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Results: 1 - 15 of 85
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition calling on the government to maintain its carbon pricing policy in order to reach the Paris Agreement targets.
View Laurel Collins Profile
View Laurel Collins Profile
2020-03-11 15:22 [p.1939]
Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have today is from residents of my riding who are concerned about the climate crisis. They are calling on Parliament to take meaningful steps so that Canada can become a world leader in a clean-energy economy. The petitioners would like to see comprehensive carbon pricing that will significantly reduce emissions and help low- and middle-income Canadians by equitably returning 100% of these revenues.
View John Barlow Profile
View John Barlow Profile
2020-03-09 16:25 [p.1818]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, a great cleanup hitter for my time today.
I find it interesting when the Liberals comment during this debate and say we are adding too much work for the government by asking for transparency and clarity on some of these issues. We have certainly heard over the last several years that one of the things that seems to be lacking within this government when it is putting in new policies, policies that time and time again weaken industry and our economy, is it is not doing any economic impact assessment before these decisions are made.
We want to raise the awareness that they have been warned about the impacts or the possible consequences of some of their policy decisions and the ramifications they are having. Were the Liberals given those documents? If not, why were they not asking for some of that due diligence before implementing some of these decisions?
Certainly, the motion we have put forward today is highlighting “waste not, want not”. One of the things Canadians ask of their government is to ensure that it is being a strong steward of their tax dollars. There is no question that middle-class Canadians are paying more taxes, but one of the things we want to raise awareness about today is that these policies have also made Canadian business uncompetitive.
I want to talk about a constituent in southern Alberta, John Van Hierden, who has a grain business. Last week he emailed me his carbon tax bill for his grain operation. The carbon tax bill for the month of January was $25,000. He has calculated that by 2022 the Liberal carbon tax will cost him close to $1 million, making his grain operation unsustainable.
When we talk about competitiveness, the other issue the carbon tax has caused is that he has lost one of his most important contracts. He has been selling grain that comes from farmers throughout southern Alberta to Qatar. It is a $2.8-million contract to send southern Alberta grain to Qatar. However, because of the Liberals' carbon tax, he can no longer match the prices of his global competitors. As a result of the carbon tax being in for one month, he has now lost that contract. That is just one of many contracts now in jeopardy because of the Liberal carbon tax.
We are asking the government if they can back this up. Did it do the due diligence before putting in these types of policies? We have specifically asked the Minister of Agriculture if she understands the ramifications the carbon tax is having on Canadian farmers, processors and producers across this country. In her responses she has been saying that she is collecting data and evidence, and that she does not believe it is as harmful as farmers are saying.
Why was this not done before the carbon tax was implemented? Is the government trying to tell Canadian farmers and the opposition that it did not do any due diligence? Could the government not find the information and data to find out what the implications of this were going to be to Canada's agriculture sector before implementing a carbon tax? Now that we are months into it, we still do not have that data or that evidence. I find that to be unfathomable. Frankly, Canadian farmers and producers do not take that as an answer. They want data to back this up.
For the Minister of Agriculture and the Liberal government to say they do not have that data is ridiculous. How is a decision of that magnitude made without doing an analysis of what the impact will be? That is just one producer of thousands across Canada.
I have heard it from grain farmers, dairy producers, honey farmers, and producers of beans and pulses in Ontario. This is from every sector of agriculture and certainly every corner of this country. This is not just something that is impacting western Canadian producers. This is something that is impacting every agriculture producer in this country, and that is even more frustrating.
My colleague across the way was talking about facts today. This is what makes it even more frustrating for Canadian producers, and small business owners as well, when they are being hammered with a carbon tax that the government says it needs in order to reduce GHG emissions and look at revenue.
The one thing that I want to mention as well is this. If the carbon tax is supposed to reduce your fuel usage, how is that possible in agriculture? Are my farmers to just combine on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because of the carbon tax? That is impossible if we want to grow food, grow the economy and feed the world, and if we want the industry to be successful. Farmers have no way to reduce those things. It just does not exist. Those are some of the facts that the government needs to be aware of.
We have had the Prime Minister spending $95,000 in food and drink on one international trip, 57 bottles of wine, 35 cans of beer, $50 million to Mastercard, and $12 million to one of Canada's largest grocery stores for refrigerator retrofits, even though they had profits exceeding more than $800 million in one fiscal year. Other examples include 1.6 million of taxpayer dollars for the Prime Minister's photo ops, $14,000 on a TV, $8 million on an outdoor rink on Parliament Hill that lasted just a few months, $200,000 on the cover design of the budget in 2017 and $100,000 to operate one minister's Twitter account.
As the agriculture critic, I have to point out that agriculture Canada bought 100,000 cocktail napkins for close to $4,000. That is literally throwing taxpayers' dollars in the waste bin when producers right now are struggling to find a way to remain successful or even profitable. When one sees those types of numbers, it adds to one's frustration.
We had officials from agriculture Canada at committee the other day. I wanted to mention too that we have producers dealing with the harvest from hell, illegal blockades, a carbon tax, lost trade markets and now many of them can no longer even subscribe to programs that should be there to help them, like AgriStability. It is un-bankable, it is unaffordable, it is unreliable. We asked the officials from agriculture Canada what the administration costs would be for AgriStability.
The Liberal government is paying bureaucrats 25% of the entire budget of AgriStability just on administering that program, close to $70 million. That is ridiculous for administration of a program that farmers are not even using anymore because carbon tax, trade disruption and illegal blockades make it impossible for them to subscribe to that program. When we ask for changes to that program or other business risk management suites, the Liberals say they are not going to do that.
We have asked for extensions on the advance payments program loans, to waive interest fees and give agriculture some sort of assistance to get them through this very difficult time and the Liberals refuse to do that.
The Canadian budget deficit is billions of dollars more than the Liberals promised and they are using Canadian taxpayers like a credit card with absolutely no way of paying them back. With deficits of $60 billion more than promised, which will certainly get higher, at some point it has to be paid back. How do the Liberals expect to pay that back when two of the most important pillars of our economy have been decimated, agriculture and energy, because of trade disruption alone? Just in trade disruption in lost markets in China, India, Peru, the United States, Italy and Japan, Canadian producers have lost more than $5 billion in revenue since 2017, thanks to the geopolitical mistakes of the government.
Let us take a look at energy. We had Teck mine walk away from a $20-billion oil sands project in Alberta. Warren Buffet announced that he has walked away from a $9-billion LNG pipeline in Quebec. Energy is $15 billion in royalty revenues for the government. When these revenue streams are taken away, how does the government possibly expect to pay back these massive deficits?
What we are asking from the government is to table the documents to show any due diligence and any economic impact analysis on the impacts that its decisions will have on the Canadian economy. We want the government to support this motion.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on his excellent comments and his bid at comedy.
I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.
In all seriousness, we are facing an economic crisis. The TSX dropped over 1,600 points today. It is serious. What is more, the TSX dropped 31% more than the Dow. Across the border to the south, their economy has been roaring. The Dow has been outperforming the TSX. They are a natural comparison in the United States. Our stock exchange, the TSX dropped 30% more. Why is that?
I ask every member, in all seriousness, to consider that. Why is our stock market bleeding a third more than the market to the south?
To carve through the demagoguery and clarify the economic reality that the other side is desperately trying to obscure and obfuscate against, including the finance minister, who will not comment on whether we are heading into a recession or on the finances of our country, is a problem.
In order to go there, I think we have to start at the beginning. Any capitalist economy is cyclical, it is true. It goes through a series of expansions and contractions. There are various economic theories. There is the Keynesian theory that says when times are good, we should save more money, we should raise taxes and decrease spending. In bad times, we should spend more and cut taxes to give stimulus to the economy. However, there is a more free market, laissez-faire theory that says to keep spending low, keep taxes low and the private sector will overcome and come to equilibrium.
The last five years have not borne a resemblance to any economic theory known. It has just been spend, spend, tax more and spend in the good times. The Liberal government's attack on businesses, the institution of the carbon tax, its weak leadership, failure to address Canada's productivity gap and reckless spending have left our country without many of the resources that are required to counteract the effects of a recession.
Small business is the very heart of our country. Nearly 70% of private sector employees come from small business. These individuals have had to deal with increasing regulations, increasing taxation, and, worst of all in my opinion, the finance minister had the chutzpah to call these individuals, who are some of the most honourable, hard-working people I have ever met, tax cheats. In my mind, that is utterly reprehensible.
In my local riding, we have seen the impact of the Liberal government's policy of taxation, which has meant the closure of the Weston bakery and of Saputo in the riding next door to me. It is costing us real jobs, and it is having a real impact on the people in my riding.
Another detrimental impact, a self-inflicted wound, is the carbon tax. The carbon tax has been an unmitigated economic disaster. It has increased the cost of inputs into our businesses, making our businesses less competitive. Many of our foreign competitors do not have to pay a carbon tax, so they have a competitive advantage, most notably those in the United States. I repeat, the TSX dropped 30% more than the Dow.
Could the carbon tax have something to do with it? I think so. The carbon tax has a negative, insidious multiplier effect. We have more and more carbon tax, which makes our products more and more expensive, and our economy less competitive.
In my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South, which I think is the greatest riding in Canada, the agricultural sector is incredibly important. In the agricultural sector, we have seen farmers lose 12% of their net income because of the carbon tax. Once again, the TSX is down 30% more. Why is that?
It is self-evident that a more productive economy is a more stable economy, so we need to pursue an economy that is more competitive and more productive.
As we have seen over the last five years, businesses have invested 20% less. We have seen Warren Buffett pull out of Canada. Teck Frontier has decided not to go ahead with its tar sands expansion. Over and over again, we see less capital being invested in Canada. Could that have something to do with why the Dow Jones is ahead of the TSX by 30% today?
At the heart of many of our economic problems is a serious structural competitive issue. In Canada, we measure productivity globally by the amount each worker contributes to GDP per hour. In Canada it is a low $50; in the United States it is $60; in Switzerland it is $65; and in Ireland it is $84. Why does productivity matter? Is this just the Conservatives talking about numbers? No. This has a real impact on human beings. It is for the people of Canada that productivity matters. The average wage earner in Canada earns $19 an hour. The average wage earner in the United States earns $23. In Switzerland, the average wage earner earns $33. Are these related? I think so.
When we look at the impact of government on the economy, the productivity gap, the loss in our stock markets today and the broader picture, we see that Canada is falling behind. Could that also be related to the fact that the average Canadian now spends more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined? The idea is to save for a rainy day, but the government has not done that itself and has also made it impossible for Canadians. The average Canadian is $200 away from insolvency every month, 50% of them.
The other major issue is the weak leadership we have seen from the Prime Minister. Our weak economy is a direct result of the Prime Minister's weak leadership. His dithering and dialogue failed to effectively lead our country through the blockades and trade disputes. The economic impact of the blockades has yet to be determined, but it will no doubt be in the millions of dollars.
In my riding, I have had a lot of conversations with business owners and individuals alike who have struggled with the impact of the blockades. They cannot get their goods to make other goods and they cannot ship their goods. This is impacting all Canadians, and the folks in my riding are hurting. Some of the businesses will not be able to make payroll this month because of the blockades. If the Prime Minister had stood up 19 days before with the vast majority of the Wet'suwet'en people and the vast majority of hard-working Canadians and shut the blockades down, all of this hardship would have been avoided.
When we look at the overall picture, there is no question that today is a bad day for the global economy. We are looking straight down the barrel of a downturn. The government did not act with the due diligence that it should have.
As a key device, according to Keynesian economics, a government can counteract an economic downturn with deficit spending. However, when we spend the cupboard bare, there is nothing else to grab from there.
The Prime Minister talked repeatedly, during his 2015 campaign, about the importance of maintaining a balanced budget. He was on record saying that we needed to have a balanced budget. Indeed, as he famously said, “the budget will balance itself.” Of course, budgets do not balance themselves and we are left with a $30-billion structural deficit, in addition to over $100 billion of deficit spending.
My friends across the aisle like to say that Stephen Harper had billions of dollars in deficit. We were going through the worst global recession in the last 50 years and he balanced the budget so we could outperform the rest of the G7. The Conservatives took the necessary steps. I stand by Prime Minister Harper's record. Now we see the opposite. When times are good globally and economically, what do we do? We sing, dance, spend and tax, over and over again, leaving our cupboard bare.
I feel as though we are watching the economy go over the edge and the Conservative Party is yelling for us to stop, hit the brakes and change direction, but you refuse. We will go over the cliff. For goodness' sake, we need to change direction. We need to go forward with a more productive and efficient economy, and not slide into a further—
View Blaine Calkins Profile
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2020-02-27 11:55 [p.1664]
Mr. Speaker, given the fact that the government, and he is a member of the government caucus, has chosen to accept the decision of a Quebec court rather than appealing it to the Supreme Court of Canada, I would guess the rationale would be based on a sense of urgency to deal with this issue.
I am wondering if I can count on my hon. friend across the way to make the same point in his caucus meeting about the decision in Alberta that the carbon tax is out of jurisdiction, and that the government will accept the Alberta court's decision as much as it is willing to accept the Quebec court's decision on this matter.
View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
2020-02-27 11:56 [p.1664]
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the question is cogent to this incredibly personal, complex and emotional discussion we are having in the House, but what I can say is that our government remains committed to protecting vulnerable individuals and to protecting the equality, value and self-worth of all Canadians.
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2020-02-26 18:39 [p.1641]
Mr. Speaker, just imagine going through a harvest from hell and then not being able to combine the crops. That was the reality for farmers across the Prairies, and our farmers are already dealing with a tirade of trade disruptions and the decline of commodity prices.
Let us never forget our farmers are bearing the brunt of the illegal blockades that have shut down Canada's rail system, prohibiting them from getting their grain to ports for export. They are facing a cash crunch that is causing real hardship, and yet the Liberal government has been absolutely absent. To make matters worse, farmers are now opening their mail to find that the Liberals are sticking them with a huge tax bill to dry their grain, a huge carbon tax bill.
If the Liberals hope that I or my colleagues are going to go away, let me be crystal clear. I will never waver from standing up for the western farmers, and my colleagues will always stand up for the farmers in their areas as well.
We are being forced to do this because there are no substitutes for propane and natural gas for drying grain or heating barns, yet these fuels are not exempt from the Liberal carbon tax within the agriculture sector.
In question period I asked for the removal of these carbon taxes on fuels as farmers need them to heat their barns and dry their grain. I am disappointed that the Minister of Agriculture has not been able to push through the necessary changes to exempt farmers from the carbon tax on these necessary fuels. The minister claims she is listening to farmers, but our government is ignoring what these farmers are telling them.
The Liberals have proposed no solutions to lessen the financial pain that their carbon tax is causing for farmers. That is why my colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South has provided his private member's bill to this House. It is to help farmers solve this Liberal lack of action or recognition of hurt. His bill would remove the carbon tax from fuels for drying grain and heating barns. This is action that I can support.
However, today in question period, in this House, the Prime Minister said that his Liberal government recognizes this issue is hurting farm families. Recognizing the issue is simply not enough. It is time for the government to stand up and act. That is what my colleague has done.
I ask the Liberals again, will they do the right thing and fully exempt farmers from the carbon tax? I ask for a simple yes or no answer.
View Neil Ellis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Neil Ellis Profile
2020-02-26 18:42 [p.1642]
Mr. Speaker, Canada's farmers and farm families are critical to the health and well-being of Canadians and our economy.
The green sector is an important driver of the Canadian economy, with over $20 billion in farm gate receipts and exports. Canadian grain growers have shown incredible resilience in the face of some very significant and stressful weather and market challenges last year, not to mention the CN rail strike. Wet conditions resulted in an extremely difficult fall harvest season for many growers across Canada. We recognize the challenges that farmers are facing and the extra demands on energy for grain drying.
At the same time, carbon pricing is an important part of Canada's plan to transition to a cleaner and more innovative economy that reduces emissions and protects our environment. That is why we are taking steps to review the information at hand and to consult with the sector and the provinces to determine a path forward, one that is good both for farmers and for the environment.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working with industry to see whether existing programs can help. I thank the industry for working with us on this important issue.
When it comes to the well-being of our valued grain sector, the Government of Canada will do everything in its power to help farmers overcome these challenges, while keeping our commitment to protect the environment. The two go hand in hand. Canada simply cannot have a strong and growing grain sector without clean air, land and water. Producers understand this better than most.
We are exploring all potential options to address this issue and we will continue to collaborate with our provincial and territorial partners moving forward.
Canada has the very best farmers who grow the very best grains. The Government of Canada wholeheartedly supports the sector and our grain growers.
View Larry Maguire Profile
View Larry Maguire Profile
2020-02-26 18:44 [p.1642]
Mr. Speaker, therein lies the problem.
I thank my colleague across the way for his reply, but he is just saying that he recognizes the problem, the same as the Prime Minister said today in the House. However, there is no action. All the government has to do is remove the carbon tax from these particular heating fuels, propane and natural gas, that are used for drying grain and heating barns in this country, producing food for consumers in not only our country but in neighbouring and international countries as well.
Once again the Liberals refuse to give the farmers a straight answer. Farmers continue to pay the price for the government's failed carbon tax plan. Westman farmers and farm families and those in the prairies want to know why they are continuing to be penalized for drying their grain and heating their barns.
Farmers are vital environmental stewards, as has been pointed out. My father had a saying: “If you look after the land, it'll look after you”. Through zero-till farming and regenerative agriculture, farmers are essential in protecting our air and water. Together, they help reduce 1.5 million tonnes of carbon every year.
Despite the decade of strong management practices that farmers have had, the government continues to put farmers at a disadvantage relative to their major international competitors. It is time for the Liberal government to stop stalling and take real action to fix the issues they have created, so I will give the government another opportunity.
Will the Liberals exempt farmers from the carbon tax and reimburse them for the taxes they have already paid, yes or no?
View Neil Ellis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Neil Ellis Profile
2020-02-26 18:46 [p.1643]
Mr. Speaker, we know that grain growers faced serious weather and market interruptions challenges last year. A wet harvest coupled with the rail strike meant grain sat in storage and required extra energy to dry. We recognize that the unusually high drying costs late in the 2019 season have added to producers' financial concerns.
We are working with our provincial and territorial colleagues to review the suite of business risk management programs we offer to producers and to make changes to ensure producers have timely, predictable and effective support. Carbon pricing is an important part of Canada's plan to transition to a cleaner and more innovative economy that reduces emissions and protects our environment.
We are exploring all potential options to address this issue, and we will continue to collaborate with provincial and territorial partners moving forward.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, as we know, Canada's farmers are leaders in agriculture. They are innovative, good stewards of the land and they feed Canada and the world.
The success of our farmers is vital to all Canadians, but the reality is that they are struggling right now. In large part, that is because the Liberal government is failing them. The illegal blockades across this country are holding our Canadian economy hostage and this includes our farmers. Our farmers are not able to get their products to market because of the ongoing, illegal blockades.
The Prime Minister's leadership is failing them in this crisis. For weeks, the Prime Minister has sat on his hands, emboldening activists and still today, there is no plan to end these blockades.
Just the other day I spoke to Brandon, a constituent in my riding who is in dire straits. The local grain elevator is so backlogged that he cannot make arrangements to get his grain to market in March. His farm operations depend on the income of that sale. His ability to keep the heat on in his house and feed his family also depends on the income of that sale. The banks are not offering any relief. Where does he turn? Unfortunately, Brandon's story is not unique.
The bills are mounting for our farmers, and every day that they cannot get their product to market puts them further and further behind. This economic crisis created by these illegal blockades is just the latest. Our farmers are constantly finding themselves at the losing end of the government's failures. Trade relations and opportunities have deteriorated and the Liberal carbon tax is bankrupting our farmers. Eliminating the Liberal carbon tax is a real, tangible action they could take today to deliver relief to our farmers.
In question period, I asked the Prime Minister to fully exempt our farmers from the carbon tax. I also asked him if he would finally acknowledge that his carbon tax unfairly punishes our rural communities and our farmers. The Prime Minister's response was that Canadians were better off with his carbon tax and that he was putting more money in their pockets. That is completely ludicrous. If $100 is taken out of someone's pocket and $1 is put back in, they are not better off.
No one is naive enough to believe that. It shows that the Prime Minister is either not listening, he does not understand the realities of rural Saskatchewan or that he does not care. Maybe it is all of the above. Regardless, my constituents of Battlefords—Lloydminster are owed better.
The Liberal carbon tax does not acknowledge the reality of living in rural Saskatchewan, it does not acknowledge the contributions of our farmers to environmental sustainability and certainly the Liberal household carbon rebates given to farm families do not even come close to offsetting the taxes paid by their farm businesses.
Farmers in Saskatchewan are paying the carbon tax on everything from drying grain to hauling crops to machinery to rail transportation and so many other major farm expenses. Unlike other industries, farmers and producers cannot pass along the added expense. It is a direct hit to their bottom line.
This year, they are losing 8% of their total net income and in less than two years, that number will be 12% of their net income. Those numbers are astronomical and will drive our family farm businesses into the ground. Blow after blow, our farmers are taking hits and they are desperate. I sure hope we will hear a different answer.
How does the Liberal government expect farmers to put food on their own tables, let alone the tables of Canadians?
View Neil Ellis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Neil Ellis Profile
2020-02-26 19:00 [p.1645]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to further address the question of the hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster on pollution pricing in the agriculture sector.
In many ways, agriculture is leading the way in our transition to a low-carbon economy. Canada's farmers are and will continue to be part of the climate change solution. That is why our carbon-pricing policy reflects the realities of Canada's agriculture industry.
Our government recognizes that farmers and farm families are important drivers of our economy. We understand that Canadian farmers are making important contributions in the fight against climate change, for example, by adopting sustainable technologies and practices like precision agriculture or conservation tillage. We know farmers are price takers and cannot easily pass along increased costs to consumers. That is why gasoline and diesel fuels for on-farm use are exempted from carbon pricing under the federal backstop. As well, emissions from crop and livestock production are not subject to carbon pricing.
As for the issue of usage of propane for grain drying, we are committed to listening to producers. We thank the organizations who have provided data and we will certainly give it full consideration. The agriculture sector already has a solid track record of innovating and adopting new technologies to improve environmental performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As one young farmer said recently, environmental sustainability is in their DNA and if they are not caring for their land for those six consecutive generations, they are not in business. In fact, for more than a decade, greenhouse gases from agriculture have remained stable, despite growth in production.
The government places a high priority on helping the industry adjust to the effects of climate change. Climate change and the environment are at the heart of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Canadian agricultural partnership. Through this partnership, the federal, provincial and territorial governments are investing in key priorities of the agriculture sector, including the environment. The programs help farmers capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth while adapting to climate change. They help farmers adopt precision agriculture technologies, tools and products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This helps them further contribute to Canada's actions on greenhouse gas emissions while growing production to feed the world.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is investing $70 million in agriculture science to address emerging priorities such as climate change and soil and water conservation. That includes an investment of $10 million in the living laboratories initiative, which brings scientists and farmers together to develop practical technologies of sustainable farming practices that are field tested so farmers can adopt them quickly. In Prince Edward Island, the research conducted under living lab Atlantic will help P.E.I. farmers enhance soil health, improve water quality and boost their crop production.
We know Canadian grain farmers are working hard to safeguard our environment. We will continue to invest to support them in their great work.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, I heard a lot of things there. I do not know how the government is respecting provincial jurisdiction.
We look at Alberta and Saskatchewan and what farmers are already doing. Obviously, they are innovative. It is good for their bottom line. They want to be good for the environment. They are already good stewards of the land, so just to hear the same platitudes over and over again, farmers know that they are doing what they can do. They want to be innovative, but when the Liberal government keeps putting its hands in farmers' pockets, they are not going to have any capital left over to be innovative and to afford those things to reduce their carbon footprint.
I heard the member mention exploring the idea of an exemption of the carbon tax on propane for drying grain. I am wondering if this is a commitment that the government is willing to make, to make that exemption for propane fuel that is used for farm purposes such as drying grain.
View Neil Ellis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Neil Ellis Profile
2020-02-26 19:03 [p.1646]
Mr. Speaker, Canada has the opportunity to be a global leader when it comes to feeding a growing world population sustainably. The government will provide the investments needed to maximize and accelerate the efforts of our farmers, our scientists and industry. Our programs will help farmers care for their land and strengthen their businesses. These efforts will bring enormous value to our Canadian brand, already renowned in global markets for quality and respect for the environment.
We are committed to supporting farmers as they continue to be responsible stewards of our land. We will continue to work with farmers to help them capture sustainable growth while adapting to climate change.
View Marty Morantz Profile
Madam Speaker, I am happy to be splitting my time with the member for St. Albert—Edmonton today.
I would like to thank my friends in the NDP for bringing this motion forward and giving us the opportunity to talk about the Liberal government's failed record when it comes to tax policy.
As some members know, I enjoy listening to music, from bands like The Guess Who, who happen to hail from my hometown of Winnipeg, and The Beatles, and from artists like Jim Croce and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. When artists have been around long enough, they will usually release a greatest hits album. Today, I would like to produce a greatest hits album for the Liberal government. I think an appropriate title would be “the Liberals' greatest hits of failed tax policy”.
Although this album was not supposed to be released yet, I will spend the next nine minutes or so giving my colleagues a sneak preview. The lead-off track on this album, which is one of my favourites, is called “the budget will balance itself”, written by the professor of peoplekind himself, the Prime Minister of Canada.
As a follow-up, he hiked up taxes on low-income families and then said they do not pay any taxes, seemingly unaware of the fact that they do. During a time of economic prosperity, the Liberals are running massive, endless deficits that will force even higher taxes on Canadians.
There are higher Canada pension plan premiums. They also eliminated the children's fitness tax credit and children's arts tax credit, making it harder for young families to afford these important programs. Despite the fact that their mantra has become “low carbon”, they axed the public transit tax credit, which means fewer people can afford transit passes. They are paying $600 million to the media, picking and choosing which media organizations are winners and which are losers, an Orwellian plan, to be sure, and one all Canadians should reject. It is no wonder half of Canadians say they are $200 away from insolvency each month. They are literally being taxed into bankruptcy.
Then there is the carbon tax, a massive tax grab that makes life more expensive for everyone and will not do anything to reduce emissions. In the last election, Canada's Conservatives put forward a real plan to protect the environment, including measures like the green home tax credit, which would have encouraged Canadians to make their homes more energy efficient. It would have incentivized green tech, making Canada a world leader. Since the Liberals came to power, 81% of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes.
I am happy to note with respect to the environment that more Canadians voted for the Conservative Party of Canada's environmental plan than any other party. Our plan, unlike the Liberal plan, did not include an unfair carbon tax that penalizes Canadians for everyday activities. Especially given the winters we have in Manitoba, a carbon tax will do nothing other than penalize people who have to heat their homes when it is -30°C.
There is some potential relief on the horizon. Yesterday, the Alberta Court of Appeal found the carbon tax to be unconstitutional. I hope the federal government listens to the Court of Appeal and respects its decision and its jurisdiction. Part of the majority 4-1 decision read as follows: “The Act is a constitutional Trojan horse.” That is strong language from the court. It continues, “Almost every aspect of the provinces' development and management of their natural resources...would be subject to federal regulation”.
The next hit on the hit list is “welfare for billionaires”. What a concept: We tax the poor to pay the rich. The Liberals are like a reverse Robin Hood. Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, and for some reason the Liberals have it backward. They tax the poor into bankruptcy and give the money to billionaires.
They gave $12 million to Loblaws to buy refrigerators. My guess is that Loblaws can afford to buy its own energy-efficient fridges. I checked, and as of 4 p.m. yesterday, Loblaws had a market cap of $25.2 billion. There was also the $40 million given to BlackBerry. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, BlackBerry had a market cap of $4.2 billion.
Then there is my favourite. I call it the $50-million trifecta. There was the $50-million handout to Mastercard. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Mastercard has a market cap of $322.8 billion. Also, $50 million went to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which repeatedly engages in funding anti-Semitic activities. There is also the $50 million that went to a late-night TV host, Trevor Noah, by tweet.
There is $50 million here, $50 million there, $50 million everywhere. I wonder who is next.
I know a few organizations that could use this money. Maybe if they ask the Prime Minister nicely, he will tweet yet another $50-million pledge. It is worth a try.
Then there is the CRA. The government's motto should be “Pay us more; we'll treat you worse.” In the recently-released “Serving Canadians Better” report, the CRA reported that 83% of Canadians had an experience that did not meet their needs. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business gave the CRA a grade of D, and 41% of those who called the CRA received incomplete or incorrect information, a sad state to be sure.
Had it not been for the Conservative Party's pressuring the government from this side of the House, we would have had policies like reducing the accessibility to the disability tax credit for type 1 diabetics from 80% to 20%. Also, in October of 2017, the CRA tried to list employee discounts as taxable benefits, going after waiters and waitresses and restaurants for their employee discounts. In December of 2016, it came to light that the Liberals were considering taxing employer-provided health and dental plans.
Let us talk about the small business tax changes. It was in the middle of the summer of 2017, when Canadians were enjoying the hot weather and spending time with their families, that the government decided to quietly table tax changes when it did not think anyone was paying attention. These changes would drastically alter the lives of thousands of small business owners and families. Yes, small business people who were part of the middle class or working hard to join it had the rug pulled out from under them.
The government tried to hike taxes by 73% on small business investment, made changes to the taxes on splitting income and passive income and refused to make intergenerational family business sales easier, making it more expensive to sell a business to a stranger than to a family member. Remember that hot weather I mentioned? While Canadians were enjoying a nice cold beer in the sun, what did the government do? It raised taxes on beer too. This is sacrilege. I cannot think of anything more Canadian than an ice cold beer.
More recently, the government proposed an interest deductibility cap for businesses. This would be a disaster for all businesses and would have serious marketplace repercussions for banks, REITs, publicly traded securities and pension funds, to name a few.
I will start to wrap up now, but I want to let my colleagues on the other side of the House in on a secret. My goal today was to not only address the motion from my friends in the NDP, but eviscerate the government's failed tax policy initiatives and finish with a flourish.
At the end of the day, the Liberal proposal to increase the basic personal amount is a nice gesture. As Conservatives, we believe that people should pay less tax and get more value for their dollars. Canadians deserve to get ahead and not just get by.
It is not easy to find a humorous quote about taxes, but I think I might have. Here it is: “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Who said that? It was the greatest genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, who discovered the theory of relativity. This man is the father of modern physics and he could not understand the tax code. What we truly need is tax simplification and comprehensive tax reform, not delivering tax policy on a piecemeal basis, as this measure does.
What do we get for these exorbitant taxes? We get runaway deficits; a budget that, contrary to the Prime Minister's belief, does not balance itself; and Canadians who are less than $200 from insolvency at the end of the month. It seems that the more we pay, the less we get. The hill of beans and half cup of coffee per week the Liberals have proposed for 20 million taxpayers will do little to relieve the massive tax burden that the government has foisted and piled onto Canadians.
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