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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:01 [p.7899]
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Pursuant to Standing Order 28(2)(b), it is my duty to lay upon the table the revised House of Commons calendar for the year 2023.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:03 [p.7899]
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It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to subsection 40(1) of the Privacy Act and subsection 25(1) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Privacy Commissioner's report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h), this report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
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View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
moved:
That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House, the motion for second reading of Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the establishment of a national council for reconciliation, be deemed adopted on division, deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:04 [p.7899]
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All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. It is agreed.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2022-09-29 10:04 [p.7899]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from constituents and others who are extremely concerned about the climate emergency. They note that the House carried a motion that we are in a climate emergency, in June 2018. Constituents note that this requires that we act as if we are in an emergency, something that has not happened yet.
The petitioners call on Canada to address the climate emergency by reducing emissions by at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030; making substantial contributions to assist the developing world or, as the petition refers to, countries in the global south; winding down the fossil fuel industry in such a way that ensures workers and communities are protected from any economic dislocation; providing good green jobs and an inclusive workforce; strengthening human rights and worker rights; expanding the social safety net to ensure decarbonized public housing and operational funding for affordable and accessible public transit nationwide; and paying for the transition by increasing taxes on the wealthiest and big oil and financing through a public national bank.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2022-09-29 10:05 [p.7899]
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Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:06 [p.7899]
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Is it agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2022-09-29 10:06 [p.7900]
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moved:
That, given that the cost of government is driving up inflation, making the price of goods Canadians buy and the interest they pay unaffordable, this House call on the government to commit to no new taxes on gas, groceries, home heating and pay cheques.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this very important and timely motion.
The government's economic policy can be summed up in four simple words: smaller paycheques, higher prices. The cost of government is driving up the cost of living. What do the Conservatives mean when we say that? If we look at why prices are rising, it is directly linked to the massive deficits the Prime Minister has been racking up pretty much since his first day in office. In its first year in power, the government made a conscious decision to spend more money than it received and plunge this country into those deficits. That weakened our economy before the pandemic.
It is fair to say that nobody could have seen the COVID pandemic coming, but it is also prudent for a government to predict that the unknown could occur. We might not have known that it was going to be this crisis, but governments must be prepared for any number of world or global events that it might be forced to respond to. Plunging the country into those deficits when times were good was therefore a foolish thing to do. Obviously, in retrospect, it was massively unhelpful, as our country had to deal with the COVID pandemic from a weakened position because of the government's policies.
I know so many of my colleagues want to speak to this very important motion, because it is affecting people's lives in such a real and practical way, so I will be splitting my time this morning to allow for more members to participate in this debate.
How did the government's deficits lead to that higher spending? Well, the government had to go out and borrow a bunch of money that it did not have, so it turned to the Bank of Canada, and the Bank of Canada made a decision to underwrite the government's deficit spending by purchasing government bonds, or IOUs. When a government has to borrow money, it writes a promise to pay the money back. That is called a bond. Normally, individuals or institutions can buy those bonds and expect to get paid the interest, and the government pays the bond back at the end of the term. However, the Bank of Canada did something a little different: It created new money right out of thin air to buy those government bonds.
It started creating five billion dollars in new currency every single week, starting in March 2020, to buy those government bonds. That new money, not backed up by new production, not backed up by economic growth and not backed up by any extra production of goods or services, washed through the system.
There could be big winners when the government creates money out of thin air. The big winners are the large financial institutions that get the money first, because they go out and gobble up assets. They buy property and commodities. They do that with the new money before everybody realizes there is a whole new influx of currency in the system. When everybody else gets that money when it eventually makes its way through the economy, prices start to go up. Those large financial institutions and wealthy investors can then sell those commodities and make money on the difference. That is why prices have gone up, and it is also why we have seen record profits at large financial institutions like the big banks.
That is why we say that the cost of government has driven up the cost of living. Literally, the government's extra spending, wasteful spending, forced the Bank of Canada to underwrite those deficits, creating that new money and causing prices to rise. That is the higher prices.
What about the smaller paycheques? Well, what the government is planning to do on January 1 is take a bigger bite out of Canadians' paycheques with an increase in paycheque taxes. Canadians are going to be forced to pay more right off the top on their paycheques, and the government is going to take part of the extra tax it collects, scoop it out of the EI fund and spend it.
We know this. We know the government's plan for the EI increase is simply going to be gobbled up by regular government spending. In fact, the extra premiums the government will collect will put the EI fund into a $10-billion surplus over the short term, and all of that will be taken by the Prime Minister to finance his pet spending projects.
Where is a big chunk of that extra money going? It is going to the interest on our national debt. The Prime Minister has racked up more debt than every single other prime minister combined, and the PBO report indicates that just the interest on our national debt, which Canadian taxpayers will be forced to pay, will double. Soon, the portion of our tax dollars that go to pay just the interest on that national debt will be higher than the amount that is spent on the Canadian Armed Forces. That is the scale we are talking about.
What is the result? Well, we have all heard the heart-wrenching stories in our ridings. We have all heard from the seniors who have had to delay their retirement and watch their life savings evaporate with inflation. Thirty year-olds are trapped in tiny, 400-square-foot apartments in our large cities or, even worse, are still living in their parents' basement because the price of homes has doubled under the Liberals. Single mothers are putting water in their children's milk so they can afford the 10% year-over-year increase in the price of groceries.
It is no wonder that people are worried. Most are lucky just to get by, but so many are falling far behind. There are people in this country who are just barely hanging on. These are our friends and neighbours, and we in the House are their servants. It is up to us to take real action to address this Liberal-caused inflation crisis.
The Conservatives are bringing forward very simple and practical solutions to help Canadians across the country. Today, the Conservatives are calling on the government to not make the situation worse. The Liberals have already done damage with higher prices. They do not need to shrink Canadians' paycheques, which is what this government is planning to do. Not only are they adding inflationary fuel on the fire with their continued plans to increase spending, but they are reducing Canadians' ability to cope with the government-caused inflation by shrinking those paycheques.
A new poll out today is just jaw-dropping: 90% of Canadians are tightening their household budgets due to inflation. Almost half, or 46%, say they are worse off now than they were at the same time last year when it comes to their own finances, which represents a 12-year high. Over half say that it is difficult to feed their household, and this number rises to seven in 10, or 68%, among those with household incomes below $50,000. Canadians cannot keep up.
As for grocery prices, I have five children and our grocery bill is big enough as it is with a few teenagers in the house. Those prices have skyrocketed, up over 10% and rising at the fastest pace in 40 years. With inflationary pressures at this rate, the government's supports do not even help the problem but contribute to it, as that extra spending is added to the amount of money the government needs to borrow, which is causing that vicious circle of higher inflation.
The average Canadian family now spends more of its income on taxes than it does on basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing combined. By comparison, 33.5% of the average family's income went to pay taxes in 1961. Thirty-three per cent of income in 1961 went to taxes and now that number is 43%, so more is spent on taxes than food, shelter and clothing combined. It is simply jaw-dropping.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives proposed that the government should cancel its plan to triple the carbon tax. The cost of everything is set to skyrocket as the government triples the amount that it charges Canadians on home heating and fuel, with all the effects that has on literally everything else that Canadians have to buy. Groceries, lumber and household items all go up when the government raises the carbon tax by 300%.
Today, we have another practical solution: The government should get its hands off Canadians' paycheques and let Canadians keep more of their hard-earned dollars. It has already robbed Canadians of the purchasing power that they are already earning, and their existing paycheques are already devalued because of the government's inflationary policies. It is never a good time to raise taxes, but the absolute worst time to raise taxes on Canadians' paycheques is when they are already struggling so hard to get by with day-to-day goods.
I hope every member of the House supports this common-sense, practical motion to stop the government's tax hikes on Canadians' paycheques.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:17 [p.7901]
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Before going to questions and comments, I just want to clarify with the hon. member that he said he was going to split his time.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2022-09-29 10:17 [p.7901]
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I still will.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:17 [p.7901]
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I thank the member. I wanted to make sure that was on the record.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2022-09-29 10:17 [p.7901]
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Mr. Speaker, it is truly amazing. The difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals is that the Liberal government recognizes the importance of developing and encouraging an economy that works for all Canadians. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have a policy one day and then will flip to another policy the next day.
If we think about it, let us talk about inflation. Canada, in comparison to other countries around the world, is doing exceptionally well. We can look at the U.S., look at Europe and look at England.
It does not mean we ignore the issue. In fact, we brought forward Bill C-30. Bill C-30 ensures that individuals will get an enhanced GST rebate. Originally the Conservatives said no. Now they have had a flip-flop and are supporting this Liberal initiative. The more time they give this government, the more they will find they like the policies. After all, they criticize the deficit, but they voted for billions and billions of those dollars that are going toward the deficit. They voted in favour of it.
Why should Canadians believe a party that does not understand basic economic principles? All one needs to do is to look at the silly idea of cryptocurrency that was being advanced by today's Conservative leader, where thousands of Canadians lost a great deal of money because of the lack of wisdom in his words.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2022-09-29 10:18 [p.7901]
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Mr. Speaker, there we have it. The Liberal message to Canadians is to thank their lucky stars it is not even worse. It is a bit like an arsonist saying to a homeowner, “Well, I know I set your house on fire, but look, your neighbour's house is even more on fire.”
I do not think a single Canadian is going to be reassured by that message. When it comes to what this party has supported, we have always supported tax relief for Canadians. We certainly did not vote in favour of the government's wasteful and corrupt spending, such as when it sent $1 billion to its friends at the WE organization or when it gave $35 billion to an Infrastructure Bank that has turned into a corporate welfare machine and has not got a single project built.
On this side of the House, we recognize that when Canadians work so hard for their paycheques, they should be able to keep as much of it as possible. That is why we are so focused on this measure. The government should cancel the upcoming paycheque tax hikes so that Canadians can keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
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View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2022-09-29 10:20 [p.7902]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear from the Leader of the Opposition. The Conservatives keep coming back to the same issue, one that is very important. No one is denying that. However, it seems to me that there is a lack of constructive solutions.
Would my colleague be open to increasing benefits for seniors on fixed incomes? The Bloc Québécois has been trying to hammer home this point for several months in Parliament and the government has not responded. Given inflation rates, which are particularly affecting food prices, we should help seniors by increasing the old age security pension. The agricultural community also needs more support, considering that the cost of gasoline has increased.
I would like to hear some constructive comments from my colleague.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2022-09-29 10:20 [p.7902]
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Mr. Speaker, the motion we are debating today proposes a concrete measure to help Canadians.
Today's measure is a concrete proposal. It is a very simple, straightforward proposal to help Canadians deal with the Liberal-caused inflation. It will allow them to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. The government is devaluing the dollars they are earning, so the very least it can do is to let Canadians keep more of the dollars they have worked so hard for in the first place.
We have to get back to the root cause. It will do Canadians and seniors no good to increase something with the left hand, but with the right hand take away all of that benefit with rising prices. As long as the government continues its vicious circle of increased spending and the borrowing that goes along with it, we will continue to have inflation. It will just make the problem worse. That is why we have to tackle the root cause of inflation.
I should point out that for several months we have had 8% inflation in this country. It is back to school time and I have been helping my daughters with their math, and 8%, I figured out, is just about one-twelfth. That is as if one were to go buy a case of beer, open up the first one and just dump it right down the drain. It just evaporates, or it is like working all month, day in and day out, and at the end of that month one finds out one worked for nothing. That is the effect of 8% inflation. Canadians are tired of working one month out of the year for nothing. The very least the government can do is to let them keep what they have earned the other 11 months.
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View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2022-09-29 10:22 [p.7902]
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Mr. Speaker, my father has worked very hard ever since he immigrated to this country. He has worked in sawmills and in coal mines in Alberta and B.C., and to this day he continues to drive a taxi, because he just cannot stay at home, so he would rather go out and work. He has always said that in Canada, if people work, they can pay their bills and provide for their families, and if they work hard, they can buy really nice things, too. That is the reason so many people, like my father and many others, have come to this country. They came to Canada for the opportunities and to be able to provide for their families.
However, the Liberal government has created a Canada that many Canadians struggle to recognize now, where working hard no longer means people will be able to pay for fuel, heat their homes or even own a home at all. Affordability is a top concern for Canadians across the country. When asked in a recent survey what issues we should focus on during this parliamentary session, almost every response listed the cost of living as a top concern.
Now in Canada we have college students living in homeless shelters, single mothers who cannot afford to buy nutritious food for their children, and seniors turning to food banks as a last resort. Even in recent reports, those same food banks are saying that they are struggling to even stay open, that they do not have enough food to provide to those who show up for help and support.
We have a generation of young Canadians living in their parents' basements without the hope of ever moving out. Young families who were once saving up for a down payment are now having to use that down payment to buy groceries and pay for gas. Grandparents watch as their adult children struggle to provide for their own children, despite having jobs. There is much pain and struggle among Canadians. They did everything we asked them to do, yet the government is failing them.
When the Prime Minister took office, Canadians were paying 32% of their income, on average, to maintain a mid-size house. Now the average family has to pay 50% of its income just to keep that house. Canadians are putting themselves in debt to cover their basic expenses and repaying this borrowed money at an unpredictable and growing interest rate. The government told Canadians that rates would remain low for a long time, but now we can see interest rates rising every few months and Canadians just cannot keep up. Instead of providing relief to Canadians, the government is increasing taxes on those who are already struggling.
I have heard from many people across my riding, single mothers, small business owners and families in Edmonton Mill Woods, who cannot afford the government's spending agenda, a spending agenda that the government itself cannot afford. As one constituent said to me, we need a government that works for Canadians, not the other way around. I could not agree more.
My riding of Edmonton Mill Woods is very much a multicultural community. Many immigrants have come to this beautiful place to make their lives here. I know many hard-working immigrant families that work long hours, trying to provide a good life for their children, but still fall short of meeting the inflationary demands created by the government.
A constituent of mine, Abdul, is a local business owner and a new immigrant from Nigeria. Like most small business owners, he works a lot more than the usual eight hours per day. This is a person who is driven, hard-working and passionate about his business, yet he struggles to make ends meet. He confided in me that he cannot afford to put his children in hockey or put his daughter in dance. Unlike the government, he cannot spend money he does not have.
Kim, another constituent, is a single mother and the sole provider for her children. She continues to struggle to afford to put gas in her car in order just to get to her job. Unlike the government, she has to save up money in order to spend it on her children. She had to save up just to buy school supplies this year, which, of course, cost more because of the government-created inflation crisis right now. I believe single mothers like Kim and many other Canadians have something to teach the government. It must find a dollar to spend a dollar. It must have the money to spend the money.
Now the government is making things worse for Canadians. The government must scrap its planned tax hikes on Canadian families and Canadian businesses. Canadians cannot keep up with this out-of-control spending, which is driving interest rates and inflation. Instead of just printing more money, we need to produce more things we can buy. We need to produce affordable food, energy and natural resources right here in Canada.
Our farmers are the best in the world. By removing the barriers the government has placed on them, we would increase our food production and make food more affordable. We must scrap these taxes on farmers, scrap the government's plan to reduce the use of fertilizer, and eliminate even the red tape that makes it more expensive for farmers. Let our farmers do what they do best, which is to grow our food.
In fact, if the government would just get out of way, farmers would not only be able to provide more food for Canadians, but could also help in this looming food shortage crisis around the world.
I would also suggest the government go out and speak to Canadians and hear from them. I suggest the government speak to my constituents and other constituents across the country about what is actually happening to them, their families and their businesses. I recently sat down with a group of truckers, and I was astonished to hear that some trucking companies are actually finding it cheaper and saving money by parking their trucks. Diesel and the cost of paying for and finding a driver have become so expensive that they are saving money by not working.
We must ensure Canadians keep more of their paycheques in their pockets and that energy, gas, heating and other costs become more affordable. Instead of importing foreign energy, we must get rid of laws like the ones arising out of Bill C-69 and allow energy to be produced here in Canada. Bill C-69 itself was a major roadblock for bringing new investments and projects into Canada.
Canada currently imports over 130,000 barrels of overseas oil daily, mostly from dictator countries. This is despite the fact we have the third-largest supply of energy right here in Canada, with much of it in Alberta. That is all because the government prefers dirty dictator oil to responsible Canadian energy.
We will repeal the government's anti-energy laws and replace them with laws that protect our environment, consult our first nations and actually get projects done. That will mean more jobs for Canadians and more ethical Canadian energy for the world. This will also help the value of our dollar.
It is never the right time to raise taxes on working Canadians, yet that is exactly what the government is doing. We continue to call on the government to cancel all planned tax hikes, including payroll taxes planned for January 1 and tax hikes on gas, groceries and home heating on April 1. I hope the government and all other members of the House will support our motion today.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-09-29 10:30 [p.7903]
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I ask hon. members to be as concise as possible. There is a lot of interest in getting a question out there, and we want to make sure everyone gets the chance.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-09-29 10:31 [p.7903]
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Mr. Speaker, I will be concise.
This member said “instead of providing relief” as part of his comments today. All this government has been doing is looking for solutions to provide relief for Canadians. Look at the GST rebate, the assistance with rent, and the dental care for children under 12 that has been established. These are all measures the federal government is putting in place to help provide some of that relief.
More importantly, as it relates to the GST rebate we introduced, I understand now the Conservatives are going to vote in favour of it, which is great. Since they have made that position clear, will the Conservatives let us vote on that, or will they insist on letting every member speak and then put forward an amendment and then have another round of everybody speaking just for no purpose other than to jam up the political process in here? Will they let us get that GST rebate out to Canadians who need it right now?
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View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2022-09-29 10:32 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, I would not exactly call that concise, but I think there was a question in there somewhere.
As for helping Canadians, it was the Liberal government that caused all of these problems. It is the government that has caused this inflation and caused the cost of everything to go up, and now it is providing some things it is calling solutions. In fact, some of its so-called solutions will actually add to inflation and to those problems, and they are just temporary.
The fact of the matter is that anything the government provides now, whatever it is proposing, will actually be completely wiped out by the cost of everything and wiped out even more by its increased tax hikes. On January 1 and on April 1, the cost of everything is going to go up for Canadians. That will completely wipe out everything it has said it is trying to provide. It is not helping. It caused this problem and it is not helping now.
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View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
View Denis Trudel Profile
2022-09-29 10:33 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, it really is Groundhog Day here in Parliament. It seems as if we are talking about the same issue we discussed last Tuesday.
It is true that prices are going up. Let us talk about housing, for example. This week, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association came to the Hill to meet with us. They told us something pretty interesting that predates the pandemic and the recent increase in inflation.
Over the last 10 years in Canada, 600,000 affordable housing units have been lost. These are units the government had paid for, that we had all paid for, and that were relatively affordable. They were moved to the private market.
The government boasts about having a national housing strategy in which it is investing $72 billion, supposedly to create affordable housing, but that money has been lost. Private developers are buying up the units and flipping them at higher prices.
This is a major crisis that requires major investment. What do the Conservatives have to offer?
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View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2022-09-29 10:34 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, I would agree with my hon. colleague that the government's programs on housing have not been working. Day in and day out, we have been asking the government about affordable housing and their solution has always been to say, “We have spent so much money on it. We spent millions of dollars on this program, millions and millions of dollars on this program,” but the results have not been there. It is not working.
What we have said is that we need to increase supply. If there is a demand problem, we need to be able to figure out solutions to increase supply, something they are not doing. If we increase supply, that would actually fix the system. If we were to work with municipalities, work with the provinces and encourage municipalities, especially those gatekeepers who are very slow and not allowing building permits to go through, and if we could increase that supply and use more of the abundant land that we have in Canada to provide housing for Canadians, that would actually create more affordable housing.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2022-09-29 10:35 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, I could not agree with my colleague more when he raised that we could be spending today talking about more important issues. Here we are, on the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. What do we hear from the Conservatives? We have a rerun of Tuesday. We had the House leader of the official opposition talking about beer.
What are they doing today? They are spending time, and every day this week, delaying getting help to people.
Does my colleague not believe that, today, we should be spending the day talking about the pressing issues that are facing indigenous peoples in this country, putting pressure on the government to fulfill their commitment on the truth and reconciliation calls to action and on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls calls to justice? Why are they not spending today doing that? Why are we not spending this day doing that, today, right now?
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View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tim Uppal Profile
2022-09-29 10:36 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, we are spending the day talking about important issues. We are talking about making life more affordable for all Canadians, including indigenous communities, new Canadians and Canadians who have been here for generations, because this crisis has gotten to a point where Canadians just cannot go on. On top of that, now, the Liberal government is going to make things even more unaffordable.
When we talk to our constituents and they say that they are having a hard time providing food for their families, that they are struggling to even support their families, that is a national crisis that we must deal with. We will continue to discuss this. We will continue to put pressure on the government until they stop increasing taxes on Canadians.
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View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Terry Beech Profile
2022-09-29 10:37 [p.7904]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here to discuss this topic. I will be sharing my time with the member for Milton.
We are seeing higher inflation rates and a higher cost of living in Canada, and frankly right around the world. as a result of many factors. They include the war on Ukraine, global supply chain bottlenecks, in large part due to the pandemic, and global energy market uncertainty. Inflation is actually less severe here in Canada at 7% than among many of our peers. The United States is at 8.3% and the United Kingdom is at 9.9%. The euro area and the OECD also have higher inflation.
While inflation in Canada has continued to ease from its peak in June, we know that Canadians continue to be worried about the higher cost of living. They are asking what their government is doing about it and what we are going to continue to do to make life more affordable and to grow an economy that works for everyone.
While inflation is not a unique Canadian problem, we are uniquely positioned to deal with it. We have the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. We have a AAA credit rating and, according to the International Monetary Fund, Canada will have the fastest-growing economy in the G7 this year and next year. This means we can build a comprehensive affordability plan for Canadians while continuing to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio, and that is exactly what we are doing.
In terms of what this means for Canadians, our plan will help make life more affordable through measures like doubling the GST credit for six months, which will provide $2.5 billion in additional targeted support this year to roughly 11 million individuals and families who already receive the tax credit, including more than half of Canadian seniors. I am, in fact, very happy that the Conservative Party is now supporting this measure.
We are going to enhance the Canada workers benefit to put up to an additional $2,400 into the pockets of low-income working families. We are increasing old age security for seniors over 75, which increases benefits for more than three million seniors and provides more than $800 in the first year for full pensioners.
This year, a $500 payment will be made to 1.8 million Canadian low-income renters. We will cut child care fees by an average of 50% by the end of this year. Dental care for Canadians without dental insurance who earn less than $90,000 will be available for hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 12 for the first time in Canadian history.
We will continue to index to inflation some of Canada's most important programs, including the Canada child benefit, the GST credit, the Canada pension plan, old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. Simply put, our plan is putting more money in the pockets of Canadians when they need it the most. This includes our lowest-paid workers, low-income renters and families who cannot afford to take their kids to the dentist.
We know that the right fiscal path does not have us compensating every single Canadian for rising costs driven by a global pandemic and by an illegal war on Ukraine. To do so would only make inflation worse. Canadians understand that too. We are instead targeting supports to the Canadians who are the most disproportionately impacted by the effects of inflation.
Our government will also ensure our economy is growing, that our businesses have the workers they need and that Canadians can continue to find good-paying and rewarding jobs. We will do this while continuing our strong fiscal track record and not further fuelling the inflationary fire.
Let us be absolutely clear: This suite of measures that comprise our affordability plan will support Canadians without increasing inflation. This, of course, undercuts the Leader of the Opposition's motion, what his House leader has already said today and specifically runs counter to the claim that the government is driving up inflation.
Many economists, including the former deputy parliamentary budget officer, the University of Calgary's Lindsay Tedds and Alberta economist Trevor Tombe, have all agreed that this support package for Canadians is not inflationary. In fact, because our incremental investments only represent 0.1% of our GDP, even the current Parliamentary Budget Officer has stated that the impact on inflation would be neither significant nor measurable.
It is great to see that Conservatives have started to backtrack on their previous positions against getting support to Canadians and are now supporting the GST tax credit. It is time for them to support the housing benefit and dental care as well.
Let me take some time to discuss the Canada pension plan and the employment insurance system. At this time of global economic uncertainty, it is the height of irresponsibility for the Conservatives to suggest that we as a country stop putting money away for retirement and employment insurance. Cutting contributions will mean lower pensions for seniors at a time when they will need it most. Raiding pensions is a regular strategy for the Conservative Party, and this policy is similar to when they raised the age of retirement eligibility from 65 to 67. That took thousands of dollars away from seniors, and we should not let them do it again.
With respect to employment insurance, when we were elected in 2015, the EI premium rate was $1.88. Funny enough, the current Leader of the Opposition was the minister in charge of the file at the time. Today, the EI rate is $1.58, which is 30¢ lower. Next year it will go up to $1.63, which is still 25¢ lower than it was in 2015, when the Leader of the Opposition had full control of the file. I am certain this clarifies the issue for Canadians.
By the way, going after the pensions of Canadians is not just, resolutely, a poor economic and social decision, but a little misguided as well. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition knows that making changes to the Canada pension plan requires legislation and agreements from seven out of 10 provinces. If he truly wants to govern, he should think long and hard before he gets into a fight with the 13 provinces and territories over reducing the hard-earned pension plans of our fellow Canadians.
Let us turn to fighting climate change and our national price on pollution.
First, fighting climate change is an absolute necessity for the future of our planet. Let us also acknowledge that the effects of climate change are an inflationary pressure on our economy. It is well known that having a national price on pollution is a highly effective market mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while making life more affordable for the majority of Canadians. Throughout all the debates in this session, the Conservatives have tried to correlate the massive increase in the price of gas with the federal carbon price, and it is simply not true. In 2019, the carbon price was approximately 9¢ per litre in British Columbia, my home province. Today, it is 11¢ per litre. That means that although gas prices have increased by more than a dollar per litre, only 2¢ of that increase can be attributed to the price on pollution in British Columbia over the last three years.
Further, because the carbon price in British Columbia is provincially administered, if the federal carbon price was eliminated, as the Conservatives are regularly suggesting, this would result in zero savings for residents in British Columbia. Instead, it would simply mean that other jurisdictions, other provinces, would do less to fight climate change.
Also worth noting is that, with the climate action incentive, carbon pricing actually makes life more affordable for 80% of Canadian households, something the Conservatives always seem to forget when they talk about the subject.
I hope that all members opposite will share this information with their colleagues and convince their caucus to go back to supporting carbon pricing as they did less than 12 months ago.
I believe I have now fully addressed every point within today's motion. It is clear that our government continues to have a fiscally responsible plan to help make life more affordable and to grow an economy that works for everyone.
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View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2022-09-29 10:46 [p.7906]
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Mr. Speaker, I have risen in the House several times this week to talk about measures that might seem worthwhile in the short-term because they provide some relief for taxpayers. Today's motion might seem useful because it talks about lowering taxes. No one can be against apple pie.
However, we are in the midst of an inflationary period. As I used to teach my high school students, inflation is caused by a myriad of factors, such as supply issues, natural disasters that destroy areas that produce food and other goods, a labour shortage and so on.
I am trying to understand what medium- and long-term solutions the government and the opposition parties envision. What kinds of solutions will truly help us reduce inflation without draining our coffers? As I taught my high school students, inflation is followed by a recession, and that is when we will need money in the coffers.
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View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Terry Beech Profile
2022-09-29 10:47 [p.7906]
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Mr. Speaker, I am happy the member works to educate her students on inflation and its many causes.
There tends to be a disagreement between the government and especially the Conservatives, and there is a lot of cross-talk over what is causing inflation. The member is right that things like climate change and natural disasters can cause inflation. The war in Ukraine is certainly putting inflationary pressure on global economies, as are the leftover remnants of the effects of the pandemic, where we have supply bottlenecks, which are global as well.
The opposition wants to make the thesis that it is solely the Government of Canada that is driving inflation, but that is a hard thesis to prove. There is no way that the fiscal policies of Canada are affecting inflation in Europe, the OECD or in the United States.
In the short term, we are going to make life more affordable for Canadians and helping to grow an economy that works for everyone. In the long term, we will use both our fiscal tools and the independent Bank of Canada's monetary tools to get inflation under control.
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View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
2022-09-29 10:49 [p.7906]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have been hearing a lot lately from seniors in northwest B.C. is how difficult it is to make ends meet on a fixed income, how their pensions, old age security is insufficient to cover the basic costs of living.
So many people have asked me when their public pension will increase to the point where they can afford the basics, where they can have the dignity of being able to pay for rent, medication and the things that so many of us take for granted.
Could the parliamentary secretary outline his government's plans, if indeed it has them, to finally increase the public pensions to a point where people can have the dignity of a basic income to pay for the things they need?
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View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Terry Beech Profile
2022-09-29 10:50 [p.7906]
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Mr. Speaker, in the short term, with respect to supports for pensioners, we are increasing OAS for seniors 75 and over by 10%, so seniors can expect an additional $815 in benefits. We have reduced the retirement age from 67 to 65. Seniors over 75 received a one-time payment of $500 over the summer.
I am happy to report to the House that our policies are working, because 25% fewer seniors live in poverty today than when we took office in 2015. Through working with the provinces and territories, our government has established a plan where future retirees will see significantly more benefits when it comes time to retire, as long as we do not let the Conservatives take those benefits away from them.
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View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2022-09-29 10:50 [p.7907]
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Madam Speaker, the member talked about promises and commitments. I would ask him about a campaign commitment that his government made during the last campaign to never raise the carbon tax past $50. Now we see that it will go up to maybe $170 a tonne.
The member talked about some of the commitments we made in the last campaign. I am wondering how he feels about making a commitment on the doorsteps of his constituents and then not following through on that. They are seeing the price of everything go up because of the ever-increasing carbon tax.
I would like to hear the member's comments on not fulfilling the promise he made to the people who sent him here.
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View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Terry Beech Profile
2022-09-29 10:51 [p.7907]
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Madam Speaker, I would refer Canadians to the content of my speech. If I could refer back to my experience in British Columbia, we have had a price on pollution since 2008. We have had the fastest growing economy in the country. Our plan actually makes life more affordable for 80% of Canadian households.
It is a good plan that fights climate change and grows the economy at the same time.
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