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Results: 1 - 8 of 8
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John McKay Profile
2019-06-20 10:08 [p.29464]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the unanimous 38th report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “Cybersecurity in the Financial Sector as a National Security Issue”.
The reason this report is unanimous is that the members worked together in a fashion that would do credit to our Parliament and the functioning of committees. I particularly want to take this opportunity to single out each of the members of the committee for their contributions, particularly the member for Montarville for his experience as a CBSA officer and his quarterbacking skills; the member for Laurentides—Labelle, who speaks faster than I can think; the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore for his thoughtful interventions; the member for Brampton North for her practical insights; and the member for Toronto—Danforth for her really pointed questions.
I also want to recognize the vice-chair, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, for his really helpful steering of the committee; the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, who asked very pointed questions from his police background; as well as the member for Yellowhead, who also asked very pointed questions due to his police background; and the member for Beloeil—Chambly, who was reasonable and helpful throughout the entire committee process. It is a real example of how, when committees work together, they will succeed and provide very helpful insight.
Finally, I want to draw members' attention to the first recommendation of the committee, which states, “The Committee recommends that, in the next Parliament, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security establish a sub-committee dedicated to studying the public safety and national security aspects of cybersecurity, with potential areas of inquiry including international approaches to critical infrastructure protection, impact of emerging technologies, and cyber supply chain security.” One of the things we really learned out of this study was that this field is moving so fast that the Parliament of Canada needs to stay on top of cybersecurity in all of its manifestations.
It has been a great honour for me to have chaired that committee and I would like to think the success of the committee is entirely due to the co-operation among the members. I look forward to the government's response tabled pursuant to Standing Order 109.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Jim Carr Profile
2018-09-17 12:01 [p.21369]
moved that Bill C-79, an act to implement the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is with enthusiasm and optimism that I rise in the House today to speak about our government's plan to diversify Canada's trade. Specifically, I will speak about Bill C-79, the legislation before members today to implement the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, otherwise known as the CPTPP.
This is the first government bill to be debated in the fall sitting. That is a statement in itself and I intend to speak to that too. It reflects the importance we attach to swift ratification of the new CPTPP so that our farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and workers from across the country can get down to the business of tapping new markets and bringing brand Canada to more corners of the world.
There has never been a better time for Canadians to diversify. As a trading nation we need to add to our list of customers and to the roster of our innovative, hard-working, entrepreneurial and ambitious sellers.
Today I am meeting with my counterpart from the United Kingdom. In the last two weeks I was in Israel, Thailand and Singapore. After the United States withdrew, Canada took the lead in March 2017, relaunching stalled talks for the old TPP and then working tirelessly to secure a deal that reflected not just the ambitions of the few but the dreams of the many.
This effort was in large part about driving real changes for the middle class who have not always seen their interests reflected in agreements. We changed the terms of trade protecting our intellectual property, our unique culture and we expanded access to a market of 500 million consumers covering 13% of global GDP.
The new CPTPP was renegotiated with a view to looking beyond the few current large exporters to those unaccustomed or ready for new markets, because while competition is a very healthy thing, if workers feel that their quality work going out the front door is undermined by weaker standards of work coming through the back door, support for trade suffers.
Bill C-79 is of critical importance to the Canadian economy. It is vital particularly for our agricultural sectors that are now, even as I speak, reaping the harvests that will soon be shipped to new markets. As we have said from the outset, Canada will be among the first six countries to ratify as long as the House and the other place recognize the opportunity this deal brings to countless hard-working Canadians and move swiftly to pass the bill.
Bill C-79 brings forward all legislative instruments required to ratify and implement the agreement. Other regulatory changes will also be required for Canada to ratify and that regulatory process will follow royal assent of the bill. This is not just a new trade agreement for Canada. This is a signal to the world that trade matters, that rules matter and we will not be drawn into the world of protectionism. This bill is a statement that we will seek out every opportunity and negotiate terms that benefit the middle class and those working hard to join it.
The bill also speaks directly to Canada's diversification imperative. As a middle power, we cannot afford the status quo and we cannot afford to wait for the world to come to us. Our competitiveness depends on opening more markets and making those markets more accessible particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.
On Friday we will celebrate another landmark trade agreement secured under this government, the first anniversary of the trade agreement with Europe, CETA. In just one year, business is booming. Last week we learned container traffic at the port of Montreal is already up year on year 20%. That is 20% more traffic in the made-in-Canada goods Canadians produce each and every day.
In addition to trans-Atlantic trade, we are expanding preferential access across our hemisphere moving forward on a free trade agreement our government initiated with Mercosur, including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and enhanced membership with the Pacific alliance, including Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia. With the new CPTPP, we extend our reach to the Pacific with an eye to the long term. We are, after all, a Pacific nation.
That is why reorienting and renewing what is now the CPTPP is so critical for us. Asia matters to Canada. Asia is home to the world's fastest-growing middle class. By 2030, nearly two-thirds of the world's middle class, estimated to be 3.5 billion people, will call Asia home. The CPTPP is a cornerstone for Canada's greater engagement with Asia-Pacific countries and solidly anchors Canada's place in the Asian market.
There are 10 new markets on offer: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. That is a trading bloc representing close to 500 million people and 13.5% of global GDP.
Under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, consumers will benefit from lower prices and greater selection. Workers will also benefit from the creation of more good-quality jobs in all export sectors across Canada.
The CPTPP translates to benefits for farmers and growers, fisher men and women, lumber jacks and jills, Bay Street and Main Street, miners and chemists, manufacturers and service providers. The CPTPP will also level the playing field for Canadian exporters staying even with competitors that already have preferential access to countries like Japan, the world's third largest economy. Last year our bilateral trade with Japan reached $29 billion; just imagine next year. The opportunities are enormous.
For example, the quality and beauty of Canadian wood is world renowned. In Japan, indeed throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the environmental and structural benefits of wooden construction are being embraced, including plans for a 1,048-foot wooden skyscraper. The home for the world's current tallest wooden building is here in Canada, a residential structure at the University of British Columbia. Incidentally, as Canada's minister of natural resources, I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon on that project.
With the advent of CPTPP, market opportunities for Canada's forest products sector are inviting and impressive. Canadian high-tech companies like OpenText have been battling and succeeding in the ultra-competitive Asian markets for decades. The IP protections secured in the CPTPP will protect the investments these companies have made in Canada and allow them to compete and win in Asia.
We consulted extensively with Canadians for more than two years to get the agreement right. We fought hard on their behalf to make important changes, suspensions to certain articles or side letters with the full force of international law in areas such as intellectual property, investor-state dispute settlement, culture and autos.
The CPTPP also includes many other significant achievements. For example, financial service providers will benefit from enhanced investment protection and preferential access, including in Malaysia and Vietnam where commitments go far beyond what either country has offered in any FTA.
Through the government procurement chapter, Canadian businesses will be able to access open and fair procurement in all CPTPP markets. CPTPP parties will eliminate tariffs on over 95% of tariff lines, covering 99% of current Canadian exports to CPTPP markets, with the vast majority to be eliminated immediately upon entry into force of this agreement.
The CPTPP also addresses non-tariff measures that we know are prevalent and which create business uncertainty for our exporters. That includes the auto sector where we know non-tariff barriers have been a constant irritant. In addition, the chapter on state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies provides for rules to help ensure that state-owned enterprises operate on a commercial basis and in a non-discriminatory manner when making purchases and sales.
We did not stop there. The CPTPP also includes dedicated chapters on labour, the environment, small and medium-sized enterprises, transparency and anti-corruption. The labour chapter includes binding commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protection for fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association, collective bargaining and the elimination of child labour and forced labour. When we relaunched stalled talks, these chapters were on ice. Now, both the labour and environment chapters are fully enforceable through the agreement's dispute settlement mechanism.
We reaffirmed our right to regulate in the public interest. We promoted labour rights, environmental protection, and conservation. We preserved cultural identity and diversity. We promoted corporate social responsibility, gender equality and indigenous rights. Canada is now poised to be the only G7 country with free trade agreements with all of the other G7 countries.
To realize that remarkable value proposition, diversification into new markets must be a national project to which every farmer, rancher, fisher, manufacturer, entrepreneur, business owner and innovator commits their efforts.
I want to be very clear: diversification is a national priority. Diversification must be a project to which every farmer, rancher, fisher, manufacturer, entrepreneur, business owner, and innovator commits their efforts.
We need every Canadian with ambitions to grow their business to think global. We have countless people-to-people ties to almost every country on earth. These are the bridges over which more trade can flow.
We also need to support our youth in gaining global experience for their future career prospects, and securing Canada's place in the global economy. We will not stop until Canada is the epicentre of global trade and the world's most connected, stable, predictable, innovative and in-demand market on earth. We are focused on providing the middle class with unparalleled access to sell east across the Atlantic, south across our hemisphere, and west across the entire Pacific basin.
My first trip as the Minister of International Trade Diversification outside of North America was to Thailand and Singapore. In Singapore, I pushed for an acceleration of talks toward a possible free trade agreement, with the ASEAN nations adding some of the largest and fastest-growing countries to our ever-expanding piece of the Pacific pie.
While we must open opportunities for all Canadians, we must also focus on areas where Canada has a clear global competitive advantage. Our most innovative business sectors have the greatest export potential. This is a message that is coming through loud and clear through the work of the superclusters and economic strategy tables for advanced manufacturing, agri-food, health and bio-sciences, clean technology, digital industries, and resources of the future. We are committed to continuing this work with industry partners to turn high-growth Canadian companies into global successes. We are a government that invests in its ideas.
We recently announced $50 million to support diversification efforts and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. We need to link our small and medium-sized businesses to global supply chains and to multinationals and global infrastructure projects the world over. More global companies should see Canada as critical and integral to their supply chain, and our SMEs need access to international markets to scale-up.
Exports and imports account for 60% of Canada's GDP. This government knows that our competitiveness depends on making real investments in our future. The previous government talked a good game but focused only on the detail that worked for the top 1%. They scaled back the programs available through our trade commissioner service so it could only serve the privileged few, the ones largely operating overseas. We will reverse that trend and get our sales numbers way up.
Canada will also carry the mantle of defender of the global rules-based order. Canada played a key role in building the multilateral trading system of the last century and we will not see it eroded. We will defend it and we will reform it. Our convening power and commitment to the rules-based order is an essential strength and we will put it to work for more Canadians. That is why next month I will host a WTO reform summit in Ottawa.
Canada is the home of Marconi's Signal Hill and Bell Northern Research, precursors to our current successes in high tech. We were the birthplace of the Ski-Doo and the regional jet; the home of canola, an agri-innovation that helps feed the world; and Cirque du Soleil, which helps feed the soul.
We are the home of international gaming studios and the burgeoning hub of artificial intelligence. We are the home of the Canadarm and CANDU, the Toronto International Film Festival and Canada Goose. There is nothing like brand Canada. We are naturally global, but we have not always been actively global. The CPTPP is a call to action.
I urge all members in this House and the other place to move swiftly on this bill. Now is our time.
I urge all members in the House and the other place to move swiftly on this bill. Now is our time.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Karen Ludwig Profile
2018-09-17 17:40 [p.21442]
Mr. Speaker, we spent over a year doing consultations regarding the CPTPP. One of the things we heard from so many businesses was how important this type of agreement is for them in terms of diversification and not putting all of our eggs in one basket.
The chapter on labour mobility was a really important one and we heard from so many people who testified before the committee across the country. I am wondering if the member opposite, one, supports trade in general for a fair and just agreement and, two, can comment on the importance of labour mobility, so that if someone is working in the finance sector in Canada, that person can also go to a subsidiary or partner in the U.S. for short stays in terms of temporary work, to do management practices there.
View Guy Caron Profile
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to this motion.
I can say that we will be voting in favour of this motion even though we disagree with the wording, especially in the preamble and the amended preamble. I think we can have a discussion to determine whether this is a high level of taxation or not. We think it is not that high in comparison to what we see in other OECD countries.
As far as the last part of the motion is concerned, we agree that health and dental plans should not be taxed—at least not before the government presents a real context for the comprehensive analysis of the tax system that it is supposedly conducting.
It is very important to look at the tax system as a whole. I will quote from John Ivison of the National Post, who, after learning that the government was contemplating taxing health and dental benefits, wrote on December 2, “Dan Lauzon, a spokesman for [the] Finance Minister...said no decisions have been taken and that any moves would not be made in isolation.” However, what he wrote next was actually more interesting. It states, “The employee-sponsored health care tax exemption is being scrutinized as part of a sweeping review of 150 tax credits worth about $100 billion a year in foregone federal revenue.”
The government has said the tax system does not work. We agree. It has said that the tax system needs to be reviewed. We agree. However, reviewing tax expenditures, tax exemptions, tax deductions, and tax credits is not a review of the tax system. What the government is doing is once again raising the expectations of the population that it will address the real problem, the problem of fairness and equity in the tax system. People do not feel that it is a fair system. They do not feel that everyone is treated equally. By examining the whole range of tax credits and tax deductions, the government is saying that it has done its part and that we have a brand new tax system in this country. This is not the first time a government has taken us in that direction.
The Carter commission conducted the last real review of the existing tax system in the 1960s. I will not get into the details of that commission because many people have already done so. The review was very comprehensive and took a good five years.
The report was one of the most well-received reports in the entire world. Serious work was done to determine how the tax system could be adapted to the reality of the day. It is important to remember that income tax has been around since 1917. In 1960 or 1965, we still had a system that was designed during the Second World War. This was serious work. It was commissioned by John Diefenbaker, the Progressive Conservative prime minister at the time, and continued by Liberal minister Lester B. Pearson.
Prime minister Trudeau was the one who got it across the finish line. He took all of the work that was done and condensed it into a handful of recommendations, which were accepted. The very essence of the report, which was that every dollar of income should be taxed the same, got swept under the rug. In the end, a few changes were made, but we ended up with a system that falls somewhat short of the objectives originally set out for this exhaustive study.
I am reminding members of this little bit of history because we are now witnessing a similar attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians. The government is telling Canadians that it understands them and that it will do what it takes to make the system fairer.
However, the proposal to tax private health and dental benefits is a trial balloon. It is not meant to make the system fairer. Rather, it is a way for the government to take money out of one pocket while trying to convince taxpayers that it is putting money in the other.
It is a very important question because it is going to be a defining question for the following years not only for this government but for any government in this country.
The last comprehensive review of the tax system took place back in the 1960s. There have not been any significant changes since, except maybe some brought by the finance minister back in the 1980s, Michael Wilson, who made some changes that did not, in our view, bring any more equity or fairness.
In terms of a comprehensive tax review, right now there are 3,000 pages of complex, unintelligible legal text, which even tax experts, who spend their lives studying this, cannot understand. We are facing a situation, a system, that is actually counterproductive for our economy. It is counterproductive for our level of economic growth. It is counterproductive for our productivity.
I am not the only one saying this. Mainstream economists are saying that the complexity of our tax system gives anyone, any tax expert, the ability to actually build an industry based on finding loopholes, which makes the system less and less equitable, less and less fair, and it is actually a drain on our economy. One of the top priorities of any government at this time should be really simplifying the tax system.
Simplifying the tax system does not mean just bringing forth some gimmicks, like a single-tax rate, or a flat tax, as it is called. We should not just be saying that we will be revising those tax credits and will try to find some savings, savings meaning expenditures lost to the pockets of the taxpayer, the citizen. That is not it. That is smoke and mirrors.
In terms of the commitments made during the last election, the Liberals are showing that they are masters of the smoke-and-mirror strategy.
We saw this yesterday, in the much-discussed announcement about electoral reform, a lofty promise. They went after NDP and Liberal voters by promising electoral reform that would make every vote count. Today, a year and a half later, voters know that they were duped by this government.
Let us take a look at the Liberals' promises, especially those concerning first nations. This government said that it would cease the previous government's legal actions appealing rulings in favour of indigenous children and various first nations communities. These rulings force the government to honour its traditional commitments towards first nations.
My colleagues from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, Timmins—James Bay, and my colleague from northern Saskatchewan, whose riding has a very long name, are doing an absolutely incredible job of ensuring that this government honours its promises made to first nations, which they believed.
All the broken promises and unfulfilled commitments are beginning to pile up. Bill C-51 is another example. The government was going to change it, abolish it, or transform it, but nothing is being done.
Nothing is being done. Time and time again, the Liberal government campaigned on real change, but compared to the previous Conservative government, its real change involves keeping the decisions and attitude of the previous government.
The Liberals are saying that they are doing it in a progressive fashion. They are keeping the Conservative target for climate change, but those are progressive targets now. They are keeping the agreement with the European Union, but now it is a progressive agreement. Everything the Conservatives did, they are keeping, and they call it progressive. That is what real change means for the current government.
Now we are facing a situation where the Liberals have promised to simplify the tax system and make it fairer. They were right to make that promise and we are making it also.
Why? It is because the system is actually leaking like a sieve, because the system is actually so complex that, as I said, there is a whole industry built on creating tax loopholes and trying to take advantage of any poor writing in one of the 3,000 pages of the Income Tax Act.
We also know that the system is so complex that the compliance costs for businesses and for citizens are becoming higher and higher. They are increasing. It is becoming more and more costly just to face the obligation as citizens, as people of this country, to actually contribute to the well-being of this country. We have to do it, and it is a good thing that we do it, but we are asking people to actually pay more and more, because the system is more and more difficult to understand.
Even worse is that the complexity of the system is actually increasing. One of the main problems we have for our revenue situation is the problem of tax havens and tax evasion. Because of that industry that actually tries to find loopholes, some of them cross the line, where a loophole is no longer a legal loophole but becomes a mechanism, a strategy, for tax evasion.
It is extremely difficult for the Canada Revenue Agency, which actually I have been very hard on, and I will continue to be very demanding. They do not have the proper resources to actually ensure compliance with the very complex legislation.
Those are all problems that we are now aware of. They are problems that we need to deal with and which require a structured response from the government. It was proposed to the Standing Committee on Finance that it carry out an in-depth study of the tax system. That is what the motion says. It does not provide any details or direction. It does not give the Standing Committee on Finance a mandate. Work will begin next Wednesday. What are we going to do? We will listen to various witnesses, including accountants, as well as representatives, I am sure, of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and other organizations. I already know what they will say. They will say that the system is too complex, that it has to be changed and simplified.
We will spend three, four, five, or six meetings getting all those witnesses, who will be saying the same things. How do I know they will be saying the same things? It is because I have heard them in the past saying those things. We would be wasting our time in the finance committee, which might be the intention of the motion, actually. We know that the finance department, and we know that from the Minister of Finance's spokesperson, is actually working right now on the same study. However, what they are claiming is a comprehensive tax review is nothing but a review of tax expenditures.
How many pages do tax expenditures take in the whole Income Tax Act? It is maybe a few dozen out of 3,000 pages. We have a system right now that is so complex, as I said, that nobody can really claim to master it all.
I think if the government really had guts and really had the intention of making sure that its commitment to simplify the tax system would be right, it would actually go many steps further. It might actually go, maybe not toward a royal commission, like the Carter commission, back in the sixties, but perhaps toward a blue ribbon commission that hired experts from various fields, including labour, business, and academia, and gave them the task of reviewing the system, because I have very limited faith in the finance department doing it.
I have very limited faith, not because I do not like the people who are part of it but because of the complexity of the task ahead of us, that the finance committee can actually do this work, because we do not have time to do it. We do not have the resources to do it, and we do not have the expertise to do it.
If the government was really serious, and it was not smoke and mirrors and was not just an empty promise that the Liberals will do little about, but claim they have respected, or simply break, because that is what we have witnessed since the government took power, they would look at the possibility of creating that blue ribbon commission, with members who are respected.
They might be divergent, in terms of belief or in terms of political leanings, but they will actually have the same objective, the same view, the same vision, which is to actually adapt an antiquated system, a system that was built in the mid-20th century, before computers, before the mobility of capital, and before globalization, and do what Carter did back in the sixties and adapt it for our times.
I dare the government to actually take that step. I dare the government to actually make us believe that it was not, once again, an empty promise to make Canadians feel comfortable about it but that it understands that we know the system is not fair.
Canadians have a decreasing trust toward the Canadian tax system. They do not believe it is fair anymore. They do not believe everyone is paying their fair share. Nobody likes paying taxes. We can all agree on this. It is always something difficult to accept. People will accept it if they know that their tax dollars are actually well spent, that they are spent for the common good, and that they are spent for the common projects we have in this country.
People will also accept it if they know that everybody is paying their fair share. When we talk to Canadians, one of the first things they say is that they feel they are being had, that there are two systems: one for the rich and one for them. The system for the rich, for the most affluent, is for those who can afford to pay some firms to tell them how to invest their money in the Bahamas, in Switzerland, in Luxembourg or in the Isle of Man, as we have seen, while they are required to pay.
Here is another example to illustrate how unfair the system is. Those people who hide their money away on the Isle of Man, in the Bahamas or elsewhere, knowing full well that they are hiding income from the taxman—if they get caught, they are told that it is no big deal, that they can simply return the money to Canada and pay the taxes that are owed and all will be forgiven. However, if a taxpayer who does not have the means to do that gets caught or even makes a technical mistake, it is a sure bet that the Canada Revenue Agency will not stop until that taxpayer has paid what he or she owes, in addition to interest and penalties.
We can therefore forgive taxpayers and Canadian citizens for thinking that there is a system for one class of people and another system for them.
The thing is that we tried to actually bring up this topic in the finance committee. We, the NDP. We did it in the past too with other NDP members of the committee. We are the ones who actually bring, constantly, motions to study the tax system and tax havens. The last was on the scheme involving KPMG and the Isle of Man.
The first meetings went fairly well, and I will say that all members were really into it. By the fourth meeting, basically all questions, except maybe from this side, were mainly softballs. That does not really help to increase the faith of Canadians in the system and the ability of this House to tackle this very important topic.
In brief, we need to remember that the issue currently being debated is one that the government itself brought forward, that is, the prospect of taxing benefits, such as health insurance and dental insurance, provided by employers. The justification for this was the need to conduct a systematic and thorough review of the tax system. When the pressure became too much, the Liberals rejected the idea. It was a trial balloon.
However, a systematic review of the tax system remains extremely important. It was promised by the government. What I am trying to say is that I am very afraid that this is just another promise like the one about electoral reform and all the others meant to persuade Canadians that the Liberal Party listens to their wants and needs. In the end, these promises were only meant to get people to vote for them so they could change sides and then manage expectations.
That is why I am hoping for real action from the government, either on the Standing Committee on Finance or through the department.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to all of the others and wish you a Merry Christmas and to thank you for enlightening us every day that we spend with you. I would also like to thank my amazing colleagues on this momentous day.
I think that the people who watch this debate will understand why this is so important on the last sitting day of the House before Christmas. We are doing something special for Canadians, and something they will remember.
My speech this afternoon might interest all parliamentarians because it is a speech in favour of the middle class, Canadian families, and people in every one of Canada's ridings who sent us here to Ottawa.
I am very pleased to be here to talk about Bill C-29, budget implementation act, 2016, No. 2. Before going over the many major benefits of this bill for Canadians across the country, I would just like to reiterate the government's commitment to strengthening the current protection system for consumers of financial products and services. We have talked about this at length and in this speech I want to clarify the government's position.
Part of our commitment is to ensure that there is a solid, effective, and consistent system in Canada that guarantees the highest protection standards for all consumers of financial services in the country, regardless of where they live in Canada and regardless of the bank they do business with.
As a member from Quebec, I would like to commend the extraordinary work of the 40 Liberal members of the government, who do a great job of championing Quebeckers and their position on this important issue. I thank them for that. They have done the work their constituents sent them here to Ottawa to do. They greatly contributed to ensuring that we consider every point of view that was expressed in this important file. I sincerely thank my colleagues.
As everyone knows, we have listened to our colleagues from Quebec and to Quebeckers, who told us how important it is for them to have a high level of protection in the banking sector, in Quebec and across the country. We have listened to the Quebeckers who sent us here, to the House. That is why the leader of the Senate, the hon. Senator Harder, has tabled an amendment that will remove from the bill the current provisions for the banking sector, namely the consumer protection measures, so that we can ask the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the FCAC, to ensure that the federal protection system is as solid as any provincial protection system. That way we can see to it that our objective, the one we have had since the beginning, of having the highest overall level of protection for Canadians all over the country, can absolutely be achieved in a way that will meet our goals and ensure that Canadian consumers are protected.
What has driven us from the beginning is that, thanks to the work of all my colleagues, we succeed in putting in place the best possible system, in order to defend the higher interest of consumers.
Canadians deserve to have access to a consistent national banking system that is easy to understand, a banking system that has high consumer protection standards, is designed to meet the needs of consumers of financial products and services, and is applied in the same way regardless of where consumers may live.
We remain strongly committed to organizing and strengthening consumer protection measures, making access to basic banking services easier, and improving the rules surrounding current business practices governing the way that banks deal with their customers.
We must not forget the creation of new obligations for the banks to strengthen disclosure provisions, improve complaint processing, and reinforce governance and organizational accountability for consumer protection.
Our objective is simple. It is to make the consumer protection system easier to understand and to prevent consumers from having to consult several sets of rules that apply to the same financial products and services, whether they are doing business in person or online.
We want to increase the obligations imposed on banks and hold them accountable for improving outcomes for consumers and for treating those consumers fairly all across the country.
That is why we will be working together with stakeholders and the provinces to ensure that the framework is strengthened so as to meet the highest standards, as was our initial objective, and we are going to achieve this with the sole objective of protecting consumers all over the country.
Under the Constitution, the banks lie within federal jurisdiction, and that is how it has been in this country for 150 years. This responsibility includes that of ensuring that the banks are solid and that of establishing standards governing their operation to ensure they meet the needs of Canadians, of course.
To that end, we have to oversee the establishment of a rigorous system for protecting consumers of financial products and services that is applicable in the same way throughout the country. I know that this is an issue that the House fully understands. The proposed improvements would make it possible to employ a broader spectrum of personal identification documents to open an account or cash Government of Canada cheques, and this is one of the measures that affect the people who sent us here, to Ottawa.
I can say that this measure is going to benefit people in the regions north of my riding, including certain indigenous communities, because they are having difficulty accessing banking services and cashing federal government cheques. This system will give them easier access to certain banking services.
The rules we are introducing also add a new prohibition on imposing undue pressure on consumers, and apply cancellation periods to a wider range of products and services.
Summary information boxes would be mandatory for a larger number of banking products and services, and accountability would be improved, notably thanks to requirements for banks to report on measures taken to meet the challenges faced by the most vulnerable Canadians.
Improvements would also strengthen the current complaint management requirements, so as to require banks and external complaint processing bodies to report on the number and nature of complaints received. All of these measures would guarantee that the banks are answerable for their actions.
We know that consumers are better protected when rules and rights are clearly laid out for all stakeholders. Similarly, it is easier to ensure that banks are accountable when the rules to be followed are clear and exhaustive, when they are national in application and when compliance is ensured by a designated federal regulatory agency such as the FCAC.
Our government has promised to protect the interests of middle-class Canadians and those of persons working hard to join the middle class, and we will continue to do so, particularly with regard to the protection of consumers of financial products and services.
I would also like to note how the amended budget implementation act, 2016, No. 2 would continue to make a very substantial contribution to the achievement of our objective of growing the economy, to the benefit of families, workers, and the most vulnerable members of our society.
The strengthening of the middle class and the establishment of conditions conducive to sustainable economic growth are the main priorities of our government. Tax fairness is an important part of our commitments in this regard, as is the adoption of a tax system that functions as planned and contributes to fostering an economy that works for the entire population.
As there are only a few moments left in this momentous day, I invite all members to reflect about who sent them to Ottawa, whether they are young, old, workers, families, or the people working in their riding, because these people all sent us here with a mission, and that is to properly represent their interests.
Members will find in C-29, budget implementation act, 2016, No. 2, measures that will help the people who sent us to Ottawa. All members should vote for this bill as they will be voting to support the people who sent them here.
This is a momentous day for Canada, and everyone will remember the day when we rose to work for Canadians.
View Raj Grewal Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Raj Grewal Profile
2016-11-01 10:19 [p.6378]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-29, an act to amend certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016.
I was elected to the House just over a year ago with all of my colleagues with the purpose of speaking up and advocating for the priorities of our local constituents. For me, they happen to be the wonderful people of Brampton East. My constituents are varied, ranging from young families trying to join or stay in the middle class to students and young Canadians entering the workforce, parents whose kids are growing up and leaving home, people planning for retirement, and seniors who too often worry about their finances.
In the last year we have taken monumental steps toward real change for all of these groups. We have cut taxes for close to nine million Canadians, introduced the Canada child benefit, increased student grants for low and middle-income families, and increased monthly payments for seniors. We are ensuring that Canadians today and tomorrow will be able to live comfortably and confidently. We need to build on this momentum.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, I have had the opportunity to go through two pre-budget consultations. The first was in February, which gathered 92 witnesses in Ottawa, whom we heard from for over four days. These witnesses included individuals, NGOs, first nations advocates, and other valued groups. We also received 172 submissions online from individuals and groups. The responses we received varied in topic. The committee concluded its work with a report that offered 56 recommendations, many of which were included in the budget and this second implementation act.
We were elected one year ago on an ambitious new plan for a strong middle class and promised that we would do all that we could to help every Canadian succeed. Budget 2016 is an important part of fulfilling that promise. It offers immediate help to those who need it and it lays out the groundwork for sustained and inclusive economic growth that will benefit Canada's middle class and those working hard to join it.
Over the summer I knocked on doors every Tuesday throughout August with a team of volunteers. This allowed me to check in with the wonderful residents of Brampton East about their priorities for their families, their community, and future generations. This legislation would help those very same people we meet each day at the door, at our office, and at local events.
This second budget implementation act proposes items that would complete the implementation of outstanding measures from the Government of Canada's first budget, “Growing the Middle Class”. This legislation contains significant changes for seniors, improvements to protect Canadian consumers, tax fairness for Canadians, and last but not least, help for low and middle-income families with children.
The Canadian Association of Retired Persons estimates that roughly 600,000 seniors are living in poverty in Canada. This is far too many. Canadians would be shocked by that number. These seniors are our parents, our neighbours, our relatives, and our friends. For this reason, the government has made significant new investments to support seniors in their retirement years. Increased benefits will ensure that Canadian seniors have a dignified, comfortable, and secure retirement.
In Bill C-29 we are ensuring that Canadians would be protected financially by strengthening and modernizing the financial consumer protection framework in our country. Canadian families weathered the 2008 financial crisis fairly well because of our strong financial sector. We will build on this strength by ensuring that our financial structure is able to adapt to new trends, incorporate emerging financial innovations and technologies, and challenge existing business models, and more.
The bill would also modernize the financial consumer protection framework by clarifying and enhancing consumer protection. It would do so through amendments to the Bank Act to enhance consumer protection in the areas of access to banking services, business practices, disclosures, complaints handling, as well as corporate governance and accountability.
Of great importance to me is that this legislation is about fairness, one of Canada's fundamental values.
The bill ensures that the government has a plan to combat international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance through new measures, while building on efforts that are currently being made both here in Canada and abroad. This work will help protect all Canadians and ensure that everyone pays their fair share. Canada has the lowest debt to GDP ratio of any G7 country and interest rates are at historic lows. Now is the ideal time for Canada to invest in its future.
Last but not least, the bill ensures that Canadian families will have a little more help with the high cost of raising children through the new Canada child benefit. Simpler, tax-free, and more generous than the existing federal child benefits it will replace, the Canada child benefit will give nine out of 10 Canadian families higher monthly payments and will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. This benefit will be indexed starting in 2020. We listened to the passionate advocates who said that the CCB must be indexed to inflation. As a result, supporting this budget implementation bill will help ensure that the Canada child benefit will be indexed to inflation so that families can count on the extra assistance, not just today but for years to come.
To conclude, the bill continues to deliver on this government's plan to ensure that Canadians are well served and that more Canadians will be able to join the middle class. With these investments and inspired by a sense of fairness, we are ensuring that Canada's best days lie ahead. I look forward to supporting the bill and I urge all my hon. colleagues to do the same.
View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2016-11-01 10:47 [p.6381]
Madam Speaker, today I am speaking about C-29, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016, and other measures.
We are putting into action our promise to Canadians to help build a stronger and more prosperous middle class. This is what we have done over the past year, and it is what we will continue to do, not only over the next year but for the long term.
The government has an ambitious plan to better the middle class, and with that, the entire country. We have received support around the world on the steps we have taken, from the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the OECD, and the IMF managing director, Ms. Lagarde, who cites Canada as a role model for its ability to mobilize all possible levers to generate growth.
This is possible because our government has taken measure of the situation by listening to Canadians in tough economic times. We have not hesitated to take action either. Since July 1, Canadians families can receive up to $6,400 per year for a child under six, and $5,400 per year for a child aged six to 17. Nine out of 10 families have seen their benefits increase by $2,300, on average.
That is why I am proud to return to Surrey and speak with my friends, neighbours, and colleagues about how budget 2016 will positively affect their lives. Surrey Centre is home to young families who are keen on making their homes and lives in Surrey, and as a national government we have a duty and responsibility to support them when and where we can. The new Canada child benefit is our government's response to this. We are putting forward a more generous, simpler, and income-tested benefit that benefits more Canadian families than ever before.
It is with a vision to the long term for our country that this second budget implementation bill would amend the Old Age Security Act. It would restore to 65 the age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. In this way, Canadians would have thousands of dollars more when they retire at the age of 65. Better yet, the 2016 budget would increase the amount to the guaranteed income supplement, which targets the most vulnerable seniors, providing up to $947 more per year.
With this second budget 2016 implementation bill before us today, we are delivering on the promise, set out in budget 2016, to support senior couples who must live apart for reasons beyond their control. If one member is located in a long-term care centre and find themselves suddenly faced with new and unexpected expenses, we are putting forward a proposal that ensures that they receive high benefits, based on the individual incomes of each individual. Again, the government is true to its promise of fairness to seniors and allowing them to retire with the dignity that they so deserve.
Our plan stimulates growth by giving more financial leeway to those who need it: middle-class families and seniors. Canadians also need to feel supported and protected as consumers. The federal government is showing leadership with the bill, as it would strengthen the framework that protects consumers who use financial products and services. We want to ensure that Canada's financial sector is capable of adapting to an aging population in an age of globalization, while still innovating and using the emerging technologies that challenge existing business models.
These new measures would include: first, improving access to basic banking services; second, imposing limits with respect to certain commercial practices; and third, finally improving disclosure of information to help consumers make better and more informed decisions.
Canadians also expect that financial institutions in this country have the means and resources to ensure that the integrity of our tax system is maintained. It is to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes, and when I say everyone, I also include multinationals that operate in many jurisdictions. That is why our government is committing to working with our G20 partners to develop and implement an international plan to fight tax evasion and tax avoidance. It is a plan that will enhance our current measures and adopt new ones.
One of the key instruments behind our government's plan on cracking down on tax evasion is to help support the G20 and OECD declarations on tax evasion. This is an instrument that will force major companies to report on their activities in each jurisdiction in which they operate as well as the nature of these activities. This will also allow Revenue Canada to have a global view of these large multinational corporations. This is the first in the fight on tax evasion.
I should also add that the 2016 budget provides another important measure to counter tax evasion, allowing Canada to be part of the global standard for the automatic exchange of information, which was developed by the OECD. When this law is passed and these new measures are applied, Canadian financial institutions can and will identify accounts held by non-residents and will have to report these accounts to Revenue Canada.
Meanwhile, foreign financial institutions will collect more information on accounts held by foreigners, including Canadians. There are more than 100 countries and jurisdictions, including the Cook Islands, which just last week became the 106th jurisdiction to join the most powerful international instrument against offshore tax evasion and avoidance.
This government is putting forward a plan that is based on fairness. It would provide Canadians with an optimistic view of the future. We are working to ensure that Canada continues to move forward and lead the international community, particularly with the implementation of our bold economic policies that put a focus on growing the middle class to ensure the prosperity of our country.
I encourage all members to vote for the bill.
View Alexander Nuttall Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to stand today and speak to the opposition day motion tabled by the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola regarding the creation of free trade between provinces across Canada.
I believe we are at a historic crossroads for the Canadian economy, one that can either tear down barriers and create new business and economic unions in Canada, or one that will forever destine our country to hamper economic growth in Canada by making it easier for Canadian companies to transact and partner with foreign entities than it is to partner with fellow Canadian companies.
Obviously this debate is being spurred on and highlighted by the recent decision in New Brunswick, known as the Comeau decision. Mr. Comeau was prosecuted for seeking to move purchased goods from one province to another. This single decision has propelled the case for economic growth in Canada by reducing provincial trade barriers and tightening the economic union that stands as the foundation of our federation.
The interprovincial relationship that exists today is costing the Canadian economy upwards of $15 billion annually, and as many as 78,000 jobs would be created in British Columbia and Alberta, without even including the rest of the country, if these trade barriers were torn down.
Today there are many regulatory issues that exist between provincial borders, which act as barriers to expansion, barriers for business to create jobs, deliver goods, and use Canadian products that have been imagined in Canada, patented in Canada, made in Canada, but oftentimes not sold barrier free in Canada due to these trade barriers that exist.
These barriers need to be torn down in favour of uniformity across Canada to spur economic growth. Whether it is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the only uniformity that exists on the subject is that non-profit business organizations know how detrimental trade barriers are to our economy.
As we look back over the last few weeks with the Comeau decision behind us, we see there are so many areas that require internal Canadian co-operation, not just to create jobs or help Canadian businesses compete, but to build a stronger environment for Canadians to buy goods and services.
Perhaps one of the largest barriers that exists today is in the financial services industry, or banking industry. This is an industry that has a very large impact on the lives of Canadians with regard to the investment of savings by Canadians in this country and the professional regulations that govern those providing investment advice.
In this day and age, where there is a free flow of people throughout the country, and a free flow of personal financial resources throughout the country, why is there a difference in the professional designations, resources, and processes that are needed to provide that investment advice?
The Canadian banking industry is recognized as one of the strongest and most robust in the world, yet it is somewhat hampered by provincial borders that dictate differing regulations and rules. What is worse is that, every day that the inequity and non-uniform regulatory structure lives on, there are more and more barriers created that hurt the finances of everyday Canadians.
As we stand on the growing wave of the fourth industrial revolution and the emergence over the last few years of the new economy or sharing economy, our world is literally changing daily. This change is transpiring in many ways, throughout many sectors, and each of them has massive consequences for Canadians.
Not only are these innovations affecting Canadians, but because of the differing regulatory regimes in different provincial jurisdictions, Canadians are affected by them differently across the country. It is, therefore, very difficult for this Parliament to react appropriately to the innovations that are occurring, as each conversation with each provincial government is different.
In the case of the banking industry or financial services industry, the world is being turned upside down. Daily, new websites are being launched to match investors with possible investment opportunities. The opportunities are endless.
Startup businesses that have always lacked access to capital are suddenly finding vehicles to fund their businesses through the emergence of equity crowdfunding sites. Businesses like those that are members of Startup Canada depend on the emergence of this new, innovative, investor-business relationship.
Industries that have traditionally had very difficult times securing capital to expand or proceed with projects that create jobs for hard-working Canadians suddenly have new avenues to solicit funding to make these projects a reality.
Industries like mining are finally able to find resources that are not dependent on financial service providers that choose when to turn on and off the taps. When another capital crunch occurs, resulting in many businesses not having access to the investment needed to maintain their position or grow their business, suddenly they have an opportunity to succeed rather than just being told no by five big banks and having to give up. The ramifications of this technological advancement on our society are yet unmeasured and will become clearer over the coming years. However, one thing that does stand clear today is that freedom to choose investment products, with increased competition, will dramatically increase value for Canadian consumers and for Canadian citizens.
The problem is that there is not a uniform pan-Canadian approach to these technologies. Provincial securities commissions have developed an independent thinking on the amount an individual can invest. Yes, provincial regulators have developed a maximum that each individual can invest in a business as well as how much each of us can invest in total for any given year. Not only is the amount that an individual invests regulated, but so is the amount that a business can raise through equity crowdfunding. They regulate the amount of money a business can raise to fund the creation of new jobs for hard-working Canadian.
What is worse than the inhibition of investment in Canadian business and Canadian jobs by Canadian citizens is that the standards are not uniform. In Ontario, the standards are different from those in Quebec and those in western Canada. Not only do these barriers inhibit the expansion of business and creation of jobs, but they create a business environment that is not stable and steady across this country.
I have spoken to financial services, and indeed there are many other areas that have similar issues with regard to an unsteady investment environment. When a stable business environment does not exist, this becomes not just a barrier to trade but a barrier to external investment in our country. It becomes a barrier to expanding our economy internationally because the provision of products and provision of services are not uniformly accepted within our provincial jurisdictions. The security regulators today stand as a barrier to interprovincial trade, and we must continue to call on these barriers to be struck down and uniform regulations adopted to allow freer interprovincial trade.
I have reflected on the ramifications of this decision in our society. I have spoken at length on the inhibiting of business to expand and be successful. However, what we must remember is that, while it is business organizations, media outlets, think tanks, and others who are loudly calling for the reduction and elimination of trade barriers, it is average Canadians who would be the victors of progress in this area. Canadians would reap the benefits through more jobs, through more investment, through increased competition, through stronger provincial government ties, through increased buying power, and certainly through a stronger Canadian identity.
This must not be lost in this debate. It is Canadian citizens who are losing through the existence of interprovincial trade barriers, and Canadian citizens who would reap the incredible benefits if the current Liberal government chose to liberate our economy from undue, unfounded, and unfair trade barriers.
We joke about freeing the beer or freeing the wine or freeing this product or that one. What we are talking about is freeing Canadians from undue red tape and regulations. How can we tackle the new financial and digital products of the future if we cannot even see agricultural products, like beer, wine, or spirits, move freely across provincial boundaries without people taking their pound of flesh? That only increases barriers to growth and stifles innovation. That is why I am supporting this motion today. If we can free the beer, we are one step closer to a more effective and efficient economy.
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