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Results: 1 - 15 of 6710
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2022-12-08 10:03 [p.10625]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (volunteer firefighting and search and rescue volunteer tax credit).
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to table this bill. This bill calls on the Government of Canada to increase the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue responders from $3,000 to $10,000 in the Income Tax Act.
We know that search and rescue responders and firefighters always show up—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2022-12-08 10:03 [p.10625]
Mr. Speaker, I think firefighters would appreciate that.
It is a privilege to rise today to table this bill. This bill calls on the Government of Canada to increase the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue responders from $3,000 to $10,000 in the Income Tax Act.
We know that search and rescue responders and firefighters always show up in difficult crises such as fires, floods and accidents in our local communities. Ninety thousand of Canada's 126,000 firefighters are volunteer firefighters. These essential first responders give their time, training and efforts to Canadians on a voluntary basis. They often put their lives at risk, while allowing local governments to keep property taxes lower than if paid services were required.
Increasing this tax credit would allow these essential volunteers to keep more of their hard-earned money, which is likely to be spent in the communities where they live. An increase in this tax credit could also assist with the volunteer recruitment and retention.
I previously tabled Bill C-201 on this issue, but I brought forward this bill today because it would define eligible volunteer firefighting services and would provide clarity on when this tax credit would apply.
I thank the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs for their work on this issue as well as thank the many Canadians who have signed petitions in support.
I hope all members in the House will show support for the bill and show respect for all those volunteer firefighters across Canada who put their lives at risk to serve their communities.
I thank my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith for seconding this bill.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2022-12-08 10:07 [p.10626]
Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition on behalf of Canadians across the country who are very concerned about the persecution and the genocide that has happened to the Hazara people, which goes all the way back to 1891. We know that Hazaras continue to face systematic and targeted persecution in Afghanistan, including the killing of newborn infants and the attacks on men, women, children and elders.
As Canada has a special relationship with Afghanistan, these citizens are calling on the Government of Canada to formally recognize the 1891-93 ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Hazaras as a genocide. They are asking us to designate September 25 as Hazara genocide memorial day.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from people across my riding who are very concerned about expanded polystyrene, commonly known as styrofoam, and the impact it has on the marine environment. It is incredibly difficult to clean EPS off beaches and shorelines. We know that it is getting into the marine environment and causing a lot of challenges. We also know that the qathet Regional District and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities have unanimously endorsed the prohibition of EPS in marine environments.
The petitioners are asking for the government to take action, and I hope it does so soon.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2022-12-08 10:12 [p.10627]
Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise I am now tabling a petition on the firefighter tax credit. Firefighters, especially in rural communities, put their lives on the line. Petitioners from my riding of Courtenay—Alberni, from Courtenay, Cumberland, Royston, Dashwood, Parksville, Qualicum, Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake, have all signed this petition. The tax code of Canada currently allows volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 tax credit if they do 200 hours of volunteer services in a calendar year. The petitioners want to move that to $10,000. They are calling for this action to take place. It is something hopefully all the House would support.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 10:29 [p.10629]
Mr. Speaker, I would offer that the impact on food prices from the climate crisis and from the price gouging of the big box stores and big grocery retailers far outstrips the impact of carbon pricing.
My question is this. When farmers across this country are facing massive crop failures and the infrastructure needed to ship our food is being ripped out by climate disasters, why do the Conservatives not have a plan to tackle the climate crisis, the most significant crisis facing us as a population? Why do they refuse to come up with a credible plan?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-12-08 10:44 [p.10631]
Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking my colleague for his excellent private member's bill. It would be an improvement for farmers.
I am surprised, though, that the Conservative motion did not mention the grocery store chains. First of all, we know we are plagued by lack of competition. We know some of these chains actually hedge some money overseas and had to pay a CRA fine for hiding money in Barbados. They fixed the price of bread; the Competition Bureau proved that was true. They have excessive profits from COVID-related policies because restaurants were closed and the chains lacked competition. They ended hero pay to their workers unilaterally, despite the fact they should not be working together behind the scenes. Their CEO bonuses and manager salaries would make a robber baron blush. Finally, they have predatory pricing for local produce on shelves that restricts some of the distribution by farmers.
How can the Conservatives not mention the situation with the grocery store chains?
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2022-12-08 10:57 [p.10634]
Mr. Speaker, we also agree that putting a price on carbon is critical. In British Columbia it was actually the right-leaning BC Liberal party that brought in the carbon tax in 2009, but it is now supported by all provincial parties, because we understand the impacts of climate change. We have seen Lytton burn down. We have seen flooding. We have seen the impacts of climate change, which I have talked to my colleague about a number of times.
My concern here, and I share this concern with the Bloc, is that there is no excess profit tax on oil and gas companies right now. We have seen the U.K. take leadership, as well as other countries around the world. We have seen over $100 billion in record profits for the oil and gas companies, but we see Liberals and Conservatives standing side by side, letting them get a free ride.
It is unacceptable, because that money could be used for taking pressure off people today by removing the GST on home heating, which would apply to electric heating, something that Conservatives had in their platform but do not support today, as well as removing the unacceptable 39.5% surcharge on Canada Post.
Will my colleague finally charge oil and gas companies the excess profit tax that they should pay and take the pressure off everyday Canadians?
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 11:14 [p.10636]
Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat ironic that the Conservatives have raised the fact that Canada is number 58 when it comes to climate action and spoke to our ability to tackle the climate challenge and live up to our commitments. It is ironic because the Conservatives do not have a plan to address climate change, but it is also a problem because number 58 is not where we need to be as a country.
Despite having a carbon pricing system in this country, Canada continues to be laggard, to not live up to the commitments we have made and to not perform. We are not on track to meet the targets we have set. What needs to be done to improve Canada's approach to climate and to stop being such a laggard on this critical issue?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-12-08 11:43 [p.10640]
Mr. Speaker, I was surprised that there was no mention of grocery store chains and no connection to getting the produce of local farmers and their production into the chains without farmers being taken advantage of or being in a situation with a lesser advantage regarding product placement and so forth. I think this was at least worth a mention, because it is affecting the price of groceries. At the end of the day, if Canadian access is prevented from being competitive, it really hurts consumers.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 11:44 [p.10640]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this beautiful day to speak to the opposition motion before us.
I will be splitting my time with the wonderful member of Parliament for Nunavut. Mr. Speaker.
It feels funny to be speaking on this topic, a little like Groundhog Day. It seems like no matter the problem, the tool is always the same for the Conservatives. I guess when the only tool one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The climate crisis, the very pressing issue of astronomical food prices and the impact on Canadians is a serious problem that requires serious tools.
The motion before us is ostensibly about farmers. I want to take a moment to talk a bit about the farmers in northwest B.C. who do such an incredible job, such as the dairy and beef farmers.
I met in Terrace the other day with the owners of a new goat dairy. It wants to produce its own artisanal goat cheese and goat milk in the northwest, which is a really amazing endeavour. That includes the vegetable farmers as well, the market gardens and producers who sell their food throughout the northwest. We have a really bourgeoning local food culture in northwest B.C. and it is something of which we are very proud. All those farmers, no matter the size of their operations, should be rightly proud of the work they do.
It is right that farmers are facing many challenges. One of those challenges is the cost of the inputs that they require for their operations, but it is not the only challenge. Of course, longer term, one of the biggest challenges facing farmers is the impact of the climate crisis. It is somewhat ironic to debate an opposition day motion that seeks to undermine Canada's approach to the climate crisis when the people who feel the impact of the climate crisis most intimately are farmers across our country.
I want to talk a bit about the farmers who would be affected by this, but I also want to talk about the farmers who would not be affected by this. I appreciate my colleagues in the Bloc highlighting that the Province of Quebec is part of a cap and trade system, a carbon market, that is provincial in nature, with which the federal government has no tie-in. British Columbia is in a similar situation because it has a provincial price on carbon.
It concerns me that at the heart of this motion is a bit of deception, because it talks about helping farmers across the country, yet it is not going to help farmers in Quebec nor farmers in British Columbia, like the ones I represent. There is going to be zero help for those farmers if this opposition motion were to pass and the government were to act accordingly.
The real problem faced by farmers who are struggling is with the cost diesel for their tractors. I talked to one neighbour on the south side of Francois Lake, who has a beef operation. The price that he was paying for diesel for his tractor was unbelievable. This is a real challenge. However, if we are looking to Canada's carbon pricing system as the villain in this, we are looking in the wrong spot. The real challenge, when it comes to gas and diesel prices, is the absurd gouging by the oil and gas companies.
Members do not have to believe me; they can ask the President of the United States, Joe Biden. He called it war profiteering and he threatened to put an excess profit tax on oil and gas companies in that country. They are not just gouging farmers, but all Americans who require petroleum products in their lives.
We could also look to the United Kingdom, where a Conservative government has put a 25% excess profit tax in place on the oil and gas companies. It will take the revenue from that excess profit tax and drive it back into affordability measures so the British people can benefit during hard times when inflation is out of control.
Those are the kinds of real measures that the NDP has been advocating for the government to get serious about in cracking down on profiteering and excess profits during a time that is difficult for so many Canadians. We need that kind of action.
When we think about the carbon tax in British Columbia, it has an interesting history. It was brought in in 2007-08 by the noted eco-socialist premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell. He did that because, to his credit, he believed climate was the existential issue of our time and we needed to act in a way that was rigorous and evidence-based. He was a very Conservative political leader, as the Speaker well knows, and he believed that markets were the best way to do that. Part of the Conservative philosophy is that the best way to tackle things is through markets because they are efficient and often provide the lowest-cost approach to tackling big problems.
Therefore, if we believe that the climate crisis is a problem, then it makes sense to choose a tool that is efficient and low cost. That is why the Conservatives, in their last election platform, sort of had a price on carbon. They wanted to use a market-based mechanism, albeit a bit of a goofy one, that would charge people a carbon tax and then put that money into a special savings account that could only be used to buy eco-friendly things like bicycles and solar panels. It was a bit of a weird implementation of the idea, but at its heart was the idea of using a pricing mechanism. They did that because almost every economist in the western world agreed that pricing carbon was the most efficient way to go about it.
Members might be surprised to hear that I am a bit agnostic on the topic. I want to ensure that we use whatever tools it takes to drive down emissions and tackle the climate crisis so my kids, and all members' kids, can have the kind of stable future, prosperous economy and good quality of life that I and my parents enjoyed. That is what we need. This motion would do not achieve that.
When we talk about the cost of the climate crisis, it is astronomical. If we do not act in a definitive way, not only to drive down emissions but to adapt our communities and our infrastructure, we will pay dearly for this crisis.
In British Columbia, we have already felt that. We lost the entire community of Lytton, which burned to the ground. Flooding in the Lower Mainland took out a huge amount of key infrastructure and crippled our supply chain just this past year. In 2018, there were devastating wildfires across northwest B.C. that affected so many parts of our economy and community.
This crisis deserves a serious approach. The affordability crisis and the crisis of inflation and food prices are serious issues that deserve a serious approach. We do that by cracking down on profiteering. We do that by having a real climate plan that uses credible evidence-based tools to drive down emissions. I am agnostic as to whether those are regulations or pricing mechanisms.
We need urgent action and political leaders who have a plan, who are transparent about their plan and can tell the Canadian people that this is the issue of our time and they intend to tackle it with all the seriousness that it deserves. Our kids are worth it. People in our communities who are struggling with the price of food are worth it. Seniors in Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert and Kitimat who cannot afford groceries are worth it.
Motions like this, which are inherently deceptive and try to fool British Columbians, Quebec residents and people across the country into believing that somehow removing carbon pricing from certain sectors is going to solve these problems, frankly, are unfair, unjust, and not the way to approach very serious issues in our country.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 11:54 [p.10642]
Mr. Speaker, honesty in politics is one of the most important things. All political leaders need to be upfront and transparent with Canadians about how they intend to tackle the biggest issues of our time. When they do that, it needs to be based on evidence and they need to show the work, show the math, and how they will actually tackle the problems we face.
We know a lot about the climate crisis. The majority of Canadians support urgent action on the climate crisis. However, I would argue that the government has not done nearly enough in this regard. We need policies that are rigorous enough to drive down emissions and ensure it is done in a way that is affordable for Canadians. At the end of the day, the numbers do not lie, and Canada's numbers are not good.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 11:57 [p.10642]
Mr. Speaker, as my colleague noted, we support targeted efforts to help the farming industry, and we have supported the private member's bill brought forward by his party. It is one approach and certainly something that has been well received.
However, the reality is that the measures in the motion before us would not be equally applied across the country. If we are talking about helping farmers, let us have proposals that help all farmers across the country, not just ones in some provinces that happen to pay the federal carbon price. That would be a fair approach and it is an approach that I would be more willing to look at.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-12-08 11:58 [p.10642]
Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's dismay that not only are we talking about the same topic for the sixth time now, but we are doing so in the context of the government and an official opposition, neither of which are doing enough to tackle the climate crisis.
We need a more rigorous approach on this most important issue, as I said in my remarks. Frankly, we could use this opportunity today to highlight the ways in which the Liberal approach is not putting us on the path to meeting our targets and providing the kind of safe future that our kids deserve.
View Lori Idlout Profile
NDP (NU)
View Lori Idlout Profile
2022-12-08 11:59 [p.10642]
Uqaqtittiji, I am happy to rise as the member for Nunavut. I thank my constituents for their trust in me and for allowing me to continue to amplify their voices and indigenous people's voices as well.
People are struggling. There is a rising cost of groceries, gas and housing. We all know this. This is a reality that Nunavummiut have been experiencing for decades. It is unfortunate that, while we have been suffering these high costs of living for decades, it has recently been the experience for most Canadians. I am glad, at least, to see that most Canadians now can understand what the struggles have been for my constituents in Nunavut.
Billionaires are getting rich while more people are suffering in poverty. Time and again, I have stood in this place to talk about the profits of major grocery stores, which continue to keep showing increased profits. This is at the same time that we have seen, as mentioned in the opposition motion, increased use of food banks.
New Democrats are showing leadership. We are speaking to seek accountability. We have seen the impacts of our good work. I have risen a few times in the House to talk about subsidies that are being provided to grocery stores, such as the nutrition north program.
Nutrition north is subsidizing for-profit corporations such as Northmart, which continues to show profits. The Northern stores are major grocery stores in northern Canada, not just in Nunavut. They are also in northern Ontario and northern Quebec. These subsidies going to grocery stores are completely unacceptable.
To speak to farmers, I see from my notes that there are already huge exemptions provided for farm fuels in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, so I think this motion may be quite ineffective if passed. This motion by the Conservatives would not do anything for provinces that have their own pollution pricing schemes, such as British Columbia.
I will return to my speaking notes about the food costs because that, to me, is something we can all try to do something more about. To remind the House, the CEO of Sobeys was awarded $8.6 million in 2022. Sobeys, a grocery store, is having so much profit that it is awarding its CEO $8.6 million.
Honestly, we have to ask, in this House, how we can make sure there is tax fairness. How can we make sure they are paying their fair share in taxes, so we can help ensure that we are actually alleviating poverty, as well as making sure that families are getting the help they need?
How does this party defend to their constituents that this is okay?
What do the New Democrats want? We want to force CEOs and large corporations to pay their fair share on excess profits. They need to be taxed for all of the profits they are making. There needs to be a launch of an affordable and fair food strategy that would address the profit motives of grocery companies, including requesting the Competition Bureau to investigate the profits of chain grocery stores.
While advancements in green technology are being developed to replace carbon-based fuel sources, we need to have supports for farmers with relief for high grain-drying costs and the costs of heating and cooling buildings used for raising and housing livestock. We need to support and increase investments for Nunavut to transition from diesel to renewable energy.
There needs to be a reform of the nutrition north Canada program. To date, the for-profit grocery stores being subsidized by the nutrition north program self-monitor the program. The federal government does not monitor how these for-profit corporations are doing in the program.
There needs to be a removal of GST from heating bills.
Finally, I will conclude by reminding the House that, while Canadians pay the price for rising food costs, billionaire Galen Weston, chairman of Loblaws, has increased dividends to shareholders from $118 million to $125 million in 2022.
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