Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-06-19 18:43 [p.29428]
Mr. Speaker, although I am anything but a lawyer, my constituents and I are very concerned about long delays in the legal system. I see some major reforms in Bill C-75.
I would like to know if the minister thinks we held enough consultations. I believe this is a very important bill, and I want to be sure everything has been done properly.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-06-04 14:11 [p.28495]
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to remind the House of some of the things our government has accomplished in my riding since taking office.
First, the hazardous wreck of the Kathryn Spirit was quickly and safely dismantled by our government.
Businesses, organizations and municipalities received nearly $8 million, not counting regional contributions and the doubling of the federal gas tax fund for municipal infrastructure.
Our Canada child benefit put over $6 million a month back in the pockets of some 11,000 families, tax free.
We organized approximately 30 round tables and consultations with various stakeholders and created our youth council, which is looking into the issue of climate change.
Lastly, I sponsored a bill that is currently before the Senate to change the name of my riding to the more accurate Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
A lot has been accomplished, but there is still work to be done.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-05-30 14:59 [p.28302]
Mr. Speaker, it is essential that we advance gender equality and invest in women to grow the middle class, strengthen our economy and build a healthy future in Canada and around the world.
However, governments cannot do this work alone. It requires multiple sectors, industries and communities to bring about change.
Could the Minister for Women and Gender Equality please inform the House of the work that is being done by our government to mobilize all stakeholders to achieve gender equality?
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-05-07 16:19 [p.27492]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my opposition colleague for his very interesting speech.
I am very happy to hear that the Conservative Party generally acknowledges that climate change exists, that it is a big problem and that we need to find a way to fix it. I think the debate is about which approach is best.
I agree that there are various approaches, and I am far from an expert on this issue. Quebec, British Columbia and other places like California have had a carbon exchange for many years. This is clearly a very market-based approach. It seems like the approach that best aligns with the Conservative ideology, which is true. That said, another approach is to put a price on pollution. In any case, we need to find a solution. That is what Canadians want.
Could my colleague tell us what he thinks is the best way to combat climate change?
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-05-07 16:54 [p.27496]
Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are very proud of our leadership on climate change. For one thing, we have a carbon exchange, but people want us to do much more. We are very happy with the electric vehicle rebate program.
Can my colleague tell us more about that program, which is now available to all Canadians?
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-05-02 14:08 [p.27294]
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to share two pieces of news concerning Les Jardins-de-Napierville, which is highly regarded for being Quebec's top market gardening region.
The Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec has named Gerry Van Winden, the CEO of Veg Pro International, in Sherrington, its “agri-food personality of the year”. The largest fresh vegetable producer in the country has made a remarkable impact on the sector by investing in Quebec, British Columbia and Florida.
The region has also been selected to be home to a Laval University research chair that will be working on curbing the degradation of organic soil, also known as muck soils. Fourteen market gardening companies are taking part in the project, in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Government of Quebec.
This $11-million investment will help Les Jardins-de-Napierville, which is located in my riding, Châteauguay—Lacolle, remain the pantry of Quebec.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-04-03 18:36 [p.26644]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the Senate public bill, Bill S-243.
Before I begin, I would like to thank Senator Downe for his work in both highlighting the importance of better understanding Canada's tax gap and the fight against tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Rest assured, the government shares the senator's concerns and understands the importance of both issues.
Early in her mandate in April 2016, the Minister of National Revenue publicly committed to releasing a series of reports that would provide detailed information about Canada's tax gap for the first time ever. In fact, from an overall tax gap perspective, few countries produce and publish tax gaps for all of their major tax categories. The OECD has stated that, as of 2015, only eight countries measured and published the major components of their tax gaps. Canada was proud to join this group of eight starting in 2016. With this information, the government is able to report on the difference between the taxes that would be paid if all obligations were met and taxes that are actually paid and collected. It is important for Canadians to have an awareness of Canada's tax gap and an appreciation of how evading taxes cheats us all.
Canada is now one of the leaders in the tax gap estimation among OECD countries. For example, the CRA was the first tax administration to use underground economy statistics to estimate the personal income tax gap and the first to publish an estimate of the OECD concept of tax assured. As the minister indicated, this tax gap information serves as an important tool that helps build the confidence of Canadians about the fairness of the tax system.
Having an understanding of the tax gap helps CRA identify areas of higher risk for non-compliance. In turn, the CRA can allocate resources where the risks are highest. Generally speaking, tax gap information can provide tax administrations with insights into the overall health of the tax system and indicate the levels of non-compliance with tax laws.
The agency has adopted a progressive approach to estimating Canada's tax gap. Its approach involves taking the time to develop appropriate, well-founded research methods that work in the Canadian context. The method varies depending on the type of tax. Sometimes, a single tax may require the use of more than one assessment method, as I am sure members understand.
I am pleased to announce that the agency's work has resulted in the release of four reports on tax gaps in Canada. A fifth report on the incorporated business tax gap will be published later this year.
The CRA released the first report in June 2016. It was a conceptual study that defined the tax gap. The study presented the challenges involved in estimating the tax gap and it provided details about how tax gap estimates can be used in administering taxes. The study also described tax gap estimations in other countries.
A second report, published in June 2016, provided an estimate for the goods and services tax and harmonized sales tax gap. With support from the Department of Finance, this report estimated the tax gap to be $4.9 billion in 2014, with the federal component accounting for $2.9 billion.
The third report, published in June 2017, estimated the domestic personal income tax gap to be about $8.7 billion in 2014. This amount included both the tax gap related to the underground economy, $6.5 billion, and payment of taxes, $2.2 billion.
Most recently, the fourth report, which was released in June 2018, focused on the international tax gap and compliance results for the federal personal income tax system. It estimated the international personal income tax gap to be between $800 million and $3 billion in 2014.
I will take a moment to highlight in greater detail some of the information that was brought to light as a result of the release of the fourth report on the international personal income tax gap.
In the fourth report, the CRA worked to define how it measures the international tax gap. Essentially, the report sets out to help Canadians understand our international tax obligations. The report explains Canada's reporting obligations and voluntary compliance, as well as reports on audit activities related to international non-compliance. It also estimates the tax gap related to offshore investment income, in addition to describing the end results of the CRA's compliance tools, activities and results.
Defining the issue was crucial to helping Canadians understand the international tax gap. Without a doubt, this is a complex issue, and it can be extremely difficult to measure non-compliance internationally given the sophisticated methods some individuals use to hide their income and assets.
It is also important to note that Canada was recognized as the first of the G7 countries to publish its study of the international tax gap using a new method. The method was developed using a collaborative approach that included offshore financial and banking data to estimate tax loss due to unreported investments hidden offshore.
Moreover, the CRA works closely with experts and international partners from the United Kingdom, United States, Denmark and Australia to develop robust methodologies to assess the different components of the tax gap. As I mentioned, international tax schemes are more sophisticated and more complex than ever. I cannot overemphasize the importance of strong international relations and partnerships to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance on a global scale.
Canada is well regarded for our contributions internationally. We take the opportunity to share expertise and learn from the experience of other countries to understand the global intricacies of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. In fact, Canada is one of more than 65 nations that send out and receive country-by-country reports. Shared automatically, these reports provide countries with access to information about multinational corporations' activities in every country in which they operate. Once analyzed, this information provides great insight into the operations of large companies.
The common reporting standard is another tool used to gain access to information on Canadians' overseas bank accounts. With this system, Canada and close to 100 other countries exchange financial account information. This information helps identify instances where Canadians hide money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes, which is a key concern shared by Senator Downe, the government and indeed all Canadians.
I want Senator Downe and all parliamentarians to know that the government is working hard to study and release information on Canada's tax gap. This is a key part of the CRA's commitment to a fair tax system that meets the needs of all Canadians.
Information collected to assess Canada's tax gap allows the CRA to skilfully target our compliance activities and ultimately improve the integrity of the tax system.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-04-02 14:05 [p.26582]
Mr. Speaker, our region is known as a hotbed of activity for high-level athletes. One such athlete is Georges St-Pierre, who recently retired as Canada's most decorated mixed martial artist. GSP, as he is commonly known, is originally from Saint-Isidore.
Many consider him to be the best-known Canadian athlete worldwide, with a record of 26 wins and just 2 losses as a UFC fighter and nine consecutive welterweight titles.
After being bullied in elementary school, this Canadian icon certainly managed to find his rightful place. Châteauguay—Lacolle is a place where everyone can live up to their full potential. GSP has always been a noble ambassador for combat sports, fighting clean both in and out of the octagon.
Enjoy your retirement, GSP, and thank you for putting us on the world stage.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-03-01 11:02 [p.26011]
Mr. Speaker, as Black History Month draws to a close, I want to honour the memory of Ernest Tucker, the first black reporter hired at the CBC. After a brilliant career as a journalist, professor and author, he passed away in January in Châteauguay. However, his career was not without its challenges.
Initially unable to get hired full time, he took jobs in Bermuda and the Toronto Telegram before joining CBC Radio in Toronto. It was then, alone in the newsroom at lunchtime on November 22, 1963, that he broke the tragic story of John F. Kennedy's assassination. For this, he was first reprimanded and then promoted, as the CBC was praised for his quick reporting.
Eventually, he moved to Chateauguay and taught at John Abbott College in Montreal. There, he mentored black students while publishing Lost Boundaries, a novel about police harassment of black Montrealers.
His courage and inspiring advocacy are appreciated by all of us.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-28 21:20 [p.25980]
Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of listening to the two speeches from my Bloc Québécois colleagues. We all share the same love and affection for our province. We can also have some very intense discussions sometimes. However, we do not have to agree on how to fix issues in our province. The same is true in any group of individuals.
I have a question for my colleague. Does he think that if the SNC-Lavalin headquarters had been anywhere other than Montreal, for example, in Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary, our two colleagues in the opposition would have reacted the same way?
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-26 12:26 [p.25783]
Mr. Speaker, I am impressed by my colleagues' speeches and by the fact that the amendments came from every party.
I would like to ask my colleague which measures involve the correctional officers and health care professionals who work directly with the inmates.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-26 13:27 [p.25791]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak in the House and to participate in today's debate on Bill C-83.
This piece of legislation will transform our corrections system. Ultimately, we want to promote safety and security, both in and out of our federal institutions. The bill also prioritizes rehabilitation as a key factor in achieving this objective.
The key innovation in Bill C-83 is the proposal to create structured intervention units, or SIUs. These SIUs would be found in every prison. Some inmates are sometimes too dangerous or disruptive to be housed safely in the general prison population. Currently, these inmates are placed in administrative segregation. Federal inmates placed in administrative segregation can spend up to 22 hours a day in their cells and have very limited interaction with other inmates.
Bill C-83 offers a more effective solution for everyone involved. Safety will always be the top priority. Prisons are safer for those who live and work there when inmates have access to programs, mental health care, and other interventions they need. Inmates who benefit from these interventions are more likely to reintegrate into society safely when they leave the institution.
The government's proposed solution in Bill C-83 is to eliminate administrative segregation and replace it with structured intervention units. These units will be safe and separate from the general population to ensure compliance with safety requirements. They will also be designed in such a way that inmates who are placed there will receive requisite interventions, programs and treatments. Inmates in structured intervention units will be allowed to leave their cells for at least four hours a day instead of the two hours allowed under the current system. It should be noted that the two-hour period is currently established by policy, not by law. Bill C-83 would enshrine the four-hour minimum in law.
Inmates who are placed in SIUs will have the opportunity to have at least two hours of meaningful interaction with other people, including corrections staff, other compatible inmates, visitors, chaplains and seniors. The objective of these reforms is to ensure that inmates in SIUs are able to reintegrate into the general prison population as soon as possible.
Bill C-83 has been thoroughly analyzed at every step of the parliamentary process thus far. Members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security went through it with a fine-tooth comb, and some useful amendments were made at the end of the committee review period based on the testimony of a broad range of stakeholders.
Bill C-83 was already a robust and effective piece of legislation when it was introduced, but after being vigorously debated and carefully examined, it is now even better. It is important to point out that the bill that was sent back to us includes amendments from all of the parties that proposed amendments.
I disagree with the suggestion made in debate that it is somehow a bad thing that the bill was amended in reaction to comments from the public and parliamentarians.
I am proud to support a government that welcomes constructive, thoughtful input and that respects the role members from all parties play in the legislative process.
The purpose of most of the amendments to Bill C-83 is to ensure that structured intervention units, SIUs, work as intended.
For example, some witnesses were concerned that time outside of the cell might be made available in the middle of the night, when inmates are unlikely to benefit from it. The member for Montarville added the requirement that time outside the cell be provided between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Other witnesses wondered whether mandatory interaction with others might be provided through a door or a meal slot.
To address that concern, the member for Toronto—Danforth added a provision stating that every reasonable effort shall be made to ensure that human contact takes place face to face and that a record of exceptions is kept.
In response to concerns about Correctional Service Canada making inappropriate use of the provision stating that time outside the cell can be denied in exceptional circumstances, the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore added a list of specific examples, including fires and natural disasters, to clarify the interpretation of that provision.
Amendments put forward by the member for Toronto—Danforth in committee and by the member for Oakville North—Burlington at report stage will strengthen the review process to ensure that placement in SIUs is subject to robust internal and external oversight.
All of these measures will help ensure that the new SIUs are used as intended.
We also accepted various amendments put forward by the members for Brampton North, Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, Beloeil—Chambly and Saanich—Gulf Islands. I thank them all for their contributions.
We all want our institutions and communities to be safer, and we want Canadians to feel and be safe. The successful rehabilitation and reintegration of people serving a federal sentence is essential for achieving our shared objective of enhancing public safety.
By enabling inmates who need to be separated from the general inmate population to spend more time outside their cells, have more access to mental health services, and receive more rehabilitation interventions, Bill C-83 is a big step in the right direction.
Again, I want to thank my hon. colleagues for their contributions at each step of the legislative process so far, and I urge them all to join me in enthusiastically supporting this bill.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-26 13:37 [p.25792]
Mr. Speaker, far from parliamentarians, the stakeholders and the Canadian public being silenced, I am actually quite taken with the amount of consultation that went into this legislation, which is long overdue for a problem that was putting in jeopardy not only the people that were incarcerated but also those who work with them.
I have something of a background in community and social work service and I had many colleagues who worked in the prison system. I was very much taken with how they were able to work in such difficult conditions with so few tools. It is one thing to talk and it is another thing to take action. To come forward with a piece of legislation such as Bill C-83, which meets those demands while at the same time coming with $448 million in investments, including in infrastructure and the kinds of tools that would keep people safer within and outside of the prison system, shows that our government is taking action where it counts and that people have been heard.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-26 13:40 [p.25792]
Mr. Speaker, I understand that my colleague is very concerned about the problem of administrative segregation.
After reading Bill C-83, I think that structured intervention units are a major step forward in resolving this problem. They will ensure that inmates have access to human contact and appropriate interventions that promote their rehabilitation.
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Brenda Shanahan Profile
2019-02-20 14:05 [p.25547]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the courage and contribution of a remarkable woman from Saint-Rémi named Sylvie Boyer.
Sylvie is a mother, dairy farmer and dedicated volunteer who is slowly but surely being recognized for her commitment to mental and physical health. In 2014, after her two children suffered head traumas, Sylvie made it her mission to improve the well-being of people with brain injuries and people with disabilities by establishing the first multi-purpose complex dedicated to that cause in Montérégie.
This initiative, called Vents d'espoir, or winds of hope, is steadily garnering new funding. The project is off to a good start, with the activity centre already up and running, but Sylvie and her team recently got a little extra help in the form of a $50,000 prize for winning Pioneer's “Here's to Hometowns” contest.
Congratulations to Vents d'espoir. Let us hope for more good news to come.
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