This represents considerable progress, but a lot of work remains to be done to continue reducing inequality in this country and to ensure that the growth and prosperity we are enjoying benefit as many people as possible.
Some Canadians remain concerned about the future. They are worried about their job security because the nature of work is evolving. They are worried that they will not be able to buy a home because housing is too expensive. They are worried about their retirement and they wonder whether they will have enough savings. These are legitimate concerns, and we will leave no one behind.
Bill C-97 is the next step in our plan to invest in the middle class and grow the economy today and for years to come. I will take a moment to elaborate on this before getting into some of the details of Bill C-97. Over the past three years, the government's action was based on three main pillars. That is the plan we presented to Canadians and it is working very well.
One of these three main pillars is investment in infrastructure. We know there are infrastructure needs across the country, from coast to coast, and we know how serious they are. Our environment also demands investments in public transportation infrastructure, for example. We committed to investing $180 billion over 12 years in infrastructure. These investments are paying off across the country and are helping many municipalities and provinces carry out meaningful infrastructure projects. Sometimes these projects appeal to the imagination, as is the case with public transportation. Others are a bit less glamorous, but just as important. Take waste water for example. We lose a lot of drinking water to aging waste water treatment systems.
The second pillar involves reducing inequalities through the measures I mentioned. These measures have helped reduce poverty by 20% in Canada. Child poverty was reduced by 40% in just three years. That is huge.
The third pillar is competitiveness. We are making sure that Canada has access to foreign markets, whether through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CETA, the renegotiated NAFTA, reduced small-business tax rates or strategic investments, all of which were sorely needed in Canada during the decade that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada were in power. They neglected the sciences and stopped investing in science. This undermines our country's competitiveness and prosperity over the long term.
Those are the three main pillars. In budget 2018, we reaffirmed the importance we place on science by making the largest investment in science in Canadian history, after a dark decade for scientists, science, research and innovation under Stephen Harper's Conservative government.
The budget and Bill C-97 are based on these three main pillars, which are working and have made Canada one of the G7's leading economies since we came to power three years ago.
Speaking of competitiveness, let us talk about skills.
That is something that I would like to talk about. In the first quarter of 2019, there were more Canadians employed than at any moment in Canada's history, including more women employed than at any moment in Canadian history. That is great news but we cannot take anything for granted. We know that not everyone has the right skills to take advantage of some of the new well-paying opportunities.
The nature of work is changing around the world and the challenge for workers, employers and governments is to find new ways to make sure that people have the skills they need to succeed in the changing work environment. For example, automation is on the rise. The OECD estimates that about one in 10 Canadian jobs are at high risk of automation within the next 10 to 20 years and that one out of three jobs is likely to experience significant changes.
Canada is not alone in this. Other countries will face the same challenge, as workers try to figure out how to get the training they need to keep their existing jobs or to prepare for new jobs.
We are determined to ensure that Canadian workers have the skills they need to succeed on the job market of tomorrow. To get there, Canadians must have access to appropriate training. That is why we introduced a new program, the Canada training benefit, in budget 2019. It is a personalized, portable benefit that will help Canadians get the time and money they need to learn new skills.
Bill C-97 will implement an important element of the benefit, namely a $250 annual credit for every worker to be put toward the cost of future training. This credit can add up to $5,000 over the course of a career. Eligible workers will receive their first credit this year, in 2019, and may start using it next year to register for a course they may need.
The Canada training benefit will open more doors for workers, which will help them contribute to the Canadian economy and benefit from its growth. This measure will be equally helpful for employers because it will give them access to a more skilled workforce, which will help them grow their businesses and create more well-paying jobs.
Clearly, if we want to prepare Canadians for the high-quality jobs of tomorrow, we must pay close attention to my generation and to young Canadians, something our government fully understands. When the Minister of Finance introduced budget 2019, he highlighted the steps we have taken to remove barriers to education and training.
With the measures in this budget implementation act, students would not have to start repaying their Canada student loans until six months after they graduated, and interest would not accumulate during that period on these loans. Paired with the budget's commitment to lower the interest rate on Canada student loans, the interest-free grace period is expected to save the average borrower approximately $2,000 over the lifetime of a loan.
We are taking these steps because young Canadians need our help. They are the most educated, connected and diverse generation this country has ever seen. They are changing our communities for the better and are taking the lead in building a fairer and more sustainable future.
At the same time, we are hearing from many young Canadians that they are still worried about what the future holds for them. Will they be able to afford college or university? Will there be good jobs ready for them when they graduate? Will they be able to afford a good place to live? We are taking action to answer more of these questions for young people and for all Canadians.
Let us take housing. Many young Canadians dream of owning their first home, a feeling shared by middle-class families. However, with rising house prices, it is getting increasingly harder for people to make that dream a reality. Our government believes that every Canadian should have a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why we are taking important steps to make housing more accessible and affordable, especially for first-time homebuyers.
The legislation we are debating proposes measures to help Canadians take their first step toward home ownership. It would amend the National Housing Act to allow the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to offer shared equity mortgages to eligible first-time homebuyers. This important measure would be called the first-time homebuyer incentive. Through this new incentive, CMHC would provide 5% of the value of a home for a first-time homebuyer, helping to reduce the size of an insured mortgage and lowering monthly mortgage payments.
To encourage the construction of new housing, the incentive would increase to 10% for newly built homes. This could mean a lot for many young Canadians. For a middle-class family buying a new condo or new house worth $400,000, the savings could be about $225 a month. That could make a real difference. It is expected that this new incentive could help as many as 100,000 Canadian families buy their first home.
That is not all. The budget implementation bill also proposes to increase the limit on withdrawals from the home buyers' plan, or HBP. These amounts, which first-time homebuyers can withdraw tax-free, can help fund the down payment. As announced in budget 2019, the limit is being increased from $25,000 to $35,000 per person, or from $50,000 to $70,000 for a couple. The maximum withdrawal amount had not been adjusted in 10 years, so we thought it was time to do so. Modernizing the homebuyers' plan will help more people purchase their first home or first condo.
In addition, Bill C-97 will enact the new legislation for the national housing strategy. In concrete terms, it will require the federal government to give priority to the housing needs of the most vulnerable Canadians.
The government will also be required to report back to Parliament on the progress made in implementing the strategy and in achieving the desired results with respect to housing. These targets, such as cutting homelessness in half in this country and building 100,000 new units, as well as repairing and renovating another 300,000, will make a real difference in the lives of many Canadians.
I think these reinvestments in housing are all the more important in light of the federal withdrawal from housing investment, which, I should point out, began before the Conservative government took office and escalated during the 10 years that Stephen Harper was in power.
I think it is time for the federal government to take responsibility for housing and make a bold, ambitious comeback. That is what the national housing strategy does.
The bill also offers meaningful assistance for Canadian seniors, because all Canadians deserve a secure and dignified retirement, free of financial worries. Sadly, retirement can be a daunting prospect for some seniors, especially those living on low incomes.
Since 2015, the government has taken a number of steps to make retirement more affordable. For instance, it restored the age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to 65. The previous government had moved it up to 67, plunging hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Canadians into poverty.
We increased the GIS top-up for single seniors, a measure that benefited 900,000 Canadians.
Our government also reached an historic agreement with the provinces to enhance the CPP, which will raise the maximum retirement benefit by up to 50% over time. This will help more than one million families who would have faced a drop in their standard of living when they retired.
Budget 2019 and this BIA propose a series of new measures to help even more Canadians age with confidence in their finances. To help low-income working seniors, Bill C-97 proposes to increase the earnings exemption for the guaranteed income supplement and to expand the exemption to self-employment income. This means that more low-income working seniors would be able to keep more of their pay and their benefits.
We are also taking steps to ensure that everyone who is eligible receives her or his retirement benefit from the CPP. While the standard age to receive CPP benefits is 65, some people choose to delay receiving their retirement benefits until age 70, at which time they will receive a bit more each month. A small number of people, however, are currently missing out on receiving their CPP benefits. This happens because some apply too late, and some do not apply at all. To ensure that all Canadian workers receive the full value of the benefits they deserve, this BIA proposes to proactively enrol, as of 2020, CPP contributors who are age 70 or older who have not yet applied to receive their retirement benefits. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 Canadians would begin to receive a retirement pension as a result. They deserve that money. Making sure that they get it is the right thing to do, and this legislation would make it happen.
Budget 2019 and Bill C-97 are about investing in people, and I have given plenty of examples in this speech. However, it is also about investing in communities. That is why budget 2019 proposes to support local infrastructure priorities by providing a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion, doubling the federal municipal infrastructure commitment in 2018-19. This $2.2 billion injection of cash this year would help cities and towns of all sizes, as well as indigenous communities. It would provide them with much-needed funds to address short-term priorities and crucial repairs and help them finance other important projects, such as recreational arenas, soccer facilities, new roads, public transit extensions, improvements to drinking water infrastructure and so on. Transferring funds to communities will get projects built. Supporting this BIA will get projects built.
In recent years, this funding has supported approximately 4,000 projects each year that have contributed to productivity and economic growth, a cleaner environment and stronger communities. We promised this help, and we are delivering in this BIA.
I could go on about what is in this budget, because when it comes to investing in the middle class, there is a lot of good news to share. However, I will conclude with this. Canadians have made a lot of progress since the fall of 2015. They should be proud of the strong communities and the strong economy they have helped build.
I think it is a source of pride for Canadians, or it should be, that in three short years, we managed to turn around the situation that the Stephen Harper government ineptly and regrettably got us into. During that decade, we saw the lowest growth in employment since the Second World War, the lowest growth in exports and a disastrous economic record.
They also managed to add $150 billion to the national debt.
We managed to turn around the country's fortunes with the best economy in the G7, the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 40 years, and a 20% reduction in poverty in 2017. It never occurred to them to reduce poverty and inequality. It was the right thing to do for the country. To us it is obvious that the more inclusive our prosperity is and the more we reduce inequality, the better off the entire Canadian economy will be.
That is what we have managed to do and that is what we will continue to do.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 20:49 [p.28630]
Mr. Speaker, I am usually the one rising on points of order about too much noise in this new interim chamber, which is beautiful but not very functional, as I like to remind members. I have been quoted in the Hill Times as having said that.
To return to budget 2019, as I mentioned, successive budgets have increased spending. I went back to previous years' budget documents. I went all the way back to budget 2016. I looked at budget 2015. There is actually a gap in this year's spending. What budget 2015 expected to spend this year was $302.6 billion. Instead, what the government is intent on spending is $329.4 billion, which is a gap of $27 billion between what the government expected to do in 2015 and what it is now expecting to do in 2019.
One of the great problems of the current government is its inability and maybe disinterest in controlling spending. Every solution requires gobs of new spending. Every problem requires gobs of new spending. Every single year, Canada's GDP growth keeps being revised downward. In the economy, there is a cycle of 10 to 12 years and we reach a recession. Sometimes they are short recessions; sometimes they are prolonged recessions.
Again to my Yiddish proverb, if we want to know what God thinks of money, we look at the people he has given it to and look at what they have done with it. The Liberals have achieved far too little for the money that they have spent.
I want to talk about the housing proposals inside the budget and some of the housing policies and ideas the government has put forward. The Liberals are far lacking in both what they should be trying to achieve for first-time homebuyers and the damage they have done by introducing the B-20 stress test and the Minister of Finance's stress test on insured mortgages. It is an issue I have raised in the House repeatedly. I have raised it at the finance committee repeatedly. I had Liberal MPs vote me down twice on a request to do a study of the B-20 stress test. The first time it was without saying a single word. They did not rebuff my argument on why it should be done. The second time, they did have an argument but it was not very strong.
In budget 2019, the first chapter of the budget that the BIA would implement is on housing. I am glad the Liberals have a chapter on housing because young first-time homebuyers across my riding deeply care about being able to achieve the dream of home ownership.
When I lived in Edmonton and purchased my first condo, for my wife and me it was one of the great achievements in our lives that we had put aside enough money and were able to qualify for a mortgage. We got a longer amortization of 35 years. Some people say that there are now 25-year amortization periods for insured mortgages, but there are still 30 years for the uninsured market, and there is a difference between the two.
Taxes have gone up. It is harder for people to accumulate savings over time in order to have a down payment. Now we have a successive series of government decisions, with policy direction being given to the CMHC, policy direction being given to chartered banks and lenders on insured mortgages, and the B-20 stress test, an OSFI rule that is given the blessing of the government, that are hurting opportunities to get into housing, especially for young people.
What I want to avoid is a situation where we eliminate an entire generation, a cohort of people, from being able to get into the type of home that suits their needs. That is different for different people at different times in their lives. When people are younger and starting a family they need a bit more space. When they are getting toward retirement, they want to downsize so they need to sell their house and move into something smaller that suits their needs.
When the government begins to introduce different policies and legislation, that starts to gum up the workings of the real estate markets. I say “markets”, plural, because there is no such thing as a single real estate market in Canada. We do not compare a home in Vancouver to a home in Calgary, to a home in Halifax, to a home in Ottawa. Those real estate choices are very local. They are things such as schools, access to public transit or perhaps there is a baseball diamond near a home as there is near mine so my kids can go and play there. Those are the choices that really matter to people.
The decision the government made with the B-20 stress test has heavily impacted the market. I am going to be referencing a TD Canada report and a CIBC economics report to make my point. There are defects inside the BIA. There are defects inside the budget and how the Liberals are trying to address the housing problem for young people, especially for first-time homebuyers.
Approximately 20% to 30% of first-time home buyers have been pushed out of the market by the B-20 stress test. The statistics have shown this, whether we use Statistics Canada, CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association, or Build Canada. Build Toronto has shown there is a 100,000 unit gap in the last 10 years of built dwellings in the Toronto area.
When the B-20 was introduced, two reasons were given for it. OSFI said that the reason for introducing these much harsher stress tests, 2% to qualify for a mortgage, was to ensure the stability of the banks. What happened, according to TD, was that by introducing this rule, over the past year, 2018 and now into 2019, it had pushed lending to the B market, the B lending. That is not to say monoline lenders are bad, they just typically have higher interest rates, they offer different terms, and it is actually a 2% increase. In Toronto, in the GTA area, it is far higher.
What the government has done is it has moved into the unregulated market by introducing the B-20 stress test.
The second reason was given by the Minister of Finance in January. He said publicly that the reason was to reduce prices. That is not the reason this Parliament allows OSFI to regulate insurance, securitization and lending. The reason for that is the stability of chartered banks and large lenders.
OSFI regulations are not supposed to be used to manipulate prices in different real estate markets. That is mission creep. That is policy creep. It is far beyond the scope of what Parliament intended when it gave the government the ability to set regulations through this independent, autonomous regulator.
I always remind people that regulators are arm's length but within arm's reach. That is something I learned when I worked for the finance department in Alberta. They still have to abide by the wishes of the government and the general direction. The decision-making, the individual regulatory tools they have are truly up to the regulator to decide. However, this one in particular, the B-20, we know from TD Economics that the side effect was that a lot of people were pushed into mono lenders, B lenders, the unregulated market, which defeats the purpose of OSFI having introduced it.
Ahead of B-20, we know that mortgage origination started to soften well before. If we look back, and this is a CIBC economic report, going all the way back to the third quarter of 2013, we saw an increase in mortgage origination to about the first quarter of 2015, and then it started to slide downwards. It is proof apparent that this rule did not have to be introduced, because mortgage origination, people taking out new mortgages, was on its way down for well over a year before the Minister of Finance introduced his stress test on insured mortgages.
I have no idea why he would introduce a 2% stress test on insured mortgages, when it is on a fixed term. There was always a stress test on variable mortgages, because, reasonably put, if the government is offering insurance through the CMHC, or through Canada Guaranty or Genworth, two private providers, taxpayers are on the hook, because they are backing up that policy.
On variable rates, it makes sense to ensure that the lendee can actually pay it back in case something happens in the market, such as the interest rates go up. On a fixed rate, five-year mortgage, there is absolutely no reason to do that. Over a five-year period, on average, and Statistics Canada will bear this out, people's incomes go up, their ability to pay goes up, their circumstances change, but typically it is for the better.
We can look at CIBC Economics, and it is called “Mortgage stress test: the operation was a success, but” and then it goes into all the side effects of having introduced this rule. It is by Benjamin Tal.
I have another graphic about which I want to talk. One of the things I heard, and it is in the chapter in the budget, where it talks about housing, is the a worry about affordability. It is also a worry about Canadians taking on too much debt.
I sit on the Standing Committee on Finance, and I heard this repeatedly at committee from officials, Liberal members of Parliament and the CEO of CMHC, whom I will speak more of later. They worried that Canadians were taking out mortgages that were too big and were taking on too much debt. Chart 5 of the CIBC report notes that in 2012, in the third quarter, just under 50% of people had an average credit score of 751, which is an excellent credit rating. If a person's credit report says 751 or above, that is excellent.
The number has been creeping up as well. Well before B-20, it started to creep up to 50%, 51% and then to 52%. It is not that people were being irresponsible. In fact, the average credit score of those seeking a mortgage loan is going up. Nevertheless, the government has done nothing for unsecured loans. It is still just as easy to get a credit card.
Bank of Canada officials came to my office to explain the Bank of Canada's financial statements. I told them that if I got unsecured loan and spent $30,000 on a boat, the government would pat me on the back for consumer spending. If I then crashed the boat and claimed it on my insurance, the government would be extremely happy again because I might replace it with a new boat. That is $60,000 spent. However, the government is worried about mortgage debt.
In Canada, because of our culture, people are pretty conservative when it comes to borrowing, especially on their homes, delinquency rates are at historic lows. I think it is 0.15% in British Columbia and 0.23% in Ontario. Every statistic I can find from the major chartered banks and every trend line I see from economic shops show that although there was a lending problem, the lending problem was not directly related to the mortgages people were taking out; it was related to unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal lines of credit and home equity lines of credit.
In fact, when the government introduced B-20, which is also in a report, there was a sudden spike in reverse mortgages, as people were taking more equity out of their homes. Interestingly, this number has been going up for about 10 to 15 years. It is a tool people use. Their homes are their savings so they take money out of them. There was a spike in January 2018. As soon as everybody knew the new stress test was coming, the number went up.
An interesting report came out of Toronto asking about housing. It asked what young people and their parents were doing. A third of parents admitted that they had given their kids an early inheritance gift of, on average, $50,000. This speaks to the problem of pricing in the greater Toronto area and the greater Vancouver area.
What the government and the Minister of Finance did was impose a one-size-fits-all policy, the B-20 stress test, across the board and across the country, as though every real estate market in the country has the exact same problems. Instead of introducing variants and designing a policy tool for specific problems, they went around whack-a-mole and hit everybody.
I know I have to be careful. I hear the parliamentary secretary got in trouble with Premier Doug Ford when he called for him to be whacked, although I did say “whack-a-mole”.
This is a policy tool. I am not saying people in housing should not be worried about what the government is doing in budget 2019, because the government has now given an answer to the problem. Its answer to the problem was to introduce shared equity mortgages. In the BIA, it is introducing a mechanism by which the CMHC will be a Crown agent acting on behalf of the government.
For those listening at home this late in the evening, who perhaps have insomnia, the Crown borrowing program will allow the government to borrow $1.25 billion to buy shared equity stakes between 5% and 10%, depending on whether a house is new. A new home gets 10% and one that already exists gets 5%. The government says this will help 100,000 first-time homebuyers.
When I asked Department of Finance officials where they got this number, they said from CMHC. When I asked CMHC officials where they got this number, they said from the Department of Finance. Nobody could explain to me where this 100,000 number came from. The CEO of CMHC gave it his best shot. The only way this number makes sense is if we look at insurance mortgages and assume that over the next three years, we will only be able to help about 30,000 to 40,000 people. Actually, the Minister of Finance said the same thing in Toronto.
Then I went to MLS listings online to find what kinds of properties were out there. In the greater Toronto area, I found about 500 properties out of 20,000 listings that these shared equity mortgages could potentially apply to, and I specifically excluded those with parking spots, which are very expensive in the greater Toronto area, especially downtown. They are quite expensive to get, but that is not the goal of this. We do not want anybody living in a parking spot in a tower in downtown Toronto. That is not our goal.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:07 [p.28632]
I hear the parliamentary secretary saying they are.
This tool is not the answer to it.
When I questioned people at Mortgage Professionals Canada how long it would take the brokerages to get their IT systems ready to go, because they need IT systems to do their underwriting, securitization, double-check loans and all the details that need to be figured out, the said eight to 10 months. That is eight to 10 months on a program the government wants to be effective in September.
When I asked the Department of Finance officials about the details of the program, the terms and conditions, the fees, if there would be a premium on these shared equity mortgages, they told me they did not know those details because they had not been decided yet.
When I asked the CEO of CMHC, I was told it had not decided yet what those details would be. When I asked when the board of CMHC was informed that it would be handling the shared equity mortgages on behalf of the Government of Canada, he told me the night of the budget. That means the board of CMHC had no idea it would be administering this large-scale program.
If we want to know what God thinks of money, we should look at the people he has given it to, what they have done with it and how badly they have mismanaged it. With a problem like housing, the policy tools chosen to address it are completely inadequate.
I will not be supporting this bill and I encourage all members not to support it.
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-05 21:09 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague about his favourite topic, mortgages and home ownership.
He already raised some points that came up in committee about the new first-time home buyer incentive, which will allow the CMHC to take on 5% to 10% of the mortgages of Canadians participating in the program. I was surprised to hear experts say that this program would not help anyone get a mortgage from a financial institution, since the program will only apply if the person has already qualified for a mortgage with their financial institution.
Could my colleague talk about this point, which has been ignored? The government is implying that this program will help more Canadians buy homes, but witnesses in committee said the complete opposite. Only Canadians who have already qualified for a mortgage will be able to participate in this program.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:11 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, the member for Sherbrooke is correct.
Witnesses at the Standing Committee on Finance said that the government will be playing the stock market with part of people's homes. We have no details on how this will work or how much it will cost. The president and CEO of the CMHC said that this measure would have a marginal impact, while some Liberal members in committee described it as transformative. They said that this would change everything.
Even reports from the CIBC and TD Bank say that the impact on the market would be 0.2% to 0.4%, at most. This is a marginal impact. Furthermore, the government wants to spend $1.25 billion on this project, when it could be doing something else with the money. This is a big failure for the government in this budget.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, my colleague does excellent work in this place and in the finance committee. I appreciate his drawing attention to the issues with home ownership. This is something that I hear about often in my constituency.
It is an interesting perception that, in some cases, government policy is aimed at making home ownership harder to access, with things like the stress test that was piled on. The perception, certainly in my constituency, was that these policies were not taking into consideration the reality of the real estate market in most of the country, but they were responding only to specific situations in specific regions. At the same time, there was another policy brought in that, as the member has pointed out, does not deal with the reality in those same places.
It is striking that we have, on the one hand, policies that are aimed at making home ownership harder, and in other cases, policies that purportedly make accessing home ownership easier. There is a contradiction in the objectives, never mind the policy.
I wonder if the member can comment on what we should make of this incongruity between policies like the stress test, which are making home ownership more inaccessible, and claims that other policies are going to make home ownership more accessible.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-05 21:13 [p.28633]
Madam Speaker, one of the things we heard from stakeholders who presented at committee was that 200,000 Canadians will not see a job created because of these changes by 2021.
We know that the residential construction market is one of the areas where a lot of people work. We can imagine all the trades that go into building a home, whether it is a condo, a row house, a duplex or whatever it is. We heard that 147,000 first-time homebuyers were unable to get into the type of home they wanted. The Canadian Home Builders' Association said that. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the number of new mortgages coming out dropped by 11.9%. Then there is the government overreaching with the B-20 stress test, the Minister of Finance's stress test, and then panicking, I think, and being unwilling to admit it made a mistake.
Even at committee, the Liberals would not admit they had made a mistake, so now they are trying shared equity mortgages, throwing it up there to see if it will work. That is not the right way to be doing policy-making in this country. It is okay to admit a mistake and then dial it back. That is what all the big banks have been asking for.
I will mention one last thing. I asked every single stakeholder whether shared equity mortgages would offset the impact of B-20, and not a single one said they would.
View Dan Albas Profile
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sherbrooke for the work he does on the finance committee, a task I know very well. We spend quite a bit of time on it.
I would like to ask a more practical question about Bill C-97. In the bill, the government has offered a shared equity program through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. We had a similar program in British Columbia, and there was not very much pickup on it.
I raise that for two reasons. The government has not given very much information, but what we do know is that it intends to make it operational by September 20. With our fixed election dates, it seems scandalous to offer a new program just before an election.
However, more important to the people who will be relying on it, one of the reasons why the shared equity program in British Columbia was not picked up was that mortgage brokers said they were not able to get answers as to who could apply and under what criteria one could get the proper approvals to be able to purchase a house. As we know, it can be very difficult for someone who is not able to make a proper offer to buy a home in a timely manner. If they do not know within days, chances are the deal will go to someone else.
Does the member feel that this is a proper program? Does he feel that the practical realities of implementing such a program on such a short time basis may end up not achieving its intended purposes?
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
View Pierre-Luc Dusseault Profile
2019-06-05 21:40 [p.28637]
Madam Speaker, from what we heard in committee, one thing was clear. Although the government's intention was to make housing and home ownership more accessible, this first-time homebuyer incentive, also known as a shared equity mortgage, will not achieve its goal. Aspiring homebuyers must qualify for a mortgage from a financial institution before they can apply to the much-touted incentive program for 5% to 10% of the down payment.
The officials from the CMHC and the Department of Finance were not even able to provide any details on this program. They did not know what the 5% to 10% share of equity meant in practical terms. Would there be active involvement? If the homeowner did renovations that increased the property value, how would the added value be shared out?
All of the questions on this aspect were very important. The government is saying it will have a share in property owned by Canadians, but it is being stingy with details. Ultimately, this measure will not even make housing more accessible, because Canadians can only access the program if, and only if, they qualify for a mortgage. This measure is being misrepresented by the government.
View Iqra Khalid Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Iqra Khalid Profile
2019-06-05 22:00 [p.28640]
Madam Speaker, I have had the privilege of learning from the thousands of residents of Mississauga—Erin Mills over these past four years. From knocking on doors to hosting 45 town halls, to helping over 4,000 families with their individual cases, to advocating for support for organizations, to promoting small business, I have had the opportunity to be the voice for my riding here in this place.
I start my remarks today on budget 2019 by thanking the residents of Mississauga—Erin Mills for trusting me to be their voice and to advocate on their behalf.
Today, I would like to focus my remarks on the impact that our Liberal government has had on the everyday lives of my constituents and how budget 2019 enhances that positive impact.
Mississauga—Erin Mills is home to the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus. It is a beautiful campus with lush green spaces, amazing architecture and incredibly engaged students. On occasion, one can spot a deer wandering from the Credit River nearby. However, what brings me back to the campus time and time again are the students. I have had the pleasure of meeting them on numerous occasions during campus events, coffee meetings and classroom visits.
When we speak of students, I find that we often speak of youth, but in my experience, the student body is far more varied. In my visits, I have met single mothers working for their degrees to better provide for their children, and women in their thirties and forties pursuing the means to a better career or pursuing their passions for the first time. I have met seniors who, in their retirement, are studying, learning and engaging with questions that they have had all of their lives. When I meet these students and listen to their stories, I better understand the issues that matter most to them.
These conversations with Canadians, knowing their struggles, hopes and ideas, are what inspires our government to make real investments to create a better quality of life for all. This commitment has informed budget 2019, as it has informed our budgets each and every year of our mandate.
As we continue forward on our path, the path that Canadians chose in 2015, a path of hope and hard work and the pursuit of a more positive future, I find it is also important to look back on where we started and how far we have come.
I saw employment ads back in 2014 and 2015 that were looking to hire for an entry-level position but required five years of experience, or for internships of six months, unpaid, for 40 hours a week. That was the reality facing youth in Canada. It is difficult for young Canadians already facing massive debt from their education to find work, let alone work in their field, and harder still to find work that is paid. I met one new graduate who had taken on an unpaid internship and just to afford the commute to downtown Toronto was forced to work a second job on evenings and weekends.
Young Canadians struggle to find the means to move out on their own to start their adult lives, and despite their hard work, many live in poverty.
Since 2015, our government has worked to create a better quality of life for young Canadians and we are continuing that commitment in 2019. In 2016 and 2018, we invested over $80 million to create the student work placement program, supporting 8,400 student placements to better prepare students to pursue a career in STEM and business. We are continuing this commitment through investments that will create 84,000 new work experience placements. We invested in the youth employment strategy and have committed $49.5 million over five years to modernize it and ensure all youth have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Through our investments, we more than doubled the number of opportunities created through the Canada summer jobs program, totalling more than 70,000 jobs for students last year and even more this year. In my riding, that meant over 1,500 jobs for youth. We also eliminated unpaid internships in federal sectors to ensure Canadians receive fair payment as they pursue meaningful work experiences.
To further tackle student debt, we are investing $1.7 billion to not only lower the interest rates on student loans, but to eliminate them entirely for the six-month grace period.
We are implementing a first-time homebuyers incentive to support young Canadians looking to move out and purchase their first home.
For those who are struggling and facing mental health challenges, we are investing $25 million to implement the pan-Canadian suicide prevention service.
One of our commitments to Canadians is that we are a feminist government, one that works to ensure equality of opportunity for everyone across the country. The struggle for equal rights for women has a long history and we are doing our part to promote gender equality in Canada and around the world.
This challenge to overcome systemic gender discrimination and violence requires hard work, and that is our commitment. Not only did our Prime Minister appoint a gender-balanced cabinet and a full department for women and gender equality, we also invested $2 billion in Canada's first women entrepreneurship strategy, with a goal to double the number of female-led businesses by 2025, as well as increasing the participation of women-owned enterprises in federal procurement by 50%.
We have introduced proactive regulations to guarantee equal pay for equal work for women in federally regulated industries and taken steps to boost women's participation in the workforce.
Every month, the Canada child benefit puts more money, tax-free, into the pockets of nine out of 10 families, including those led by single mothers, and is lifting 300,000 children out of poverty.
In 2015, we heard stories of seniors in my riding who were struggling to make ends meet. Their pension benefits had been clawed back or lost entirely as their providers went out of business. Their retirement had been pushed back due to legislation that unfairly increased the age of eligibility. I met seniors who were forced to choose between paying for food and heat or their medications. The seniors of Canada worked all their lives to shape this beautiful country and they deserve to retire in peace and dignity.
Since 2015, we have been investing in their quality of life. We consult with seniors and we are continuing to implement supports to help them thrive through budget 2019. We have boosted benefits for nearly 900,000 seniors in Canada. Through our top-up payments to the guaranteed income supplement, we have lifted over 57,000 out of poverty.
Building on this, we have committed $1.76 billion over four years to enhance and extend the earnings exemption to include self-owned businesses. We have already restored the age of eligibility for retirement back down to 65, the way it should be, and we will be proactively enrolling CPP contributors over the age of 17.
We are implementing legislation to protect pension benefits even in the case of corporate insolvency.
We have empowered seniors through increases to the new horizons for seniors program, which continues in budget 2019, with the addition of $100 million over the next five years to create even more programs supporting seniors across Canada.
Last year, our government appointed a minister for seniors to advocate for the support that our seniors deserve. I was proud to sponsor the e-petition that called for this appointment.
As members can see, we have come so far in what feels like such a short time. There is still a lot to do and we are just getting started.
Our plan to invest in Canadians is working. Over one million jobs have been created. More than 800,000 Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been in over 40 years.
Budget 2019 is a framework for the next steps in our plan to improve everyday life for Canadians living in Mississauga—Erin Mills and across the country, from coast to coast to coast.
The fact is that I have barely scratched the surface in my speech. As we move ahead with our plan to fight the effects of climate change, our strategy to bring Canadian businesses to new markets and our efforts to make Canada a shiny example of equality of opportunity for all, we will always remember and renew our commitment to Canadians. That commitment is of hope, hard work and the path toward positive change.
In 2015, Canadians chose this path because they believed in a better quality for life and they believed in a better future. That is what we are delivering.
View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2019-06-04 12:37 [p.28481]
Mr. Speaker, when our government was elected in 2015, we promised Canadians that we would fight for the middle class. We have kept that promise. We have created over one million jobs since being elected and an overwhelming majority of those jobs are well-paying, full-time jobs.
Recently, Canada saw its lowest unemployment rate in over 40 years. Recent numbers also show that Canada saw a decrease in the number of people living in poverty, from 10.6% to 9.5%, between 2016 and 2017. That means over 900,000 people have been lifted out of poverty, including 300,000 children, over 150,000 seniors and many adults.
Since we were elected, we have seen a rise in the median after-tax income of Canadians, to $81,500. In Surrey Centre, our infrastructure investments are paying off, from the $125-million Simon Fraser sustainable energy and environmental engineering building, completed now with $45 million from the Government of Canada, to the $61-million brand new RCMP forensic lab that is about to open, to the over $900 million given for public transit funding to help renovate Surrey Centre SkyTrain stations, buy new energy-efficient buses and replace the 1976 expo-era SkyTrain cars with new comfortable and quiet cabins. Our plan is working.
The multiplier factor is evident everywhere. Dozens of new IT and health care innovators have opened up. Kwantlen Polytechnic University has built a new urban campus. The Fraser port is growing on a rapid scale and the city is firing on all cylinders. Our transit ridership is the highest in the world, and last year, ridership went up by over 15%.
I was 15 years old when I designed my first home, and by the time I was 16, I was designing homes as a business and for others. Beginning in 1991, I designed over 700 homes in a seven-year period, from the age of 16 to 23. Those were the years of opportunities that helped me launch my career and secure my livelihood. As I see the willingness of young people to work equally hard today, it upsets me to know that they are undoubtedly faced with more barriers to initiate and secure their housing dreams.
The average price for a detached home in greater Vancouver exceeds $1 million, while the average price of an apartment or condo is $660,000. These prices often take the prospect of buying a home off the table. In turn, many young people and families are compelled to rent instead of buy. For those who do rent, the prices have become incredibly high as well. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, but today, too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market.
As the member for Surrey Centre, I am all too familiar with constituency concerns about housing insecurity, as well as the impact this insecurity has on the overall quality of life of my constituents. Whether they are young persons hoping to start their careers or a couple looking to start a family, buying a first home remains a challenge, with many young people believing that home ownership is increasingly becoming an unattainable goal in their lifetimes.
Recently, I held a round table in my riding of Surrey Centre with the Minister of Finance's former chief of staff and director of policy. Housing affordability, the stress test and mortgages were the three main points brought up by the Homebuilders Association Vancouver, mortgage associations, the construction industry, home builders, real estate trade organizations and other trade organizations throughout the Lower Mainland. The round table sparked positive conversations on how to mitigate pressure and make home ownership affordable and easier.
By listening to the needs of Canadians and encouraging dialogue, I am proud to say this government has continued its commitment to improving housing affordability in this country, and this is exemplified in budget 2019. The inclusion of the first-time homebuyer incentive will drastically change the housing prospects for current and prospective Surrey Centre residents.
The first-time homebuyer incentive targets young families who wish to enter the market and buy their first homes. This will help people like Karina, from my office, or Julian, who will be able to buy their first homes when this program is implemented. Those with a household income of less than $120,000 will be eligible to have a 10% reduction in their down payment with the help of CMHC.
In addition, the homebuyers plan helps with the down payment and costs associated with the purchase of a first home. Paying a lower down payment, new homebuyers will pay reduced monthly mortgage payments. The new homeowners, in turn, will require smaller loans and new homeowners will not be beholden to the CMHC for any kind of repayment until the place is sold.
This incentive is inclusive in its objective of making a new home affordable for all Canadians. This includes new Canadians, single parents and youth who could greatly benefit from this break and form of security.
Division 19 of the national housing strategy recognizes the importance of housing to the well-being of all persons in Canada, reflects the key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing and focuses on improving housing outcomes for those in greatest need.
In 2017, the government launched the rental construction financing initiative, which is a four-year program that provides low-cost loans for the construction of new rental housing for modest and middle-income Canadians. To provide more affordable rental options for middle-class Canadians, budget 2019 proposes an additional $10 billion over nine years in financing through the rental construction financing initiative, extending the program until 2027-28. With this increase, the program will support 42,500 new housing units across Canada, particularly in areas of low rental supply.
The government is also committed to working in partnership with the province and the municipality to ensure a tri-levelled affordable housing strategy for Surrey residents. In conjunction with British Columbia's affordable B.C. plan and Surrey's affordable housing strategy, the government's new homeowner incentive is a proactive measure to ensure that a future in Surrey is possible for young people and families.
In addition to the measures announced on March 15, 2019, the ministers of finance for Canada and British Columbia announced their intention to create an expert panel on housing supply. The panel will examine factors that currently limit housing supply and recommend the actions governments can take to ensure that together we are building better, more affordable and more inclusive communities.
These new incentives add to an already existing, ambitious national housing strategy that was released in 2017. Our government committed over $40 billion over the following decade to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast with housing affordability. This strategy considers the distinct housing needs of Canadians such as seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
Our goal is to cut chronic homelessness in half, remove 530,000 families from housing need and invest in the construction of up to 100,000 new homes. However, our government knows that these changes cannot, unfortunately, take place overnight. This is why our government has introduced new measures in budget 2019 to help relieve the pressures on Canadians.
Throughout this government's time in office, we have taken significant steps forward in terms of backing the middle class, and budget 2019 is another step in the right direction. From achieving the lowest unemployment rate in years to instituting the first-time homebuyer incentive, we have shown that we want to invest in Canadians and their families. Additional projects that were established to actively help Canadians hoping to get into the housing market are the rental construction financing initiative and the national housing strategy.
We will continue working hard to ensure that for middle-class Canadians home ownership is not a pipe dream, but rather, an achievable goal.
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
2019-06-04 13:08 [p.28485]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to the 2019 budget. This budget is called “Investing in the Middle Class”. Improving life for middle-class Canadians has been our number one priority since we were elected.
Four years ago, the people of Brampton South elected me to represent them. Since 2015, I have been working in Ottawa to deliver on the promises I made throughout my campaign. Everyone in this House has made a commitment to serve Canadians. This is partly done by investing in initiatives that will boost the quality of life for all Canadians. The budget this year is an example of the opportunities that Canada can provide to Canadians.
Our government's commitment to serve Canadians through investment can be seen in Brampton. In 2016-17, Brampton was given almost $60 million through the gas tax fund, and in 2017-18 we introduced a one-time top-up to the gas tax fund for infrastructure investments. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, Brampton was given over $33 million.
Since November 2015, we have had millions of dollars in federal funding for infrastructure projects that will benefit the city of Brampton. In addition, Brampton will benefit from a federal investment in the GO Transit Metrolinx regional express rail. From the $1.9-billion investment, over $750 million will be invested in the Kitchener corridor to improve commute times for residents of Brampton, Peel, Toronto and Wellington.
People in the middle class deserve a government that recognizes their potential and encourages their growth. I believe that the budget represents our belief in them as it looks toward our promising future. Canadians have put their faith in our government to present new ideas and deliver results. The 2019 budget reflects the needs of families, employees, students and seniors. It is a solid plan to give them a better future.
A better future starts with investing in young people and their education. Students are often kept from pursuing their education because of financial obstacles. The 2019 budget would lower interest rates for students and give them a six-month period to pursue their future plans before gathering interest on loans. The budget also seeks to support students who are parents or have disabilities. It also promotes programs that encourage the enrolment of indigenous students in post-secondary education.
These are just some of the ways in which we advocate for the success of the next generation. Budget 2018 strengthened our economy and ensured a low unemployment rate.
This is also the time to address the climate emergency. Budget 2019 has a strong plan to create eco-friendly solutions while maintaining an affordable lifestyle for Canadians. The budget intends to make zero-emission cars $5,000 cheaper, as well as encouraging their building. The creation of a home retrofit program will lower electricity and energy bills for Canadians.
We have been fighting climate impact since 2015. We have invested $1.5 million in Brampton under Public Safety Canada's national disaster mitigation program for the riverwalk study. We committed $175,000 for an environmental assessment strategic plan and sustainability framework for it as well. We have also committed $10 million for 10 water projects in Brampton and $22 million in funding for erosion protection initiatives in the Toronto, Peel and York regions.
Thinking of the future generations also includes supporting new families. An issue we see come up again and again is the struggle for young families to invest in long-term housing. The 2019 budget introduced the first-time homebuyer incentive, which would encourage home ownership by making housing cheaper. The incentive would help thousands of first-time homebuyers over the next three years. Budget 2019 also makes plans to build 42,000 new rental housing units, as well as to provide $300 million to begin the housing supply challenge. Through these changes, we are promoting happy homes without unnecessary costs.
Access to affordable housing is essential to promote the security and well-being of all Canadians. When Canadians are provided with a comfortable home life, it is easier for them to do well in the workplace. So far, we have been successful.
However, because our workforce and economy are continuously growing, employees can be left without access to training that improves their professional skills in their present and future jobs. The 2019 budget introduced the Canada training benefit program, which would give working Canadians better and more consistent skills training, financial aid to pay for the training, employment insurance support and job security. This is the next phase in our plan to strengthen the middle class.
While the middle class flourishes, there is still a percentage that has been left behind. Without quality health care, Canadians face some of the highest drug prices, leaving them unable to afford the prescriptions they need. No one should have to choose between buying the medicine they need or putting food on their table.
I am proud to be a member of the health committee, where I helped study the development of a national pharmacare program. We then made 18 recommendations to the government through the report “Pharmacare Now: Prescription Medicine Coverage for All Canadians”. I am proud to see the government acting on the report.
Budget 2019 aims to make prescriptions more affordable by announcing plans for the Canadian drug agency, which will work to lower prescription costs. The Canadian drug agency will connect all provinces and territories, giving them access to prescriptions. Through this plan, Canadians will save $3 billion each year.
With less time spent worrying about their health, housing and job security, Canadians will have more time to focus on the things they care about. For many, this involves becoming more involved in their communities.
Infrastructure funding is necessary to get ahead with local and municipal governments, which is why we are investing an additional $2.2 billion into infrastructure funding, especially under the circumstances where certain provincial governments have not been doing their part. Budget 2019 recognizes that advances in public transit, housing and community facilities make all the difference.
Local projects and community services are at the heart of Canadian society. Included in these services are locally based projects that encourage seniors to be active members of the community. Seniors have made significant contributions in these areas and are now more than ever capable and interested in participating.
Budget 2019 aims to maintain the guaranteed income supplement to ensure seniors get the most out of their retirement. It also takes direct action to protect their pensions by automatically registering seniors who are 70 or older but have not applied yet to receive their retirement benefits with the Canada pension plan. This will help tens of thousands of seniors across Canada.
Our budget also supports pay transparency, something our government has pushed for relentlessly. These measures will make it easier for our government to look at wage gaps and begin to solve them. This will help improve the status of women further. We know that when women make only 87¢ on the $1 compared to men, something is wrong.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, have pay transparency measures. Canada needs to join these countries in making wages available for public view. When we can inspire employers to act on unfair wage gaps, we will improve the status of women all over Canada. This is not only the responsible thing to do, but it is morally right.
Budget 2019 is not just a list of numbers, names and affected demographics. It is a detailed plan of action, which can lead Canada into a better and brighter future. By investing in the middle class, we invest in all Canadians. This budget represents what our nation's focus should be. Informed, careful and planned budgeting is what will lead to Canada's prosperity.
I urge my fellow members to support the budget.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-04 13:21 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member a question through you.
Most people in my riding do not have enough money to buy an RRSP. Many of them have difficulty paying their rent or buying groceries at the end of the week.
How will it help them to be able to buy a house with an RRSP that they do not have?
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
2019-06-04 13:21 [p.28487]
Mr. Speaker, since 2015, we have lifted tens of thousands of people out of poverty and cut the rate by 20%. We know there is more work to do. We launched the first national poverty reduction strategy and that will help to lift more Canadians out of poverty.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
2019-06-04 15:02 [p.28504]
Mr. Speaker, the dream of owning a home seems increasingly unrealistic for my constituents in Toronto—Danforth.
While many of my constituents are trying to save for what will likely be the largest investment of their lives, we continue to see people who are failing to pay their fair share.
Could the Minister of National Revenue update us on the government's progress in combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance in the housing market?
View Diane Lebouthillier Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Toronto—Danforth for her interest in an issue that is important to her constituents.
Our government recognizes the importance of ensuring a fair housing market for all Canadians. That is why the CRA has increased audits of real estate transactions in British Columbia and Ontario.
Since 2015, CRA auditors have reviewed 41,700 files in Ontario and British Columbia, resulting in over $100 million in penalties, and have identified over $1 billion in additional taxes.
I can confirm—
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to be standing in this place to give my thoughts on the bill that is before us. It is unfortunate that with yet another omnibus bill, one that clocks in at almost 400 pages, we are unfortunately having to debate this bill under the yoke of time allocation, which was moved earlier this morning. I believe this gives us five hours for report stage and five hours for third reading for a bill of this magnitude.
This is the fourth Liberal budget I have had to sit through. I was one of those members who were elected in 2015 and have served the entire duration thus far. I have noticed two things with respect to the Liberals and their budgets. They like to always repeat two things. Number one is that they were the ones who brought in a middle-class tax cut, and number two is that they are lifting all of these children out of poverty with the child benefit. Let me address the first one before the government House leader cheers too loudly on that front.
I want to point out two facts. Number one is that in 2017, according to Statistics Canada, the average income in Canada was $46,700, and the median income was $35,000. Now the Liberals are claiming this as a middle-class tax cut, when in fact it is actually the middle-income tax bracket cut, which they lowered by 1.5%. This is very important, because they keep on perpetuating this basic thing. The middle-income tax bracket starts at $46,000 and goes up to $93,000. This means that this benefit is not going to help the average Canadian. I can also clearly speak for most of my constituents. They do not have incomes that go into that range, or if they do, they are getting maybe the first amount.
What the Liberals did, however, by giving that tax cut for that bracket was give themselves all the maximum tax cut of about $675,000, because a member of Parliament's salary allows the member to command the full benefits of that tax cut, when most Canadians, as evidenced by Statistics Canada, are not in fact benefiting from that tax cut. I have spent almost four years in this place listening to Liberals talk about that, and the evidence does not back them up. It is not the middle class. It is a middle-income tax cut of 1.5%, and the wealthiest of Canadians under $200,000 of income are the ones who benefited the most. Let us get that out of the way.
The other thing is with the child benefit. I will give it to the Liberals that for a lot of families it was absolutely great to see an increase to child benefits. There is a big “however” to that. When I go door knocking in my riding, especially in the south end, in Langford, which is populated by a lot of young families, the biggest concern they have is with the availability and affordability of child care. There are simply not enough spaces. Yes, it is nice to get that bump up in child benefits, but if the primary caregiver, whether it be one partner or the other, wants to go out and get a second job, it is actually the lack of availability of spaces that is really holding that parent back.
Furthermore, I talk to small businesses in the region that have three, four or five employees. When they lose one employee because that person is going on maternity leave, they are losing a huge part of their workforce. If small businesses could have that national child care system the NDP has been advocating, that would help them, because that employee could make a return to work in a timely manner, safe in the knowledge that his or her child has a space to go to. It makes economic sense, which is why we have had chambers of commerce talk about it.
As to this particular bill, I want to talk about some of the things that are missing. In British Columbia we have an opioid crisis, which has absolutely ravaged our province. I believe we lost 4,000 people across the country in 2017. It has been absolutely devastating, yet in this budget we do not see any further resources to help those front-line workers who are dealing with this. We do not see any move by the federal government to match the government of B.C. in declaring this a national emergency under the federal Emergencies Act, which would allow the federal government to deploy more resources.
Pharmacare was a missed opportunity. I brought this up during the Adjournment Proceedings debate last night, when I was following up on a question I had asked in February. It needs to be said again.
The Liberal Party first promised a national pharmacare system in 1997, 22 years ago. The Liberals have had the benefit of having had majority governments in 1993, 1997, 2000 and again in this mandate, the 2015 mandate. Here we are, at the very tail end of the Liberal government's majority mandate, and what do we have? We have an expert panel that will release more recommendations, which are probably going to be a repeat of what we all know, that a national pharmacare system would save Canadians money. We know it has to be comprehensive, universal and fully public. It is the missing part of our national medicare system.
The Liberal government likes to make a great big deal about its national housing strategy, but when we look at the numbers, the lion's share of the money actually starts flowing after the next federal election. I appreciate that the Liberals keep on getting up and talking about all the things that are coming. I have dug into the numbers in my riding. A lot of the funding announcements are actually federal funding that was already in place before the national housing strategy.
If the Liberals want to raise the issue, I have the phone number for Mayor Stew Young of the City of Langford, one of the fastest growing municipalities in all of British Columbia, if not Canada. He could tell them where the federal government has been. MIA is what he will say.
I have a lot of students in my area. My riding is home to Royal Roads University. We have Vancouver Island University, the Cowichan campus. Of course not too far away, we have the great University of Victoria, which is where I attended school.
The price of tuition has gone up considerably since I went to university. I remember I thought it was fairly high back in my day. However, these days I look at the costs that students are paying, the debt they are being saddled with and the fact that the federal government is still collecting interest off that debt.
When a person gets into their late 20s and early 30, those are supposed to be the most productive years of their lives. We are asking them to start a family, start that new job. However, if they are saddled with that crushing debt and having to pay interest on it, interest which the federal government is collecting, that is a missed opportunity. I do not know why we are profiting off this crushing student debt. That opportunity was missed. I certainly hope that the students who are intending to vote take note of that and take note of where the different political parties stand on that issue.
I will end with the total missed opportunity that comes with the federal government's continued subsidies on oil and gas. This was a clear Liberal promise on which they have failed to deliver. We can look at the billions of dollars go into an industry, which we know we have to start levelling off if we are to meet our climate targets. We have a carbon budget. We are not meeting it.
For people who complain about the cost of doing so or the cost of transition, I would ask them to look at the forecast for the wildfire budget in British Columbia for this year. What will the costs be of mitigating and adapting to climate change? What about the billions of dollars we will to have to spend to help people when their homes are flooded out, when their farms are burned or when they cannot even produce a crop because of successive droughts and/or floods.
These costs are coming our way and they are going to be momentous. They are going dwarf to anything. The fact is that the government is continuing to subsidize this industry when the new economy of the future, the renewable energy economy of the future is the one that is growing. It is the one where the jobs are and it is the one demanding the skill sets of many of our oil and gas workers.
We need to stop subsidizing oil and gas. We need to put our money in the economy of the future. This is a missed opportunity to proclaim loudly that in 2019 we understand the science, that we know the deadline we were working against and that we absolutely must honour not only the present but our children's future by making that transition. It will require a Herculean effort. Unfortunately, what I have seen thus far is not matching the reality in which we live.
With that, I will be voting against Bill C-97. Again, it is full of missed opportunities. We could have done so much better.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2019-06-04 16:49 [p.28514]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
The bill would help bring the proposal outlined in budget 2019 to life and help improve the lives of Canadians, including my constituents in Brampton West.
For the past four years, I have had the opportunity to speak to many pieces of legislation in the House and provide my voice on how our government's policies would improve the lives of my constituents in Brampton West. Budget 2019 is the accumulation of four years of making Canada a better place to live for all Canadians.
Let me talk about the current economic situation.
First and foremost, for the last three and a half years, Canada's economy has been booming. We have been investing in our middle class. One of the first things we did was cut taxes for the middle class. We introduced initiatives like the Canada child benefit. We are putting more money in the hands of those who need it the most. With that, we have created an environment of growth.
Since November 2015, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the finance minister, Canadians have created over one million jobs. One million more families are better off than they were before. If we compare our record, that is one million more jobs created in the last three and a half years than the Harper Conservatives could do in 10 years. The majority of these jobs are full-time. The unemployment level is the lowest it has been in decades. We have lifted more than 300,000 children out of poverty. A typical Canadian family is $2,000 better off under our plan than it was under the Stephen Harper plan back in 2015. That is real change, and we know our plan is working.
While it is important to celebrate the milestones that we have achieved, it is also important to acknowledge that a lot of work needs to be done.
Today in Canada, especially where my constituents live in Brampton West, once affordable properties are now out of reach due to high demand. Therefore, in budget 2016 and in budget 2017, we established Canada's first-ever housing strategy that would invest $40 billion over 10 years to build and repair affordable housing units. This gives future homeowners greater options when looking at the housing market and makes housing accessible to more people than ever before.
In budget 2019, we are taking another step to support first-time homebuyers, including new immigrant families in Brampton West. To help make home ownership more affordable for first-time homebuyers, budget 2019 introduces the first-time homebuyer incentive. This incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers, who have the minimum down payment of an insured mortgage, to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the homebuyers plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time homebuyers greater access to their registered retirement savings plan to buy a home. I know this initiative will benefit many young families in Brampton West looking to purchase a home or a condo. It gives them the option to put more money down by accessing a larger portion of their savings and helps them deal with the cost of living by lowering their monthly mortgage payments.
I would like to talk a bit about our health care.
Our health system is one of which Canadians are extremely proud. We all recognize that it is one of the best systems in the world. From my background as a registered nurse, I have seen the impact it has not just in our communities, but in hospitals. We also recognize that the cost of prescription medication is a significant barrier to many Canadians to get the treatment they need. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for a prescription and putting food on the table or going without needed medication simply because he or she cannot afford it.
To address these challenges, budget 2019 announces steps to move forward with a national pharmacare program. This is very important to my constituents in Brampton West. We have been advocating for this with the government and in my previous role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.
We are establishing the Canadian drug agency. This new national drug agency would build on existing provincial and territorial successes and take a coordinated approach to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians. Negotiating better prices could help lower the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians up to $3 billion per year in the long term. The extra savings would mean more money going to my constituents and more investments in Canadians.
We are also creating a national formulary, a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs, to be developed as part of the Canadian drug agency. This would provide the basis for a consistent approach to formulary listing and patient access across the country. It would set out a clear path toward a national pharmacare program.
In addition to these essential steps, we are introducing a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, to help Canadians get better access to the effective treatments they need.
These changes will put the foundation in place as we wait to hear from the advisory council later this year on the implementation of national pharmacare.
This budget provides more money directly to the communities and municipalities that need it. Through a doubling of the gas tax fund infrastructure top-up, our government will be transferring more money directly to municipalities so they can fund projects that are important to their communities.
It is unfortunate that the provincial government in Ontario is impeding the flow of federal dollars to our municipalities. This has been having a tremendous effect in my community in Brampton.
We are working directly with our municipalities to ensure that essential projects move forward. I am proud to be part of a government that is working with municipalities on behalf of Canadians and delivering for them.
Brampton will be receiving close to $50 million through this fund so that it can invest in services that Bramptonians rely on most, such as public transportation, recreation centres and our parks.
We have seen what is happening in Ontario. While the provincial Conservative government is failing and continuing to make cuts on the backs of Canadians, our government continues to deliver for Canadians.
Our government is also thinking forward by investing in the new frontier for our safety. That frontier is cybersecurity. Digital technologies are increasingly knitted into the lives of Canadians, so in order to protect our information, we need a plan. Canada's skilled workforce and world-class universities can help us become leaders in cybersecurity research and development.
To promote collaboration among Canadian cybersecurity centres of expertise, budget 2019 proposes to provide $80 million over four years to support Canadian cybersecurity networks across Canada that are affiliated with post-secondary institutions. The funding proposed in budget 2019 would mean that institutions like the Ryerson University cybersecurity centre in Brampton will get the funding they need to create well-paying jobs and solidify our cybersecurity infrastructure.
This cybersecurity centre was part of a project by Ryerson University to establish a full satellite campus in Brampton, something the Brampton community and all members from Brampton advocated for years. The campus would have provided a post-secondary education experience for young Bramptonians closer to home. It would have created jobs and attracted new talent to Brampton. The project was unfortunately, once again, gutted by the current provincial Conservative government.
Where it made cuts to our health care, education and communities, we will continue to invest in and for Bramptonians and make those investments.
Canadians are among the most skilled and highly educated workers in the world. However, today the evolving nature of work means that people may change jobs many times over the course of their working lives or may require new skills to keep their jobs in a changing economy.
That is why we are providing Canadians with a tool called the Canada training benefit. This program would help provide more choices for my constituents so they can find the jobs they need to be successful in fulfilling their careers, while also not endangering their current employment.
The changes we have brought forward over the last four years and the changes included in this budget make me extremely proud of our government, which recognizes the importance of investing in the middle class. I hope to be part of this truly progressive government over the years so we can continue to bring real change and keep bringing investments into Brampton so our constituents can continue to thrive, not just in Brampton but in communities all across Canada.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-06-04 20:42 [p.28546]
Mr. Speaker, people in Vancouver East expect their government to make life affordable, sustainable and fair for all Canadians. They expect their government to be on their side.
In Vancouver East, I have heard from my constituents time and time again that we need real measures to make life affordable for Canadians, that we need immediate and urgent actions to protect our climate and environment. On behalf of the constituents of Vancouver East, I have been strongly advocating for measures such as affordable housing, public universal pharmacare, environmental protections, climate action and tax fairness. Instead, we now have a country faced with many crises.
We have a climate crisis, where if we do not take immediate action our planet will not be inhabitable for our future generations. We have a housing crisis, where people are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and getting priced out of their own communities. We have a criminal crisis, where billions of dollars in profits from criminal acts were laundered last year in Canada. We have an opioid crisis, where Canadians are dying every day.
We have a humanitarian crisis, where so many indigenous women and girls have gone missing and are murdered. The impact of colonialism is so deep and so rooted in systemic racism and failures that the national inquiry on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls has declared that is a genocide.
It was deeply disappointing to see how budget 2019 failed to meaningfully address our many crises, never mind the many other challenges faced by Canadians.
For many constituents of Vancouver East, the number one issue facing our generation is our climate and environmental emergency. To meet our goals under the Paris Agreement, Canada has to lower its emissions to 325 million tonnes by 2030. According to the government's own performance report, we will only get down to 500 million tonnes, which means we are not even close.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stated last year that we have 12 years to avert climate disaster through a drastic overhaul of all our current economic systems. We now have only 11 years left to achieve this. As the clock ticks, people have been demonstrating persistently for immediate action for climate protection and the preservation of natural resources from our leaders, especially our youth, who will be most affected by the consequences of our inaction. The government has a responsibility to create the systems and frameworks to protect our environment and our future generations.
Many scientists have stated that the technology already exists that can maintain quality of life without further impacting our climate and environment. We simply need the political will and courage to change. And yet here we are, buying leaky pipelines and adopting the previous Conservative government's weak carbon emissions target, as if we do not have a climate crisis at our door.
On another critical issue, we are still waiting on government action to address our housing affordability crisis.
Housing has long been declared a basic right by the United Nations, and Canada has signed and ratified a number of international human rights treaties that identify the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right.
In our national housing strategy, most of the funding in that new strategy had been announced years earlier and most of that funding, a full 90% of what was announced in budget 2017, has been off-loaded for spending after the next election. Even at that, the vast majority of that funding will not flow until 2024. It is a cynical communications strategy that plays politics with people's real struggles.
The government, in an attempt to inflate the result of its limited housing programs, has even resorted to double-counting the results for “rhetorical advantage”. Instead of playing numbers games, what we need is for the government to make real investments now. To that end, the NDP is calling for a commitment of 500,000 units of affordable housing across Canada.
In addition, despite decades of promising a national pharmacare program, after being lobbied by big pharma 680 times, the government has once again let big pharma win the day.
I recently met an individual who told me that she is taking her daily medication every other day in an effort to save money. This is wrong. No more excuses. Canadians need and deserve comprehensive public universal pharmacare coverage now.
On a related matter, we also need accountability for the opioid crisis. While the U.S. has successfully taken on big pharma for misbranding OxyContin with the intent of defrauding and misleading, here in Canada, the government is refusing to take action. Instead, budget 2019 continues with the blanket tax break for the richest corporations.
Tax havens are still in place and will continue to take over $16 billion every year from much needed programs for all Canadians, and of course, big oil continues to receive subsidies. In fact, the “2019 Spring Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development” was highly critical of the government's accounting of tax and non-tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
As we now know, 47 billion dollars' worth of profits from criminal acts was laundered last year in Canada. It is extremely disturbing that money laundering has so extensively permeated the country. Equally disturbing is the fact that the report by Dr. Peter German, in B.C., revealed that no federal resources are being used to tackle money laundering. Literally, in the federal money laundering unit, no one is working on the issue of money laundering. This explains why there are so few prosecutions and convictions in money laundering cases.
During last year's statutory review by the finance committee of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, numerous expert witnesses agreed that to combat tax evasion and money laundering, the federal government needed to work with the provinces to establish a central public registry that would provide the identity of the beneficial owners of corporations and trusts. The Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of B.C., argued that this kind of registry is needed, in part by citing a study from Transparency International Canada. The study showed that it is impossible to determine the true owners of more than half the real estate properties for sale.
Denis Howlett, of Canadians for Tax Fairness, emphasized that the registry must be “in an open, searchable format”. Barrister and solicitor Mora Johnson added that a transparent public register would enable those searching the database to track the most common methods taxpayers use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and to find individuals involved in money laundering. However, when all was said and done, the Liberals and Conservatives chose to join forces and ignore the recommendation of the majority of witnesses that a public register be established.
I also strongly believe that we need to increase oversight of home sales to ensure that sellers are not falsely reporting their secondary investment properties as primary residences, as this rule-skirting allows people to avoid paying capital tax gains.
I raised this issue when I was still the MLA for Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant. One way to address this is to ensure that proof of residency through income tax filing is provided at the completion of the sale transaction. With increased oversight and crackdowns on this behaviour, the increased tax revenue could be set aside in an earmarked fund dedicated to increasing the affordable housing stock in Canada.
Canada needs to put significant resources and effort into law enforcement, prosecution and adjudication to effectively tackle this problem. We can do this. We need to do this.
I have gone on also about the immigration issues that call for the government to not jam through the refugee determination process in this budget omnibus budget bill. The Liberals refuse to listen and are going ahead with it. Experts have already called on the government to stop this now. It would put people at risk, and most particularly, it would put women and girls at risk. For a feminist government, this is not acceptable. It still has a chance to do that. I hope that the government will listen to the experts.
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a few minutes to join in this debate tonight and to talk about the issues that matter to my community and to all Canadians.
I must say to my colleague from Vancouver East that the reason Canada now will have a national housing strategy and that the government is investing millions of dollars, in co-operation with other communities and other partners, is the very issue of housing my colleague mentioned. It is a serious issue across Canada. We are not just talking about the homeless. We are talking about seniors who cannot sell their houses because they have nowhere to go, and they are struggling as it is. There are a lot of people who are struggling and looking for housing. I hope that the way we are doing it, under our new national housing strategy, is going to help decrease the number of homeless people. More important, it is to help people find alternative forms of housing compared to what they currently have.
As we all know, Canadians made a choice in the last election. We all worked hard. We provided a platform that provided hope, hard work and opportunity. Canadians gave us the trust and the opportunity. I believe we have worked extremely hard over the last three and a half, almost four, years to make a difference. We have created over a million jobs. Canadians are working.
I can remember how many times I would be canvassing and door-knocking in the last many years and listening to people who were out of work. There were no employment opportunities for them. We have the lowest unemployment rate since the 1970s. That is a great thing. Sure we take credit for it. Maybe others could take credit for it too. All I know is that I am happy to know that Canadians are working. They are feeling successful. They have money they are able to invest in housing. They are able to invest in their children's education, and that is an important thing for all of us. That is why we are parliamentarians and why we come here. We want to invest in our country, and we want to see the government producing policies that matter to people.
The first-time homebuyer incentive will certainly help a lot of young people in their mid-thirties who are having significant difficulty just getting into the housing market. Once they can get into the housing market and stay employed, they will have lots of opportunity to build equity in that house and then can later on move into a larger house as their family grows.
Another way we are looking at helping people is with the Canada training benefit, to help working Canadians find the time to change careers. I have lots of people in the riding of Humber River—Black Creek who are in jobs they are not particularly happy in. The Canada training benefit we have introduced in this budget would give people the opportunity to change jobs and get into something they truly believe in and really want to do.
As we continue to invest in people, we are investing in full-time private jobs. That is what people have, and that is what we want to see.
When we talk about Humber River—Black Creek, we can talk about the over 300,000 children who are no longer in poverty and the thousands of seniors who now have other opportunities before them. If they choose to work, they can earn more money without it being taxed back. That is an important part of it.
Trying to find a house, trying to get a home and trying to get a job are all critically important as we move forward in this new world we live in. A more flexible and increased homebuyers plan will mean that Canadians can withdraw an additional $10,000 from their RRSPs. Before this budget, it was $25,000. Now people can withdraw $35,000 to use as a down payment.
By cracking down on the people who break the rules, we are trying to make housing affordable for everyone else. The increased funding for a rental construction financing initiative would help build thousands of new rental units all across the country.
We talk about seniors and the fact that we are maintaining the age of retirement at age 65. We are also encouraging our seniors to remain active by investing in a variety of programs, such as new horizons.
One of the great things we did in this term of Parliament was establish a Minister of Seniors. She is doing a wonderful job making sure that the issues of seniors are front and centre for all of us in the House, not just on this side of the House. Seniors will benefit all across our cities.
I appreciate having a moment or two to speak to this very important budget. I look forward to having another opportunity in the days to come.
View François Choquette Profile
View François Choquette Profile
2019-06-04 22:09 [p.28556]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House of Commons to speak to Bill C-93, an act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis.
As I mentioned earlier, I do not think this bill goes far enough. It is too little, too late. Let me explain. It is too little because this bill was not introduced until after cannabis was legalized. The government dragged its feet on record suspensions. It waited too long. The legalization of cannabis came into effect, but people still have criminal records for simple possession of cannabis. We are not talking about trafficking marijuana here, just simple possession. These people have a criminal record for simple possession, when it is currently legal to use marijuana.
By the way, just because something is legal does not mean it is a good idea. I want to say that even though it is legal to use marijuana, it is not really a good idea to do so. I also want to say that the legislation legalizing cannabis should really have included a major public health campaign to make people aware of the effects and risks of using marijuana. Marijuana is like any other substance. It is legal to drink alcohol, for example, but it can be addictive. I know what I am talking about. I know people who are addicted to alcohol. Marijuana can also be addictive. That is obviously the case with tobacco as well, which is also a legal substance. Cigarettes are a terrible product that can be addictive. These are legal products. The government can legalize these products, but it also needs to inform the public of the risks associated with using them.
We are talking about people who have a criminal record for simple possession. This has nothing to do with trafficking. It is really about people being caught for simple possession. These people therefore have a criminal record for something that is now legal and has been legal for a few months. Drug use should never be criminalized. Instead, it should be regarded as a public health matter. I am thinking of the opioid crisis raging across Canada, for example. We should be taking a public health approach.
This bill is too late because legalization came into effect several months ago, yet we are only just debating this legislation today. This legislation allows for criminal records to be suspended. This means that criminal records are set aside, but they are not expunged.
As a result, people who are granted a record suspension will still have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. They will always have to wonder what might happen when they try to rent an apartment, find a job or apply to volunteer. They will be asked if they have a criminal record, and they will have to answer that their record was suspended. Their criminal record will not be completely expunged. The same will be true when they want to travel. What will happen when they want to travel? If the government really wanted to do things right, it would have passed the excellent bill introduced by my colleague from Victoria.
His bill was introduced a long time ago. In October 2018, my colleague from Victoria introduced a good bill. We were ready. We had done our homework. Instead of using that fine bill, the Liberals showed that had no regard whatsoever for Canadians who have a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis, something that is no longer a crime, and who face barriers to things like employment and housing.
It is far too late to wake up now. There are less than three weeks left before the end of this Parliament. Now the government is waking up and introducing this bill. We are at third reading stage. We are moving quickly, but unfortunately we are cutting corners. We are not being thorough, and it is truly worrisome.
There is a not-for-profit organization in my riding or in the central Quebec region that does very important work. As others have mentioned, the problem with the Liberal philosophy is the lack of emphasis on resources.
I would like to talk about an extremely important resource. The organization is called Action Toxicomanie. This community-based organization was founded in 1991. It provides services in the central Quebec and Drummond region.
The organization serves a significant number of young people through its addiction prevention programs, which are also offered in schools. Action Toxicomanie is a community-based not-for-profit organization that promotes healthy living and addiction prevention and is geared to young people from 10 to 30. As I was saying, the organization takes a holistic approach that focuses on promoting physical and mental health as well as social skills development. Interventions can be individual or group-based and seek to develop individual knowledge and abilities.
Action Toxicomanie's website details the organization's mission, which is to prevent addiction, provide accurate information about substances and related addictions, support the development of social skills, inform and support parents and adults, intervene with teens and adults with emerging substance abuse issues, and support teens with clear substance abuse issues and refer them to specialized services.
I would like to congratulate the entire Action Toxicomanie team on the excellent work they are doing with our young people. As I have always said, resources like this are extremely important. When the government legalized cannabis, it put the cart before the horse. In their rush to legalize cannabis, the Liberals forgot to safeguard public health in this country, implement a comprehensive public education and prevention campaign, provide provinces and municipalities with the right resources to prepare for this major social change, and make sure organizations working to educate youth and prevent addiction were ready to deal with the change and properly equipped to go into schools and communities to inform people. That is why I find it virtually impossible to support the bill.
I just want to digress for a moment if I may. We are talking about physical and mental health. I just talked about a very good organization, Action Toxicomanie.
I would like to talk about the book N'oublie jamais by Gregory Charles, which my mother gave me. She may have been giving me a message to never forget to think about her, never forget to call her or never forget to go see her. Mothers send subtle messages like that. This book talks about Alzheimer's.
Gregory Charles comes from Saint-Germain-de-Grantham, in my riding. He grew up there. He recently visited École Jean-Raimbault in Drummondville to talk to the children about his passion, his faith in music and his strong values. He did this for the children. He came to visit the children who are studying music and spent over an hour playing music with them. I simply wanted to acknowledge the time he spent with these children.
His book highlights the importance of hard work and strong values and talks about how crucial it is to take care of those around us. I think that is what my mother was trying to tell me when she gave me this book. I thank her for that.
I thank Gregory Charles for what he did for the community of Drummond, and I congratulate the team at École Jean-Raimbault, especially Denis Lambert, who spearheaded this initiative.
I would like to give some other examples.
When it comes to the legalization of marijuana, the government is only taking half measures. Before I talk about them, I want to give an example of another issue on which the government is only taking half measures, and that is the housing crisis.
Drummond is experiencing a housing crisis. The vacancy rate is 1.7%. The vacancy rate for three-bedroom homes is 0.4%. What is more, prices are going way up. Over 15,000 renter households in Drummondville are being forced to spend more than half of their annual income on housing. When households have to spend half of their annual income on housing, they do not have much money left over to meet their other needs. 
David Bélanger, the chair of Drummond's municipal housing board, said:
When people have to spend nearly one-third of their income on housing, there are obviously other needs that are not being met. We are developing projects to create more affordable housing. The housing crisis has two dimensions, namely accessibility and affordability.
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