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Results: 1 - 15 of 30
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, I am going to share my time with the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
I thank the minister for her work tonight. It is quite a feat to put in all the time and to answer all the questions, and I thank her for that.
Andrew Kendrick, a naval architect with 40 years' experience, appeared before committee. His statement was that it costs three to five times the world price and two to four times longer to deliver ships in Canada versus the rest of the world. Does the minister have any comment on that? Has she investigated and verified this to be true, or does she feel we are in line with world price and world delivery?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, he was the project manager from 2007 to 2010 for AOPS, so I think he is very well informed. The surface combatant went from $14 billion to $26 billion to $56 billion. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says it could be $77 billion.
At what point does the minister say we have got to slow down here and we need to go line by line to understand how this has quadrupled or gone up even more?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, I have no question at all about the economic benefits. I have no question about how hard the workers work in all the shipyards. The same work is getting done around the world using the same steel and the same technology, yet Canada still pays four to five times the amount.
Will the minister look into this and find out how this can be?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, that is fine. She also mentioned tax. There is not $40 billion worth of tax on a $14-billion project, unless taxes are really being hiked in the future. Another one is the offshore oceanic vessel. The original price tag was $100 million, and now it is $1 billion. How do we have a ten bagger on a project? That seems like mismanagement.
The other question is this: Will she open the books to the Parliamentary Budget Officer so he can go through them? He had to use U.S. numbers to come to his conclusion of $77 billion.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, if one comes to committee, they will find out the Parliamentary Budget Officer did not have that much help and he did not really feel like it was transparent. He said that in his statements.
One other question I have is about ArriveCAN. How much did ArriveCAN cost the taxpayers of Canada, from the concept to the product being used today? How much did ArriveCAN cost?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, is the procurement minister saying that her department had nothing to do with procuring the ArriveCAN app?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, we definitely need some further investigation on it. On COVID vaccines, Moderna was originally pegged at 35 million doses per year. It is now 25 million doses for 2022. It went from 35 million to 25 million.
Why was there a decrease of 10 million doses?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, it is on her website. That is where I got it from. There is a footnote there. Pfizer is also projected to be 65 million doses a year. Therefore, 25 million doses plus 65 million doses is 90 million doses.
How much will those 90 million doses cost the Canadian taxpayer this year?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, we were talking about transparency tonight. I asked a simple question.
How much does it cost to procure 90 million doses for 2022? It should be pretty easy to answer.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, on April 29, the minister appeared before committee and did a fine job, I will admit. I asked her a question about the Prime Minister's $750,000 kitchen renovation at Harrington Lake and she said she would get back to me. I wonder if she has had time to look it up and figure out what comes with the $750,000 kitchen renovation.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Chair, with regard to Ukraine, I wonder if the minister can tell us how much of what they have procured, everything that has been accumulated and sent overseas, has actually reached Ukrainian land. Is it stuck in Poland? Is it in Crete? What is the percentage? How much?
View Ben Lobb Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition in support of Bill S-223 and my good friend and colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
Bill S-223 seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. It would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without the consent of the person giving the organ.
Bill S-223 has passed the Senate unanimously three times and it passed the House unanimously in 2019 in exactly the same form as the current bill. We will be debating Bill S-223 this afternoon, and I hope this Parliament will be the one to finally bring this bill into law.
I would like to thank the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his advocacy.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank all the speakers who have presented this evening. I would especially like to thank my colleagues from Chatham-Kent—Leamington and Beauce. They are both farmers and are very familiar with the costs of operating a farm and making a living at it.
The member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington highlighted pretty much everything I wanted to talk about, but the key point I would like to highlight, in addition to that, is that we still have an outstanding issue with the fertilizer tariff in this country. That is going to add another $100 per acre to the corn crop and other crops, in addition to all the other issues we have. In addition to the carbon tax that farmers are paying to dry their grains and heat their barns, this is another tariff that has not been dealt with by the government. It is our belief that on March 2 there should be tariff relief for farmers on that. It is millions of dollars and they need the help now.
The member made another good point when he talked about how the fall economic update from the Liberal Party highlights the carbon tax rebate. It is $1.47 per $1,000, and as I said in my first speech, I thought it was $1.47 per $100. If we calculate it at $1.47 per $1,000 and $1.73 per $1,000 of eligible farm expenses, it is a slap in the face to farmers.
I welcome the Liberal member who spoke earlier today to come to my riding, the ridings of the members of Chatham-Kent—Leamington and Beauce or any rural riding. She should talk to some farmers, get in the cab of a tractor or combine, stand around while the grain is being dried in the fall and see what it is like. She would have a whole new appreciation for the programs she is trying to create.
Farmers get no credit for the carbon they sequester on farms through their crops, the fall crops they plant for cover crops, the grasslands, the hay and the hay lands. They also do not get any carbon credit for the sequestration that takes place on their ethically managed woodlots. There are thousands of acres in my riding and hundreds of thousands of acres of ethically managed woodlots across the province of Ontario and beyond. They get no credit for that.
The idea is that a farmer is somehow a huge emitter, contributor or whatever, but we should be embracing these individuals. We should be looking to them to learn some of the best practices that have been in place in this country for over 100 years. That is where we need to begin the discussion. We need to cut this unnecessary tax on farmers' natural gas and propane to dry their grains and heat their livestock barns.
We do not want farmers to walk away from their livestock barns because they can no longer afford to heat them. We want them to be able to keep those barns warm to keep the chicks warm when they are first moved into the barn, or keep the hog barns warm when the weaners are at a very young age and very small. That is what we want to do, so I would ask all members of Parliament, particularly the Liberals, to reconsider this and take a long look at what we are talking about. They can maybe replay the tapes and see.
I would like to thank all the farmers across this country for what they do day in and day out. Right now, they are in the cabs of their tractors in my area planting corn, thinking about soybeans and trying to get things right, but they are facing huge costs for fuel and fertilizer. What is it for? It is to feed the country and the rest of the world. That is what we have to keep in the backs of our minds when we are looking at all this stuff.
I would like to thank farm groups, farm families and the complete supply chain that works 24 hours a day this time of year to keep crops growing. Let us look at agriculture, the environmental good it does and the economic good it does. It is the number one economic driver in the province of Ontario, so let us support it. Farmers are a line of credit, as the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington said, for our GST and HST rebates. They are the government's line of credit in AgriStability, and now with this new program, they will once again be the government's line of credit.
I humbly ask for support. Let us get the bill to committee. Let us have some farm groups come. Let us have some farmers come and explain the pain they are feeling right now and the relief Parliament can provide them.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for the bill that she brought forward to attempt to make Canada a leader in the crypto space, which we kind of already are.
I heard a couple of comments today from speakers about growth. We have to have certainty before we can continue to grow. This is trying to provide certainty to the industry so that people know the rules as they go forward. A couple of years ago, there was a framework specifically around cryptoasset trading platforms. The Canadian securities administrators, with all of their provincial trading commissions, put this together and it set a framework. It is a very public document worked on in collaboration. It established, for exchanges that wanted to be exchanges in this country, a path to that goal. In Ontario, my home province, we have had a number of spot exchange-traded funds in this province, which is significant. The United States does not even have that yet. It only has future exchange-traded funds.
In addition to that, Bitbuy, just in the last quarter of 2021, worked with the OSC IIROC to be a market maker: to be an exchange and a marketplace for cryptoassets to be traded, because this framework was done three years ago. Just as the member for Calgary Nose Hill provides, let us get the experts and the industry to come together so we can get this moving forward. In the United States, people only wish that they had a spot ETF. Let us not get mixed up on the growth. What the member for Calgary Nose Hill is trying to say is let us not get in the way of growth. Let us make sure that industry has certainty so companies will want to come here and invest their billions of dollars.
The market cap of the cryptoassets is $2 trillion. That is in 13 years. The market cap of gold is $10 trillion. Therefore, it is $2 trillion for crypto and it is $10 trillion for gold. How long has gold been around? It has been around since the earth was established. There is $100 trillion in real estate, so there are huge opportunities here. We have to continue to push forward. That is what they want.
I will give an example. Let us look at all the different entities that businesses have to deal with. I made a list. They have to deal with the securities administrations and their provincial administrations, including the OSC and all the ones in all the provinces. IIROC is one they have to deal with. CRA is on the list, for how they are going to be taxed. The entities include the Department of Finance, potentially, the Bank of Canada, potentially, and on and on. When we say that it is the wild west and it is not regulated, that really is not the case, in my opinion. Obviously, people are transferring money into investment accounts, and it is monitored in many different ways including how it is backed, how it is secured and where the assets are held. It is not really the wild west, I would say, and I am sure the chair of the OSC, the executive director and the president would all love to have a comment on that. There is regulation, but we need more certainty because of the investment.
One example is Bitcoin mining, or miners in general, and how they are taxed by the CRA. Where is GST applied? Where is HST applied? When is the actual tax triggered? There is a dispute right now with the CRA as to where and when that occurs. This is what the member for Calgary Nose Hill is talking about. Let us have the framework of industry experts get around the table and say, “Hey, what the heck, are we charging HST every time we mine a Bitcoin?” That does not make any sense. This is not a service business. This is a mining company, just like Kinross Gold or somebody else. That is what we are talking about.
In regard to illicit activity, I am going to say right now that this is the last $20 bill I have. There is more crime done with twenties than will ever be done with cryptocurrency. What I will say is that the amount of crypto crime is decreasing. From 2020 to 2021, it decreased by almost 60%. Why is that? Only a stupid criminal would do a crime with crypto, because it is a public ledger and that wallet has an address.
There was a case where a couple defrauded billions. It was thousands of Bitcoin, and they held onto it for five years. The minute they tried to transfer that money in the fall of 2021, the FBI picked them both up and charged them. Only an idiot criminal, and there are some out there, would do it with this. They are going to go with cash or something else. They are not going to do it with that.
My colleague from Quebec made a comment. We are always getting to know each other, which is great. In Quebec, for example, there are a number of Shakepays. There are Shakepays in Montreal. I am sure some of my colleagues have heard of Shakepay before. Also, there is a Bitcoin mining company. There is about five or six. It is called Bitfarms. There is more than just Bitfarms, but Bitfarms is a $1-billion company traded on a public stock exchange. It went through all the regulatory burden to become publicly traded in la belle province.
I think it would be great if Bitfarms, Shakepay and a number of these Quebec-based companies reached out, did a little government relations, and explained to the government, not in an embarrassing way, but in an informative way, that this is a new industry of 13, 14 years, and explained that CRA income tax issue. That would be great.
To my good colleague from the NDP, who I had the honour of serving with on the industry committee, Bitfarms is 100% renewable energy from Hydro-Québec. It is green. By the way, there is a North American mining council whose mandate is to be a leader in renewable energy. There are great initiatives coming out of this. There are solar initiatives in the southern states, and wind initiatives. Some of the greatest innovation in green energy is actually going to come out of crypto. It is hard to believe, but it is true.
The best and brightest minds. When I was going to university, and that was quite a long time ago, people were learning how to chisel rocks. Now, the best and brightest minds are going into the crypto space. We want the best and brightest to graduate from these great universities and work in Canada. We do not want them to go to Silicon Valley.
In fact, the crypto space is not even in Silicon Valley, it is in Miami and Toronto. That is where we want people to be. The U.S., the UK and the European Union are all working through this process we are proposing here because they see the value in this one-time opportunity to be the world leader in this space. That is what we are trying to do here with this bill.
There is much to talk about. We are having executives from Bitbuy and WonderFi come to speak to us in a couple of weeks. They are going to explain the process they went through to be market-makers in Ontario. They would love to talk to all members of Parliament to explain how the process works and how the regulation works. We are not trying to slow things down.
Business wants certainty. This is how we are going to do it. As well, there is FINTRAC and know your client rules. These are money services businesses. They know what they are doing. They have to go through all these things to do it.
The last thing I will talk about quickly is remittances, as well as Bitcoin, the lightning network and Strike. Twenty-four percent of the GDP in El Salvador is in remittances. That is where somebody in Canada or the U.S. transfers money to a relative. Honduras, Haiti, Jamaica, there are all sorts of them, and they are all over 20%. They go to a money market and they get hosed. I am not against money markets, but I am just saying they get hosed. They can do this with Bitcoin, lightning and on the Strike network. It is that quick, and it costs nothing. That is making a difference.
Two million people in this country are unbanked. This industry is giving people a leg up. We have to make sure that all the technology is in Canada and the innovation is in Canada, so we not only make the lives of Canadians better, but subsequently, give opportunities and livelihoods to people who have never even had a bank account. It has been a real thrill to speak on this.
View Ben Lobb Profile
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-8.
The first thing I want to do is go back a bit in time. Madam Speaker, I think you were there as well for those times. It goes back to when Jim Flaherty was the finance minister. He had a budget that was called the “economic action plan”. It was a main event back in those times. Economists and business owners and people from all over looked at this economic action plan as the path forward for the Canadian economy, especially in those times of the huge economic downturn in 2007 and 2008. It was really a shining light, I would say. It allowed us to get through that time and by 2015 to present the new Liberal government with a balanced budget.
Back in that time of 2015 and over the next four years, the government spent $100 billion extra over what it collected. That will go into history and will be a guiding light for future governments. It goes back to when we were kids and our grandparents were telling us that when times were good, we should salt a bit away. That way, when times get bad, we would have a bit more to spend to keep going.
The Liberals actually really spent when times were good, and when times were bad, they really spent a lot. In 2015 the federal debt was about $600 billion, and in seven short years we are at the point that we have doubled that debt to $1.2 trillion. We have not doubled it; the Liberal government has doubled it to $1.2 trillion so that the amount that each and every Canadian owes has doubled. It is unfortunate.
I understand the times. Yes, there was some money that went to helping Canadians tremendously. We obviously know that, but nevertheless, the numbers are the numbers.
There are a couple of things I want to point out. One thing is inflation. We hear this on the news. Ten years ago, we did not really hear about inflation. Even five years ago we did not hear about it. Now there are different excuses for inflation. In September, it was transitory. In October, it was transitory. In November, it was greedy corporations; it was their fault. In December, it was the supply chain. In January, it was the supply chain. Now, in February, it is Russia. Can members believe this? In a matter of six months, we have had at least four or five different reasons to blame for the inflation. That is an impossibility.
We know that when there is a limited or decreasing supply of goods and an increasing monetary supply, we are going to have inflation. Some have estimated a 40% increase in the monetary supply in this country in the last two years. The only people to blame for such increased spending are the people sitting across the hall here in the House of Commons. They are the only reason. They cannot blame Ukraine and they cannot blame it on being transitory. They have gotten rid of that term now because it was debunked.
The other thing I hear, more than time to time, is GDP growth. The finance minister has talked a number of times about GDP growth. However, to my mind and to many other people's minds, when inflation is close to 6%, the highest in 30 years, and when some economists say that if we calculate inflation as it was calculated 40 years ago or 30 years ago, inflation is over 10%, how can they claim to have GDP growth of 4.2% in 2021? It is all new monetary supply and it is all inflation.
The Liberals even have, in their fall economic statement, a term called “GDP inflation”. That should put to bed all of the finance minister's claims about robust GDP growth. In fact, there are so many warning points and warning signs in the fall economic update about headwinds and what if this happens and what if that happens that this fall economic statement is what I would call priced to perfection. Anything less than perfection is going to produce a catastrophic result.
Let us look at what is going on right now. Brent crude this morning is $113 U.S. That was not in any projections. It is doubtful that GDP growth will be as high as it was in 2021. That will reduce government revenues. There are a lot of issues with this fall economic update.
The Bank of Canada claims to have stopped quantitative easing. That is great, but it has not started on quantitative tightening. What the bank calls it now is “quantitative reinvestment”. We are creating all these new terms for things, and really it is just fooling around with the money supply.
If we go back in time and really look at money and the Bretton Woods agreement, which came about during the Second World War and remained in place until the gold standard was abandoned in 1971, money was actually backed by something. Money is just debt. That is all money is today, and it is unfortunate that the government of the day does not respect money. It does not respect the taxes that people pay.
I saw an article just the other night, maybe last night. It was in the Toronto Star, so we know it must be true if they are reporting it on the Liberals. It said what the government was spending on Harrington Lake, and I could not believe it. It was something like $14 million that has been spent on the old property at Harrington Lake, and we know the Prime Minister built a new place at Harrington Lake for $9 million. The government has also spent $3.6 million on the Rideau Hall property, the Governor General's property.
I am not going to go into all that, because in the big scheme of things we are talking about trillions and billions of dollars, but this just goes to show the lack of respect for the taxpayer dollar and for the small business owners who have been grinding it out and grinding it out. They see that and have a lot of unique words that they use when they describe how much they dislike the spending.
As for gold, in the sixties the government owned 1,000 tonnes of gold. By 2003 there were only 3.4 tonnes of gold left, and we know who was mainly in government during that time. The Government of Canada sold the last of its gold in 2016, as far as I know, and it sold it at $1,245 an ounce. If we look today at the price of gold, we see it is almost $2,000 U.S. an ounce.
There are a lot of talented Liberal members of Parliament. I would not dispute that, and we hear of the Prime Minister's golden touch or Midas touch, but I would argue that pretty much everything the Prime Minister touches is the opposite of the Midas touch or the gold touch. Pretty much everything he touches is a disaster. We can even look at selling the gold. He sold low in a good time, so I do not know about that.
Another one is the green bond. That is in the economic update. In my riding I have the largest nuclear facility in the world, Bruce Power. It is a huge job creator. It generates baseload power for the Ontario grid, and unbelievably, to the shame of the environment minister, nuclear power was left out. There are so many jobs in Liberal-held ridings in Toronto and around the GTA that I cannot believe the members in that caucus would go for that. I would be furious.
The idea of a green bond is to reduce emissions. In the province of Ontario, there were smog days 20 years ago. Anybody who lives around southwestern Ontario remembers those days. Those are gone, and it is because of nuclear energy. To put nuclear power in with tobacco and all the other things they put it in with is really an insult, and I have heard from a lot of nuclear power employees who are quite outraged by that.
Another issue is around COVID tests and vaccinations. I would like the government to table how many vaccines have been thrown out in the last six months. I estimate the value in the tens of millions of dollars and maybe the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The other thing is COVID tests. This is another disaster. Maybe it will come up in questions.
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