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Results: 1 - 60 of 303
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2020-07-20 15:01 [p.2610]
Mr. Speaker, the investing in Canada plan is an unprecedented $180-billion program to upgrade our infrastructure across the country. This plan represents the largest such investment in our national economy and environment, more than doubling existing funding. Now more than ever this investment can deliver the economic stimulus required during Canada's post-COVID recovery.
Could the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities comment on the progress that has been made in putting this plan into action?
View Catherine McKenna Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Catherine McKenna Profile
2020-07-20 15:01 [p.2610]
Mr. Speaker, our government's investing in Canada plan has allocated $7.5 billion to help build up Quebec projects. These investments include public transit, clean water, clean energy, and healthy and active transportation.
We are going to continue to work with the Government of Quebec and municipalities across Quebec to get good projects built that build a cleaner, stronger and more prosperous future.
View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2020-07-08 13:04 [p.2545]
Madam Chair, communities across British Columbia have been looking for signs of economic recovery during the global pandemic. Public infrastructure projects are a key driver of economic stability and renewal, and they also serve to make sure all British Columbians have access to the services and cultural networks they need to build resilient communities.
That is why I was really pleased to see the federal government's commitment of more than $44.5 million last week for 21 projects across the Lower Mainland under the investing in Canada plan. The announcement included the Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House redevelopment project. This is an amazing project that will allow the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of B.C. to provide better services to metro Vancouver's vulnerable population. It will include spaces for child care, supportive seniors services, a commercial kitchen, community gatherings and a space for an outdoor garden.
Can the President of the Treasury Board tell the House what the government is doing to improve community outcomes and create jobs in my home province?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-07-08 13:05 [p.2545]
Madam Chair, I would like to thank the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells for his support for his community.
Our government's investments in community, recreation and cultural infrastructure are promoting the health and well-being of British Columbians and building strong, dynamic communities. I would like to note that more than $19 million of the federal and provincial funding we announced just last week is going to nine projects in indigenous communities.
I am also happy to say that a second intake for projects in B.C. was announced on June 25. It will examine a new round of investments under the community and recreation funding stream and under the rural and northern funding stream. These new projects would be eligible for a total of up to $159 million in federal investments.
I can also assure this House that many more infrastructure projects are coming in the next few months. Canada and British Columbia are working very well together to support jobs, improve our communities and safely and sustainability restore economic growth.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2020-06-17 16:25 [p.2502]
Madam Chair, I would first like to echo the hon. minister's comment about hard-working public servants.
The National Capital Commission plays a vital role in preserving our heritage, conserving our green spaces and building a vision of a national capital region that all Canadians can be proud of. I note that the NCC has requested $52.4 million in funding in these estimates.
Can the minister let this House know what, specifically, this funding is for?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Anand Profile
2020-06-17 16:26 [p.2502]
Madam Chair, the NCC is an independent crown corporation. It has requested this money to go toward the repair and the maintenance of existing infrastructure to ensure that this infrastructure remains safe and enjoyable for the residents of the national capital region.
I will give some examples: the maintenance of the NCC's two interprovincial bridges, the repairs to assets—
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
2020-06-17 16:26 [p.2502]
Madam Chair, I would like to follow up on my hon. colleague's question stating the importance of the NCC. We would like to know what specific projects are being lined up here in Ottawa.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Anand Profile
2020-06-17 16:26 [p.2503]
Madam Chair, the National Capital Commission will engage in work to maintain existing infrastructure. We all recall the damage from the flooding that occurred a couple of years ago. We will make sure that the funding, if approved, will go to the NCC to repair existing—
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2020-05-26 16:33 [p.2458]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be sharing my time today with the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood. Both of us are here from Saskatchewan. We made the trip. It worked well and it is very good to be back in the House.
I have a tendency to think in visuals. As I have been thinking through this today, I have been trying to think of how I could communicate in a way that Canadians would understand what is happening in the House today. I think part of the reason the Liberals moved closure is that they realized Canadians are figuring this out.
I ask members to imagine a mother who goes into her son’s room, which had been well organized but now it is just chaos. She tells him that he needs to clean it up, that it is time to clean it up. In this case, the mother would be Canadians. They have been watching throughout this pandemic. The government is dealing with different dynamics, and we are working with the government, but it gets to a point when it is time to move on. It is time to clean this up.
The government we are facing today is that child with the room that has been cleaned up. He calls his mom back into the room and she says it is beautiful. There is nothing but beautiful space in the room. However, the books are not back where they are supposed to be. Where are they? The toys and clothes are not put back where they are supposed to be. Where is everything? It is all jammed into a closet where it is no longer seen.
We have a government that wants to run a committee going forward, even now, when this place is ready to reconvene as a proper Parliament. The Prime Minister and the government are trying to convince Canadians by telling us that we will have all these opportunities to ask questions and hear their answers, to present S.O. 31s and petitions, and that somehow things will be so much better.
I would argue that if anything, that says something even deeper. It says that the government has no desire to return to a position where it is being held accountable for the decisions it has been making. It has also stuffed things away into a closet that do not belong there.
During the first sitting of the Liberal government as a majority government, one of the first things Liberals tried to do was take away our parliamentary tools on the opposition side of the floor. Our House leader worked very hard on our behalf to make sure that did not happen. Now we have a circumstance where tools are being stripped away, and all we have is the opportunity to ask questions or present a statement. That is not our role as members of Parliament in the House. Our responsibilities are to represent our constituents, to bring accountability to the government and to further decisions that are in the best interests of Canadians when we feel they are not being met.
One example of what is not being met by a committee of the whole, which is not a true sitting of Parliament, is that there is no opportunity to present opposition motions. We know how important those are because the Conservative Party, along with the other opposition parties on this side of the House, won three opposition motions that put the government on notice.
One of them was the Canada-China committee that was struck because of all of the issues going on with China that are impacting Canada. We have two men who have been held there improperly for so long. I pray for these people regularly. I pray that they maintain their courage, that they stay healthy and that our government does what it needs to do to find a way to get them home.
There are issues around agriculture and what China has done to our exports. There are all kinds of issues on which the government has chosen to sit back on its heels, including dealing with China and this pandemic. There is no question that to a large degree the pandemic is what created the chaos in the room.
Canadians are saying that we are doing better, that we have done what we needed to do, but what about what the government did? Why did Liberals say that the virus could not be transmitted human to human? Why did they not immediately close down flights from China until we could figure this out? Why did they not play defensively instead of offensively? What was in their minds? Why did they say that we do not need to wear masks in the general public? Why are there not enough for our front-line workers? They threw it all away and did not have it replaced.
There are all kinds of dynamics here that need to be dealt with, and they need to be dealt with properly.
There was the China-Canada committee. Then there was the Parliamentary Budget Officer saying that he could not find where all of this infrastructure funding was. Where was it? We formed a committee with the support of all of the members on this side of the floor that forced this minority government to allow the search for where those funds are. Financial accountability is absolutely crucial for this government at the best of times, let alone when we find ourselves in a circumstance where money is being spent at such a huge rate. Yes, a lot of it needs to be done. I am not questioning that, but when we are spending to the point where we are printing money to the tune of $5 billion a week, accountability needs to be there.
Then there is the issue of the Parole Board. When this government came into power, it fired everyone on the Parole Board and put its own people into place. The person in charge of that Parole Board wrote a report that said it was a crisis waiting to happen. Sure enough, an individual who was released on day parole and was told that for his sexual gratification he could hire someone to meet his sexual needs. Then, he turned around and killed that woman. There is no question that there are issues around that Parole Board, and we have the opportunity, because of agreement on this side of the floor, to force the government to deal with those questions.
There are no opposition motions. On legislation, why are those members not concerned about any legislation, which we have no opportunity to truly debate? Our committees are slowly coming back, but I can tell members that I know of veterans affairs issues going on that need to be brought to our committee. We called for an emergency opportunity to meet with the ombudsman. His report was so important that he has released it even though he is no longer the ombudsman.
Once again, we have a circumstance where someone has a responsibility to reveal issues with the government, and any government ends up having those circumstances. The Auditor General has challenged our party when it was in government, too. However, that person somehow disappears when there is something that needs to be said to this government.
Of course, there is the question of private members' bills. This is something that is very important to us as individual members of Parliament. It is the only time in the House when we get an opportunity to present something that is really important to our constituents, to Canada and to ourselves that is not led or directed by our leadership. It is a very special privilege, and significant things have been done through that. Again, this is something we are missing the opportunity to do.
It is not just that. It is also the efforts at a power grab when we met for the first time in good faith to deal with the COVID crisis, the introduction of the wage subsidy and whatnot. There is also the use of an order in council to determine a significant ban on firearms with absolutely no debate, no discussion and no consultation with, quite honestly, anyone other than who the government wanted to look at, because it was its own ideology that was driving it. It is not good, solid legislation for Canadians.
There are many more things I could say, but the point here is that Canadians are saying it is time for us to get back to work here. Yes, we are all working very hard, and I have to give a shout-out to my staff. It is unbelievable the work they have been doing on behalf of our constituents. There have been times when they were in tears because of the circumstances that they were dealing with trying to help Canadians who need that help and are not finding it.
It is a real privilege to serve Canadians, to serve Yorkton—Melville and to serve alongside my staff. The reason I cannot support this motion is that Canadians are tired of a committee running this country. It is time for Parliament to get back to work.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 380--
Mrs. Carol Hughes:
With regard to the trip of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to Madrid, Spain, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2019: (a) who travelled with the minister, excluding security personnel and journalists, broken down by (i) name, (ii) title; (b) what is the total cost of the trip to taxpayers, and, if the final cost is not available, what is the best estimate of the cost of the trip to taxpayers; (c) what were the costs for (i) accommodation, (ii) food, (iii) anything else, including a description of each expense; (d) what are the details of all the meetings attended by the minister and those on the trip, including the (i) date, (ii) summary or description, (iii) participants, (iv) topics discussed; and (e) did any advocates, consultant lobbyists or business representatives accompany the minister, and, if so, what are their names, and on behalf of which firms did they accompany the minister?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 381--
Mrs. Carol Hughes:
With regard to recommendation 3.30 in Report 3 on fossil fuel tax subsidies of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development: (a) has the Department of Finance established criteria to determine whether a fossil fuel tax subsidy is inefficient, and, if so, what are these criteria and what is the department's definition of "inefficient"; and (b) does the Department of Finance still refuse to implement this recommendation?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 382--
Mrs. Carol Hughes:
With regard to the notice and order sent by a railway safety inspector from Transport Canada to the Central Maine and Quebec Railway dated May 7, 2019: (a) how many ultrasonic rail tests were done on the Sherbrooke subdivision between mileage point 0 and mileage point 125.46, broken down by inspection period (i) between May 1 and June 30, (ii) between September 1 and October 31, (iii) between January 1 and February 28; (b) are the inspection frequencies in (a) still in force, and, if not, why; (c) for each inspection period in (a), what findings were sent to Transport Canada; (d) how many rails are currently faulty; and (e) how many faulty rails does Transport Canada believe are satisfactory for railway safety?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 383--
Mrs. Carol Hughes:
With regard to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and his performance agreement with the CIB Board of Directors, broken down by performance cycle since the inception of the CIB: (a) what are the objectives based on the corporate business plan and related performance measures; (b) what are the objectives that reflect the government's priority areas of focus and related performance measures; (c) what are the objectives based on financial management priorities and related performance measures; (d) which objectives are based on risk management priorities and any other management objectives set by the Board of Directors (infrastructure, marketing, governance, public affairs, etc.); (e) which objectives are based on the government's priorities for financial management and related performance measures (infrastructure, marketing, governance, public affairs, etc.); (f) what are the detailed results of the performance measures for each of the objectives in (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e); (g) what were the details of the CEO's compensation, including salary and performance-based variable compensation; (h) how many times was the performance agreement amended during each performance cycle and what was the rationale for each amendment; (i) what was the CEO's performance rating as recommended to the responsible minister by the Board of Directors; (j) which performance objectives were met; (k) which performance objectives could not be assessed and why; (l) which performance objectives were not met; (m) did the CEO receive an economic increase, and, if so, why; (n) did the CEO receive a salary range progression, and, if so, what is the rationale; and (o) did the CEO receive a lump sum payment, and, if so, what was the rationale?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 384--
Mr. Damien C. Kurek:
With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency: what is the number of audits performed on small businesses since 2015, broken down by year and by province or territory?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 385--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to the usage of the government's Challenger aircraft fleet, since December 1, 2019: what are the details of the legs of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) point of departure, (iii) destination, (iv) number of passengers, (v) names and titles of passengers, excluding security or Canadian Armed Forces members, (vi) total catering bill related to the flight?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 386--
Mr. Ted Falk:
With regard to the commitment made in budget 2017 to invest $5 billion over 10 years for home care, including palliative care: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the total amount of allocated funding transferred to provinces and territories, broken down by recipient province or territory; (c) what is the complete list of projects which have received funding; and (d) for each project identified in (c), what are the details, including (i) overall funding committed, (ii) amount of federal funding provided to date, (iii) description of services funded, (iv) province or territory in which the project is located?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 387--
Mr. Ted Falk:
With regard to the commitment made in budget 2017 to invest $184.6 million over five years for home and palliative care for First Nations and Inuit: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the complete list of projects which have received funding; and (c) for each project identified in (b), what are the details, including (i) overall funding committed, (ii) amount of federal funding provided to date, (iii) description of services funded, (iv) province or territory in which the project is located?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 388--
Mr. Matthew Green:
With regard to the Paradise Papers case, the fight against tax non-compliance abroad and abusive tax planning: (a) how many taxpayer or Canadian business files are currently open with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); (b) how many taxpayer or Canadian business files have been referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada; (c) what is the number of employees assigned to the Paradise Papers files; (d) how many audits have been conducted since the Paradise Papers were disclosed; (e) how many notices of assessment have been issued by the CRA; and (f) what is the total amount recovered so far by the CRA?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 389--
Ms. Sylvie Bérubé:
With regard to the consultations that the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is currently holding in order to develop an action plan to implement the 231 calls for justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: (a) has the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations established a committee to develop this action plan; (b) if so, what mechanisms have been put in place to consult the Government of Quebec about the development of this action plan, including the implementation of the 21 Quebec-specific calls for justice in the report; and (c) if a committee has been established, will the Government of Quebec participate in its work?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 390--
Ms. Sylvie Bérubé:
With regard to the drinking water situation in Kitigan Zibi: has the Department of Indigenous Services (i) analyzed the plans that were submitted by the band council to connect to the Maniwaki water system, (ii) decided whether it will proceed with the connection, (iii) released the funding necessary to complete the connection work, (iv) set a timeline so that the community has access to running water within a reasonable time?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 391--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to forms used by the Government of Canada, broken down by year for the last 10 years: (a) how many forms does the government use; (b) to how many pages do the forms add up; (c) how many person-hours a year do Canadians spend filling out forms for the government; and (d) how many person-hours do government employees spend processing forms filled out by Canadians?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 392--
Mr. Matthew Green:
With regard to the call centres of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), for the fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, broken down by business and by individual: (a) what is the number of calls received by the CRA; (b) what is the number of calls that were neither answered by an agent nor transferred to the automated self-service system; (c) what is the number of calls received by the automated self-service system; (d) what is the number of calls answered by an agent; (e) what is the number of calls not answered, broken down by (i) the number of callers who did not choose to use self-service through the automated service, (ii) the number of callers who got a busy signal; (f) what is the average time spent waiting to speak to an agent; (g) what is the change in the number of agents, broken down by (i) month, (ii) call centre; (h) what is the error rate for call centre agents, broken down by (i) National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program, (ii) Audit, Evaluation and Risk Branch; and (j) what is the number of call centres that have completed the transition to the new telephony platform as part of the Government of Canada Contact Centre Transformation Initiative?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 393--
Mr. Matthew Green:
With regard to the sales tax system between 2011 and 2019, broken down by year: (a) how many compliance audits have been conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to determine whether suppliers of digital goods and services are domestic or foreign and whether they are required to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST); (b) for the compliance audits in (a), how many additional revenue assessments were issued as a result of these audits and what was the total amount; (c) how many GST and HST forms had been submitted by consumers to the CRA for digital goods and services purchased in Canada from foreign suppliers not carrying on business in Canada or not having a permanent establishment in Canada; (d) how many compliance audits have been conducted by the CRA to determine whether taxpayers in Canada who rent their housing for short periods of time are required to register for the GST and HST; (e) for audits in (d), how many additional income assessments have been issued as a result of these audits and what is the total amount of these assessments; and (f) has the CRA finalized the development of a specific compliance strategy to better detect and address GST and HST non-compliance in the e-commerce sector, and, if so, what are the details of this strategy?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 394--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the Canadian Passport Order, since November 4, 2015, in order to prevent the commission of any act or omission referred to in subsection 7(4.1) of the Criminal Code, broken down by month: how many passports has the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (i) refused, (ii) revoked, (iii) cancelled?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 395--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying): what is the government’s definition of “reasonably foreseeable” in relation to the context of the bill?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 396--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
With regard to the finding published in the 2018-19 Departmental Results Report of the Privy Council Office (PCO) that only 75% of ministers were satisfied with the service and advice provided by the PCO: (a) how was that number determined; (b) which ministers were among the 25% who were not satisfied; and (c) did any of those ministers indicate why they were not satisfied, and, if so, what were the reasons?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 397--
Mr. Mel Arnold:
With regard to sole sourced contracts over $10,000 issued by the Canadian Coast Guard since November 4, 2015: what are the details of all such contracts, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor name, (iv) vendor location, including city or municipality, province or territory, country, and federal riding, if applicable, (v) start and end date of contract, (vi) description of goods or services provided, including quantity, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 398--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to the finding published in the 2018-19 Departmental Results Report of the Privy Council Office (PCO) that 93% of cabinet documents distributed to ministers met the PCO’s standards: (a) in what ways did the other 7% of documents fail to meet the PCO’s standards; (b) why were the non-compliant documents circulated to ministers despite not complying with the standards; and (c) how many of the non-compliant documents were circulated as a result of the direction of (i) the Prime Minister, (ii) his exempt staff?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 399--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to the mortgage insurance and securitization activities carried out by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on behalf of the government in the fiscal years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19: (a) what was the CMHC’s total annual authorization from the government to provide new guarantees on National Housing Act Mortgage Backed Securities (NHA MBS), broken down by fiscal year; (b) what was the CMHC’s total annual authorization from the government to provide new guarantees on Canada Mortgage Bonds (CMB), broken down by year; (c) what was the CMHC’s total annual limit for the issuance of portfolio insurance (non transactional), broken down by year; (d) for the portfolio insurance issued in each fiscal year, what was the lender allocation methodology for portfolio insurance and what was the total value allocated to each of the largest six Canadian lenders; (e) for the NHA MBS issued in each fiscal year, was there a lender allocation methodology and what was the total value of NHA MBS, broken down by the largest six Canadian lenders; (f) for the CMB issued in each fiscal year, was there a lender allocation methodology and what was the total value of NHA MBS purchased from each of the largest six Canadian lenders for the purpose of converting the MBS into CMB; (g) for the CMB auctioned in each fiscal year, what percentage were purchased by Canadian investors compared to international investors; (h) for the CMB auctioned in each fiscal year, what percentage were purchased by the Bank of Canada and other investors for which the government is the sole or majority shareholder; (i) for the CMB auctioned in each fiscal year, what was the value purchased by the Bank of Canada and other investors for which the government is the sole or majority shareholder; (j) for the NHA MBS issued in each fiscal year, what percentage were retained by the issuing financial institution for their own balance sheet management purposes; and (k) what is the position of the government on increasing the covered bond issuance limit for federally regulated financial institutions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 400--
Mr. Tim Uppal:
With regard to the government preparations in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19): (a) what specific procedures are in place at each department and agency to ensure the continuity of government operations and that government services remain available during a pandemic; (b) what specific procedures are in place to ensure the safety and protection of government employees during a pandemic, including any procedures aimed at preventing employees from being exposed to coronavirus; and (c) what is the government’s remuneration, leave or benefit policy for (i) full-time employees, (ii) part-time employees, (iii) casual employees, who are required to be quarantined or otherwise away from the workplace as a result of coronavirus?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 401--
Mr. Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay:
With regard to the criminal charges the government laid in December 2019 against the Volkswagen Group concerning the approximately 120,000 diesel vehicles whose nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions exceeded the standards allowed, broken down by the German companies of the Volkswagen Group, the Canadian companies of the Volkswagen Group, the U.S. companies of the Volkswagen Group, and directors, executives and employees: (a) why did the government file charges for 58 counts of importing non-compliant vehicles instead of one count for each of the 120,000 offences; (b) why did the government file charges for two counts of misleading information instead of one count for each of the 120,000 offences; (c) why did the government not file any charges against the Canadian companies of the Volkswagen Group; (d) why did the government not file any charges against the U.S. companies of the Volkswagen Group that took part in the illegal acts that affected Canada; (e) why did the government not file any charges against the directors, executives and employees who were involved in these offences; (f) why did the government not file any charges regarding the 120,000 offences for selling, renting or distributing these non-compliant vehicles; (g) why did the government not file any charges of fraud concerning the 120,000 pieces of software that prevented the non-compliance from being detected; and (h) why did the government not file any charges regarding the illegal pollution caused by these 120,000 vehicles in Canada?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 402--
Mr. Randall Garrison:
With regard to the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy: for each defence procurement project, what projects or transactions have been approved as meeting the contractor’s obligations under the ITB Policy, broken down by (i) contractor, (ii) procurement project, (iii) fiscal year since 2016-17?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 403--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
With regard to government funding for the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension: (a) what will be the total amount of government funding for each of the projects; and (b) what is the yearly breakdown of when the funding in (a) will be delivered for each year between 2020 and 2030?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 404--
Mrs. Kelly Block:
With regard to search and rescue military operations, since January 1, 2018: what are the details of all instances where a call for emergency assistance was received but personnel were either delayed or unable to provide the emergency assistance requested, including the (i) date of the call, (ii) nature of the incident, (iii) response provided, (iv) length of delay between the call being received and assistance being deployed, if applicable, (v) location of the incident, (vi) reason for the delay, (vii) reason assistance was not provided, if applicable?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 405--
Mr. Martin Shields:
With regard to the government’s Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel: why are there not any panel members from a province other than Ontario or Quebec?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 406--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to the 4,710 individuals who were admitted to Canada in 2019 via humanitarian, compassionate, and other grounds: how many of them were admitted by ministerial exemption, in total and broken down by federal riding?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 407--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to visas issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada since May 1, 2019: (a) how many Cuban citizens have applied for Canadian visitor visas (temporary resident visas); (b) how many Cuban citizens have applied for Canadian study permits; (c) how many Cuban citizens have applied for Canadian work permits; (d) how many Cuban citizens have been approved for Canadian visitor visas (temporary resident visas); (e) how many Cuban citizens have been approved for Canadian study permits; (f) how many Cuban citizens have been approved for Canadian work permits; (g) how many Cuban citizens have been denied Canadian visitor visas (temporary resident visas); (h) how many Cuban citizens have been denied Canadian study permits; (i) how many Cuban citizens have been denied Canadian work permits; (j) for the visas in (d), (e) and (f), how many visas were issued to single adult men; (k) for the visas in (d), (e) and (f), how many visas were issued to single adult women; (l) for the visas in (d), (e) and (f), how many visas were issued to married men; (m) for the visas in (d), (e) and (f), how many visas were issued to married women; (n) for the visas in (g), (h) and (i), how many visas were denied to single adult men; (o) for the visas in (g), (h) and (i), how many visas were denied to single adult women; (p) for the visas in (g), (h) and (i), how many visas were denied to married men; and (q) for the visas in (g), (h) and (i), how many visas were denied to married women?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 408--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to judicial nominations, broken down by year, since 2016, and by province and territory: (a) how many judicial candidates assessed as “highly recommended” by a judicial appointments advisory committee were appointed as judges; (b) how many judicial candidates assessed as “recommended” by a judicial appointments advisory committee were appointed as judges; and (c) how many judicial candidates assessed as “unable to recommend” by a judicial appointments advisory committee were appointed as judges?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 409--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
With regard to the Panama Papers case, the fight against tax non-compliance abroad and abusive tax planning: (a) how many taxpayer or Canadian business files are currently open with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); (b) how many taxpayer or Canadian business files have been referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada; (c) what is the number of employees assigned to the Panama Papers files; (d) how many audits have been conducted since the Panama Papers were disclosed; (e) how many notices of assessment have been issued by the CRA; and (f) what is the total amount recovered so far by the CRA?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 410--
Mr. Brad Redekopp:
With regard to the decision to award SAP the contract to replace the Phoenix pay system: (a) what will the differences be between the SAP replacement system and the current Phoenix pay system; (b) what are the details of any financial agreements or contracts the government has with SAP in relation to the replacement pay system (e.g. value, start date, rate, scope, etc.); and (c) when does the government expect the current Phoenix pay system to be transferred to the replacement SAP system?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 411--
Mr. Philip Lawrence:
With regard to the government response to the rail blockades in February and March of 2020: (a) what was the total estimated economic impact of the blockades; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by industry and province; and (c) what are the details of any financial assistance provided by the government for individuals or businesses impacted by the blockades?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 412--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to the administration of the 2019 federal general election: (a) has the Chief Electoral Officer, pursuant to subsection 477.72(4) of the Canada Elections Act, informed the Speaker of the House of Commons of any candidates elected as members of the House that were not entitled to continue to sit or vote as members, and, if so, who were these candidates; and (b) with respect to each candidate in (a), (i) on what date did the entitlement to sit or vote become suspended, (ii) on what date did the Chief Electoral Officer inform the Speaker, (iii) which requirement of the act was not satisfied, (iv) has the requirement in (b)(iii) been subsequently satisfied, and, if so, on what date was it satisfied?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 413--
Ms. Nelly Shin:
With regard to information requests received by departments or agencies from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) since January 1, 2016: (a) what are the details of all requests and responses, including the (i) request, (ii) date it was received, (iii) date when the information was provided; and (b) what are the details, including the reasons, for all instances where the information was either delayed or not provided to the PBO?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 414--
Mr. Jagmeet Singh:
With regard to the three tax provisions proposed in the Fall Economic Statement 2018 to accelerate business investment for the 2018-19 fiscal year: (a) what is the estimated number of businesses that have benefited, broken down by (i) tax provision, (ii) size of business, (iii) economic sector; (b) what is the estimated increase in total business investment since the three tax provisions came into force; (c) what is the estimate of the number of jobs created by businesses in Canada since the coming into force of these three tax provisions; and (d) what is the estimate of the number of businesses that have chosen to continue operating in Canada rather than relocate abroad since the coming into force of these three tax provisions?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 415--
Ms. Niki Ashton:
With regard to claimed stock option deductions, between the 2012 and 2019 tax years inclusively, broken down by tax years: (a) what is the number of individuals who claimed the stock option deduction whose total annual income is (i) less than $60,000, (ii) less than $100,000, (iii) less than $200,000, (iv) between $200,000 and $1 million, (v) more than $1 million; (b) what is the average amount claimed by an individual whose total annual income is (i) less than $60,000, (ii) less than $100,000, (iii) less than $200,000, (iv) between $200,000 and $1 million, (v) more than $1 million; (c) what is the total amount claimed by individuals whose total annual income is (i) less than $60,000, (ii) less than $100,000, (iii) less than $200,000, (iv) between $200,000 and $1 million, (v) more than $1 million; and (d) what is the percentage of the total amount claimed by individuals whose total annual income is more than $1 million?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 416--
Mr. Colin Carrie:
With regard to the government’s commitment to return the $1.3 billion in surtax assessed on U.S. steel, aluminum, and other products to affected industries between the 2018-19 and the 2023-24 fiscal years: (a) how does the government explain the discrepancy with the estimate from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the government will return $105 million less than it assessed in surtax and related revenues over the period; (b) how does the government plan to return the $1.3 billion; and (c) what is the breakdown of the $1.3 billion by industry and recipient?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 417--
Mr. Brad Vis:
With regard to the $180.4 million listed in Supplementary Estimates (B) 2019-20 under Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) to write off 33,098 debts from the Canada Student Loan Program: (a) what information was shared between ESDC and the Canada Revenue Agency to determine which loans would be written off; (b) what specific measures are being taken to ensure that none of the written off loans are from individuals who have the income or means to pay back the loans; and (c) what was the threshold or criteria used to determine which loans would be written off?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 418--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the $17.6 million contract awarded to Peter Kiewit Sons ULC for the Big Bar Landslide Fish Passage Remediation Project on the Fraser River: (a) how many bids were received for the project; (b) of the bids received, how many bids met the criteria for qualification; (c) who made the decision to award the contract to Peter Kiewit Sons ULC; (d) when was the decision made; (e) what is the start date and end date of the contract; (f) what is the specific work expected to be completed as a result of the contract; and (g) was the fact that the company is currently facing criminal negligence causing death charges considered during the evaluation of the bid, and, if not, why not?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 419--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to investments in Budget 2019 for the Forest Innovation Program, the Investments in Forestry Industry Transformation Program, the Expanding Market Opportunities program, and the Indigenous Forestry Initiative: (a) how many proposals have been received for each program to date; (b) how much of the funding has been delivered to date; (c) what are the proposal criteria for each program; and (d) what are the details of the allocated funding, including the (i) organization, (ii) location, (iii) date of allocation, (iv) amount of funding, (v) project description or purpose of funding?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 420--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to Transport Canada Concern Paper C-FT-03 (Boeing 737-8 MAX) (file number 5010-A268): (a) on what date did the Minister of Transport, or his office receive or become aware of the document; (b) what action, if any, did the minister take in response to the concerns raised in the document; (c) on what date was the Minister of Transport, or his office, first notified of the concerns raised the document; (d) what action, if any did the minister take in response to the concern; (e) when did deputy minister's office receive the document; (f) on what date was the Minister of Transport, or his office, made aware of Transport Canada's concerns regarding the nose down pitch not readily arrested behaviour in relation to the aerodynamic stall of the 737-8 MAX; (g) was a briefing note on the concern paper provided to the minister or his staff, and, if so, what are the details of the briefing note, including the (i) date, (ii) title, (iii) summary of contents, (iv) sender, (v) recipient, (vi) file number; and (h) what was the Minister of Transport's response to the briefing note in (g)?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 421--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), since July 15, 2018: (a) how many air passenger complaints have been received, broken down by the subject matter of the complaint; (b) of the complaints received in (a), how many have been resolved, broken down by (i) facilitation process, (ii) mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (c) how many air passenger complaints were dismissed, withdrawn and declined, broken down by (i) subject matter of the complaint, (ii) mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (d) for each complaint in (a), how many cases were resolved by a settlement; (e) how many full-time equivalent agency case officers are assigned to deal with air travel complaints, broken down by agency case officers dealing with (i) the facilitation process, (ii) the mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (f) what is the average number of air travel complaints handled by an agency case officer, broken down by agency case officers dealing with (i) the facilitation process, (ii) the mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (g) what is the number of air travel complaints received but not yet handled by an agency case officer, broken down by agency case officers dealing with (i) the facilitation process, (ii) the mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (h) in how many cases were passengers told by CTA facilitators that they were not entitled to compensation, broken down by rejection category; (i) among cases in (h), what was the reason for CTA facilitators not to refer the passengers and the airlines to the Montreal Convention that is incorporated in the international tariff (terms and conditions) of the airlines; (j) how does the CTA define a "resolved" complaint for the purposes of reporting it in its statistics; (k) when a complainant chooses not to pursue a complaint, does it count as "resolved"; (l) how many business days on average does it effectively take from the filing of a complaint to an officer to be assigned to the case, broken down by (i) facilitation process, (ii) mediation process, (iii) adjudication; (m) how many business days on average does it effectively take from the filing of a complaint to reaching a settlement, broken down by (i) facilitation process, (ii) mediation process, (iii) adjudication; and (n) for complaints in (a), what is the percentage of complaints that were not resolved in accordance with the service standards?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 422--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to aviation safety: (a) what was the annual failure rate from 2005 to 2019 for the Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) conducted by Transport Canada inspectors for pilots working for 705 operators under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs); (b) what was the annual failure rate from 2005 to 2019 for the PPC in cases where industry-approved check pilots conducted the PPC for pilots working for Subpart 705 operators; (c) how many annual verification inspections did Transport Canada inspectors conduct between 2007 and 2019; (d) how many annual Safety Management System assessments, program validation inspections and process inspections of 705, 704, 703 and 702 operators were conducted between 2008 and 2019; (e) how many annual inspections and audits of 705, 704, 703 and 702 system operators were carried out pursuant to Transport Canada manual TP8606 between 2008 and 2019; (f) how many aircraft operator group inspectors did Transport Canada have from 2011 to 2019, broken down by year; (g) what discrepancies has Transport Canada identified between its pilot qualification policies and the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since 2005; (h) what are the ICAO requirements for pilot proficiency checks and what are the Canadian PPC requirements for subparts 705, 704, 703 and 604 of CARs; (i) does Transport Canada plan to hire new inspectors, and, if so, what target has it set for hiring new inspectors, broken down by category of inspectors; (j) what is the current number of air safety inspectors at Transport Canada; (k) for each fiscal year from 2010-11 to 2018-19, broken down by fiscal year (i) how many air safety inspectors were there, (ii) what was the training budget for air safety inspectors, (iii) how many hours were allocated to air safety inspector training; and (l) how many air safety inspectors are anticipated for (i) 2019-20, (ii) 2020-21, (iii) 2021-22?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 423--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the National Housing Strategy: what is the total amount of funding provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for each year since 2017, broken down by province, for (i) the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, (ii) the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, (iii) the Housing Partnership Framework, (iv) the Federal Lands Initiative?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 424--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the government’s plan to introduce a new fund to help municipalities and school boards purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years: (a) has the government undertaken any forecasting on the total cost of this commitment, and, if so, (i) how much is this commitment forecasted to cost municipalities and school boards, (ii) what is the expected cost of associated charging infrastructure; (b) how much will be provided by the federal government annually in this new fund; (c) what proportion of the total cost to municipalities will be provided by the federal government through this new fund; (d) what will be the application process for municipalities and school boards; (e) will funding be based on ridership in line with existing transit funding; and (f) how does the government plan on ensuring that transit agencies are not forced to delay or forego other transit expansions to purchase zero-emission buses in line with this target?
Response
(Return tabled)
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, my question is for the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
Given the current situation, has the minister established a contingency plan with the private sector in order to protect and maintain operations in critical infrastructure sectors, such as ports, airports, power plants and railroads?
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, we are working with the whole of government in reaching out to all of the 10 critical infrastructure sectors in this country to ensure continuity of supply and services throughout the country. It is being very carefully monitored and we are working diligently to ensure all critical infrastructure sectors will be maintained.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-25 4:28 [p.2078]
Madam Chair, the Government of Quebec has done an excellent job managing the crisis and has confirmed that 200 infrastructure projects are awaiting federal approval. The same number are waiting in Ontario.
Will the Minister of Finance commit to approving these projects in the next 15 days so that people can be put to work when possible?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-03-25 4:28 [p.2079]
Madam Chair, the situation right now requires us to take emergency measures and that is what we are looking at today. We will certainly have to take other measures to address the challenges that will arise in the coming weeks and months.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)

Question No. 245--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the electoral district of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, between the fiscal year 2005-06 and the current year: what are all the federal infrastructure investments, including direct transfers to municipalities, regional district associations or First Nations, national parks, highways, etc., broken down by fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 246--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: (a) what is the complete list of infrastructure projects financed by the bank since June 1, 2018; (b) for each project in (a), what are the details, including the (i) amount of federal financing, (ii) location of project, (iii) scheduled completion date of project, (iv) project description; and (c) what are the details of projects currently proposed for the bank, including the (i) proposed date of commencement, (ii) location of project, (iii) proposed federal financing, (iv) project description?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 247--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of approved funding; (b) what is the complete list of approved projects; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of approved project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) scheduled completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 248--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the complete list of proposed projects not yet assigned federal funding or assigned funding, but not yet commenced construction; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of proposed project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) proposed completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 249--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion Project: (a) what are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (b) what are the operating expenses less loan interest payments to run the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the federal government; (c) what are the interest payments on the loan used to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (d) what is the profit or loss, broken down by quarter, on the Trans Mountain Pipeline since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (e) are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline covering the annual operating and interest payments on the loans the government used to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion; (f) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to be completed, including the month and year; (g) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to enter service, including the month and year; (h) what is the current estimated cost of construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project; (i) on what date was the Minister of Finance, or his office, advised in writing or verbally, by officials from either the Department of Finance or a Crown corporation or a government contractor that the estimated cost of construction for the expansion was more than $7.4 billion; and (j) on what date did the government become aware that the cost of completing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was estimated to be greater than $7.4 billion?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 250--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the Department of Finance and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth: (a) when and where were each of the council’s meetings held; (b) when were each of the council’s (i) in-person meetings, (ii) phone or video-conference sessions with stakeholders; (c) how much funding was allocated for (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other categories of funding not captured by the preceding; (d) how much was spent on (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other category of funding not captured by the preceding; and (e) for each of the recommendations in the council’s three reports, (i) what was the recommendation; (ii) which department or departments were tasked with actions following up on the recommendation, (iii) which team or teams within the department or departments were tasked with follow-up actions, (iv) was the action tasked further analysis of or implementation of the recommendation (e.g. feasibility studies or reports), (v) what actions were taken by these teams to implement or further analyze the recommendations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 251--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to government aircraft travelling between Canada and Costa Rica between December 15, 2019, and January 10, 2020: what are the details of the legs of each flight to and from Costa Rica, including the (i) type of aircraft, (ii) date, (iii) place of departure, (iv) place of arrival, (v) number of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vi) name of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vii) purpose of flight, (viii) food, beverage, and other catering costs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 252--
Mr. Eric Melillo:
With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of funding delivered by FedNor in fiscal year (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19, (v) 2019-20; (b) for each instances in (a), what are the details, broken down by (i) program or funding stream, (ii) recipient, (iii) address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code, (iv) mailing address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code; and (c) for each instances in (b), what was the (i) total funding requested, (ii) total funding granted, (iii) description of project funded, (iv) status of project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 253--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to government statistics related to crimes committed with firearms: (a) how many homicides have been committed in Canada with an AR-15 rifle; (b) how many armed robberies have been committed in Canada where the weapon used was an AR-15 rifle; (c) how many crimes of any sort have been committed in Canada where an AR-15 rifle was present; (d) if the answer to (c) is more than 0, what is the nature of the crime that was committed; (e) how many individuals who have received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (f) how many individuals who have not received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter; (g) for individuals referred to in (e) and (f), how many of these incidents involved a firearm, broken down by year since 2010; (h) how many individuals who have been released on bail and are awaiting trial have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (i) how many individuals who have been released from prison on conditional release have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (j) how many individuals who have been found to have entered Canada illegally have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; and (k) how many individuals who have been previously convicted of an organized crime related offence have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 254--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to deportation orders issued or in effect by the government since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total number of orders issued, broken down by year; (b) what was the total number of deportation orders where the deportation was still pending as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) January 1, 2019, (v) January 1, 2020; (c) what was the total number of individuals deported, broken down by year; (d) what was the total number of individuals under the age of 18 deported, broken down by year; and (e) how many parents, guardians or adult family members of individuals in (d) were deported, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 255--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to the Budget 2019 commitment of $1.7 billion for new funding for rural broadband infrastructure: (a) how much of that funding is projected to be spent for broadband projects in the riding of Dufferin—Caledon, broken down by project; (b) what is the breakdown of the $1.7 billion, by project; (c) what are the details of all projects in (b), including the (i) name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) projected completion date, (v) number of users impacted; and (d) how much of the $1.7 billion has actually been delivered to date, broken down by individual project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 256--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to government support programs for agriculture industries impacted by changes in trade with China: (a) in 2019, what is the total amount of government funding provided to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; (b) what is the breakdown of all funding in (a), by (i) program, (ii) province; (c) in 2020, what is the projected total amount of government funding to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by (i) program, (ii) province?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 257--
Mr. Doug Shipley:
With regard to the government’s policy on firearms: which specific makes and models of weapons that are currently available on the legal market does the government consider to be “military-style assault weapons”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 258--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the awarding of the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS), the General Service Medal (GSM) and the South West Asia Service ribbon by the Minister of National Defence for service in Afghanistan: (a) how many have been awarded to date, broken down by award; (b) how many requests for the SWASM have yet to be fulfilled; and (c) what are years of service in which the (i) SWASM, (ii) GSM, (iii) GCS, (iv) South West Asia Service ribbon, are eligible to be awarded, broken down by award?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 259--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the January 15, 2020, Twitter post of the National Capital Commission Rideau Canal Skateway, under the Twitter handle @NCC_Skateway, entitled “Ice Ice Maybe”: (a) what was the total video production cost involved in the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, broken down by (i) work hours of public servants used, (ii) types of expenditure; (b) what are the names and titles of any persons within the government and the National Capital Commission who were involved with the production, planning, editing and posting of the video, including any ministers or ministerial exempt staff that were involved; (c) was any overtime pay granted to public servants as a result of this video, and, if so, what were the details, broken down by (i) the names and titles of managers who signed off, (ii) the total amount and cost of overtime used; (d) what are the details of all documentation on the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, including any scripts, contracts or briefing notes; (e) what are the names and titles of all persons who signed off on and had knowledge of the production of this video; (f) was any paid advertising used to promote the video on Twitter, and, if so, what were the cost and targeting metrics used; (g) were outside services procured in the production of this video, and, if so, what was the name of the company or the persons used and the total cost of any outside contracts, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor, (iv) summary of goods or services provided; (h) was an outside contract procured, and was there an open request for proposals or was it a sole-sourced contract; and (i) was a music licence sought for the use of the musical likeness of the song “Ice Ice Baby” by the artist Vanilla Ice, and, if so, what were the cost and terms of the licence?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 14:59 [p.2022]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Infrastructure is unable to provide a list of projects funded by the Liberals' $186-billion infrastructure plan. That is not surprising. When the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked the minister's department for the plan, he was told there was no plan.
The Toronto Sun got us looking for these billions of dollars. Infrastructure Canada lost track of 199 laptops and tablets. What is the minister's plan for finding the computers and the billions of dollars for infrastructure?
View Andy Fillmore Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Andy Fillmore Profile
2020-03-12 15:00 [p.2022]
Mr. Speaker, I can assure this House that we take security very seriously, as well as the need to keep equipment from getting lost or damaged. Department audits are routine and helpful, and we make them public to ensure accountability.
In this case, a total of seven computers, not 200, were not properly recorded in a new inventory system. We are engaged in efforts to ensure that we have a complete inventory to include those missing seven computers.
Has the hon. member read the report or just the headline? If he read the report, which is available online right now, he would see for himself that the headline is indeed overblown.
View Eric Duncan Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am thankful for this opportunity to speak during adjournment proceedings tonight.
I will speak to the first two questions I was able to ask in the House of Commons as a member of Parliament. They pertain not only to my riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry and its rural municipalities and rural projects, but to every corner of this country, whether it is a small, rural municipality, of which I have several in my riding; the city of Cornwall, a mid-sized Ontario urban community; downtown Toronto, Ontario; or the west or east coast.
I have had two opportunities to ask questions about the delays we have seen in getting infrastructure funding out the door. The announcement that dollars are there is one thing, but giving the okay to municipalities so that shovels can get in the ground is something we have not seen quickly, which has been very concerning.
This issue is a bit of a passion of mine. Before I came to the House, I served at the municipal level as a mayor in the township of North Dundas and a warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry for 12 years. I am a self-professed technocrat when it comes to this subject.
I requested the time tonight not just to complain about these delays. As I committed in my maiden speech and in my community, I will not just complain about things, but rather offer some solutions or feedback to my colleagues in the House.
I will remind members of my question on a specific project, which is just as an example of hundreds across Ontario and, I am sure, in other provinces and in rural communities across the country. The example I used is the Morrisburg streetscape project. Last May, the Municipality of South Dundas and many counties came together and applied to the investing in Canada infrastructure program through the stream of the rural and northern lens.
Most relationships that have been done by Conservative and Liberal governments over the years have been one-third federal, one-third provincial and one-third municipal. Municipalities put their projects forward and commit one-third. Last summer, in July, many projects, including the Morrisburg streetscape project, got the okay from the provincial government and they were given their one-third.
I had a concern as an outsider at that point, as I was not a member of the House, when we were coming into an election period: Will dollars get out the door before the election? Unfortunately that did not happen. My thinking at the time was was to give the benefit of the doubt, since the government cannot make announcements or okay projects during a writ period. I understand and respect that. However, one thing I have said as well is that bureaucrats are not off during an election. We are often out and about, just as ministers are, so bureaucrats here in Ottawa or across the country can prepare lists for approvals for our communities.
What could have happened? The first day the new minister was back in Ottawa, we could have signed off and had these projects. Unfortunately it is five months after the election and hundreds of applications are still outstanding, waiting to hear yea or nay on those projects.
These delays are frustrating. One of the reasons for that is municipalities have now done their 2020 budgets. They have allocated the money and are waiting to go, but they need an answer from the federal government on whether these projects can happen.
One of the other concerns I have is with the timeframe we have now. By the time we get approvals out and RFPs go out for tenders on these projects, costs are going up because it is later in the season.
I have two questions for the parliamentary secretary, whom I appreciate being here tonight to respond. Would she agree that these delays are excessive and unnecessary when it comes to approvals, when the other two levels of government have agreed? Does she agree that while it is one thing to announce funding, we need to get it out the door and give those dollars to get the shovels in the ground?
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-03-11 18:52 [p.1972]
Madam Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry for his recent election and passionately representing his constituents in the House. I too am from a very large rural riding. I love to say the land-mass of my riding is bigger than Switzerland. I have 217 beautiful little communities. Therefore, the member should come and visit the west coast of Newfoundland at any time.
The Government of Canada believes in the importance of investing in infrastructure. We believe in the promise we made to Canadians to create good jobs, grow the economy and invest in resilient and sustainable communities.
The over 52,000 projects across the country that we have supported through the investing in Canada plan are tangible proof of how we are delivering on that promise. Over 4,800 of those are right here in Ontario.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk about how we review the projects submitted for funding approval and to highlight how the federal funding is available now for provincial, territorial and municipal priorities. We want all Canadians to see and feel the impacts of the investments.
Under the majority of Canada's infrastructure programs, once the projects are approved, partners can start their projects and spend immediately. The flow of federal funds occurs when the claims are submitted to the department for reimbursement. We want to ensure that the projects are reviewed and approved as quickly as possible. That is why we continue to work closely with our partners to explore how we can improve the timeliness of our flow of funds.
Through the investing in Canada infrastructure program, we are investing over $33 billion across the country through bilateral agreements with each and every province and territory. The program investments all aim to improve the quality of life of Canadians by investing in infrastructure through four funding streams: public transit; green; community, culture and recreational; and rural and northern communities' infrastructure.
Specifically, the rural and northern communities' stream of the program dedicates $2 billion to addressing the unique infrastructure needs of these really rural and remote communities. Our investments are increasing economic growth and creating jobs within the infrastructure that improves peoples' quality of life. The investments are benefiting rural and remote communities across the country, but before a project can begin, an application has to be submitted.
Under this program, it is then up to provinces and territories to identify the projects, prioritize the projects and submit those projects for approval. Each application is then assessed to determine whether it fits within the applicable funding stream or whether federal environmental assessment or indigenous consultations are required.
By working closely with our partners, we are aiming to get shovels in the ground faster to deliver real results for Canadian communities.
I understand the member's question about during the writ period. I too was impacted by that, and that is just the way things go. During the writ period, nothing happens. If it is a sitting member, it is considered a feather in his or her cap, so to speak. That is why nothing goes on during the writ period.
In fairness to my colleague, as he is new in the House, it takes a while for the new departments to get staffed up and under way, especially when a new minister is in place.
I am proud of the work our government is doing to ensure our communities grow and succeed now and into the future. I look forward to working with my colleague anytime we can address this issue further.
View Eric Duncan Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am going to follow up on a few of those aspects.
I agree with her. There has been an improvement in the after aspect of municipalities getting the actual cheques when the projects are done. I am speaking more specifically of that time lag between the deadline of those applications being received and that okay.
I appreciate her comments about the writ, and again I understand and respect that. However, regardless of elections or not, perhaps we could tighten up that time frame in terms of how we can do that.
As for the multi-year agreements we saw between the federal government and different provinces and municipalities, there are ways of improving that process. I want to be collaborative, like I have said before.
My colleague teased the other day and said it was “A” for announcement and “D” for delivery with respect to these things sometimes. We should ensure the dollars get out in a timely manner. Equally as important is getting it out at the right time so when tenders to municipalities go out, they are getting the best price and maximizing Canada's weather patterns as best as they possibly can.
I look forward to working with colleagues on that issue going forward to help all municipalities across Canada.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-03-11 18:57 [p.1973]
Madam Speaker, as I mentioned, we are investing $33 billion through the bilateral agreements with each of the provinces and territories. The funding is available now for them to start their projects immediately.
We have made important investments in infrastructure in every region. Our goal remains to work collaboratively, responsibly and quickly to invest in infrastructure. However, the application process is critical and it is incumbent on all of us to ensure these investments will make the lives of Canadians better.
My colleague commented about the weather. This winter, Newfoundland and Labrador has seen mountains of snow and I know it will have an impact on its construction season as well. I agree with the member that we need to do all we can to ensure we get the funding out to the respective communities in a timely manner.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-03-09 11:36 [p.1773]
Madam Speaker, as always it is a pleasure to rise in the chamber and, in this instance, to contribute to the debate that largely revolves around the fiscal and economic health of our nation in uncertain and challenging times globally.
The sponsor of the motion went to great lengths to talk down the Canadian economy in an effort to score political points. I disagree with the vast majority of the points that he raised during his debate, so it is somewhat ironic that I plan on supporting the motion because the documents that may exist are not documents that we have any interest in keeping from the opposition nor the Canadian public.
Over the course of my remarks there are a few key themes that I hope to touch on, in order to provide an overview of the current economic and fiscal context in which we find ourselves; to highlight some of the emerging challenges that face the Canadian economy; and to introduce some of the measures that we have put forward in the past few years, which have yielded results far beyond what I thought possible when I was a candidate in the 2015 federal election campaign.
By way of background, it would be helpful to describe the context within which we find ourselves.
Canada is in a very healthy fiscal position compared to other developed economies in the global community. We are well positioned to respond to the kinds of challenges that are now making themselves present.
The narrative that somehow overspending has put us in a position where we cannot afford to deal with the challenges we are now facing is based on false pretenses. I honestly believe that it is designed purely to score political points based on misinformation, rather than making substantive points that contribute to the health of our democratic discourse in Canada.
The fundamentals of our economy are strong. We have seen extraordinary job growth in the past few years. We have seen, as importantly, that growth translate into benefits for middle-class and low-income Canadians. We have seen certain measures improve the competitiveness of our nation's economy and we have seen an overall improvement to the fiscal health of our economy.
Responsible management of the economy is at the forefront of our government. The mandate letter to the finance minister from the Prime Minister specifically mandates him to continue to see our national debt shrink as a function of our economy and to ensure that we preserve enough economic firepower to respond, in the event that an economic downturn does come to pass.
We have been planning to invest in Canadians to create growth but also making sure that we have enough fiscal room to operate, should the circumstances demand any kind of a change in course. Sometimes, the fiscally prudent thing to do is to take advantage of opportunities to invest that may exist.
If I look at the status of Canada's economy right now, what I see is a debt-to-GDP ratio that has actually been shrinking and is projected to continue to go down. What I see is the healthiest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 economy. Canada is one of only two countries within the G7 to have a AAA credit rating, the highest possible rating with all of the major credit agencies. Canada is one of only about 10 countries on the planet today that have a credit rating of this strength.
In addition, in our federal budgets that we table, we prepare for contingencies to deal with events that we may not have been able to foresee at the time of their crafting, specifically to deal with challenges that may present themselves that may not be apparent on the day a budget is tabled. Having that contingency in place is precisely the kind of thing we do to deal with emerging challenges, and I will deal with a few of them now.
Of course, the spread of COVID-19, or as most Canadian households would refer to it, coronavirus, in recent weeks may not have been something that could have been apparent months ago. When we became aware that this was an issue that needed to be dealt with, we responded professionally every step of the way.
When it comes to something like the coronavirus, I want to make clear that while it is also an economic issue, our number one priority is protecting the health of Canadians. I have been blown away by the leadership of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the level of co-operation with our international partners, whether it is the G7 or IMF on the economic side, or the World Health Organization on the public health side. I have also been blown away with the level of coordination between federal departments through the government operations centre, which was triggered by public safety in recent weeks, as well as the Public Health Agency's coordination of the efforts between the provinces and territories with federal measures that have been put in place.
To those front-line workers who are diligently protecting the health of Canadians, so that my family and I can sleep soundly knowing that we are in good hands, I want to thank them for their professionalism and excellence throughout.
I want to recognize that despite the fact that it is primarily a public health issue, there are also economic challenges that obviously arise when we see threats of this nature. We do not have to have a crystal ball to see that there is an impact on commodity prices when a particular region of the world has such a dramatic drop in demand that it suddenly has an impact on the countries that produce those commodities. This is having a particular impact on the metals and oil and gas sectors that Canada's economy has depended on for a very long time.
We also see that the travel and tourism sectors can be significantly impacted whenever there are affected regions of the world that have travel advisories. It also can have an economic impact at home. My home province of Nova Scotia was set to host the international women's hockey championship in the coming months. Unfortunately, out of concern of public health and safety, that event had to be cancelled. That will have an unfortunate economic impact on the communities that were so looking forward to hosting that tournament.
There is also an economic impact on global supply chains. Canadian businesses that may not be able to secure the products they rely on for the manufacturing process, for example, may not be able to provide their products to their typical end customers or they may have to pay a higher price. It is not lost on us that the events that are global in nature can have a very serious impact on us at home and they can also impact the general business and consumer sentiments. They can cause them to change course in the spending decisions they otherwise would have made.
One of the things we are doing to monitor the economic impact of this outbreak is to make sure that we have the resources in place so that Canada can maintain a world-class public health response. We also want to continue to monitor the impact on businesses and workers and ensure the measures that we are putting in place are going to serve the interests of keeping the Canadian economy operating at capacity.
We have a plan to increase our risk adjustment in the upcoming federal budget to make sure that we are planning for the potential impact that this illness could have on our nation's economy. We can look recently at the blockades that were canvassed in a number of debates in the House in response to the protests tied to the land rights issue in the Wet'suwet'en territory in western Canada.
We have also taken measures to address the economic impacts of the rail blockades. If there is a lesson to be learned from the past few weeks, it is that there is no straight path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Reconciliation requires dedication and hard work, and we have to recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done. This is a healing process that will involve good days and not-so-good days. We need to continue to show our determination.
Canada is a trading nation and we ship a lot of our goods to world markets by rail. Although it is too early to know the full impact of the blockades, we know that they were extremely challenging and frustrating for businesses and individuals. We have to keep in mind that many Canadians rely on rail transit networks to obtain basic necessities like food, to commute to and from work every day and to earn a living.
Thousands of workers were laid off, and many are still having problems. The situation is having real and immediate effects. Our government is working 24 hours a day to mitigate the economic risks of the rail blockades and to find a lasting solution.
From day one, we knew that we could not take shortcuts and that, no matter how difficult, dialogue was the best approach. Many people have criticized our approach, but it is working. For the most part, trains are running again. The people who were laid off are being rehired. Most of the blockades have been dismantled. In my opinion, the Prime Minister took the right approach even though other politicians proposed simple solutions to a very complex problem.
There is another emerging challenge for the Canadian economy. I do not know if I can even call it that, we have known about it for so long. I would be remiss if I did not raise the threat posed by climate change not only to our environment, but to our nation's economy.
The fact that we still have debates over whether human industrial activity is the primary driver of climate change is beyond me, and the fact that in the Canadian political context we still have debates on whether Canada can play a meaningful role in the fight against climate change is something that, as a representative who cares about this, I simply cannot accept. We cannot address challenges to our economy if we do not deal with the threats posed by climate change.
Canadians are feeling the effects today. We have seen storm surges in Nova Scotia, floods in New Brunswick, heat waves in Quebec and Ontario, droughts in the prairies, forest fires in the west and a glacial melt in the north. They are having a real impact on the traditional way of life of Canadians and on our economies.
Of course, there is also a direct economic impact. When representatives of the Insurance Bureau of Canada testified before the finance committee as part of our pre-budget consultations, they highlighted that in 1990, the losses associated with severe weather events was in the ballpark of $100 million. That number last year was in the ballpark of $2 billion, a twentyfold increase. I do not doubt that their motivations are pure, but I think they are motivated not only by the desire to do social good for our planet and environment, but also, as they represent the insurance industry, by the bottom line. If we follow the money, we can see that it costs more because life on planet earth has changed. We can address these challenges. They also testified that for every dollar in insured losses, three dollars in uninsured losses were being picked up by taxpayers today, whether municipal, provincial or federal. It is the same group of people who are now out of pocket far too much to deal with climate inaction over decades.
It is not just the cost of mitigating disasters or responding to floods that we need to deal with. There are also missed economic opportunities. When we look a the forest fires out west, we see that the impact they had on production, even in the energy sector, was immense.
Something that I am deeply concerned about, as I represent Nova Scotia, is what happened to the lobster fishery in Maine a few years ago because of high ocean temperatures. I fear that a similar kind of consequence will befall the lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia if we do not take action soon. I hope it is not already too late.
We also need to turn our mind to other things, not just the challenge facing our economy when we are dealing with climate change. There is a massive economic opportunity, according to Marc Carney, who is the former governor of the Bank of Canada and current governor of the Bank of England. He said there is a $26-trillion global opportunity.
The world is changing and we have to decide whether we want to change with it. If we choose to change and be a part of this transition, we will be at the front of a wave of economic growth that we perhaps cannot contemplate now.
In fact, we are seeing it already today. In my own community, the Trinity group of companies is helping with energy efficiency initiatives. It grew from a shop of about two people to dozens and dozens of employees. It helps homeowners reduce their power bills and emissions at the same time.
We are seeing investments in green infrastructure that are able to create jobs, put people to work and prevent the worst consequences of climate change for future generations. We are also seeing investments in research at St. Francis Xavier University, a university in my own backyard, to the Flux Lab, where Dr. David Risk has helped to discover a new gas leak detection technology that is helping energy companies reduce their emissions. It has put people to work not just in his lab, but at some of Canada's largest energy producers, which have now adopted this technology.
We have put forward the first national climate action plan, and we have introduced more than 50 measures. We expect to see growth in the green economy as a result.
However, while it is one thing to experience economic growth, it is another thing to make sure that it actually benefits everyday, ordinary Canadians. To grow the economy, we have made investments in infrastructure, which put people to work and strengthen communities, and in innovation through our universities, as I just cited. We have also triggered private sector investment.
We have changed rules around immigration to ensure that employers are not missing out on growth opportunities because they cannot find people in their communities to do the work. We have invested in trade to help grow the economy and are now the only G7 economy with free trade access to every other G7 economy.
We have cut the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, making it the lowest rate of small business tax in the G7. We have also put new rules forward to accelerate the capital cost allowance right now for companies that are investing in ways to increase their production and put more people to work.
What is the result of these investments? There are more than 1.2 million new jobs in our nation's economy, including more than 30,000 last month. We are seeing record low unemployment, with more Canadians working now than at more or less any other point in our nation's history since we started keeping track of those statistics. However, it is cold comfort for someone living in poverty or who cannot afford the cost of raising a family to hear that there are a number of new jobs across Canada or that our GDP has, in fact, gone up.
That is why we have introduced policies like the Canada child benefit, which ended the practice of sending child care cheques to millionaires and puts more money directly into the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families. It is why the first thing we did when we came here after 2015 was advance a tax cut for nine million middle-class Canadians and raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of income earners. It is why the first thing we did when we got here in 2019 was put forward a measure to reduce taxes for 20 million Canadians and eliminate federal income tax altogether for more than one million low-income Canadians. It is why we have advanced OAS benefits, reducing the age of eligibility for old age security from 67 to 65. It is why we have increased the guaranteed income supplement by 10% for low-income single seniors. It is why we made enhancements to the Canada pension plan, which I am learning the Conservative party now opposes, to ensure our seniors can have a more dignified and secure retirement. It is why we are tackling the cost of education by improving the Canada student grants program, changing the timeline under which students have to repay debt they may have built up while studying, and why we doubled the Canada summer jobs program to put more young people to work.
What we are actually seeing, despite the clever use of statistics by some of the members opposite, is that the typical Canadian household, when we consider the totality of our body of work, is about $2,000 better off today than it was before we took office. More importantly, as we have seen recently, is that more than one million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty in the past few years. We have achieved the single greatest reduction in poverty over a three-year period in the history of Canada. About 334,000 of the people no longer living in poverty, who were living in poverty just four and a half years ago, are Canadian children. This is the kind of policy development that we should be shouting from the rooftops and sharing with the world to demonstrate how to successfully manage the benefits of economic growth to support Canadians.
The Conservatives' attack on the Canadian economy is not, in and of itself, an economic plan. What we have, when we look at the facts, is a rate of job growth that most would not have thought possible when the Liberals were coming into power at the end of 2015. More importantly, we have seen that Canadians writ large are sharing in the benefit of that growth, rather than it being concentrated among the wealthiest 1% of income earners. We have also seen more Canadians lifted out of poverty than almost any member of the House could have imagined four and a half years ago.
All of this has taken place while we have maintained a healthy fiscal framework that allows us to respond to the changing dynamics of the global economy. If members do not want to accept my word on this, I would invite them to read the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who confirmed this to be the case just a few short weeks ago.
Yes, the world is changing and yes, there are challenges. However, Canada is up to them now and will be as long as the we remain in government.
View Kerry Diotte Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2020-03-09 13:23 [p.1789]
Madam Speaker, I am speaking today about our important opposition motion. Just so everybody remembers what it is, I will read that motion again. I believe it is vital that the House is provided with documentation “discussing warnings or concerns of economic downturns, their potential impact on the fiscal framework, or advice or recommendations on how to deal with them” that any department, agency or Crown corporation has produced since 2015. That is what we are talking about today.
In 2015, the Prime Minister promised that he would have a few $10-billion deficits, small deficits, before returning to a balanced budget in 2019. Do members remember that? Teeny-tiny deficits and then everything would be rosy in 2019.
We know what happened. The budget deficits turned out to be a whole lot larger than $10 billion annually. The year 2019 has also come and gone and despite promises made, we are nowhere near a balanced budget, not even close. In his first four years, the Prime Minister added more than $72 billion to the national debt. That is just disgraceful. The Bank of Canada has now slashed its interest rates, citing negative outlooks for the Canadian and global economies.
A responsible government would have prepared for a downturn. A responsible government would have set money aside for future uncertainty. We are certainly seeing that uncertainty now. It is absolutely a financial mess. A responsible government would have paid down the debt during years of economic growth. However, the Liberal government has not been responsible. Instead of showing leadership, the Liberals doubled down on unnecessary spending. They called it investment and investing in Canadians.
Let us just think back at some of those wise investments. The Liberals gave $50 million to Mastercard, a multinational company that made $16 billion in 2019 alone, and Mastercard gets $50 million. They gave $12 million to Loblaws to buy new fridges. They are basically giving more than $600 million as a bailout to the media. Here is a whopper: They spent $1,900 on cardboard cut-outs of the Prime Minister. How is that for value for money? They spent more than $12 billion on the still unbuilt Trans Mountain pipeline after scaring away investors. There is also the $256 million the Liberals gave to the Asian infrastructure bank to build pipelines in Asia. It seems the foreign pipelines are the only ones the Liberals can get built.
There is also the $186-billion infrastructure program. It has been a huge failure. In fact, it is now being audited by the Auditor General because of the Liberals' lack of transparency and accountability to Canadians. The bottom line is that the Liberals have failed to responsibly manage Canadian tax dollars. That failure has left Canada much more vulnerable to global economic downturns. We are seeing that right now.
Across our country, Canadians work hard to live within their means. They know that racking up credit card debt just is not sound policy. It leaves them unable to manage unexpected expenses, yet that is exactly what the Liberals have done in Canada. The Liberals have done what is easy instead of what is best for our country.
Let us compare this to the actions of the previous Conservative government.
Prior to the global recession of 2008-09, the Conservatives had paid down more than $37 billion in debt. This allowed the government flexibility to meet the fiscal challenges of the recession head on. That was why Canada had the mildest and shortest recession of the G7 countries.
In a 2010 report, Philip Cross, then chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada, said:
One reason for the relatively mild slump is that Canada was better positioned to weather the global recession than other large western economies, primarily due to savings as reflected in our national balance sheet.
He went on to say:
...strong balance sheets in Canada stood it in good stead to endure the recession and emerge into recovery. The recession was shorter and milder in Canada than in other G7 nations, partly because the flow of credit was not disrupted as it was in other nations and a large pool of savings was available to finance spending when income fell temporarily.
That was good fiscal policy under the Conservative government.
However, The Liberals have deliberately done the opposite. It sounds like a bad Seinfeld episode. That is the reason, in the elections of 2015 and 2019, the Conservatives promised voters that we would be responsible and that we would balance the budget. We knew that a responsible government needed to be prepared for global downturns.
The chickens are coming home to roost. We see what happens with global downturns in the situation we are in now. Just today, we saw the stock market plunge. Trading was actually halted. To say the least, the economic outlook is very grim. Now the Liberals will have to deal with that from a position of weakness. True leadership requires fiscal restraint.
Despite the Liberals wasting billions of dollars, they failed to build the key projects that would have helped Canadians weather this storm. The Trans Mountain pipeline is still nowhere near complete. Both the energy east pipeline and the northern gateway project are gone, thanks to the Liberals. The Teck Frontier project that promised thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of revenue was killed by government dithering and delay. Even Warren Buffett is moving his money out of a Quebec project, citing “the Canadian political context”.
In total, more than $160 billion worth of investment have been lost under the Prime Minister's watch. This is a direct result of the policies he and his Liberal government have advanced.
Take, for example, Bill C-69, or the no more pipelines bill. Bill C-69 would make it even harder to build a new project. Many critics do not see how any new projects can be built under this new regulatory process. There was widespread opposition to this regulation, including from provincial governments, industry, communities and indigenous groups, yet the Liberals went ahead with that harmful legislation anyway.
The bottom line is this. We have to return to fiscal accountability, to balanced budgets and to paying down the debt. This is what is showing up today and it is a disaster.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to correct the minister, because the Liberals have cut infrastructure funding to the Canadian Armed Forces by $247 million. A recent internal audit warned that electrical outages and sewer backups on bases are threatening operations and putting the health and safety of our troops at risk.
It appears that the Liberals cannot even manage an outhouse, but they expect us to trust them to buy new ships and fighter jets.
Will the minister admit and agree with me that he is literally up to his knees in it this time?
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
2020-03-09 14:52 [p.1804]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the member opposite brought this up, because in the case of the infrastructure spending that he is talking about, he was the parliamentary secretary of national defence when the Conservatives actually did not invest in infrastructure.
This is why we are investing in our MFRCs and our health services, and when it comes to operational needs, we are making the right investments when the money is there to take care of our Canadian Armed Forces.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
View James Cumming Profile
2020-03-09 15:27 [p.1810]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion put forward by my colleague, the member for Carleton. I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
It is a very important debate that we are having today, particularly given the circumstances we find ourselves in with the coronavirus, the blockades and a general slowdown in the economy. One thing of note is that the Liberal government has always prided itself on its fiscal anchors. Let us talk a bit about those fiscal anchors that have now put us in a situation where we have limited flexibility to react to crises like these.
The first fiscal anchor the Liberals claimed was that they would balance the budget within five years. They said they would have very small deficits and then they would balance the budget. Of course, that anchor has now fallen off. Next they said they would try to find a balance with debt-to-GDP ratios and continue to see a decline. That fiscal anchor has fallen off the boat as well.
The one anchor they have left is when they talk about employment numbers. I would suggest there is a weakening in the employment numbers and, when we compare ourselves against some of the other G7 countries, Canada's unemployment rate does not look as favourable. Here is a government priding itself on fiscal anchors. I would say the anchor has fallen through the boat, the boat has a big hole, the boat is sinking and the Liberals do not even see it happening.
The Minister of Finance keeps saying that we are in good shape and we have this great reserve built up so that we can weather these storms. I am wondering if we will ever find out what that reserve is because, from the numbers Conservatives are looking at, we do not see that being the case.
The leadership of the government and the regulations that are stopping the growth of business have resulted in over 200,000 job losses in my province of Saskatchewan. There is $150 billion in capital that has gone elsewhere.
I always hear that it is because the commodity price is low. The fact is that the money went somewhere. Norway has now opened up another field and says it will pump oil for as long as it is needed. It put that investment in. The Russians have just put a big capital investment into the resource sector, and we know the Americans have been very successful growing their resource business and market share, which is something the Liberal government has not been able to recognize.
There is also the tax structure that has been put in place, burdening small businesses with increases in CPP, EI and particularly the carbon tax. The carbon tax is a tax on everything. These hard-working small businesses are trying to produce products, trying to be competitive in the global market and are restrained by the government continuing to increase taxes. By throwing in the TOSI rules and limiting the ability of husbands and wives to split income through those corporations, it strikes me that we are doing everything we can to try to slow down these hard-working individuals and great businesses that are the strength of Canada.
Under the Liberal government's weak leadership, the energy sector alone has lost over $150 billion in investment. I can name off the projects: $20 billion for Teck, $8 billion for northern gateway, $16 billion for energy east, $36 billion for Pacific NorthWest, $28 billion for Aurora and $25 billion for WCC LNG. The list goes on and on.
I can give the government a little help. There is a quick fix to send the right message that it supports resource development, that it supports these great Canadian companies getting to market. The government can support my bill, which would take away the tanker ban and allow companies to export their products through a deepwater port, be competitive and export our clean energy to other countries.
Last week, I was in Toronto at the mining conference. There again I heard great concern about the regulatory process in this country. Project after project talked about how the current government does not understand the importance of investments. I hope it is listening to the extraction sector, whether it be the oil and gas or mining businesses. If it wants to get this economy going, it is time it recognizes these businesses are its lifeblood. They are the ones that produce the revenue, can help this economy and will pay for all these programs I continually hear about. At the finance committee, submission after submission was about spending. At some point, we have to have an economy that is growing at a rate to be able to pay for all that spending.
While I am on spending, there is spending that can work toward growing the economy and then there is outright waste. The government seems to be the expert on waste. We can talk about the $50 million to Mastercard, the $12 million to Loblaws or the $40 million to BlackBerry. It goes on and on. Those types of investments are not what we need; we need the government to invest in less regulation, to empower the private sector and let these people get back to work.
We have an infrastructure program. I will acknowledge that the Conservatives also had an infrastructure program. Here is the difference. When the Liberals put out their infrastructure program, they talked about the three anchors they wanted to have within that program: investments in productivity; a reduction in greenhouse gases; and an increase in GDP. When we had a discussion with the PBO about this program, we asked if they were hitting the mark on any of those measures. There is no evidence they are hitting the mark on the measures, particularly in the area of productivity, which is the way we can get this economy going. Putting an infrastructure program together that has a lack of accountability, focus and measurables makes it really difficult to see if it is working. I hope the government will reverse its course on the infrastructure program and recognize that it should be focusing on allowing companies to be more productive, giving them better access to markets and making sure we have the most competitive regime of any country out there.
This program is full of flaws. Now is the time to push the reset button and start to deliver on programs that would be effective, allow us to grow the economy and help industry grow, rather than grow the government's budget.
With respect to the future outlook, beyond anything else we need to see a plan that gets us back to a balanced budget. It is not unreasonable to ask government when it will finally get back to balance, and I think there is an opportunity for it to do that. We need the government to get out of the way of the private sector. The private sector offered to build the pipeline and government ended up having to buy the pipeline because of the regulatory burden the government put on that company. The private sector wants to invest in Canada and believes in Canada, but it needs the government to send the right message to say we are open for business again.
Our energy sector and the province I come from are proud of what they do. They do it well, they do it clean and they have an opportunity to gain market share if we let them. We need to expand our ability to ship. I ask the government to seriously consider making revisions to Bill C-69 to make sure there is confidence in the markets here, as well as eliminate the tanker ban off the west coast. It is certainly not there.
A pay-as-we-go principle would bring some discipline back to government. If government is going to add something new, it has to be able to pay for it, so it should be able to balance those things, which would ensure discipline in the government and make sure it gets back on a path of balancing the budget.
On the tax front for small businesses, we have to eliminate the input taxes, lower the burdens on these businesses and allow them to succeed.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-09 16:41 [p.1820]
Mr. Speaker, once upon a time, a young man wanted to become prime minister of Canada, just like his father. He got elected as a member of Parliament and then ran for leader of his party. In 2015, he decided to make promises to Canadians. He promised three small deficits: $10 billion the first year, $10 billion the second year and $6 billion the third year, before balancing the budget.
He also promised Canadians that the money he borrowed would be put right into building infrastructure, such as bridges and roads, to stimulate the economy. He argued that when the economy is doing well, it is a good time to borrow money to invest in infrastructure. Unfortunately, this fairy tale had a different ending for Canadians. They were disappointed to see the three small deficits become massive, unending deficits. They were also very disappointed to see the government did not invest the money it had promised for infrastructure during its first four years. They did not see one penny of that money in their communities. Canadians were sorely disappointed and rightly wondered where the money went.
Today a hard-working and above all very vigilant member moved a motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to show us where that money went. In that nice fairy tale about a young MP who wanted to become prime minister of a great G7 country and who believed that budgets would balance themselves, did he ever plan to set some money aside for a rainy day?
The member for Carleton moved a very interesting motion today calling for all documents to be released so we could try to understand the Prime Minister's actions. The Prime Minister seemed to think that everything would be fine and he could borrow forevermore since there will always be future generations to pay the debts he has decided to inflict on all Canadians. Now the fairy tale is over and here we are today.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a fantasy land or in a fairy tale. Not every story has a Disney ending. Anyone who takes the time to read any of the Grimm brothers' fairy tales will see that endings are not always happy. Unfortunately, the government does not seem to realize the mess it is creating for our country because of its laissez-faire attitude towards our public finances.
My colleague's motion reads as follows:
That an order of the House do issue for any document prepared by any department, agency and Crown corporation since November 4, 2015, discussing warnings or concerns of economic downturns, their potential impact on the fiscal framework, or advice or recommendations on how to deal with them; and that the documents be provided to the House within 45 days following the adoption of this motion.
It is an entirely realistic motion. Canadians have the right to know how the government, which has so little interest in the country's public finances, will react in tough times, not just the ones before us, but those we are currently going through.
Even before the Canadian economy has started slowing down, we already know how our colleagues across the way are framing this. They claim that COVID-19 and the rail blockades have caused the Canadian economy immeasurable harm. That is true, but it did not start with the blockades or with the coronavirus. It started long before that.
In the last quarter, Canada posted its weakest economic growth in four years. The Liberals have completely abandoned their budgetary targets. The Canadian economy is adrift. The debt-to-GDP ratio is on the rise. The deficit has reached $28 billion. The Liberals have completely abandoned the idea of eventually balancing the budget. By year's end, the Liberals will have added $100 billion to the debt when the economy was strong and job creation was going full tilt in G7 countries. In the United State alone, the unemployment rate is 3.6%; Canada's unemployment rate is around 6%.
The Liberals have been patting themselves on the back since early afternoon, but there is nothing to brag about. Canada's unemployment rate is much higher than that of the United States, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, all of which are G7 countries.
The Prime Minister's high taxes together with his out-of-control spending and massive deficits are putting Canada in a weak and vulnerable position. The Prime Minister cleaned out the coffers during a time of economic growth and now there is nothing left. The Liberals wasted Canada's good fortune.
Earlier in my speech, I mentioned infrastructure because the Parliamentary Budget Officer recently informed us that when he asked to see what the Liberals themselves have called Canada's most ambitious infrastructure plan, valued at $186 billion, and to show it to all Canadians, the government told him that this plan does not exist.
This is rather surprising considering that, in a recent article published in several Canadian newspapers, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities gave an update on her mandate. According to the mandate letter, her mandate is to ensure that infrastructure investments are delivered as quickly as possible. The Liberals have been in power for four years. Why, after four years, does the mandate letter for the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities still include ensuring that investments get to the regions, on the ground?
That is unacceptable. It means that the Prime Minister has acknowledged that absolutely nothing has happened over the past four years and the Liberals are in panic mode.
The problem is that that money has already been spent. Where did it go?
After looking at the government's numbers, we realized that we are currently dealing with the biggest-spending Prime Minister in the history of Canada. Spending for government programs has increased by $80 billion since 2015. It went from $273.6 billion to $353.6 billion under this government. This money was not spent on small communities, for example to help connect the regions to the Internet in places like Newfoundland and Labrador or ridings in Quebec or Canada's north. Instead, the Liberals spent even more on various government programs.
That is what we will remember. This was the biggest-spending government in the history of Canada, even when the economy was doing well and the government could have made investments with the tax revenue alone. It could have created jobs across the country without burdening future generations with debt. That is the problem.
Today, we are facing a serious crisis with a projected deficit of approximately $30 billion at the end of this year. If we are not careful, the crisis could drive that deficit up to $60 billion.
Who is going to be on the hook for all that spending? All Canadians. Unfortunately, waiting until the very end is no longer an option, and letting our children and grandchildren pay is no longer an option. If deficits get that big, people will pay for it.
One Liberal got that. His name is Paul Martin. That Liberal knew that fixing things meant cutting $25 billion in government spending. He cut 45,000 government jobs in Ottawa. That was a 14% cut. Corporate subsidies shrank, and government operations had to be run like a business.
A Liberal understood that nothing lasts forever and that the country's finances must be kept in order. That is what we are asking for.
What did this government do to anticipate setbacks, like the Liberals did back then?
I cannot wait to hear that answer. I am especially eager to get a look at the Liberals' plan for dealing with the crisis when we get all the documents 45 days from now. I have a feeling it will be a pretty short stack of documents, because nothing government members have said today or done since 2015 leads me to believe they ever saw a crisis coming or set any rainy day money aside.
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2020-03-09 16:51 [p.1822]
Mr. Speaker, I want to key in on a couple of things. I was doing my best to keep up with the member's French as I learn the language myself.
He mentioned infrastructure and said it has not happened, but will he recognize that there have been four times more projects built in the last four years than under the Harper government? He mentioned we could have created jobs. Will he recognize that we have created 1.2 million jobs? He talked as well about cuts under Paul Martin. Which cuts he would start with? He can tell Canadians where he would start.
Those are the three questions. He can answer any one of the three that he wants to.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-09 16:51 [p.1822]
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for making an effort to learn French. I would advise him to listen carefully to my speeches and to understand the arguments I make.
I can say it in English if the member wants. Only a very few of those jobs were created through infrastructure spending. It was supposed to be a big deal from the current Liberal government, and that did not happen.
These infrastructure investments were supposed to save us a lot of money. We were supposed to make sure our gross domestic product soared. Sadly, only half of those expectations were fulfilled.
When we are on the ground talking to mayors in all of our communities, we hear that they did not get any money. Where did the money go? That is what we want to know.
View Rob Morrison Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Morrison Profile
2020-03-09 17:39 [p.1829]
Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to stand and speak in the House today. I stand on behalf of all Kootenay—Columbians who are struggling to get by and looking for some meaningful action from the government to help make their lives better.
I must begin by bringing the government's attention to a dire economic situation in the village of Radium Hot Springs. This community is a wonderful gem within my riding. It is uniquely located at the edge of Kootenay National Park and overlooks the beautiful headwaters of the Columbia River.
The good people of this village and businesses within it depend heavily on tourism dollars generated by the hot pools located in Kootenay National Park. These pools were closed on January 11, 2020, until further notice due to a structural safety concern, and they remain closed today. The economic impact on the village of Radium Hot Springs as a result of the closure continues to be severe, with job losses expected. Timely repairs and upgrades are needed, and they need to become a priority for the government, which must take action to expedite the process of repair that has been delayed by the procurement process.
The end result of the delay is a severe economic hardship on the people and economy of Radium Hot Springs. My constituents are wondering when the minister responsible will create an expedited solution that will lead to the reopening and stabilization of the local economy.
We have been elected to represent our constituents, and there is a need to acknowledge the hard work and diligence of all members of the House. All of us, those currently serving and those who have come before, are passionate Canadians possessing a desire to create a better future for those who call this country home.
I naturally gravitate to constructive dialogue and positive action stemming from good discussion. However, today requires something different. The role of Her Majesty's official opposition must create room for constructive criticism. Discussion about the economy, recessions and wasteful spending are at the top of my mind for my constituents. I am here on their behalf with questions for the government. My riding of Kootenay—Columbia depends on both industry and tourism, and with its proximity to Alberta, we have felt the economic difficulties created by the government.
The Prime Minister cannot blame the current economic position on the coronavirus. Our country's economic growth slowed to 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019, the worst performance in almost four years. That was all before the impact of illegal blockades or the coronavirus.
The Liberal government's lack of accountability has weakened the Canadian economy. Investment is falling and jobs are leaving Canada. In some cases this is from a blatant lack of leadership on the part of the Prime Minister, who places a higher value on a UN seat than on leading our country through a blockade crisis. In other cases this is from the government's wilful dismissal of the west's resource sector. In either case, Canadians deserve more from their government. Investment in plant and equipment by Canadian businesses has dropped 20% over the past five years, the worst performance in more than five decades. Since 2017, over $192 billion of investment in the energy sector has been cancelled.
At a recent meeting, the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce expressed a genuine concern that we are blindly moving into a recession similar to that of 2008. The chamber is reporting that foreign investment in the Kootenay region is dwindling and that there is a general drop in confidence within the business community.
These issues are directly tied to the government's approach to dealing with small business owners, who the Prime Minister has referred to as tax cheats. Tax rules for small businesses, implemented by the government, make it impossible for them to operate.
Thousands of businesses across Canada, including those in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, will no longer qualify for the small business tax rate or will see it reduced. With new carbon taxes and increased CPP and EI premiums, businesses are facing difficulties. These tough new rules will also raise taxes on compensation paid within family businesses, which will have a devastating impact on families within my riding.
The former CEO of the Bank of England has warned that we are “sleepwalking” into a financial crisis. The Liberal government is both blind to it and wilfully unprepared. When will the government begin to listen and act in the best interest of Canadians?
We now have some of the most burdensome regulations on earth, which are strangling the energy industry and making it impossible to move the country forward in a way that allows us to make meaningful contributions, through the export of LNG for example, to reduce the impacts of climate change.
The government has implemented a taxation strategy that takes more from the paycheques of hard-working Canadians and then pickpockets the very same families through cancelled tax cuts, such as a cancelled family tax cut of $2,000 per household, cancelled arts and fitness tax credits of up to $225 per child and a cancelled education tax credit of up to $720 per student. The list is too long.
As a result, 48% of Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills and debt obligations; 10% of Canadians are within $100; and 33% have no money at the end of the month and are unable to cover their payments. My constituents are barely making it by and these increases make it impossible to cover the bills. Canadians are falling further into debt.
During the recent election, I was asked by constituents for tangible solutions the government could provide to make things a little easier. They were hopeful for any action that would help them obtain a more affordable life. If elected to govern, the Conservatives are committed to do more than just help them get by.
I made this promise to Kootenay—Columbians and look forward to the next election when Canadians will have an opportunity to choose a different path forward, one that will deliver tangible results and solutions that will actually help Canadians get ahead.
The Liberal government could have built a world-class infrastructure that would improve Canada's competitiveness and our quality of life. Instead, it squandered billions in an infrastructure plan that did not exist, according to the PBO. The Prime Minister's billions of dollars in spending did not result in any additional infrastructure built in Canada.
The government could have chosen to improve Canada's innovation programs to refocus research and development on commercializing products. Instead it created subsidy programs that have not created any growth.
My constituents are wondering why the government has created financial roadblocks for their families, while at the same time shelling out massive corporate welfare cheques, such as $50 million to Mastercard, $12 million to Loblaws and $40 million to BlackBerry. That is $102 million handed out to profitable multibillion dollar companies for projects these organizations would have undertaken anyway. In the case of BlackBerry, the CEO candidly admitted it did not need the money. From the perspective of a hard-working Kootenay—Columbia, imagine hearing the news that the Prime Minister gave $40 million to an organization whose CEO said it did not need the money.
The Prime Minister's sky-high taxes, wasteful spending and massive deficits have put Canada in an incredibly weak position. The possibility of a made-in-Canada recession is becoming more real.
Despite a healthy Canadian economy, boosted by a booming southern neighbour, soaring real estate prices and record low interest rates, the government still managed to add $72 billion to the national debt during its first four years in power.
What is worse is that so much of the money has been wasted. There is no evidence that there is any increase in growth. There is little to show for it. Never before in Canadian history has so much been spent to achieve so little. It is unprecedented for a government to have a $187 billion infrastructure program that the Parliamentary Budget Officer said resulted in a zero increase in infrastructure built in Canada and no increase in GDP growth because the infrastructure plan did not exist.
Imagine spending $1.6 million to renovate the offices of ministers, $23 million to buy cars for a G7 summit and $8 million for a skating rink. Imagine promising to spend $150 million on subsidies to help people go camping.
Let me be clear. I love the idea of investing in the outdoors and fostering the reality of spending more time enjoying the great outdoors. However, practically speaking, imagine the government telling a family that is barely making ends meet that it will give it $2,000 if it goes camping in the Laurentians. The government is out of touch financially and it is out of touch with Canadians families.
When a recession hits, deficits soar as the economy's automatic stabilizers kick in. Government revenues fall because people are earning less and paying less in taxes, while spending surges on unemployment insurance and other programs. If we start with a $30 billion deficit and Canada goes into a significant recession like we saw in 2008, that deficit can grow to $60 billion or $70 billion. That is before the government has to spend the money to stimulate the economy to get us out of the recession.
In the lead-up to the global recession from 2006-08, the Conservative government paid down $37 billion in debt. This gave Canada more financial resources to navigate the storm. Canada came out of the crisis faster and with a stronger growth than any other G7 country.
That is a true example of leadership and that is what Canadians and those in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia expect from the government. They expect the government to be open and transparent and to provide the documents that shed light on the spending of taxpayer dollars.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-20 18:26 [p.1362]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question I put to the Prime Minister some time ago. It is worth repeating the question I asked at the time. The Prime Minister loves talking about politics, transparency and openness. However, he led the Liberals in voting against our motion calling for the Auditor General to investigate the Liberal infrastructure fiasco.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported on the Liberal infrastructure fiasco. He revealed that in 2017, the Liberals spent only half of the infrastructure money they had promised to invest.
In 2018, the Parliamentary Budget Officer wrote another report calling on the Liberals to release their infrastructure plan. I would remind the House that the Liberals' infrastructure plan totalled $186 billion. That is not chump change. It is a lot of money. It is Canadians' hard-earned money that they handed over to the government to take care of. Unfortunately, what was the response to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's request? What response did he receive?
It does not exist.
The plan did not exist in 2018, and we are talking about $186 billion spread across 30 agencies and departments, in over 50 programs. It is no surprise that there is no trace of the money if there was no plan and the money was scattered all over the place.
In 2019, when the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked for the list of all of the commitments the government had made in the $186-billion investing in Canada plan, the government said that it would not be able to provide the data.
The Liberals lost track of the $186 billion they had promised to invest. That is completely unacceptable. That is why the House voted in favour of asking the Auditor General to investigate the Liberals' fiasco.
Members will recall that 166 parliamentarians voted in favour of our motion, while 152 others, namely all the Liberals who were present, voted against transparency and openness, even though that was one of their mantras in all the election campaigns. They said that they would be open and transparent, that they would open the books, that they would do things differently. They are not doing things differently. In fact, they are doing worse than all the other previous governments. Members will recall that the Liberals were elected on the promise to run small deficits. They talked about a small deficit, followed by another small deficit, and another very small deficit after which they would finally balance the budget.
The reality today is that the Liberals have not only run huge deficits, but also lost track of the money they used to rack up those deficits. I am very pleased that the Auditor General finally agreed to look into the situation. He heard the call of the House and is going to conduct an investigation. We will have the opportunity to talk about that again in a few moments.
I look forward to hearing what the Liberals have to say. They are doing everything in their power to appear above reproach, but we saw that, unfortunately, when it came time to show it, they voted against the majority of the House and lost a vote. That is how a minority government works.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-02-20 18:30 [p.1363]
Mr. Speaker, a joke keeps playing in my head, but it is better if I keep it to myself. We can talk about it after the debate.
It is a pleasure for me to rise in the House of Commons to speak to the significance of the Auditor General's role.
As everyone in the House knows, the Auditor General provides Parliament with independent, impartial audits of the management of public funds. Through audits, the Auditor General's office provides Parliament with objective, factual information and specialized advice on the government's programs and activities.
This review allows parliamentarians to monitor the government's activities and hold it to account on how it manages taxpayers' money.
It bears repeating that the Auditor General is not accountable to the government of the day. As an officer of Parliament, he reports directly to the House of Commons with objective information so that members of Parliament can hold the government to account.
The Office of the Auditor General has a legislative basis in the Auditor General Act, the Financial Administration Act and a number of other statutes. In fact, it has a long Canadian tradition. The first independent Auditor General of Canada was established in 1878, over 140 years ago. In 1977, the Auditor General Act clarified and expanded the Auditor General's responsibilities.
In addition to examining the accuracy of financial statements, the Auditor General's mandate was expanded to examine how effectively the government managed its affairs. Importantly, the act maintained the principle that the Auditor General does not comment on policy choices, but does examine how policies are implemented.
In 1995, the Auditor General Act was amended to include a specific mandate related to the environment and sustainable development. This mandate is carried out by the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, on behalf of the Auditor General.
Our government appreciates the important work and the history of this institution. During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the reference levels of the Office of the Auditor General increased as a result of the greater volume and complexity of the government's operations and transactions.
This funding helped ensure that the office was able to continue meeting service standards, providing accurate and timely information regarding audits and upgrading its information technology systems.
As a result, the number of full-time employees at the Office of the Auditor General has increased in order to meet its needs.
I see I am almost out of time, but I would like to add one final point.
As my colleagues in the House will know, in order to receive additional funding, any officer of Parliament, including the Auditor General, may make a request to the Minister of Finance, and the government regularly considers such requests to ensure that the office can continue to fulfill its mandate efficiently and effectively.
As an office of Parliament, the Office of the Auditor General will then work closely with the Treasury Board Secretariat to develop a submission to access the funding. This is the standard procedure for any department or office of Parliament seeking funding.
Our government is open to having good conversations with all officers of Parliament, including the Auditor General. We want to make sure that our investments are as effective as possible so that the government continues to work effectively for all Canadians.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-20 18:34 [p.1363]
Mr. Speaker, it is true that last year's increase in the Auditor General's budget allowed the Auditor General to hire more people.
However, it is important to remember that the government, the Prime Minister, is the biggest spender in Canadian history. The Auditor General's work needs to be more and more comprehensive because more and more money is being spent. More spending means more books to open.
The government had no trouble finding $50 million to give to Mastercard. The Liberals are blithely using Canadians' credit cards without looking at what they are doing with the money being spent. They have not been able to meet 100% of the request for additional funding the Auditor General made last year based on the criteria my colleague just talked about.
Unfortunately, the Liberals were not able to respond. They did not want to respond. That did not prevent them from running a deficit of nearly $30 billion this year.
Maybe instead of talking points and a history lesson about the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, interesting though it is, my colleague should have stuck with the joke he wanted to tell me off the top rather than spouting information available to everyone on the Auditor General's website.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-02-20 18:35 [p.1364]
Mr. Speaker, I completely understand why my hon. colleague does not want to talk about the history of the Auditor General. After all, his party's chapter in that history is pretty bleak. The Conservatives slashed the Auditor General's budget.
Since taking office in 2015, our government has not only increased the Auditor General's budget, but also erased the previous cuts. We also made it possible for the Office of the Auditor General to hire 38 full-time people to ensure that all Canadians can get accurate, timely and complete information about government spending.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-18 15:04 [p.1163]
Mr. Speaker, the House spoke and the Auditor General listened. Light will be shone on the $186-billion infrastructure plan. This minority government boasts about being open and transparent at every opportunity it can find.
Can the Prime Minister assure all parliamentarians in the House that the Auditor General will have the resources to investigate the Liberal infrastructure fiasco?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-02-18 15:04 [p.1163]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for this excellent question. There are two things. First, the Auditor General will have the necessary resources to carry out this important work. Second, we expect that he will find again and again what the Conservative members may have forgotten: Over the past four years, four times as many infrastructure projects have been developed in Canada, and six times as many in Quebec, as in the previous four years.
View Eric Duncan Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, nearly two months ago, I questioned the government about serious delays in federal funding for key infrastructure projects that have already received the approvals from the municipalities and the Ontario government. The House was assured at the time that there was a fund there and they were ready to help.
Councils are now wrapping up their 2020 budgets and need to issue tenders immediately, and still do not have an answer nine months later after submitting their application. This is so unnecessary.
Why does it need to take so long to get federal approval for projects that already have the support from every other level of government?
View Maryam Monsef Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his concern for communities across the country.
When we invested over $180 billion over the next 10 years to support communities, our colleagues across the aisle voted against it. When we ran on a commitment to invest in Canadians, they ran on a commitment to cut infrastructure.
We look forward to continuing our investments so that every community, small or large, can prosper.
View Doug Shipley Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer recently released its report on infrastructure spending. Alarmingly, this report tells Canadians there is no way of tracking where money is being spent. The report went so far as to say the Liberals' infrastructure plan “does not exist”.
The House recently passed an important motion calling on the Auditor General to investigate these lost billions of dollars. Will the Prime Minister commit today to ensuring that the Auditor General has the resources he needs to do this important work?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-05 14:47 [p.953]
Mr. Speaker, we made historic investments in infrastructure in order to grow the economy and improve Canadians' quality of life. We remember that in the last campaign, just a few months ago, the Conservatives campaigned on 18 billion dollars' worth of cuts to much-needed infrastructure across this country. We choose to invest in infrastructure to grow the economy.
On the Auditor General, we have given more resources to the Auditor General, and I will highlight that it was the Conservative government that cut millions of dollars from the Auditor General's budget. We believe in and support our officers of Parliament and we will continue to.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-05 14:48 [p.953]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister loves talking about politics. He loves talking about transparency and openness. However, he led the Liberals in voting against our motion calling for the Auditor General to investigate the Liberal infrastructure fiasco. The House spoke, and the Prime Minister lost.
If the Prime Minister is not afraid to defend his track record and is truly open and transparent, will he commit to giving the Auditor General the resources he needs, instead of encouraging Mastercard by handing it $50 million?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-02-05 14:48 [p.953]
Mr. Speaker, it was actually the Conservatives who cut the Auditor General's budget. We collaborated with the Auditor General to increase his funding in 2018-19. Thanks to that increased funding, his office was able to add the equivalent of 38 full-time employees.
It is nice that the Conservatives are finally taking an interest in the officers of Parliament, because it was their party that cut $6.4 million from the Auditor General's budget. It was their party that fired auditors and forced the Parliamentary Budget Officer to go to court to obtain documents.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-04 14:40 [p.907]
Mr. Speaker, since the launch of the $186-billion investing in Canada program, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has raised many questions about how the Liberals have managed it. Transparency, accountability and performance have been completely lacking.
Will the Prime Minister, who keeps telling anyone who will listen that he wants to work with the opposition parties, make a commitment to work with the Auditor General and give him the means to carry out this investigation that the House is asking him to do?
View Catherine McKenna Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Catherine McKenna Profile
2020-02-04 14:40 [p.907]
Mr. Speaker, openness and transparency are hallmarks of our government, and we welcome public and parliamentary oversight of our historic infrastructure program. I remind all Canadians that, in the last election campaign, the Conservatives wanted to slash $18 billion from our infrastructure investments. Which projects did the Conservatives want to cut: the blue line in Montreal, the tramway in Quebec City, the Champlain Bridge or investments in affordable housing?
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-02-04 14:41 [p.907]
Mr. Speaker, half of the funding she mentioned has yet to be invested.
Meanwhile, the Liberal government had no trouble coming up with $10 million to give Omar Khadr. It gave Loblaws $12 million to buy fridges. Since it loves credit so much, it gave Mastercard $50 million. The House has spoken. The Auditor General must shed some light on the Liberal infrastructure fiasco.
Will the Prime Minister, who always finds money to toss out the window, commit to investing in the Office of the Auditor General so it can deliver on the task entrusted to it by parliamentarians?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-02-04 14:42 [p.907]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for pointing out just how important decisions based on facts and science are.
That is why the Auditor General's work is so important and why we invested so heavily in science and in government accountability, transparency and openness during our previous term, to ensure that Canadians, including Conservative Party members, have a better grasp and understanding of the considerable impact made by our infrastructure investments.
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2020-01-31 11:15 [p.760]
Madam Speaker, I first want to thank the citizens of La Pointe-de-l'Île for again placing their trust in me.
La Pointe-de-l'Île has exceptional potential for economic development. The last available large sites for major projects are on the Island of Montreal. However, most of this land must be decontaminated, and there is no infrastructure in place.
Quebec and the City of Montreal are committed to making massive investments to deal with this and to put in place transit infrastructure. We know that Quebec did not receive its share of infrastructure funding during the government's last term. It received $97 per capita, while the Canadian average per capita was $703, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
The Bloc Québécois is asking Ottawa to match the funding invested by Quebec and the municipality in these projects, which are crucial for the east end of Montreal. I hope that we will have the support of the government and opposition parties.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-01-31 11:35 [p.763]
Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer told us that the Liberals have no plan for investing tens of billions of dollars allocated to more than 50 programs falling under some 30 departments.
The investing in Canada plan is a failure in terms of wealth creation for the middle class, getting shovels in the ground, and monitoring and transparency.
Will the Prime Minister respect the wishes of the House and give the Auditor General the resources he needs to do his important work?
View Catherine McKenna Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Catherine McKenna Profile
2020-01-31 11:36 [p.764]
Madam Speaker, we have always said that openness and transparency are hallmarks of our government.
We welcome public and parliamentary scrutiny of our infrastructure program. The only failure was the Conservatives' campaign pledge to cut infrastructure investments.
I would like to know what the member opposite would like to cut. Is it the Montreal metro blue line, the Quebec City tramway, the Champlain Bridge or investments in affordable housing?
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-01-31 11:36 [p.764]
Madam Speaker, none of the above.
The Liberals are incapable of delivering projects on the ground. So far, nothing has been built. They are incapable of being accountable to Parliament or tabling a complete investment plan that breaks down the $186 billion in spending. Parliamentarians have spoken. The Auditor General must investigate this Liberal fiasco.
Instead of handing over $50 million to Mastercard, will the Prime Minister, who loves using Canadians as his own unlimited credit card, make sure that the Auditor General gets the necessary financial resources to carry out this task?
View Catherine McKenna Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Catherine McKenna Profile
2020-01-31 11:37 [p.764]
Madam Speaker, I will reiterate, we always welcome public and parliamentary oversight of our historic infrastructure program.
Investments in clean infrastructure, public transit and building resilient communities are investments in our culture. They create jobs and help grow our economy to offer our children a healthier future. We are going to stay the course.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-01-30 14:21 [p.708]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the House passed a motion asking the Auditor General to investigate the Liberals' $186-billion investing in Canada plan.
Last year, the Auditor General said clearly that the Liberals were not providing the appropriate funds for the office to do its work. The House asked the Auditor General to do an important job.
Could the Prime Minister assure the House that the Auditor General will have all the resources necessary?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-01-30 14:21 [p.708]
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer this very important question.
Investing in middle-class Canadians, investing in further economic growth and investing in our infrastructure across Canada has been a key part of our plan since 2015.
We look forward to having good conversations with all people in this government, including the Auditor General, to make sure our investments are as effective as possible.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-01-30 14:22 [p.708]
Mr. Speaker, they do not even know what middle class is.
Never in Canada's history has a government spent so much to accomplish so little. No other prime minister has spent more or cared less about taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, last year, the Auditor General of Canada said he did not have enough money to do his job. Yesterday, the House tasked him with investigating the Liberals' $186-billion infrastructure plan.
Will the Prime Minister commit today to giving the Auditor General the money he needs to do this important work?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-01-30 14:23 [p.708]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for giving me the opportunity to continue in French because I was not done.
We have created a million new jobs since 2015 and lifted nearly a million Canadians out of poverty. We lead developed nations in economic growth, and, according to economists who analyze the strength and credibility of fiscal frameworks, our fiscal framework is strong.
Not only are we very proud of what we have done, but we are also even more eager to keep working hard for all Canadians.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, there is an environmental disaster in the District of Mission waiting to happen. Local engineers have confirmed that the aging sanitary sewer crossing under the Fraser River is at risk of imminent breach.
Will the Prime Minister take action now to defuse this ticking time bomb and avoid an environmental catastrophe and provide immediate funding to safeguard our wild salmon and the thousands of people who depend on this critical infrastructure?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-01-29 15:00 [p.633]
Mr. Speaker, as the grandson of a proud B.C. fisheries minister, I can tell members that the health of our wild salmon stocks on the west coast is extremely important to me.
I can assure members that the fisheries minister as well as our partners in the provincial Government of British Columbia are working closely together to ensure the stability and growth of our salmon stocks that are so important for British Columbians and indeed for people right across the country.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Pursuant to order made Tuesday, January 28, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable relating to the business of supply.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-01-28 10:08 [p.539]
moved:
That, given the Parliamentary Budget Officer posted on March 15, 2018, that “Budget 2018 provides an incomplete account of the changes to the government’s $186.7 billion infrastructure spending plan” and that the “PBO requested the new plan but it does not exist”, the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to immediately conduct an audit of the government’s “Investing in Canada Plan”, including, but not be limited to, verifying whether the plan lives up to its stated goals and promises; and that the Auditor General of Canada report his findings to the House no later than one year following the adoption of this motion.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my regards to my esteemed colleagues and to Canadians. I am very pleased to rise today to give my first speech in the House in 2020.
Before I get into the meat of today's motion, I am sure that my colleagues really want to know why I am so proud to rise to speak today. What has changed in 2020? What has changed since 2019? We have entered into a new decade. The Conservative leadership race is under way. We have a new Speaker in the House. The Quebec regional media have been saved, and I am now the critic for infrastructure and communities.
That, however, is not what I am most proud of. What then is so special about 2020? Although members may not be able to tell from looking at me, I have changed. It has nothing to do with new year's resolutions. I do not exercise enough, I do not always eat the way I should, and I did not make any resolutions to be kinder to the government in the House. Sorry about that. What has changed is my title.
For a week now, my wife Caro and I have been able to proudly call ourselves grandma and grandpa. My son David and his wife Audrey welcomed a baby boy named Clovis into the world.
I wanted to dedicate this first speech to my very first grandson and to his parents, who have made me so proud today. Welcome, Clovis. It is for you and all other children like you, for their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, that we all gather here to make Canada a place where families can succeed and thrive.
As parliamentarians, we must never forget that despite our differences of opinion and different visions of how to go about it, we have a duty and a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of our children and all children, as well as their future.
As I said, I did not make a resolution to stop holding this government to account, so it is also for Clovis that I moved a motion today. On behalf of the official opposition, my motion holds the government to account with respect to infrastructure.
The motion is very clear. The 2018 budget provides an incomplete account of the changes to the government's $186.7-billion infrastructure spending plan. The Parliamentary Budget Officer requested a new plan because some of the funds had not been spent, but, unfortunately, he was told such a plan did not exist. That means the Parliamentary Budget Officer is no longer in a position to give parliamentarians the facts. That is why we are now calling on all parliamentarians to ask the Auditor General of Canada to audit the results of the Liberal government's investing in Canada plan and look into how it is being run.
Despite all the Liberals' claims and lofty promises, their infrastructure plan has not achieved the stated goals. They went on and on about how their $186-billion plan would put Canadians back to work, but the numbers make it clear that a significant amount of that money was never actually released, that the impact on employment was not as promised and that promises to grow the GDP were never fulfilled.
I will start with a bit of background. Let us look back to the 2015 election campaign. The 2015 campaign will probably go down in the books as the one when the Government of Canada spent more than at any other time in Canadian history, largely because of a promise that was broken. I must admit that this promise made Canadians happy at the time, but they got duped by a party that was prepared to promise heaven and earth in order to get back in power.
After pulling the wool over their eyes, the leader of that party, the current Prime Minister, soon went back on his word and drove the federal books into his party's trademark colour. Since 2015, Canada has been in the red because of the red party, and the situation keeps getting worse with every passing day.
What was that promise? No, it was not electoral reform, although that pledge did not come true either. The Prime Minister and his then candidates travelled all over the country repeating that they would run modest deficits of $10 billion the first year, $10 billion the second year, and $6 billion the following year, before returning to a balanced budget at the end of their term. They wanted to reassure everyone, because people had a sneaking suspicion that the red party might like red budgets.
The government not only failed to keep its promise, but it even decided that balancing the budget was not important. Indeed, there is no plan to balance the budget in the foreseeable future. There is spending, spending and more spending. What was the justification for this promise?
The government said it wanted to run small deficits to invest in our infrastructure in order to create jobs and wealth. That is what it said. The previous Conservative government managed to bring in an ambitious infrastructure plan that did not burden our grandchildren. The logic was sound. We could take advantage of the low interest rates to take on tangible infrastructure projects. We might have seen something tangible. We might have seen some results. We might have seen Canadians at work. This could have had an impact on our economy. At the very least, if the money from these loans went toward our infrastructure, we might have seen results. The problem is that reality caught up with the government rather quickly. The most positive of Conservative pessimists understood. Spending did increase, the deficit ballooned, but the investments in infrastructure did not materialize.
The Liberals' investing in Canada plan, the government's $186-billion cornerstone of infrastructure spending, made several promises to Canadians:
1. Rate of economic growth is increased in an inclusive and sustainable way.
2. Environmental quality is improved, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced and the resilience of communities is increased.
3. Urban mobility in Canadian communities is improved.
4. Housing is affordable and in good condition and homelessness is reduced year over year.
5. Early learning and child care is of high quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive.
6. Canadian communities are more inclusive and accessible.
7. Infrastructure is managed in a more sustainable way.
That is straight out of the investing in Canada plan. That is what the Liberals promised to do with those billions of dollars.
Have Canadians seen a single one of these objectives materialize? Unfortunately, it is obvious that the government failed to meet its objectives during its first mandate; if we look at the numbers and everything before us, it will not meet them in this mandate.
The government failed miserably. Unfortunately, it also failed to report to parliamentarians on its management of the $186-billion investing in Canada plan. I am sure I am not the only member of Parliament who has been waiting since the announcements, since the last election campaign, to see shovels in the ground across the country over the past four years. We were expecting to see roads, bridges, schools and community centres being built. We thought they would be all over the place. We thought that every single riding we represent would see something. We thought that this multi-billion-dollar investment plan would create jobs.
I now have a question for my colleagues. Have there been many projects in their ridings? Have they seen trucks or shovels in the ground?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Luc Berthold: Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. It did not happen. MPs are not the only ones wondering, which brings me to today's motion. On a number of occasions, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and his office have taken a look at expenditures and results of the investing in Canada plan.
We have a role to play as parliamentarians. The role of Parliament, of the House of Commons and MPs, is to grant the government the money it needs to operate. For instance, in a majority situation, the government has no problem spending as much money as it wants, since it holds a majority when the time comes to vote on supply. In a minority situation, if it loses a single supply vote, the government falls and is dissolved. Why? Because the House refused to grant the money it has asked for.
Since parliamentarians are responsible for granting supply, it just makes sense that parliamentarians should have access to all the information on government spending in order to make informed decisions on public finances. Unfortunately, the government has obviously not provided parliamentarians with all the information on the actual status and results of the investing in Canada plan.
We cannot make any assumptions about the government's good or bad faith, and that is why we are calling for an investigation today.
The information may have been buried in the mountain of data coming from the machinery of government, making it impossible to find. There are approximately 5,000 public servants responsible for collecting information in order to report to Canadians. We are all aware of just how much information one person can produce in a day. If all that information was given to parliamentarians before it was sorted or without any explanation or cross-referencing of figures, parliamentarians would obviously have no idea what they were looking at. Despite all the means at our disposal, we would not be able to make any decisions because there is simply too much information.
That is why Parliament created the position of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I would like to quote the first two paragraphs of the website, which gives the history of that position. It states:
The position of the Parliamentary Budget Officer was created in December 2006 as part of the Federal Accountability Act. It was a response to criticisms surrounding the accuracy and credibility of the federal government’s fiscal projections and forecasting process.
At the time, some economists and parliamentarians were concerned that successive governments in the mid-to-late 1990s through the mid-2000s had shaped fiscal projections, overstating deficits and understating surpluses for political gain.
The role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer is important, which is why we need to take his reports on Canada's public finances very seriously.
He has taken a look at the investing in Canada plan and its actual results. He has mentioned them several times in his reports and in testimony before various parliamentary committees. What he tells us is troubling. It is time for another organization, like the Auditor General of Canada, to take a closer look at how the Liberal government is managing the $186 billion it received from parliamentarians for this infrastructure plan.
I just want to summarize the revelations and observations made by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I want to thank his team for their collaboration and for answering our questions.
The first report is dated March 29, 2018, and is entitled “Status Report on Phase 1 of the New Infrastructure Plan”. PBO officials essentially state that they noted several information gaps that were primarily due to the inability of departments and agencies to provide enough details to reconcile the overall spending that had been announced with the sum of the individual projects. Despite their experience, the PBO analysts were unable to match the exorbitant amounts that had been announced with the projects on the ground. That is unacceptable.
The report also revealed this:
Of the total $14.4 billion budget for NIP Phase 1, federal organizations have been able to identify $7.2 billion worth of approved projects that were initiated in either 2016-17 or 2017-18. Thus, $7.2 billion of Phase 1 funding is yet to be attributed to projects.
Only half of the total budget was attributed to projects.
We all remember the basic premise: run small deficits to invest in infrastructure and create middle-class jobs. Those small deficits now add up to $26 billion, but only $7.2 billion was actually invested in projects during the government's first term. That is unacceptable.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, “such unexpected delays can also provide insight regarding whether federal infrastructure spending is a useful policy instrument for short-term fiscal stimulus.” Obviously, if we do not invest, there will be no fiscal stimulus. Without money, trucks and workers on the ground, there will be no job creation.
In other words, the Liberals' big promises turned out to be empty ones. Their airy promises of fiscal stimulus amounted to nothing.
According to the same report:
Budget 2016 committed $11.3 billion...in infrastructure spending over 2016-17 and 2017-18, resulting in an expected increase in the level of real GDP of 0.2% and 0.4% in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that GDP only increased by 0.1% over those two fiscal years. We call that missing the mark outright, not just a little.
Here is another quote:
We estimate that Budget 2016 infrastructure investments will provide a modest boost to...GDP and employment over the remainder of the planning horizon.
Not only were results poor in the past, they will be poor in the future.
That is not all. In analysis of budget 2018, the Parliamentary Budget Officer's comments about the Liberal infrastructure plan are scathing.
Budget 2018 provides an incomplete account of the changes to the Government’s $186.7 billion infrastructure spending plan. PBO requested the new plan but it does not exist. Roughly one-quarter of the funding allocated for infrastructure from 2016-17 to 2018-19 will lapse. Both legacy and new infrastructure programs are prone to large lapses.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer then rightly goes on to suggest that parliamentarians may wish to ask questions about that, which is what we are doing today.
After failing to carry out phase 1, the Liberals have no plan for how to invest the tens of billions of dollars allocated to more than 50 programs falling under some 30 agencies and departments. They are incapable of doing the legwork, incapable of reporting to Parliament and incapable of providing a comprehensive investment plan.
We have all day to talk about it. I know that my Liberal colleagues will spend the day telling us about the wonderful projects that have been completed and other projects that have been announced without really knowing when those will get off the ground. Some projects have been announced once, twice, three times. The cost is not calculated. If that is how the Liberals balance their budget, it does not work.
The fact is that there is no plan and management is piecemeal, and so there is no impact on the economy. Instead of celebrating, my colleagues opposite should be as concerned as we are about the government's inability to plan for its infrastructure investments.
I would like to talk about another a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I explained earlier that the government failed to live up to expectations. I will now explain how this Liberal government, which wanted to impose its infrastructure plan on all the provinces, ended up back at square one.
In a report tabled in Parliament in March 2019 entitled “Infrastructure Update: Investments in Provinces and Municipalities”, staff at the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that they were not able to independently verify that the federal funds had indeed increased infrastructure spending overall, since part of the federal increase appears to have been offset by planned decreases in provincial spending.
Am I to understand that the Liberal government forgot that it is not authorized to invest in provinces on its own and that it did not get assurances that the money it was loaning to build roads, bridges and social housing would be used for new investments? All of that lip service and those projections were cancelled out because the Liberals were unable to make sure that the provinces would keep up with their own investments.
Here are some figures from the Parliamentary Budget Officer:
...according to their 2016-17 and 2017-18 budgets, provinces were planning to spend $100.6 billion in capital. Instead, they invested $85.1 billion, which is $15.5 billion lower than their initial plans.
That is what the Liberals are trying to hide. The investing in Canada plan has failed to create wealth for the middle class, failed to achieve anything tangible and failed to be transparent and accountable.
The final straw came during the last election campaign, when we asked the PBO to analyze one of our proposals. Here is the reply I received:
...you asked if we could provide you with a copy of all the data sets provided to us by Infrastructure Canada with regard to a complete list of the projects and their funding allocations.... Unfortunately, Infrastructure Canada considered these data to be confidential, so they were not disclosed.
That response is unacceptable. Given the government's lack of transparency and accountability, the Conservatives believe that the Auditor General must immediately conduct an audit of the investing in Canada plan. Naturally, we are counting on the collaboration of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to shed as much light as possible on how the Liberals are managing the $186 billion. Canadians and parliamentarians of all stripes have the right to know what the Liberals are doing with their money.
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