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Results: 1 - 14 of 14
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, Benjamin Bwamiki is a young graphic artist from Scarborough, who has taken a hobby and turned it into his business.
His client list includes the Raptors' Fred VanVleet, the Lakers' Danny Green and a number of rappers. The 16-year-old baccalaureate student juggles a heavy study schedule while supporting his family. He is a fantastic example of the talent found in Scarborough.
As we come to the end of Black History Month, would the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion update the House on efforts to support the black community in Canada?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, since the member has obviously informed himself over the last number of years about the various forms of medically assisted dying, I want to ask him whether there has been any statistical pattern developed over the time that it has been a legal concept.
Do we know what the numbers are, where the weaknesses and strengths are? Is there material he could share with the House that gives us some pattern of who is asking, what is being asked for and when it is being asked?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, my friend and I belong to the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group and from time to time, we travel together down to Washington to talk to congressmen and senators.
Prior to 2018, Republican congressmen and senators would be very sympathetic to Canada's position. They would make clucking noises of sympathy, but say there was nothing they could do. They were afraid to challenge President Trump. Similarly with the Democrats, they would be sympathetic to Canada's position, but would say they could not do anything because they did not have a majority in either house.
Post-2018, the same visits would yield a lot of goodwill and action from the Democratic congressmen, hence the change in attitude when President Trump went to get it ratified.
It is not really the issue with respect to the Canadian representations. We actually sowed the seeds for many years to get the deal we have today, which is 95% to 98% of what we wanted in the first place.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. friend on his speech, which did not seem to have too much to do with the subject at hand, but was kind of a litany of every sin known to mankind. I was just wondering which of these following statements he disagrees with.
The Business Council of Canada stated, “We applaud your government’s success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on North American trade.”
Premier Moe of Saskatchewan said that the signed USMCA trade deal is good news for Saskatchewan and Canada.
Premier Kenney tweeted, “Relieved that a renewed North American Trade Agreement has been concluded.”
Possibly I should not mention the Canadian Labour Congress' congratulatory statement. The steel producers, the CSPA, are urging all members of the House of Commons and the Senate to support this bill and swiftly ratify it.
Which of those statements does he disagree with?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to participate in this historic debate. I want to start by congratulating the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the former leader of the official opposition, all of whom have made significant contributions to getting this agreement to the place it is now, and indeed all colleagues, particularly colleagues who were part of the Canada-U.S. parliamentary group led by the hon. member for Malpeque. Indeed, all of us were down to Congress many times in many senators' and congressmen's offices to extol the virtues of an agreement. It really was a team Canada approach, and I think all members should see themselves in this agreement as we debate it and ultimately, I hope, ratify it.
I want to take a slightly different approach to this agreement and talk about its security benefits. It is trite but true that countries that trade together do not very often go against each other in war or any other form of conflict. If I may, I would like to take these few moments to talk about the security element that is generated by virtue of this agreement and other agreements.
We in Canada are extremely fortunate. Possibly the public and even members in the House do not realize how fortunate we are to have a European trade agreement. We also have a Pacific trade agreement and we are about to have a North American trade agreement. That is 1.4 billion customers we have access to in those markets in 41 countries. I dare say there is no other country in the world that can claim such privileged access to such a large pool of customers.
Of course, it is up to us to take advantage of not only the North American agreement but the European and Pacific agreements as well. There are 1.4 billion customers, and we should look at these customers not only as trading partners but also as allies. That gives us, without going into the business of NATO or anywhere else, 41 new allies. Those allies provide us with a level of security that we have not enjoyed for a long time.
I contrast that with, say, Russia. Who can Russia say is an ally? Maybe Belarus, Kazakhstan, Syria, or Iran. These are maybe not the A-list of allies that one would want. Then there is China. Who can say who is actually China's ally? Possibly it is North Korea. It may not be the most reliable ally that China has ever had.
We can contrast that with these three agreements taken collectively, whereby in effect we put together not just 41 trading partners but 41 allies. That is all to our collective security. The collateral benefit of this trade agreement is clearly security. In fact, the two are mutually reinforcing, because security creates trade and trade creates security. These trading alliances are huge assets to Canada.
Some would argue that trade comes first and security follows, and they point to the Auto Pact, to the first free trade agreement, to NAFTA 1.0 and now the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade deal. I would like to suggest that actually security came before trade. I will go back 80 years, and I know as soon as I say that, someone starts to nod off, because not a lot of people appreciate history. However, I direct members' attention to a meeting between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King in Ogdensburg, New York, where the two leaders negotiated a security arrangement for North America known as the Permanent Joint Board on Defence.
From that agreement, the entire security architecture of Canada and North America was revamped. In 1941, we were in the middle of World War II. At the time the prime minister and the president were meeting with each other, the Battle of Britain was taking place, and at that point there was no assurance that Britain would emerge from the battle as the victor. In that context and at that time, there was enormous resistance by the American public, particularly led by the ambassador to Great Britain, Joe Kennedy, to engaging in any European conflict, let alone another war, yet President Roosevelt realized that North America was a vulnerable space. It was vulnerable on the Pacific side and it was vulnerable on the Atlantic side.
Prime Minister Mackenzie King was in a very delicate position because he realized that while we were going to continue to be allies of Great Britain and continue the fight, the shifting of empires was pretty obvious. We were going to be taking ourselves out from the security blanket of the British Empire and placing ourselves in the security blanket of the emergent American empire. That has been our security reality for the last 60 or 70 years.
Out of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, a number of real decisions were made which continue to this day. Gander airport, for instance, was developed as a military airport. It existed prior to the war, but it was really enhanced over the course of the war. That was a result of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence. The Alaska Highway was a result of the Americans' concern that the Japanese might come in through the west coast of Canada and separate Alaska from the continental United States.
There were quite a number of other institutions and military-to-military arrangements that were made, the most significant of which is NORAD. NORAD is clearly our most significant military treaty, and it was a direct result of the negotiations between Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Roosevelt. Hence, we created a security environment, and that security environment, in turn, led to the Auto Pact. That, in turn, led to the first free trade agreement with the United States. That, in turn, led to the first NAFTA. That, in turn, leads to where we are today, because nations that have good security also have good trade, and those that have good trade generally have good security.
Prime Minister Mulroney used to say that job one of any prime minister is to manage the U.S. relationship. There is great truth in that statement. I want to just recognize that in very difficult circumstances, our Prime Minister has managed this relationship as well as it can be managed; hence, we are here today with an agreement that many members of this House will be able to sign onto in good conscience.
The other consequence of this agreement was that we have preferred nation status with respect to military procurement. In military procurement, we are treated as a domestic supplier. Similarly, we treat the Americans as domestic suppliers. That has relevance to the peripheral debate about aluminum and steel in particular. That is what was so silly about the section 232 tariffs. We are effectively making each other's military security more expensive. That is the difficulty with tariffs.
I congratulate the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. However, in my judgment, the next most important treaty to be renegotiated is the NORAD treaty, because, as I say, good security makes for good trade and good trade makes for good security.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Oshawa for his kind remarks. It is probably the last time that it will happen in the House.
With respect to the 5G network and in particular a decision about Huawei, the Americans have taken a very clear position and have said that this will not happen. We, of course, are in the Five Eyes. The British have arrived at another decision. They feel they can secure critical infrastructure while still using the Huawei 5G network, while the Australians and New Zealanders have been very firm about not going to 5G.
That decision will have to be taken sooner rather than later. I hope we will all have some significant input into that decision, but I do know that it is before the minister as we speak.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I would defer to the opinion of Premier Legault, which is to the effect that this agreement needs to be signed sooner rather than later. I believe he has done an analysis of all the sectors that affect Quebec. The protection of the dairy industry, in particular, is critical. The hon. member will recall the assiduousness with which the president wanted to dismantle it. The government has done a magnificent job of protecting the supply chains.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's raising that question, to which I do not have a specific answer. I do know that there are all kinds of chapters that go to each level of negotiation, and the inconsistencies are generally resolved between the trade negotiators. I expect that food safety will be the paramount intention of any negotiation on the part of our government.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to take part in the reply to the Speech from the Throne. Before I do so, I want to congratulate you on your election. You will make a very honourable Speaker.
I want to express my appreciation to the people of Scarborough—Guildwood who have returned me to this chamber for the eighth time. When I started in 1997, I did not anticipate that I would be here for eight successive elections, but it has been an interesting journey for the last 22 years. The other very encouraging thing is that the percentage of the vote went up to the highest level that I have achieved in eight years.
As we know, elections are strange enterprises at times, with a lot of non-substantive things and occasionally some substantive things. I do not want to dwell on the non-substantive things. Today I want to take the opportunity to reflect on what I consider to be the most substantive issue that affected Scarborough—Guildwood during this election, and that is the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit is, in my judgment, the signature initiative of this Prime Minister. Once he leaves and history is written about these parliaments, that will be one of the things that historians comment on, namely, the significance of the Canada child benefit and its significance to all people in Canada, but particularly low-income people.
The Canada child benefit is a very large initiative. If we go to table A2.6 in the 2019 budget, at page 289, in the top lines we will see the amount of money that is returned to Canadians, that is sent to Canadians as a benefit. There are revenues from taxes that come in and then the first set of lines indicate the benefit amounts that go back to Canadians. The first line in that set of lines shows that $56 billion will go to elderly benefits, the second line shows that about $20 billion will be returned to Canadians in the form of employment insurance and the third line shows that $24 billion will go to the Canada child benefit. That is the second most significant benefit that goes directly to Canadians from their federal government.
It is reasonable to ask ourselves whether we are, in effect, getting value for money. This is of particular interest to me as the member of Parliament for the riding of Scarborough—Guildwood. When we break that $24 billion down, what does that mean to the riding of Scarborough—Guildwood? What that means is that, each and every year, $100 million goes into my riding of Scarborough—Guildwood. That is a significant sum of money for a riding that has about 115,000 to 120,000 people in it. Centennial College would contribute to the riding with a somewhat similar amount of money, I should imagine, or more. The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus would contribute a similar and significant amount of money. The Scarborough hospitals have huge budgets. Toyota contributes a huge amount of money to the riding. I am sure there are other industries that contribute significant amounts of money to the riding.
This is the order of magnitude of the amount of money that comes into Scarborough—Guildwood, and it is even more significant for its people because Scarborough—Guildwood in the last four years had the greatest reduction in child poverty in the country. There was a 25% reduction in child poverty in Scarborough—Guildwood in the last four years, the number one riding in all of the country.
Why would that be? I can think of at least two reasons. One is improved employment opportunities. At the beginning of 2015 the unemployment rate nationally was around 7.1%. Generally speaking, Scarborough—Guildwood is at a higher rate than the national rate. By the election in 2019, the rate was about 5.7%, again with Scarborough—Guildwood slightly above that. Increased benefits and increased employment opportunities would account for some significant elements of that 25% reduction in child poverty.
The second thing has to be the Canada child benefit, because it acts as a guaranteed minimum income for families. I think it will turn out to be a historic initiative, but it will also turn out to be a test case as to whether this is the best way to alleviate poverty and reduce the growing inequality between people who do very well in our society and those who struggle.
Those are the two reasons that I think Scarborough—Guildwood had such a significant reduction in child poverty. We have to ask why that would have such an economic impact on the people of Scarborough—Guildwood, and the most obvious and intuitive reason is that people in the lower-income quintiles actually spend their money on necessities. It is intuitive and it does seem to make sense, but I am very grateful to the people at the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis who put together a paper called “Economic Contribution of the Canada Child Benefit: A Basic Income Guarantee for Canadian Families with Children”. They started to put data, flesh to that intuition, the intuition being that poorer people will spend money on food, shelter and core necessities. Indeed, that is exactly what the data does show.
The number one expenditure of the people who receive the Canada child benefit is increases to their shelter. The second, and this is counterintuitive, is on tax and I will come back to that shortly. The third is transportation, the fourth is food and the fifth is household operations. Four out of the five elements fall within one's sense of intuition, which is that lower-income folks will spend their money on things that they actually need. That seems to be borne out by the data.
The other interesting component of the data is that the benefit decreases as income increases. In the upper echelons of the quintiles that have a higher income, the money starts to get diverted to other things such as savings, investments and various other things, all of which we argue are good things.
However, there is an argument to be made that it is somewhat dead money. The lower-income quintiles spend the money on food and shelter, which goes directly and immediately into the economy, while the upper quintiles spend some on things like investments, etc., which is money that is set aside properly, but nevertheless is money not spent immediately and therefore has no significant immediate economic impact.
The interesting argument is this: if the federal government is a steward of taxpayer dollars, then what is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars in order to stimulate the economy? What the data starts to show on the Canada child benefit is that it is benefit money going directly into the hands of Canadians. Whether it is through elderly benefits, employment benefits or child benefits, that is the money that gives the greatest stimulus, as opposed to tax cuts.
The data really starts to jump out at us. However, I want to deal with one thing before we get into further discussions about the benefits of the stimulative effect of a benefit as opposed to the stimulative benefit of a tax cut, which is that $24 billion is a lot of money. It is actually greater than our National Defence budget; $24 billion is actually greater than almost all other departments.
It is reasonable to ask what $24 billion actually costs. As it turns out, $24 billion does not cost $24 billion, because $13 billion comes back in taxes. For the federal government's $24 billion, $13 billion comes back in taxes to both the provinces and the federal government. Of that $13 billion, $7 billion comes back to the federal government and $6 billion comes back to the provinces. The federal government has a $24-billion investment that really only costs the federal government $17 billion. The provinces have no investment in the Canada child benefit and yet reap a $6-billion benefit. It works rather well for the provinces.
What does $24 billion get us in terms of economic stimulus? It gets us roughly the GDP of the province of Nova Scotia in terms of economic stimulus, or around $46 billion in direct and indirect economic stimulus that is inputted through this investment of $24 billion. That $24 billion provides stimulus that is roughly equal to 0.5% of the nation's GDP annually. Since the inception of the program, it has contributed $139 billion to the nation's GDP.
All sectors of the economy benefit. It is intuitive, but makes a lot of sense that the number one beneficiary is housing. People who receive the Canada child benefit spend their money on housing.
The second is manufacturing. People with kids who receive the money spend it on clothing, shoes, bicycles and other things that need to be manufactured.
The third economic sector that benefits the most is construction.
Every year, this $24 billion in direct and indirect stimulus creates 418,000 full-time jobs and about 70,000 part-time jobs. That is a lot of jobs: 1.4 million jobs since its inception. Those are merely the benefits and the stimuli that can be measured.
There are, of course, a great number of benefits to the Canada child benefit that cannot be measured, that do not fit nicely within the economists' metric. It is intuitive. If a child goes to school properly clothed and with a full stomach, the greater likelihood is that the child will learn a lot better. Similarly, children who are properly clothed and well fed will not have as many negative health issues.
Therefore, the indirect benefits that are not measurable, which I am perfectly prepared to concede, but intuitively make a great deal of sense are huge to families and people with children.
The benefits of the Canada child benefit on the health system are not measurable, but make a great deal of sense. The benefit reduces financial stress. The multiplier is enormous. A healthier child is a more productive child. A better-educated child is ultimately a more productive citizen.
Admittedly, this initiative costs a great deal of money, but it makes economic sense, which I hope I have made some case for from an economic standpoint, health sense and education sense. There is an argument to be made that this is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars.
Let me finish with a comment from one of my favourite Conservatives, and I do not have many favourite Conservatives. I know they are a little upset, but I would recommend they talk to former Canadian senator Hugh Segal, who said, “we don't want 3.5 million...Canadians to be left behind. That's not who we are... It is in our interest to have an economy where liquidity and financial capacity is available to all.”
I submit that my Conservative colleagues should review Mr. Segal's views on this matter. He and his other colleague, former Senator Eggleton, conducted a massive study into Canadian poverty when they were both senators. One of their most significant recommendations was that there be a Canada child benefit and that it act as a minimum income guarantee for all families in Canada.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, elections have a lot of non-substantive issues and some substantive issues. I rather hoped we could stay on the substantive issues.
After all is said and done, historians will record that the Prime Minister consolidated all the benefits that accrued to families and to children, wrapped them into one very significant program, and that significant program has alleviated massive amounts of child poverty across the country. Most significantly, the number one riding in Canada for the reduction of child poverty is Scarborough—Guildwood. For Scarborough—Guildwood, the Prime Minister will be, presently and historically, remembered as having initiated a very significant program.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have nothing but sympathy and concern for people who suffer job losses.
I understand the issue of alienation. For many years, Ontario was not doing all that well. The riding of Scarborough—Guildwood was not doing all that well. However, things have sort of turned around.
If the conversation was not initiated during the election, the appointment of the Deputy Prime Minister shows a real willingness on the part of the Prime Minister to engage.
Canadians need to know that there is a framework in place for the hon. member's riding, Scarborough—Guildwood and every riding. That framework is in effect a minimum annual income protection for families, as I set out in my speech when I talked about the Canada child benefit.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. friend on her election. She has learned quite quickly that one can make a mini-speech in the process of asking a question.
There are three significant benefits for Canadians that come directly from the federal government: benefits for elderly people, which are about $56 billion; benefits for families with children, which are about $24 billion, and I touched on that in my speech; and then unemployment benefits, which are about $20 billion. That program is continually monitored and adjusted according to whether unemployment is up or down in a particular area.
I encourage the hon. member to see whether the local adjustments are, in fact, fair and reflective of the needs of the local people. She can go to the agency that runs unemployment insurance and discuss that directly with it to see whether the needs of her constituents are being recognized.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his appointment yesterday. I know him as a very able member of Parliament and he will be a very able parliamentary secretary as well.
With respect to the speech, I made a conscious decision to try to talk only about the measurable benefits of the Canada child benefits. Frankly, it is an economic argument for the benefit. I did not dwell on the intangible, non-measurable benefits. The health benefits, the education benefits, the social benefits and the opportunity benefits, all of which, in my judgment, are largely intuitive, are not necessarily measurable, but they are as important as, if not more important than, the actual economic benefits generated.
A child with a full stomach and a decent set of clothes and shoes is a child who is healthy and who will be better educated. That just makes perfectly good sense. You are absolutely right to say that the indirect, non-measurable benefits are as important as, if not more important than, the measurable benefits about which economists would talk.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I too will take advantage of this time to thank the people of Scarborough—Guildwood for electing me this eighth time. I continue to be honoured by their respect shown.
I will also take this opportunity to welcome my friend back. We enjoyed some interesting times on the defence committee together when he was previously here.
Setting aside for a moment the gratuitous, and in my judgment, unnecessary commentary on the part of the member for Durham and the overreach in the motion, it does speak to a central issue of this Parliament and many future parliaments going forward, which is the relationship between Canada and China.
In my judgment, China is the colonial power of the 21st century. It is saying to the world, and particularly to Canadians, not to involve themselves in the Uighur situation or the Tibetan situation, as they are internal matters. It is saying that the Hong Kong situation is an internal matter, that the Taiwanese situation is an internal matter, that the Falun Gong situation is an internal matter, and the Christians, that is an internal matter. The list goes on and on.
Currently, we are dealing with the most difficult situation with respect to Huawei. Four out of the Five Eyes countries are saying that they will not allow Huawei into their countries. These are issues that need to be faced not only by government but also by Parliament.
Would the hon. member agree that while this may not be a cold war, it is in some respects an asymmetric war with a front on intellectual property, academics, trade, human rights and pretty well the entire panoply of relational elements between one nation and another as China asserts its colonial status?
Results: 1 - 14 of 14

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