Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 24
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, last week, the government sent a strongly worded letter to U.S. senators about the electric vehicle tax credit and its devastating impact on the Ontario auto industry, but the same government has not contacted Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who, three weeks ago, called on President Biden to approve Keystone XL even though the Canadian oil and gas industry contributes six times more to the economy than does the auto sector. Is that because this government values the auto sector over the oil and gas sector?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this government says that it stands up for all sectors, it says that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, but it acts like a government of the Laurentians not a government of Canada.
When Ontario's auto industry is threatened, it stands to attention, but the softwood lumber and Keystone XL issues languish for years. When is this government going to stand up for all Canadians and all economic sectors, not just those in the backyards of Liberal cabinet ministers from Ontario and Quebec?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, the government's failure to properly oversee and regulate Canada's banking system and its failure to properly manage fiscal policy are the two reasons Canadian families are struggling with skyrocketing housing prices and why Canadian families are burdened with record high levels of household indebtedness. The government is also putting the stability of our financial system at risk. It is mispricing risk, leading to the misallocation of capital toward residential real estate. As David Rosenberg has said, Canada's economy is overly reliant on “credit, cannabis and condos”.
The average house price in this country has skyrocketed over the six years the government has been in power. According to The Canadian Real Estate Association, the actual benchmark price for a home in this country has gone from $430,000 in November 2015, when the government was appointed to office, to $726,000 in October of this year, the last month for which we have data. This is a massive increase of 77% over the last six years. That is an annual compounded rate of increase of about 10% per annum, far ahead of the nominal growth of GDP. It is putting the cost of housing out of reach for many young families and individuals looking to get a start to their lives.
The average house price for a single detached home in Toronto is now $1.8 million. It is $2.9 million in Vancouver. In Fergus and Elora, two small towns in the rural area of my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills, the typical house price has trebled in the last five years. It has gone from approximately $325,000 in 2015 to $950,000 in 2020.
These prices are way, way above the long-term average of three and a half times household income. Prices in many Canadian communities are now eight, nine and 10 times household income. We are an outlier among advanced economies of the OECD. In fact, our housing prices are some of the most expensive in the world.
As housing prices have skyrocketed, so too has household debt. Mortgage debt makes up the vast majority of household debt. Mortgage debt comprises two-thirds of overall household debt, and the remaining one-third of household debt is closely tied to real estate in facilities such has HELOCs and other forms of credit.
In 2016, the first full year the government was in office, household debt stood at $1.9 trillion. Today, it is $2.6 trillion, an increase of almost 40% and an annual compounded rate of increase of almost 6%, far ahead of the nominal rate of increase of our GDP. That amount of household debt is reflected in the fact that household debt as a percentage of household income has also increased since the government took office. It now stands at 173%.
The government has allowed this to happen. We have a housing crisis in this country, and it is because of the government's failure to properly oversee and regulate the banking system and its failure to properly manage fiscal policy.
The government has had plenty of warning about this problem. Before I get into who has warned the government about it, let me tell members one of the unintended consequences of these skyrocketing housing prices and skyrocketing levels of household indebtedness.
Small to medium-sized enterprises have found it difficult to get financing. Canada has low levels of business investment relative to many of our economic peers. This low level of business investment is one reason for our low productivity growth rates. This low productivity growth rate is of particular concern because it is the only long-run determinate of wealth and prosperity.
These two challenges, namely the challenge of skyrocketing household debt and the difficulty many small and medium-sized businesses have in getting financing to make investments in plant capital and equipment, are two sides of the same coin. The government needs to take a hard look at the macroeconomic policies it has put in place, which have made life less affordable for Canadian families, and the policies that are making it difficult for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs.
The government is ultimately responsible for the regulation of our banking sector through the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. It is also responsible for mortgage financing through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, tax expenditures, government programs and Finance Canada. It has allowed mortgage credit to grow at unsustainable levels. Its responsibility is to oversee mortgage credit through OSFI and CMHC.
The IMF has warned Canada repeatedly over the last number of years about its oversight of housing finance. In addition, the IMF found, through its studies, that government intervention in housing finance exacerbated house price swings and amplified mortgage credit growth in advanced economies in the years before the global financial crisis. Moreover, the IMF's studies also concluded that government participation did not provide a cushion against economic crises, and countries with greater government involvement in mortgage financing experienced deeper house price declines.
In a 2011 analysis, the IMF concluded, “rapid mortgage credit growth and strong house price increases go hand in hand.” It added, “government participation in housing finance exacerbated house price swings and amplified mortgage credit growth during the run-up to the recent crisis, particularly in advanced economies.” It concluded by saying, “Countries with more government involvement also experienced deeper house price declines.”
The officials at Finance Canada and CMHC have warned the government. For example, last year in September, officials at Finance Canada discussed forcing private mortgage insurers to tighten eligibility rules, but left CMHC to try to manage the risk in mortgage credit markets on its own. Evan Siddall, the CMHC CEO at the time, said, “We had that conversation and you’ll have to pose the question to [the government] as to why it didn’t happen.” In reference to the rejection of the tightening of the rules to reduce risks, he added, “The minister of finance could have done it.”
OSFI itself has warned about skyrocketing levels of mortgage credit and mortgage credit growth, but when it proposed higher mortgage stress test levels in 2018, otherwise known as the B-20 guideline, the Minister of Finance opposed the rule. In March of last year, when OSFI announced changes to capital requirements for Canada's systemically important banks, the government did not ensure that additional liquidity, measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, would not exacerbate the growth in mortgage credit. As a result, household debt, primarily mortgage credit, has jumped 4% in the last year, picking up sharply in the middle of last year, after the March 2020 changes that OSFI had introduced.
The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, warned earlier this year that Canadian households were taking on too much debt. In other words, the governor was warning the government that it is not using the tools it has at hand to properly regulate mortgage credit growth in this country.
Canadian families are finding it harder to make ends meet. They are being squeezed by the increasing cost of living and by the cost of housing. This is due to the government's failure to properly oversee and regulate Canada's banking sector and properly manage fiscal policy.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, we are proposing constructive solutions to the housing crisis we are facing. The government is not coming forward with anything constructive to deal with what is a real crisis.
The government has overseen a regulatory system in our financial sector that is putting households at risk, which is leading to skyrocketing housing prices, and it is also overseeing fiscal policies that have exacerbated the problem we see in the country today. We are proposing solutions to address this, and the government is not. What is the government going to do about this situation?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, quite simply, here is the problem: The government's affordable housing measures are a drop in the bucket given the challenge that Canadian households are facing. Household debt in this country, largely made up of mortgage credit debt, has skyrocketed from about $1.9 trillion the first year the government was in office to $2.6 trillion in the most current year. That is a $700-billion jump in household debt. The government can come forward with all the affordable housing programs it wants, but they are a drop in the bucket of the $700 billion in additional mortgage debt and other forms of household credit debt that Canadian families have had to take on because of the government's mismanagement of housing finance.
We are focused on the root causes of the problem rather than on using band-aids that will do little to deal with the housing crisis in this country.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I agree. We need more affordable housing in this country.
However, no matter how much money the government puts into affordable housing programs in this country, it is not going to address the underlying problem, which is our skyrocketing levels of household indebtedness and skyrocketing housing prices.
Governors of the Bank of Canada only have one or two tools at their disposal to deal with monetary policy: the overnight rate and quantitative easing. The government has an immense number of tools available at its disposable. It has dozens and dozens of tools through finance regulation, CMHC and OSFI to get a handle on this problem, tools it is not using to deal with the underlying problem.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, the motion calls on the government to look at freeing up 15% of federal real estate. The member opposite keeps talking about parks.
We are not referring to parks in our country, which all Canadians treasure and want to protect. We are talking about real estate like the federal government building at Front and Bay Street in downtown Toronto. It is a five-story building right next to Union Station, some of the most prime real estate in the country. It is across from the Royal Bank towers, which are 41 stories high. If that building was repurposed and redeveloped to allow for a condo to be built of some 40 or 50 stories, it would create additional supply in one of Canada's hottest real estate markets. That is the kind of real estate we are talking about in our motion and not our national park system.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, the way the western alliance left Afghanistan this past summer is a betrayal of the legacy of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the NATO alliance who fought in the war in Afghanistan for freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Some 3,500 men and women from NATO coalition forces paid the ultimate sacrifice and died, including 158 Canadian men and women in uniform and one diplomat. They died in the cause to liberate Afghans from the clutches of the Taliban and to secure our own country from terrorist attacks.
Forty thousand Canadians served in Afghanistan over 13 years. The western alliance's departure is also a betrayal of the thousands of brave Afghan interpreters, advisers and local experts on the ground who served alongside our troops during that war, and who were abandoned in the hasty departure last August. These brave Afghans saved countless Canadian lives. No doubt many more Canadian soldiers would have been killed in theatre had it not been for their work.
There is no doubt that the Trump administration's negotiations with the Taliban in 2020 on the Doha agreement set the stage for this disaster. The Doha agreement set a date for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in May 2021.
While the Biden administration realized the difficulty of the May deadline and extended it to September, it nevertheless failed to understand the faulty assumption of basing a withdrawal on a deadline. The withdrawal should not have been based on a deadline. It should have been based on a set of conditions. By withdrawing on a deadline, the Taliban were given a clear advantage in their takeover of Afghanistan by force.
It is easy, in hindsight, to question the decisions made by the United States, which has the burden of leading the free world. What is not in question is the fact that as the events unfolded in the first eight months of this year, it was clear at the time that the Taliban were making ever-increasing advances for the forceful takeover of the country and that the government of Afghanistan was going to collapse.
It was clear in the months before the fall of Kabul on August 15 that Afghanistan was going to fall to the Taliban. It was clear to non-governmental organizations on the ground in Afghanistan, such as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Members of that group met with me in April of this year to ring the alarm bells about the threats to women and girls from the Taliban, and pleaded with western governments to slow down the withdrawal from Afghanistan to prevent a catastrophe.
It was clear to the UN Refugee Agency in July of this year, which warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and indicated that some 270,000 Afghans had been displaced since the early part of the year.
It was clear from the constant stream of media reports, and it was clear from Canadian veterans who had served in the war in Afghanistan and were hearing directly from their Afghan brothers in arms. These are veterans such as Dave Morrow, an army lieutenant who served in Afghanistan. He raised the alarm bells in interviews he did with the CBC and The New York Times in June of this year before the fall of Kabul. Another veteran, Corey Shelson, also served in Afghanistan and pleaded with Ottawa in July to send Canadian Forces military aircraft into Afghanistan to evacuate our Afghan allies.
In fact, some Canadian veterans were so frustrated by the lack of action from the government to evacuate our allies that they used their own money, their own time and their own resources to evacuate these Afghans. They organized Facebook groups and worked with members of Parliament, including the member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.
It was clear to us, as the official opposition, that Afghanistan was collapsing and that Canada urgently needed to evacuate these Afghans. More than a month before the fall of Kabul on July 6, we issued a statement calling on the government to take immediate action.
The statement said:
...Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to take immediate action. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served alongside these Afghan interpreters are pleading for the government to listen to their calls that we must do the right thing and support them at a time when they need us most.
On July 22, the Conservative leader wrote to the Prime Minister directly, pleading with him to use the immense powers of his high office to uphold Canada's honour and to evacuate these Afghan allies. In that letter, the Conservative leader wrote plainly and directly about the need for the Prime Minister to take action. He wrote, “Not-for-profit organisations are doing more for these interpreters than your government. This is unacceptable. I am calling on you and the Liberal government to take immediate action.”
It was clear to a large number of people and organizations that Afghanistan would collapse before anything was done. These people and organizations were vocal in expressing their views. They made statements, gave interviews, set up groups on Facebook and organized missions to evacuate these Afghans using their own time and money.
The Afghan interpreters, advisers and local experts who assisted Canada, and their families, numbered in the several thousand, I have been told. Canada could have accomplished an orderly evacuation in the weeks ahead of the fall of Kabul on August 15. Canada has five Globemaster C-17s, each with a capacity of some 300 passengers. In fact, during the chaos of the fall of Kabul, one Globemaster carried 823 passengers out of the country. We could have easily evacuated some 3,000 Afghans over some 10 flights in the several weeks before the fall of Kabul, in an orderly fashion and upholding the honour of this country to our Afghan allies. Instead, the government did nothing. Despite the pleas from individuals and organizations, the government did nothing.
It did nothing on Sunday, August 15 as the city of Kabul fell to the Taliban, the last lifeline for desperate Afghans seeking to flee the country. Actually, the government did do something that day. On Sunday, August 15, the Prime Minister went to Rideau Hall to trigger a general election, amid the fall of Kabul and the beginning of a fourth wave of the pandemic, because he thought he could secure a majority.
However, even after the triggering of an election and the fall of Kabul, the government still did not do anything in the days after August 15, until, of course, it became an issue during the federal election. The government then sprang not into action but into full rhetorical flight, not for the lives of these Afghan allies but in order to save the life of the government. Rhetorical flight is all the Liberals had because, during the election and afterward until the swearing-in of the new cabinet on October 26 and, some would argue, until the government met the House on November 22, the government was in caretaker mode. During the election, Liberal ministerial staffers were on leave in order to campaign, rather than conducting the business of the nation.
That is why I support the motion in front of us today. We need to understand how numerous warnings that came from individuals and organizations that Kabul was going to fall and that the lives of our Afghan allies were at risk went unheeded by the government. We need to understand that in order to restore the honour of this country and to ensure in the future that Canada's word is its bond.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I will respond to the second part of the hon. member's question first. The motion is reasonable in calling for the government to hand over to the law clerk unredacted documents, because the motion, in one of the earlier clauses, specifies the government is also to hand over the proposed redactions it believes to be injurious to national security so the law clerk knows what the government's position is on that issue.
With respect to clause (m), one month is plenty of time for the government to produce these documents, particularly because it is during a slower time of year where the government will not be occupied with the normal matters governments are occupied with, so one month is ample time.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, to help Afghan refugees, the government could approach the government of Qatar, which has diplomatic relations with the Taliban. The Government of Canada could ask the Qatar government to insist that the Taliban protect refugees and allow them to leave Afghanistan to come to Canada. This is just one diplomatic tool the government could use to improve the situation.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I believe the government should focus on practical measures it can take to evacuate Afghans from Afghanistan. One I mentioned to my colleague from the Bloc is for the Government of Canada to démarche with the Government of Qatar in order to impress on the Government of Qatar the need for the Taliban to release some of these persecuted minorities and to release Afghan allies who assisted us to other countries so we may process them for safe passage here to Canada.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Forest Lawn.
My first question is on Afghanistan. Many Afghans are trying to flee the country. The state of Qatar has a unique and special relationship with the Taliban. Has the government had a démarche with the state of Qatar to request that it intervene with the Taliban to allow persecuted minorities and Afghans who assisted Canadian soldiers to leave the country?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, I have a question on Ukraine. Russia has amassed some 90,000 troops at the Ukraine border. Bloomberg News reported today that President Biden will call the leaders of France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany to talk about the situation in Ukraine. Bloomberg News also reports that the president is going to call Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
Canada has troops in Ukraine under Operation Unifier. Has a call been scheduled between the Prime Minister and President Biden on this issue?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, I have a couple of questions on our bilateral relationship with the United States.
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission issue has been unresolved for six years. Thirteen U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives have written twice to the Canadian government on this issue. The finance committee, under former MP Wayne Easter, issued two reports two years in a row recommending that the issue be resolved.
The Prime Minister was asked about this in his meeting with the congressional delegation organized by Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi. When is the government going to address this issue?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, President Biden has said in recent weeks that the U.S. needs more oil. In fact, he has called on OPEC on several occasions to pump more oil, even threatening consequences if it does not. He has recently authorized the release of 50 million barrels from the strategic reserves in the United States, and has coordinated with Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, India and even China to see those countries release more of their reserves.
In light of the fact that Canada is the fourth-largest oil producer in the world, did the Prime Minister or the government raise this issue when they met with the White House two weeks ago?
Results: 1 - 15 of 24 | Page: 1 of 2

1
2
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data