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View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech) .
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2021-06-22 10:05 [p.8935]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-35, An Act to reduce poverty and to support the financial security of persons with disabilities by establishing the Canada disability benefit and making a consequential amendment to the Income Tax Act.
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2021-06-22 10:40 [p.8941]
moved that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 10:40 [p.8941]
Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to address the House on such an important piece of legislation. To be very clear, in budget 2021 the government has outlined a plan to allow us to finish the fight against COVID-19, heal the wounds left by the COVID-19 recession as much as we can, and ultimately create more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come.
This is critically important legislation, and we would encourage all members of all political stripes to support it. Within it is a continuation of the government's focus on the pandemic. In the last federal election, Canadians wanted Parliament to work well together. They wanted us to come together to do the things that were necessary to facilitate a more positive environment for all Canadians, and being thrown into a pandemic made the priority fighting COVID-19: the coronavirus.
From the very beginning, our Prime Minister and this government have made it very clear that fighting the pandemic was our number one priority. We put into place a team Canada approach and brought together all kinds of stakeholders including different levels of government, indigenous leaders, individuals, non-profit organizations and private companies. We brought them all in to hopefully minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus.
It is because of those consultations and working with Canadians that Canada is in an excellent position today to maximize a recovery. The statistics will clearly demonstrate that. We have a government that has worked day in and day out, seven days a week, and is led by a Prime Minister who is truly committed to making Canada a better community.
I have, over the last number of months, witnessed a great deal of frustration from the opposition, in particular the Conservative opposition. The Conservatives continuously attempt to frustrate the process on the floor of the House of Commons. There was a time when all parties inside the chamber worked together to pass necessary legislation, and worked together to come up with ideas and ways to modify things so we could better support individuals and businesses in Canada. However, that time has long passed. The degree to which we see political partisanship on the floor of the House of Commons today is really quite sad.
Yesterday was embarrassing. I know many, if not all, of my colleagues found it embarrassing and humiliating to see one of Canada's most noble civil servants at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. The New Democrats and the Bloc joined with the Conservatives to humiliate a civil servant who should be applauded for his efforts over the last 12 months. He was publicly humiliated by being addressed in the manner he was, on the floor of the House of Commons, and it was distasteful. I say shame to the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives.
There were alternatives. If they did not want to take shots at the civil service, they could have dealt with it in other ways. For example, the Minister of Health provided the unredacted information to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was made up of parliamentarians from all political parties. Instead of passing the motion they did, they could have passed a motion for that committee to table the documents they wanted from the civil service. After all, the civil service provided the unredacted copies to that committee, not to mention that documents that had been redacted for national interest and security reasons were sent to another standing committee.
The political partisanship we are seeing today is making the chamber, for all intents and purposes, dysfunctional. We have seen the official opposition, less than a week ago, come to the floor of the House of Commons and within an hour of debate attempt to shut down Parliament for the day. It actually moved a motion to adjourn the House. The opposition is oozing with hypocrisy. On the one hand, it criticizes the government for not allowing enough time for debate, and on the other hand it tries to shut down the chamber in order to prevent debate.
If we were to look up the definitions of the words “hypocrisy” and “irony” in Webster's, which I have not, I wonder if they would describe what we are seeing from the opposition party, which moves concurrence debate, not once or twice but on many occasions, so that the government is not able to move forward on legislation, including Bill C-30, which we are debating today. That legislation is there to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Members of the Liberal caucus have fought day in and day out to ensure those voices are heard, brought to Ottawa and ultimately formulating policy that will take Canada to the next level. However, we have an official opposition that I would suggest has gone too far with respect to its resistance and destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons.
I have stated before that I have been a parliamentarian for approximately 30 years, the vast majority of which were in opposition. I am very much aware of how important it is that we protect the interests of opposition members and their rights. I am very much aware of the tactics opposition parties will use, but at a time when Canadians need us to work together, we have an official opposition that is acting as an obstructive force. When we talk about how Bill C-30 will be there to support small businesses and put money in the pockets of Canadians so they have the disposable income necessary to pay the bills that are absolutely essential, the Conservative Party continues to play that destructive role. It continues to focus on character assassination and on ways to make something out of something that is often not real. The Conservatives are more concerned about political partisanship than getting down to work, which was clearly demonstrated last Thursday. They are more concerned about character assassination, as we saw the official opposition, with the unholy opposition alliance, take personal shots at a national hero, someone we all know as the Minister of National Defence. This is unacceptable behaviour we are witnessing.
We have critically important legislation before the House. We can think about the types of things Bill C-30 would do for Canadians. If we want to prevent bankruptcies from taking place, we need to support this legislation, as it supports small businesses through the extension of the wage subsidy program, a program that has helped millions of Canadians, supporting tens of thousands of businesses from coast to coast to coast.
This is the type of legislation that we are actually debating today. It is not the only progressive, good, solid legislation that we have brought forward. Yesterday, through a closure motion, we were able to push through Bill C-10. We can imagine that legislation not being updated for 30 years. It is a major overhaul. We can think about what the Internet looked like 30 years ago, compared to today.
The Liberal government understands, especially during this pandemic, and we see it in the budget, the importance of our arts community, whether it was with Bill C-10 yesterday, where the government had to push hard to get it through, or the budget implementation bill today, where we are again having to use time allocation. It is not because we want to, but because we have to.
If we do not take measures of this nature, the legislation would not pass. The opposition parties, combined, often demonstrate that if the government is not prepared to take the actions it is taking, we would not get legislation through this House. The opposition parties want to focus on electioneering. We have been very clear, as the Prime Minister has stated, that our priority is the pandemic and taking the actions necessary in order to serve Canadians on the issue. It is the opposition parties that continuously talk about elections.
In my many years as a parliamentarian, in the month of June we have often seen legislation passing. It happens. It is a part of governance. One would expect to see a higher sense of co-operation from opposition parties, in particular from the official opposition party, not the obstruction that members have witnessed, not the humiliation that we have seen on the floor of the House of Commons at times.
Liberal members of the House are prepared to continue to work toward serving Canadians by passing the legislation that is necessary before the summer break. We still have time to address other pieces of legislation. Minutes prior to going into this debate, I was on a conference call in regard to Bill C-19. Again, it is an important piece of legislation. I challenge my colleagues on the opposition benches to come forward and say that we should get that legislation passed so that it could go to the Senate.
I mentioned important progressive pieces of legislation, and the one that comes to my mind, first and foremost, is this legislation, Bill C-30. Next to that, we talk a lot about Bill C-6, on conversion therapy. We talk a lot about Bill C-10, dealing with the modernization of broadcasting and the Internet, and going after some of these large Internet companies.
We talk about Bill C-12 and net zero, about our environment. We can check with Canadians and see what they have to say about our environment and look at the actions taken by opposition parties in preventing the types of progressive legislation we are attempting to move forward with.
We understand that not all legislation is going to be passed. We are not saying the opposition has to pass everything. We realize that in a normal situation not all government legislation is going to pass in the time frame we have set forth, given the very nature of the pandemic, but it is not unrealistic for any government, minority or majority, to anticipate that there would be a higher sense of co-operation in dealing with the passing of specific pieces of legislation. Bill C-30 is definitely one of those pieces of legislation.
Unfortunately, some opposition members will have the tenacity to say they are being limited and are unable to speak to and address this particular important piece of legislation. Chances are we are going to hear them say that. To those members, I would suggest they look at the behaviour of the Conservative official opposition and remind them of the Conservative opposition's attempts to delay, whether it is through adjourning debates, calling for votes on those kinds of proceedings, concurrence motions or using questions of privilege and points of order as a way to filibuster, which all happen to be during government business.
Bill C-3 was a bill that initially came forward a number of years ago from Rona Ambrose, the then leader of the Conservative Party, about judges. We can look at the amount of debate that occurred on that piece of legislation. It is legislation that could have and should have passed the House with minimal debate. It was hours and hours, days, of debate. Even though the Conservatives supported the legislation, even back then they did not want to have the government passing legislation.
Their purpose is to frustrate the government, prevent the government from being able to pass legislation, and then criticize us for not being able to pass legislation. What hypocrisy this is. Sadly, over the last week or so, we have seen the other opposition parties buy into what the Conservative opposition is doing, which has made it even more difficult.
As much as the unholy alliance of opposition parties continues to do these things and frustrate the floor of the House, I can assure Canadians that, whether it is this Prime Minister or my fellow members of Parliament within the caucus, we will continue day in, day out to focus our attention on the pandemic and minimizing its negative impacts.
We are seeing results. Over 32 million vaccine doses have been administered to Canadians. We are number one in first doses in the world. We have close to 35 million doses already in Canada, and we will have 50 million before the end of the month. Canada is positioning itself well, even with the frustration coming from opposition parties. We will continue to remain focused on serving Canadians, and Bill C-30 is an excellent example of the way in which we are going to ensure that Canadians get out of this in a better position. We are building back better for all Canadians.
View Tracy Gray Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tracy Gray Profile
2021-06-22 11:00 [p.8943]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke at length about dysfunctionality and how the opposition parties were creating dysfunction. I wonder if he considers it dysfunctional when Parliament is not debating bills every day, or when there are no opposition day motions, or when there are no emergency debates, or when there are no tabling of reports from committees, or when there are no private members' bills, or when there are no adjournment debates. That is how his government governed for a big part of 2020.
Could the member comment on that?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 11:01 [p.8943]
Madam Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In the last eight months, we had more emergency debates than I have seen in the previous six or seven years. We have had just as many private members' hours. We have had opposition days, all be it, some of those opposition days were very offensive.
It was an opposition day that led to what we saw yesterday, the humiliation of a public civil servant, someone who we should be thanking. The combined unholy alliance of opposition parties wanted to make a public statement by humiliating a public civil servant at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. Shame on the members of the opposition. That collective group should hang its head in shame.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-22 11:02 [p.8943]
Madam Speaker, the speech we heard was rather predictable. In fact, when the parliamentary secretary rises, we know almost exactly what he is going to say for the next 20 minutes.
We also heard him laying a lot of blame and expressing a lot of criticism toward the opposition, particularly for making the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada appear before the House and for stalling bills and keeping them from being passed on time.
However, is the parliamentary secretary able to identify his own government's shortcomings? If he did some soul-searching, perhaps the parliamentary secretary would realize that some of the problems with the way his own government is managing things are what led us to these conclusions and outcomes.
I would ask the secretary this: Could he show a little humility and identify one of his government's shortcomings during this parliamentary session? It is actually very simple.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 11:03 [p.8944]
Madam Speaker, at the beginning of the pandemic, we brought in a suite of different programs to support Canadians and businesses. The programs were not perfect, and we continued to look at ways we could improve those programs. We have never said that everything is perfect. We continue to try hard to ensure that we maximize these benefits for all Canadians. We all have something to learn from it.
Yesterday, the members of the Bloc had a choice. They could have mandated the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, for example, to table the unredacted documents, and they chose not to that. Instead, they chose to humiliate a public servant, unjustifiably.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, the government moved immediately, within four days of the pandemic hitting, to provide an unprecedented $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, and, of course, we have seen record profits of $60 billion so far during the pandemic.
However, at the same time, with Bill C-30, we are seeing significant cuts in the CRB, ultimately from the $500 a week the NDP fought for down to $300 a week, below the poverty line for all those Canadians who still need the CRB over the coming months to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.
I would like the parliamentary secretary to simply explain why the government is slashing benefits on which Canadians so urgently rely.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 11:05 [p.8944]
Madam Speaker, Canadians can see through the NDP's continuously scripted lines. At the end of the day, the Government of Canada, with the help of many, came up with a program, which Canadians know as CERB, to support putting disposable income in the pockets of Canadians. It was a hugely successful program, a program that came from nothing, with excellent civil servants making it happen. Over nine million Canadians directly benefited by that program. Yes, it cost billions of dollars, but it was money well spent to support Canadians.
This government has had its eyes on supporting Canadians from day one, and we will continue to provide the necessary supports to ensure we can get out of this pandemic as best as we can.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2021-06-22 11:06 [p.8944]
Madam Speaker, minority Parliaments are not easy. I spent six years in two minority parliaments in Nova Scotia. We had to actually work with the opposition to ensure we could get the things we needed for our constituents. We went out of our way to ensure that opposition MPs, or MLAs at the time, got what they needed to help their constituents.
What I hear from the member is bellyaching about the opposition members and what they do not want to do. The management comes from the Liberal side. The management comes from the House leader and the management team. How much has that member reached out? How much have those ministers reached out to us? I have been waiting for weeks for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reach, and that has not happened.
Has there been some introspective that maybe some of these things the member bellyaches about are because of the Liberals mismanagement of many of these files?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 11:07 [p.8944]
Madam Speaker, I use yesterday as an example. Yesterday, we had a civil servant come to the bar, which is the first time in 100 years, to be publicly humiliated. I felt ashamed. I thought it was disgusting. That would not have happened if it were not for the NDP, Bloc and Conservatives forcing that civil servant to stand before the House to be admonished. I thought it was distasteful.
A minority government means exactly what we saw yesterday, that the combined opposition have the majority. Anytime they want to humiliate someone, they can easily do it. They know that and they do not have any reservation in doing it even if it is somewhat historical in its very nature. That is not the only example, unfortunately.
View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2021-06-22 11:08 [p.8944]
Madam Speaker, anyone could have seen that speech coming from miles away.
For weeks now, the parliamentary secretary has been calling Parliament dysfunctional and accusing opposition parties of picking fights. What he is doing is setting the stage for what he really wants: a snap election.
I will pick up where my colleague from Drummond left off. Here is my question for the parliamentary secretary. Would the parliamentary secretary humbly state—and humbly here means “not proud; having a low estimate of one's own importance”—that last August's prorogation of the House constituted an obstruction to our parliamentary work?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-06-22 11:09 [p.8945]
Madam Speaker, the prorogation that took place last summer was easily justified in regard to the previous throne speech and the necessity to introduce a new throne speech, which was done on September 23. All one needs to do is just read the document to get a better appreciation as to why prorogation was important, keeping in mind that even through the prorogation, we might have lost maybe two days of debate at best.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:10 [p.8945]
Madam Speaker, in my earlier remarks about the budget, I noted that with this budget, the Prime Minister had squandered a historic opportunity to reposition our economy for long-term success. I did, however, acknowledge that the budget contained a number of temporary measures that were critical to sustaining Canadians as we struggled to get past the pandemic. I commended the government for extending the wage and rent subsidy programs and a number of other measures that would continue to support struggling Canadians.
That is what a responsible opposition does. We offer helpful suggestions where possible and we call out failure when it happens. Therefore, I wish I could say that we Conservatives will support this budget, because we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. However, the reality is that this budget completely fails to deliver the growth budget that the finance minister had promised. Instead, it represents, as former deputy finance minister Kevin Lynch recently noted, the largest “transfer of debt and risk” that our country has ever seen. The finance minister failed to recognize the enormity of that challenge and in so doing, failed to include in her budget the strong fiscal anchor and debt management plan for which her own mandate letter called.
This budget would see our massive national debt swell to $1.4 trillion in the immediate term, with a hint from the government that it plans to borrow even more. The only anchor the minister could point to was a trajectory that would see Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio move slightly below 50%, far above what it was pre-pandemic, with endless debt and deficits for our children and grandchildren to repay.
The minister has been asked many times if she ever expects the government to return to balance; in other words to live within its means. She has steadfastly refused to answer, clearly a signal that the answer is no. Is this the growth budget the Prime Minister promised? It is absolutely not. While it would dramatically grow deficits, debt and the size of government, there is little that would position our economy for long-term growth and prosperity.
While other G7 countries have invested heavily in things like critical infrastructure, cut taxes, embarked on regulatory reform, harnessed the value of their innovators and reoriented trade away from hostile regimes like China, our Prime Minister has simply sprayed half a trillion dollars at targets intended to secure his re-election.
There is no plan to reorient our industrial policy from a tangibles to an intangibles economy, and there is no plan to capture the value of Canadian education, research and development, and innovation to ensure our start-ups commercialize and create jobs in Canada. There is no plan to reverse the dramatic flight of foreign capital from our country and to get nation-building infrastructure built. We now have the dubious distinction of being known as the country where nothing ever gets built. The demise of northern gateway, Keystone XL and energy east, and the potential demise of Line 5 under the current Liberal government, are evidence of that. What is worse is that this budget throws our oil and gas sector under the bus by expressly excluding it from the CCUS tax credit.
Again, is this a growth budget? It is not at all. In fact, even the Prime Minister's former policy adviser, Robert Asselin, recently confirmed this when he said that the budget doubles “down on programs that do not address our innovation shortcomings and have yielded few results to date.” He said, “it is hard to find a coherent growth plan.”
The finance minister clearly has not been taking the advice of her own Liberal advisers. She has also failed to act on other pressing issues. Her budget fails to properly address the looming threat of inflation and with it, rising interest rates, which could have a profound impact on millions of Canadians with mortgages.
In fact, last week we learned from Stats Canada that the cost of living continues to rise and is the highest it has been in over 10 years, proving that the minister's trillion-dollar debt and endless deficits are actually making life much more expensive for Canadians. One of the reasons for this is that the minister injected massive stimulus into our economy when economists were warning that she risked stoking the fires of inflation, and here we are. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer commented that the Liberal government may have miscalibrated the necessity to spend on stimulus.
I will not sugar-coat this. The threat that massive borrowing and spending will lead to runaway inflation is real. I know the government does not want to hear that and is hanging on to the belief that inflationary pressures will be transitory. It says there is nothing to see and do not worry and tells us to be happy. However, Germany's Deutsche Bank is not buying it. It recently warned of a ticking inflation time bomb, a warning our minister refuses to heed.
For example, why is the Liberal government spending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? It is a bank that makes no investments in Canada and instead supports China's efforts to assert its power and influence across Asia. In fact, why is this government collaborating with the communist regime in China on anything while that regime commits genocide against its own Uighur Muslim population, lays waste to democracy in Hong Kong, engages in harvesting organs from persecuted minorities like the Falun Gong and betrays Canada in the CanSino vaccine debacle? Why are the Liberals partnering with China when the Prime Minister cannot even explain why two Chinese scientists were escorted from a high-security virology lab in Winnipeg and fired? Why is Canadian money being invested in a bank controlled by China's communist regime when our two Michaels continue to languish in Chinese prisons? The minister has refused to answer these questions, as more and more taxpayer money is wasted on the Prime Minister's efforts to appease China.
This budget also failed to deliver a clear plan to safely reopen our common border with our largest trading partner, the U.S. Some two billion dollars' worth of trade crosses our border every single day, yet the budget scarcely mentions border security and trade facilitation, and makes no mention of whether discussions with the Biden administration are under way to safely reopen our border.
We are going to judge the government's budget not on the quantity but on the quality of its spending. Based on that standard, much of this budget remains unsalvageable. We Conservatives are now in a better position to judge the merits of this budget and to determine what it might mean for Canadians in the short, medium and long term. As I said, in the short term there are a number of measures that we can support that will help Canadians through this economic and health crisis, but in the medium and especially the long term, there is very little to get excited about. It is just endless debts and deficits with not even a pretense of the Liberal government ever wanting to return to balance.
As a responsible official opposition, we have no choice but to reject the government's attempt to spend the cupboards bare in order to position the Liberals for re-election, leaving future generations of Canadians to pick up the tab. There is one thing Canadians can be absolutely sure of. A Conservative government will implement a true Canada recovery plan that secures our future by getting Canadians back to work, by helping small businesses recover, by restoring Canada's reputation and competitive advantage and by prudently managing the massive financial burden that the government has left us. The Conservatives have done it before and we will do it again.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, the member started off by acknowledging the important programs that have supported Canadian businesses and workers over the last year with money that we had to spend as a country to keep our economy going. However, I hear the Conservatives constantly asking how we are going to pay for it.
The NDP says it should be the super wealthy who pay for it, the billionaires who made over $70 billion during the pandemic. We put forward an idea for a 1% wealth tax on Canadians with assets over $20 million. Canadians really like this idea. In fact, 80% of Canadians like the idea, two-thirds of whom are Conservative.
I am wondering what the member has to say. Why does his party not support this? It seems like the most logical idea regarding who should pay for this is the people who can afford to.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:21 [p.8946]
Madam Speaker, it seems that every time that NDP members get up in the House, their only solution to the fiscal challenges and the financial challenges facing Canadians is to increase taxes on this and that.
I want to point the member to the fact that the NDP, the Bloc and our Conservatives are working together at the finance committee to find out how the Canadian government can better collect taxes that are owed. We know there is a tremendous amount of tax evasion taking place and an aggressive avoidance of taxes within Canada. Some of the biggest companies and the richest Canadians are finding loopholes for, and other ways around, paying taxes that they should be paying in Canada.
I am hopeful that as we continue to study this challenge, with all of this tax revenue falling through the cracks because the federal government cannot properly collect the tax that is owing, we will deliver some of the additional revenues required to bring our country back on track and will find a way to balance the budget, something the Liberal government has refused to tell us it is going to do. Sadly, the government has repeatedly refused to answer when it will return to a balanced budget or if it will ever return—
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, given the answer the member gave to the last question about tax avoidance, loopholes and the various mechanisms that people are using to avoid paying taxes, I am reminded of discussions I have heard, in private settings and publicly, about looking at the tax code in its entirety, rather than looking at individual sections of it.
There have been calls to look at the whole tax code and basically start from the scratch. Does the member agree with the position that this is a good way to proceed when trying to address some of these problems?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:23 [p.8946]
Madam Speaker, the short answer is yes. In fact, if the member looks at the pre-budget consultation report that the finance committee came up with, he will see that the dissenting report from the Conservatives contains the recommendation that the government finally engage in comprehensive tax reform. It should find a way to simplify our tax system to make it fairer, making sure that everybody pays their fair share, and should simplify it so that it is easier to collect taxes and it is easier for Canadians to fill out their tax forms every year
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2021-06-22 11:24 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, the Conservatives continue to bring up China and the Liberal Party. I would like to remind the member that it was the Harper Conservative government that signed an agreement with Communist China, the 2012 Canada-China FIPA, which gave Chinese state-owned corporations a great deal of power over our democratic authority. It was Rob Nicholson, the defence minister at the time, who signed an agreement with the Chinese for military co-operation in 2013.
I would like to step back into taxes. We know that trickle-down economics has not worked. Cutting taxes for the ultrawealthy has meant that they have lined their pockets, and the burden of taxation has gone to the working class and the middle class. That is not working. It is not good for our economy and it is not good for working people. I agree with the member for Kingston and the Islands that we need serious tax reform and need to make sure that the wealthy pay their fair share.
Would the member not agree that the burden falls too much on working people in the middle class?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:25 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, the member knows that I just responded to the question. I am in favour of comprehensive tax reform to bring our tax system back to fairness and balance to make sure those who should be paying taxes are paying taxes.
With respect to the FIPA, I would say the member obviously has not read it. I have, and it does not in any way create additional market access. This agreement is called a post-establishment investment protection treaty. In other words, it only protects investments once they have been made in Canada. The decision the federal government makes is whether it is going to allow a foreign investment to be made in Canada if it is above a certain threshold value.
The suggestion that somehow this agreement opens up the market for Chinese investment is patently false. In fact, this agreement protects Canadian investors when they make investments in China and are then discriminated against by Chinese governments. This—
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2021-06-22 11:27 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Abbotsford for his comments on this year's budget. He mentioned that inflationary pressures are already embedded in the economy. We know that the best way to tackle inflation is to grow the economy to make sure that it is producing all the goods and services that people need.
Does the member have comments about what this budget does to grow the economy?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:27 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, inflation does represent a significant threat to our economy and to Canadians right across the country because as inflation grows, interest rates typically follow. That is something every family who has a large mortgage needs to be concerned about.
My colleague is also right in that the best way to address a recessionary economy, a large budgetary deficit and a massive, growing debt is to grow the economy. What we can do is cut spending, which I do not believe any of the parties in the House of Commons are talking about; increase taxes on Canadians, which is what the NDP, the Bloc and the Liberals always propose; or grow the economy, thereby finding a way to manage the debt and start to return to balanced budgets, at least in the long term.
Given the massive debt we have now incurred, growing the economy is the best way forward. One thing the Conservatives will not do is increase taxes on Canadians at such a difficult time.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I know the member for Abbotsford has constituents who rely on the CRB. Particularly in the tourism industry and a number of other industries, people will rely on it to put food on their tables over the course of the summer.
I would like the member to comment on the government's slashing of the CRB from $500 a week to $300 a week, which is below poverty levels. Does he feel it is in the best interests of his constituents to see the marked slashing of those benefits at such a critical time?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-06-22 11:29 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's work at the finance committee. I think we work together quite well on that committee.
We have repeatedly said that Canadians need to be financially supported by government until such time as all of us have made it through the pandemic. We are not advocating for slashing and burning. We are advocating that once Canadians make it through to the end of the pandemic, they are weaned off of these supports. We do not believe in slashing and burning these programs, because they are absolutely critical for sustaining Canadians through this very difficult time.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-22 11:30 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, before I start my speech, I seek unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Shefford.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-22 11:30 [p.8947]
Madam Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for giving me their consent; it was very nice of them.
This morning, it seems to me that I will be repeating things we have been saying for a while now. Evidently, it takes a lot of repetition for the message to sink in.
I will start by talking about health transfers.
Of course, it is important to pass Bill C-30 swiftly, that is to say, before the session ends, because, among other things, the support measures need to be extended. We all agree on that point. However, there are significant flaws.
The main idea in my speech is that the federal government wants to hold all the power and be omnipotent. It wants to exert its dominance over the other levels of government and over Canadians. The health care transfers are a darned good example.
Why is the current government, the Prime Minister, refusing to give 28 billion dollars annually to the provinces and Quebec, who are all asking for the same thing? If it did so, after three to five years the health care problems in the provinces, territories and Quebec would mostly be resolved, which would allow us to better manage the health system. As a result, the provinces, territories and Quebec would no longer need to ask the federal government to kindly come to the rescue by giving them a few billion dollars.
Politically speaking, it is much better and more relevant and advantageous to hold a big press conference, with a big smile and a sunny disposition, and look like the great saviour. We are offered only a billion dollars, and told to come back on our knees and beg for more again next year, because Ottawa wants to hold on to that power. The unreasonable spending power is the evil side of the Canadian federation, and so is the unreasonable sharing of taxation powers: 50% of Quebeckers' tax dollars go to Ottawa, but Ottawa does not take on 50% of the responsibilities. That is the problem.
That is one of the themes I wanted to address in my speech, but I will now move on to something else.
Old age security comes to mind. Why are the Liberals increasing old age security? They probably want to hold on to that as a nice election promise. Government members are always waiting for the next election campaign. FADOQ members and seniors' groups are paying attention to the government's promises. The benevolent government tells them not to worry and promises to take care of seniors if it is re-elected. What a crock.
The government has an opportunity to do this now. All the opposition parties are on board. We were calling for this before the pandemic began, not now because of the pandemic. Things were not going great before the pandemic, and the situation is much worse now.
Every day, or nearly every day, people tell me that they received an adjustment of $1.59. It is a slap in the face. People ask me what we are doing and whether we are still delivering the message. That is why, with every darned speech I make on the budget, I bring these things up. I do this work for my constituents.
I do not want to blame anyone, but I would like to offer members of the House some food for thought. Sometimes I get the impression that members may have forgotten the initial commitment we make. I invite each and every one of us to remember our first election campaign, even though some members have been here for 25 or 30 years. That is a nod to Mr. Plamondon, who has never forgotten why he is here. There are others who have been here for a long time. Let us not forget—
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-22 11:35 [p.8948]
Madam Speaker, it is because this man's name is etched on my heart. The name of his riding is Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel.
I was saying that members need to remind themselves of their commitment. I invite them to think of the people who call their riding office to tell them how they are struggling to put food on the table. I have been helping some of those people this year.
Let us remember the older people who supported the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and the establishment of the society we live in today, which has allowed us to thrive because it is so generous and prosperous. I would not be here today if not for the Quiet Revolution. I am a son of the proletariat, of the working class. If these people had not created the good public education system that we have in Quebec, I would not be here. Could we remember that from time to time?
I will talk about the renewal of an agriculture-related measure because, as members know, I cannot make a speech without talking about agriculture. Another good example of the arm's length relationship that the federal government wishes to maintain was the extension of the tax deferral on patronage dividends of agricultural co-operatives for another five years. This measure has been in place for more than 10 years, actually 15 years. It works well, but, every time it is about to expire, the sector panics. They have to ramp up their lobbying system and contact all of us. All elected members of the House with farmers in their riding have been contacted this past year because of concerns about the lack of an official commitment to renew this measure.
People in the agricultural sector are happy the measure has been renewed for five years, of course. They would not say they are unhappy, but it is not exactly what they wanted. They wanted the measure to be permanent.
Why would the government make a measure permanent and make people's lives easier when it can score political points and come off looking so good and generous by making a wonderful announcement every three or four years about renewing the measure?
Make that measure permanent and move on to other things. Elected representatives should be working to improve people's lives and their constituents' lives for the long term, regardless of their political interests. We have all noticed the announcements happening all over the place, little mini-announcements about $25 million for this or $100 million for that. That is fine, and I am not saying I do not want those announcements, but let us do some really structural, long-term things for our people.
Take, for example, the emergency processing fund, which was implemented during the pandemic. I forwarded some cases to the minister's office but nothing came of it. These cases involved people who had started modernizing their regional processing plants—plants we so desperately need—in good faith, but ended up being told that the program had run out of money. They were told that it was unfortunate, but that they would have to try again another time. When the government is feeling generous and people have begged enough, it will see whether it can inject another $1 million or $10 million. When I raise the issue, they tell me that $10 million more were invested, but that is not enough. Sure, $10 million is great, but what businesses need is effective, long-term assistance.
My time is running out and I would be remiss if I did not bring up the point I raised the other day about support for temporary foreign workers. As of June 16, the $1,500 amount has been reduced to $750, even though bringing in temporary foreign workers is no less expensive than it was before. Quarantines are still mandatory and necessary. The farmers who are bringing in foreign workers right now are just as important as those who brought in foreign workers two months ago. Why are businesses being treated differently and unfairly? It still costs money.
In my last speech, I cited a letter from the agricultural community addressed directly to the government and the minister asking them not to cut this money. What is more, these people lost a tremendous amount of money in the Switch Health mess. Not only should these amounts not be reduced, but more money needs to be given to these people to compensate for the problems they encountered with Switch Health.
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am curious. From the member's tone, body language and speech, he seemed to be pouring it on pretty thick on the government for all of its failures and its wrongness in its approach, yet the member and his party are supporting it. I would ask him to reconcile the two.
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