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Results: 1 - 15 of 935
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I note that the theme of the parliamentary secretary's intervention today really departed from the themes of some of the other speeches we have been hearing and really focused on hope, celebrating and trying to showcase some of the incredible successes. I am curious if he can explain why he chose to do that.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I actually emphasize with the comments made by the leader of the Green Party, but the reality is that I am old enough to remember the last fall economic statement, which the Conservatives would not let us vote on until well into the spring, almost the summer of this year. It was the fall economic statement of 2021 that we could not get to vote on until almost the end of the session last spring.
The reality is that we are seeing game after game being played by the Conservatives, and it is all being done at the expense not of members of the House who are sitting here having to debate them, but of those who will benefit the most, those who are struggling the most right now and who will benefit from these supports that will roll out.
I am wondering if the minister could comment on who is really suffering the most due to the delay tactics that are being caused by the Conservatives.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have heard the Bloc, on a number of occasions, bring up what the member and some other members of the House have brought up. It is the presumption that the federal government arbitrarily decided that those who are over 75 would get more supports than those between 65 and 75. In reality, when we look at the data, it shows that once people hit the age of 75, their costs increase, their savings decline and their pensions are no longer indexed to inflation at the same rate.
The data shows that seniors over the age of 75 need more supports. It is not the first program we have developed in this country that is based on need. What we did when we brought in this program was look at where the need was and deliver it to those Canadians.
Why is it so difficult for the Bloc to accept the fact that the data shows people over 75 need more supports?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I recognize that when you said you were going to cut me off, a number of Conservatives clapped, so I will try to make the four minutes worth their while.
It is unfortunate that, once again, we are in a situation where the government has had to bring in time allocation on very important legislation to serve Canadians and to bring resources to them, in particular those who are in the most need. I will reflect on the fact that 38 members of the Conservative Party have spoken to the bill. Twenty-six Liberal members, six NDP members, 10 Bloc members and one Green member have also spoken to it. The bill, now back to the House at report stage, has had a number of interventions at the various different times. To somehow suggest that democracy is not in full effect as it relates to the bill would be extremely disingenuous.
We all know what happened to the fall economic statement of 2021. When we tried to act in good faith with the Conservatives to continually bring that bill forward so they could have more and more discussion on it, we never ended getting to vote on it until May or June of 2022. It is entirely fair to assume that the same thing would probably happen again this time, and therefore bringing in time allocation was certainly a requirement.
I want to talk specifically about something I am hearing quite a bit in the House, particularly on this legislation. This is the discussion about inflation. There is no doubt that inflation is real, that it is hurting Canadians and that it is difficult. It is creating a lot of uncertainties in the lives of people and in the marketplace. However, the problem is that Conservatives want to talk about inflation as though this is a problem that is isolated only to Canada. The reality of the situation is that inflation is happening globally right now.
We could try to accredit a number of things to it. We could say that it was the various attempts of G7 or OECD countries to support their constituents during the very difficult times of the pandemic. We could say it is about the war in Ukraine. There are a lot of different contributing factors to it.
However, it is happening throughout the world. In fact, in the G7 countries, Canada has the third-lowest inflation rate. The only two countries lower than Canada are Japan and France. Every other country has a higher inflationary rate. Of course that brings little comfort to those who are trying to deal with inflation, but it is important to reflect on the fact that this is a global issue and something that citizens throughout the world are trying to tackle.
This bill is specifically about that. It is about trying to make life more affordable for Canadians, in particular those who are struggling the most. When we think about things like the Canada housing benefit, or the dental benefit that was previously adopted, or the GST credit or some of the various other measures that the government has brought in specifically to help low-income people, we know those measures will have very little impact on inflation. We know they are right measures to take right now to support constituents throughout Canada.
I look forward to continuing afterward question period, and taking some questions at that time as well.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order that you somewhat addressed. You made very clear what a point of order is, and then the member continued to go on about something that was not a point of order. There has to be a point that you intervene when it relates to matters like that.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, when I left off just before question period, I was reflecting on the fact that there is too much attention being paid by the Conservatives in the House to inflation only as it relates to domestic inflation. They are not considering the whole picture of inflation being a global issue, something that countries throughout the world are, quite frankly, dealing with right now.
Canada has the third-lowest inflation rate in the G7. Of course, that is little comfort to those who are experiencing the effects of inflation right now, but that is exactly why we are debating this particular piece of legislation today. This is legislation to help those who are feeling the impacts of inflation the most with trying to get through this very difficult time.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, that is the first time somebody has ever said that everyone wants to hear what I have to say. I certainly thank you for those kind words.
This bill is bringing in measures that are specifically designed to assist those most impacted by inflation right now. Most important is to look at the impact of the measures we are talking about in this bill in support of Canadians, those who need it the most. It is well documented that the impact of those measures on inflation is next to nothing.
I think it is very important that we reflect on exactly what some of those measures are. For starters, the one measure in this bill I am very happy to see, because I think it is long overdue, has to do with the elimination of student loan interest from the federal portion. I know it has been said in the House that we do not have a student loan problem. I would disagree with that. I suggest that is exactly the opposite of the truth because we do have a problem when it comes to education.
The reality is that decades ago, when my parents were in their teens and early twenties, all one needed to get a job that could provide security to build a family and buy a house was a high school diploma. By and large, one could find stable employment to provide for oneself and one's family. That is not the case any more.
Now, one needs much more than that. One quite often needs a university degree, to be highly skilled in a trade or, in some cases, have completed a masters or postgraduate work. The difference between now and then is that secondary school is covered through taxes. It is covered through property taxes and taxes that individuals pay to support the school system. To get to the point of being able to provide and start a family back then was free. Now we are in a situation where education is a lot more expensive. The cost of getting to that place of providing for and building a family is much more expensive.
When we start talking about things like eliminating the interest on student debt, I think it is absolutely important because it moves us toward being able to provide the education that people need to get stable employment. That employment can be used to build a family, buy a house and so on. From my perspective, we ultimately have to get to a point where either community college or university for Canadian citizens is almost as easy to access as high school is because it is through that that people can experience the quality of life that previous generations, like that of my parents, were able to experience.
I really think that this piece of legislation is absolutely key right now. We need to get this through the House. I am glad to see that we are at the final stage of this. The reality is that there are Canadians out there waiting on this legislation to be passed so they can start to get some of the supports in it. We know full well that the House could end up debating this fall economic statement until May or June, just like the Conservatives forced us to do with the last fall economic statement. We have had numerous speakers on this: 38 Conservatives, six NDP, 10 Bloc, one Green and 26 Liberals. After all these speakers, I cannot understand how anybody in the House would possibly think that continuing debate on this piece of legislation would be more important than getting the supports the legislation provides to Canadians.
I am glad to see that there is time allocation on this. We need to get to a point where we can have a vote on this. Let us have our voices heard through that vote, and if it passes, get the supports to Canadians. There are Canadians out there suffering right now who need these supports.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I will be completely honest. I am not fully versed in the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report, but I would say that every member of Parliament gets the information from the government at the exact same time.
The member assumes that I am going to somehow have access to that before him, but that would be against the rules of the House. I am allowed to see what is tabled when he is allowed to see it. He knows that. To suggest that there is some kind of information that I have that he does not have is simply not the truth.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I think that the member brings up a very good point. It is unfortunately the reality of the place where we are now. It is an inevitable cycle. Conservatives are just using every single tactic they have, not only to slow down legislation that they are against, but also to slow down every piece of legislation of the government.
It is almost as though they want to force the government to use time allocation so they can say we are being undemocratic. The cycle continues so they can say that we did it 50 times, 60 times, 70 times and so on. Perhaps the member is on to something, in that we need to look at our Standing Orders and how we deal with this kind of stuff.
I will be completely honest. Before I got here, when I used to hear of Stephen Harper bringing in time allocation and terminating debate, I used to think it was an egregious thing to happen, until I realized, when I am sitting here, exactly how this place functions.
When Canadians actually figure out how this place functions, I know they will understand why it is necessary to do this and why it is necessary to end the games.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, the member makes an excellent point.
Back in the sixties and seventies, one could graduate from high school in Kingston and go and work at DuPont or Alcan. One could have an entire career there, have a pension at the end and have benefits with that pension. The reality is that those jobs are becoming fewer and fewer.
We do not see the ability for individuals to have one job. I think that the average person now has seven or eight jobs throughout their employment time.
To answer his question, what is important now is that the government needs to recognize that the labour force has changed. We cannot rely on these companies to be providing these pensions and long-term strategies for retirement. It is becoming more onerous, quite frankly, for the government to provide those strategies and to make sure that people are prepared for their retirement because the opportunities this member mentioned, and that I mentioned at the beginning of answering the question, just do not exist anymore.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I cannot believe the way the member ended his speech, by saying the government is the reason Canada is lagging in terms of electric vehicles.
Does it not have anything to do with the way the opposition has acted over the last seven years? We are talking about a political party that does not even believe climate change is real. We are talking about a political party that at every single opportunity goes on and on about extracting more fossil fuels from the ground, and now the member is trying to suggest that, suddenly, Conservatives are going to be the champions of electric vehicles. It is absolutely ludicrous to hear that.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, on that point, would the member not also agree that perhaps the Conservatives like to extrapolate and overdramatize a situation? The reality is that the carbon tax is not increasing until April 1, even though the Conservatives would have people believe it is happening tomorrow, and it is not going to triple, triple, triple until 2032.
Would the member like to comment on the fact that the Conservatives seem to over-embellish the truth as it relates to the narrative they are trying to purport?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, for a rudderless ship, I would say we are doing pretty well. The reality is that even when we look at something like Canada's inflationary rate among G7 partners, we have the second best next to Japan. When we look at economic growth, before the pandemic, out of the G7 partners, we were the fastest-growing economy. We are the best positioned to come out of the pandemic. The reality of the situation is, despite the fact that Conservatives might not like to acknowledge it, we are doing quite well, especially compared to our peer countries.
Would the member at least acknowledge the fact that, looking at Canada compared to some of the other countries we compare ourselves to regularly, we are doing a pretty good job?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I heard the member say there is nowhere near enough charging capacity for electric vehicles. I realize we are both from Ontario, so I would encourage her to travel a little east into Quebec. She will see there is more than enough. Quebec has done an incredible job of building up its infrastructure. Ontario had that opportunity but suddenly abandoned it five years ago when Doug Ford was elected.
The reality of the situation is that this is about political will, and the Conservatives, at least provincially in Ontario, do not have the political will. What we have seen in Quebec is the exact opposite, and I am wondering if the member would like to comment on that.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will focus on the first half of that speech, and in particular the member's criticism of spending.
The reality is that the member is absolutely right when she talks about the fact that there are hard times now, and she is probably right that there are going to be more hard times before things get better. At times it will get harder.
Why are the Conservatives opposed to things that would genuinely help those who need it the most, like dental care for kids under 12 whose family income falls under a certain threshold, like GST top-ups, like one-time rental assistance? These are the kinds of measures that economists say will not have an inflationary impact. I am curious as to why the member and Conservatives are against those kinds of measures, when she, by her own words, recognizes the hardships people are going through.
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