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View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
I call this meeting to order. Welcome to meeting 70 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted by the committee on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the committee is meeting to proceed with the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of June 23, 2022. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely using the Zoom application.
I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of the witnesses and the members.
Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For those participating by video conference, click on the microphone icon to activate your microphone, and please mute yourself when you are not speaking.
There is interpretation for those on Zoom. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of either floor, English or French audio. For those in the room, you can use the earpiece and select the desired channel.
I remind everyone that all comments should be addressed through the chair. For members in the room, if you wish to speak, please raise your hand. For members on Zoom, please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will manage the speaking order as well as we can. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this regard.
Members, before we go to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-32, you will have received the budget for the Bill C-228 study from the clerk on Tuesday. Everybody should have received it at 11:03 a.m.
I'm looking around for confirmation that everybody is good with that budget.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: The budget is approved.
Today, to help with our clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-32, we have officials from the Canadian Space Agency, the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, the Department of Employment and Social Development, the Department of Finance and the Department of Justice.
On behalf of the committee, I thank all our officials. I wish to inform the committee that all witnesses have been audio tested for today's meeting and have passed the test.
We now move to the bill. Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title, is postponed.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair, as brevity is the soul of wit, I will be quick. I'm renowned in this committee for my brevity. In all seriousness, I just want to put a couple of comments onto the record, if the other members will indulge me.
Conservatives will not be supporting Bill C-32, the legislative implementation of the fall economic statement.
Prior to the announcement of the fall economic update, Conservatives stated that they had two requirements for the upcoming legislation: one, that there be no new taxes; and two, that there be no new spending. Conservatives put these requirements in place because we are acutely aware of the struggles that Canadians are facing in the midst of one of Canada's largest affordability crises.
Food bank usage has climbed to record highs, with 1.5 million Canadians using food banks in a single month. A third of those were children, so that's 500,000 children who had to go to food banks just to eat in one month.
Nearly half of Canadians are within $200 of insolvency, and with rising interest rates, many Canadians are now on the brink of losing their homes. The pain that has been inflicted is the responsibility of the failed Liberal tax-and-spend agenda.
In the fall economic statement the greedy government refused to give up even $1 of revenue while adding to Canadians' suffering. Instead, it is stubbornly refusing to relent on its plan to raise the carbon tax, which, according to the Bank of Canada, is inflationary, so this represents a double hit for Canadians. One is the direct impact on gas, groceries and home heating, but then there's also the impact of inflation, which, at its low rate of $40 per tonne, was estimated by the Bank of Canada to be 0.4% and very well could be over 1% when we get our numbers back from the PBO.
On January 1, the greedy Liberals will take yet more money from Canadians, and for what sin? What travesty have Canadians committed? They have gone to work. In one of Canada's worst labour shortages in recent history, the Liberals are actively disincentivizing work. They're punishing workers by increasing the payroll tax.
In addition to direct taxation, the government is indirectly increasing the burden on workers through inflationary spending. As Tiff Macklem said at this very committee in response to my colleague's question, more spending equals more inflation. The more the Liberals spend, the harder life gets for Canadians.
We have also heard comments, not just by the current Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem but also by former Bank of Canada governor and future Liberal leader Mark Carney that inflation is actually a homegrown problem that is a direct result of this government's tax-and-spend policies.
The government has had the opportunity to provide hope by reducing the burden through reductions in the carbon tax or the payroll tax, or even by cancelling the planned tax hikes on Canada's sacrosanct tradition of drinking beer. Unfortunately, the only thing it had to offer Canadians was more taxes and more inflation. At a time when Canadians needed a hand up, the Liberals dropped an anchor on them.
For these reasons and many more, Conservatives cannot support Bill C-32.
Thank you.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Lawrence.
I saw Mr. Ste-Marie. You had your hand up.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I, too, have a point of order, as well as a comment that will hopefully be as brief as Mr. Lawrence's.
First, I had informed the committee that I still had a lot of questions for the officials from the various departments that will have a hand in Bill C‑32. At a previous meeting, I had requested the committee's unanimous consent to ask those officials to provide written answers to the questions suggested by the House of Commons analysts, but there wasn't unanimous support for that request.
In the spirit of co‑operation, Terry Beech, the parliamentary secretary, suggested I give him the list of questions I was most interested in having the answers for, and in hardly any time at all, the officials had answered all of my questions in a document that was sent to me. I asked the clerk to share the document with the committee so that members would have the excellent information I received, which was in both official languages.
I realize how much work that was, so I want to express my sincere thanks to Terry Beech for his help, as well as to the finance officials for their comprehensive answers. Thanks to them, I won't have any technical questions today, since I already have the answers I was looking for.
It is clear to those of us in the Bloc Québécois that Bill C‑32 does not address the financial priorities of the people of Quebec. However, as always, we will vote on what is in the bill, not on what isn't. We don't have a problem with any of the measures proposed in this omnibus bill, and that is why I, as the Bloc Québécois's representative today, will be voting in favour of the bill and each of its clauses. We don't have any amendments to propose.
Before I wrap up, though, I would like to point something out to the members of the committee. The Canadian Bar Association sent a letter to the chair to express its concern that some of the proposed amendments would undermine solicitor-client privilege. I know that the government is very mindful of the rules in place and has read the letter, as I have. For that reason, I am not so concerned that I feel the need to propose an amendment.
Speaking of solicitor-client privilege, I would also remind the members of the committee of our study into the whole Isle of Man affair and the use of trusts for the purposes of tax avoidance and tax evasion. That was a case in which KPMG invoked solicitor-client privilege to refuse to disclose the names of its fraudster clients to the government. We must bear in mind that solicitor-client privilege is not absolute, because it does not apply when a lawyer advises their client to do something illegal.
The Canada Revenue Agency's American counterpart, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, gave KPMG an ultimatum when it tried to pull the same thing in the U.S. The company could either hand over the list of clients with whom it had conspired to defraud the IRS or it would face criminal prosecution and risk dissolution. The matter was resolved pretty quickly. Here, an out-of-court settlement was reached.
I welcome the measures in Bill C‑32. Solicitor-client privilege is obviously very important, but so is the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Ste‑Marie.
I saw Mr. Blaikie's hand up.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
In the spirit of offering some reflections at the outset for our position with respect to the bill, I thought I would make my own contribution.
Similarly to Mr. Ste-Marie, I think some of the cracking down on tax avoidant measures in Bill C-32 is certainly welcome. There's more work to do, but these are steps in the right direction.
I would highlight in this bill, as well, the elimination of interest on student loans, something New Democrats have long championed and are glad to see a government finally proceed with. It is also under-reported.
I think the headline item for this is actually something New Democrats have been calling for, for some time, which we made sure was part of our understanding with the government in the supply and confidence agreement, and that is the Canada recovery dividend. It means that big banks and insurance companies that did very well during the pandemic, including because of the generous support of the federal government, are going to have to pay some of that money back, and that's important so that there are resources to do the things we need to do in order to support Canadians through a very difficult time.
New Democrats think the Canada recovery dividend is an important step alongside a permanent increase of 1.5% in the corporate tax rate for banks and insurance companies.
These are some of the reasons we're supporting Bill C-32, and I thank you for the time to put that on the record.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Blaikie.
I'm looking around the room. I don't see any other hands.
Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Beech. Go ahead.
View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
I want to thank all the members for their input, and committee for finding a path forward for this piece of legislation.
Obviously, it's no surprise that the government is in favour of this legislation. I will do my best to keep my comments the shortest.
Thank you.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the brevity, Mr. Beech, and for helping to bring people together. It was good to hear some really nice comments.
Members, we are at clause 2, as read.
Shall clause 2 carry?
Go ahead, Mr. Hallan.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I'd like to ask for a recorded vote for the first one, if that's okay with you.
(Clause 2 agreed to: yeas 7; nays 4)
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Now, members, 'tis the season and, as I understand it, everybody seems to be in agreement on looking at clauses 3 through 168.
Go ahead, Mr. Hallan.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
The Conservatives would like to apply our previous vote to all the future ones, as well.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay, it looks as if they would like the previous vote applied to clauses 3 through 168.
Do I see agreement?
(Clauses 3 to 168 inclusive agreed to)
The Chair: That takes us to the title.
Shall the short title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
On division.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An hon. member: On division.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the chair report the bill to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
An hon. member: On division.
The Chair: We are done. Congratulations, members. I'm glad everybody is doing so well.
Members, I want to bring this to your attention: We talked about our next meeting on Monday around Bill C-241. On Wednesday we are looking at fiscal federalism. The clerk has some witnesses from you, but if you want to put forward more witnesses for the clerk to invite.... This would be for next Wednesday's meeting on fiscal federalism.
Is that correct, Mr. Clerk? Perhaps you can let the members know where we are, in terms of witnesses.
Alexandre Roger
View Alexandre Roger Profile
Alexandre Roger
2022-11-30 16:45
Yes. I have enough witnesses on the Liberal side, unless you want to add more and change the priority. That's fine, too.
I have one witness on the Conservative side.
The Bloc Québécois does not have any witnesses to propose.
I don't have any for the NDP, either.
I was speaking with the analysts at the back of the room, who told me they would be happy to suggest witnesses as well. They could send me a list of suggested witnesses for tomorrow, perhaps, and I can send that to you tomorrow, during the day—before the evening. Then you could get back to me by Friday on who you'd like to invite for next Wednesday.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
I see two hands up. I'm sure Mr. Blaikie...yes, because it's on fiscal federalism.
Go ahead, Mr. Blaikie.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I was going to say that we have some names, and we'd be happy to get those to you as soon as possible—probably by the end of the day tomorrow, at the latest.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's great.
I have Mr. Chambers, then Mr. Ste-Marie, or rather, Mr. Ste-Marie first.
Go ahead, please.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
Like Mr. Blaikie, we have witnesses to propose. I discussed it briefly with the clerk before the meeting began, and I will be sending him our list.
Thank you.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Mr. Chambers.
View Adam Chambers Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to flag for members that next Tuesday the Auditor General is releasing her report, which was a request from this committee. There's a lock-up at seven in the morning, for those of you who are interested.
I'm just flagging that for the committee. Of course, I would not want to ask anybody until we see the report, but there has been the precedent in the past, when the Auditor General has done a study at the request of the committee, that we have heard from that office following it.
I'm not asking for that consent here, I'm just flagging that it's coming up next week. If anybody is interested in going, that will be public on Tuesday. As we're managing the calendar, that may be a request, should that be the will of the committee, but obviously we'll wait to see what the report says next week.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks for that update, Mr. Chambers.
Looking around, I think we're good.
Shall we adjourn, members?
An hon. member: Yes.
The Chair: We're adjourned.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Good morning, everyone.
I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 57 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Heritage.
I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is taking place on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
Pursuant to the order of reference adopted by the House on Tuesday, May 31, the committee is resuming clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-18, an act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of Thursday, June 23, 2022. Members attending in the room know what to do. You've done it so many times before. Members with us virtually also know what to do, as they've done it so many times before as well.
Please wait until I recognize you by name. For those participating by video conference, click on the icon at the bottom. Please remember that all comments should be made through the chair.
Before we start, I wanted to convey on your behalf our condolences to Peter on the passing of his mother. Peter, our thoughts are with you. It must be very hard losing a parent. I know. We are all thinking about you and are with you in this moment of grief.
Mr. Housefather, your hand is up.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
If this is the appropriate time, I think I have unanimous consent in the room—I hope from my friend Mr. Julian as well—to put forward a brief motion on our safe sport study to summon certain documents. I know my friend Mr. Champoux wants to make a friendly amendment right afterward.
Madam Chair, if it's okay with you and the committee, I'd like to move:
That, in relation to the study of safe sport in Canada, the committee send for the minutes of all board meetings that have taken place since Monday, January 1, 2018, including in camera minutes, whether in approved or draft form, from each of the following organizations: (a) Gymnastics Canada; (b) Canada Soccer; (c) Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton; and that all documents be sent to the clerk of the committee by 4 p.m. eastern standard time on Thursday, December 15, 2022.
Mr. Champoux has a friendly amendment that I'm very happy to accept.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Champoux, go ahead.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2022-11-29 11:05
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Housefather, thank you for your openness.
We would like to add three sports associations to Mr. Housefather's motion.
After “(c) Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton;” we propose adding: “(d) Swimming Canada; (e) Skate Canada; (f) Rugby Canada;” The rest of the motion would remain unchanged.
Thank you.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Are you cool with that?
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Perhaps we can speak to the motion.
Does anyone wish to say anything? Do we have a comment? No.
Mr. Shields, is your hand up?
Go ahead, Marilyn.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
I definitely support this motion. It's important that we get these things by December 15, because they have to be translated for the committee. I think that's a reasonable thing to do while the rest of us are enjoying our Christmas holidays.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you.
Does anyone else wish to say something?
Go ahead, Mr. Shields.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2022-11-29 11:06
Thank you.
To clarify the date.... I understand what my colleague is saying about having it translated, but that is a six-week time period before we have an opportunity to deal with it. Are we jamming them up by making it too tight? If it was another two weeks, we'd still have four weeks for it to be translated. We have our organizations out here, and that's a very short timeline.
I'm asking in the sense of.... I want to do it and I understand it, but we have a six-week time period for them to get here and be translated. Is that timeline too tight?
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Let's discuss that.
Go ahead, Martin.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2022-11-29 11:07
I'm very willing to support what is being proposed. I don't think we will be meeting over the holidays to consider this. Also, one of the concerns that we heard from our colleague Mr. Housefather is that adding federations would give the translation team a lot of work. I am quite open to Mr. Shields' proposal to push back the deadline. But what date would be appropriate? I'll let you be the judge.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
I was thinking of the translators. If they get the documents quickly, it will make their job easier because they will have six weeks to translate them instead of four. I thought the minutes of these organizations already existed. We are asking for documents that exist, not to create new documents.
I thought it wouldn't be that difficult for them. Because we're passing it today, they have more than two weeks to get us documents that exist. I think we would all be flexible if one of them came back and said they wanted a later date.
If it's okay, I would rather leave the date at December 15 to give the translators six weeks to translate everything.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Does that satisfy your question, Mr. Shields?
Mr. Martin Shields: Yes.
The Chair:Now we're going to deal with Martin's amendment—
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Chair, I have had my hand up since the beginning.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Oh, I am so sorry, Peter. I didn't notice you with the bright red wall behind you. Go ahead.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
It's not red. It's NDP orange, Madam Chair.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Well, it's a colour that's confused. Thank you.
Voices: Oh, oh!
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I would beg to disagree with you, Madam Chair. I think the colour is very clear and not confused at all.
I support the motion by Mr. Housefather and the timelines involved. The organizations maintain minutes. It's not as if we're asking them to put together something new. This is something that should be absolutely available to us. At the same time, we do need to give translation teams the opportunity to go through the minutes and actually translate them. That will take a number of weeks. If we then choose in February, when we reconvene, to continue this study and broaden it, as I think as a committee we've already indicated, then I think this is the best approach. The timelines are good.
I was thinking of proposing the same thing Mr. Champoux did, which was to add some national organizations. I am glad he proposed that amendment to Mr. Housefather's motion.
I think we have everything. It is the responsibility of the committee to request the minutes and then have them translated. That will enable us to address this issue when we return in February.
I support the amendment and the motion.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
We'll have Ms. Thomas and then Martin.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Great. We're talking about the amendment. Is that correct?
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
We're talking about the amendment that Mr. Champoux brought in.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Perfect. Thank you.
I agree with adding rugby, skating and swimming.
I'm curious if Mr. Housefather can help clarify something. Right now, the status of women committee is also doing a study with regard to safe sport. I'm just wondering how we see these two committees potentially working together or being complementary in terms of this study as we proceed going forward.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Would you like to answer that question, Anthony?
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
I can only say that I totally agree that we need to work together. I've let Ms. Vecchio, who's the chair of the status of women committee, know exactly what I was hoping to do, and to get the minutes. She was very supportive of that.
I hope we find a way that we do collaborate, because I think it's important for the two committees to work together and amend each other's work, and not divide it and end up duplicating things.
I'm in total agreement. I also let her know that her committee could then also use the work of our committee. If they want to see the minutes, they could ask for them too, and they would already be ready.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Right now I see two committees wanting to do really great work. Bringing forward witnesses would of course be an essential part of that process. At the status of women, some of the witnesses they have or are intending to bring forward are those who were victims.
I'm concerned about having these individuals testify at both committees, when perhaps we could accomplish both of our ends, which I actually think perhaps need to be defined. One of my questions would be whether we have a goal different from the goal of the status of women committee. Is there a way that we hold our committees together or potentially work together so that these individuals, particularly those who are victims or survivors, would only have to come once rather than twice?
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I would like to suggest that we could find a way to discuss with the status of women committee how we could avoid double-victimizing victims. We could have them come at different times, perhaps. I don't know; maybe the clerk can give us an answer.
I don't think we should form a joint committee, but can we attend these committee hearings? The victims would be there in camera and we would have to be able to get permission to do that. How would we do that?
Aimée Belmore
View Aimée Belmore Profile
Aimée Belmore
2022-11-29 11:14
I can certainly do a little bit of research and come back to you with an answer on that.
I know there's a way to do a joint committee meeting. You could also simply attend each other's meetings. Any member of Parliament has the right to attend meetings. It depends on how official.... You can also pass motions to allow the evidence and documents given from one committee to be used in another committee's report.
Those are a few avenues, but I can certainly undertake to do more research.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
It would be good if you could give us that information.
However, I need to point out, Mrs. Thomas, that we have a mandate for this study. It was agreed on quite a while ago.
Mr. Housefather is just putting forward a motion with regard to the already agreed upon mandate to study safe sport, which this subcommittee and full committee had agreed to.
Go ahead, Martin.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2022-11-29 11:15
I find Ms. Thomas' question extremely relevant. There are a lot of sensitive aspects to this issue. The motion on the table only asks for the minutes of the sports organizations and federations. At this stage, what we want are the minutes. We will then determine what we need to do based on what we find. It will be up to the committee to follow up.
I think at that point it will be very important to do it in collaboration with the Standing Committee on the Status of Women because of the sensitivity of the subject matter and the people who will be called to testify.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you.
Go ahead, Marilyn.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
Maybe I can shed some light.
When I was chair of status of women, we were looking into the sexual misconduct in the military at the same time that the defence committee was looking into the same subject. We were very clear about our scope, in terms of determining what needed to be done to better support survivors. The defence committee was looking at what changes were needed in the CAF to address it.
I think that as long as we are clear on what our objective is and they are clear on theirs, we did agree to then share the witness testimony jointly between committees in order to minimize the trauma to those survivors.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you.
Before I go to Michael Coteau, Clerk, do we have the original motion wherein the committee agreed to do the study? Would that have a clear mandate in it?
Aimée Belmore
View Aimée Belmore Profile
Aimée Belmore
2022-11-29 11:16
The original motion was to look into Hockey Canada. The subsequent motion was to look into safe sport in Canada, which was passed on September 20. I can read out to you if you wish.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Aimée Belmore
View Aimée Belmore Profile
Aimée Belmore
2022-11-29 11:16
If you will please bear with me, I just need to load that particular—
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
With regard to what Marilyn said, if we know what our mandate is and what FEWO's mandate is, we can come up with a decision on how we don't duplicate.
I want to add that my concept of a safe sport study wasn't only about sexual harassment. It was about bullying and it was about.... I have spoken to many people in gymnastics who told me that they suffered from anorexia because they were always bullied into feeling that they had put on a pound or two. There is a huge amount of stuff to go into, rather than just sexual misconduct.
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