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Results: 1 - 15 of 209
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General recently released a report, and the results are in: The federal government does not know if it is reducing chronic homelessness. Five years have gone by since the launch of the federal government's national housing strategy, yet there is no accountability for billions of dollars spent, while more and more people are living in tents and cars. This is unacceptable, and it is only getting worse right across Canada.
The federal government must develop a clear strategy with timelines and targets for ending chronic homelessness, including a definition with measurable targets. The Liberals' plan to announce large amounts of money with no follow-up and zero accountability is not working, and it is failing Canadians. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has already spent $4.5 billion and committed $9 billion more to tackle homelessness, but cannot conclude if any of those funds have made a measurable difference.
Canadians need leadership. Canadians need a plan. Canadians need homes built now. They cannot afford more of this wasteful and bad bureaucracy from the Liberal government.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, constituents in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon are happy that the Government of Canada listened to their petition and amended the air transport agreement with the Government of India.
The petitioners are again calling on the Government of Canada to establish direct flights between Amritsar and Canadian destinations. It makes economic sense and it makes societal sense. It is good for Canada and it is good for India. Let us get it done.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, on page 61 of the fall economic statement there is a line item for $135 million. It is indicated that the money is being allocated for temporary lodgings for asylum seekers in need of shelter.
Indeed, during the COVID–19 pandemic, the Government of Canada rightfully shut down Roxham Road and other illegal points of entry.
Why is the Government of Canada opening up these illegal points of entry and putting $135 million forward for people who jump the immigration queue in Canada?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of Canada's number one riding, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. I am pleased to share some initial thoughts on the fall economic statement.
The economic update released by the costly coalition fails to address the cost-of-living crisis created by the out of control spending government. The Prime Minister's inflationary deficits, to the tune of half a trillion dollars, have sent more dollars chasing fewer goods. His inflationary scheme is hiking up the price of groceries, gas and home heating. Canadians have never paid more in taxes, because of the Prime Minister, and have received less.
To reduce inflation and improve the cost-of-living crisis that Canadians are living with each day, the Conservatives had two very simple and clear demands: first, stop new taxes; and, second, stop new spending. None of our demands were met in the fall economic statement. For that reason, the Conservatives will not support this irresponsible economic statement put forward by the government.
The cost of government spending right now is driving up the cost of living and Canadians have had enough. As the member for Thornhill just mentioned, we have a government that is focused on the power of government, of extending the reach of government. The Conservatives want to put power back into the hands of Canadians, back into the hands of people who can create things, produce things, pay taxes and be responsible citizens. However, because the government continues to spend more, to infringe upon our rights and into our day-to-day lives, it is taking away the power of people to live the type of life they want to live. I am opposed to that.
Before I go on, I would be remiss if I did not mention one line item in the fall economic statement that relates solely to my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, and that is the promise made in June of this year regarding the $77 million put forward in good faith by the Government of Canada to rebuild the community of Lytton. I have yet to receive an answer other than to say that by transferring the funds from Pacific Economic Development to Infrastructure Canada, the village of Lytton would have more flexibility.
What I am concerned about, and what I hope I get an answer very soon from the government on, is why it has decided to extend that unique and historical payment over a five-year term. Right now, my community is without a village office and some core services, and debris removal is still taking place. The constituents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon need that $77 million and the flexibility to build in the upcoming spring. Having that money spent over five years, I am afraid, will delay even further the necessary construction work that needs to take place.
Lytton has been waiting long enough. The government came forward in good faith with a response. Let us move forward and let us get that money to Lytton sooner rather than later.
Turning back to the fall economic statement and the other measures included within it, I would be remiss if I did not mention a few points regarding small businesses.
One key item that has broad support across the country is addressing credit card transaction fees. Canadian small businesses pay some of the highest credit card transactions in the world. To the government's credit, in budget 2021, it agreed to address this issue. In budget 2022, it agreed again to address this issue. Now, in the fall economic statement of 2022, it says that if the private sector does not address this issue by December then it will do something about it.
While small businesses are struggling with a very challenging recovery in a post-pandemic economy, the government is dragging its feet on an area that there is broad consensus that needs action right away. My point is that it should take action now to get this problem fixed and help small businesses.
The second point I would like to address is CEBA loans. Over the last number of weeks, industry associations and small business organizations have been coming to Ottawa and speaking about the challenges they are facing.
I met a number of restaurant owners from Vancouver who are dealing with some very big challenges. They have said that in December next year, they are going to have to start repaying their loans. Right now, if they break it out on a month-by-month basis, they are going to have to pay approximately $10,000 to the Government of Canada to meet their loan payments. Small business owners want to pay back that money. They took it in good faith and took responsibility for that, but they asking the Government of Canada to give them some more flexibility, perhaps extending the timeline.
I mention this in the context of what is taking place in British Columbia. On the front page of the Vancouver Sun just a few weeks ago, it said there was lawlessness in Vancouver, that Canadians felt a sense of lawlessness. Property crime has never been higher. Businesses are not only dealing with smaller revenues and labour shortages, but also with property crime that is impacting their ability to produce goods and create money, like they were before the pandemic. My plea is that the government extend CEBA business loans and give our small business owners a break. We all need them, and we need to stand behind them.
The third item I would like to address is the ever-ongoing housing crisis. In budget 2022 and during the election campaign, the government talked in grandiose terms about a housing accelerator fund that would help the private sector build 100,000 new homes by next year. The government is not talking about that anymore because it has not done anything about it. It has done nothing to address red tape or work with municipalities to get housing built. We all need new housing, even in this affordability crunch, that will reduce the cost of living for Canadians. We all agree in the House of Commons that we need more housing. Let us move to do it right now. The government is not, and that is a failure.
The fourth point I would like to make is with regard to tax increases. On January 1, small business owners are going to have to pay more taxes to the Government of Canada. I recently mentioned that a small business owner with, say, 15 employees making over $60,000 will be paying over $20,000 every year to the Government of Canada just on employment insurance premiums. At a time when everyone in the country knows that small businesses are holding on by a thread, why is the government choosing to increase employment taxes on them right now? That is irresponsible and it will not help wealth creation or job creation in our country.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the elephant in the room, and that continues to be overspending by the government. Why is this a problem? It is a problem because in the very near future we will be paying more for debt than we are for health care. That is a sad reality for a country as wealthy and as prosperous as Canada. We have a health care crisis and we need to put more money into health care, not into debt payments. However, we cannot do that because the government overspent when it did not need to, and that is hurting Canadians across the country.
The final point I would like to make relates to government operations. In the fall economic statement, there is a special line item fund for $135 million to provide shelter to asylum seekers coming into Canada. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada shut down the illegal crossings across Canada. Why did it open them up again and why is it putting forward $135 million?
People across the world want to come to Canada, want to be productive citizens and want to have a fair chance to do what my grandparents did and what many members of the House of Commons did, which is to make a fair go of it in Canada, to pay taxes and be a productive member of society. However, with this $135 million, the government is saying that asylum seekers can break the rules and it will still support them. Shame on the government for not taking real action to address our border crisis and support the people who have followed the rules and who have waited for years, in good faith, to have the opportunity just to become a Canadian. We can do better.
We also need to address the brokenness of the federal public service. I was near the Service Canada office in my riding very recently and about 60 people were lined up outside. They could not access government services in a timely manner. Despite the growth in the public service by 24% since 2015, despite more spending than every other government in the history of Canada combined, people cannot get passports, seniors cannot get timely information on CPP and the guaranteed income supplement, and we cannot even give our hospitals enough money to give people the operations they need.
The government needs to get its house in order. This fall economic statement is irresponsible and, frankly, it is damaging to the well-being of Canada.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, the only hypocrisy in the House of Commons right now is for a government to call an unnecessary election during a pandemic, to make pie-in-the-sky promises about addressing housing, and a year later doing absolutely nothing.
Shame on the government for making it harder for young families to have a home. Shame on the government for spending too much. Shame on the government for putting so many Canadians into a position where they cannot afford their variable rate mortgages because the government overspent.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I will be very clear on this. The federal government needs to leave health care powers to the provinces, be it for British Columbia or Quebec. I would add that, if the Government of Canada were not such a big spender, there would be more money left for the provinces and for health care services.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, that is a very legitimate question.
On employment insurance, when an employer hires people, those employees are required to pay 1.6%, I believe, of their insurable earnings, up to $60,000, into the general revenue fund of Canada toward their employment insurance contributions. The employer is required to pay 1.4% of the employee contribution into the general revenue fund of Canada. The employee and the employer contributions are mandatory.
As it relates to the Canada pension plan, employees are required to pay a portion of their salary, up to a threshold, into the Canada pension plan. The employer is also required to pay a contribution into the Canada pension plan.
On employment insurance specifically, both Conservative and Liberal governments have taken money designated for employment insurance from the general revenue fund to pay for government deficits—
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, things just seem broken in Canada. Costs are skyrocketing, and everything from children's Tylenol to leafy green lettuce cannot be found on store shelves or in restaurants across Canada. We all know why: Producing, growing and manufacturing are getting harder and have never been more expensive.
Why will the Liberals not just give Canada a break and cancel their plan to triple taxes on gas, groceries and heating?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in the fall economic statement, there is a specific line item solely related to my riding, and that is “Support to Rebuild the Village of Lytton”. It indicates that funds previously allocated in June to PacifiCan are being transferred to Industry Canada.
Why has the government decided to delay the funding to Lytton over a period of what seems to be five years? When the announcement was made in June, there was no indication that the village of Lytton would receive anything but a lump sum payment from the Government of Canada. If we could have some clarification on that, it would be very helpful.
Second, when can the village of Lytton expect to receive the first payment through Infrastructure Canada?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in the fall economic statement there is a specific line item for Lytton, British Columbia, in my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. In June of this year, the Government of Canada made a special announcement, in which it put forward $77 million for the rebuild of Lytton. In the fall economic statement, the government extends the payment periods over five years and transfers the funds from the Pacific economic development agency to Infrastructure Canada.
In the consultations the NDP had with its coalition partners, was there any mention of the specific case of Lytton, and does the NDP agree that Lytton, British Columbia should get the money up front for the rebuild versus having it doled out over a five-year period?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, a recent survey from the CFIB indicated that 60% of small businesses would increase the paycheques of workers if the government reduced its tax burden. Instead, on January 1, this costly coalition is planning to increase payroll taxes for workers and employees.
My question is simple. Will the Liberal-NDP coalition government rescind its plan to increase payroll taxes on January 1 and give small business owners and their employees the break they need?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to table a petition on behalf of British Columbians who are concerned by the number of B.C.-bound salmon being caught by ever-expanding Alaskan fisheries. According to Watershed Watch, more than 15 million U.S. dollars' worth of sockeye, chinook and coho salmon are caught each year by Alaskan pink fisheries. With the Pacific Salmon Commission meeting early next year, these residents hope the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will raise their concerns.
The signatories call on the Government of Canada to demand a renegotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty to address the expansion of Alaskan fisheries and other interceptions of B.C.-bound Canadian salmon.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, during Halloween festivities in Vancouver, five people were stabbed. The drug trafficking epidemic continues to get worse in British Columbia. Property crime is skyrocketing and small businesses are losing money because people do not feel safe going to visit those businesses. Across B.C., there is a pervading sense of lawlessness that is hurting the social fabric of our communities.
When will the government finally deal with prolific offenders and end its soft-on-crime approach?
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure to rise on Bill S-5.
Five years ago, at the environment committee, as a parliamentary staffer, I took part in the extensive review that took place, I believe, in 2017. Indeed, the committee members at the time looked at the whole scope of this legislation, and I hope to provide some insight from my time on that committee during my remarks today.
While I am in support of Bill S-5 in the fact that it deals with the right to a healthy environment and some of the critical issues included in CEPA 1999, I would be remiss if I did not mention a juxtaposition of things happening in British Columbia at the moment.
Right now, we have a government that is purportedly concerned about the impacts of toxic substances on our lives, on our health and on the health of infants most importantly. Just yesterday I went to IKEA with my family and bought some new furniture. I know that furniture is subject to many of the schedule 1 toxic substances list, and those toxic chemicals are applied in the production and manufacturing of almost all consumer goods that we use in Canada. At the same time, though, the government has decided this year to decriminalize the use of fentanyl, which is killing hundreds, if not thousands of people every single year in my province.
Why do we care so much, on the one hand, about the application of CEPA 1999 and amending it to keep our communities safe from toxic substances, when at the same time the Government of Canada is effectively legalizing the use of a toxic substance that is killing people every day on the streets of Vancouver and throughout British Columbia?
Earlier in the debate today, a number of people spoke to the fact that the bill before us today does not address the full scope of changes that are needed to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. I would generally agree with this assumption and the concern put forward by members on all sides of the House. For example, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which is complicated legislation, overlaps and works in conjunction with other pieces of legislation that determine how we use products and substances in our day-to-day life, one example being the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. In the last number of years, we have seen a huge influx of electric vehicles coming into the marketplace. I think it would benefit consumers in Canada if we had updated standards on the use of the batteries, for example, that are used in these cars, and the impact it could have on the environment when they reach the end of their life cycle and have to be recycled.
Another example of things we could have been discussing is living organisms or biotechnology. I know many of my constituents are concerned about genetically modified organisms. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is the law that deals with such substances. We have not seen a major update despite major advancements in the technology regarding the products, food and even vaccines that we might ingest into our bodies that could be impacted by such provisions.
A big one is preventing water pollution from nutrients. One of the things the Department of Environment and Climate Change wanted to see addressed in 2016, when we went through the review, was the labelling of products such as bleach or other household goods that we use on a regular basis. We need to know the impact those products have when we put them down the drain, and what might happen off the coast of Victoria, for example, when they are dumped directly into the ocean. We need our Canadian Environmental Protection Act to be updated to know what we are putting into the ocean and the impact it has on marine life, especially in British Columbia.
As other members have mentioned, Bill S-5 does nothing to address marine pollution. I would be remiss if I did not ask why the government would not address that, because it is in the process of hiring hundreds of new people to work at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada on a marine protection plan for the Pacific coast. How in the world could it not update CEPA to work in conjunction with the billions of dollars it is purportedly spending on protecting B.C.'s coasts? It has the opportunity right here in the House of Commons.
Another big thing we could have done to address the environment is related to preventing pollution from the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material. One of my colleagues from Simcoe, the secondary breadbasket of Canada, put forward a bill to try to update some aspects of CEPA as it relates to recycled goods. We have so many goods on which we could a better job of making sure they are dealt with in a respectful way.
We also need to be very careful, and CEPA could be doing this, to look at the importation of goods and whether they meet Canadian standards. An updated CEPA could give consumers more confidence in the products they are using if the government had the courage to do the hard work of updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
Another key aspect of CEPA that could have been addressed is preventing and responding to emergencies. This is particularly important to the people of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. One of the provisions that Environment and Climate Change Canada asked for in the last review in 2017 was to allow for field research related to environmental emergencies, and for exemptions for urgent, time-sensitive issues of national security and remedial provisions. This was really relevant to my riding when it had to replace so many culverts as it related to fish-bearing streams. There were so many applications to our environmental laws in the context of an emergency that could have been addressed if the government wanted to do the hard work.
Another area the government could have addressed, which is probably the fifth or sixth already, is environmental protection related to federal activities on aboriginal lands. Aboriginal lands and reserves, in many cases, are not subject to provincial environmental laws, and we do not know about the application of federal laws or the overlay of the two jurisdictions. We could have used this opportunity in respect of UNDRIP. Instead of just talking about UNDRIP, we could have taken the concrete administrative step of improving the application of environmental laws or their administration in the context of aboriginal lands.
Another area we could have looked at is strengthening the enforcement of CEPA. Since the review that took place in 2017, the Government of Canada went through a major process with Volkswagen Canada. Volkswagen was not following the laws in Canada related to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and was not reporting on the emissions from certain vehicles. In the United States, there were billions of dollars in lawsuits after this. In Canada, our enforcement of environmental laws is much weaker. We could have used this opportunity to strengthen the enforcement of environmental protection in Canada.
Another area we could have looked at that I briefly touched upon is facilitating intergovernmental co-operation. We have a large bureaucracy in Canada. There is lots of red tape. There is overlapping jurisdiction and there are overlapping laws. Updating CEPA could have clarified how federal, provincial and territorial laws work in the context of equivalency in the administration of environmental protection in Canada.
We could have looked very closely at encouraging public participation, moving administrative barriers to allow more citizens to participate and bring petitions forward to the minister of environment, which is a very key aspect of the bill on issues of concern. We could have clarified how that would work in the Canadian context.
Finally, the preamble in Bill S-5 talks extensively about protecting the right to a healthy environment. Unfortunately, the government seems to punt all the hard work down the road. Why did it not clarify the legal definition of “a right to a healthy environment” instead of giving our public servants two years to determine the definition? We have a responsibility in committee and in this chamber to do that hard work now, not leave it for down the road. It is a failure of the government not to define “a right to a healthy environment” instead of just punting it down the road.
I could go on. I am quite dismayed that the Government of Canada did not do the hard work that many of its members put forward in recommendations. Unfortunately, it is too afraid to do that hard work.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is the government's prerogative to determine what we debate and how long we debate matters in the House of Commons. I will note that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act is very complicated legislation that touches upon most aspects of our day-to-day lives. That requires significant debate and study of the very challenging and difficult issues that are brought forward in this legislation, which affect everything from imports and exports and consumer product awareness to the cumulative impacts of toxic substances on our lives. That requires a lot of time in the chamber.
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