Families: The Last Six Months
Of Federal Activity

About

This Report

This is a computer-generated report that shows all of the federal activity with respect to the keyword "Families" over the last six months. This is a demonstration of the power of our government relations automation software.

Hansard

House: 1336 Speeches
Senate: 164 Speeches

House Senate

Bills

Active: 0

Regulations

Filed: 0
Proposed: 0

The House

Matthew Dubé (NDP)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...their infrastructure through government spending. It is completely unacceptable to ask middle-class families, which this Prime Minister says he is always defending, to pay twice for this infrastructur...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...eniors and housing for people that are really hard to house. There has to be affordable options for families too.

The city of Vancouver has 20 sites ready to go, and we can see affordable housin...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nfrastructure and how it will help stimulate the economy and provide additional support to Canadian families.

We believe that one of the best ways to restore the confidence of Canada's middle class is to invest in public infrastructure in order to build stronger communities and build an economy that works for all Canadians and their families.

Strengthening the middle class means that hard-working Canadians can look forward to...”

Peter Fragiskatos (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...irable can also bring discord. Challenges ranging from traffic congestion that takes time away from families and friends to poor-quality air that can make it difficult to enjoy city life are just some...”

Stephen Fuhr (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...w pack and more rain in the forecast. Uncertainty and loss are causing stress and hardship for many families in my communities as we all prepare to deal with the days ahead.

I would like to ackn...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...an tell him this. We introduced the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of ten Canadian families. In my colleague's riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent, the families of 21,560 children are now receiving $200 more a month than they were from the previous gov...”

Larry Maguire (Conservative)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... commit to dropping this destructive plan and stop threatening the livelihoods of hard-working farm families?”

Cathy McLeod (Conservative)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... to be successful. There is no excuse for it to take over a year before it even begins to hear from families.

As Maclean's noted this week, it is falling apart before it even begins. A communications director was fired, and another senior adviser has resigned. It appears to be in complete disarray.

If this inquiry fails, the minister is responsible. If it takes years for the families to be heard, she has failed. What immediate action will the minister take to get this inqui...”

Yvonne Jones (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ent that the commission has the tools, the resources, and the networks to ensure that the voices of families are heard and that they have the support they need.

Under the terms of reference, we ...”

Brenda Shanahan (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...lthy communities and environmental conservation, which is in the interest of our businesses and our families alike.[English]

What is more, in the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank, we a...”

Steven MacKinnon (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ed to grow, money they need to earn returns on to ensure a healthy pension for themselves and their families, can take that money today, and they do, and invest around the world. Pension funds like the CPPIB, la Caisse de dépôt, OMERS, and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan invest in Australian highways. They invest in British airports. They invest in energy infrastructure all over the world, and they garner those returns that secure the pensions and the future of Canadian workers.

We want those pension funds to be able to take that money and invest it here at home and garner those returns for Canadian families and Canadian pensioners. Why does that member not recognize that?”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...markup in price on electricity for so-called wind and solar power electricity, which has bankrupted families and driven 60,000 people to food banks across the province. It gave Ontario the highest pov...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... for health care.

In reality, the system has a hard time keeping up with the needs of today's families. There is a growing demand for prescription drugs, home care, and mental health care servic...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...er about investing our dollars strategically to better meet the health needs of Canadians and their families today. We have a strong interest in helping to ensure that new money does not simply inflat...”

Omar Alghabra (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...vide other young people with special needs with employment opportunities. Their effort will support families and individuals who may be denied a chance elsewhere to improve their lives.

Michael ...”

Jamie Schmale (Conservative)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... who are dealing with extremely high water levels, and in some cases, like Minden, severe flooding. Families, friends, and neighbours have come together to lend a hand in this time of need. In Minden,...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ail system. He also claimed at that time that it was important that we keep our communities and our families safe, but by his ordering the bill to be scrapped at committee, we now know that none of th...”

William Amos (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...re is severe flooding in many regions of Quebec and Ontario. This has been a major hardship for our families, and considerable efforts are being made to keep those affected safe.

I would like to recognize the valuable assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces. A state of emergency has been declared in many municipalities in the Outaouais region, including Mansfied-et-Pontefract, Pontiac, and Gracefield. The City of Gatineau is also taking emergency measures.

Can the Minister of National Revenue inform the House of the tax measures that are available to help reduce the burden on families affected by the flooding?”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ily of Mike Gagnon, who was swept away by flood waters in the Gaspé. Our hearts go out them.

Families and their homes are always the top priority in these types of situations. All those who are...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...he tune of $180 billion over the coming years, whether it is investing in child care spaces to help families, whether it is delivering the Canada child benefit that will help nine families out of 10 across this country, or whether it was raising taxes for the wealthiest 1% so we ...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...%, or whether it is delivering a Canada child benefit that gives more money to 9 out of 10 Canadian families by not sending child benefit cheques to millionaires, like was done by the previous Conserv...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...adians. We are going to continue to invest historic amounts in infrastructure that is going to help families get to and from work in a reasonable amount of time, back in time for their kids' soccer ga...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...such as extra help with the cost of raising kids, which the CCB is, helping nine out of 10 Canadian families and reducing child poverty by 40%. We are putting forward concrete measures to improve the ...”

John Nater (Conservative)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...insurance. Maternity and parental benefits, which my wife has made use of, provides flexibility for families in making decisions on the birth of a child. There are compassionate care benefits which is...”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“....

Budget 2017 contains several provisions aimed at improving the quality of life for Canadian families. I am thinking in particular of improvements to the employment insurance system, and that i...”

Ruth Ellen Brosseau (NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...to support the bill introduced by my colleague from Sherbrooke because it will ensure that Canadian families and consumers know enough to make informed choices.

Canadians have the right to know what is in their food, and one of the best ways to ensure that is through greater transparency in food labelling. For 10 years now, surveys have shown that most Canadians support mandatory GMO labelling. According to a Health Canada study, consumers have not exactly warmed up to GMOs.

The Strategic Counsel got a contract to do a study in March 2016. The study involved 10 focus groups in five Canadian cities, including Quebec, and showed that 78% of Canadians support mandatory GMO labelling. Most of the survey respondents wondered why the government has not moved forward and want more transparency in the food industry. Given the choice, 62% of them would elect to purchase non-genetically modified foods over genetically modified foods.

That is why I support mandatory food labelling, a practice that already exists in several places around the world, such as the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Vermont in the United States.

For years now, the NDP has been arguing for legislation to make the labelling of genetically modified foods mandatory. In fact, my hon. colleague from Victoria moved a similar motion, Motion No. 480, which also advocated for mandatory labelling of GMOs.

That motion was directed at the former government. Today, Bill C-291 calls on the Liberal government to help ensure that Canadians have as much information as possible about genetically modified foods.

A number of stakeholders who are very involved in this movement in Canada worked very hard to emphasize the importance of passing this kind of legislation. They include the Canada Organic Trade Association, Vigilance OGM, the Consumers' Association of Canada, Organic Alberta, and the Quebec chapter of Friends of the Earth.

Many other organizations support the bill sponsored by my colleague from Sherbrooke, including Kids Right to Know, an organization whose objective is to educate young people on their right to make informed, healthy, environmentally conscious decisions by emphasizing proper labelling of genetically modified foods.

I would like to quote an extraordinary and inspiring woman, Rachel Parent, who advocates on behalf of this organization and has been promoting this bill on the mandatory labelling of GMOs. (1815) [English]

Parliamentarians should not submit to bogus arguments or be swayed by shoddy pro-industry articles. They should be protecting the public's right to know and choose. Don't buy into the notion that ordinary people have been swayed by “scaremongering” anti-GMO activists. It is simply not the case. People have valid concerns that in any functioning democracy should be addressed. [Translation]

On another note, the NDP recognizes the importance of scientific research in making fact-based decisions. Scientific research allows us to determine whether scientific advances are safe for public health. Genetically modified organisms have been available in Canada for years and they have undergone rigorous processes.

For now, there is no evidence that they pose any danger to public health or that they lead to health problems. However, we believe that Canadians have the right to make a free and informed choice. With this in mind, we believe it is best for GMO labelling to be mandatory. We also believe we have a duty to keep ensuring we have the most effective means of protecting the public.

I would like to note that the NDP is the only party that has adopted a food strategy. A number of years ago, I had the honour of working on such a strategy with my colleagues Malcolm Allen and Alex Atamanenko. We are very proud of the work we did. Our vision is to connect Canadians from the farm to the fork. Our overall objective is to adopt a federal integrated policy that covers agriculture, rural development, health, and income security.

We maintain that the federal government has a role to play in earning the public's trust in our food system. That is clearly indicated in the Calgary Statement – Towards the Next Policy Framework, a joint federal, provincial, and territorial ministerial statement. Under the next policy framework, labelling must be mandatory, precise, and reliable in order to ensure that the public really understands the information provided.

Furthermore, as agriculture and agrifood critic, I would like to mention that the NDP clearly understands the issue for farmers. Canadian farmers are key players in our economy and food system. They provide us with fresh, high-quality food, and they feed Canadian families. That is why the federal government must continue to invest in our rural communities, innovation, and organic farming in order to address the growing interest of consumers.

In closing, the bill introduced by my colleague from Sherbrooke, Bill C-291, is a sensible, well-thought-out bill that respects the wishes of the community.

When Canadian families gather together to eat, they have the right to know what is on their plates. We have here a...”

Terry Duguid (Liberal)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...o inform policy changes in the shelter sector.

To ensure that women fleeing violence in their families have someone to turn in their hour of need, access to shelter and transition housing remain...”

Bob Saroya (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... and export deadly drugs and substances are responsible for thousands of lost lives.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. Canadians are especia...”

Cathy McLeod (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...private member's bill, Bill C-338.

As we know, the opioid crisis is impacting communities and families across Canada. My home of British Columbia has been on the coalface, where the addictive use of drugs is now playing Russian roulette. Users never know when they have something in a drug that will kill them.

It does take a multi-pronged approach to tackle this issue. It is a public health emergency, and we continue to ask the Liberal government to recognize it as such. However, it is also important to realize it is a criminal justice issue. This has not been spoken to very well in all the conversations I have heard about this issue.

I will talk a little about how the bill would provide a very important tool, but it is important to first talk about the scope of not just the problem, but the tragedy. We need to also talk about what has been done to date and, more important, what still needs to be done to deal with this issue.

As many are aware, the recent epidemic is characterized by an increasing number of deaths with elicit fentanyl, an opioid substance. Fentanyl was detected back in 2012, when it was in 5% of elicit drugs. By 2016, it was as high as 60%. Fentanyl, carfentanyl, and other drugs are cheap. They are easy to synthesize, and readily available, with a significant volume coming into the country from China. It is being cut into street drugs, with lethal effects.

Carfentanyl, which is a tranquillizer used for elephants, was confirmed on the streets last fall. It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, 4,000 times more potent than heroin, and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. If anyone has ever had an accident or injury where he or she has received a dose of morphine in the hospital, carfentanyl is 10,000 times more potent. It is coming in by mail order from China. A Calgary man was arrested in September with one kilogram, which could have killed 50 million people.

In B.C. alone, four people have died every day in 2017. It is not any better from 2016. We are on track to go from 900 and some to 1,300 deaths. In one week alone in Vancouver recently, there were 15 deaths. Again, we are averaging four deaths per day. This is just British Columbia, but it is happening across the country.

The people who are dying have many profiles. They might have struggled with addiction for many years or it might just be a young teenager at a party who, for the first time, makes a very bad decision. A recent Facebook post traumatically affected many. A brave mother from Calgary, Sherri Kent, posted a picture of her in a hospital bed with her son Michael just before he died. He was in the intensive care unit, connected to many tubes. There was absolute anguish on her face as she was saying goodbye to him. He had made such a terrible mistake. She did that to raise awareness throughout Canada.

There has been some action to date. Certainly, British Columbia is taking a good lead. Our colleague from Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam introduced the good Samaritan Act, which was recently proclaimed. That was a good step. There is better availability of naloxone, which is used to treat an overdose, although we now hear these drugs have become so potent that people do not respond to it the way they used to.

Bill C-37, which the government put into place, had some good measures in it. However, I continue to have concerns that it moved away from community consultation on safe injection sites. That is an important gap and it is still missing, especially as we now know many of the people who are dying would never use a safe injection site. Although this measure has value in some communities, to take away the ability for community input or to require community input was a bad step. (1145)

The banning of the pill presses or importation of designated devices was a good step, as well as some additions to the schedules of substances when there was a reasonable grounds to represent risk.

Most important was the additional power for Canada Border Services to inspect and search packages. We heard that with 30 grams, service agents did not have to inspect. That is absolutely critical because this is coming into the country in an envelope. That is a good measure.

What has been missing in our struggle against this crisis? The federal government. Although the provincial government in British Columbia has asked, the federal government continues to decline in declaring this a state of emergency. The Public Health Agency of Canada should be playing a role in this. There is no good education and awareness campaign. We need the federal government to take on a comprehensive education and awareness campaign.

The next area that has had inadequate services and support is detox and recovery. That is primarily provincial. I know many examples of people who are desperate to get off drugs and turn their lives around. They have found that they do not have any opportunities in the support they need to detox.

We have not talked about the criminals, and my colleague is doing that. These people are knowingly importing and selling drugs on the street, which do kill people. This bill would specifically target gangs and other criminal organizations by introducing tougher sentences for drug traffickers who would exploit the addictions of others for personal profit. Those who import and export these drugs should be brought to justice and should encounter increased mandatory minimums.

I listened to my Liberal colleague. All of a sudden the Liberals have this huge obsession that mandatory minimums are not good. However, mandatory minimums have been around almost as long as the Criminal Code. Probably half of the mandatory minimums were put in place by Liberal governments. For the Liberals to argue that mandatory minimums are always bad and that there are all these issues with mandatory minimums is absolutely ridiculous. They have put many of them in place.

The argument is that mandatory minimums are bad and they do not help. Getting criminals off the street, even if it is for two years, is two years where they are not out there putting fentanyl in drugs that are killing children.

The other thing the Liberals need to be held accountable for is that this is a mandatory minimum of somewhere between two years and life. This is not fettering the discretion of judges. It is saying that parliamentarians believe judges cannot go below two years, that there are no circumstances, ever, where less than two years is an appropriate sentence for someone who is potentially killing our children.

It should be attempted murder. It could go as high as the maximum, jail for life, but, as parliamentarians, we are saying that for those who put fentanyl into drugs and sell them on the streets or bring them in with that purpose should go to jail for two years, at the absolute minimum. For the Liberals and the NDP to say that is not okay is absolutely appalling to me. They need to say that to the mothers and fathers, the families that have lost their children, that they do not think it will help and that they do not wan...”

Dave MacKenzie (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...odone, and morphine have become household names as Canadians learn of the extent of this crisis and families suffer losses of their loved ones.

I truly wish that those people who are opposed to having mandatory minimum sentences for individuals who break this law, bring the drugs into the country and distribute them across the country could see how families are torn apart by these drugs.

Diverted pharmaceuticals, fentanyl purchased from China, and stolen horse tranquillizers are finding their way onto Canadian streets with fatal consequences. Most worrying of all is the speed with which illegal opioid sales have grown and the number of overdoses. To put things into perspective, the chief coroner for British Columbia told us at the health committee that the percentage of illicit drug deaths involving fentanyl increased from 5% in 2012 to 60% in 2016. If that is not enough to wake up everybody in the House to the fact that we need to do something to get mandatory minimums in place, I do not know what will wake them up.

It is not just a crisis that affects those who find themselves living without a home, but one that affects Canadians of all ages. Fifty-five thousand Canadian high school students indicated that they had abused opioid pain relievers in the past year. That is a tremendous number.

In Ontario, one in eight deaths of individuals aged 25 to 34 years was found to be opioid-related in 2010. That number will not go down; it will simply go up. Families are being destroyed, communities are being invaded, and all Canadians are experiencing reduced access to health and social services because of the resources required to fight this epidemic. This is a public emergency that hits close to home.

Organized crime has now found a foothold in places and at levels never seen before. When the other side wants to legalize marijuana and when we see what this has done, we can only project what the future will be for organized crime. Even for those people who live in areas free of dealers and opioid users, the effects of this drug in drug crime are still felt in people's access to services.

First responders have had to divert significant resources to address this crisis. Ambulance services, firefighters, police, and hospital emergency rooms are all having resources diverted to address this crisis. This means other crimes committed against local residents are not being investigated. It means ambulances resources are increasingly overworked as they respond to a spike in drug overdoses. It means firefighters now have to additionally consider the chance that what appears to be a simple residential fire may in fact be an illicit and contaminated drug lab, a danger to both their immediate safety and their long-term health.

This says nothing about the increased burden on social services that are already stretched due to the Liberal government's lack of support to local communities. (1155)

Mental health workers are already facing an uphill battle against criminal gangs continually pushing all kinds of harmful drugs into the community. If we are to help those most in need, then we also need to fight this crisis at its source and punish those who would wish to continue it. This would bring justice not only to those caught in addiction, but to the sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters already lost to these lethal street drugs.

I recognize that the opioid crisis is multi-faceted, but Bill C-338 is one key step in cutting off the source. I support the bill because criminal enterprises are not facing harsh enough sentences for diverting legitimate pharmaceuticals to illicit street drugs. Those pushing opioids into our streets and communities need to know that their actions will incur serious penalties.

The House is currently debating Bill C-307, which, through tamper-proof safeguards, would deny illegal manufacturers the easy ability to use legal prescriptions to create illicit substances. Cracking down on this prescription loophole would deter many Canadians from selling their prescriptions for easy profits. If we can increase the possibility of serious jail time for dealing illegal opioids, we can send a message to all criminal enterprises that Canada is a place they should not risk operating in.

I would be the first to admit that this one change would not solve the entire problem. A whole host of changes are required to stop opioids from ending up on our streets. Canada's physicians need to overhaul prescribing practices for opioids. Too many prescriptions are being exploited for criminal profit and manufacturing. We must ensure the quick implementation of measures to allow Canada Border Services Agency employees to check packages smaller than 30 grams, and we must ensure they are properly enforced, as called for by Conservative members. Enforcing this measure would ensure an end to the previously unlimited supply of fentanyl mailed in small packages from China.

The government must also ensure that once we have removed these opioids from the streets and placed the criminals behind bars, these same drugs do not end up infecting our prison populations as well. Canadian prisons are currently facing great problems in keeping these dangerous narcotics out. Correctional Service Canada has reported that now even fentanyl has found its way behind bars, as well as the overdoses connected with it. The government needs to ensure that Correctional Service officers have the proper equipment to deal with this rise in overdoses and do more to keep these drugs out of our prisons.

In conclusion, I would say that we need to tackle the source of this problem, which is the lack of treatment options for those with mental health issues, who, as a result, are left most susceptible to dealers and other criminals. If the ongoing mental health crisis is allowed to continue in our streets, on our reserves, and in our schools and universities, the drug crisis and the criminal enterprises that go with it will only continue to grow.

A national strategy for dealing with this is an absolute priority. Whether it is fentanyl, crystal meth, or the next street drug that is easy to produce and cheap to buy at the heart of this drug epidemic, it is the people who are emotionally hurting. This is why the human face of this epidemic is so heartbreaking to acknowledge. These are vulnerable people who have chosen drugs because they do not have the support and the necessary tools to take on life.

Those who would wish to exploit them for illicit gain must know that they will face the full force of the law and serious jail time. This is why I am asking all members of this House to understand the further pain that opioids are causing to Canadian families and to support this very important piece of legislation, Bill C-338.”

James Bezan (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...hey do not feel valued or recognized for the risks they are facing and the hardship placed on their families here at home while they are deployed.

There is another issue I would like to raise. T...”

Harjit S. Sajjan (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker, I would first like to pass on my condolences to the families who have had losses in recent flooding in Quebec and in British Columbia. I thank all the Canadian Armed Forces members who are serving today in Operation Lentus.

There are a lot of critical issues facing the Canadian Armed Forces, and I am grateful for the opportunity to raise some of these in the House. My job as minister of national defence is to serve the women and men in uniform who so proudly serve our country. I am privileged to have this responsibility and I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can, every single day.

There are many of us in the House who have at one time felt the call of duty to serve in uniform, and we are proud of their service. The members for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, Kelowna—Lake Country, Durham, Winnipeg North, and Kanata—Carleton all served our country in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The members for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount and Winnipeg Centre both served in the Royal Canadian Navy, and the latter spent a significant time in the Canadian army as well.

The members for Terrebonne, Beauport—Limoilou, Orléans, Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs, Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, and Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge all served our great country in the Canadian army.

Many were cadets, including the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore, highlighting how the cadet program is one of the finest youth leadership programs in the country.

The member for Brampton Centre also served in uniform, with the Indian Air Force.

I thank them all for their service. They are a credit to the uniform, and their experience is invaluable to this place.

We must always remember that when someone decides to serve their country in uniform, the whole family serves alongside them. I know there are several members with relatives who have served or are currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. For example, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs has two sons serving as junior officers. We honour those who stand behind our troops and support them at home.

I am proud of the actions our government has taken since coming to office. Our women and men in uniform serve all Canadians, not just the government of the day. That is why our government has taken important steps to make the Canadian Armed Forces more open and accessible to all members of Parliament on behalf of the constituents they serve. We re-opened Canadian Armed Forces bases, detachments, airfields, and ships to all parliamentarians, senators, and officials from different levels of government in an effort to highlight the work our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen do on our behalf every single day. We want all parliamentarians to participate in our program so they can take their experiences and stories to their ridings and inspire a new generation to heed the call for service.

We are also taking politics out of the selection process for honorary colonels. We are appointing Canadians with deep community roots to represent our regiments, wings, and ships from coast to coast to coast.

Canada is taking a more significant leadership role in NATO than it has in decades. As one of four framework nations, we are leading a battle group stationed in Latvia as part of the alliance's enhanced forward presence initiative. This will provide meaningful deterrence against any repeat of Russia's provocative behaviour.

We have of course also renewed Operation Unifier, demonstrating solidarity with Ukraine in our training mission there. We refocused our contribution to the fight against Daesh, and Canadians are now making an even greater impact as part of the global coalition, and we are seeing results. Canadian Forces are part of a broader whole-of-government approach to the conflict in Iraq and Syria and are also making a difference in that region. I was fortunate to be able to work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Development on the renewed Operation Impact.

Our government has taken decisions and taken action to replace our aging fleet of fighters, something the previous government had 10 years to do, but did not. It is because of that decade of decline and inaction that we no longer have a fighter fleet that can meet our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously. (1240)

It is certainly true that the Royal Canadian Air Force has done an admirable job in risk managing this capability gap and, yes, it has the planes it needs to continue to risk manage effectively. The previous government felt this was an acceptable situation, but we are a G7 nation, and our government has made it clear that it is not good enough to risk manage our commitments; we are going to meet them.

That is why we have taken action to address this capability gap by exploring the purchase of an interim fleet of fighters, and of course we will conduct an open and transparent competition to replace the entire fleet. I want to thank the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the President of the Treasury Board, and our colleagues on the defence procurement committee for all their work on the fighter jets.

We have finally awarded a contract to replace our fixed-wing search and rescue planes, another important project that went in circles over the past decade. Our search and rescue technicians work day and night in dangerous conditions keeping Canadians safe. They deserve the best equipment and support possible, and I am proud of finishing this process that started under the Martin government.

I am proud of the work our chief of the defence staff and the Canadian Forces are doing to stamp out inappropriate sexual behaviour under Operation Honour. Every person who serves her or his country despite the many dangers and sacrifices of military service deserves a professional environment in which he or she is treated with respect and dignity. There is a great deal more to do, and it is essential that the Canadian Armed Forces maintain the momentum developed to date in eliminating harmful and inappropriate behaviour. Our government fully supports this work.

I have been the Minister of National Defence for about 18 months now, and it has been just as rewarding as it has been challenging. While the actions we have taken so far are indeed important, there is a lot more work to do. In the 2015 election campaign, we promised to conduct a comprehensive review of defence policy and engage Canadians and parliamentarians in the process, and we have done just that and more.

I know the official opposition does not like to deal in facts when it comes to defence, but there is a fact it cannot ignore: Canada's defence spending, as a proportion of GDP, was considerably lower when the Conservatives were removed from office than when they came in. However, it is not just about the spending numbers. It is about our outputs; it is about the Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to Canada's role in the world; most of all, it is about fully supporting our women and men in uniform and their families. That is why the defence policy review has been so important.

It has been 20 years since a real policy review was done, and it was long overdue. I believe it is important for Canadians and members of this House to understand exactly where we are starting from before we talk about where we need to be and how we plan to get there.

It is true that successive governments contributed to the current state of affairs in the Canadian Forces. I know parliamentarians of all stripes, despite the rhetoric and finger-pointing that occur here, understand that underinvestment has caused real problems, yet the state of affairs is in some ways worse than realized by most observers.

I know members understand that we cannot build the Canadian Armed Forces this nation needs through a series of short-term decisions. I know members understand that a military is not strengthened by cobbling together pieces from one budget to the next, by succumbing continually to the pressures of the urgent at the expense of the strategic, and by hoping that 20 years down the line, all of the disjointed ups and downs will somehow result in the military we need. That is why, when launching a defence policy review, we set out to take the long-term view to deliver a credible, realistic, and funded strategy for our military.

Let me state outright and up front that the Canadian Armed Forces delivers what governments ask of it every single time. It has performed superbly, regardless of the resource constraints it faces. All Canadians can be proud of the fact that our women and men in uniform answer the call of duty whenever and wherever it is found. In recent years alone, it has deployed to Iraq to contribute to the global efforts in the fight against Daesh; it deployed to Nepal just 48 hours after a tragic earthquake struck that tiny nation; and it deployed with NATO to bolster alliance resolve and deterrence against Russian actions in Ukraine. (1245)

At home, they helped the residents of Winnipeg and Fort McMurray overcome massive floods and devastating forest fires, and today they are deploying in several regions of Quebec to assist provincial and local authorities with the devastating floods in that province. The Canadian Armed Forces is an inspiring institution that makes me proud every single day. Responsive, professional, and dedicated, it is counted among the best militaries in the world. However, militaries cannot perform well forever without proper support.

Governments have a responsibility to uphold their end of the bargain, to care for their military, resource them properly, and fund them in a responsible way that meets their needs. In the past, governments have not delivered predictable, sustainable, long-term funding for the Canadian Armed Forces. It has not been a straight line.

Let me take a moment to retrace some of the twists and turns. In 2004-05, the Paul Martin government implemented annual budget increases of around $1.5 billion in successive years. After that, the budget grew incrementally, predominantly to cover the cost of the combat mission in Afghanistan, until it ended in 2011. Two deficit-reduction programs followed: the strategic review, and the deficit reduction action plan. By the time that these were were fully implemented in 2015, each reduced the annual defence budget by $1 billion, for a total of $2 billion per year. The defence escalator, which was implemented to protect the DND budget from defence inflation, was increased from 1.5% to 2% in 2011, and beginning this fiscal year, it increased from 2% to 3%. However, even that will not be sufficient to meet our future requirements.

Years of ups and downs have contributed to unpredictability for those responsible for supporting, maintaining, and sustaining the forces, and the planning for its future. The reductions have left the organization hollow in a number of areas. Fighter jets and ships are prime examples of the unfortunate link between inadequate investment and capability gaps. Canadians were told a few years ago that the government would buy 65 new jets to replace our aging fleet of CF-18s, but for the missions that we asked the Royal Canadian Air Force to undertake and our alliance commitments, 65 jets would simply not be enough; it would only be a fleet for risk managing our requirements, not meeting them. Furthermore, the $9 billion in funding that was earmarked for jet replacement by the previous government is nowhere near enough to cover the 65 jets proposed.

For the navy's new surface combatant, the previous government ended up saying that it would buy up to 15 ships. As has been well reported, the budget identified was dramatically insufficient and unrealistic. The Royal Canadian Navy deserves a clear, realistic, and fully funded commitment. Canada's naval capabilities are at a 40-year low right now. The number of operational ships in Canada's fleet has dropped by five in the past two years alone. Ships have been retired without replacement, because any plans for investment simply came too late. Without a single destroyer in its fleet, Canada will rely on the U.S. and NATO for area air defence until the introduction of our new surface combatants. Without a single supply ship, Canada is relying on the capabilities of allies and partners for its replenishment needs as well.

These examples alone would be troubling enough, but there is much more to grapple with. Closing recruitment offices made it harder to attract new recruits, and cutting the number of procurement officers made it difficult to buy, maintain, and sustain all the tools and equipment we could afford for our military. We are in the troubling position where status quo spending on defence will not even maintain the status quo of the capability.

Current funding has us digging ourselves into a hole, a hole that is getting deeper every single year. As a percentage of our GDP, we are spending less on defence today than we were in 2005. There is a list of major capital projects that are entirely unfunded. These are not nice-to-have projects; these are projects that must be completed to allow our military to keep doing what it is doing, investments that need to be made in the forces' key equipment and capabilities, and no funding has been allocated for them. (1250)

Our air force will need funding for mid-life upgrades to its Cormorant search and rescue helicopters. We are talking about a critical need to invest in a fleet of aircraft that our air force uses in operations every day to help Canadians in distress.

They also need sufficient funds to extend the life of the Griffons. These are highly reliable helicopters that have served our air force faithfully on missions at home and abroad. These helicopters are used to transport troops and materials. They have done so on humanitarian missions, on operations in Afghanistan, and now in Iraq. The Griffons can fit right into a C-17 Globemaster, so they are easily transportable and give the forces flexibility and agility in responding to crises around the world. However, if we do not fund their life extension project, we need to phase them out, because helicopters with obsolete instrumentation cannot fly in North American air space. No money was allocated to keep them running.

With the army, we discovered that no funding has been allocated to allow soldiers to keep doing some of their most important work. Without support from our allies, Canadian soldiers deployed overseas would be exposed to threats emanating from aircraft, missiles, and long-range artillery. Investments in ground-based air and munitions defence systems are required to guarantee the safety of our deployed troops, yet no money has been earmarked to provide this protection to our soldiers in the past.

There are several other examples of projects that the army needs the government to fund in order to ensure it can continue to assist Canadians during natural disasters to meet international commitments. Its fleet of heavy support equipment, such as forklifts, loaders, and excavators, needs to be replaced so that our soldiers can build camps as well as roads and shelters. The list of activities that our soldiers undertake with this equipment is long, and yet, here too, no investments were planned.

Furthermore, the army's fleet of logistic support vehicles, such as trailers and medium-sized trucks used to transport supplies and essential equipment, has been significantly degraded over time and must be replaced. These capabilities are essential to sustain our soldiers at home and abroad. Again, no investment was planned.

The resourcing problems that we have found the most troubling are the ones that have directly affected our servicemen and women. In over 25 years as a reservist, I saw first-hand the way that our governments have failed to properly equip a reserve force. Not only is there not enough equipment, but the training to use what equipment they have is lacking as well. Our reserve units are tremendously resourceful and they perform extremely well, despite having been underfunded for so long. However, that does not excuse the failure to properly resource our reservists. They deserve gratitude from the governments that deployed them away from their families and in harm's way.

Instead, when they take off the uniform, they get pension cheques ...”

Georgina Jolibois (NDP)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...all forms of cancers in my riding have to travel hundreds of kilometres and be separated from their families to get treatment in Saskatoon. We must help Ovarian Cancer Canada and the women it helps by...”

Kevin Sorenson (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...aduations there. There is much pride for everyone involved, particularly the new recruits and their families. The Bold Eagle program has had great success providing first nations recruits.

Canad...”

Sean Fraser (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... had lost 26 fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.

After years of advocacy by members of the families who were affected by this disaster, Parliament passed laws to promote safer workplace environments. I commit that as long as I am fortunate enough to sit in this House, I will work to see those rules enforced.

To the families of those 26 men who were lost in the explosion a quarter century ago, we remember those lov...”

Julie Dabrusin (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... supporting Ovarian Cancer Canada, an organization that helps women who have this disease and their families, raises awareness, and raises funds for research.

More importantly, let us give some ...”

Marc Serré (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...nd exploration industry, which plays a vital role in creating good jobs and supporting middle-class families, urban, rural, and northern regions, as well as indigenous communities.

Mineral devel...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...his. I am pleased once again to see the support, empathy, generosity, and help being offered by the families, neighbours, and people everywhere who are pitching in and helping. The response has been i...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... to lead to good jobs for Canadians now and growth that is going to help Canadian workers, Canadian families, and Canadians, as we move forward in the coming years and even decades.”

Blaine Calkins (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...pending tax dollars on Broadway tickets for diplomats from Kiribati or Tuvalu benefits middle-class families?”

Steven MacKinnon (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...example, by giving them money and by allocating additional human resources. It is unacceptable that families are affected by this sort of situation.

What we will not do is what the Conservatives...”

Ted Falk (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...isis.

Will the Prime Minister commit right now to visiting Emerson to speak directly with the families impacted by his inaction?”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...soldiers who lost their lives in Operation Medusa during the war in Afghanistan and the friends and families who are left to mourn those fallen soldiers.

The year 2006, when Operation Medusa occurred, was a tough year for Canadians during the war in Afghanistan. Military analysts referred to this period as having some of the fiercest combat Canadians troops had ever seen since the Korean War. More Canadians were wounded or killed in action during that year than in any other single year of the nine years of combat in Afghanistan.

As a member of Parliament in 2006, I found that year was particularly tough on our local community, as it was soldiers in Garrison Petawawa, in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, who bore the brunt of casualties during the operation, principally the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, which is based at Garrison Petawawa.

I want the Minister of National Defence to reflect on who he is dishonouring by refusing to follow democratic tradition and resigning.

As I continue with this debate, I ask all members of Parliament to join with me in paying respect to the brave Canadian soldiers who paid the supreme price, our most previous gift from the Creator, with their lives, in the service to their country during Operation Medusa.

Operation Medusa began on September 2, 2006.

The first casualty, on September 3, was Private William Jonathan James Cushley, aged 21. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Petawawa, Ontario. His hometown was Port Lambton.

His friends and comrades said he exhibited strong leadership qualities, a fierce love of family, and a sense of fun.

He is survived by parents Errol and Elaine and three sisters.

There was also Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, aged 38. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Petawawa, Ontario. His hometown was Truro, Nova Scotia.

A long-time auto racing fan and dedicated soldier, Mellish is survived by his parents; wife Kendra, who still serves in the Royal Canadian Air Force; and two young boys. He was buried in Summerside, P.E.I.

There was also Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, aged 39. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Petawawa, Ontario. His hometown was Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nolan was described as an adventurous soul who enjoyed riding bulls. He had a strong belief in family values and loved playing with his children and stepchildren. Friends said he would help anyone in need. He is survived by partner Kelly, three sons, a stepdaughter, and a mother.

There was also Sergeant Shane Stachnik, aged 30. He was a member of the 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, Petawawa, Ontario. His hometown was Waskatenau, Alberta.

Former high school buddy Randy Trenchuk remembered playing hockey with Stachnik, a combat engineer, and the frustrations with Shakespeare that they shared in English class. Stachnik, described as being dedicated and fun-loving, was to be married the next summer. He is survived by his parents, Hank and Avril.

On September 4, Private Mark Anthony Graham, aged 33, was killed. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Petawawa, Ontario. His hometown was Hamilton.

Graham was a member of Canada's Olympic 4 x 400 metre relay team in 1992. Comrades talked about his imposing physical size, warm smile, and great singing voice.

He had three brothers, one of whom also joined the military, and a young daughter.

On September 18, 2006, four Canadian soldiers were killed and 10 injured while on foot patrol in the Panjwai district after a man on a bicycle detonated a suicide bomb packed with ball bearings. (1550)

The attack came near the end of Operation Medusa being declared.

There is Corporal Glen Arnold, age 32, 2 Field Ambulance, Petawawa, Ontario, whose hometown was McKerrow, Ontario. Arnold was a medic who had served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and with the Disaster Assistance Relief Team in Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami. He loved playing hockey and was a devoted family man. He is survived by his wife Kerry, four children, parents, three brothers, and a sister. “We miss you so much...and can't wait to see you home for Christmas”, his wife Kerry Arnold wrote September 6, 2006, on a Department of National Defence website that relays messages to soldiers.

There is Private David Byers, age 22, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Shilo, Manitoba. His hometown was Espanola, Ontario. A friendly man and video game enthusiast in his high school days, Byers was killed before his fiance, Chantal Roy, was to give birth to their child. He is survived by Roy, his parents, and a brother.

There is Corporal Shane Keating, age 30, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Shilo, Manitoba. His hometown was Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. Keating was described by his comrades as good-humoured and hard-working. He is survived by his mother, Judith Budd. “Nothing is worth losing a son but everything—everything—is worth a man willing to take that risk and to die for what he believes in”, she told reporters in Saskatoon three days after her son's death.

There is Corporal Keith Morley, age 30, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Shilo, Manitoba. His hometown was Winnipeg. An animal lover and proud owner of a dog named Lokie, he is survived by sister Shannon and his mother Della. “Keith served two tours of Bosnia in 2001 and 2003. He served his country with pride and certainty that missions there and in Afghanistan would better the lives of the people in those troubled nations”, Della Morley told reporters before her son's September 29, 2006, funeral in Winnipeg.

On September 29, 2006, while out on a routine foot patrol along a Canadian-built road in the Panjwai district, Private Josh Klukie died after stepping on a booby trap and triggering an explosion. Another soldier was injured. Private Josh Klukie, age 23, was with the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Petawawa, and his hometown was Shuniah, Ontario. Charming and charismatic and with a passion for sports, Klukie was an enthusiastic member of his high school basketball team. Klukie is survived by his mother and brother.

On October 3, 2006, two Canadian soldiers were killed and five injured after coming under attack in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province. The Taliban were armed with mortars and possibly rocket-propelled grenades. The soldiers were working on clearing a route for a future road construction project.

There is Sergeant Craig Gillam, age 40, with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Petawawa, Ontario, whose hometown was South Branch, Newfoundland and Labrador. He was a man who led his troops by example and whose bravery saved many lives on the day he died. He participated in sports such as hockey and tae kwon do with his children. “Craig was a loving father and husband, a dedicated soldier, and a proud Newfoundlander”, Gillam's wife Maureen said in a statement before his October 14, 2006, funeral. Gillam is survived by Maureen, two teenage children, and his parents.

There is Corporal Robert Mitchell, age 32, with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Petawawa, whose hometown was Owen Sound, Ontario. Known to his friends as Jim, Mitchell strived to be the best. He is survived by wife Leanne, two sons, a daughter, and his parents.

These are the real heroes of Operation Medusa. I have had many conversations with soldiers and their families since this latest Liberal government scandal erupted. They all agree with the following ass...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...litary investments to ensure that all our resources are up to date and that our personnel and their families are appropriately supported.

The Minister of National Defence is a former reservist w...”

Sherry Romanado (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...eople, those brave men and women who are wearing the uniform, or who have worn the uniform, and the families that support them.

While I look forward to the results of the defence policy review being made public, I would like to highlight some of the efforts that have been made by both the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence in terms of the support provided to Canadian Armed Forces members transitioning to civilian life and our veterans who have served our country so valiantly.[Translation]

Since 2015, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Veterans Affairs have been working closely together to ensure that the transition from military life to civilian life goes as smoothly as possible for members of the Canadian Armed Forces released from military service.[English]

Each year an average of about 9,000 Canadian Armed Forces members release from the regular and reserve forces. They each have their own unique story and their own distinctive needs. Some will need help with their transition to civilian life.

If there is one thing all Canadians can agree on, it is our debt of gratitude toward our Canadian Armed Forces members and our veterans. After their selfless contributions, the government owes them the means to get back on their feet and on with their lives. We are committed to doing just that, to help veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life and to move on to the next chapter.

In budget 2016 we focused on the financial security of veterans and their families. We reopened nine offices closed by the former government and opened a new one. Veterans Affairs Canada hired almost 400 new front-line staff, which includes new case managers. These historic actions taken in budget 2016 committed approximately $5.6 billion in additional financial benefits for our veterans and their families.[Translation]

Budget 2017 builds on these initiatives to create a broader and more comprehensive approach to ensuring the well-being of veterans by focusing on the family.

When I meet with veterans, regardless of whether they served for one year or 10, they want to talk about it because they firmly believe that a person who served in the armed forces is a soldier for life. We know how hard it can sometimes be for veterans to deal with the loss of the military family culture. We want them to continue to be a part of that family.

That is why we are expanding access to the military family services program and opening the doors of the 32 military family resource centres to ill and injured veterans and their families.

We are also improving and enhancing the family caregiver relief benefit by directly providing caregivers with a tax-free monthly payment of $1,000. The time limit within which spouses and survivors must apply for rehabilitation services and vocational assistance will also be eliminated so that they can return to the workforce.

That means that the spouses, partners, and caregivers who help our ill or injured veterans day after day will get more support and more recognition from the government for their invaluable contributions.

We are also investing nearly $14 million over four years in a new veteran and family well-being fund that will be used for research on issues and new initiatives to improve the support provided to veterans and their families. (1640) [English]

We are also doing more to help veterans transition to their post-military life. The new veterans education and training benefit covers up to $80,000 in tuition and other costs for members. Some of this benefit can be used toward professional development. This benefit will ensure more released military members can find a new sense of purpose and put their skills to use.

We are also redesigning the career transition services we offer so that more people can use them, including survivors, spouses, and partners. They will have access to job search assistance and coaching from coaches who understand military culture.[Translation]

Early engagement is key to a successful transition from military to civilian life. My colleagues in the Canadian Armed Forces have likely talked about the improved transition services, a joint initiative of Veterans Affairs and the Canadian Armed Forces, the aim of which is to reach out sooner to members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are leaving the service and their families. This initiative has already been rolled out in 24 integrated personnel support centres.

Mental health is a key component of the care and support offered to our veterans. This issue often gets a lot of media attention and is one of our top priorities.

That is why we are committed to ensuring that our veterans, as well as RCMP members and their families, get the mental health support they need, when they need it. That is also why, in budget 2017, we followed through on our commitment to establish a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions.

We are investing $17.5 million over five years in this centre, which will provide research, education, and liaison services for veterans and their families, and will contribute to the development of emerging best practices.[English]

Additionally, we commit to finalizing the details of a monthly pension for life option for ill and injured veterans in 2017, further adding to their financial security.[Translation]

The last thing I want to talk about today is our review of service delivery. We recently announced that the review is complete. We now have a plan that will allow us to provide services more quickly and with greater flexibility to adapt better to veterans' needs.

We understand and know that the current system needs to be changed in order to create a process that is easy to access, simple to navigate, and focused on the veteran. An overhaul is needed. It is not just a matter of making a change to a policy to plug another hole in the system. It is time to rebuild.[English]

This government has made it our mission to improve the well-being of veterans and their families. That means having a purpose, financial security, shelter, medical support, family and comm...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...r-care treatment, and supports for eligible former students of Indian residential schools and their families. Funding for community-based mental wellness programs is tailored by communities so that they are rooted in culture and meet the needs of the people whom they serve. (1830) [Translation]

Our government is responding to the mental wellness needs of indigenous youth by adopting an approach based on strengths and supporting community-based wellness initiatives that include aspects of language and culture, physical fitness, the arts, and on-the-land activities. We are improving access to mental health services.[English]

Budget 2017 proposes an investment of $204.5 million over five years to increase support for first nations and Inuit mental health services, programming, and access to mental health professionals, including traditional healers.[Translation]

I would like to remind the House that, on June 13, 2016, the Prime Minister announced approximately $69 million over three years to meet the immediate mental health needs of first nations and Inuit communities.[English]

This funding is enhancing capacity at local and regional levels to provide essential mental health services that respond to both the current crisis and to prevention.[Translation]

This funding will help to meet the following objectives: create new mental health crisis intervention teams; increase the number of first nations and Inuit communities served by mental wellness teams; provide training for front-line workers; support Inuit-specific approaches to mental wellness and suicide prevention; and, finally, provide access to a first nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line that respects the culture of these peoples.

In July 2016, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami or ITK released its national Inuit suicide prevention strategy. Our government invested $9 million over three years to help implement it. Our government is working with ITK and Inuit partners to determine further actions moving forward.

In addition, Health Canada provides coverage for mental health counselling services through the non-insured health benefits program. This mental health coverage is available to all non-insured health benefits clients, including youth, and is designed to provide coverage for necessary consultations with mental health professionals.[English]

Budget 2017 proposes to provide new funding for the NIHB program, making it easier for individuals and families to access culturally appropriate health care, prenatal escorts, and expanding access to men...”

John Nater (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s the hard work and care of midwives across the world. The theme for 2017, “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life”, captures the important work and contributions midwives provide to maternal and newborn health.

I would like to recognize Countryside Midwifery Services, Grand Valley Midwives, and Stratford Midwives for all they do for mothers, newborns, and families in Perth—Wellington. Their dedication and compassion are appreciated by families throughout our communities, my family included.

My wife Justine and I will be forever...”

Marc Miller (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...>Madam Speaker, I will tell members where we are delivering billions. We are delivering billions to families who need it the most, families who are seeking hard to join the middle class. With our family allocation through taxing the 1%, we have delivered billions to families who need it the most, for school supplies, for food. We are really proud of that record, an...”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Madam Speaker, our thoughts go out to those families, workers, and communities affected by this very challenging situation. We are taking immedi...”

Steven MacKinnon (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ues with the pay system. These issues have caused real hardships for many public servants and their families, and many are issues that no family should have to face.

Our government remains resol...”

Karen McCrimmon (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... that this is very important to him and his community.

Our thoughts continue to go out to the families and loved ones of the victims of the tragedy. Our government is firmly committed to improvi...”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Madam Speaker, as a government, we understand the challenges workers and their families in the energy sector have had over the last few years. Our support for the energy sector re...”

Yvonne Jones (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...th those across the north. We know it is unacceptable that northerners are struggling to feed their families, and we have every intention of bringing forward a new program that will meet the needs of ...”

Mark Warawa (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...unk driver, a person who foolishly chose to drive while impaired. Kassandra's family is devastated. Families for Justice is a group of Canadians whose loved ones were killed by impaired drivers. They ...”

Kelly McCauley (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... task force report that was submitted to the finance minister. We consulted with over 5,000 Alberta families, small businesses, and stakeholders affected by the economic downturn. By the way, in case anyone is wondering, none of those we consulted said to jack up taxes on the gas and oil industry and phase out the oil sands.

We advised the government of these options provided to us in the jobs task force, which include: reduce the tax burden on Canadians by stopping the carbon tax; honour the promise to lower the small business tax; support families in need by reversing the punishing new mortgage rules; and enhance Canada's fiscal strength...”

Tom Kmiec (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Madam Speaker, when we bring up our families in debate, we usually bring up our children, and we talk about what type of legacy we will ...”

Salma Zahid (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...dle class and those working hard to reach it, and that is important.

I have many middle-class families in my riding that need just a little help making ends meet. They have to choose between investing in their children's education and saving for retirement. We have put many initiatives in place to help them, from a strengthened Canada pension plan and a middle-class tax cut to the Canada child benefit and increased student assistance.

All of this is important, but today I would like to talk about helping those families for which the middle class seems out of reach no matter how hard they work to reach it, for low income Canadians who need to choose between paying the rent to keep a roof over their heads and buying groceries to put food on the table and for whom the high cost of child care prevents both parents from participating in the workforce and bringing an important second pay cheque home. I have many of these families in my riding of Scarborough Centre and I am here to speak for them.

I heard their stories during the campaign, and I continue to hear their stories when I meet my constituents at coffee shops, town halls, and on their doorsteps.

One of the first things our government did to help them was to introduce the Canada child benefit. By making it tax free and targeted to those families who need it most, families with less than $30,000 in net income receive the maximum benefit of $6,400 per child under the age of six, and $5,400 per child for those aged six through 17. This initiative alone has lifted more than 300,000 children out of poverty and is making a real difference for low income families.

We also addressed seniors living in poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors to up to $947 annually, improving the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.

Those are just a few of the measures from last year's budget, and I am pleased to see more strong action to help low-income Canadians in budget 2017.

For me, the signature item in budget 2017 is the investment in housing. For too long the federal government has been on the sidelines when it comes to housing in Canada. We have not been at the table when provinces, municipalities, and affordable housing providers have tried to tackle this critical issue. After a decade of absence, the cry for federal leadership is finally being answered by this government.

In Scarborough, housing is a pressing issue. Affordable housing is the bridge to improved prosperity for low-income families. Housing is a public health issue, a public safety issue, and an economic issue. Having a safe, clean, and affordable place to live allows children to fully participate and succeed in school. It allows their parents to go to work not having to worry about keeping a roof over their heads or having to make difficult choices between rent and groceries.

Unfortunately, housing is increasingly precarious for too many families. The stock of affordable housing is increasingly limited and in poor shape. Developers are building unaffordable condos and even converting rental buildings to condos instead of investing in new rental stock. Existing rental stock is often in poor shape and is being priced out of reach for many families in Scarborough. This forces them to live in unclean, unsafe, and often overcrowded environments. It forces them to make difficult choices no family should have to make. (1230)

That is why I am excited about the new national housing strategy that will be coming from the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and with the $11.2-billion investment proposed in budget 2017 to help build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing.

With stable and predictable funding over the next decade, the government will work in partnership with the provinces and territories to help ensure that Canadians have affordable housing that meets their needs. This will include a new $5-billion national housing fund to address critical housing issues and better support vulnerable citizens, renewed and expanded federal investments to combat and prevent homelessness, more federal lands for the development of affordable housing, and expanded funding to strengthen CMHC's housing research activities.

We will work with the provinces to support priorities that include the construction of new affordable housing units, the renovation and repair of existing housing, rent subsidies and other measures to make housing more affordable, and initiatives to support safe, independent living for our seniors, persons with disabilities, and other individuals requiring accessibility modification.

With the new national housing fund, there will be a co-investment fund to help pool resources from other housing partners, direct lending to municipalities and housing partners for the repair and renewal of housing units, as well as the construction of new affordable housing units, and support to help social housing providers maintain rent-geared-to-income units when long-term operating agreements expire.

This is a much needed renewal of federal leadership in the housing space, and will make a real difference over the years to come to lower-income families in Scarborough and across Canada that face a precarious housing situation and struggle to find an affordable place to live.

Another highlight for budget 2017 is the substantial and substantive investments in early learning and child care. When I speak to Scarborough families, they tell me that next to affordable housing, their biggest challenge and biggest concern is access to affordable, quality child care. For lower-income families, the high cost of child care can mean one parent is forced to stay at home instead of entering the workforce and bringing a much needed second paycheque into the household.

This is another area where federal leadership has been sorely lacking over the last decade. The “create a tax credit and walk away" approach of the last government did nothing to encourage the creation of more affordable child care spaces, and is a drop in the bucket compared to the costs families are facing right now.

Like affordable housing, early learning and child care is also an economic issue. With access to affordable child care, both parents can choose to participate in the workforce, and a child with access to early learning support will be better positioned to succeed in school and in life.

Last year's budget made an initial investment this year in early learning and child care of $500 million. I am pleased to see that budget 2017 builds on this commitment by investing an additional $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces in Scarborough and across Canada. Over the next three years, we hope this investment can increase the number of affordable child care spaces for low-income and modest-income families by supporting up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces, as well as make it more affordable for parents to return to work.

Real action here, though, will require a collaborative approach, and it will require a long-term plan. That's why I'm pleased the government is working with the provinces and territories to develop a national framework on early learning and child care, focusing on best practices and new approaches to best serve families.

There are many more items in this budget that will make a difference to lower-income Canadian families, but I feel these substantive and long-term investments in housing and in early learning and child care will make a meaningful and lasting difference for Canadian families struggling to make ends meet. (1235)

That is why I am pleased to support this budge...”

Salma Zahid (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ide more opportunities for every Canadian. That means providing more opportunities for middle-class families and those working hard to join the middle class.

We introduced the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of 10 Canadian families and which has lifted over 300,000 kids out of poverty. It is making a real difference in the lives of people every day. We will continue to build on our plan. We increased the taxes for the wealthiest 1% to give tax breaks to middle-class families. The plan is working, and I am sure it will continue working for the next many years.”

Salma Zahid (Liberal)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...to pay for groceries for their kids.

Through our budget, we are making sure that middle-class families get immediate help. Those people who need the help get immediate help through the Canada ch...”

Mike Lake (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...peaker, I appreciate the concern that my colleague has always had, both privately and publicly, for families living with autism.

I am fortunate. My son Jaden is 21, and having grown up in Alberta, he has had solid support from the time he was two years old. However, the situation facing some families in this country, depending on where they live in some provinces, they know that their child has autism at two, but they cannot get a diagnosis for two years because they are on a wait list until the child is four. They cannot get treatment until the child is six. Certainly that is provincial jurisdiction.

What this Canadian autism partnership would have done, again for $3.8 million a year in the context of a $52 billion deficit, is bring experts together, renowned world-class experts who are right here in Canada, to advise governments in their jurisdiction on things like early intervention, education, housing, transitions and employment, all of those things that are real challenges for families living with autism, people living with autism across this country.

Again, we are talk...”

Mel Arnold (Conservative)

May 5th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...nent to live here. It allowed early European settlers to immigrate and build better lives for their families than they might have had in their homelands. It is a heritage that is truly part of Canada....”

Richard Cannings (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...he British home children. Thousands were brought to Canada over decades. They were taken from their families in Britain, many simply because they were poor, and were brought to Canada where they were,...”

Terry Duguid (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... economic success and help close the gender wage gap in this country. Not only will women and their families benefit greatly from these actions; all Canadians will benefit as we work together to build...”

Dan Albas (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...called: boutique tax credits. Curiously, the Liberal government eliminated a tax credit that helped families with kids in fitness activities. It killed the tax credit that helped make public transit more affordable, and then it turned around and introduced a tax credit that helps teachers pay for school supplies.

It would be one thing to eliminate all targeted tax credits equally, but essentially, what the Liberal government is doing is sending a message that targeted tax credits are wrong if enacted by a Conservative government but okay if enacted by a Liberal one. That is just partisan politics at its worst.

Before I leave the topic, let me just say this. I have heard from some teachers, particularly those who teach at the elementary level, that this tax credit will help them, and that is a good thing. However, I have also heard from families and from those who are disabled that eliminating the children's fitness credit and the public transit tax credit will hurt them, and these are not good things. Some are actually shocked that the Liberals would cancel a tax credit designed to support public transit solely because of Liberal ideology, because we all know that increasing public transit use helps to decrease our carbon footprint. Of course, when it comes to doing that, we know that the present Liberal government only supports tax increases on carbon to make life less affordable for the same middle-class families it professes to want to help. (1035)

Another point I would like to raise is about th...”

Julie Dzerowicz (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...adult workers who are trying to go back to school or to upgrade their skills while supporting their families; and more support for families that are caregivers, that are trying to take care of their children. Then there is also a huge section around trying to help new immigrants, new Canadians, newcomers who have wonderful foreign credentials, to get them into the workforce a lot quicker.

I will go through a list of key initiatives that I think are important, which I have pointed out to the residents of Davenport, and will be beneficial not only to those in Davenport but also to all Canadians. I will go through all the numbers. Whenever we talk about numbers, $2.7 billion here and $132 million there, people's eyes get a little bit glassy, so I will just go through certain key initiatives.

We are providing quite a bit of money for skills training and employment supports for unemployed and underemployed Canadians under the Labour Market Transfer Agreement. We are giving about $3 billion for that, and this is super important. I just had a conversation with someone a couple of days ago. He told me he had three jobs and he would really like to have one. I told him I had good news, that we had put some money into budget 2017 that would help him improve his skills so he could hopefully have one job that would support his life.

We are putting a substantial amount of money into making the EI program more flexible to enable the unemployed to pursue self-funded training, while remaining eligible for EI benefits. This has always been a puzzle to me, the fact that those who were on EI looking for jobs and wanted to self-improve would have lost their benefits if they did their own training. I am glad we have fixed that.

We have also put a substantial amount of money, almost half a billion dollars, to extend eligibility for student financial assistance for both part-time students and students with dependent children. We want to make it easier for adult learners to qualify for student financial assistance.

So many people tell me they have to support their families and wonder how they can improve their skills while they do that. This will help to support them to do that. It helps them to access financial support to go back to schools on a part-time basis, upgrade their skills and move into a profession that either pays more or a profession that gives them more happiness.

There are also a number of supports we provide that will help families to take care of their families. We have a new EI caregiving benefit that will provide a substantial amount of money for adult and child care.

We have also made adjustments to provide EI parental benefits for up to 18 months. We have also put some money to allow expectant mothers to claim EI for up to 12 weeks prior to their due date. The last thing is that we have also put a substantial amount of money, $7 billion, to create a number of spaces for high-quality affordable child care. (1100)

I will mention one last thing.

A wonderful woman talked to me last Saturday at my last pop-up. She is a young doctor from Mexico City and has just come here. She told me she would love to be a doctor in Canada. She had married a Canadian and was now a permanent resident. She wanted to know how she could use her skills to serve the Canadian population. Our government has put $30 million over five years in the budget to help those with foreign credentials, like doctors, get recognized, to help them get Canadian experience, and to help them to start working and contributing to the Canadian economy as soon as possible.

We have put a tremendous amount of money into transit. I represent a downtown west riding, an urban riding in Toronto. One of the biggest irritants for the residents of my riding is transit. They want to have reliable transit. They want it to be accessible and affordable. They are also very big supporters of active transportation such as bicycling. They can cut across traffic, go through bike paths and lanes, and Ontario Hydro routes, so they can cross the city in a more expedited way. As an environmentalist, I love the idea of more dollars being put into transit, because there would be less pollution, less CO2 emissions, and there would be a huge economic benefit. It moves both people and goods around seamlessly.

Budget 2017 has announced $20.1 billion over 11 years to team up with the provinces and territories to build new urban transit networks and service extensions. I hope that will translate into a downtown relief line in Toronto. We desperately need additional ways to move people across the downtown core. This money will also help to finish up the work around the Eglinton LRT. In addition to this $20 billion investment, our government is also putting an additional $5 billion into transit from Canada's infrastructure bank.

That is an additional $25 billion in addition to the $3.4 billion announced last year in the 2016 budget to improve and expand our public transit networks to get people around, to ensure they are accessible, reliable, and affordable, which is a key issue for the residents of Davenport. These investments will transform the way Canadians move, work, and live.

Another key area I am really proud of in our investments in budget 2017 is affordable housing. People in Davenport say they not only need affordable housing but they also need to be able to afford to live in Toronto, because it has become so expensive. I am delighted the federal government is stepping up to the plate. I want to give huge kudos to our Minister of Families, Children and Social Development for his leadership on this. We started last year with $2.2...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...s of Canadians.

The member spoke about affordability and the importance of working people and families to get a break, to be able to afford and make their lives better for themselves. Bill C-44 ...”

Angelo Iacono (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ople to have the career of their dreams without being stopped by the financial stress, and to allow families to take care of a sick family member. This budget meets the needs of communities such as Laval, whether it is the needs of entrepreneurs, or the need for public transit, infrastructure, or social housing.

I will begin by talking about the challenges of the middle class struggling with the famous work-life balance. In general, what do we want out of life? We want to have a good job or to start a business; we want to be able to pay our rent, hydro bill, and other bills, and hope that there will be a little left over that we can save for retirement or our children's education; and we also want to look after our elderly parents. In short we want quality of life.

For the Prime Minister, my colleagues, and I, our constituent's quality of life is very important. Consequently, we cut taxes for the middle class and increased them for the wealthiest 1% in order to create a more just society and a fairer tax system. We created the tax-free Canada child benefit, which is income-tested. This means that families can benefit fully from the money they receive. We lowered the retirement age to 65 and increased Canada pension plan benefits to ensure that more seniors who have worked all their lives and contributed to our economy can retire with dignity, which they deserve. [English]

In this budget, we put in place something dear to my heart. We helped the caregivers by establishing a unique and simpler tax credit for those who take care of loved ones suffering from a serious illness. I have been a caregiver for my mother for several years. I know the level of commitment and compassion it requires. Having to deal with different sorts of tax credits to fit with our specific situation can be confusing and stressful. In a time when we want to put all our efforts into caring and loving a person who needs us, we should not be stressed about our financial situation. The caregivers deserve a break, and the help we propose will do exactly that. The new Canada caregiver credit will simplify and improve the existing system. It will apply to caregivers whether or not they live with the family member, and ti will raise the income threshold for eligibility.

We also created a new EI caregiving benefit. It will give up to 15 weeks of EI to a person who has to be away from work to support and care for an ill loved one. (1120) [Translation]

In addition to helping caregivers, we continue to help families through measures supporting children. Parents have many concerns when it comes to their children, but finding day care they trust and paying for their children's education are two of the biggest ones. Our government believes it is critical that all Canadians have access to quality affordable child care spaces. Quebec is a model, of course, but the shortage of subsidized spaces is a common problem for people in my riding.

That is why Quebec's share of the Canada social transfer will be $79 million higher than last year's amount. A total of $3 billion will be transferred to Quebec to support post-secondary education, social assistance, and child care.

We also improved the Canada student loans and grant programs to make them more accessible. Plans were also made regarding certain amounts and specific programs to address students' various needs. Quebec will be given the planned amounts to invest in its own loans and scholarships system.[English]

I want to talk about transport. Since I am a member of the committee on transport and infrastructure, I am interested in the investments done in transport. It is a challenge to have an efficient, safe, and green transportation system. It also has to support trade. This is why we put in place a national trade corridor fund to build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets. It will help our businesses compete, grow, and create more jobs. The fund will target investments for congestion and inefficiencies at marine ports, such as Montreal, which is critical to the success of Canada's trade agreement with the European Union.[Translation]

I would now like to focus on the region that I represent, Alfred-Pellan, in Laval, a diverse, vibrant, and innovative city. I am proud to be one of this city's representatives and just as proud of the fact that the measures announced pertaining to innovation will help Laval continue to be a leader in the technology, digital, agrifood, and science sectors.

I am very proud to announce recent investments of more than $8 million in Collège Montmorency de Laval for the construction of a new building devoted to research and technology transfers. This is a tangible measure in support of science and technology.

Workers in Laval are also going to benefit from our initiatives. We will support as many as 10,000 workplace learning opportunities per year so that businesses can train the workforce of the future. Businesspeople in Alfred-Pellan have often expressed this need.

Laval could take part in the smart cities challenge to get the money to fund its new technology initiatives, such as the projects of the Société de transport de Laval, one of the country's most innovative transit corporations, by using applications that enhance the efficiency of their transportation system as well as client services.

Speaking of public transit, we will support the next phase of public transit projects with a $20-billion investment to improve service and create more efficient, greener transportation networks. I am committed to supporting our transit corporation to help it achieve its goals.

In addition to money for public transit, we are investing in infrastructure. Our programs have already helped Laval improve its drinking water. Laval will continue to have access to the funds allocated for its infrastructure projects.

There is also a great need for social housing in Alfred-Pellan. That is why we are going to develop a national affordable housing strategy and invest $11 billion so that more single mothers, people living alone, and seniors can access safe, affordable housing. This will help Laval provide housing to the families that need it most.

I will conclude by reiterating my support for the people of Alfred-Pellan and Laval, local elected officials, businesses, and, most importantly, the people. My job gives me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, to talk to them about issues that matter to them, to celebrate their successes, and to support them in their endeavours. They are the reason my government and I are working on targeted measures for families, innovation, efficiency, and infrastructure. By making major investments now while interest...”

Angelo Iacono (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rastructure plan and targeted spending on health, child care services, affordable housing, help for families, and much more.

Consequently, that is definitely something that will be considered in...”

Mark Warawa (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...h shows that millions of new dollars are coming out of the pockets of Canadian seniors, of Canadian families, of the middle class, those who are struggling, because the government is going to charge a...”

Ed Fast (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...romise to reduce taxes on our small businesses?

Hard-working middle-class Canadians and their families, and let us not forget those working hard to join them, are also suffering. The Liberals have piled it on by raising taxes on everything from public transit, to Uber, to beer and wine sales. They are even taking away the children's fitness tax credit. It is unbelievable.

Not only that, the Prime Minister is significantly increasing the fees that Canadians pay for a wide variety of federal services, including things such as campsites and fishing licences. If we want to take our grandchildren fishing, the Liberals are jacking up the fees to make it less likely that Canadian families will get a chance to go fishing. They are also jacking up the fees on passport applications...”

John Oliver (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...pied by people who could receive their care at home or in community-based settings. Meanwhile, many families caring for loved ones at home are struggling with the stresses and pressures that come from not having enough home support. In both cases, these people and these families need more help. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $6 billion over 10 years to provide Canadians with improved access to home, community, and palliative care services as well as more support for informal caregivers. This means that more people would get the care they need in their homes and that more families would be getting increased support.

For those who receive care at home, an increased burden is put on family members. Balancing work and family caregiving responsibilities can be a real challenge. Things can be especially difficult when a family member is suffering from a serious illness. To give eligible caregivers a well-deserved break, budget 2017 proposes to create a new employment insurance caregiving benefit, which would give eligible caregivers up to 15 weeks of EI benefits while they are temporarily away from work to support or care for a critically ill or injured family member. Budget 2017 recognizes that people make enormous sacrifices to care for loved ones and would help ease that burden by giving people time to be caregivers.

An overwhelming number of Canadian families are affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experience a mental health problem or illness. While great strides have been made to improve our understanding of mental illness and its impact on people's lives, wait times to see a mental health specialist in certain regions of our country can range up to 18 months. In Oakville, I have heard from residents about the challenges of accessing mental health services in our community. Our government recognizes that this is not good enough, and that is why the budget proposes to invest $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health services. It would also help approximately half a million young Canadians who are currently unable to receive even the most basic mental health care. Clinical evidence has shown that it is absolutely essential for those struggling with mental illness to have access to timely and appropriate mental health services. Improved access to mental health supports would result in improved health outcomes and shorter wait times for hundreds of thousands of Canadians. (1205)

Canada's opioid crisis has led to devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities. The effect of this crisis is being felt in my riding of Oakville. I have met with a number of local health groups, including the Halton Equitable Drug Strategy and ADAPT, a treatment program, about their role in supporting harm-reduction initiatives to save lives. I have heard about the challenges some residents are facing as they try to access the treatment and support they need.

The budget supports the Canadian drug and substances strategy with a total of $100 million over five years for Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. I want the residents of my riding of Oakville and all Canadians to be protected from the opioid crisis and illicit fentanyl distribution. This plan would provide invaluable resources for treatment, prevention, and enforcement measures.

Oakville is a commuter town, and I know just how important it is for residents to have reliable and safe public transit. After a long day spent working hard, we should expect clean, efficient public transit to get us home on time. To support the next phase of public transit projects, our government is investing $20.1 billion to support urban public transit networks and service extensions. This investment would make it possible for Canadian communities like Oakville to build new urban transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way we live, move, and work. It would mean new transit lines, more buses, more reliable services, and fewer cars on the road. To get it right, the government is working closely with provinces and municipalities as reflected in the most recent funding of nearly $5 million for the Oakville transit, thanks to the public transit infrastructure fund.

A clean environment and a strong economy are connected. Canadians know this, and our government agrees. Budget 2017 lays out our government's plan to invest $21.9 billion over 11 years to support green infrastructure. This investment prioritizes projects that reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, help deliver clean air and safe water systems, and promote renewable sources of power.

Oakville clean tech companies have already received over $7 million from our government, underlying the potential for innovation we have in my community and across Canada. Through these investments, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader in clean growth, illustrating to the world that a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand in hand.

Canada's vast expanses of protected natural areas, our magnificent natural scenery, and our wealth of wildlife are a point of pride for all Canadians. The residents of Oakville enjoy their close connection to nature. The natural and cultural heritage we enjoy as Canadians enriches our communities and creates jobs by spurring economic growth through tourism. There is perhaps no better example of Canada's natural beauty than our national parks. Recognized around the world and loved by those who visit and work in them, our 47 national parks and four national marine conservation areas are a source of real pride for Canadians. Our national parks are part of our Canadian identity. They allow more Canadians to learn about the environment and connect directly with nature.

To ensure we are able to enjoy our national parks for years to come, budget 2017 provides up to $364 million to the Parks Canada Agency to protect and preserve our national parks. To make it more affordable for more Canadian families to visit and appreciate the outdoors in Canada's 150th year, admission to all national park...”

Gary Anandasangaree (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rs to have had the desired effect. The new Canada child benefit has helped hundreds of thousands of families improve their standard of living. I recently had coffee with someone who works in poverty reduction in the city of Toronto. She confirmed to me how the CCB has affected so many of the people she serves.

I do not have to go far to find families and children helped by the CCB. I routinely run into people who say that it has changed their way of life. Our office has assisted constituents who needed to file their income tax to qualify for the CCB. They have told us the impact it will have on their lives. The CCB is really a game changer.

I want to share some of the statistics from my riding of Scarborough—Rouge Park. In October 2016, the Canada child benefit helped 17,250 children, in 9,930 families, with an average benefit of $670, totalling close to $6.7 million. Let me remind my colleagues that this is approximately $670 per month tax free. These payments were not made to millionaires but to those who need it, based on their income.

This is the type of program that will help grow our middle class. It will allow young people to engage in things like soccer, hockey, gym, and music. It will provide better housing. It will provide better Internet access. It can help families in any way they need to improve their standard of life.

Building on this and other initiatives from the 2016 budget, our Minister of Finance and his team have crafted a budget for 2017 to support Canadians. I am therefore very proud to speak in support of this budget.

I will focus on three aspects of the budget: first, support for caregivers; second, innovation; and third, support for housing.

Last month, at the Malvern Family Resource Centre, our Prime Minister, along with the Minister of Health and my friend, the member for Scarborough Centre, met with many of my constituents who are the primary caregivers for their loved ones. The Malvern Family Resource Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that supports people of all generations with early years programs through to seniors programs. It has incredible leadership, with Girmalla Persaud, its executive director, at the helm. In 2016 it had 559 volunteers, who worked just under 20,000 hours to help this community.

At this gathering, the Prime Minister was able to speak to caregivers about how the proposed changes would improve, expand, and simplify the current caregiver tax credit system by replacing the existing credit programs with the new Canada caregiver credit. Budget 2017 would replace the current caregiver credit, the infirm dependent credit, and the family caregiver tax credit with one single new credit.

The new Canada caregiver credit would provide support for those who need it the most and would help more families who give care to their loved ones. The new credit would provide $6,883 for the care of dependent relatives with disabilities and $2,150 for the care of a spouse, common-law partner, or minor child. It would provide an additional $310 million in tax relief for Canadians over the next five years. It would be indexed to inflation, and it would be subject to no reduction until the dependent family member was making more than $16,163. (1220) [Translation]

In addition to the Canada caregiver credit in budget 2017, our government announced that we will extend EI benefits for people caring for family members and parents caring for a critically ill child.[English]

Budget 2017 would provide an additional $691.3 million, for five years, to create a new EI caregiver benefit of up 15 weeks. Parents of critically ill children would continue to be able to access up to 35 weeks of coverage, with more flexibility to share the benefit among multiple family members.[Translation]

These changes will help thousands of families across the country to support one another, and will simplify the everyday lives of many people in my riding.

I want to take a moment to thank all the caregivers in my community, and those around the country, who look after their loved ones. As we know, governments cannot take care of people as well as those close to them. However, governments can and must support those caregivers. This budget is a great start.

Innovation is very important to our government. We have many innovators. In my riding of Scarborough—Rouge Park, we have great examples of businesses that focus on innovation. At the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, we have a program called the hub, which acts as an incubator of new ideas and businesses. When I met with a Parks Canada official last week, she confirmed that the hub is working toward developing an app to navigate the Rouge National Urban Park, which is also in my riding.

We have many more innovators who continue to build an innovation-based economy. For example, last year's Google Demo Day's award winner, Knowledgehook, is from Scarborough—Rouge Park. This company of the future, started by Travis Ratnam and his team, continues to grow and will contribute to the economy of the future.

It is in this context that I am very excited that budget 2017 would serve as a foundation for our future growth. It focuses on one thing, and that is to help people succeed. This budget is a visionary step toward building the economy of the future.

Here are some elements. It proposes to invest an additional $1.8 billion over six years in labour market development agreements with the provinces. For the average Canadian, this would mean more opportunities to upgrade their skills, receive career counselling, start their own business, and gain experience. However, our commitment would go well beyond by expanding eligibility for Canada student grants and loans each year to an additional 10,000 part-time students, and it would expand eligibility even more to students who support their families.

We would launch a pilot project to test new approaches for adult learners who return to school, at a cost of $287.2 million over the next three years.

We would make changes to EI to help those going back to school, investing in skills development, creating more jobs for youth, and increasing the availability of co-op placements for students.

In this budget we propose a new strategic innovation fund to make high-quality investments in businesses that will bring jobs to Canada.

We would create a new $400-million venture capital fund, through the Business Development Bank of Canada, to help Canadian businesses get a leg up and add value to our economy. We would invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs by partnering with great organizations, like Futurpreneur Canada.

Let me turn to social housing. Good housing is a fundamental need for the development of an individual. It is the centre of one's life. The member for Scarborough—Agincourt and I met with the CEO of Toronto Community Housing on March 28. We went on a tour of six Toronto Community Housing complexes in Scarborough. We were able to see first-hand the need to invest in housing. These complexes, located in my riding and in Scarborough—Agincourt, help thousands of families make ends meet. They provide affordable living and support those who are most vulnerable in...”

Gary Anandasangaree (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...xes on the top income earners. We took away the Canada child benefit from millionaires. Billionaire families are not receiving a cheque every month from this government. We do not believe that those w...”

Gary Anandasangaree (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...o need it based on an income test. We are investing in very important infrastructure that will help families, communities, and cities, and that is the longer-term vision. We can balance the budget, bu...”

Phil McColeman (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...It is another year, another Liberal tax hike, and another lost opportunity to deliver for Canadian families.

This budget fails to be innovative and it fails to deliver for families. Families need a job plan. Instead they got higher taxes and more debt, which, as I said, will have to be paid off by future generations.

The Liberals are not growing the middle class; they are growing government, and Canadian families are going to foot this bill.

By his own admission, the Prime Minister tells us that $195 million of the funding for child care will actually go toward hiring bureaucrats in Ottawa. What the Prime Minister cannot tell us is how many child care spaces the Liberals are actually going to create. They hope it is 40,000, but they do not have an actual plan. They hope to balance the budget, but they do not have an actual plan. The pattern has developed and continues to develop.

I can tell members that our previous Conservative government took a much different approach. We focused on supporting families, and we had a plan. That is why we implemented initiatives such as the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's art tax credit, tax credits for post-secondary education and textbooks, and income splitting for families.

Unfortunately, since taking office, the Liberals have eliminated these initiatives one by one, with the public transit tax credit being the latest to get the axe.

When in government, the Conservative Party understood that in order to keep up in this global economy and create jobs, we needed to push a real innovation agenda. That is why we created a more efficient and effective national digital research infrastructure system by investing in CANARIE, Canada's world-class, high-speed research and education network. We extended Canada's participation in the international space station mission to 2024 to build on Canada's strong legacy of supporting space exploration. We developed the next generation of innovation leaders by supporting graduate-level research and development internships through Mitacs. We made a landmark investment in post-secondary education by creating the Canada first research excellence fund, with $1.5 billion over the next decade. This investment helped to secure Canada's international leadership in science and innovation. (1245)

We provided $49 million to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to help young entrepreneurs grow their firms. We fostered world-leading research by investing $220 million in the TRIUMF physics laboratory to support leading research and launch cutting-edge spinoff companies. We provided $1.5 billion to support the private sector in research and development to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada's aerospace sector through the strategic aerospace and defence initiative. We launched the venture capital action plan to increase private sector investments in early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds. We supported technology innovation by investing $15 million in support of the Institute for Quantum Computing for research and commercialization of quantum technologies, and $3 million to support the creation of the Open Data Institute.

We stood up for the automotive industry by investing $500 million in the automotive innovation fund to support significant new projects in Canada. We also provided over $800 million to support cutting-edge post-secondary research infrastructure through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. These are real, tangible supports for ideas and for entrepreneurs that make innovation happen, as well as real, tangible supports for Canadian families.

That is what is missing from this budget. There are no plans. There are platitudes. ...”

Randeep Sarai (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ble to talk about the real impact budget 2017 would have on their lives, positioning them and their families to succeed not only in tomorrow's economy but in today's.

Our government's commitment to innovation, infrastructure, housing, and protecting our oceans and waterways is what makes this budget and this government's agenda so transformational. It is with great pride that I can say that the decisions the government is taking, along with the policies we are putting forward, are having a positive impact on the lives of Canadians. This past weekend alone at an event in Surrey, I was speaking with Ted Singh, a constituent in Surrey Centre, who I had the good fortune of meeting for the very first time, a constituent whose two children will see first hand the investment in post-secondary education in Surrey.

Late last year, the Prime Minister was in Surrey Centre to personally share the good news of a $45 million investment in Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus, an investment that will have an impact not only today but tomorrow and for future generations of people who call Surrey home. This investment will provide supports, resources, and the means for world-class institutions such as Simon Fraser University for the people of Surrey who have aspirations for contributing to making our community and this country a better place.

My constituents are concerned about the ailing infrastructure that surrounds the city, such as the Pattullo Bridge. I am therefore pleased to see the formation of the infrastructure bank, which will help cities and provinces fund great projects and help the constituents of Surrey Centre get to and from work faster, spend more time with their families, and have more money to do the things they enjoy.

I am pleased that the Canada child benefit is continued in this budget, as more than 22,000 children in my riding are benefiting from the support. They are getting over $700 per month per child, on average, tax free. This is real support for middle class families that live and work in Surrey.

It is with great pride and honour that I can stand here...”

Shaun Chen (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nstruct a record-breaking 50 townhouse units in my riding of Scarborough North. Upon completion, 50 families currently living in unsafe, unhealthy, and overcrowded housing will each have a new and affordable home. This project speaks to the importance of our government's commitment to invest $11.2 billion over the next 11 years to support affordable housing, including the construction of new units. This budget does the right thing by ensuring that Canadians have access to safe, adequate, and affordable places to live.

Scarborough North is home to a number of housing co-operatives. Following the release of this budget, I spoke to a number of representatives of these co-ops. I was pleased to share that this budget would invest $5 billion in a national housing fund, one that would support lending for the construction of new rental units as well as give much needed funds and operational support to social housing providers. This budget would improve the lives of low-income and vulnerable members of our community who rely on social housing for a roof over their heads.

Not only that, this budget would also help improve the lives of new Canadians. Coming to a new country to start a new life is never easy. As a child of immigrant parents, I witnessed first-hand not only the difficulties that new immigrants face, but also just how much the government can do to help new immigrants feel they belong in Canada.

Many of our new immigrants are highly skilled and highly educated. They want to put their talents to use and to contribute to building our great country. Many times, however, highly skilled and educated immigrants face barriers that limit their employment opportunities once they arrive in Canada. Our government recognizes these barriers as a problem and with this budget we are doing something about it.

This budget proposes to allocate $27.5 million over five years starting this year and $5.5 million per year thereafter to support our targeted employment strategy for newcomers. This ambitious program would break down the barriers that bright new immigrants face in fully contributing to our economy. Our plan would improve pre-arrival supports for newcomers so that the process to recognize their foreign credentials can begin before they arrive in Canada. (1315)

We would also put in place targeted measures to test innovative approaches to help skilled newcomers gain Canadian work experience in their profession. One of the main reasons people choose to come to Canada is to seek new opportunities, both for themselves and for future generations. That is why this strategy would do the right thing by helping new Canadians and their families find appropriate work.

When Canadians secure meaningful employment, it grows our economy, which is why this budget is also focused on supporting innovation. I am proud that my riding of Scarborough North is home to many thriving businesses, including Canada Goose, which celebrated a strong IPO last March.

While industries like textiles and manufacturing will continue to play an important role, the global economy is changing. To address the changing nature of our global economic realities and to ensure it continues to thrive for our children and grandchildren, this budget introduces an ambitious innovation and skills plan. This plan includes $2.7 billion over six years for unemployed and underemployed Canadians to receive training and employment supports, an investment that positions Canada as a leader in the changing global economy.

That is not all. This budget would do even more to help our seniors and give them the respect they deserve. I know how important this is for my riding of Scarborough North, which is home to many seniors homes, such as the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, a provider of exceptional care to many seniors in the greater Toronto area. In addition to recognizing the invaluable services that facilities such as Yee Hong provide, our government is recognizing that there are many Canadians who prefer to receive care in a home setting.

Our government is committed to giving patients the care they need in the setting that they choose. This budget would invest $6 billion over the next decade for home care, money that would be used to improve access to home, community, and palliative care services. It would also provide more support to informal caregivers, such as family members working hard to balance full-time careers with caregiving for their loved ones.

Finally, this budget rightfully supports our veterans and their families. Scarborough North is home to many veterans. as well as Royal Canadian Legion Branch 614, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Our veterans have dedicated their lives to defend our country, and they deserve our unwavering support and gratitude.

Last year's budget invested $5.6 billion over six years to give more money to veterans with injuries or illnesses resulting from their military service. Continuing to recognize the sacrifices our veterans have made, this budget focuses on supporting the well-being of our veterans and their families. Our government proposes to help our veterans receive the skills, training, and education t...”

Shaun Chen (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...veterans receive the skills training and education they need to succeed. We will better support the families of veterans who have been injured during their military service. Also, we will invest in mental health because so many of our veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. We want to ensure we tackle those mental health issues and provide the best care for our veterans and their families.”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...Legion, agrees. He said, “Bottom line, this budget doesn’t do enough for our Veterans and their families...How long do Veterans have to wait?”

This budget did very little for the military ...”

Ken Hardie (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the late Rick Hart.

Budget 2017 would also make a huge difference in the lives of many Surrey families, particularly those people who have come to Canada with the professional skills we urgently need but who face barriers because their credentials are not recognized here. Every day a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, or an engineer is underemployed, these people lose, their families lose, and we lose. Budget 217 would invest $27.5 million over five years, starting this year, to remove those barriers. We would start the process even before the professionals arrived. Once they were here, we would support their efforts to get Canadian accreditation with a loans program to help cover the costs. Finally, a targeted deployment strategy would help them get essential Canadian work experience so they could relaunch their careers.

There are three more highlights from budget 2017 that I would like to mention. I think I can get them in quickly. Each would make a difference in communities across Canada, including mine.

As we all know, housing prices in Metro Vancouver, Toronto, and other cities have pushed home ownership out of reach for far too many families. Our decision to get the federal government back into a national housing strategy responds to the calls for help from the provinces, municipalities, and neighbourhoods. In Surrey, the Guildford neighbourhood, which I share with my colleague the hon. member for Surrey Centre, is where our city's main stock of affordable housing can be found. Budget 2017 would provide $11.2 billion over 11 years across Canada to design, build, renew, and repair homes for millions of Canadians working hard to join the middle class.

Another $5-billion national housing fund would better support vulnerable Canadians: the elderly, the disabled, and women seeking refuge from abuse.

Housing costs are a major source of worry and insecurity in many cities across Canada. Our government listened, we heard, and we have made affordable housing a priority.

Another acutely urgent issue in Metro Vancouver is the opioid crisis. No community or neighbourhood is immune from the tragedy of overdose deaths or the gang-related violence that accompanies the drug trade.

In February, our government provided $10 million in emergency support to help British Columbia respond to the crisis. Illicit drugs took 914 lives last year alone, and more than 320 in just the first three months of this year. This funding builds on the $65 million over five years we also announced in February for a strategy for an opioid action plan. Budget 2017 would enhance that with a further $22.7 billion over five years. (1355)

This budget would build on scores of other initiatives that matter a great deal in Fleetwood—Port Kells and in every community across the country, important measures like the new Canada caregiver credit that would help those needing care and the families providing that care.

Improvements to our family reunification program are helping families reunite more quickly, something that matters a lot in many homes in Fleetwood—Port Kells. We also cannot underestimate the impact of the first full year of the Canada child benefit, over $22 billion in tax-free support for families that need it the most. It is putting food on kitchen tables in Fleetwood—Port Kells and a...”

Mary Ng (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...reat service over many years to that community.

For 30 days in March, I met with thousands of families who shared their ambitions and their goals with me. We spoke about finding good, well-payin...”

Jennifer O'Connell (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...urned, Sharpe suffered from shell shock, now known as PTSD. Faced with having to return home to the families of those who had died by his side, he tragically took his own life.

I want to thank t...”

Stephanie Kusie (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ing with me every step of the way. Without their love and support, I would not be here.

Young families in Calgary Midnapore, who are struggling to find work, express concern not only for their c...”

Harjit S. Sajjan (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...government is focused on making sure our troops have all the necessary benefits to look after their families in making sure we have all the right capabilities.

Last year we conducted a thorough ...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... up with a concrete plan to deal with this emerging crisis and to help the hundreds of thousands of families impacted.

Can the minister confirm that she walked away from negotiations with Obama,...”

Colin Fraser (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... is the Minister of Veterans Affairs doing to address the mental health needs of veterans and their families?”

Kent Hehr (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., and siblings. It is true that when members serve, their entire family serves along with them. The families are the strength behind the uniform. In budget 2017, we announced a centre of excellence on mental health and PTSD, to advance research, education, and outreach services. This would lead to better mental health outcomes for our veterans and their families.”

Kent Hehr (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...re highly supportive of these changes. It meant more money in veterans' pockets, for them and their families.”

Ken Hardie (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... They are the ones who could have tracked down many millions of dollars in taxes avoided by wealthy families, which may now be helping even more wealthy families avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The Conservatives believed so much in the vir...”

Sheri Benson (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the changes the Employment Insurance Act. Here is an example where the government really could help families, particularly in my riding. Instead of increasing the benefits, instead of making it easier...”

Dean Allison (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...d-diming the middle class. It is making the cost of living more expensive for middle-class Canadian families. It is becoming obvious to us in this place and to Canadians across the country that the Li...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... to farmers and fishing properties, thus driving up the cost of insurance for those who are farming families in my community.

Budget 2017 would also increase taxes on tourists who visit Canada o...”

Maryam Monsef (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ever gender-based violence strategy that would focus on prevention, support for survivors and their families, and a more responsive judicial system.

Chapter 5 in the budget is an important numbe...”

Tom Kmiec (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nsit passes, Canadians will see their pockets far emptier than they have ever been before and their families will feel it far heavier than they ever have.

There has been a lot of criticism in th...”

Peter Fonseca (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to speak to budget 2017, and how it will help our families, our infrastructure, our children, and our seniors.

I am optimistic about the budget. It is a good budget, but there is an aspect of this year's budget that is both unique and historic. Our government has been called Canada's first feminist government, and we are very proud of that distinction. More important, we are determined to live up to it, so that those words become the real and tangible efforts that help all women succeed.

The budget 2017 gender statement represents the government's first comprehensive effort at reporting on gender-based analyses of budgetary measures. Gender-based analysis identifies the ways in which public policies affect women and men differently. Budget 2017 identified more than 60 measures as having differential gender impacts, but we can do more.

We have a real opportunity to show how we considered and prioritized outcomes for women. In this bill, Canadians will find the kinds of things they should expect in a federal budget implementation act: a focus on skills and innovation, infrastructure, and tax fairness, to name a few, examples of things that will help middle-class Canadians succeed. These measures were developed with gender equality in mind. Empowering women to become economic drivers equal to that of men can have a real and positive effect for our economy.

Recent history has shown that as women have become more educated and more established in the workforce, Canada' s economy and the incomes of both men and women have grown. Canadian women are among the most educated in the world, something we should be so proud of, and make up 47% of the labour force, yet women are still paid less than men in exactly the same positions. In this area, Canada lags behind similar countries.

Barriers are particularly evident among younger women with at least one child. They are still far more likely than men to sacrifice careers to perform unpaid work at home. As policy-makers, it is our obligation to consider and to take action to address the inherent bias that persists in these areas, not simply because it makes economic sense, but because it is the right thing to do.

Well before budget 2017, our government started taking action on gender-based challenges. We rolled out the Canada child benefit to better support families and lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. We increased the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit to boost support for the most vulnerable single seniors who are disproportionately women. I would now like to discuss a few measures in the bill.

Through this bill, our government is taking steps to help improve the current caregiver credit system that applies to Canadians who are caring for their loved ones. Budget 2017 simplifies the existing system by replacing the caregiver credit, the infirm dependant credit, and the family caregiver tax credit with a single new credit, the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit will provide better support to those who need it most. It will apply to caregivers, whether or not they live with their family member, and it will help families with caregiving responsibilities.

Budget 2017 assessed proposed tax measures, including the Canada caregiver credit, to determine their gendered impacts. By applying a gendered !ens, budget 2017 will promote the fair and consistent treatment of women and men under the tax system. Statistics Canada estimates that more women than men are caregivers. However, we also know that a slightly higher proportion of men claim the caregiver tax credits.

Our government is also committed to meeting Canadians' demand for health care services. With the passage of the bill, the government will provide funding to provinces and territories for home care and mental health services in 2017-18 as an immediate down payment to provinces and territories that have accepted the federal offer of $11 billion over 10 years.

Clearly, the demand for home care services is growing with an aging population. Today, approximately 15% of hospital beds are still occupied by patients who could and would prefer to receive their care at home, or who would be better off in a community-based setting.

What is more, a majority of those Canadians who have taken on the responsibility to care for their loved ones are still in the workforce. They are sandwiched. They are men and women who are likely to spend a significant amount of time in caregiving activities. The time to support them is now. (1700)

Women also account for nearly two-thirds of all home care clients. Paid care is mostly provided by female health care providers. The targeted health care investments in this bill would be used to train additional front-line home care workers, and increase employment opportunities for women.

When it comes to mental health, scientific research has made great strides to improve our understanding of it and its prevalence. Unfortunately, we know that an overwhelming number of Canadians will be affected directly or indirectly by mental illness at some point in their lives.

Furthermore, family violence is a key factor for poor mental health, suicide, and substance abuse. Many organizations have noted that victims of family violence are predominantly women.

By providing the stable, predictable, and long-term funding needed to shorten those wait times for mental health services, outcomes for many groups, including women at risk, can be improved.

There are other examples of measures from this budget that stand to benefit women. This bill would allow parents to choose to receive employment insurance parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate of 33% of average weekly earnings. The existing benefit rate that we have now of 55% over a period of 12 months would continue to be available. This measure recognizes that every Canadian family is different, with different needs when it comes to how a family manages work and family responsibilities. Working parents need more flexibility to navigate the challenges that come with a growing family.

In conclusion, we know this is just a start and that making progress on these issues will demand both continued effort and a clear sense of what we need to accomplish. We must change the way that we create policies to level the playing field so that everyone has a real chance to succeed.

The bill is the first that seeks to implement budget measures that were developed under a lens of gender-based analysis. More work is still to come. I encourage my fellow members to support this bill and the progress that it represents. We need all Canadians to be at their best. We cannot allow anybody to fall behind. We are in a very competitive global world. We need everybody doing their best, and being provided with the opportunities to succeed.

By building that ladder, by providing those rungs so that our women and men can succeed in the workforce, in their families, in the community, that will build a better Canada for all of us.”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...anada's 1% wealthiest. We saw a decrease in tax for Canada's middle class, and millions of Canadian families in every region of our country benefited. There is so much more in terms of just addressing...”

Erin Weir (NDP)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...he date itself, I believe it is far more meaningful for children to go to the ceremonies with their families than to do it as part of some sort of mandatory school activity.

I would also point o...”

Marilyn Gladu (Conservative)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...heduled earlier or later in the week, permitting students to attend community ceremonies with their families, if they desire.

Personally, in my role as MP, I can truthfully say that I attend at ...”

Alaina Lockhart (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...as Canada Day and Victoria Day, it will reconfirm the commitment of the House to veterans and their families, and those who are serving today, and will show our unwavering gratitude for their sacrific...”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...revenue to put money back in the pockets of people who need it the most by giving the money back to families through rebates, by cutting personal income tax and small business taxes, and by investing ...”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“Madam Speaker, I will say again that, unlike the Conservatives, we are focused on supporting middle-class Canadians and their families at every stage—”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...educing taxes for nine million Canadians; a Canada child benefit that helps nine out of 10 Canadian families and will help raise 300,000 children out of poverty; and enhancements to student loans, whi...”

John Brassard (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...r. Speaker, this morning, parliamentarians of all stripes joined members of the military, veterans, families, and mental health advocates for the fourth annual Sam Sharpe breakfast. Each year, the Sha...”

Kerry Diotte (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...up without MS. I want MS to leave my family. I want a cure for MS, for my mom and for all the other families living with this terrible disease. I know the way to find a cure is by raising money for re...”

Georgina Jolibois (NDP)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ortant than the relationship with first nations, Métis and Inuit, yet he is specifically excluding families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Uncertainty and criticism around the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls continues to pile up. Across the country, including in my riding, local men, women, and families are doing the work. They go door to door, put up posters, and search, hoping to find their missing loved ones. The government said great things, but there is no action. When is the government going to do the right thing and help these families?”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ster had an opportunity to personally apologize to Afghanistan veterans while fundraising for their families, but he cancelled.

If the defence minister's reputation with our troops is so damaged...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e there to support the troops. This is an annual event that raises funds for our veterans and their families. He, of all people, knows why this is important. Sadly, but for no apparent reason, the def...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ass, and especially for women, by introducing the Canada child benefit, which helps nine out of ten families and reduces child poverty. We have moved forward with a child care program and we are fight...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y community organizations, and that is why our government has taken so much concrete action to help families facing insecurity, whether it be the Canada child benefit, the $11.2-million investment in affordable housing in our most recent budget, or the $7.2 billion allocated for child care. We know that we need to do more to help families.”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...family member affected by a mental health problem. We all know the challenges that our communities, families, and our economy are facing. (1515) [English]

That is why budget 2017 p...”

Stephanie Kusie (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... concerns and heartbreaking stories about the jobs crisis from Albertans. Students and hard-working families from all walks of life are worried about how they will get by in these uncertain times.

...”

Mary Ng (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... is critically important to reducing congestion, getting to work on time, and getting home to their families after a long day.

Could the Prime Minister please update the House on the investments...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...l help cut commute times, foster economic growth, and allow Canadians more time to spend with their families and friends.”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ng around. We are going to ensure that through delivering more money to the pockets of middle-class families through investing in things like transit, waste water treatment plants, and flood protectio...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e middle class; introduced a new Canada child benefit that gives more money to 9 out of 10 Canadian families, and lifts hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty; and strengthened the Canada pension plan to help Canadians have the secure and dignified retirement they deserve.

I want to assure Canadians that we are not done. There is still work to do. [Translation]

This year, we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. If we look beyond 2017, there are many challenges to be met. I would like to draw your attention to what we are doing to support Canada’s greatest strength: its skilled, hard-working, creative, and diverse labour force.

Both young people in school and people whose career has spanned several decades are wondering what kind of education and training they need in order to get a good, well-paid job and to be properly equipped to succeed in this evolving economy.

Today, the changing nature of the workplace means that people are changing jobs several times over the course of their working lives. The emergence of artificial intelligence and automation, coupled with the transformation of entire industries, are realities that we cannot ignore.

In budget 2017, our government laid the groundwork for preparing Canadians to be ready for the economy of tomorrow, and to have more employment opportunities today.

Some of these measures are included in the bill we are considering today. Budget 2017 invests, first and foremost, in skills and training, so that middle-class Canadians, and all Canadians, in fact, can take advantage of the opportunities they need in order to succeed, now and in the future.

By supporting Bill C-44, we will help to ensure that Canadians are able to benefit from the opportunities for success afforded by the economy of tomorrow.

I would like to give the House an overview of the measures that this bill contains.

The Government is firmly committed to helping Canadians of all ages receive the training and skills they need to succeed in the economy of today and tomorrow.

The tuition tax credit plays an important role in this effort, and recognizes the cost of enrolling in post-secondary and occupational skills courses.

Currently, students who take occupational skills courses, such as learning a second language or basic literacy or numeracy training, at a college or university, are not entitled to the tuition tax credit, but those who take similar courses at a non-post-secondary institution are entitled to it.

To improve fairness, Bill C-44 will expand the range of courses eligible for this credit to include occupational skills courses that are undertaken at a post-secondary institution in Canada, and to allow the full amount of bursaries received for such courses to qualify for the scholarship exemption.

The government is also committed to helping working parents who need more flexibility to navigate the challenges that come with a growing family.

Bill C-44 would allow parents to choose to receive EI parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate of 33% of average weekly earnings.

For people who want to keep the 12 months of parental leave, employment insurance parental benefits will continue to be available at the existing rate of 55% of earnings. (1540)

Bill C-44 proposes to allow pregnant working women greater flexibility. It proposes to allow working mothers to claim EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date if they so choose, expanded from the current standard of eight weeks. [English]

People are at the heart of our plan. We want to provide the middle class, and those working hard to join it the opportunities they need to succeed. In order to ensure our continued prosperity well into the future, we must help Canadians prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow, while ensuring Canadian employers have access to the kind of talent that can help companies innovate and grow, leading to more well-paying jobs for Canadians.

This means that we need a fair, secure, and targeted immigration policy. Long processing times for work permits is making it difficult for businesses to recruit top talent. Enter the government's global skills strategy, which sets an ambitious two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for global talent. The strategy would support high growth Canadian companies that need to access global talent in order to facilitate and accelerate investments that create jobs and growth, and global companies that are making large investments relocating to Canada, establishing new production or expanding production, and creating new Canadian jobs.

Canada is also planning to implement a targeted employment strategy for newcomers. This strategy would have three components: improved pre-arrival supports, so that newcomers can begin the formal credential recognition process before arriving in Canada; a loan program that would assist newcomers for the cost of having their foreign credentials recognized; and targeted measures to test innovative approaches to help skilled newcomers gain Canadian work experience in their profession.

The strategy would help reduce barriers, and support newcomers as they put their skills to work in the Canadian economy. (1545) [Translation]

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston has called upon all Canadians to join in the building of a nation that is both smart and caring. He said that a smart nation learns from the past, embraces the future, and looks to the world with confidence and respect, while a caring nation recognizes that the measure of any society’s success lies in its ability to help others, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized among us.

We are a better nation if we continue to care about one another so that we continue to be a Canada where we look after our own.

Three measures in Bill C-44 offer greater support for Canadians who need it. [English]

The first measure is offering support to our veterans. Canada's women and men in uniform have served their country with bravery, honour, and dignity, putting their lives at risk to protect the values we cherish most. Our veterans deserve our greatest recognition and respect for their service. Bill C-44 would help veterans transition from military service to civilian life, and better support the families of ill and injured veterans, including caregivers.

In addition to providing more money for veterans to go back to school, Bill C-44 proposes to enhance the career transition services program. This measure would equip veterans, Canadian Armed Force members, survivors, and veterans' spouses and common-law partners with the tools they need to successfully navigate and transition to the civilian workforce.

Bill C-44 also proposes to provide a more generous benefit directly to caregivers to better recognize, and honour the vital role they play in supporting our ill and injured veterans.

The second proposed measure is the new Canada caregiver credit. The government is taking steps to help improve the current caregiver credit system that applies to Canadians who are caring for their loved ones. Bill C-44 would simplify the existing system by replacing the caregiver credit, infirm dependent credit, and family caregiver tax credit with a single new credit, the Canada caregiver credit. This new, non-refundable credit would provide better support to those who need it the most. The new credit would apply to caregivers whether or not they live with their family member and will help families with caregiving responsibilities.

The new Canada caregiver credit would provide tax relief on an amount of $6,883 in 2017, in respect of care of dependent relatives with infirmities, including persons with disabilities, parents, brothers, and sisters, adult children, and other specific relatives; $2,150 in 2017 in respect of care of a dependent spouse or common-law partner, or minor child with an infirmity, including those with a disability.

Families will be able to take advantage of the new Canada caregiver credit as soon as the 2017 tax y...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...peaker, it is very important for us to have a budget that is going to help our economy and Canadian families. It is important to take steps to improve our situation.

What I can say is that every measure in our budget is going to provide real assistance to our economy and Canadian families. Every measure in our bill stems from a measure in our budget. That was the spirit of our p...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Madam Speaker, that is in fact exactly what we are doing. We are recognizing that families come in all different shapes and sizes. In some situations, families will want to have the mother or father take 12 months of parental leave, and that is entirely appropriate for that family. That is the situation that is possible within our current system.

We also recognize that some people might prefer to stretch that out for 18 months, because it might make it easier for them to manage the challenge of their particular family situation.

By creating that flexibility, we are allowing people to manage their situations so that they can actually stay attached to the workforce, even if they want to take more time off work. We believe that we are doing exactly what the member opposite is asking us to do. We know that this will help families better accommodate their individual situations and allow us to have a more effective workfo...”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nce. Let us remember that, when those changes were introduced, over a year ago now, the Minister of Families forgot one little detail, which was to index those changes. If the government had not run t...”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... office. Thank God we were in office for nine years, because we gave Canadians, especially Canadian families, the help and tools they needed to help themselves. (1610) [Translation]

We offered tax credits to help families and tax credits for help at school, for textbooks. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. We created tax credits to help families who enrolled their children in sports activities. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. We created tax credits for children’s arts activities. They have been eliminated by the Liberal government. Now, as hard as it is to believe, the government has eliminated a tax credit for public transit users. I did not see that one coming at all. Of the 250 or so tax credits that Canadian families may be eligible for, the Liberal government, that constantly boasts about its exploits and constantly preens itself for its lovely great ecological principles, has eliminated the tax credit for people who use public transit. Honestly, if someone had told me this two weeks before the budget was tabled, I would have laughed. [English]

The Liberals decided to cancel and to abolish a tax credit for transit. This government is talking about bringing in policies. It is quite important to protect the heart of our world, and the government shall protect it.

I will remember all my life when the Prime Minister said two months ago that he was here for three great reasons, and then he named his children. He was here to protect and to give his children a better heart.

Look at the result. He cancelled the transit tax credit. It is all wrong, but so typical of the Liberals. They say something, then they reverse it. [Translation]

What eliminating these tax credits and creating new taxes means, in our view, is that the government is not creating winning conditions for taxpayers to keep more money in their pockets, particularly with the money they have.

What I have shown is that, at the end of the day, the Liberals did a terrible job of administering the support system for families by forgetting to index the numbers, but they are very proud of giving $2 billion more than what we gave when we were in government. Need I point out that this money does not exist? We do not have it. If we had it, we would happily hand it out. The big difference between this government and ours, when it comes to helping families, is that during our last year, we did it with a zero deficit, with a balanced budget, and with a plan for tackling the debt. That was our plan. We were living within our means.

This government is borrowing and running up deficits, and it is no big deal. The deficit will be zero in 2055, life is beautiful, and they are handing out money they do not have. No head of household could manage their budget by using a credit card all the time and always asking the bank to lend them money. At some point, reality catches up. Reality is going to catch up with this government in October 2019; of that we can be sure.

Now I would like to talk about the omnibus nature of this bill. I said earlier that this 308-page-long bill includes not only budgetary measures, but also things that have absolutely nothing to do with the speech delivered by the Minister of Finance on March 22. Among other things, the bill sets out the new mandate of the parliamentary budget officer.

When I was at the National Assembly, I wanted Quebec to have a parliamentary budget officer. To my delight, we have one here in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, in the federal government. How wonderful. For 11 years, that person has been diligently keeping watch over the public purse independently from the House of Commons, from the government and parliamentarians. In this omnibus bill, the parliamentary budget officer is being given a new mandate that makes no sense. Henceforth, the Liberal government would have the parliamentary budget officer submit his game plan for the year. To whom? To you, Madam Speaker. Please do not feel singled out, as he will submit his plan to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate as well. It is unheard of.

There are 17 countries that have a parliamentary budget officer and only one of them, Korea, works this way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if 16 countries believe one thing and only one believes another, perhaps the 16 are right. The government is following Korea's example and requiring the parliamentary budget officer to present its game plan to the House of Commons and the Senate. In our opinion, this does not make sense.

We are not the only ones to think so. In an interview with Le Devoir, among others, the parliamentary budget officer said that he fears that his job will be politicized:

I am more concerned about the Speaker of the Senate than the Speaker of the House of Commons, because the Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Prime Minister's Office whereas the Speaker of the House is elected by his peers. Without wanting to seem too naive, he is technically neutral. One of them is more closely connected to the Prime Minister's Office than the other.

That was Jean-Denis Fréchette, the current parliamentary budget officer, who said that this is not the right move.

Therefore, let us be prudent, because he is not the only one saying so. (1615) [English]

Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer, said in an interview with Bill Curry of The Globe and Mail that the bill appears to take away the power of individual MPs to ask the PBO to provide cost estimates of various government initiatives. He said, “I would worry, under this legislation, based on all the interference we saw from various political actors and bureaucrats. This legislation creates the facade of independence...but on the other hand it completely takes it away.” [Translation]

It is not a Conservative that said that. It is the former parliamentary budget officer. He said that this measure was just a facade and that it could politicize the work of the parliamentary budget officer or, at worst, make it so that the parliamentary budget officer is no longer able to undertake projects on his own initiative to undertake the analyses of his choice. He would have to set out his game plan and it would have to be approved by the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate. That is inappropriate. People all across the country are speaking out against the new approach proposed by the Liberals, which is completely unacceptable.

I would like to quote Manon Cornellier from Le Devoir, who is not known for being any more Conservative than the next person. She also used the words “facade of independence”. She said that the parliamentary budget officer “will no longer be able to undertake studies on his own initiative” and that “this marks the end of initiatives to address unforeseen circumstances”.

She went on to say, and I quote, that “the Liberals will only allow committees the right to make these requests, which is very convenient since a majority government controls those committees”.

She ended on a rather scathing note by saying:

Unfortunately, adopting these changes, which will diminish parliamentarians' ability to hold the government to account, is more or less a sure thing, since all budget bills are subject to party discipline.

Unless...[and I will look my colleagues opposite in the eye as I read this part] the Liberal members stand up and pressure their government to remove this reform from the bill and hand it over to parliamentarians. It would be in the Liberals' interest to do so. Otherwise, as soon as they return to the opposition benches [in 2019], it will not only be the PBO whose hands are tied, but theirs will be too.

This Liberal government proposal, within an omnibus bill, which aims to change how the parliamentary budget officer operates, is completely unacceptable. That is why we strongly oppose Bill C-44, a bill that is bad for Canada's economy and one that flies in the face of the Liberals' promise not to introduce omnibus bills, especially when some fundamental things are still missing from its 308 pages. That is why I am seeking the consent of the House to move the following motion, seconded by the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017, and other measures, since the Bill, in addition to increasing taxes and making it more difficult for struggling families to make ends meet, is an omnibus bill that fails to address the government's promise not to...”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...re—and the Canada child benefit.

However, the problem I have with the assistance offered to families with children is that the Liberal Party has been promising a national child care program since Jean Chrétien was in office in 1993, but we still do not have one. That would be the most effective way of helping families with children to reduce their child care costs. In some cities, like Toronto and Vancouver, child care can cost up to $70 or $80 a day per child.

Quebec's approach to child care clearly demonstrates that a national child care program is the best way to fight poverty, help families, and help women get back into the workforce.

If they want access to more revenue to p...”

Arif Virani (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ssness partnering strategy beyond 2018-19.

As my second component, I would like to underscore families and child care. I am the husband and father of two young children. My boys are three and six. My riding of Parkdale—High Park is home to countless families just like mine. These families have reached out to me to talk about our government's first act, which was to cut taxes for the middle class. They have also welcomed the Canada child benefit, which targets tax-free benefits to those who need it most.

For those raising children in Parkdale—High Park and around the country, our first budget last year provided an initial $500 million for early learning and child care. Building on this, this budget would invest an additional $7 billion to support the creation of high-quality child care spaces across the country. This would mean up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces.

What this would mean for Parkdale—High Park and ridings around the country would be more options for parents who are literally fed up. It is from personal experience and from others in my riding that I know about people who sign on to countless child care waiting lists, literally the moment they conceive a child. Those people need a greater supply of much-needed daycare spots, and they need options that will make it possible for them to return to work, including for women to return to work. That is something our government firmly believes in. This unprecedented investment would both address the supply of child care spaces and help drive down costs by boosting the number of subsidized spots.

Budget 2017 would do even more for families. We fulfilled our campaign commitment to introduce more flexibility and choice for parents on parental leave. These changes would allow parents to choose to receive their current benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months, rather than 12, and spend more time with their young children in those key early months.

On women and gender parity, the third subject I would like to discuss, this budget was a historic first. For the first time in Canadian history, in 150 years, a federal budget included a gender statement. The statement reflects the impact of programs, across government, on women and reflects our commitment as a government to ensuring that the goal of gender equality permeates every single thing we do as a federal government. (1720)

As an example, we believe that women deserve to feel safe, supported, and protected in communities, so on top of our historic child care investment, I was heartened to see $100.9 million allocated in the budget over the first five years, and $20 million thereafter, to establish a national strategy to address gender-based violence.

In the past, I have supported work on this issue in my riding of Parkdale--Hyde Park, particularly at The Redwood shelter, a shelter for women and children fleeing violence. I have seen the amazing work being done in my community at places like The Redwood, but I have also seen first-hand the critical need for investment and resources to end gender-based violence.

Budget 2017 would do more. It would address the critical need for funding for women abroad. I am proud that our government has endorsed what is known as the Dutch initiative and would be dedicating $650 million in international aid to the education of women and girls and to empower women to maintain control over their reproductive rights.

I am proud to serve in a government with Canada's first ever gender-equal cabinet and in a government that has introduced Bill C-25, which would improve gender diversity on corporate boards in the private sector.

We know that more needs to be done, but budget 2017 is an important step in the right direction toward achieving true gender equality across all government programs.

The fourth area is indigenous persons. In my role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am committed to our goal of rebuilding and repairing our relationship with indigenous peoples and to supporting the preservation of indigenous languages and culture. The mandate letter of the Minister of Canadian Heritage has an express commitment to provide funding and to enact legislation to promote, preserve, and enhance indigenous languages. I am honoured that the hon. minister has asked me to assist her with this project.

Building on the significant investments in budget 2016, budget 2017 would continue the important work of true reconciliation with indigenous persons. We would establish a new fiscal relationship that would lift the 2% cap on annual funding increases and move towards sufficient and predictable funding for first nations communities. (1725) [Translation]

Budget 2017 allocates $225 million to provide access to affordable and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous peoples living off-reserve. It also provides $300 million for the construction of housing in Canada’s north, and support for territorial governments to improve housing conditions. These investments will help approximately 3,000 families find adequate, suitable, and affordable housing. Budget 2017 also provides $225 million for housing providers who serve Indigenous peoples not living on reserves[English]

We would also dedicate $828 million to improving health for first nations and Inuit, including $305 million for the non-insured health benefits program.

We would target mental health for first nations and Inuit, with $204.2 million going toward improving mental health services. We would build on our commitment to home care by investing $184 million for palliative and home care for first nations and Inuit communities.

The fifth area is transit and infrastructure. In my riding of Parkdale-High Park, I have heard time and again about the need for infrastructure investments in Canada, particularly to get people moving to work and school. Budget 2017 would deliver on this important commitment.

In budget 2017 we have committed $20 billion over the next decade, in partnership with the provinces and territories, for public transit projects that will shorten commutes, decrease air pollution, and allow Canadians to spend more time at home with their families. What would that mean in Parkdale--High Park? It would mean more subways, more streetcars, and more buses. It would mean access to more transit and greener transit, because our budget commitment would also include $21.9 billion in greener infrastructure.

The last subject I want to talk about as I conclude is vulnerable Canadians. What would the budget do for vulnerable Canadians? There is a new health agreement. There is $5 billion for mental health around the country and $6 billion for long-term care.

For low-income families, a dedicated fund of $13 million would be established to provide affordable access to the Internet for low-income families.

What would it do for asylum seekers? There would be legal aid for refugee applicants. I hear time and time again in Parkdale—High Park that we want to establish an open and compassionate program, accessible to all. The money dedicated, $60 million over five years, to enhance people's access to the refugee system would do just that.

There would be money dedicated to those who are victimized by hatred. We would double the security infrastructure program.

There would be money dedicated to newcomers who have problems integrating because their foreign credentials are not being recognized. There would be $27 million dedicated to foreign credential recognition.

For the LGBTQ community, there would be $3.6 million to protect and promote equality for people of different sexual orientations.

This government reflects a commitment to progressive values, housing, indigenous persons, women, families, and our most vulnerable. I will be supporting this budget. I urge everyone in this House t...”

Randall Garrison (NDP)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...nto Canadian society, and make a contribution which will allow them to support themselves and their families. I was pleased to sit down at this meeting today and talk about those kinds of successes.

The Liberals quite rightly raised the goal of having 25,000 Syrians come to this country. In my riding, what was most impressive was how people with no particular connection to Syria stepped forward. They were not Muslims necessarily, and they were not from the Middle East. They did not have any particular reason to step forward, but as Canadians they felt that they should do their part. Many were from families that had immigrated to Canada, some of them from refugee families in previous generations, Hungarians and other people who had fled their homeland. It was so...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... advance child care in Canada.

We need a universal child care system that is national, so all families have equal access; affordable; and with quality care. It is the smart and responsible thing to do. The cost of child care in large cities rose almost 10% in the last two years, sometimes as high as $1,700. My sister paid more for child care than for rent.

Canadian families need action now. There is no doubt child care is essential to getting women into the workforce. Dr. Pierre Fortin, professor of economics at the Université du Québec in Montreal, told the status of women committee last month the Quebec child care system increased the number of women in the workforce by 70,000 in 2008.

In my riding, women's groups, student unions, and community child care centres all agree, accessible and affordable child care is absolutely necessary, so that women can go to work, attend school, and live in safety. As Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella said, “Child care is the ramp that provides equal access to the workforce for mothers.”

If that were not reason enough, universal child care is good for the economy. Professor Fortin studied the Quebec child care model, and concluded there is no net cost to taxpayers. In fact, he calculated that in 2008, the provincial and federal governments got a surplus of $900 million from the universal child care program in Quebec. The economic benefits of universal child care could also be felt in other provinces.

Economist Robert Fairholm predicts that the $10-a-day child care plan proposed by the B.C. NDP in this current election would create 69,000 jobs, and will make enough revenue for the government to build and operate the child care system.

Investing in child care will also create good jobs for those who work in the child care sector. Last week, I heard from daycare operators in my riding that they cannot pay the early child care educators what they need to make a good wage. That is unjust to the women educating our children, and means they often have to leave the field, which is disruptive to children in their care.

Parents cannot afford to pay child care fees that are any higher, so the government must act to invest in a system with fair wages for early childhood educators.

If the federal government is unsure about what action on child care should look like, the Liberals can look to models that already exist in Canada. In Quebec, the universal system of low fee child care is a real success, providing quality care for children, and helping women get back to work.

My province of B.C. used to have a universal provincial child care system. It was cancelled by the B.C. Liberals when they first took office in 2001. The B.C. NDP has pledged of $10-a-day child care which would have real economic benefits.

This week, the Alberta NDP government launched its $25-a-day child care, which parents and working mothers say is just what they need to balance child care costs and work.

Access to affordable child care is what is needed to lift people out of poverty, and to make sure that women can get to work. It is time for the government to take leadership on child care. Why is the government not keeping its child care promise to Canadian children, women, and families?”

Serge Cormier (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...tle the issue of the Canada child benefit. On December 12, 2016, in her question to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, my colleague claimed that the Canada child benefit will lose its value by 2021. She also said that the government was breaking its promises and letting our children fall through the cracks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In response to her question, the minister pointed out that the new Canada child benefit would help lift half a million Canadians out of poverty. He also reminded her of our recent announcement that the benefit would be indexed starting in 2020-21. The purpose of that is to guarantee that the real value of benefits paid to Canadians will not be eroded over the long term by the rate of inflation.

As far as early learning and child care is concerned, the minister also said that over the next few months we will be launching a new framework for early learning and child care to answer questions on the affordability and quality of child care services. In budget 2017, we are proposing to invest $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19, to support and create better quality, flexible, fully inclusive, and affordable child care spaces across the country.

Part of that investment will be used to improve access to early learning and child care spaces that are culturally appropriate for indigenous children, whether they live on or off reserve. Over the next three years, these investments could increase the number of affordable child care spaces for low- and modest-income families by supporting the creation of as many as 40,000 subsidized spaces. They could also make the return to work more affordable for parents by allowing thousands of parents to rejoin the workforce once the cost of child care is reduced.

Part of this $95-million investment will be used to address data gaps in order to better understand what is involved in early childhood education in Canada and monitor progress. What is more, $100 million will be allocated to innovation in early learning and child care.

These investments build on the initial investment of $500 million announced in budget 2016 for early learning and child care to deliver on this framework. That includes $100 million to enhance indigenous early learning and child care. We have already entered into discussions with the provinces and territories regarding the development of the framework.

We will also consult with our indigenous partners in order to develop a separate framework for indigenous early learning and child care that will reflect the unique cultures and needs of the children and families of first nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada. (2005) [English]

The government will work in co-operation with provinces, territories, and indigenous partners to provide help to families most in need. It is important to note that once they are in place, the framework will offer all the necessary flexibility to support Canadian families to have access to affordable, high-quality and truly inclusive child care, regardless of wh...”

Serge Cormier (Liberal)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...rtant issue for the member opposite, as it is for me. I have two young children and I know how much families need these new services.

Our Canada child benefit will help lift more than 300,000 children out of poverty by 2017, which represents a 40% reduction in child poverty in Canada. Nine out of ten families will receive more benefits than they did under the former system.[English]

We are wor...”

Steven Blaney (Conservative)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...I hereby ask all MPs present here today to first think of victims of impaired driving and their families and to vote tomorrow to support Bill C-226 to proceed to committee for further review so we...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ilment killed three people and injured two more. I send my deepest and sincerest condolences to the families, friends, and workers who experienced this tragedy.

For the people of Woss, I cannot fully express my sense of heartbreak.

I want to acknowledge the emergency response efforts from the residents of Woss and the neighbouring communities, the RCMP Victim Services, BC Emergency Health Services, North Island Critical Incident Response Network, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society teams, doctors, nurses, health professionals, and site leaders.

I am thankful for the kindness of the community in providing food for the workers and families and the immediate community meeting where people came together to share their shock and gri...”

Phil McColeman (Conservative)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...unded and available. Lives depend on it.

On behalf of the many affected Canadian women, their families and their friends, I ask all members of Parliament to join me in helping Ovarian Cancer Can...”

Terry Beech (Liberal)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...50th anniversary to acknowledge our collective desire as Canadians to provide a better life for our families, our communities, and for future generations.

One specific individual, Bajrangi Dass ...”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...tariffs that will apply to all regions of Canada are going to directly or indirectly affect 210,000 families.

What has the Prime Minister done since March 10, 2016, when he promised a new agreem...”

Karine Trudel (NDP)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...o understand that these countervailing duties are affecting thousands of jobs and that thousands of families are going to suffer as a result.

How is it possible that the Minister of Natural Reso...”

Amarjeet Sohi (Liberal)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...d waste-water facilities. These investments will have a real and tangible impact on communities and families while ensuring they have safe and clean water to drink.”

Michael Cooper (Conservative)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...thers, sisters, friends, neighbours, colleagues are gone, taken. It is a crisis that has torn apart families and devastated communities. It is a crisis that is not slowing down.

The opioid crisi...”

Matthew Dubé (NDP)

May 2nd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... November 2016, which was 128. That is enormous. In December, as the holidays were approaching, 142 families lost a loved one because we did not act fast enough. I believe that no one in the House, wh...”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rve our community and our country. It is a refuge, a home away from home for our warriors and their families while they are receiving treatment for injury and illness. Allan started Honour House after...”

Thomas Mulcair (NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister dragged his feet on the softwood lumber file, which affects 200,000 families in our communities. He has no plan to compensate people for job losses. He has no plan to m...”

Thomas Mulcair (NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...at the Prime Minister has had a chance to ensure that the arrests and criminal records stop for all families, he refuses to do so.

The Prime Minister himself has admitted to smoking pot while he...”

Thomas Mulcair (NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... he refused. Why the double standard? Why is there one system for rich, well-heeled, well-connected families, and another for regular families?”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ast week, so I am asking the Prime Minister. Will he stand today and tell the hard-working forestry families what his plan is now that they are facing uncertain times?”

Yves Robillard (Liberal)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...olding a public consultation to hear what our constituents have to say.

Would the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell us what the deadline is for holding consultations?

Marilène Gill (Bloc Québécois)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s, the fifth in 35 years.

This is going to be really devastating for Quebec, our regions, our families, and our communities. Forestry workers know that they cannot count on the 40 Liberal MPs fr...”

Jim Carr (Liberal)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...forestry industry in this difficult period. We will continue to work with producers, workers, their families, and the provinces. Canadian workers can count on us.”

John Barlow (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ns, I speak with their voice, the voice of Albertans: farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and families.

I cannot imagine the betrayal they would feel if I were blocked from having their vo...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...isis, which is significant in my region, and includes many people in Lethbridge, their lives, their families, their future.

I will lose the ability to speak to legislation. I will lose the abili...”

Matt Jeneroux (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...Although months have passed since I asked the Minister of Infrastructure when Alberta's struggling families can expect the Liberal government to present a plan that will actually create the jobs they need, nothing has changed. In fact, Alberta's unemployment rate continued to rise last month, and jobs in the natural resource sector crumbled. It has become clear that the government has no clear plan for job creation and simply continues to collectively bury its head in the sand, ignoring Alberta's unemployment crisis.

The reality remains that thousands of Albertans are out of work and struggling to provide the basic necessities for their families. What was the government's answer in budget 2017? It eliminated tax credits to help the oil...”

Rodger Cuzner (Liberal)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...on the minds of all of us here, certainly on the government side. There is no question that Alberta families are facing difficult times and that many middle-class Albertans feel anxious about having a...”

Matt Jeneroux (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... together, we will get out of this crisis. Such platitudes are doing nothing to help our struggling families as the number of unemployed Albertans grows every month. Albertans need more than the empty...”

Michelle Rempel (Conservative)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... as well as the RCMP, along with border towns, are being strained.

There have been reports of families who have had people illegally crossing the border knock on their doors in the middle of the...”

Darshan Singh Kang (Liberal)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...uru, Guru Gobind Singh ji.

All across Canada, at their local gurdwaras and at home with their families, Sikhs will participate in colourful parades, ceremonies, and celebrations and will reflect...”

Candice Bergen (Conservative)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s at a cost of $133,000 to the Canadian taxpayer, he is at the same time nickel-and-diming everyday families who want to plan a modest vacation or maybe a long weekend with their loved ones. Passports are going up. Gasoline is going up under this Prime Minister. Uber will be going up. Even beer and wine will be going up under this Prime Minister.

Why does the Prime Minister think he is entitled to make Canadian families pay for his excessive spending?”

James Bezan (Conservative)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...isterial order that is only returning some of the danger pay for some of our troops.

Military families who are no longer receiving this military danger pay are now turning to food banks to get b...”

Maryam Monsef (Liberal)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...der-based violence strategy is framed by three pillars: prevention, support for survivors and their families, and a responsive legal and justice system.

Malala is a living reminder of how one gi...”

Kevin Waugh (Conservative)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ustice minister continues to stand by as accused murderers and even rapists go free.

How many families will be denied justice before the minister finally does her job?”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rst thing we did. We are committed to tax fairness. That means we are going to think about Canadian families first. We are going to continue with measures that are going to help families so we can have a better economy. We know that works.

What we are seeing with the changes we put in place is that our economy is becoming more resilient. We are seeing more jobs. Behind those jobs, families are being more successful. This is what we are working toward in making our economy better....”

Cathay Wagantall (Conservative)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...reas hospice palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and re...”

Mark Warawa (Conservative)

April 13th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... Kaulius was tragically killed by a drunk driver, a person who chose to drive while impaired.

Families for Justice are Canadians who have lost a loved one, killed by an impaired driver. They bel...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

April 12th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...hrough bullying, harassment, hate, and violence. In some cases individuals can be rejected by their families, kicked out of their homes, and pushed out of school as a result of who they are. No one sh...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

April 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...em for the middle class. We created a Canada child benefit that gives more money to nine out of ten families and will lift 40% or hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

Every day, we ...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

April 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...them on the wealthiest 1%, and delivering a Canada child benefit that helps nine out of 10 Canadian families and will lift hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty right across this country.”

Dianne L. Watts (Conservative)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ut being out of touch. I hear that the reason that the tax credit was taken away is that low-income families making $12,000 per year could not use the credit and that it is only for the rich, that the...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...e same, by the way, is true of men. Men are also very concerned about child care, about support for families, about safe communities. That should be obvious to all members, but sometimes it is not reflected in the way we talk about things. There has been a lot of discussion recently about how we make the House of Commons more family friendly. Sometimes those issues are discussed as if they were only of concern to women, but they are of course a concern for men as well. How people integrate work with family life is something that men and women both have to pay attention to.

I think that is some important context as we proceed with these discussions.

I do want to pick up on some of the themes in terms of specific issues that have been raised by colleagues throughout this debate. There are, in particular, three key policy areas that we can discuss with respect to the particular impact on women and reflect a discussion that has happened at the status of women committee and that is happening in Canadian society more broadly.

Obviously, when we talk about women's issues, one of the first things that people bring up is the question of child care, as it has come to be called, the way in which people who have children either look after those children themselves or engage somebody else in their life to look after those children at certain times of the day.

Oftentimes when we talk about child care, our friends on the left, in the government and in the NDP, want to paper over some of these distinctions between the way in which people look for child care options. The only solution they want to talk about is government-funded and often government-administered child care programs. The parliamentary secretary who spoke recently was very proud of the amount of money that the government proposed to put into state-run day care programs. (1130)

We in the Conservative Party took a very different approach. It was actually a very popular approach. Some of the polling results I saw showed that it was the most popular policy we had implemented, and we implemented a lot of popular policies, but this one was the most popular. We said we were not going to decide how parents should raise their children. We were not going to say that there was a one-size-fits-all approach with respect to child care. We said we would give more support directly to parents so they could decide how they wanted to use their own money. Families in my constituency told me they liked our emphasis on choice and flexibility, that they wanted to be able to use their own money to raise their children in the way they saw fit.

There is a whole spectrum of models with respect to how people raise their children. In some families, one parent stays at home. In some families, both parents may stay at home but at different times with some sharing of the responsibilities. Some families may have someone come into their home to look after a child. It might be a family member, a neighbour, or someone they hire to do that work. Some families use external child care services, and that too may take different forms. It may be a private home or it may be a centralized child care centre in the form that the government wants to support exclusively.

Another proposal that the Conservatives as a government explored was that we could help employers facilitate the creation of infrastructure for child care within their workplace. Parents could bring their children with them to work and have them looked after on sight or close by so they could easily access their children on breaks and at other times, particularly if there was a pressing urgent need. Parents would have that flexibility but it would be in the context of their place of work.

I could go on listing different kinds of child care arrangements.

We see more and more that people are combining arrangements. One parent might work full time or a bit less while another member of the family works part time. They adjust their hours so that there is always one parent with the children. Their children might be in a particular program a couple of days a week and the parents would adjust their time accordingly. This is the kind of normal flexibility we often see in families today.

The previous Conservative government took the approach that it was not up to the state to make a value judgment about what was the better way children should be raised. We applaud parents who make any choice that they believe to be in the best interests of their children. We applaud their good intentions in doing so. We believe they, and not the state, are best positioned to make decisions with respect to child care.

The approach that we emphasized was flexibility. The Liberal government lauds its approach, which is completely different. One might say it is less feminist. It seeks to take more money from people in the form of taxes and thus limit their choices. Putting money into one specific option may work for some families in some situations in some places but likely will not work for other families in other situations or other places.

There is more we could do to support families through different kinds of flexible arrangements. We could do more with respect to maternity and parental leave. We could increase the flexibility of that. There was a time when people had to work at a place outside of their home, for example, in an office or a plant or whatever. There was a time when there was no working from home. People either went to work outside their home or they stayed at home. (1135)

Nowadays that reality is very different. There are a lot more people working from home, perhaps with flexible hours. A lot more people, because of the Internet, can be involved in direct sales. Many new parents in my social network do not want to be stuck in that binary between going to work or staying at home. They may want to develop some combination thereof. Parents might think about starting a business that they can manage from home, such as working in direct sales or some other avenue that allows them to do that work while also being at home with their children. That is a flexibility that is facilitated by technology.

As legislators we need to recognize that reality on the ground in terms of what people want to do and we need to see what we can do to be supportive of that reality. That means trying to make the programs for maternity and parental leave more flexible and reasonably financially advantageous so someone can say, “I want to stay at home with my new child for a certain period of time, but I also want to take a couple of files home from work.” People may want to maintain a more flexible relationship with their employer while taking a longer period of time at home, perhaps to facilitate an easier transition back to work, but also to maintain some degree of engagement outside of the home environment.

That is a choice that many people might want to make, but not everyone would want that. Others might prefer to make the choice of staying at work or being at home full time. Recognizing that more and more it is possible for people to combine being at home and working, we need to also recognize that the way in which we provide maternity and parental leave has not actually kept up with that. I know there was a pilot project in place which provided some of that support, but we need to make those types of programs permanent. We need to increase the ability of people to keep doing some work on the side while on parental leave.

I will just share on anecdote on that. This is a pretty clear case of someone I know whose child was being watched by a friend during the day. That person was being paid, but then that person had another child and could not continue to provide that child care service to someone else. Theoretically they could, but it was not financially advantageous for them to do so because as soon as the person providing the child care had another child, they could claim certain benefits, but they could not claim those benefits if they were earning unemployment income. It did not make any sense that one family lost child care and the other family lost an opportunity to earn some income because of the perverse incentives in the benefits structure. These are things we need to look at and explore in terms of enhancing flexibility of child care.

That is a very different mentality that we bring to the discussion than the government and the NDP do, because they see child care as a one-size-fits-all approach, that we need to fund these kinds of centres that are often government administered. From my perspective, that is quite at odds with what families are looking for. Some families are looking for that option, but other families are looking for different options. We need to have flexibility.

The government also took away choice from families by doing away with income splitting for young families. It left income splitting in place for seniors, but not for young families. Income splitting recognizes the reality that different families make different kinds of choices, but it ensures that all families with the same family income pay the same amount of tax. Under the new system the Liberals have brought in, there can be different families who, because of their child care choices and the kinds of work and family balance they choose to have, might have to pay a higher rate of tax than a different family who makes a different set of choices but has the same income. As I said, state institutions should be neutral with respect to these kinds of choices and should give families the greatest possible flexibility. (1140)

Having spoken about these issues around ch...”

Greg Fergus (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...fter study has demonstrated that the best result for children, of course, is to be raised in stable families and to have a loving environment. However, the second-best result, and by far, is to have early childhood education programs that are publicly run. Study after study has shown that in Canada.

I have a question for the hon. member. Why should the state be neutral when, clearly, the best option, outside of the family, would be a government-provided, government-trained early childhood education program? We have opportunities for families to raise their kids at home by having the Canada child benefit, which, once again, the member voted against. This provides an important opportunity for Canadian families to have money in their pockets to provide them with a range of different services.

As...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...hich the Conservative government put in place. It was our party that championed a direct-support-to-families approach. At the time, it was that member's party that ran against it.

I would very strongly dispute the member's claim that all the research says that kids do better when they are in government-run facilities. I am happy to read whatever the member would like to present in terms of actual evidence on that point. He can certainly send it over to me. I would appreciate it. Most of the evidence I have read has suggested a very different conclusion.

Maybe this just comes down to a different philosophical view of what the role of the state is. Conservatives believe that the role of the state is to empower families to make choices that reflect their values. They believe that parents have a prior right to ...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...kes a very good point about the benefits of having workplace child care available. Again, different families make different choices, but the option of going to work and knowing that one's child is get...”

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (NDP)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ve money to parents to help them cover the cost of child care, but what the Liberal government gave families last year barely covers the costs. If a family has three or four children, the cheque cover...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... though somehow we can wait and push that down the road. I wonder, if it were people here and their families were homeless, would they say that they did not need urgent action and that we could wait a...”

Mark Warawa (Conservative)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ent, which is famous for delay, is okay with that, but Canadians are not happy. They want women and families to be protected, and if women qualify for these benefits, they should be able to get them w...”

Mark Eyking (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...e later in Passchendaele.

These young men came from farming, fishing, lumber, and coal mining families. I ask members in this House to join with me in remembering them and the thousands of other...”

Peter Schiefke (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...nimaginable hardships, both during and after the war.

Today is a day of commemoration for the families of thousands of soldiers who were killed or wounded at Vimy, and it is also a time to honour all Canadian soldiers, past and present, and their families.[English]

Today I rise in this House to express my sincere gratitude to my community'...”

Mark Holland (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... on that promise and setting aside $20 million per year to create a tax-free benefit to support the families of public safety officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

It is an incredibly pr...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ealthiest one per cent of Canadians. That is exactly what we did. This government committed to help families with children who need the Canada child benefit the most. That is exactly what we did by de...”

Alaina Lockhart (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“.... They run into fire, perform CPR on our loved ones, and put their lives on the line for us and our families.

Considering the impact that these community heroes have on our lives, would the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness inform this House how the government is keeping its promise to support them and their families?”

Ralph Goodale (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...irefighters, to support the women and men who risk their lives to keep us safe and to support their families when tragedy strikes. That is why budget 2017 includes $20 million per year for the establishment of a new tax-free benefit for the families of public safety officers who fall in the line of duty. Our aim is to have this heroes bene...”

François-Philippe Champagne (Liberal)

April 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., the Asia-Pacific region is a priority for our government. We owe it to Canadian workers, Canadian families, Canadian exporters to look at expanding markets, because more trade equals more growth, an...”

David Yurdiga (Conservative)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e Liberals are stacking the deck against hard-working Canadians who are trying to provide for their families.

According to Statistics Canada annual estimate of mineral production, the Yukon terr...”

Julie Dabrusin (Liberal)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...il of Jewish Women of Canada in Toronto. [Translation]

These boxes contained kosher foods for families who could not afford them.[English]

On Wednesday, members of the Danforth Jewish Circ...”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...cause and of duty to the country.

He believed he had taken on a responsibility for all of our families, not just his own and he was prepared to make sacrifices ultimately, although he did not kn...”

Ralph Goodale (Liberal)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ed to the stakeholders, who have asked for a solution that improves outcomes for veterans and their families. They also asked that we take the time to get it right, and we are doing exactly that.”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...own on the job by refusing to provide us with a clear game plan for returning to a balanced budget. Families do not run their households by constantly maxing their credit cards and paying only the int...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... new jobs were created, 81% of which are full time. This is a very different situation for Canadian families. Our plan is working and it will improve the lives of families across the country.”

Alupa Clarke (Conservative)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...r, since Phoenix was introduced in February 2016, public servants from across the country and their families have been going through some very difficult times.

Last week the Minister of Public S...”

Tom Kmiec (Conservative)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... activity and what industrial activity actually means to the people on the ground, to the jobs, the families, the incomes that it creates. How can government make it simpler for industrial activity to happen in a responsible way?

I do not think Bill C-17 accomplishes that. I think it takes a step backward. I think it makes it more complicated to meet the requirements that the government might support. Again, it is a lack of confidence. There is a general lack of confidence with people here that this government actually has it right, that it actually knows what it is doing.

We look at things like the economics of development, the certainty of decision-making, that when one puts forward one's project, it would be approved, or not approved, with very clear reasons why it would not go ahead.

Many workers I speak to, energy workers and mining workers, take an immense amount of pride in the work they do, and it goes from worker to management. It really does not matter. Even the families take pride in this too. More often than not, what they are looking for is ensuring that the...”

Karen McCrimmon (Liberal)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...are the concerns regarding the well-being of the Lac-Mégantic community. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims of the July 2013 disaster.

The Minister of Transport ha...”

Karen McCrimmon (Liberal)

April 10th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“Madam Speaker, our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims of the July 2013 disaster and with everyone in Lac-Mégantic....”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Vimy Ridge this Sunday, we must honour the soldiers and their families who served our country at Vimy Ridge and acknowledge the sacrifices they made for a more pe...”

Jean-Claude Poissant (Liberal)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...se affected, and Au coeur des familles agricoles is an organization that puts the health of farming families first by focusing on getting lasting results. These organizations are changing lives by hel...”

Pierre Paul-Hus (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...

It was a historic battle for Canada, but it was also the ultimate sacrifice for thousands of families. Of the 100,000 Canadians who participated in the assault, 10,600 were killed or wounded.

Don Rusnak (Liberal)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ness that we hear of the attack in central Stockholm.

We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all the victims of this heinous attack. We wish a quick recovery to all thos...”

Glen Motz (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s done nothing to give these people hope or change their circumstances. This inaction is destroying families. Contrast that reality with the fact that the Prime Minister has sent taxpayers dollars dir...”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rural communities in Atlantic Canada cannot wait. Announcements are great, but hard-working fishing families need to know. What is the money for? Who is eligible to apply? When will the programs be in...”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., from a minister who has been here for so long and someone who understands it, he knows that these families deserve better. Canadians deserve a better answer than what he gave.

We know through our U.S. contacts that softwood lumber negotiations are non-existent. We are days away from a lumber trade war that will see mill closures, jobs lost, and communities decimated. British Columbia is the largest producer of softwood in the country. There are 140 communities across the province that depend on forestry.

I know it is not Wednesday, but will the Prime Minister stand in the House and answer this question? What are his plans to protect the jobs in communities for the families that depend on the forestry industry?”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...peaker, in the hours following the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, unscrupulous individuals preyed on the families of the victims as the embers were still smouldering and made millions of dollars on their s...”

Karen McCrimmon (Liberal)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, our thoughts continue to go out to the families and loved ones of the victims of the tragedy of July 2013.

Our government is firmly c...”

Alupa Clarke (Conservative)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... he wanted to solve the problems with the system as quickly as possible.

On behalf of all the families who have been adversely affected by the problems with the system, I am asking the Prime Minister to immediately cancel the bonuses for the officials involved with Phoenix.

When will the Liberals finally take responsibility for implementing a pay system that was not ready? When will they apologize to taxpayers and the families affected by this decision made in February 2016?”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

April 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...nally enforce strict regulations.

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the homes of thousands of families in Louisiana, many people were temporarily housed in mobile homes and trailers. These tempo...”

Colin Carrie (Conservative)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...nt introduced its second budget.

Budget 2017 actually does more to hurt Oshawa businesses and families than it does to help. We now have a new carbon tax, increased payroll taxes, and the highest electrical rates in all of North America, while the Americans are lowering taxes and lowering the costs of doing business.

Budget 2017 nickels and dimes Oshawa businesses and families, and makes life under the Liberals more expensive. In Oshawa, we know that in order to create jobs and grow the economy, we need to be competitive. The Liberals failed to lower small business taxes, and they did not offer any new incentives to create jobs.

Budget 2017 takes aim at Oshawa's middle-class families and students. Nothing in the budget puts money back into their pockets. The Liberal budget ...”

François-Philippe Champagne (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...n the member's riding today who are paying less tax because of the government.

We invested in families. We invested in the middle class. We invested in infrastructure. That is what responsible g...”

François-Philippe Champagne (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...on, thousands of people are paying less tax thanks to our government.

In 2016, we invested in families, the economy, and infrastructure. In 2017, we invested in training and innovation. That is ...”

Denis Lemieux (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e, high-quality products at reasonable prices for consumers. We know that this system supports farm families and rural communities across the country.

Could the Minister of Agriculture tell us what the Conservative plan to eliminate supply management would mean for Canadian farmers and farm families?”

Julie Dzerowicz (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...a much-needed $11.2 billion for the national housing strategy in budget 2017. Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development provide more details to the House on this important invest...”

Marilène Gill (Bloc Québécois)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...twood lumber crisis is set to begin in 20 days. It is said that this crisis will affect workers and families in entire regions, but it is already affecting them.

We need a clear response immedia...”

Kim Rudd (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ur provincial partners to ensure the long-term prosperity of the sector and to protect the jobs and families that depend on it.”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

April 6th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ing eligible for EI benefits. This will provide greater security for unemployed Canadians and their families as they get the skills they need to find their next job.”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ost 32 million people by contributing to the delivery of over 15 million malaria preventing nets to families in Africa.

I am proud to once again have the privilege to rise in the House, and spea...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...e gone missing or have been murdered. For too long, this silent legacy has impacted communities and families. The national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is set to begin hearing testimony from families this May.

It is time to take out of the shadows the reality that indigenous women and girls have faced alone for too long. It is time for those voices to be heard. For them and their families, this needs to be done right. They must be heard when they say that the approach feels disorganized and that transmitting families' contact information is confusing.

Our confidence cannot be shaken, because the stori...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...est 1%. We implemented the Canada child benefit, which gives more money to nine out of ten Canadian families every month and as a result lifts hundreds of thousands of young people out of poverty and ...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ime Minister can find money for bonuses for executives from Bombardier but he cannot find money for families with autism?”

Denis Lebel (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...stry system internationally.

What will the Prime Minister do for the hundreds of thousands of families that depend on the forestry industry?”

Mike Lake (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...illion for a company that says it does not need it, and not find $4 million a year to help Canadian families living with autism who desperately need it?”

Arif Virani (Liberal)

April 5th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...rdable housing developments.

The next thing I want to discuss on budget 2017 is its impact on families and child care. I am a husband and a father of two young children. My riding of Parkdale—High Park is home to countless families just like mine. These families have reached out to me to laud our government for taking as one of our very first actions measures to cut taxes on Canada's middle class. They have also welcomed the Canada child benefit, a once-in-a-generation type of change that targets tax-free benefits, on a proportional scale, to those raising kids who need the help the most.

For those raising children in my community, and communities around the country, our 2016 budget provided an initial $500 million for early learning and child care. Building on this, budget 2017 would invest an additional $7 billion to support the creation of high-quality child care spaces across Canada. This would mean up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces in this country. I know what this would mean for my riding of Parkdale—High Park. It would mean more options for parents who are fed up with signing up on literally dozens of child care waiting lists the moment they conceive a child. That is what it has come to in my riding and in ridings around this country.

What the budget means and what this investment would mean is a greater supply of much-needed daycare spots so that more parents would be able to return to work and return to work sooner. This unprecedented investment would address the supply of spaces and help drive down costs by boosting the number of subsidized spots. (1640)

Budget 2017 would do more for families raising kids. We have also fulfilled our campaign commitment to introduce more flexibility and provide greater choice for parents on parental leave. These proposed changes would allow parents to choose to receive their current benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months, allowing them to spend more time with their kids in their early, tender years.

The third area I want to talk about is women and gender parity. The impact of budget 2017 on women would be profound. It is the first budget in Canada's history to include a gender statement. The statement shows the impact of programs, across government lines, on women. It reflects directly, in a clear and tangible manner, our commitment on this side of the House to ensure that the goal of gender equality permeates every single thing we do as a federal government.

On top of our historic child care investment, women deserve to feel safe, supported, and protected in our communities. I was proud to see $100.9 million allocated in budget 2017 to establishing a national strategy to address gender-based violence.

In the past, I have been involved, in my riding, with a shelter called The Redwood. It is a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. In my involvement with The Redwood, I have seen the amazing work being done in my community, but I have also seen first hand the critical need for investments and resources to end gender-based violence. Budget 2017 is a start in moving toward that important goal.

Budget 2017 would also dedicate critical funding for women abroad. I am doubly proud that our government has endorsed the Dutch initiative. We would be dedicating $650 million in international aid to educating women and girls and to empowering women to maintain control over their reproductive rights. This aid, particularly at this point in time globally, is critical.

Fourth, I want to address the budget in terms of its impact on indigenous persons. The budget would serve the important objective of reconciliation, a goal of our government and of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park. It would build on the significant investments in budget 2016 of over $8 billion. The budget would continue our important work, making commitments to first nations, Inuit, and Métis that demonstrate a new nation-to-nation relationship.

What would the budget do? Budget 2017 commits to establishing a new fiscal relationship that would lift the 2% cap on annual funding increases. Budget 2017 would provide $225 million to provide access to affordable and culturally appropriate housing for indigenous peoples living off reserve. It would dedicate $300 million to the construction of housing in Canada's north, and $225 million on top of that would be dedicated to housing providers who serve indigenous peoples not living on reserves. We have also dedicated $828 million to improving health for first nation and Inuit people, including $305 million for the non-insured health benefits program.

Over the last year, we have lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in first nations communities, and we are on track to eliminate all such advisories by March 2021. We would be investing $4 billion to improve housing, water treatment systems, health care facilities, and community infrastructure, in partnership with first nations and Inuit.

Very importantly, mental health services for first nations and Inuit would get an injection of $204 million to improve mental health services, $118 million for mental health programming, and $86 million for the non-insured health benefits program.

In my remaining time I want to underscore the important initiatives in the budget that would help the most vulnerable. I am most proud of these provisions. I am talking about low-income families.

We would dedicate $13 million to provide affordable Internet access for low-income families.

Regarding refugees, I served as a parliamentary secretary for immigration. I was very proud to do so. I hear constantly from my constituents about having an open, compassionate, and welcoming system, one that is fair and accessible for all. We would improve that access by dedicating $62 million to legal aid for asylum seekers.

The budget would double the funds for the security infrastructure program. It would serve those people who are victims of hatred. In times of rising division and in a climate of hatred and bigotry, our government would commit hard dollars to protect those who want safety when they are worshipping.

The budget would also protect newcomers, in terms of their integration, by dedicating $27 million to foreign credential recognition.

Why am I standing here? It is because the budget addresses housing, indigenous persons, women and families, and vulnerable Canadians. I am proud to represent the residents of Parkdale—High Park in...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

April 5th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...$2.25 billion over four years. It is one year late and 25% short, and that again is on the backs of families.

For coastal communities, I really thought, given the government's election promises, that there would be commitments around salmon enhancement and the implementation of the Cohen commission recommendations, every single one of which the government said it would implement. There is nothing in the budget for salmon, which are at the foundation of indigenous communities on the original settlement pattern on the coast and which, in our modern economy, are so much at the root of tourism and commercial and recreational fisheries.

The opioid crisis has hit the community of Nanaimo particularly hard. There were more deaths per capita than anywhere else in British Columbia in the early part of this crisis, I think, because of drug dealers testing out this bad product and using my community as a test market. It is no fault of the community, but the community and our firefighters and first responders sure are taking the brunt of it. (1700)

This budget allocates $110 million to the entire drug and substance strategy over the next five years. The Conservatives had planned to spend $556 million on their anti-drug strategy over the same period, and honestly, it is a sad day when the Conservatives are spending more on drug treatment and the opioid emergency than the Liberals are. It is stunning, really.

As well, the budget fails to allocate a single dime in emergency funding for the opioid crisis, as my colleague, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, has pointed out. It is unacceptable. To think that the opioid crisis is over is not supported by the evidence. Let us say it that way. The crisis is getting worse, if anything, and there is nothing allocated. There is $14 million this year for the entire drug strategy across the whole country, whereas last year $16 million was spent by the federal government in B.C. and Alberta alone.

Regarding small business, again it is a big disappointment to see the government continuing to dishonour its election promise to lower the small business tax rate. Small businesses are our job generators and are a huge part of the Nanaimo—Ladysmith economy hub.

There is also nothing to reduce the unfair credit card merchant fees that gouge small businesses and raise costs for consumers.

As for people living with disabilities, the Liberals have once again ignored loud and clear calls to make the disability tax credit refundable to ensure that it provides the support that low-income individuals need.

Then we move to the gender budget. There were big headlines on this issue, and a lot of expectations were raised. In fact, the budget named dozens of barriers women face, but it did not actually implement very many solutions for them. The budget mentions the word “women” 274 times, but there is very little action taken.

With regard to murdered and missing indigenous women, no money is allocated in the 2017 budget for implementation of the inquiry's work. As for violence against women, the offer is $20 million a year over the next five years for federal services. This is only a little more than the government is committing to space exploration. NGOs had asked for $500 million a year, and some of that would go to the operators of domestic violence shelters, who, with no support from the current government, are doing very good work on the part of the country to shelter women and children escaping domestic violence.

For addressing pay equity, there are zero dollars. For child care, there are zero dollars last year and this year for any child care spaces. This is quite different from the New Democrat election promise of $1.2 billion in new investments that would have happened this year, which during the election campaign the Liberals said was too little and too slow. It is a head-shaker.

I like the idea of extending parental leave. That is good for families and it is good for women. However, the government did not commit any new dollars, so again only the wealthiest families, those who can afford to live on one-third of their salary, are able to take the full benef...”

Daniel Blaikie (NDP)

April 5th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...s talk big numbers on child care. If we look at the amount of aid that will got to working Canadian families that need child care so they can report to work and have confidence that their kids are in ...”

Daniel Blaikie (NDP)

April 5th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“... period of time. The flexibility is nice if the money is already in the bank. However, most working families do not already have the money in the bank and they cannot afford to take a 10% pay cut in o...”

Peter Kent (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...s, sealing is an important traditional way of life and a critical source of income for thousands of families. The seal fishery contributes to the often inconsistent range of income sources in remote f...”

Romeo Saganash (NDP)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...anada supports the inherent right that Inuit have to participate in the economy, take care of their families and communities, and thrive in this millennium would go a long way toward truth-telling and...”

Steven Blaney (Conservative)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...lucky enough to appear before the committee with representatives of victims associations, including Families For Justice and MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. [English]

All of them are supportive of this measure, as well as security and safety groups. Some people in the House have personally experienced the horror of impaired driving and we have an opportunity as parliamentarians to reduce the number of deaths in the country related to impaired driving.[Translation]

I am asking for a recorded division and for the three parties in the House to ask the committee to continue its important work. This bill was crafted with great care.

Now, without further delay, I will table three documents. The first is in response to the comment made in committee that there is no legal basis for the bill. This is the legal opinion of one of the leading authorities on the Canadian constitution, Peter W. Hogg, who wrote the two-volume Constitutional Law of Canada, which is in its fifth edition, and who also serves as a constitutional adviser. I will quote the conclusion by Mr. Hogg. By the way, this letter can be downloaded from my website.[English]

“My opinion is that, if the Criminal Code were amended by Parliament to replace breath testing on reasonable suspicion with random breath testing, the amendment would be constitutional.” Let us say this clearly and loudly. This amendment is constitutional and is saving lives.

It is important for members to look at this clearly. I want members of the committee to invite the constitutionalists to hear for themselves that this is sound legislation that will save lives.

In the very last line he says, “I am confident that a constitutional challenge would be unsuccessful and that random breath testing would be upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.” We do not need to be lawyers to know that this law would pass the constitutional test, and as I said earlier, would save lives.

The most important thing we can do as parliamentarians in the House is to make laws that are legal and can save lives. We have a choice that is clear. There are victims, there are families of victims, there are criminals, and there are people who are addicted to alcohol. The choice is clear. We have a bill that will save lives and it is constitutional. This is the first document I table.

I have a second document to table and this is a letter written from the member for Papineau. This letter talks about a bill that has mandatory minimum sentences for drunk drivers. He says, “That bill will increase penalties against anyone who drives while severely intoxicated, and will also increase the penalties for impaired driving causing death”. What is the member for Papineau saying? He is saying that this is a heartbreaking story. He says, “I will also be supporting Bill C-590”, which was tabled by one of my colleagues, “a second private member's bill coming before the Justice Committee”.

Who is the member for Papineau? The Prime Minister of our country. One of the pillar's of this legislation is mandatory random breath testing, mandatory minimum sentences, supported by the Prime Minister of our country, and streamlining the judicial process at a time when justice delayed is justice denied.

This legislation would bring those important issues forward. It has been prepared with the help of officials in the justice department, who have put their hearts and souls into drafting the bill.

We as parliamentarians have the responsibility to go thoroughly through every clause of the bill. The committee should send it back to the House so we can vote on it with our conscience. That is the second document I am tabling.

Now I have a third document to table. I have been working on this bill with families, justice officials and my colleagues from beautiful Abbotsford and Langley. How many lives ...”

Michel Picard (Liberal)

April 5th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... testimony during the course of our study. I want to thank Sheri Arsenault and Markita Kaulius from Families for Justice and Patricia Hynes-Coates from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who testified in committee. All three lost people near and dear to them to traffic accidents.

Ms. Arsenault, director of the Alberta chapter of Families for Justice, said:

Someone over there said that victims are given so little considera...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...This petition is intended for the Department of National Defence to show the importance of the families of our soldiers, our military personnel, who fight overseas every day in the defence of Canada. We also have to think about their families. Our country's family resource centres do a great job, and they should be recognized. The d...”

Kennedy Stewart (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...as energy security: a sustainable, secure supply of safe, affordable energy throughout the country. Families need to know that they can heat their homes; schools and hospitals need to know they can li...”

Yves Robillard (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ices program so veterans can successfully transition to the civilian workforce. Veterans and their families have made many sacrifices. In return, we need to ensure that they do no become vulnerable.<...”

Karine Trudel (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...t the recommendations of our veterans, especially with regard to the need to provide them and their families with permanent financial security.

We can find nothing in the budget that gives them ...”

Ken McDonald (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...and assists with the aspects of lifelong learning and making employment insurance more flexible for families around caregiving and parental benefits. (1110)

I also want to speak about our new investments in child care and housing. These initiatives are important to Canadians but more specific, they are important to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Budget 2017 is the next step in our government's ambitious plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for middle-class Canadians. Our budget put Canada's greatest strength, its skilled, talented, and creative people, at the heart of a more innovative future economy, one that will create middle-class jobs today and tomorrow. We will equip Canada's workers with the tools they need to succeed in the economy of the future.

We are committed to better support adult workers returning to school, who face the high cost of post-secondary education, along with the financial pressures associated with daily life and raising their families. Our budget outlines how we will significantly boost federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment support they need to find and keep good jobs.

Furthermore, we will ensure Canadians receiving EI are able to get the training they need without fear of losing the critical benefits they may depend on to support themselves and families.

Recognizing that Canada prosperity will increasingly depend on young people getting the skills and training needed to access the good, well-paying jobs of the future, we are further increasing our investments in our youth employment strategy.

Family caregivers are so important in every one of our communities. As such, we will better support caregivers by creating a new EI caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks. This new benefit will cover a broader range of situations where individuals are providing care to an adult family member who requires significant support in order to recover from a critical illness or injury.

Parents of critically ill children will continue to have access to up to 35 weeks' benefits, with additional flexibility to share these benefits with more family members.

Parental benefits are such an important advantage for young families functioning in our workforce. Proposed changes will allow parents to choose to receive EI parental benefits over an extended period of up 18 months, but will also continue to be available for the existing 12 month benefit. Our government believes in offering flexibility to make the lives of young Canadians that much easier.

Child care is another huge pillar of budget 2017. I am very proud of our additional $7 billion investment over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. Over the next three years, our investments could increase the number of affordable child care spaces for low and modest income families by supporting up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces. This will make it more afforda...”

Robert Morrissey (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...t is money that goes to children in my riding of Egmont. That is a significant benefit to children, families, and single-parent families in my riding. That is one of the signature initiatives of our government. It started last y...”

David de Burgh Graham (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...o back it up, it is not going to help with the bigger problems that we have. We need to ensure that families can bring their kids back.

In my riding, we have people who finish high school and le...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...nment for the caregiver employment insurance. Over my time as an assistant, working many times with families who had critically ill children or critically ill parents or a family member who had been in a terrible car accident and was in the hospital, I saw that a lot of times that would create a lot of chaos for people in their homes. Having the opportunity to have this employment insurance allowing people up to 15 weeks so they could take care of a loved one is very important, especially when it is not compassionate care but we are looking at people who will indeed be better in a few months. I do applaud the government on this.

I had a lot of people coming through. It might be someone's wife who is suffering from cancer, who needed to go to the cancer clinic, and so, being able to be there to support a family member is really important. I believe a lot of times we expect others to do it, but it is very important for families to have that opportunity. So I, too, would like to commend the government on the caregiver EI.

Parental leave is another thing that we actually had in our 2015 budget, as well, extending it to 18 months. This is going to be a really tricky one, though, I believe, for the government. Although it is a really good, honourable thing to do, we have to recognize that there is a cost to extending it to 18 months to allow families to be able to nurture and raise a child for the first 18 months. We know that those persons taking off time to raise a child would have 33% of their income for the period of 18 months. A lot of times when we are dealing with that, we hear people say employment insurance at 55% is not enough and it is very difficult to get by. Therefore, we have to recognize that, for 18 months at 33%, there are going to be struggles as well.

By no means am I saying that the government should be increasing or decreasing those amounts. I am just saying the government might end up in a real pickle and it should be very aware of that.

I actually sit on the status of women committee. Just a few weeks ago, when we were talking about employment insurance, we were talking about men getting involved in the caregiving of their children. I believe the uptake currently on parental leave is 2% for men, meaning 98% for women. We really talked about equality and things of that sort. One of the things that I heard from witnesses was, “Well, they're going to have to have employers top up the employment insurance”.

One of my biggest concerns is, when it is a government and these people are working for taxpayer dollars, there may be programs available to them in the public service that might top them up to 90%. I know that my sisters, as school teachers, were able to have that. They received the 55%, and then an additional 35% that topped them up to 90% of their actual earnings. We have to understand the effect and the impact that this may have on those people employed in the private sector. We have to be aware that, at the end of the day, it might end up costing employers more.

Those are some concerns that I have in the long run. I believe the idea is very good, but at the same time, we have to see what we are going to be doing to private employers, people who work for non-taxpayer dollars who may not have those benefits available, because I do know that there are advocates out there saying it should be the employers. I think anytime we are discussing those things, we need to really take that into consideration.

We talked a lot about the gender lens and the fact that this entire budget was looked at through the gender lens. I know there was an entire chapter in the 2016 budget. However, when we are talking about the gender lens in this one, I do not see it actually applied because I do not think that the government is taking into consideration what would happen. Is it going to be mothers who are going to be taking off those 18 months and then going back to a job?

We also have to recognize that the Canada Labour Code has to be addressed, as well, because currently we can only take one year off; so that is another thing, as well. There are a lot of Canadians who are pleased with that but, at the same time, are extremely concerned, and it could cause a lot of issues. (1150)

Finally, another positive thing is the targeted funding for housing. There is some funding that I saw in a little note talking about housing for persons who are leaving domestic violence. I would once again applaud that.

During my time, during my work not only as an assistant but as a member of Parliament and within my own community, I recognize there are not the financial resources available to help victims of violence. One of the greatest things is the need for shelters. Having targeted funding that is going to help people escape violence and get into a safe home that is going to be assisted through the federal government, that is very positive.

However, we also need to make sure that it is going to hit all 338 ridings. Domestic violence is not a rural issue. It is not an urban issue. It is not a first nations issue. It is an issue for all Canadians. We know that one in four young women are part of a sexual assault within their first eight weeks of post-secondary schooling.

We have to be aware of all of these situations before we target this funding. We need to make sure it is available to everybody, and not just going to urban centres.

We know some of the key issues. When we are looking at housing in rural areas, we may see the resources very limited. Just last week I was in the municipality of West Elgin, where we were looking at the Canadian index of well-being and discussing some of the resources or lack of resources that communities have.

It was interesting because they were talking about all of the resources available to them in southwestern Ontario. One of the biggest and most important, crucial impacts that they have is the fact that there is no transportation to many of these services. They are not actually located in the municipality of West Elgin and the transportation for them is limited, because there is no busing other than that from West Elgin to Glencoe.

If people need to have services in the city of London, the city of St. Thomas, or the city of Chatham, things like that are not available to them. It is not just the domestic violence piece, but it also has to do with mental wellness and mental illness. We have to understand that when we are doing targeted funding, we need to think of all Canadians and not just punt the money into government-held ridings. That is something I am very concerned with: we have to make sure we are looking at this as a broad issue and not specifically in one riding or another. It is something we all have to deal with.

As I continue with this, I am going to look at some of the other concerns I have. I have talked many times about helping our youth. One thing we saw last year was that the tax credit for textbooks was removed, and this year we are seeing that the tax credit for transit is being removed. A few minutes ago I heard the member from Quebec say that it was not helping his riding.

I live in the city of St. Thomas, actually the municipality of Central Elgin. We do not have a municipal bus there. I have a son who goes to school in Toronto, and because of the cost of living in Toronto, he is looking at living outside of Toronto proper. He will be moving into a community outside. Therefore, we really looked into transit, to make sure there was public transit available to him.

Last week we heard the member of Parliament for Milton talk about the fact that those people using GO Transit will no longer be able to get those passes and credits that will help with those costs. It is not just for those people who are using GO Transit, but it is families like my own, families like most Canadians. A child leaving and going to post-secondary education is not going wit...”

Darrell Samson (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...as campaigning from one area to the other across my large riding, people were very concerned. Young families were concerned about how they could continue to provide what their kids need. They were not able to. They were struggling. The CCB contribution benefit that our government put forward is extremely impressive. In my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, over 15,000 children benefited since it started in July 2016.

Let us focus on the month of October 2016. Believe it or not, 15,000 children benefited. The government paid $5.2 million in that month alone to support families in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. That in itself is impressive, but it is not only in my riding. There are 338 ridings, and they are all benefiting. Families in all those ridings are benefiting. That was a major help.

The second one in budget 2016 that is extremely important to mention is the 7% tax reduction on the middle class. The middle class had been struggling for over 10 years with the former government without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In our first year in government we were able to bring forward a 7% reduction in taxes to help the middle class. Throughout the last six months I have been chatting with my constituents, and it is clear that is a major help.

Also our government is the only government that was willing and able to put a 1% tax increase on the wealthiest Canadians. Our party was the only party that supported that.

Budget 2016 puts a nice framework on what we have done. Let us look now at budget 2017 and focus on families.

For a long time everyone in this House has heard over and over again the necessity to create child care spaces for young kids, preschool children. Back in 2005-06, it was the government under Paul Martin, and I believe the minister of the day was Ken Dryden, the famous goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. If I did not mention that, I would be—

Hon. Kevin Sorenson: He was a better goalie than an MP.

Mr. Darrell Samson: That being said, at that time the Liberal Party of Canada was getting ready to approve a child care plan, but the Liberals did not win the election. The Tories did, and then they went back to sleep. For 20 to 30 years, we had been talking about how important child care is, but it was forgotten. At that time, we had committed $5 billion over five years. That is quite impressive.

What do we have this year, this time around? There is $500 million this year, but $7 billion over the next 10 years for child care in this country. There is not one riding in the country that would not definitely benefit from that investment. That is impressive. (1225)

The second thing under the family concept in the budget, which I am extremely proud of, is a national housing strategy. We have talked about it on and on in the House for years. They talked about it before I got here, and after I leave they will still be talking about it. Our government is putting forward a strong national strategy on homelessness and a strategy to support families that are less fortunate and to support seniors who want to stay and live in their communities.

Those are major benefits. We are going to see all kinds of investments to repair and renovate housing and investments for new housing, which is so important. I know that my community would benefit from that investment.[Translation]

The third point relates to the issue of rural Internet access. People with low incomes often have a hard time paying for Internet service. Our government has allocated funding to address this problem. Cable companies will be able to create packages for lower-income families.[English]

The next category in the budget I want to talk about is seniors. Seniors have been talking about health care and the cost of prescription drugs. They have told me that they have to make tough choices between food, lodging, and prescription drugs. Our government is coming forward to invest in Health Canada to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

The second piece I want to talk about is the compassionate care EI benefit. We would invest in those individuals and families who want to help those who are gravely ill. That would be over and above the 35 weeks already granted to support the terminally ill. That is another clear sign of our strength in that area.

In the short time I have left, I want to move to veterans affairs. Quickly, 20% of the new money invested in the budget would go toward veterans. That is extremely important. These men and women have risked their lives for Canadians and democracy and continue to do so, and we need to recognize that. In Sackville—Preston, 23% of the people in my riding are veterans or military.

The lifetime pension option is something I have heard about over and over again. That is being done, and it is extremely important.

Transitioning from being in the military to being a veteran and how we can help in that transition is also very important. Already Veterans Affairs and DND are working together to simplify and streamline the process.

Another one is the military family resource centres. We propose expanding the centres and providing outreach to make sure we help as many Canadians as we can.

The emergency fund and the family well-being fund are things they have been asking the government for over and over again. They asked the last government for that support, and they were ignored, but our government is coming through.

Just yesterday, I read that VIA Rail, for the 150th anniversary, will provide a 25% reduction for travel for veterans and military families. There is investment as well in the family wellness program. We will see VIA Rail start hir...”

Cathay Wagantall (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“Mr. Speaker, I would just like to comment on what the member shared in regard to families and the 7% decline in taxes. Along with that, we lost tax credits for young families. I have heard from three specific families in my riding who have said that they are so tired of hearing that these tax credits were only used by the wealthy. These three families are in the position of still hoping but are giving up on ever joining the middle class. Those tax credits meant that they were able to have their children in sports and music programs. The 7% reduction in taxes has more than been made up for those families by the loss of tax credits, by CPP and EI premiums, by carbon taxes, and by all kinds of barriers to buying a first home.

What would the member say to these families who are saying, “We are not part of the middle class. We used those tax credits, and now ...”

Darrell Samson (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ays. However, as I said in my speech today, the Canada child benefit is an enormous contribution to families.

This is a big-picture plan. Over a four-year period, we know that the economy will be strong. We are listening to young families, we are listening to seniors, and we are listening to young people so that we are better ab...”

Darrell Samson (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...tant about EI and the 18 months for maternity leave is that it would be an opportunity for Canadian families that want to stay at home a bit longer to support their families. Those are decisions they take as families. There are all kinds of decisions.

Our budget is a step-forward budget. We do not cli...”

Terry Duguid (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...the foundations established last year as part of budget 2016, measures that support women and their families. This includes, as has been mentioned, the new, tax-free Canada child benefit, which provides low- and middle-income families with more help with the cost of raising their children. Nine out of 10 families receive more help than they did before, under previous programs, with average benefits for these families rising by nearly $2,300 in the first year.

The Canada child benefit is particularly beneficial for families led by single parents. These families are most often led by single mothers and tend to have lower total incomes. It is also important to note that most families receiving the maximum Canada child benefit are led by single mothers.

Budget 2016 als...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...likely will, but there is nothing that will go directly into the pockets of our Quebec and Canadian families.

Since I do not have much time left, I will skip to the end of my speech even though I have a lot of interesting notes to share with my colleagues. There is nothing here to support Canadian families, seniors, or youth. There are measures that will do nothing for our small and medium-sized businesses. This government has no idea where it is headed, unless it realizes that it is headed straight for a brick wall. The deficit has gone up exponentially for 2017 and is now at $28.5 billion. Talk about putting things off. Our children and grandchildren will be on the hook. Any individual who behaved like this would have to declare bankruptcy.

This government is irresponsible. It is mortgaging the future of this great country. Farmers will face additional costs. There is nothing for the regions. There is nothing to help the people and businesses of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, nothing to support family centres. Today I presented an e-petition in support of people who are working hard to help the families of our soldiers who fight every day to protect this country. There is nothing about that in...”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...st.

Let me give specific examples. He said that this government has not been helping Canadian families. The tax cut for the middle class helped millions of Canadian families. By the way, the Conservatives voted against it.

The member said we are not helping s...”

Pat Kelly (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...he world and their idealized economy. There is scientific equipment, wind turbines, bicycles, happy families, and recreational fishing boats, but there are no mines, no oil rigs, no farms, and no cut ...”

Wayne Long (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ey was that the housing needed upgrading and rebuilding and in many instances a total overhaul. The families were and are living in conditions that certainly needed to be upgraded. There were many people who talked to me about their current situations. I went back and talked to non-profit organizations in Saint John and surrounding areas, and there was concern that a lot of the operating agreements with the housing co-ops were expiring and there was uncertainty in the future.

First and foremost with respect to housing, I want to commend and compliment people in my riding and in my region who are doing outstanding work on housing and helping those who need affordable housing to attain it. They include people like Kit Hickey, Randy Hatfield, Narinder Singh, Brian Marks, and many others who are working tirelessly every day to help those who are looking for housing in my riding.

I am not proud to stand here today and talk about the fact that there are 1,300 people from my riding on a wait-list for affordable housing. That is not acceptable, so I am absolutely delighted to speak in support of budget 2017. I am excited about the commitment of $11.2 billion for a national housing strategy for our country. This is something that I advocated for and something we have worked tirelessly toward. I am a proud member of the HUMA committee, which has just finished travelling from coast to coast to coast. Certainly one thing that was very evident travelling across this country was the need for affordable housing, and the fact that as a country we need a national housing strategy.

Our government signalled its intention to re-establish a federal leadership role in housing in budget 2016. As hon. members will recall, in addition to the existing baseline annual funding of over $2 billion, our first budget included funding of $2.3 billion over two years to address urgent housing needs across this country. This included a doubling of the investment in affordable housing, as well as targeted funding to improve housing for seniors and low-income households, northerners, indigenous people, and those fleeing situations of domestic violence. I am proud to say that this funding has already benefited more than 58,000 households across Canada. That is significant and transformational.

Budget 2016 also provided funding for low-cost loans and new financing tools to encourage municipalities, housing developers, and non-profit housing providers to develop more affordable rental housing units. This funding will significantly expand the stock of affordable rental housing in Canada.

I want to mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Brampton South.

We made it clear a year ago that these investments were only a first step as we took the time needed to develop a new, inclusive national housing strategy to help guide the way forward. (1325)

Budget 2017, I am thrilled to say, affirms this. Let me be clear. This is the largest single spending commitment in our budget. It is historic, and it will be transformational for many, many families across our country.

To be formally launched later this year, the national housing strategy would provide a road map for governments and housing providers across the country, as well as focused support for those who need it the most, those living in poverty.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be meeting with provinces and territories, housing stakeholders, and indigenous leaders to discuss how we can best work together to ensure a coordinated and truly national strategy. This is key and is of utmost importance.

The strategy would be delivered by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation through a number of initiatives, which I would like to highlight for hon. members. Let me begin with our commitment to a renewed housing partnership with the provinces and territories.

Our government recognizes that housing needs vary across the country, and we are committed to working with provinces and territories to ensure that the unique needs of all communities are met. These priorities may include the construction of new affordable housing units, the renovation and repair of existing housing, rent subsidies and other measures to make housing more affordable, and initiatives to support safe independent living for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The national housing strategy would also include a new housing fund to address critical housing issues and prioritize support for vulnerable citizens, including seniors, indigenous peoples, victims of domestic violence, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, and veterans. Administered by CMHC, the fund would receive $5 billion in federal funding over the next 11 years. It signals the government's renewed role, finally, in a housing policy for our country. Further details will be announced when the national housing strategy is launched later this year, but it includes a new co-investment fund to encourage greater collaboration and investment among diverse partners to prioritize large-scale community renewal projects.

It would also support innovative approaches to housing development and a strong, sustainable affordable housing sector. CMHC' s direct lending activities would be expanded to include low-cost loans for renewal of social and affordable housing. This is in addition to the budget 2016 lending program I mentioned earlier, which will support construction of new rental units.

In addition to these new investments of $11.2 billion, the government is also preserving baseline funding related to the expiry of long-term social housing operating agreements. The use and renewal of these funds will be determined over the next year.

Hon. members who represent northern ridings will know that the housing challenges in that region are unique and complex. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $300 million, starting in 2018-19, to provide stable and predictable funding to the territorial governments, to help offset the higher cost of construction, and improve housing conditions across the north.

Budget 2017 also includes an additional $4 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19, to build and improve housing, water treatment systems, health facilities, and other community infrastructure in indigenous communities. This builds on the $554 million provided in last year's budget to address urgent housing needs on reserve and the more than $10 million we are investing in new shelters for first nations families affected by domestic violence. We will be working with first nations, Inuit, and Métis par...”

Wayne Long (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...illed with our investment. This is going to change the lives for tens upon hundreds of thousands of families living across the country.”

Sonia Sidhu (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ng the benefits period over 18 months.

To respond to one of the biggest costs for parents and families, we will be investing $7 billion in affordable child care spaces. We are looking to create 40,000 spots for children like Noor and Kate's little one.

Kate takes the GO Train to work, and Noor takes a bus. We will be investing $20.1 billion in public transit over the next 11 years, which means that the buses and GO Train that Kate and Noor use will improve.

These are the kinds of investments that make a difference in the day-to-day lives of hard-working families in Brampton South. This is on top of all the things for families that came in budget 2016, like the more generous, automatic, monthly Canada child benefit.

According to data from the Department of Employment and Social Development with approximately 23,500 children in Brampton South, there was an average monthly payment of $680. This totals over $9 million being sent to low- to middle-income families in Brampton South in 2016 to help with the cost of raising kids.

On top of the approximately $8,160 that Kate and Noor will be getting once the baby is born, they also benefit from the middle-class tax cut we unveiled in 2016. On average, single individuals who benefit will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year, and couples who benefit will see an average tax reduction of $540 every year. For Kate and Noor, that is $540 more in their pockets.

All of these things focus on putting more money in people's pockets and investing directly in our best Canadian resource, our middle class.

If things get tough for Noor and Kate, budget 2017 has a number of measures that build a stronger safety net for them. We are thinking of how to get people back on their feet solidly and quickly, so they can get back to supporting their family, building towards their retirement, and contributing to the Canadian economy.

In fact, we have already seen in the seven months preceding the budget, a quarter of a million new jobs created in Canada. The unemployment rate dropped from 7.1% to 6.6%. Our plan is working.

Budget 2017 has measures to help those who are struggling. In the case that Kate unfortunately loses her job, our budget has committed a significant amount, $2.7 billion, to the provinces and territories to help those unemployed or underemployed access training or employment supports to find and keep good jobs.

Our El benefits for the unemployed are also geared towards those like Kate so they can go back to school to get the training they need without the fear of losing the critical benefits they depend on to support themselves and their families. We are increasing the El in total by almost $900 million over five years to make it more flexible for families like Kate and Noor's family. If Kate has any issues with her El claim, we are putting tens of millions into improving access to El call centres and to improve claims processing times.

As Canadians know, to be successful in this day and age, there need to be opportunities for lifelong learning, so that their next job is also a better job. We will better support adult workers returning to school who face the high cost of post-secondary education along with the financial pressures associated with daily life and raising their families. If Kate goes back to school part-time in order to get the skills she needs for a good job, her EI benefits will still be there for her. (1340)

Under budget 2017, she also now qualifies for financial assistance from the federal government, unlike under the previous system, which did not support students with dependent children or part-time students. Therefore, she can apply for Canada student loans and grants to help with the cost of going back to school.

We are investing $225 million over four years to identify the skills gaps to be best prepared for the new economy. Kate will be able to find a place where she can make a long career because it is something that we are lacking enough talent in right now. This will help to promote job security for her. She will be a needed commodity in a field that needs more people who are newly trained and ready to work.

In fact, as a student again, Kate will also possibly be able to get a co-op position, something in which budget 2017 is investing $221 million.

We hope to create 10,000 work-integrated learning placements that link people from their education into an industry in which they can succeed.

So far I have talked about how budget 2017 speaks to the experience of many in my downtown riding with young kids, who commute into work and who need flexibility in how they decide to arrange their life when things get difficult.

On top of that, we are thinking about how families actually work. When times get tough, they turn to family and they turn to those around them. In my riding of Brampton South, family and community go hand in hand.

That is why we are making significant measures for caregivers. We are creating the Canada caregiver credit to better support those when they need it most. This is a new, non-refundable credit to help caregivers, whether or not they live with their family member, to help pay for the burden of caregiving responsibilities. There is $310 million in total tax relief for families with caregiving responsibilities over the next five years.

If Noor's mom lives up the...”

Mel Arnold (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...andparents. What kind of a lesson does this member think the government is providing to those young families who are now learning to balance their own family budgets?”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...her prices throughout the economy.

Who will that affect? According to Statistics Canada, poor families spend a third more of their household income on the things that tax applies to than do rich households. That is because many of the costs I just laid out are fixed for families. It does not matter if people are rich or poor, they have to heat their homes and turn on the lights, and they have to eat.

The more discretionary products that people enjoy, like going on long vacations or enjoying a luxurious time with their family at a fancy resort, would not consume nearly as great a percentage of the resources that are taxed under this regime. So the percentage impact on the incomes of poor families is much higher than on the incomes of rich families, the very definition of a regressive tax.

Who will get the money? We know that in non...”

Jim Eglinski (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...Rose had some internal problems, and her birth needed close monitoring. Like so many rural Canadian families, her parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. Baby Emma-Rose is doing fine.

Fifteen Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada give families a place to stay close to a hospital where their children are being treated. Ronald McDonald family rooms are located at strategic hospitals, giving families a place to rest and recharge. McDonald's supports these facilities by contributions from ev...”

Matt DeCourcey (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ns of Russian descent and with Russian ties. I rise today to share our deepest condolences with the families and friends of those killed in this cowardly attack, as well as our thoughts and prayers wi...”

Scott Duvall (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... one of the most important pieces of poverty reduction is safe, affordable housing. There are 5,700 families on the waiting list for affordable housing in Hamilton.

A recent United Nations committee report called on the government to substantially increase the availability of affordable housing. In Hamilton, 5,700 families on a waiting list is unacceptable. I am encouraged by the government's promise to fund affordable housing, both in Hamilton and across the country. Let us hope this is a promise the government can actually keep, but the funding has to start now and not after the next election. In Hamilton, 5,700 families are counting on it.”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... discussing the very good budget that we introduced, budget 2017, that will be helping middle-class families and those working hard to join it.

We look forward to working with members opposite. ...”

Eva Nassif (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...imes have to take time away from work to care for their family members.

Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell us about the new program for family caregivers?”

Hedy Fry (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tical to a high quality of life, getting to work on time, and getting home after work to meet their families. In British Columbia, many communities rely on ferries in order to do this kind of communic...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...vernment in the long run.

What is the current government's message to struggling middle-class families in my constituency and across Canada? The government's message is this: If they are struggling, it will increase their taxes; if they are unemployed, it will kill off business investment that could have given them a job; if they are down, the government will kick them again.

The budget begins:

The story of Canada is the story of hard-working people—from fisheries workers in Atlantic Canada to forestry workers in Quebec, from the farmers who feed us to the tradespeople who build our cities to the teachers who give young Canadians the tools they need to embrace their own futures.

It says “from fisheries workers in Atlantic Canada to forestry workers in Quebec”. Even in the government's colourful, fluffy opening paragraph, it cannot spare a mention for the entire western half of this country or for the hard-working women and men who get their hands dirty pulling the stuff out of the ground that the government members use to drive their limousines and ride around in helicopters.

The budget repeatedly talked about a so-called innovation and skills plan, which from the start excludes any investment in or support for our energy sector. (1605)

It repeatedly mentions advanced manufacturing, agrifood, clean technology, digital industries, health and bioscience, and clean resources as being the only places where this spending will go, even though our energy sector is one of the most innovative on the planet. Our innovations are helping to create jobs as well as reduce environmental impacts. All discussion of innovation and so-called superclusters highlights these six arbitrarily selected sectors only, and makes no mention of the critical value of Canada's energy sector.

I think the government's approach of state-managed innovation is the wrong way to go about things, anyway. It has not worked before and it will not work now, especially when the government is simultaneously undercutting our competitiveness through tax hikes. However, it is telling that in the midst of this the government explicitly excludes our energy sector from any of its proposals. The exclusion of Alberta and the energy sector from the budget cannot have been an accident. Repeatedly, proposals are discussed, but Alberta is passed over.

A further example on page 93 of the budget proposes the extension of the mineral exploration tax credit, a tax credit for junior companies that invest in mineral exploration. Does this sound familiar? It is exactly the same kind of tax measure that the Liberals are cutting for the energy sector. They are extending exploration incentives for the mining sector while killing them for the energy sector.

What other possible conclusion could Alberta families draw from this than that they were left out of this budget not by accident but on purpose? ...”

Matt DeCourcey (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...of our plan, which includes both last year's budget and this year's budget, and supports over 8,000 families and 13,000-plus children in the Fredericton riding, and injects $4.88 million into a riding...”

Pierre Breton (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...join it.

When we formed the government, we promised Canadians that we would make middle-class families our priority. That is what we have done, and today families can clearly see that their government supports them. After the more generous, better targeted and non-taxable Canada child tax benefit was instituted, and after reducing income tax for middle-class people by 7%, a measure that affects 20,000 families in my riding, we will continue helping the people who need it most.

The measures we have taken to date have a positive impact on our economy. The facts are there to show it. We can confirm that our plan is working when we see over 250,000 jobs created in the last seven months and an unemployment rate that has gone from 7.1% to 6.6% since we were elected in 2015.

The International Monetary Fund cites us as an example for the whole world. We are experiencing the best economic growth among the G7 countries. We are on the right track.

The 2017 budget tabled by our government proposes a number of measures that meet the needs and priorities of the people in my riding, and particularly of the middle class.

For example, the budget fosters the success of small and medium-sized enterprises. Job creation enables people to get the skills and tools they need to succeed. The creation of the new strategic innovation fund will enable us to attract, support and grow Canadian enterprises in dynamic and emerging sectors. Sectors like agri-food, digital technology, clean technology, and advanced manufacturing will be particularly targeted, thanks to a $1.26-billion investment in Quebec. The new strategic innovation fund will be far-reaching in its impact. It demonstrates an immediate intention to strengthen our communities through a long-term vision.

The budget also makes social investments that very directly affect the public. Budget 2017 provides for more support for home care and for mental health initiatives. Through an $11-billion investment over the next ten years, the government will put an additional $1.4 billion into improving home care and $1.1 billion into supporting mental health initiatives.

Another of our government’s social measures is certainly the creation of the federal strategy on gender-based violence, which will help ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to live in a healthy, welcoming, and inclusive community. A $100-million investment over five years will make substantial progress possible.

The people in my riding also need access to affordable housing. Under the new national housing strategy, which will support the construction, renovation, and repair of affordable housing stock, we will be making historic investments of $11.2 billion over the next 11 years. These funds will be used to build better communities, with a real increase in the number of affordable housing units in Canada.

I am very proud of our team’s second budget, since it enables us to continue our efforts to improve people’s quality of life and invest where the real needs are for Canadians and for my riding: affordable housing, support in the home, mental health, and combatting homelessness.

As we know, Canadians who care for family members often have to deal with a family caregiver tax credit system that is complex and difficult for families to understand. (1635)

Clearly, they deserve better than that. The 2017 budget therefore offers a unified tax credit for family caregivers at the time when families need it most. Furthermore, the improvements and increases to the employment insurance system, with more flexible maternity and parental benefits and the creation of a new benefit for family caregivers, are also major steps forward that will provide invaluable assistance to people all across Canada.

What we can take from this is that budget 2017 aims to give everyone a real and fair chance to succeed. This budget also provides for investments in such areas as skills and training, so that all Canadians have access to the opportunities they need in order to succeed now and in the future.

Our government’s investments, which are set out in this budget, will help workers upgrade their skills, will help young people acquire the skills and experience they need to launch their careers, and will ensure that more people who are unemployed are able to get training and still be eligible for employment insurance benefits.

In addition, budget 2017 sends our government’s clear message that it intends to improve our neighbourhoods and make them healthier places to live, by focusing on investments in infrastructure. I know that the communities in my riding are stronger when we can provide them with cultural centres, sports and recreation facilities, and public spaces that are more accessible for children and families.

When I see the efforts being made by our government and the significant investments ...”

Majid Jowhari (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...t would shorten commutes, decrease air pollution, and allow Canadians to spend more time with their families, through an investment of $20.1 billion over 11 years that would be allocated to provinces and transit systems, based on ridership and population.

I am confident that Richmond Hill and York Region Transit will receive a fair share of the funding to put toward local priorities, such as a subway line from Finch subway to the Highway 7 extension for Richmond Hill. This will help a significant portion of my constituency, which will benefit from the expansion of the subway line.

I will now talk about budget 2017's contribution to health care, home care, child care, and affordable housing for Canadians who most need it. I think I speak for all of my colleagues in the House when I say that Canada's publicly funded universal health care system is a source of national pride. It is also an essential foundation for a strong, fair, and prosperous nation.

As of today, the federal government has reached new health funding agreements with 12 provinces and territories that have accepted their share of $11 billion over 10 years to provide enhanced health care for all Canadians, including as well funding for home care and mental health support. Of this funding, $1.9 billion will be allocated in support of mental health initiatives in Ontario. Improving mental health services directly impacts the riding of Richmond Hill, giving support where it is definitely needed. In addition, $2.3 billion will be dedicated to better home care in Ontario, including addressing critical home care infrastructure requirements.

I know this funding will help to break down barriers for individuals, families, and communities, such as mine, that prevent them from receiving better care and reaching their fullest potential.

In addition, the budget allocates $3.2 billion dollars to provinces and territories for a federal-provincial partnership to support affordable housing. This will be helpful to Canada's seniors, persons with disabilities, and to others needing accessibility modifications, helping them to live independently. Furthermore, $5 billion will be invested over the next 11 years for a new national housing fund to address critical housing issues faced by the most vulnerable members of society.

In addition, the government proposes to allocate $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. I know many hard-working individuals and families in my riding who can benefit extremely from this funding by making it easier for them to fi...”

Linda Duncan (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ts Tribunal has ordered, which is the government ensure comparable access to services by aboriginal families, in particular aboriginal children.

Could he speak, from the bottom of his heart, as ...”

Emmanuel Dubourg (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...challenges. Average incomes in my riding are among the lowest. A significant proportion of economic families live below the poverty line. Seventy-three per cent of dwellings are occupied by renters and 43% of tenant households spend 30% of their income on housing. Single-parent families also make up a very large percentage of these people and, needless to say, the unemployment rate is high, especially among young people.

This budget, like last year's budget, is helping middle-class families in my riding. I talked about last year's budget first, but I would like to briefly remind my colleagues that for the 19,000 children in the riding of Bourassa, the Canada child benefit represents $8 million per month. This money will stimulate the economy and help families.

In this budget, the Liberal Party government is investing in youth. For example, in January, I announced $213,000 for Rond-Point jeunesse au travail, a youth employment organization, and $332,000 for a youth centre called Café-Jeunesse multiculturel to create 26 jobs for young people in the riding. In February, I announced $850,000 for the Corporation de développement économique communautaire de Montréal-Nord to help 40 young people find jobs or start their own businesses. The month of March just ended, and I announced a $718,583 investment for summer jobs. The budget is enabling us to invest, so that means 233 new summer jobs this year for young people aged 15 to 30. We did this last year too. Summer jobs are being created not just in the riding of Bourassa, but across the country. These budgets enable us to make investments that help youth.

I am sure that my colleagues have read the budget, but I will just quickly remind them of what is in the budget specifically for young people. We want post-secondary education to be more accessible and more affordable. What are we doing about that? We are investing $12.5 million over six years in a new project to look at new ways to better market the Canada learning bond and reduce the barriers to higher education for low-income families. We are investing $38 million over four years to renew federal funding in Pathways to Educa...”

Emmanuel Dubourg (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...hat he can announce. There is also the millions of dollars that have been allocated to middle class families in his riding through the Canada child benefit. More specifically, I told him earlier that ...”

Alupa Clarke (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...ports that we will be in a deficit position until 2051, which is shocking considering that Canadian families cannot be in the red at year's end.

Expenditures for National Defence alone are deplorable. Just in budget 2016, the Liberals deferred $3.7 billion in spending until 2020-21. This $3.7 billion was included in our Canada first program, which was inspired by the Conservative Party of Canada's plan, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, to bring Canada out of the decades of darkness of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments in the 1990s, and to revitalize the army, ensure that military infrastructure returns to good working condition, and to make significant acquisitions to meet all military needs. Instead of getting back on track, the Liberals announced in the 2017 budget the deferral of $8.4 billion in spending to 2035-36.

As I mentioned at the beginning, almost nothing has been spent on infrastructure to date. I suspect that the Liberals will invest the entire $80 billion in 2019 so that there will be construction cranes right across the country. We are going to be tripping over cranes and Canadians will think that this government is incredible.

The Liberals also broke their promise. They said that they would run a small deficit of $10 billion when they are actually running a deficit of about $30 billion a year. What is more, they have no plan to balance the budget, and they did not lower taxes for small and medium-sized businesses as promised during the 2015 election campaign. (1720)

Budget 2017 also significantly raises taxes.

When we, the Conservatives, had the opportunity and honour to govern the country, we were the advocates and defenders of taxpayers. We lowered taxes in many ways, first by decreasing the GST from 7% to 5%. We then created the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, and the post-secondary education and textbook tax credit. We instituted income splitting for families, which the Liberals unfortunately did away with. We did all of that with the exceptional result of making taxes lower for Canadian families than they had been since the 1960s. That means that, under our government, after 10 years under a Conservative government, Canadian families were paying about $7,000 less in taxes a year than they were prior to 2004. That is not to mention the fact that we created 1.2 million jobs in 10 years, with the best employment rate of all OECD countries.

Unlike us, the Liberals are raising taxes for families, small businesses, and children. In budget 2016, they already increased taxes on gas and he...”

Ken McDonald (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...sk him if he is still as proud of it today as he was before, taxing the benefits that were going to families who needed them while allowing millionaires who did not need it to keep their cheques. Coul...”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...or the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Budget 2017 is focused on fairness for families, workers, and taxpayers. It is critical that we continue to invest in affordable housing, infrastructure, high-skilled job training, and the economy as a whole. Particularly, budget 2017 brings a lot of good news for my riding of Brampton North and the city of Brampton itself.

I have received numerous messages from many of my friends who are about my age, who have young families or families on the way, who were really excited to hear about the maternity leave plan. They were excited to learn that they can claim up to 12 weeks now before their due date, and that is up from the current eight weeks. This provides a lot of flexibility for a lot of women who may work in dangerous jobs, may have different health conditions, and need to take time off before their due date.

Budget 2017 also provides an extended leave beyond the 12-month parental leave. This provides a lot of families with flexibility. Now one can claim up to 18 months, with job security. I know that the overall amount is not different, but that is because we need to factor in many things. We need to factor in how this affects small to medium businesses, and we also need to provide families with the capability of staying at home with a loved one. In budget 2017, we were able to reach a good, comfortable position where families can take advantage of the extra time when child care costs are very high, before 18 months. After 18 months, they can have that job security, go back to work, and go back to growing our economy.

Also, as co-chair for the entrepreneur caucus, I have been hearing from a lot of business people who were worried at first, but are now relieved that they will be able to provide their workers with leave, be able to secure good workers, and allow them to have leave without it costing them a whole lot more. I commend budget 2017 for taking those steps, because it really is helping parents who are in the workforce and also have families. We do not have to sacrifice family for work.

There are many other changes that came in budget 2017, and tax fairness is one of them. Our government has continued to improve tax fairness for Canadian families by closing loopholes, eliminating measures that disproportionately favour the wealthy, and cracking down on tax evasion so that every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success.

The government's plan in budget 2017 is to close tax loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages at the expense of others. It has also invested $524 million to support the CRA in its continued efforts to crack down on tax cheats. It has taken steps toward eliminating tax measures that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Many taxi drivers in my riding have come to my office and shown their appreciation for the tax on the ride-sharing program. I know that it may be unpopular, but tax fairness is what we are talking about. If taxi drivers have to pay HST to the government, so should Uber drivers. It is only fair that those who provide equal services pay their fair share. I am very pleased to say that a big group of taxi drivers will be coming tomorrow for the budget vote, a group of 40 to 50 people who want to show the government their support because finally someone has listened to them, looked at our tax regulations, and figured out that there were those who were evading taxes, who should not have been. I applaud budget 2017 for doing that. (1750)

The EI caregiver benefit is another wonderful thing budget 2017 would give Canadians. It would provide up to 15 weeks for individuals to provide care for adult family members who require significant support as they recover from critical illnesses or injuries. Previously, one had to have a medical note from a doctor stating that a family member was at the near-death stage. In many cultural communities and in many places, it is very difficult for people to declare that family members are near death, even if they are. There are a lot of superstitions around doing so. Budget 2017 has struck the right chord again by providing flexibility.

Mr. Speaker, I forgot to mention at the beginning of my speech that I will be splitting my time with the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

As I was saying, there is more flexibility for families. Parents of critically ill children would continue to have access to up to 35 weeks of benefits, with added flexibility for other family members as well. This is fantastic news, because after all, this is what our government is about. It is about supporting families while growing our economy.

I am very excited about budget 2017, because Brampton will...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“... am pleased to see the extended parental leave, but I am discouraged that there is no new money for families. People would have to be pretty well off to live on one-third of their salaries for a year ...”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“Mr. Speaker, this budget has provided flexibility for families. We have continued the Canada child benefit, and it will continue throughout our mandate. This provides families with the opportunity to use that money as they see fit. There have been investments in child care spaces as well. This combination provides families with flexibility in all types of situations. The child care benefit also no longer goes to the wealthiest Canadians and millionaires. It is given proportionately to those in need. Families with young children are receiving up to $2,500 more a year under our plan. It is providing relief for families in Canada.”

Nicola Di Iorio (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Privilege

“...education, while also dealing with the financial pressures of everyday life and providing for their families.

Plus, our government will create ongoing learning opportunities so that the next job is always a better job. (1805)

Various measures have been put in place in order to meet that goal. These include a significant increase in federal support to the provinces and territories through an investment of $2.7 billion over six years in order to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians get access to the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good jobs; an investment of $225 million over four years to identify and address skills gaps in the economy and help Canadians to be as prepared as possible for the new economy; and the assurance that Canadians who are receiving employment insurance benefits are able to get the training they require without fear of losing the benefits they need to support themselves and their families.

The third aspect that I would like to mention is the launch of a pan-Canadian artifi...”

Kevin Waugh (Conservative)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ut against it. They are concerned about it. They have seen what alcohol and now marijuana can do to families.

I mentioned Allan Kerpan, an MP who was in the House of Commons in the 1990s and 2000, and his family. We need a way of testing if this is to come about. As people know, the municipal and provincial police and the RCMP need devices in their cars right now. We know what is going on in the country, not only on the back roads of Saskatchewan but from coast to coast to coast. That is very important when we deal with this private bill, Bill S-230. We have to get out in front of this, and that is why my hon. colleague brought the bill forward now. This is an important part. Families in our country have been absolutely decimated due to the accidents and deaths that have occurred.

It is very important that the hon. member bring Bill S-230 forward at this time. Police officers need the devices now. We have heard from coast to coast. The University of B.C. may have a device ready for testing. We need it right now. UBC is one of many places in the country trying to get a device that could be put in every police car. That is where we need to go. We need to get out in front of the government legislation that will be brought forward later this year, and possibly will be in law by July 1, 2018.

When we look back through the years, we see how many families have been affected by alcohol. Could we have prevented it? We sure could have. Devices are ...”

Gagan Sikand (Liberal)

April 4th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ing had impacted their lives. While I was doing this, I came in contact with an organization called Families for Justice led by a woman named Markita Kaulius. Markita created Families for Justice shortly after the death of her daughter Kassandra, who was killed by a drunk driver while driving home from a baseball game.

The organization provides support for families who have been victims of impaired driving. In addition to this, Families for Justice is an advocate for government initiatives to prevent impaired driving. I was glad that Markita was given the opportunity to testify before the committee and share her story.

Sadly, every year the number of families that join Families for Justice grows unacceptably. With every family that contacts Markita to join her cause, she is reminded of her beautiful young daughter who had her entire life ahead of her. She was engaged to be married, was in school to be a teacher, and had her whole life ahead of her, which was carelessly taken away by a driver who decided to drive after consuming alcohol. (1920)

Through working with Markita, I also got to know a woman by the name of Sheri who had her own devastating experience with impaired driving, which led to the loss of her son Brad. For Markita and Sheri, one of the most difficult aspects of these tragic events is the sentences that were given to the people who took their children from them. The driver in Kassandra's death was released from custody after only two years of her three-year sentence. The driver in Brad's case will be eligible for full parole later this month, two years and eight months into his eight-year sentence.

The danger of impaired driving is not a new phenomenon. It is common knowledge that when people drive after consuming alcohol, they are putting everyone else around them at risk. It is for this reason that I feel it is time to call this horrific crime what it truly is, and that is a homicide. It is time that our government changed our Criminal Code to better reflect the impact these crimes have on the lives of their victims.

For Markita, Sheri, and the family of the teacher from my riding, the connotation of the offenders' actions should be on par with the amount of suffering they have gone through. These families view these crimes as homicides, and it is about time we do as well.

While the justice and human rights committee has recommended that the House not proceed further with this bill, I want to call on all members and our government to implement legislation to address impaired driving. As years go by, more families like Markita's and Sheri's go through the same devastating tragedy. We as a government have...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... Ontario, in 2010, one in eight deaths of individuals aged 25 to 34 was found to be opioid-related. Families are being destroyed; lives are being lost; and all Canadians are experiencing reduced access to health and social services because of the resources required to look after this crisis.

For me, this public emergency hits close to home. Lethbridge is near the epicentre of this epidemic in Canada. Last fall, five men in my riding were arrested for possessing just over 1,000 fentanyl pills destined for the streets of Lethbridge. Several subsequent arrests resulted in police recovering hundreds more fentanyl-laced pills.

What has this meant for Lethbridge? Without being alarmist, we have seen organized crime in our city increase drastically, and the users of these drugs have made parts of Lethbridge no-go zones. There is a playground in my community where children used to enjoy playing regularly, and now it is known as "needle park". This is a place where children no longer play and parents no longer feel safe, because of the needles that are left on the ground.

Even for those not in direct proximity to drug dealers or opioid users, the effects of this epidemic are still felt. In Lethbridge, our first responders have all had to divert significant resources to address this crisis. This means that other crimes committed within our community are under-investigated or not investigated at all.

It also means that EMS responders are increasingly overworked as they respond to the spike in drug overdoses. It means that firefighters have to deal with increased risks when they respond to residential fires for fear that they could be dealing with a contaminated illicit drug lab or equipment thereof.

This is to say nothing of the increased burden on our social service agencies. Lethbridge has punched far above its weight when it comes to the Syrian refugees who have come into our community. This influx of refugees has stretched our resources to the max because of the lack of support from the Liberal government.

Many of these organizations have had to punch above their weight and are now starting to reach their breaking point. This is on top of the opioid crisis and the mental health crisis that results from the jobs crisis in Alberta.

My heart goes out to the mental health workers in my community for the remarkable work they are doing around the clock and the way they are trying to divert this issue. This crisis has a human face, as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, brothers, and sisters are all lost to lethal street drugs laced with these opioids. I recognize that the opioid crisis is multi-faceted, but Bill C-307 is one key step to cutting it off at the source.

Criminal enterprises have far too easy a time diverting legitimate pharmaceuticals to illicit street drugs. This is because the most common forms of opioid-based drugs are easily manipulated. Prescription pills can be ground down to snort, or the active opioid compounds can be extracted and used as a building block for different street drugs.

Tamper-resistant forms of these pharmaceuticals can take several forms to reduce the ability to manipulate and extract the drug. The physical properties of the pill can be used to make manipulation much more difficult, such as providing a drug that cannot be altered without neutralizing the opioid compounds, or a chemical can be included that counteracts the euphoric effect of the opioid if the drug is manipulated, either by grinding or by heating it, making the drug useless to street providers. (1115)

In June 2014, our previous Conservative government provided a notice of intent to industry. We announced that new regulations were coming that would require tamper-resistant formulations of specific controlled substances such as oxycodone. The intent of the former Conservative government was to reduce the diversion of opioids for illicit purposes to keep them off the streets. Sadly, the current government chose to overturn this decision, which has now had failed consequences on Canadians from coast to coast.

One youth who I had the chance to talk to in my riding took the opportunity to brag to me that he was taking his prescription drugs and selling them for $25 a pill. His chronic pain allows him lifetime access to these pills and it now serves as his main source of income.

Diverting these drugs to the illegal markets can be stopped. If we can stop this illicit secondary market for illegal pharmaceuticals, it will decrease one of the sources that make these street drugs so accessible.

I will be the first to admit that this is a complex issue and that this one change will not solve the entire problem. There are a whole host of changes required in order to stop opioids from ending up on our streets. Canada's physicians need to overhaul prescribing practices for opioids. Reducing the number of people with legal access to these drugs will also decrease the number of Canadians using illegal alternatives after their prescriptions end.

Furthermore, I am pleased to note that the government has taken a recommendation from Conservative members to now allow the Canada Border Services Agency to check packages smaller than 30 grams. This decision came out of a report that was written by health committee. The fact that this could not be done before allowed an unlimited supply of fentanyl to be mailed in small packages and enter our country so it could be sold on the street market.

I am also pleased the Liberals listened to health committee on the need to regulate pill press machines. These machines allow the toxic and deadly mishmash of chemicals in these street drugs to be pressed into professional-looking products that can easily be packaged and shipped. The new import controls on pill press machines is a good start, although more could be done.

Finally, we need to tackle the source of this problem at the root, which is the lack of treatment options for those who suffer from mental health problems. This makes them susceptible to using street drugs in the first place.

If the ongoing mental health crisis is allowed to continue in our city cores, on our reserves, and in our schools and universities, the drug crisis in our country will only continue to grow. The money in budget 2017 with regard to this issue is a good start, but a national strategy and further initiative is a must when it comes to mental health care in Canada.

Whether it is fentanyl, crystal meth, or the next street drug that is easily produced and cheap to buy, at the heart of all of these drug uses, this epidemic that we face, are people who are emotionally hurting. This is why the human face of this epidemic is so heartbreaking to acknowledge. These are vulnerable people who have chosen drugs because they do not have the support and necessary tools to take on life.

This is why I ask all members of the House to understand the further pain that opioids cause to Canadian families and to individuals. I ask members opposite to support this important legislation, Bill C-30...”

Earl Dreeshen (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...of drugs, and the partying and other stuff that ties into it, we realize that the damage hurts many families.

The intent of Bill C-307 is to enable the federal minister of health to require specific controlled substances or classes of controlled substances to have either abuse-deterrent formulations, ADFs, and/or tamper-resistant, TR, properties. This bill would make these pharmaceutical substances more difficult to abuse and would make it possible for Canada's health minister to take immediate action whenever Canadians are being hurt or killed by a specific drug. Bill C-307 would help keep Canadians safe when it is determined that a particularly deadly narcotic substance that is available in its current form is too dangerous and can too easily be abused. While Bill C-307 could apply to any substances under the two categories of drugs in the health legislation, the provisions of this bill may in fact be implemented on rare occasions.

We are led to believe that the Liberals will someday announce a package of measures that they think will help combat the scourge of drug abuse in Canada. We also know that the Liberals are supporting legalized marijuana. I will have a lot to say about that in the future, again as someone who has seen the serious damage to families and young people that has taken place, especially to developing brains. We can only hope th...”

Kevin Sorenson (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...epresent as hon. members of Parliament. It is an issue that has ravaged some communities, destroyed families, and has taken far too many lives. Most tragically, it has taken a disproportionate number ...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ans, zero; targeting housing support for indigenous peoples not living on reserve, zero; supporting families through early learning and child care, zero; improving indigenous communities, zero; accelerating the replacement of coal generated electricity, zero; veterans emergency funds, zero; veterans and family well-being fund, zero. Instead of going after tax loopholes taking advantage of only by the few wealthiest Canadians, the government chose to eliminate the public transit tax credit.

One of my constituents, Kalev, wrote to me saying:

I am a constituent in your riding, renting a house with my partner...and three friends, all of whom work and/or go to school full time. I also work full time as a lawyer.

We gave birth to our son in late September, and it has been a wonderful, if challenging, experience. We have been fortunate to have the support of my [partner's] mother, who is able to assist two days a week, to give [my partner] a break and a chance to catch up on the precious little sleep available to new parents.

However, come summer, [my partner's] mother will be leaving the country to spend time with her own ailing father and [my partner] will need to get back to her graduate studies. To do this, we anticipate needing at least part time child care assistance, and let me tell you, the availability of these services is scant to non-existent.

Further to the lack of availability, the cost of even part time care...is likely to reach $1000 a month...I am astounded, given that most of our lawmakers are parents themselves, that such a thin and inefficient system is in place to provide families with young children the support they need to get back to work, contributing to the tax-base and to their own well-being.

The Prime Minister was out self-promoting what a great job he was doing in child care. Let us be clear. Even though the situation is urgent for families like Kalev, budget 2017 provides exactly zero dollars in new funding for child care spaces. What is more, future funding for child care over the next decade is nowhere near adequate to fill the need for child care spaces, never mind that child care costs have risen by more than 8% in the last two years and could reach as high as $1,600 a month per child in some cities. Real change he says? Not.

Let us turn to another area.

Canada is one of the only developed nations with a universal health care system that has no pharmacare plan. Despite promises of real change, the Liberal government has stuck to Harper's health budget plans and the meagre investment of over five years to lower drug costs is completely inadequate. Recent studies have shown that over 8% of Canadian seniors are not filling prescriptions because of the cost. It is important to know that this is not a phenomenon only experienced by older Canadians. I have met some of those individuals. Some are cutting their pills in half so they can “stretch” their medication. Others are taking their pills on alternate days. (1235)

I have met people with diabetes who are not using the strips to regularly check their blood sugar. Why? Because the strips are not covered by pharmacare and they cannot afford to buy them.

The lack of universal drug coverage puts the costs of many prescription drugs out of reach for too many Canadians.

Marianne wrote to me about someone with Parkinson's disease who is spending $6,000 a year on drugs. Marianne tells me, “He's now 70 years old, and still working full time because he feels the cost of the drugs prevents him from being able to retire. At the same time, the stress from work is contributing to the progress of his disease. It is heartbreaking to watch this, and it's difficult to believe this is happening in Canada.”

This is the reality on the ground for people who cannot afford their medication, but it does not have to be this way. If we ended tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, we could invest in a national pharmacare program. A national pharmacare program is better for patients and it keeps people out of the emergency room and long-term care beds. By the way, the cost of one night in a hospital in B.C. is approximately $1,500. It is estimated that a national pharmacare program costs $6 billion annually. Can we afford it? We can. If we choose to reduce the corporate welfare to big corporations with the corporate income tax, we could more than pay for a national pharmacare program.

I will now turn to another key issue.

Despite grand pronouncements of a new nation-to-nation relationship, the Liberal government has utterly failed to deliver for Canada's indigenous peoples in budget 2017. Most pressing are the needs of indigenous youth. Despite the fact that the House unanimously voted for the NDP motion on child welfare that called for an immediate injection of $155 million to ensure the government complied with a ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, just like the Harper administration the Liberal government continues to discriminate against indigenous children. Budget 2017 does not provide a dime to address this unacceptable injustice.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock made it very clear when she said:

There’s nothing new in the budget for First Nations children and their families, in child welfare, or their implementation of the Jordan’s Principle...even though they...”

Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...cates that there will be an increase in student grants. This will give more part-time students with families and adult learners who go back to school access to this program. It is a good initiative but it does not do much to help today's students and graduates, particularly with regard to their debt. Canadians have accumulated nearly $28 billion in debt. What is being done to reduce that?

I can already hear my Liberal colleagues giving us some line about how graduates will not have to pay back their debt until they are earning $25,000, but there is a slight problem. That does nothing to help them with their debt. On the contrary, it leads them deeper into debt because one downside of this measure is that interest continues to be charged after the initial six-month grace period. Their debt will therefore continue to grow because of that interest. It is time for the government to get its head out of the sand and stop making money at students' expense.

As far as post-secondary education for indigenous students is concerned, the government's key announcement was a $90-million increase in funding and some help for Indspire. Like the Canadian Federation of Students, we can applaud that increase, but there are two pieces of information missing. First, the federal government was already giving Indspire more than $5 million in 2016. This is not new spending. Second, the 2% increase ceiling for post-secondary education for indigenous students has not been breached. While first nations youth are the fastest growing population in Canada, it seems absurd to me that the government is still limiting their access to post-secondary education. It its totally unfair and immoral.

The government is taking one step forward and two steps back, and not just in education. Take for example investment in artificial intelligence and robotics, an area that offers significant opportunities for businesses and scientific progress. Why is the government not investing in studying the impact of robotics, considering that 40% of industrial jobs will disappear within 10 years?

What job prospects are there for young people of my generation and younger generations? What are the ethical and social repercussions of artificial intelligence? Do we need to change our laws accordingly? There is not a single word on this in the budget.

The government needs to put effective measures and rules in place to address the scourge of job insecurity. Budget 2017 reinforces job insecurity and denies government assistance to those who need it the most.

Also on the subject of youth, I want to talk about youth organizations. The government is again promising a youth service initiative. This time, it has given us a date, the fall of 2017, but no budget. Last year, there was no date, but there was a budget. What does this mean? What is the plan? What will this youth service initiative entail? No details have been provided. Maybe we will get both pieces of the puzzle in 2018.

Lastly, while there is more money for the youth employment strategy, youth organizations are still having a very hard time securing federal funding. Katimavik is a perfect example. Although there is no short-term help in the federal budget for youth organizations, Katimavik was saved at the eleventh hour two days after the budget was tabled, but it is safe only for this year because we do not know anything about the long-term budget. (1250)

Katimavik got a lot of media attention, but how many other youth organizations have had to close their doors for lack of federal support? Budget 2017 once again does nothing for society's most vulnerable, for on-the-ground organizations such as youth centres and shelters. There is nothing for young people trying to escape difficult situations at home. There is no extra money in this budget for front-line mental health organizations working to prevent drug addiction and crime. The Conservative government cut that off long ago, and there is nothing for that kind of work in this budget. These organizations are running on empty.

Even so, the federal government decided to give even more money to businesses through measures like investment in infrastructure privatization. The same thing happened with the environment. In early March, the Senate released a report stating that there is no way Canada can comply with the Paris agreement without a massive shift in energy production and consumption.

What is more, last week Environment Canada confirmed that Canada will not meet the minimum target set by the Harper government, which was a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Even worse, emissions are going to increase. The report also indicates that the fossil fuel sector's greenhouse gas emissions are too great to be offset by a simple increase in the production of clean energy.

What did the Liberal government do? It approved three new pipelines and has not yet announced the reform of the National Energy Board or environmental assessments. Even worse, Canada continues to provide more than $4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies. The United Kingdom, however, has decreased its emissions dramatically primarily by intervening in its most polluting sector, coal-fired power. Canada still prefers to continue to ignore the sector that is its largest polluter.

I also share the concerns expressed by Équiterre, which questioned the lack of details on and criteria for green investment in budget 2017. Criteria that are too vague will diminish the real capacity to reduce polluting emissions.

Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Équiterre, summed up the need to invest in a real change in lifestyle. He said, “...we must fund mobility solutions that maximize GHG emissions reduction such as preferring electric transportation instead of petroleum based ones.”

I would like to thank my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, who is working toward that goal.

Once again, the government had very little to say about agriculture in budget 2017 even though the agri-food business is vital and accounts for one in eight Canadian jobs. Farmers want to find better ways to farm that are environmentally sound, so I am pleased to see some investment in agricultural science and innovation.

Mathieu Rouleau is a young constituent of mine and an agriculture advocate who pointed out that details about the $70-million investment are scarce. Who will get the money? How will it be allocated? How is the government investing in the next generation of farmers? I am waiting for more information about this investment.

Farmers in my region, Salaberry—Suroît, are also concerned about international agreements that could cut into their revenue. The government promised dairy producers a tenth of the compensation the Conservatives were offering, and yet, the budget is silent on the subject of compensation.

Has the government forgotten the promises it made to our farmers? The government needs to confirm their compensation packages, fix the diafiltered milk problem, and confirm that it will maintain supply management. Agriculture is an important sector of the economy, in my riding and across Canada.

Let us talk about high-speed Internet in rural areas. I welcome the federal government's commitment to develop Internet access for Canada's remote and rural areas. The Internet has become essential. It allows us to work, socialize, and access crucial information. Unfortunately, the connecting Canadians program has more to do with developing major networks like Bell, Videotron, and Rogers.

What is the government doing to help Haut-Saint-Laurent, the Soulanges area, or the far north? Those communities cannot benefit from the connecting Canadians program if they are not covered by one of the major networks. Huntingdon is less than two hours from Montreal, and yet it does not have high-speed Internet. I cannot imagine how bad it is in the far north.

I also want to talk about food banks, which is an issue in the regions. Last December, use of food banks in my region increased by 300%. We have asked how the government is supporting food assistance programs. There is nothing in the budget for that, and when we asked about it in question period, we got no response. The community food bank in my region is on the verge of shutting down. (1255)

Where are all those families supposed to go for food? Could the government show some compassion and invest where it is n...”

Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...indy Blackstock said:

There is nothing new in the budget for first nations children and their families, in child welfare, or their implementation of the Jordan’s Principle, even though they ha...”

Mike Bossio (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...gh the distribution of $5.9 million every single month to almost 9,300 low-income and middle-income families in my riding. It has had a positive impact for almost 17,000 children. That is $5.9 million each month in the pockets of families in Hastings—Lennox and Addington, which is spent on local businesses every single month. This year, we have promised $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018, to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. It is what families need and have been asking for, so we are responding with action.

Health care is also a top priority for rural communities. We are strengthening Canada's publicly funded universal health care system to meet the needs of Canadian families. I am very happy to see that budget 2017 confirms the government's historic health agreements with 12 provinces and territories, by investing in better home care and mental health initiatives that would help the families who need it most. Investment in home care helps to distribute health and wellness further out into our communities, which is a huge benefit to rural Canadians in rural communities.

We are ensuring that all Canadians benefit from and play an active role in their communities. Whether it is roads and bridges, agriculture, high-speed Internet, health care, or child care, these are the tools that our small rural communities need to attract and retain young families and businesses, and to foster their economic development for years to come. Budget 2017 wil...”

Alexandra Mendès (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ut having to worry about losing their benefits, which they need to provide for themselves and their families.

To help more adult workers wanting to go back to school, budget 2017 proposes to exp...”

Harold Albrecht (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...our military. They want their commutes to work to be shorter so they can spend more time with their families. That means getting shovels in the ground and infrastructure projects built, not just announced over and over again.

Unfortunately, budget 2016 and budget 2017 did none of those things. This budget is proof that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the needs of working people.

Despite the Prime Minister's promise to return the budget to balance, he admitted on budget day that he has no intention whatsoever of returning our books to balance. Not only did the Prime Minister break his campaign promise to spend only $10 billion in deficit financing, but the upcoming deficit for the year ahead is $29 billion. The government, in four years, will add a whopping $100 billion to Canada's federal debt. The interest charges alone just for this year will be $24.3 billion, and that number increases every year for the foreseeable future under the Liberal government. By 2021, our interest costs alone will be $33.3 billion each and every year. Let us think about what good that $33 billion could be doing: increases to health care transfers, investments in palliative care, hospices, and home care, more money invested in infrastructure, or how about simply reducing our tax burden.

As I have already noted, this budget fails in many areas, but I will focus on three of them: Canada's infrastructure, our troops, and our farmers. The Liberal government often pats itself on the back for what it says is historic infrastructure funding. The truth is the only part of this funding that is historic is how far after the next election cycle this money is budgeted for. Very little of the funding that was promised has gone to roads and highways. We need shovels in the ground. We want people working. We want roads, bridges, and water treatment facilities built.

Ninety-four per cent of the announced infrastructure projects have not even started. This means that jobs are not being created and the economy is not being stimulated. Instead of coming up with a new plan that actually builds infrastructure and creates jobs, budget 2017 doubles down on the existing infrastructure plan and contains no new infrastructure spending beyond what was already announced in the 2016 fall economic update.

By allocating public transit funding based on ridership, the Liberal government is disadvantaging Canada's growing communities in favour of already developed large urban centres. I am thinking of the Waterloo region. Too often our medium-sized communities are left to fend for themselves. Of course, a bridge in Wellesley township will never have the traffic volume crossing it that an inner-city bridge does, but that does not mean it is not important to the growth and health of our local economy.

Municipalities need good and safe infrastructure, but they also need programs that are easy to access without miles and miles of red tape, programs that provide predictable funding and do not leave small and rural communities behind. Even if the government is bent on favouring the large urban centres and funding major public transit projects, why in the world would it take measures to decrease ridership on public transit? This makes no sense. We should be increasing the tax credit, not eliminating it. (1330)

An adult monthly pass holder in my riding would be losing out on about $150 per year, or the equivalent of almost two months' worth of bus passes. Talk about encouraging people to take transit. Getting 12 months of public transit for the cost of 10 is a fantastic incentive. I have not heard even one of my colleagues on the other side of the House defend this policy decision, but I think I know why. It is totally indefensible.

There is all this while the Liberal government has introduced its plan for a carbon tax. Let me get this straight. The Liberals are raising the price of gasoline and raising the cost of taking the bus. Do the Liberals think that all Canadians can just work from home? This makes absolutely no sense. The Conservatives will continue to hold the Liberals to account and push for open, transparent, and accountable infrastructure funding for our communities, and plans to increase ridership on public transit, not decrease it.

The budget turns its back on our men and women in uniform who stand up to defend our values and our democratic freedoms. For the second year in a row, the budget contained nothing for our men and women in uniform. Instead, the Liberals cut $8.48 billion that had been earmarked for military equipment purchases. Coupled with last year's cuts, the Department of National Defence now faces a $12-billion shortfall. National defence is clearly not a priority for the Liberal government.

In an era of reckless Liberal spending, it is appalling that the largest cuts are consistently at the expense of our Canadian Armed Forces. Recent examples include the Liberals' decision to pull our CF-18s out of the fight against ISIS, their preference for fourth generation fighter jets, their lack of increased support for our Ukrainian allies, and their failure to advance important procurement projects. All of these suggest that the current Prime Minister does not have our national defence as a high priority and expects other countries to do the heavy lifting.

While Canada's allies have committed to modernizing their military capabilities and spending 2% of their GDP on defence, the Prime Minister is being dangerously naive. Despite the clear need for investments in Canada's national defence, the finance minister stated recently that the government believes the military is “appropriately provisioned”. I will continue to stand up and point out that we need to provide the resources that our Canadian Armed Forces deserve. We want them to be able to carry out the tasks that we give them, and more importantly, to return home safe to their families.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about our farmers. As a farmer myself and an MP ...”

Harold Albrecht (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...urban areas where the cost of a transit pass is much higher, a rider would save up to $260 a month. Families would be looking at saving $500.

Again, my Liberal colleagues might not think that $5...”

Darren Fisher (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...eers who work hard to make SEDMHA happen. They are providing an amazing experience for our kids and families to remember for years to come.”

Glen Motz (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...h community, for community to ensure an adequate and accessible food support system is available to families and individuals in desperate need.

I want to highlight the leadership of our food bank's co-executive directors, Tammy Vanderloh and Celina Symmonds. As a team, these two community leaders continually seek to implement programs that will not only meet immediate community food security needs, but also endeavour to free families from chronic food insecurity through various programs, along with the development and opera...”

Arnold Viersen (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...oday, we condemn this violence on innocent individuals and offer our prayers and condolences to the families in Russia.”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...iagnoses.

However, even with the added awareness and resources toward autism, I have met many families that are struggling to access resources and help for their children with autism.

Nina...”

Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...n partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the project will give one LEED certified house each to two families in need from the region.

During my visit, I met a dedicated team that truly wants the...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to show just how out of touch they are with Canadian families. They say they are helping by making parental leave longer, but families will not receive any additional money, meaning that families with new babies would have to live on just one third of their normal income.

What is the government's defence on why it fails to help low-income families? It is that wealthy parents need more support. That is unacceptable.

When will the go...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are struggling to make ends meet. The costs of heating their homes, feeding their families, and transportation have skyrocketed, and the Liberals' carbon tax is making this bad situation even worse. We already knew that the Liberals' plan was going to cost thousands of dollars. Now we learn that it will be five times that. Why will the Liberals not release the secret data we have been demanding for months? Is it because they know that most Canadian families and seniors will not be able to afford this?”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...he carbon tax would fall short of meeting its stated objectives. Furthermore, it will cost Canadian families thousands of dollars. This Liberal hypocrisy is bad for Canada.

The minister needs to make decisions to protect our environment and she must table a real and effective plan to achieve the Paris agreement targets. More importantly, this plan must not be funded on the backs of Canadian families.”

Jim Carr (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... to work with the provinces to come to an agreement with the United States and protect the jobs and families that depend on this important sector.”

Marilène Gill (Bloc Québécois)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e, the agreement was so poorly negotiated by Ottawa that 34,000 jobs were lost in Quebec. I repeat: families lost their jobs and people had to leave our regions, including the North Shore. That is ser...”

Jim Carr (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., continues to work hard to reach a deal with the United States to protect these vital jobs and the families that depend on them.”

Jamie Schmale (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ll sides have done a great job in trying to make that happen, to make it work better for those with families here. That was one thing we did agree on, and I supported it.

As far as efficiency is concerned, we talked about the work calendar, about how many weeks we sit and how many weeks we are back in the riding, and making sure we do not go longer than three sitting weeks in a row. We allow for that break week or constituency week, when we are back in our ridings. We could maybe see our families, work on behalf of our constituents, and do local meetings there. That was a very important one that we all supported, again, because it made sense and made sure we would all be more efficient in our duties. It also helps Canadians as well, so we were in agreement.

On modernization, we looked at ensuring that child care facilities were available for those with children, that there was better access and that hours were modified to allow those members with children to access those services. What we found out in the committee when we did our study was that a lot of the day care hours were basically office hours and did not allow for those with children to attend a vote in the evening or attend meetings or a reception.

I was happy to learn that the Parliament of Canada did create a position within House operations so that there is now child care service provided in those off-hours. That was a good thing, because in our jobs as parliamentarians we want to encourage as many Canadians as possible to run for these positions, to run for nomination and election. It is very important to have a very diverse group in this place as we represent Canadians.

We also talked about the Board of Internal Economy examining the House bus service. We noted that those who may have injuries or disabilities were not always able to make it up to Centre Block without the help of the bus service. We agreed that we would look at the bus service and how that service is being provided and that we would also ensure the timeliness of that service during certain events that have limited its access to Centre Block. As an example, when President Obama was in town and came before Parliament, the bus service was limited, and sometimes members were not able to access this place. Especially for those we are not able to get up by their own means to Parliament Hill, that is a very important piece to remember. We always have to be thinking a couple of steps ahead in ensuring that there is that access for all members of this place. That was unanimously agreed on. (1520)

We also talked about work-life balance, and here is where I will get into the most important part. It is not only about reuniting the family, allowing members to be with their family and looking at how we do what is called “travel points”. Those watching TV probably will not have too much knowledge in that field, but for us it is a system we use to get back and forth to our ridings and also to bring our families either to the riding or to Ottawa to better do our jobs. Of course when we see our family more often, that is the most basic principle. As father of a young child, I try to ensure that I see my child as much as possible among my duties either in Ottawa or back home.

One of the things that was not included in the report was the elimination of Friday sittings. When we examined the procedure and House affairs report, we questioned witnesses, brought in experts, and other members of Parliament. It was agreed that cancelling Friday sittings and extending the workday Monday to Thursday had negative effects as well. Because of that problem, it was determined by the committee that we continue the calendar as was, five days a week in Ottawa during sitting weeks. What we noticed when we did the family-friendly initiative was starting earlier and extending the hours later actually caused a number of problems and some negative unintended consequences. It was agreed by members, even those who had to travel to British Columbia and had pretty rigorous travel schedules, that the Friday sittings remain in place.

I will also take a quick snippet from my friend from Chilliwack—Hope when he spoke about the Standing Orders and talked about military families. They are not the ones asking for work-life balance. They are working hard defending our rights and freedoms across the world. They are not the ones asking for Fridays off. In our ridings we have truck drivers and business people who travel. They are not asking for Fridays off. They are not asking for a shortened workweek. They are not asking for less accountability. That is where it is so frustrating.

There is a historic precedence that when changes to the Standing Orders are made, that it is done by unanimous consent. This is where the government is going in the total opposite direction. The way the Liberals are ramming this through, using their majority to make life better for them while taking away from the opposition, is totally ridiculous.

We all were elected knowing what we were getting into. We all knew what the job entailed. There are ways to make this place family friendly. That is where the report clearly identifies a number of initiatives Parliament can take to help those with young families. However, as it said in the report, we all agreed, based on the evidence we listened to fro...”

Daniel Blaikie (NDP)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ng to do with making the hours that we stay or leave predictable for the sake of members with young families or for the staff of members with young families. Therefore, there is good cause to suspect that when the government talks about making the House more predictable for the sake of families, really what it is doing is using the arguments of predictability and using young families as a screen for doing whatever is convenient to it at the time.

Because I will be splitting my time with the member for Hamilton Centre, he will have more to say on that, so I will leave that alone for now.

I do not think predictability is a real value that the government is promoting. It is cherry-picking when it talks about predictability. It is cherry-picking when it is convenient for it to have concern for members with young families and when it will not. That was part of Motion No. 6. I raise that argument just as one exam...”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ent with a young family, always very seized with these questions of how we balance the needs of our families with the needs of the work we do. Let us remember, as other members have pointed out, this is not unique to members of Parliament. All Canadians deal with this in different forms. Many people in my constituency have to travel for work as well, whether they work in the energy sector or perhaps the military. This is not just unique to members of Parliament.

I put forward some ideas of things that we could actually do that would not be about the political interests of the government but would actually help young families. The Liberals talk about having fewer days but more extended hours. However, extended hours is a real problem for people with young families. If we are sitting for very long days four days a week, that makes it much more difficult for members to have time to talk on the phone or to meet in person with members of their family. That creates some new additional challenges for families.

The elimination of Friday sittings is really about taking away a day on which the government would have to be accountable. Even if we add those extra minutes to question period at other times of the day, we know, and the Liberals know, that if Friday sittings are taken away that is one less day on which the government has to stand and answer questions which could appear on that day's news. There are only four days instead of five days on which we get to ask the government questions, which then can appear as part of the broader discourse.

The Liberals are using young families as their human shield for this change they want to make, which is in their interests, when ...”

Dan Ruimy (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“... with the member for Pickering—Uxbridge.

When we took office in 2015, we knew that Canadian families had been discouraged by an economy that just was not working for them. We heard from Canadians from all walks of life that they were worried about their future and the current state of the economy and were looking for a government that would believe in them and invest in them.

In my riding of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, I have spoken with families who are facing the challenges of an economy in a world that is rapidly changing. While we see these many challenges, we must also see the opportunities. I am proud of budget 2017 for seeing the optimism in a changing world and tapping into the opportunities for Canadians. Optimism and ambition have always been the telling story of Canadians. We are innovative, creative, compassionate people, who put our family first and believe that better is always possible.

To me, budget 2017 is about the empowerment of Canadians, empowering families, young people, women, and indigenous communities. It is also about supporting businesses and industries to succeed, not just here in Canada but around the world. Budget 2017 is an investment in the future of Canadians. Budget 2017 is a budget that I truly believe will empower communities and support constituents, addressing the vulnerable in our community, but also creating opportunities for families and generations to come.

As chair of the Standing Committee on Innovation, Science and Technology, and a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons With Disabilities, I have sat at the tables to listen to Canadians share their thoughts about our innovation sector, as well as our social sector. I have had the opportunity to speak with experts, academics, and everyday Canadians on the issues ranging from poverty reduction and labour shortages to supporting our industries and encouraging more women on corporate boards. The budget shows an understanding that these challenges, while distinct, are also interconnected. Quite simply, it is a reflection of the reality that Canadians are facing.

Budget 2017 is a strategy. It is a strategy to put Canadians ahead in global markets on the forefront of innovation and skills while at the same time supporting the urgent needs of vulnerable Canadians who have slipped through the cracks of a system that has not previously worked for them.

Our government is a government that looks to the future and knows that investing in modern skills training today will ensure collective success tomorrow. I know my community is filled with families who work hard each and every day so that their children can have a better future than their...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...about those members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are in harm's way. This about supporting their families at home. I hope that the parliamentary secretary can assure those families that all of our troops, whether part of the Air Task Force at Kuwait, part of our Special O...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

April 3rd
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...r. He knows how important these allowances are, not only for our brave soldiers, but also for their families back at home. The well-being of our soldiers is a top priority for our government.

I ...”

Wayne Long (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ccess, but also a city with many in great need. We lead the country in child poverty. We have 1,300 families on a waiting list for affordable housing, and many who are homeless and need a helping hand.

We have started a sandwich program for the hungry at our constituency office, and the response has been uplifting. We have families, seniors, and many others who are hungry drop by on a daily basis. My office is their offic...”

David Lametti (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...n in Verdun is celebrated by the largest urban sugar shack in Montreal and perhaps the world.

Families, friends, and visitors, I will see you on “the Well”.”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ouncil to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement for travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests.

Prior to our government taking office, there was no such policy that exi...”

Kent Hehr (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, budget 2017 focuses on the overall well-being of veterans and their families by investing in mental health supports, educational opportunities, and career transition services. I can say we remain committed to a pension-for-life option, and this too will better serve veterans and their families.

This builds on the momentum we saw in budget 2016, when we delivered $5.6 billion in new financial security for veterans, bettering our earnings loss benefit as well as our disability award. To that end, 67,000 veterans will be receiving more money in their pockets very soon and bettering outcomes for their families.”

Wayne Long (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...lders in Saint John—Rothesay, my riding.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development inform the House of the benefits of this strategy for Cana...”

Pat Kelly (Conservative)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...However, taxpayers need to know why they are paying more for food for a three-hour flight than most families of five spend in a month. Could the Prime Minister not have packed his own lunch?”

Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ouncil to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement for travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and their guests. Prior to our government taking office, no such policy even existed.”

Marilyn Gladu (Conservative)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...spice palliative care, which is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses. The petitioners call on the...”

Brigitte Sansoucy (NDP)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ibre optic network is to co-operatives and all SMEs. I would add that it is also very important for families.

The CoopTel project is a major project aimed at bringing five RCMs online, over hund...”

Jim Eglinski (Conservative)

March 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ng of Yellowhead, multiple towns rely on funding from the province to provide housing to low-income families and seniors. Housing co-ops make a valuable contribution to affordable housing by providing lodging to approximately 250,000 Canadians across Canada. The town of Rocky Mountain House has two housing co-ops, serving 28 families. The town of Hinton has 47 unit complexes. The town of Edson has 24 units. The town of Drayton Valley has 26 units, with another 20 to be built. Even in Jasper National Park, co-operative housing units exist.

Our party supports a multi-pronged approach to affordable co-operative housing, involving provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. Motion No. 100 attempts to do just that. It calls on the government to develop a federal co-operative strategy to promote and support Canada's co-operative sector through consultations with provinces, territories, municipalities, indigenous communities, and co-operative groups.

Our previous Conservative government worked with all governments and indigenous groups to develop and implement affordable housing solutions by committing close to $2 billion to build new units, and to repair and update existing social housing. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, better known as CMHC, has largely been the government's tool by which financial aid programs have been delivered. Our party spent almost $19 billion on housing through CMHC since 2006, a lot more than in the present budget.

Through initiatives such as the investment in affordable housing, the IAH, and the housing first initiative, we empowered Canadians and fought homelessness at a fundamental level. Our Conservative Party also sought to minimize difficulties by equipping CMHC with a wide range of tools to enable home providers to plan for the end of funding, and to allow for flexibility in specific programs, especially in regard to renovations and capital repairs.

If federal funding agreements end, tens of thousands of low-income households across the country, including seniors, newcomers, lone-parent families, people with disabilities, and others, are in danger of becoming homeless without the government's reinvestment in co-op housing.

Co-ops and other community housing programs built under federal programs are aging, as all of us are, and have to devote more of their revenues to covering rising maintenance and other operating costs. Most will have to re-mortgage their properties to carry out major renovations and upgrades in the near future. This is why a renewed commitment from federal and provincial governments to support affordable housing for low-income residents in co-ops and other housing communities is necessary.

All Canadians should have a reasonable opportunity to own their own home and have access to safe and affordable housing.

In his mandate, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked with renewing federal leadership in housin...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...y, and I have seen first-hand how the job-killing policies this Prime Minister promotes are hurting families and businesses.[English]

It is my pleasure to rise on behalf of our Conservative caucus and all Canadians who are concerned that their tax dollars are not being respected, to respond to the Liberal budget. As Conservatives and as the official opposition, we are here proudly as the voice of the taxpayers.

I have had the opportunity to travel this country quite a bit in this role, and I have seen first-hand how the job-killing policies the Prime Minister promotes are hurting families and businesses. In Medicine Hat, I visited a greenhouse that is set to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, in fact exactly $750,000, to accommodate the Prime Minister's new carbon tax at $50 a tonne.

On Canada's proud east coast, I met families who are finding it harder and harder to save after the government hiked the cost of textbooks and after-school programs for their kids. The Prime Minister likes to talk about cleaning up the tax code, but he forgets that all of the tax credits that he is taking away from families made life more affordable for them. The truth is that regular Canadians feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed to death by the Prime Minister.

He promised a lot in the election. He made a lot of commitments, but now it seems like a lot of rhetoric. For all the money that he spent, and for all the taxes Canadians have to pay, what are the results? The Prime Minister is now in his second budget, clinging to this failed Liberal idea of taxing and spending because it seems impossible for him to understand what regular Canadians are actually going through out there.

Canadians needed a break. That is what they were hoping for in this budget, but they did not get one. We, on this side of the House, are not surprised. After all, this is the same government that broke its promise to lower taxes on small businesses, broke its promise to limit its deficit spending to only $10 billion, and broke its promise to balance the budget, all within six months. (1015) [Translation]

These broken promises are proof to Canadians that the Prime Minister does not understand the everyday challenges families and workers are facing.

Canadians are not looking for bigger, shinier promises that will cost millions but never arrive. They are looking for common-sense solutions to the most pressing problems.[English]

What are those most pressing problems? They are about getting new jobs for our young people, and people keeping their jobs and getting to keep more of their hard-earned money while the Prime Minister makes life more expensive.

I was at a function this morning with a lot of small business owners. One of them said that he works 15 hours a day, seven days a week, and in this budget the Prime Minister says he is going to target small business owners because he thinks they are sheltering money. That small business owner said that he invests every cent he has back in his business. He buys new equipment, hires another employee, and expands his business, and the Prime Minister thinks that somehow he is using the tax system to hide taxes.

This is the kind of attitude the Prime Minister has toward small business owners. This year's budget is just a sequel to last year's budget of his nickel-and-dime plan. Last year, it was textbook and education tax credits, which were cancelled. That cost families up to $600 per student. The Prime Minister made after-school programs more expensive, to the tune of hundreds of dollars. For a regular family, hundreds of dollars is a lot of money. If a family can write off an expensive registration for hockey, soccer camp, arts classes, or piano lessons, that is a big deal to a family, and those are all gone.

The Prime Minister steamed ahead with the higher small business tax. He got rid of the hiring tax credit for small businesses, which are struggling across the country. They want to hire more people.

We need to provide them with those incentives. Why would he take away an incentive to hire more people in this country? This year they are raising money off the backs of small businesses again by hiking EI premiums and CPP premiums.

They are raising taxes on Canadians who use the bus. Really? If a person takes the bus to work every day, or to school every day, and likes to enjoy a beer at the end of the day, guess what? They are taxing that too. They are even taxing our Saturday night plans. If we want to grab an Uber to go to the pub to have a glass of wine with friends, or a beer, they are taxing all of that. They are taxing Uber ride-sharing. They are taxing our wine, our beer. Why? It is because they are looking for every possible cent they can find in the sofa cushions to fund more government spending.

In short, they are making everyday life more expensive for regular Canadians. What do they have to show for it? They promised more growth. Guess what? There is none.

Despite continuing to squeeze taxpayers, there is not even in this budget new support for the Canadian men and women in uniform who help keep us safe. The Prime Minister just does not seem to get it. The more we watch him, it is like he does not understand what regular people are going through out there.[Translation]

This budget is proof that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the needs of working people. Any family across this country will tell you the anxiety they feel about losing their job. Any student will tell you that their biggest anxiety is whether or not there will be a job for them when they graduate, a job that pays enough to cover their student loan payment and maybe a car loan payment someday. They have reason to worry because wages are not going up, and the jobs out there offer fewer hours of work, which means less money in their pockets. (1020) [English]

This budget is proof that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the needs of working people, because any families we talk to across the country will tell us about the anxiety they feel about maybe losing their jobs. Students will tell us that their biggest anxiety is whether there is going to be a job to look for when they finally graduate, a job that will pay enough for them to be able to buy a car one day, get a car loan, get a house or a condo, and pay back a student loan. They have reason to worry, because wages are not going up and the jobs out there on offer are offering fewer hours of work, meaning less money in their pockets.

For all the Prime Minister's grandstanding plans, let us remember back to the election. He promised to not raise taxes; he has raised them. He promised to balance the budget; he has not. He promised to spend $10 billion on infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, which is what most people think of as infrastructure; he has not. What do we have for it? Less growth. We are not seeing the growth he promised, so what is all this spending for?

With an aggressive American administration looking to attract every available job to its side of the border, time is running out to get serious. This budget missed a huge opportunity to protect the Canadian economy from the policies of the Trump administration. We were all waiting for it. We were hoping that he would recalibrate. This is a real threat to our economy. That country is our biggest competitor and our biggest customer. There is a lot on the line. There is a potential border adjustment tax. There are potential changes to NAFTA. He had a chance to change course, and he did not.

Lower taxes and less red tape are the tools to do exactly that to keep us competitive. However, instead of competitive solutions, the Prime Minister offers, and we are not surprised, more spending. As for his buzz words programs, how do I say this? I think yesterday they even invented new words. I thought that was a George Bush thing, but now, apparently, our Prime Minister invents new words as well. These kinds of programs do not reach the vast majority of Canadians. They will never see a benefit from these kinds of programs, as great as the Prime Minister thinks they are. All those people out there who are waiting for a signal from the government are the ones who are going to face much more intense competition from a low-cost, low-tax United States.

If the Liberals think people's jobs are fashionable enough that they might make a good photo-op after the budget, the Prime Minister might show up there. There is a good chance that they might be able to get a photo with him. They will be lucky. If they have a super cluster venture capital accelerator, then they are in luck, because this budget was made for them, but I do not think there are a lot of them in Portage—Lisgar. Maybe one day.

The truth is that graduates are looking at this and saying that they are struggling to pay off debt, let alone save a bit of money. They are looking at this budget and thinking, “What's in it for me”, because that is what people look for. There is not a lot. There is not a lot in it for the guy who is working on the oil drilling rig. There is not a lot in it for the person running a family farm. If someone drives a truck or owns a hair salon, those jobs are not fashionable to the current Prime Minister, and there is nothing in this budget for them. I hate to break it to those people, and it is not funny, but those jobs are not Liberal favourites. The Liberals are picking favourites, and the rest of the workforce will pay for it. The rest of the people in this country, families and businesses, will pay for that.[Translation]

As it stands, these billion dollar programs are not really about the average working Canadian. Families and businesses were looking to this budget for a sign that the Prime Minister had done his homework, figured out a plan, and would be moving beyond his haphazard tax-and-spend approach.[English]

As it stands, these billion-dollar programs are not really about the average working family. They really are not. Families and businesses were looking for a sign in this budget from the Prime Minister that he had done his homework, that he had listened, that he had figured out a plan and would be moving beyond this haphazard tax-and-spend approach. However, the opposite is true. There is actually no fiscal plan in the budget. An economist made mention of that yesterday. When is the last time there was a budget with no fiscal plan? There is no fiscal plan. There is no plan to return to balance. There is no appreciation of what this will cost. There is no accounting for the programs and the jobs they will create. There is no costing or measurement of the amount of GDP associated with these programs. The Liberals have not done their homework.

Despite the Prime Minister's promise to return to balance, he admitted yesterday that he has no intention whatsoever of returning to balance. Not only did the Prime Minister break his solemn commitment during the election to spend only $10 billion, but the upcoming deficit for this year is $29 billion. In fact, since November of last year, which is just six months, the Prime Minister blew through an additional $13 billion. Taxpayer money has disappeared into a black hole of photo ops and international trips, which have produced zero growth. Let me rephrase that. There is growth. Do members know where that growth is? It is in the size of government. Yesterday, the comment was made that this is unprecedented growth in modern times. That is how it was described. There has been 12% growth in the size of government. When taxpayers look at that, they think, “What is happening? That is not the bargain we were told we were going to get when the Prime Minister got elected”.

The budget also admits that the Prime Minister's infrastructure plan is not on track. It is right there in black and white. Very little of the billion dollars that was earmarked has gone to roads and highways and ports. It sounded like a good idea. We want shovels in the ground. We want people working. Those are the kinds of things Canadians expected when he said he was going to spend on infrastructure. That is not what happened. The construction sector has actually declined by 3.3%. Money is not getting out. Projects are not being built. Shovels are not in the ground. That means that jobs were not created in the construction business.

What is worse, the Prime Minister has not ruled out the idea of selling off Canadian airports to pay for an infrastructure plan that he even admits in this budget, still, after two years, is vague and unfinished. Let us be clear about that. The Prime Minister is still considering selling off Canada's airports to fund what amounts to a $40-billion shot in the dark for an infrastructure bank. Remember, the infrastructure bank was never mentioned in the election. This was not a promise the Prime Minister made. However, guess what? Canadians will be paying for it.

Something else that is very concerning in this budget is the notion of targeting small business owners. There is a shot across the bow in this budget that is very concerning for small business owners. If they are professionals, people who are accountants, doctors, dentists, lawyers, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and I could name a lot of people who are professionals, who work hard in our communities, who serve their communities, who are small business owners, the Prime Minister thinks they are hiding money in the way they manage their money, and he is coming after them. He has done that in this budget. He is also warning in this budget that he is coming for more.

We know the Liberals are squeezing farmers. They are even squeezing campground owners, who are small business owners. They are squeezing everyone who is a small business owner, because he thinks, as he said in the election, that small businesses are a way to shelter money and that somehow small business owners are cheating the system. (1025)

I think back to the guy I talked to this morning who works 15 hours a day, seven days a week. That is what small business owners do, and they take a risk to become small business owners. We should thank them, because they take a risk.

They are not living off the government. They are not living off the taxpayer. They have taken a risk and invested their hard-earned dollars to create jobs and to invest in the community. Many of them give back to the community through charitable donations and community work. These are the people who are the backbone of our economy, small business owners, and that is who the government is targeting. Where are its priorities?[Translation]

Canada's Conservatives are here to be the voice of the taxpayer. Taxpayers are regular Canadians: moms and dads, workers and small business owners, seniors and students. All of them have been hit by Liberal tax hikes generated by reckless Liberal spending. Canada’s Conservatives will fight to keep money in everyone's pockets at every turn. However, this Prime Minister does not get that.[English]

I will end by saying that Canada's Conservatives are here to be the voice of the taxpayer. Taxpayers are regular Canadians: moms and dads, workers and small business owners, seniors and students. All of them have been hit by Liberal tax hikes generated by this Liberal reckless spending, and Canada's Conservatives will fight to keep more money in the pockets of taxpayers.

Why? I think back to the fellow I talked to this morning and so many other people I have met across the country. They have worked hard, with early mornings, late nights, and long commutes. They have made sacrifices for their families. The Prime Minister does not seem to get that.

We know that responsible governing tod...”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...the budget about that either. However, there are some surprises. There are unpleasant surprises for families and the middle class. For example, the Liberals have done away with the tax credit of $150 to $200 a year for people who take the bus to work.

I would like to hear what the Leader of the Opposition thinks about this Liberal measure that is going to hurt families across Canada.”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“... ridiculous. This has to end.

We will be the voice of the taxpayers, and we will stand up for families and stand up for small businesses.”

Bernadette Jordan (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...position how she considers not investing in child care something that is going to help middle-class families.”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...s and social democrats. The government cannot be asleep at the switch like this for two years while families, the middle class, and workers struggle to make ends meet.

The Minister of Finance cannot tell the Liberal caucus that they will just sit back and only invest when it is advantageous for them. That shows contempt for the people who get up every morning at six o'clock to take their children to school and then go to work by car or bus to try to pay their bills, while their buying power diminishes, their wages stagnate, and personal debt rates reach unprecedented levels.

Not so long ago, we learned that the household debt-to-income ratio had reached 167%. That is unprecedented. People are being paid less, whereas food, rent, and houses are becoming more expensive. Furthermore, increases in productivity never really benefit employees, only the owners, whose profits keep growing. (1045)

What happens then? People go into debt. They run up their credit card, their second credit card, and their line of credit.

What is the government offering these people and these families in its budget? Nothing.

The message we want to send the Liberal government is that we cannot wait. We do not have the luxury of time. The government does, since the election is two and a half years away, but people in our communities do not. They have to pay their bills right now.

That is why the NDP believes that yesterday's budget is a missed opportunity. It completely misses the mark. It does not meet the urgent needs of the people. It meets the needs of the Liberal Party and its friends, who will have the advantage, and who will continue to benefit from unfair and unjust measures. In fact, the budget is good for the rich, the millionaires, the privileged, and those who run major corporations; they get to keep their tax breaks, which the Liberals promised to abolish or address. The reality is that they are keeping them.[English]

It is the big budget of nothingness. It is a big budget of nothing, or “wait and see, it's coming”. When is it coming? Maybe it will come for the next federal election. However, for the next two years we will have peanuts, or almost nothing, from the Liberals. It is quite easy to put big numbers in a press release, to say they are spreading billions of dollars in innovation, housing, public transit, and all of that, but what is in the budget for 2017? It is a column of zeros, and in 2018, it is the same thing.

Then, suddenly, when we look closely at the budget for 2019, wow, it is wonderful. There are hundreds of millions of dollars for investing in our communities, just in time for the next federal election. I can imagine the finance minister talking to the Liberal caucus, saying not to expect too much from this budget because they are taking a break. They are taking a break because the election is just two and a half years away. They will keep the money for that time.

It is a little ludicrous for the Liberals to show shiny objects to the population, saying they will invest billions of dollars, when actually it is supposed to come only in 2022, 2023, or 2024. There will be five or six other budgets before that. It is quite ridiculous to make people think they will get help and real investment in their communities right now, when actually nothing will happen. It is wait and see.

People cannot wait. People do not have the luxury of waiting two years for the interests of the Liberal Party. There are 4.5 million people in our country who are living in poverty. Some 990,000 children are living in poverty. The majority of children in first nation communities are living in poverty. They do not have the luxury of waiting. They need our support, and the Liberal government is failing its responsibility and the promises it made to Canadians to invest in infrastructure, housing, innovation, and public transit. However, all the measures and the rules that benefit the millionaires and the CEOs are still there. They will still put in their pockets huge gifts that are paid for by the hard-working Canadians and taxpayers of our country.

This budget missed the target. That is why the NDP will oppose it. As I said earlier, when we look at it, it is clearly a budget in favour of the members of the Rideau Club and those who are working hard to join it, but not for average and ordinary Canadians. (1050)

Let me give some examples of that. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal said three times to the federal government that it has to invest $155 million to close the gap for children in first nation communities. The federal government is challenging that in court. Shame.

At the same time, it has voted in favour of a motion in the House of Commons to give that money for children in first nation communities, but what do we see in the budget? We see nothing, zero. We should have expected at least $155 million, but there is nothing. It is a broken promise from the Liberal government.

However, what we still have is the tax loophole for stock options for the CEOs of this country. It is still there, and it is costing us $800 million per year to give that to the richest of our society. That fiscal measure, the 87% benefit goes to 1% of the population, and if we look at two-thirds of that fiscal measure, we see that more or less $600 million benefits 75 people in this country. That is two-thirds of that fiscal measure that the Liberals have promised to abolish, but it is still there.

To govern is to make choices. The Liberals could have made the choice to help children of first nations. They have chosen to keep the measure to help CEOs and the one per cent of the richest of our society. This is not the kind of choice that a progressive or social democrat would make. (1055) [Translation]

Here are some very straightforward examples of the shameful, appalling choices the Liberals made in their budget, choices that fly in the face of their election promises.

Number one, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal told the Liberal government to invest $155 million in the well-being of first nations children. That is significant. Most of the first nations children in our communities live in poverty, and the tribunal says that $155 million is the minimum needed, yet the government is challenging that in court. There is nothing in the budget for first nations children. What about the $155 million? It is not there. Instead, the government kept the tax break for stock options for corporate CEOs. That is still there, even though the Liberals promised to close that particular tax loophole.

In recent weeks, the NDP has been asking the Liberals to keep that promise. Why? Because it is costing our society $800 million. Who benefits? Eighty-seven per cent of the money invested, or rather, given away, with this tax break goes to 1% of the population, the richest 1%.

If we take a closer look at this loophole, we see that two-thirds of the cost of this measure benefits 75 people, this while four million people live in poverty and children on reserves need help. The Liberals are not helping them; instead, they are choosing to maintain a measure that benefits their millionaire friends and the ultra-rich elites.

To govern is to make choices. The Liberals had the choice of helping first nations children or keeping measures that benefit the ultra-rich.

Well, the Liberals once again wanted to hang on to the measures that benefit the rich. The mask is off, and we are discovering the Liberal Party's true colours.

I have another simple example: what could be better to help people get around our communities than public transportation? It helps our economy, it helps families, and it is good for the environment because it reduces greenhouse gases. Is there anything in this year's budget for public transit? No, nothing. Zero. Nada.

Incidentally, the Prime Minister had promised Montreal $775 million to extend the blue line in that city's subway system. The budget does not even mention the Montreal subway system, let alone its blue line. There is nothing. The only measure related to public transit—hold on to your hats—has to do with a tax credit that gave people who take the bus an extra $150 or $200 at the end of the year. This reduced people's taxes a bit and encouraged them to use public transit. What bright idea did the Liberals have? They decided to eliminate that. It no longer exists, even though it really helped families and middle-class Canadians.

Other tax measures remain, however. For example, 100% of ...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance, make existing tax relief for individuals and families more effective and acceptable, eliminate ineffective and inefficient tax measures, and provide greater consistency in the operation of tax rules.

Going forward, we will continue to eliminate poorly targeted and inefficient tax measures and make our tax system more fair and efficient. The government is committed to taking these steps because we know and understand that fairness is essential to ensuring Canadians have confidence in their tax system.

Last year in budget 2016, our government committed to undertake a wide-ranging review of increasingly complex tax expenditures that now exist. This review of federal tax expenditures has highlighted a number of issues regarding tax planning strategies using private corporations, which can result in high-income individuals getting unfair tax advantages. A variety of tax reduction strategies are available to these individuals that are not available to other Canadians. An example of such a strategy is the use of private corporations to reduce taxes through sprinkling income to family members.

Budget 2017 sends a strong signal that the government is taking action to ensure that high-income individuals cannot use strategies involving private corporations to gain unfair tax advantages. The government will release a paper in the coming months setting out the nature of these issues as well as proposed policy responses. In addressing these issues, the government will ensure that corporations that contribute to job creation and economic growth by actively investing in their businesses continue to benefit from a highly competitive tax regime.

A fair tax system requires constant attention. Ongoing legislative adjustments are needed to ensure that rules are functioning as intended, and they do not result in some taxpayers paying less than their fair share, for example, through complicated tax planning arrangements.

To ensure the tax system operates as fairly and effectively as possible moving forward, the government will continue to study, identify, and address tax loopholes and tax planning schemes. Tax evasion and avoidance is unfair to the vast majority of Canadian individuals and businesses that play by the rules. (1220)

The measures in budget 2017 will build on previous investments to support the Canada Revenue Agency in its continued efforts to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance. To do this, the CRA is increasing its verification activities, hiring additional auditors and specialists with a focus on the underground economy, developing robust business intelligence infrastructure and risk assessment systems, and improving the quality of investigative work that targets criminal tax evaders.

Budget 2017 will invest an additional $523 million over five years to support these efforts. As CRA has a proven track record of meeting expectations from targeted tax compliance, budget 2017 accounts for the expected additional revenue of $2.5 billion over five years from these measures that crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.

We know that in a globalized world it is not enough to simply concentrate our efforts here at home. We need to have an international focus as well. To this end, Canada is part of a coordinated international effort to address what is known as base erosion and profit sharing or BEPS. BEPS refers to tax planning arrangements used by multinational enterprises to unfairly minimize their taxes. Canada has implemented, or is in the process of implementing, agreed international standards under the BEPS project.

This includes recently enacted legislation which requires large multinational enterprises to provide information about the international distribution of their activities. This information will enable tax authorities to better assess tax avoidance risks. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure a coherent and consistent response in fighting tax avoidance through BEPS.

Over the past year, we have worked to build a fairer tax system that benefits the middle class. Our review of tax measures identified opportunities that make existing tax measures more effective, equitable, and accessible to all Canadians. Specifically, budget 2017 proposes to simplify and improve existing tax measures for caregivers, persons with disabilities, and students.

Right now, Canadians who are caring for loved ones face a caregiver credit system that is complex and difficult for families to navigate, so we have simplified it by introducing the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit will provide greater support to those who need it the most and will apply to caregivers whether or not they live with the family member who is receiving the care. This measure will provide $310 million in additional tax relief over the 2016-17 to 2021-22 period and will support families struggling to take care of loved ones.

Canada is a country founded on the belief that...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...hat I never understood about the NDP is its ongoing rhetoric about the working class. Working-class families work in all different sectors, whether they be forestry, aerospace, taxi driving, or truck ...”

Kevin Sorenson (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...presented in its last year's budget. Budget 2017 needed to include no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors, or students, but instead needed immediate measures to encourage compa...”

Hedy Fry (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“... member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.

It is not only child care. It is looking at how we can help families adjust to the world of work so that they can be more flexible. It is allowing women who are...”

Harold Albrecht (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ed the phrase, “if they choose”. I wonder if my colleague recognizes that there are hundreds of families in the country, even if they chose institutional child care, would not be able to access it...”

Karine Trudel (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...on in that area. In Quebec, we are lucky to have a good child care system, but elsewhere in Canada, families have to pay a lot of money to send their children to day care.

Right now, the government is offering mere peanuts to meet families' child care needs, and these measures will not take effect for another year. Once again, we...”

Francesco Sorbara (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...mational Canada child benefit will provide over $20 billion of direct tax-free payments to Canadian families this year.

Strategic investments in infrastructure, the lowering of taxes for over nine million middle-class Canadians, and pursuing trade policies that saw Canada complete a progressive and standard-setting agreement with the European Union are all providing a solid foundation for a brighter economic future for all Canadians for years to come.

Let us examine the specific measures in budget 2017 that focus on what I called our three-pronged approach: innovation, infrastructure, and skills training. In our fall 2016 economic statement, the government announced that it would invest $81 billion in infrastructure for the next 11 years. I am proud to announce that within budget 2017, we see those details. This will include nearly $21 billion to support social infrastructure in Canadian communities, including $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across Canada.

I wish to highlight this specific investment in Canadian families with a quote from Marni Flaherty, chair of the Canadian Child Care Federation, as follows:

We are pleased that Canada’s federal government has taken this significant first step in committing to a multi-year funding plan. Moving forward, creating fundamental changes in how Canada supports the middle class – and all families – in accessing high quality and affordable child care will require increased funding, planning and coordination.

Over $11 billion will be invested over 11 years for an inclusive national housing strategy. There will be $1.8 billion invested over 10 years for cultural and recreational infrastructure. An additional $10.1 billion will be invested in trade and transportation projects from coast to coast to coast. We need to get our goods and services to market to export and we need to break down bottlenecks.

I applaud the strategic investment of $152 million to provide consistent and effective security screening of travellers and workers. Air Canada commented as follows:

Air Canada today said it welcomes funding in the Federal Budget that will improve airport security screening processes at Canadian airports. This will benefit travellers by reducing wait times and should enhance the overall travel experience.

Airports are key economic drivers with, for example, in Toronto, GTAA, a key economic cluster as the second largest employment zone in the country.

Canada also faces a rapidly changing global economy and for us to succeed, we must foster citizens to be global leaders in their fields and have our creative and entrepreneurial citizens propel the economy forward. Our plan on innovation and skills training meets this challenge and will position our citizens and companies to succeed not only at home but also on the global stage. (1320)

Budget 2017 contains a number of measures on innovation. We all know that Canada is positioned for innovation with the most highly skilled and educated workforce and one of the best places for openness in trade and investment.

Briefly, there are three I wish to highlight, which will help companies scale up and identify those with the greatest potential. These measures include establishing Innovation Canada, a new single window at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for business innovation programming to help coordinate and simplify innovation programs. Second, $950 million will be invested over five years to support business-led innovation superclusters that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth, and up to $400 million will be invested in the Business Development Bank for a new venture capital catalyst initiative.

I am proud of our commitment and the compassion we demonstrated for Canadian families. Our commitment to Canadian families is steadfast. We understand that Canadians face a job market that requires lifelong learning, and we are there to help. As an old proverb states, if you give people a fish, you feed them for a day; but if you teach people to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.

Our government will invest $2.7 billion over six years to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good jobs. Additionally, $225 million will be invested over four years to identify and fill skills gaps in the economy, to help Canadians be best prepared for the new economy.

Our budget follows through on a promise to parents. Our budget will let parents, at their choice, extend their parental leave for up to 18 months versus the 12 months currently. This is important as it will provide enhanced flexibility to families, particularly in areas where there is a current shortage of child care spaces or where there is a prohibitive cost for child care spaces. As we all know, the gap between 12 months and 18 months in child care is great, because a lot of child care centres do not offer the service for kids between those ages, or younger.

Additionally, there is a new employment insurance caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks to cover situations where individuals are providing care to an adult family member. As well, expectant mothers will be allowed to claim EI maternity benefits of up to 12 weeks before their due date versus the current standard of eight weeks. Taken together, these measures are smart investments to assist Canadian families.

A few other measures that I believe are noteworthy include an initiative for better data collection in the Canadian housing market, with a $39.9 million investment to establish a housing statistics framework to address housing data gaps identified by the federal, provincial, and municipal housing working group. Our government's actions to date on the housing market are to ensure a sound housing market for all Canadians. Better data collection will strengthen our ability to ensure that home ownership remains robust and that our housing market remains sound.

Finally, a measure on which I hope to comment in the future is the introduction of the new Canada caregiver credit, which will vastly simplify the current system. It will replace the caregiver credit, the infirm dependent credit, and the family caregiver tax credit. With a single new tax credit, we will be better able to support those who need it the most. It will apply to caregivers, whether or not they live with their family member, and help families with caregiving responsibilities.

It is this type of measure that reflects the values of this government, and it will make a real and positive difference in the lives of Canadian families. It makes me proud to be part of a government that introduced budget 2017 with those types ...”

Francesco Sorbara (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...Speaker, I will take a holistic approach and look at all the pieces we have put in place to support families across Canada. There is the introduction of the Canada child benefit, and the investment of funds for child care spaces across Canada. We need to sit down with our provincial counterparts and ensure that the money is being delivered for child care, which is very important. Also, there is our Canada summer jobs strategy for youth, and a number of programs we have put forward for innovation. These will all make a difference not only for our economy but, more importantly, for Canadian families.”

Judy A. Sgro (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...Canadians when it comes to building a strong nation. The foundation of a nation always goes back to families and children and what kind of support we provide for them.

Over and above all of my colleague's great comments about the things we are doing, the housing issue is a critical one, because if people do not have a roof over their heads, it makes life very difficult. Many families in the Toronto area are truly struggling with this very issue.

I would like to hear m...”

Francesco Sorbara (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ch will assist those Canadians who need it the most: our seniors, disabled veterans, and low-income families. It is of paramount concern within the GTA that individuals have access to affordable housi...”

Xavier Barsalou-Duval (Bloc Québécois)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...eeling from this terrible tragedy.

The Bloc Québécois offers its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the attack in London.”

Irene Mathyssen (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...eleased from the military until all benefits, pensions, and supports are in place; more support for families of veterans; and that Veterans Affairs use evidence of successes in allied countries to app...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Council to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and their guests as well.”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Council to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our taking office, no such policy existed.

This government is w...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ents they should have, which resulted in excessively slow growth. Now we have to invest in Canadian families and infrastructure to boost our growth rate. This is very important to our fiscal position....”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...o take the bus in the morning.

Why are the Liberals getting rid of this tax credit that helps families and promotes public transit while maintaining the gifts for their millionaire friends?”

Marc Miller (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...er way with more than 1,400 projects approved totalling over $15 billion.

In my riding, 6,000 families are better off thanks to this budget. Millions of families throughout Canada are better off. That makes me very proud.”

Emmanuel Dubourg (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...nance presented the government’s plan. It is an ambitious, visionary plan that makes middle-class families the priority, both in Bourassa and elsewhere in Canada.

Can the Minister of Finance t...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ice to develop guidelines surrounding the reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our government taking office, no such policy existed.”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...adians.

It was this government that introduced the Canada child benefit to give more money to families with children who needed it the most so they could actually do what they needed to do for their families.

What was consistent throughout it all? The Conservatives voted against it every time...”

Mike Lake (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...n Alberta there has long been significant government support for people with autism. Other Canadian families have not had the same experience, some mortgaging their homes to get help they desperately ...”

Jane Philpott (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y for early learning and child care in the order of $7 billion that would be of great assistance to families affected by—”

Yasmin Ratansi (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...hat will help people get to work on time, and at the end of the long day, back home faster to their families. In my riding, and in many urban ridings, constituents tell us that this is very important to them. That is what constituents told us in our budget consultation processes. They want better infrastructure. They said that commuting times were taking away from their productivity.

In our consultations, we heard as well about cleaner sources of energy. Therefore, our budget proposes to help build communities that are cleaner and less reliant on sources of energy that pollute the air, harm the environment, and compromise our health. Constituents who suffer from asthma and other breathing issues are thankful that our government is so keen on cleaning the environment.

Hard-working Canadians also need decent, affordable places to live. I am glad our government listened to the people and is investing $11.2 billion in this area.

In the area of a clean growth economy, I would like to expound on some things. Canadians understand that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. The government agrees. That is why our government is further investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure. This is on top of the $5 billion it invested in the previous budget.

The investment of $21.9 billion in green infrastructure will support the implementation of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. We will support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean water, safely manage waste water, help communities prepare for challenges that result from climate change, and help build a cleaner, better connected electricity system. This is welcome news to my young constituents who are focusing their sights on jobs of the future. (1615)

I would also like to talk about how social infrastructure can help transform communities and help overcome social economic barriers to a truly inclusive society. From early learning and child care for our children in their first years, to home care that supports us in our final years, social infrastructure helps Canadians at every stage of their lives. Building on an initial investment of $3.4 billion over five years announced one year ago, the government will invest $21.9 billion over 11 years to support social infrastructure in Canadian communities, including early learning and child care, affordable housing, cultural and recreation infrastructure, and home care.

In my riding of Don Valley East, there are many families who have to choose between one parent working or both parents working. If both parents are working, they have to look for affordable child care. Child care spaces are expensive or unavailable. It is a question of supply and demand. I am very proud that budget 2017 provides $7 billion over 10 years toward the creation of child care spaces. This will greatly help not only my constituents, but Canadians who are aiming to join the middle class. The investment of $7 billion is over and above the investment we made in 2016.

The government will work in co-operation with provinces, territories, and indigenous partners to provide help to families most in need. A portion of the investment will be dedicated to improve access to culturally...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...e. I have the budget document here. If I look through the budget and look at spending on supporting families through early learning and child care, that is their money. In 2016-17, the Liberal budget says zero, and for 2017-18, the Liberal budget says zero.

If this is so important—and it is; we know affordable child care for families is critical not just for families, but also for the health of our economy—budgets are about choices. The Liberal Minister of Finance and the Liberal government made the choice to spend zero dollars allowing Canadians to access affordable, safe child care for their families.

Why pretend at this? Why back-load this? Why put the hope out there to all those Canadians, to all those single working moms, and I was raised by one, that somehow there is something coming when there is not? Maybe there will be in two years. We will see in next year's budget the number three years from now is actually real, but with the vast majority of child care money spent after the next election, one could only take away the conclusion that this is all about politics and not about families. Why spend zero dollars this year and zero dollars next year when it comes to helping families access child care? It is a simple, straightforward question.”

Yasmin Ratansi (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ber opposite is calculating the figures, but if one looks at the $3,600 per child that was given to families, the child care spaces are above and beyond the Canada child care benefit, which has lifted...”

Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...t, and will be given to caregivers whether they live with their family members or not. It will help families with caregiving responsibilities. This new Canada caregiver credit will provide tax relief on an amount of $6,883 in 2017 in respect of expenses for care of dependent relatives with infirmities, including persons with disabilities.

The forces of inertia, of immobilization, of standing still, of 10 years of darkness characterize what happened in the past decade of the ancien régime. It may give voice to an opposition, but as the Governor General has said on December 4, 2015:

Let us not forget...that Canadians have been clear and unambiguous in their desire for real change. Canadians want their government to do different things, and to do things differently.

Budget 2017 proposes to increase financial support for Canada's clean technology sector by making available more financing to clean technology firms. Nearly $1.4 billion in new financing, on a cash basis, will be made available to help Canada's clean technology firms grow and expand.

Budget 2017 also proposes to invest $400 million over five years, starting in 2017, to support projects that develop and demonstrate new clean technologies, that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues, such as climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil.

Budget 2017 also proposes to adopt clean technology in Canada's natural resources sectors, with $200 million over four years, starting in 2017, going to Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

This is not all. In housing, budget 2017 proposes to invest more than $11.2 billion over 11 years in a variety of initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, and help ensure that Canadians have affordable housing that meets their goals.

I think about the 1,500 homeless people who I find in my riding. They are asking for housing not just in the suburbs, but in their neighbourhood where they can receive supports so they can be successful as well, where they do not have to end up in a prison or the emergency wards taking up valuable resources, but where they can find the resources that society should provide them and they can be housed and healthy as well.

This is what our plan and our budget propose to do.

Our Governor General goes on to state:

Because it is both the right thing to do and a certain path to economic growth, the government will undertake to renew, nation-to-nation, the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, one based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. (1630)

This is perhaps one of the greatest budgets we have ever seen for indigenous peoples, and perhaps for all Canadians, $828.2 million over five years to improve health outcomes for first nations, Inuit people, and communities, including mental health services. The opposition should be excited about this.

In education, we have invested $165 million over five years to support post-secondary education and skills training for indigenous peoples. We have also increased funding to the post-secondary student support program by $90 million over two years beginning in 2017. There will be $25 million over five years to Indspire. This will fund bursaries and scholarships for 12,000 Métis, Inuit, and first nations youth in our country, ensuring they can get the education so they can build communities, their families, and a life they deserve.

It is not even done. There will be $18.9 million over the n...”

Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...e a product passed from person to person who can generate money. I do not want to imply that foster families are not doing a good job, because there are many great foster families.

We really need to be thoughtful and considerate about the direction in which we move...”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...t many do not tend to think about is the financial cost. It is common that those with ALS and their families will end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage this disease. These expenses come in many forms.

Most people with ALS prefer to live at home with their loved ones, while they battle their disease. This means that homes need to be retrofitted to allow for greater accessibility, as those afflicted with the disease often end up wheelchair-bound due to the muscle degeneration. Ramps may need to be installed, doorways may need to be widened, and these things come at a cost.

There is also an expense of medical equipment that is often needed when people with ALS choose to live at home. If they have issues with swallowing, they might need to purchase a suction unit to ensure the saliva does not built up and flow into their lungs. As the disease progresses, it might be necessary to purchase or rent a special bed to ensure that people ALS is as comfortable as possible. Other costs associated with ALS include medication, which can sometimes be extremely expensive.

There is also the aspect of travel costs. I live in a rural riding and in order for one of my constituents to see an ALS specialist, he or she would have to drive for hours to get there. This means paying for fuel, food, and potentially accommodation in places like Regina or Saskatoon, which are two to five hours away.

All this is to say that ALS a challenging disease to manage just on the financial side of things, and anything that can done to find a cure should be done. (1810)

There is also an emotional cost to ALS, which is impossible to quantify. The people who are diagnosed have to cope with the knowledge that their condition is incurable and that they will soon lose the level of physical independence they are accustomed to. They also feel pressure to get their affairs in order, as ALS can progress rapidly once it is diagnosed. These are just a couple of the issues that people with ALS need to confront while dealing with the disease.

Families and friends are also affected when a loved one is diagnosed with ALS. As many people with ALS wish to stay at home, family members will often take on the role of caregivers. Being a caregiver is not easy. It is physically and emotionally exhausting, and it only becomes more difficult as the disease progresses and the person with ALS begins to rely on more help more often. Caregivers sacrifice a lot when they assume that role, and I commend them for all they do in that regard.

Respite care beds cost $32.94 per day, based on income, in Saskatchewan. This service is provided to give relief to the family and other primary caregivers of a dependant person living at home. Caregivers may also need to quit their jobs or take a leave of absence to assist a loved one who has ALS. This adds to the financial burden that many families face after receiving a diagnosis, and it can be emotionally taxing as well, given that both...”

Brigitte Sansoucy (NDP)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...his issue is particularly important to me, because today the daily fight by ALS sufferers and their families needs a high profile, constant engagement, and unwavering political support. As we will surely recall, in 2014, the fight against ALS attracted major visibility through the ice bucket challenge. It gave real hope to those with the disease, their families, caregivers, and researchers. Many media personalities agreed to get involved, and $16 mill...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...be remembered for his exemplary devotion to his community.

Without a cure, patients and their families have very little reason to hope. Motion No. 105 acknowledges the tragic death of over 1,000 Canadians with ALS each year and the fact that 1,000 more Canadians are diagnosed with the disease annually.

The motion calls on Canada to take the necessary steps to fight this terrible disease.[English]

Through this motion, the House is being asked to reiterate its desire and commitment to work with the provinces and territories to combat ALS through research and awareness.

I am here today to express that the Government of Canada is committed to addressing ALS. We understand that continued research efforts stand to improve our understanding of this disease and lead to improved treatments and cures. Importantly, research also stands to offer hope to thousands of patients and families facing ALS. That is why our government is supporting Motion No. 105.

In order to cred...”

Eva Nassif (Liberal)

March 23rd
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ome facts in relation to the second. (1840)

The costs involved for people with ALS and their families range from $150,000 to $250,000. Costs include care and equipment, as well as potential loss of income if patients or their family members are forced to stop working. Most people with this disease receive treatments outside of hospitals, and they count on their families and the community to meet their medical needs.

We saw how the viral success of the infamous ice bucket challenge helped raise awareness about ALS. In Canada, nearly $20 million has been invested over the past two years in research into this disease thanks to funds raised as part of that challenge. Brain Canada, with the support of Health Canada, matched all funds raised. This proves that people care about this issue, they want research to be subsidized, and they want a cure.

In Canada, funding for ALS research usually amounts to between $1.5 million and $2 million. That is not enough to discover new treatments that might put an end to this debilitating and fatal disease. Canada has always been a leader in science and technology research.

Let us take advantage of our wealth in human capital in these fields in order to make lasting progress. Imagine what leadership from the government would help accomplish for Canadians and for the global fight to find preventive and proactive solutions to ALS. Imagine alleviating the huge financial burden on our health system and our patients. Imagine the relief of all these families who can only helplessly watch their loved ones fade away.

This goal is not unattainab...”

Fayçal El-Khoury (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...of Laval—Les Îles includes a remarkable Hellenic community of more than 11,000 people.

The families who had the courage to immigrate to Canada, to integrate, and to share their cultural herit...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...on, so we can make for a better work-life balance for the many individuals in this House with young families. This is so that members can do a better job of working efficiently here in Ottawa while se...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tion on how to improve the functioning of this Parliament in a way that meets the needs of Canadian families and Canadian members of Parliament. The fact is we are happy that we are launching in an op...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...wealthiest 1% of Canadians. It was this government that introduced the Canada child benefit to help families with children who need help the most, to ensure that they get the most. It was this governm...”

Sheri Benson (NDP)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...fit. It was supposed to help nine million children out of poverty, but in my riding, there are many families that have to jump through one hoop after another just to submit a claim. What good is a benefit if families that really need it are not getting it?

How many eligible parents have yet to receive...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... social policy innovation in a generation. It is because we are not sending benefits and cheques to families of millionaires anymore that we are able to help nine families out of 10, families with six million children across Canada who receive on average $200 per month, non-taxable,...”

Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...vice alimentaire communautaire, the SAC, has been providing a unique food assistance program to the families of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield since 2001. It may have to close its doors in June, leaving many vulnerable families with nowhere to turn unless the federal government takes urgent action.

A letter was sent to the minister one month ago, but the organization and my constituents have not received a response. A growing number of families in the region are having difficulty putting food on the table. Last December alone, the use...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...introduce an even more solid program to make our society more inclusive and to ensure that Canadian families that are struggling have a better chance to flourish and succeed.

I would ask the mem...”

John Brassard (Conservative)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... Minister probably thinks a certain Carly Simon song was about him.

When Canadian seniors and families are paying for the Liberals' tax-and-spend agenda, who thought a cut-out was a good idea, a...”

Candice Bergen (Conservative)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...alliative care and the approach that is needed to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

While I am on my feet, I move:

That the House proceed to orders of the day.

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“...ends in the United Kingdom at this time, knowing that they are facing a tragedy. We think about the families who are facing something that is indescribably difficult. I would like to start by saying that it is important for all of us to reflect upon. (1630) [Translation]

I am pleased to rise in the House today to table budget documents for 2017, including notices of ways and means motions. The details of the measures are contained in these documents, and I am asking that an order of the day be designated for consideration of these motions.

I also wish to announce that the government will introduce legislation to implement the measures in the budget.[English]

As Canadians come together to celebrate Canada 150, we proudly reflect on the generations that came before us, generations that built a country on the belief that with hope and hard work they could deliver a better future for themselves and for their children, and for their grandchildren. That optimism and that confidence helped define us as a country.

Sharing those beliefs with others made Canada a beacon of diversity, openness, and generosity around the world. Yet, over the last few decades, the middle class and those working hard to join it have fallen behind.

Everyday folks who work hard to provide for their families are worried about the future. They are worried that rapid technological change, the seemingly never-ending need for new skills, and growing demands on our time mean that their kids will not have the same opportunities they had. And who can blame them?

For a decade, middle class struggles were simply swept under the rug. People were left without a clear vision at a time of unprecedented change. However, the good news is that Canadians, on their own accord, worked hard and persevered. We have always been resilient, innovative, able to adapt and prosper in the face of change.[Translation]

Knowing that, we put together a plan to ensure that, in a changing world, Canada's middle class and those working hard to join it can—and will—succeed.

A year and a half ago, our government set out to deliver the kind of change that would make a real difference for Canadians. We said we would help people retire with dignity. We said we would ask the wealthiest 1% to pay a little more, so we could cut taxes for the middle class. We said we would make smart, responsible investments in our communities.

That is exactly what we did. We have delivered on behalf of Canadians, and we are just getting started.[English]

We realize there is much more hard work in front of us than behind us, but I remain inspired that we are on the right path.

One of the most memorable moments I have had as Canada's finance minister actually happened in a taxi cab in Toronto. On the way home one night, my taxi cab driver, Mian, recognized me and we started chatting. Then he did something that surprised me. He called his wife and put her on the speakerphone. They wanted to talk to me about the difference that the Canada child benefit had made in their lives.

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that this benefit gives nine out of 10 Canadian families with kids more help with the high cost of managing their family.

In Mian's case, with three children aged 11, 9, and 10 months, the Canada child benefit means that he and his wife receive about $300 more each month than they did a year ago. That is an extra $3,600 tax-free every year, money that can be put toward groceries, school supplies, and new clothes for going back to school.

There are countless other stories just like this one across the country, each a sign that confidence is building and our plan for middle-class prosperity is working.

Stories like Dave's, a plumber from British Columbia who took advantage of a training program supported by the federal government to get his Red Seal certification last year. Now he has a well-paying job and is able to return to work in his community.[Translation]

There is also Nebis, a mother of three from a remote Algonquin community in Quebec. The Canada child benefit has helped keep her three kids enrolled in hockey this season. (1635) [English]

Mian, Dave, Nebis, like millions of middle-class Canadians, want to see progress for themselves and their families. They want a government that puts people first. They want a government focused on creating good jobs today, while also preparing Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow. They want a government that puts our skilled, talented, and creative people at the heart of a more innovative and globally competitive Canada.

Here is our plan.

Across the country, we are building stronger communities.[Translation]

We are doing it by creating jobs, shortening commutes, ensuring clean air and water, and improving quality of life for millions of Canadians.

In the last year and a half, 744 public transit projects have been approved.[English]

In Calgary and Ottawa, long-awaited and transformative light rail transit projects are under way.

In Montreal and Vancouver, riders can look forward to a more enjoyable commute thanks to rehabilitation work being done to the metro and SkyTrain systems.

We are repairing nearly 50,000 social housing units, to make sure families have a safe and secure place to live. We have lifted 18 long-term boil water advisories in first nations communities. Our work continues, because we will not stop until every child in Canada has access to clean drinking water.

Ten years from now, our cities, towns, and northern and rural communities will be healthier and better connected. Our air and water will be cleaner. More Canadian goods will get to international markets, and modern, efficient public transit systems will get hard-working parents home more quickly at the end of a long day.

As we look to the coming decades, we also see the potential of new innovations to transform our lives. Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, genomics, quantum computing, mobile payments, the sharing economy, these ideas are changing our world for the better, just like the innovations that preceded them.

A few decades ago, we never could have imagined how mobile computing would impact our lives. Thanks to e-commerce platforms, an Alberta farmer can sell top-quality beef to millions of potential buyers all over the world. [Translation]

Cutting-edge research from Montreal has led to breakthrough treatments for multiple sclerosis.[English]

We must see the immense opportunities that these changes bring with them, opportunities for progress and prosperity.

While the rapid pace of change can seem dizzying at times, we must never lose sight of what is driving these breakthrough innovations, people, people like Mian, Dave, and Nebis. Therefore, as we create the jobs of tomorrow, we will support a culture of life-long learning to help workers and their families adapt to the changing demands of our time. We will help students get the skills and work experience they need to kick-start their careers. We will make it more affordable for thousands of parents of young children to learn new skills while raising their families. We will give people who have lost their jobs the chance to go back to school for further training, helping these Canadians to advance their careers, and turn challenges into opportunity. [Translation]

To give our young people the best possible start, we will promote hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, and math, especially for young women, girls, and indigenous youth.[English]

Building on work being done by impressive organizations like Ladies Learning Code and Actua, we will encourage students to learn coding in the same way they learn to read and write, preparing our kids for the jobs of the future.

Budget 2017 is about creating good middle-class jobs now, and in the years to come. To do that, we need to focus on our strengths, where we can lead globally and create good jobs for Canadians.

In this budget, we are making investments in six economic sectors where Canada can lead the way: digital, clean technology, agrifood, advanced manufacturing, bio-sciences, and clean resources.

In the realm of digital technology, I know two things to be true: one, Canada can be a world leader; and, two, we just cannot afford not to be. (1640) [Translation]

That is why we will launch a pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy, and bring together Canada's main centres of AI expertise to drive investment and job creation across the country.[English]

In agrifood, too, we are positioned for success. By 2050, global demand for food is expected to rise by 70%. That means more demand for prairie canola, Atlantic crab and lobster, and B.C. berries. It also means more jobs in the fields of southwestern Ontario and on the maple syrup farms of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. We will help farmers, producers, and processors build their businesses globally, and do so sustainably.

Canadians know that our environment and our economy go hand in hand. It is why we have worked with the provinces and territories to adopt the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This not only means cleaner air to breathe; it means business and investment opportunities. That means jobs installing solar cells, manufacturing electric cars, or developing cleaner fuels will be in high demand.

Luckily, our energy sector is already well positioned to not only compete but to lead.

By investing in clean tech and responsible resource development, we will preserve our environment for future generations, create great jobs, and re-stake our claim as a leading supplier of energy to the world for the next 150 years.

Our plan is clear. Smart, ambitious investments in people, communities, and high-growth industries lead to opportunity, opportunity lead to jobs, jobs lead to a more confident and growing middle class, and a more confident, growing middle class is the only path to strong and sustained economic growth.

The government’s role in all of this is to lend support to those who are driving us forward and to make sure that everyone has a real and fair chance at success. This means ensuring that our most basic needs are met, and health and well-being are at the very top of that list. [Translation]

Though our universal health care system is a source of pride for many Canadians, we know that more can be done for families caring for loved ones. It is why this budget provides support for caregivers helping loved ones at home and makes it easier for Canadians living with disabilities to get the tax relief they need. [English]

We believe that whether their ailments are physical or mental, Canadians deserve the best possible care that we can provide. They deserve our help. I am pleased that with leadership from the Minister of Health over the last several months, we have reached health agreements with nearly every single province and territory.

Through these landmark agreements and historic health transfers to provinces and territories, representing over $200 billion over the next five years, we will reduce stress for families. We will ensure that every young person under the age of 25 gets the mental health support he or she need and deserve.

Having had the honour of representing and meeting families in St. James Town and Regent Park in Toronto, I have seen first hand the challenge of affordable housing. Therefore, it is my privilege to announce that the government will be investing over $11 billion, the largest single commitment in budget 2017. This is in support of a national housing strategy to protect every Canadian's right to a safe and affordable place to call home. (1645) [Translation]

Our government has shown, and will continue to show, national leadership on housing. We will prioritize support for vulnerable citizens, including seniors, indigenous peoples, survivors fleeing domestic violence, persons with disabilities, those dealing with mental health issues, and veterans. [English]

The decisions we make and the policies we create impact men and women differently. [Translation]

In order to make laws and develop policies and programs that are in the best interests of all Canadians, we have to know what kind of impact they will have.[English]

We know, for example, that while Canadian companies are getting better when it comes to hiring more women, they are still less effective at promoting women to senior roles, and we know that fewer women join or stay in the workforce than men. That means that as a country, we are not taking full advantage of the talents, insights, and experience of more than half of our population. It makes no sense. We need to do better.

Therefore, as a first step, we have asked the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders to quickly advise us on how we can better empower women entrepreneurs and remove barriers for women in business.

However, not all obstacles to progress are as obvious, so in budget 2017, we did something that should have been done a long time ago: we published the government’s first-ever gender statement. This is an assessment that ensures all budget measures, not just those aimed specifically at women, help us advance the goals of fairness, gender equality, and stronger workforce participation. [Translation]

We realize that this is just the start, and we look forward to feedback on this first effort, which we will then build into future budgets. [English]

Another challenge we must confront is access to quality child care. Too often we hear stories of single parents living in poverty because the cost of child care is so high they cannot afford to go back to work. That is not acceptable in our country.

To help low- and middle-income families with the costs of child care, we are committing $7 billion over the next decade to increase the number of high-quality child care spaces available across our country. In order to provide immediate relief, this will be working together with provinces and territories. We know that doing this could create up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces over the next three years. Canadian parents deserve our support, and we are delivering.

We know that strong partnerships between the federal government and indigenous communities are crucial for our success. Over the next five years, funding for indigenous peoples will have increased by over 27% from what it was when our government took office, well in excess of what would have been provided under the decades-old 2% funding cap. It will contribute to a higher quality of life on reserves, while setting Canada on a path toward true reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

This work continues today, both because it is a recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and because it is essential to our economic future. [Translation]

Together, we will build stronger, more resilient communities and renew our nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.[English]

We will help break down employment barriers, with a focus on skills development, training, and better education. We will provide greater access to mental health, wellness, and suicide prevention services, while working with indigenous communities to combat substance abuse.

This is our plan for Canada. For it to succeed, we all have to do our share. I have been very fortunate in my life to have had a successful career in business and I have always paid my fair share of taxes, but it can be tempting for some to be too aggressive in their tax planning. Our review of federal tax expenditures, for example, highlighted a number of issues around tax planning strategies using private corporations. These are strategies that can result in some very wealthy individuals getting tax breaks at the expense of others. [Translation]

Canadians expect a fair tax system. Our government is committed to taking action on this issue, and we will have more to say on this in the near future.

One of our government's very first actions was to raise taxes for the wealthiest Canadians, so that we could cut taxes for the middle class. Because of this tax cut, nine million Canadians see more money on their paycheques. These measures are making a real difference in people's lives.

We also gave the Canada Revenue Agency more resources to detect, audit, and combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. (1650) [English]

Going forward, we will close loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others. We will eliminate inefficient tax measures, especially those that disproportionately benefit the wealthy. We will work with the provinces and the territories to crack down on those who hide their identity to avoid paying taxes. Let me be clear. All Canadians must pay their fair share of taxes, period. [Translation]

Canada has always played an important role on the international stage. Going forward, as needs change, so too will our approach. In international assistance, for example, we remain committed to helping the world's poorest and most vulnerable, and we will continue to modernize our efforts so we can deliver better results, improve transparency, and foster innovation around the world.[English]

To support our women and men in uniform in increasingly complex and unpredictable times, our government will soon release a new defence policy for Canada, following extensive consultation and analysis.

We also know that as a trading nation, our future depends on openness and investment. That means never missing an opportunity to remind the world of what makes Canada a great place to live, to play, and to do business. Nowhere is this truer than with our neighbours to the south.

Canada and the United States have the most successful economic relationship in the world, supporting millions of middle-class jobs on both sides of the border. We are proud of this fact. We are also proud to have recently concluded CETA, free trade agreement that will create jobs, reduce red tape, and give Canadian businesses preferred access to half a billion potential customers across the European Union.

As we prepare for the global economy of tomorrow, we will put our best foot forward, always looking to develop strategic partnerships to attract talent and investment, partnerships that will help our companies succeed, create good middle-class jobs at home, and do well globally.

Canada 150 reminds us all that we have a lot to be thankful for. [Translation]

Economically, our talented, skilled, educated, diverse, and innovative workforce gives us tremendous potential for growth. Our values, our stories, and our cultures shine for the world to see. Our two official languages open the doors of the entire world to us and make our country unique.[English]

Our natural resources and natural beauty are unparalleled, allowing us to share the joys of building a campfire with our kids, hiking with a college friend, or swimming in cool, clean waters. In fact, this year we are putting our national parks on full display, as we invite Canadians and families from around the world to enjoy them, free of charge.

Most important, we have begun to...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

March 22nd
Hansard Link

The Budget

“... on the most vulnerable in our society by taking children out of poverty. It is having an impact on families. Because of the Canada child benefit, families will have more money to spend, money that will be going into our economy.

What we are...”

Carol Hughes (NDP)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...hat palliative care and hospice palliative care help improve quality of life for patients and their families as they cope with terminal illness.[English]

These services provide relief from pain ...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...se call on the government to ensure that Budget 2017 includes: (a) no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors or students; (b) immediate measures to encourage companies to hire you...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...it is the Conservative Party's responsibility to tell the Prime Minister what hard-working Canadian families expect to see in his budget tomorrow.[Translation]

Canada’s Conservatives are the voice of the taxpayer. We focus on results for Canadians.[English]

Budget day used to be an exciting time for Canadians. Looking at some of our past Conservative budgets, I was thinking about the day before the budget in the 10 years we were in government. It was an exciting day, because we all knew that the next day, we would be giving Canadians a break. For all those people back home who are working hard, who are struggling, who are working in their small businesses, who are worried about their kids, we knew we would be giving them a break. We did that in every consecutive budget, so it was an exciting time.

Our plan created 1.1 million net new jobs. It cut taxes to their lowest level in 50 years and increased health transfers to the provinces by 70%. We had a very aggressive free trade agenda. We introduced tax free savings accounts so families could save for their retirement and for their future. We introduced income splitting so couples could afford to have a family. Business confidence was high. However, today, the day before this budget, people feel anxiety. There is anxiety all across the country, and people are wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. Question after question keeps coming up. I have never seen anything like this before a budget day in the House of Commons.

Small-business owners are wondering, families are wondering, “Are the Liberals going to raise capital gains taxes?” They say they are, we just do not know when. “Are they going to come after our homes? Are they going to come after my business?” These are the questions people are asking. “What tax credit are they going to take away from my family that I use day in, day out to make life more affordable? What is next? What taxes are the Liberals going to raise?” These are the kinds of questions Canadians are asking.

Business investment is at an all-time low. Business confidence is low. This is the kind of business climate and economic climate the Prime Minister has created.

This will be the Prime Minister's second budget, and we are now encouraging the government to seize this opportunity to change course, but all indications are that it will not. There is so much anxiety, in fact, that the Liberals are not even going out to their ridings after the budget.

I think back to the 10 years we were in government. Not only was the day before a budget exciting, because we knew we were going to give hard-working Canadians yet another break, but we were excited to get out to our ridings to tell everyone about it. We would meet with our chambers of commerce. We would meet with all of the families and business owners in our communities, excited to tell them about how we made their lives more affordable.

Do members know what the Liberals are doing? They are staying here for the weekend for an emergency caucus meeting. I guess they are a little embarrassed about what might be in this budget and what might not be in this budget.

After a year and a half, the evidence is clear. There are a lot of broken promises and there is a lot of spending, but no results for hard-working Canadians. Let us go back to the Prime Minister's original election promise, that he was going to borrow his way to prosperity. He was going to borrow only $10 billion in order to grow the economy and create jobs. On that first part, on the borrowing, Canadians got a lot more than they bargained for. On the second part, the job creating, they got far less than they deserved.[Translation]

The promise to borrow no more than $10 billion has been forgotten, broken even before last year's budget was presented. The deficit is now much higher—we will know how much higher tomorrow—because of an irresponsible policy of increased spending that has been described as unprecedented in modern times.

In a report that was quietly released right before Christmas, the Department of Finance admitted that the government will not be able to balance the budget for at least 30 years. Under the Liberal plan, the next generation will be forced to pay down our generation's debt. Canadians who are 18 years old today will not see a balanced budget until at least the age of 50. (1015) [English]

Imagine, a Canadian who turns 18 years old today will not see a balanced budget until he or she is 50 years old. I do not remember this being in the Liberals' election platform.

The Prime Minister broke one of his key election promises when he said that he promised to balance the budget by 2019. He still believes, apparently, that the budget will balance itself, and those words are just as foolish today as when he said them during the campaign.

What have Canadians actually got for all of this spending and red ink? Growth is no higher than before the borrowing began. The Prime Minister is not growing our economy; he is just growing the size of government.

Let me repeat that. The Prime Minister borrowed all of this money. He put the next generation in debt and this generation in debt and he has not actually created any growth. He is not creating the jobs that he promised, so what was it all for? It was to grow the size of government.

Imagine: the Prime Minister actually promised to add 0.5% to GDP in 2016. He was very specific. However, Statistics Canada data shows that the economy grew no faster than initially projected. The only thing he is growing is the size of government.

He promised he would spend this money on infrastructure, but guess what—the infrastructure funds are not flowing into critical projects like roads, highways, or bridges. I know that people in my home province of Alberta hoped the government would get the shovels in the ground so those jobs would be created, but in fact the construction industry shrank by 3.3% last year. The shovels are not in the ground and jobs are not being created through infrastructure projects.

Now the Prime Minister is looking for more money anywhere he can find it to fund his pet project, the so-called infrastructure bank, because apparently there are not enough banks in Canada. All of us are concerned that the money that the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister desperately needs will come from a sale of important assets, such as Canada's airports. Private investment might be beneficial for Canadian airports, but the complete lack of transparency about a proposed sale leaves Canadians asking a lot of questions, such as whether this is in our national interest, whether this is just a fire sale to fund the Prime Minister's reckless spending, or whether it will increase costs for travellers, businesses, or airport authorities.

This is not about a vision or strategy. It is just because the Prime Minister has run out of money and needs to find more. A botched airport sell-off does not protect Canadian travellers and could also lead to dramatically higher costs, but we have none of those questions answered.

Of course, this morning, as usual, the Prime Minister creates all kinds of anxiety and then says the government may not do that. That creates a lot of conflict. Once again, he says he is backing away from this idea of selling off strategic assets like airports, but yesterday the Prime Minister refused to actually commit one way or another. It is not good enough to keep Canadians guessing about such a critical issue. He does this on taxes. He does this on everything. This constant indecision and lack of any clear plan or vision for our economy is creating anxiety all across the country. The Liberals move from one thing to another, from one idea that they float out there to another. They actually have no real plan.

Whether it is airports or other assets, the Prime Minister should not be selling off the furniture because he ran up the credit card. That is not a vision for this country.[Translation]

Canadians pay among the highest air transportation costs in the world. Canadian families who want to go on vacation and entrepreneurs who need to travel to build and grow their businesses should not have to pay for this government's mistakes.

The rumours that airports are to be sold off at a garage sale are problematic and not just because of the costs involved. Canadians have every right to question whether selling those airports is in Canada's best interest or is simply a way for the Liberals to finance their out-of-control spending. (1020) [English]

We also know that lurking behind of all these ideas of selling off strategic assets to an infrastructure bank, there is this idea that the Prime Minister is very welcoming to Chinese government-owned companies and their interest in buying up Canadian assets. In fact, Conservatives feel he is ready to sell just about anything to them. The sale of Canadian airports or any other strategic Canadian assets to companies with links to foreign governments must first meet a test of national interest, always, because they are strategic assets, but we have no transparency on this as well.

Let us remember that this is the same Prime Minister who held closed-door cash-for-access fundraisers where he met with people from the Chinese government and then weeks later reopened national security reviews on the sale of Canadian companies to companies that were controlled by the Chinese government.

When they hear this, Canadians rightly wonder, “Is our national security for sale to the highest bidder?” Canadians have good reasons to be concerned about the Liberals selling off assets, and we demand more transparency. Canadians do not want to see a fire sale in tomorrow's budget or the next budget. In fact, since the Prime Minister took office, Canadians are actually working less. Their paycheques are not rising, and they feel it.

The young people of our country feel it the worst. The youngest workers have now lost over 40,000 full-time jobs just in the past year. We have a youth unemployment crisis. What did the Prime Minister do? He promised an EI break for workers who hire youth. Then what did he do? He broke that promise, and instead he raised EI premiums on businesses, making them less likely to hire.[Translation]

We want the budget to include immediate measures to put young Canadians back to work and address the youth unemployment crisis.

However, as we have seen, creating a realistic plan to stimulate the economy and help Canadians find good jobs is simply not a priority for this Liberal government.[English]

However, that is not what we are going to see tomorrow. This will be a budget written by Liberal government consultants, and it will grow the size of government. For some reason, Liberals are enthralled with these latest glossy, jargon-laden consultant schemes, all about moon shots and innovation strategies, but it is really simple when we are thinking about innovating the economy. As economist Jack Mintz says, if we want to create innovation, we have to create an attractive business climate, cut red tape, lower taxes, and boost entrepreneurs' confidence in the economy.

I have a lot of confidence in Canadians and I know they are going to see right through this. They know that these buzzwords and these brochures do not actually put people to work. These flashy programs also come with a $1-billion price tag, and this bill gets paid by the millions of regular Canadians who are not so lucky to work somewhere that the Prime Minister wants to go visit for a photo op, such as New York.

Canadians see this Prime Minister's priorities. If people are fashionable and well connected and work in a certain sector that he thinks is sexy, then he is very generous. However, for the taxpayer—well, they have to pay up. They have to pay up to $2,500 per household for a new national carbon tax, and add another $2,200 per household for higher CPP premiums. Then they have to give back their family tax cut on income splitting, watch their tax-free savings account get slashed, and say goodbye to their kids' arts and fitness tax credits and the textbooks and education tax credit if they are students.

The Liberals have an innovation program for every government consultant, but to pay for it, they have a tax hike for every Canadian. Frankly, families cannot take any more of this. With the cost of living rising, the last thing they need is more government. The last thing they need is their government looking for new ways to nickel-and-dime them.[Translation]

This government is taking far more from Canadians than it is giving them, and that must stop.[English]

The situation calls for a change in direction, and that is what everybody was hoping to see tomorrow, especially when we know the United States is about to slash taxes and cut red tape to pull investment and job growth south of the border. We are already seeing it. There is a reason that business investment is already leaving Canada to go to the U.S.[Translation]

We cannot meet these challenges with decades of deficits, an ever-increasing tax burden, and a government that cares more about pleasing major foreign investors than helping Canadian families get by. (1025) [English]

Tomorrow Canadians, regular Canadians, want to see a plan that makes their jobs and their families a top priority. They want a break from the government. They want a plan that gets spending under control, focuses on real-life job creation, and stops these nickel-and-diming tax hikes.

As the voice of the taxpayer, we will be judging tomorrow's budget on whether it meets those priorities. Canadians can always rely on the Conservative Party and the opposition to put them and their families first. That is why we are calling on this House to adopt our motion today.”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...for health care so that people did not go without the essential services that they needed for their families.

However, the current government is going completely in the opposite direction. All of the money it has spent has done nothing to create growth or create jobs. All it has done is grow the size of government, and who is paying for it? It is the hard-working people of Canada. They are paying for it. Every time we turn around, there is another tax increase, another fee increase, all to pay for the Prime Minister's pet projects. Who has to do this? This is all on the backs of hard-working people.

Every day the Liberals find another way to nickel and dime Canadian families and take away from them the things that we gave them to make life more affordable, even the tax-free savings account. This is after-tax income. People have worked hard for it. They are saving for their retirement, and the Liberals are taking half of that away.

There was a tax credit for textbooks. People use these things so that they can make life more affordable if they have students in their house. There was a tax credit for tuition. These are the kinds of things that they just keep taking away from families. They are nickel-and-diming Canadians to pay for their own priority, which is growing the s...”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...way benefit the taxpayer?

At the end of the day, we have the Prime Minister nickel and diming families and businesses over and over again with tax hikes, and his solution is to give a benefit to...”

Kevin Sorenson (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... are some of the things we know about.

We know that in former budgets Conservatives supported families, especially seniors. We created things like tax-free savings accounts and changes to the RR...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...rom low- and middle-income households. This will help an estimated 247,000 students from low-income families and 100,000 students from middle-income families, as well as about 60,000 low-income part-time students each year.

We are doing more. Starting August 1, 2017, students from low-income families will only have to contribute $1,500 per school year, with contributions rising to a maximum of $3,000 for students with a higher family income. This change will allow students to work and gain valuable market experience without having to worry about the reduction in their level of financial assistance. It will also simplify the application process for student financial assistance, making the Canada student loans program more transparent and more predictable for our youth. Furthermore, students with identified employment barriers will not be expected to make a contribution, including students who self-identify as indigenous, students with permanent disabilities, and students with dependents.

In November 2016, we also increased the repayment assistance plan threshold to ensure that no students will have to repay their student loan until they have reached earnings of at least $25,000 per year. We estimate that about 23,000 additional borrowers will have lower, more affordable payments if they apply for their repayment assistance plan.

Helping families plan for education expenses is also key and very important. The Canada learning bond is money the Government of Canada deposits into registered education savings plans for children to help save for their post-secondary education. The government is committed to working in collaboration with the provinces and territories to promote the benefits of early savings for post-secondary education in RESPs for all Canadians to ease access to the CLB for low-income Canadians. These measures are making post-secondary education more affordable for Canadians. (1040)

Post-secondary education is an invaluable asset in today's job market, but employers are looking for more than a person with a degree. They also need the experience and the skills to succeed in today's workforce. That is not something we can teach in a classroom.

That is why our government has invested more than $73 million over four years to support the student work-integrated learning program. One might ask what exactly this initiative is. The goal is very simple: the program will help ensure that students develop the foundational, entrepreneurial, and business skills required to secure meaningful employment in high-demand occupations in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business.

We need to work with colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of Canadians for the highly skilled jobs that are out there, and we need to ensure that Canadian employers can bring about and benefit from co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities. Under our government, more students and workers will have access to co-op placements, work-integrated learning opportunities, and summer jobs so they can get the skills they need and their employers need.

Let us take a moment now to talk about seniors. I have covered the extensive support we have provided to youth, and now I would like to turn my attention to seniors.

Seniors are among the most valuable members of our society. They actively contribute to their families, to our communities, and to our economy, but they can also be among the most vulnerable of our society, especially low-income seniors.

We are proud to report that Canada has one of the lowest rates in the world of seniors living in low income. Our latest numbers indicate that, in 2013, 3.7% of our seniors were considered low income. However, Statistics Canada tells us that about 192,000 seniors still live below the low-income cut-off. These valued Canadians are struggling to make ends meet at a time in their lives when most are not able to work. Our government believes that all Canadians deserve to live out their senior years with respect and dignity. They should also be able to have peace of mind knowing that their needs will be taken care of. We also have to keep in mind that the demographic composition of this country is changing very fast. I, for one, know that in the province of New Brunswick, where I am from, we are actually at the point that the death rate is outnumbering the birth rate. It is very concerning.

Predictions are that seniors will make up nearly one-quarter of the population by 2030. Millions more Canadiens will be eligible for the OAS and the CPP over the coming years. We are talking about hard-working Canadians who contributed to this country their entire lives and paid into the tax system. When they enter retirement, it is time for us to give them the support they need in recognition of the contributions they have made to Canada during their entire working years. That is where the old age security program comes in.

The old age security program, also known as OAS, has a clear purpose: to provide a minimum level of income to seniors and contribute to their income replacement in retirement. The OAS program is composed of a number of benefits. The first is the OAS pension, which is paid to everyone who is 65 years old and older and who meet the residence and legal status requirements. The second is the guaranteed income supplement for low-income seniors. The third is the allowances for low-income Canadians from ages 60 to 64 who are the spouses or common-law partners of GIS recipients or who are widowers or widows.

The previous government increased the eligibility age of OAS from 65 to 67 years old. These changes were set to take place starting in 2023. However, changing the age of eligibility is unfair to Canadians who have worked hard their entire lives and cannot, for a variety of reasons, continue to work at the ages of 65 and 66. This government will not leave low-income seniors high and dry at a time when they need our support the most. That is why our government set specific goals to support Canadian seniors and ensure economic security for them. (1045)

First and foremost, we have repealed the previous government's measures to move the eligibility age for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement from 65 to 67. This will put thousands of dollars in the pockets of the lowest-income Canadians each year as they become seniors.

We are not just maintaining the status quo. We are taking clear steps to help lift thousands of seniors out of poverty. In this spirit, we are increasing the guaranteed income supplement for low-income seniors by 10%. This will give one million of our most vulnerable seniors up to almost $1,000 per year. This is much needed support for our most vulnerable in our society. We will also consider a new seniors price index to make sure that the old age security and income supplement benefit keep up with seniors' actual rising costs.

Let us take a moment now to talk about the CPP, Canada pension plan, measures. Retirement income security starts with a good, stable, public pension program. This is more important than ever at a time when many Canadians are not saving enough for their retirement. In particular, middle-class families without workplace pension plans are at a greater risk of under-saving for retirement. A third of these families are at risk. While those in workplaces where pension plans are faring a little better, 17% ...”

Gérard Deltell (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s, the purchase of textbooks for school. This government that spouts lofty principles about helping families has eliminated a number of tax credits.

Worse still, the Liberals are all proud to say that they are spending $2 billion more than the previous government. Of course they are, they are creating a deficit. They are sending the bill to our grandchildren; they will be paying for it. Which brings me back to the picture I spoke of at the start of my speech. The Minister of Finance, surrounded by children. Of course, he told them that he will be sending them the bill later and that they are the ones who will be paying for his mismanagement.

Let us not forget that this government overlooked one small detail in its new family allowances. It forgot to factor in inflation. This is just a small detail. This small oversight turned into a $20-billion mistake. It is incredible. Any low-level accountant working for a small business, whatever it is, forgetting to factor in inflation would be quickly kicked to the curb. Now this government is patting itself on the back, pleased as Punch. They are the nice guys; they can do no wrong.[English]

It is totally unacceptable. To forget the inflation rate when a budget of billions of dollars has to be tabled is the proof without a shadow of doubt. The Liberals have no control when it comes to spending money. This is a signature of the Liberal government.[Translation]

It gets better, as the government's lofty principles do not end there. It claims Canadian workers pay less tax because it was good enough to think of the poor, hard-working folk and to punish the big bad one-percenters, those who make a good living, as if they were criminals. Come on, now! For my part, I dream of the day when the 1% will be the 10%, 20% or 30%. That is what we want. Why attack them from all fronts, on all sides?

Worse than that, these people say that they are the modern Robins Hoods, that they will make the rich pay for the less fortunate. What is the result of their tax changes, really? On Senator Larry Smith's initiative, the parliamentary budget officer was asked to assess the precise impact of these tax changes. The PBO revealed that 65% of Canadian workers saw no difference at all. Those earning $45,000 or less get $0. Those who earn $60,000 have $2 more in their pockets a week. Even worse, the biggest winners are those who earn between $140,000 and $200,000 a year. I admit to my conflict of interest, as I fall into that category of people, like every other MP. Indeed, MPs are paid handsomely. (1140)

That means this measure will benefit us the most. Those people are trying to tug at our heartstrings by saying they want to help the middle class. Well, I am sorry, but when the people earning $199,000 a year are the ones benefiting the most from these changes, that is hardly the middle class.

That is what we, as parliamentarians, have been working with up to now, so we are very concerned about what the government has planned for the budget it will be tabling tomorrow. We are especially concerned about three issues: entrepreneurs, Canadian workers and the management of public funds, and the potential sale of airports. Let me go over those one by one.

The government has been hiding the truth from Canadian workers. False promises, bad management, and saddling our children and grandchildren with crippling deficits is the name of the Liberal government's game.

Canadian workers who get up every morning only to watch half their paycheque drain away in taxes expect to get their money's worth. Eliminating tax credits for families, as we discussed earlier, does not help these people. Even worse are the new pension plan fees that will cost businesses an average of $1,000 more per worker. That is classic Liberal government.

The same goes for the Liberals' coast-to-coast carbon tax, which will hit taxpayers right in the pocketbook.[English]

Just to be clear with everyone, the best example of that is this. The government had a study done by the civil servant about the impact to the average Canadian of the Liberal carbon tax. I thank my colleague, the member for Carleton, who day after day in the House of Commons talked about the reality of the carbon tax cover-up. The government is not so proud of this study because, without a shadow of a doubt, it concluded there would be a lot of money to grab from the pockets of the people instead of helping them.

The carbon tax will have a real impact on the average Canadian. That is why this is totally unacceptable. I extend my thanks for the hard and good job of my colleague from Carleton who has raised the issue in the House of Commons day after day. We also had a debate on it a few days ago. [Translation]

Canadian taxpayers therefore have good reason to be worried about the Liberal government's upcoming budget. Let us talk about entrepreneurs.[English]

For us, the Conservative Party of Canada, entrepreneurs form the backbone of our economy. Those people create wealth. They create jobs. They are real actors for the wealth of the Canadian economy. We shall support them as far as we can. We do not want to make things difficult for them. We must help them. [Translation]

For us Conservatives, small and medium-sized business owners are the backbone of our economy. Need I remind the members of the sad day barely two years ago when the current Prime Minister said quite seriously that, as far as he was concerned, small businesses were a means to save on taxes or even evade taxes?

I understand that he was looking at himself in the mirror when he said that, but I would prefer that he respect those who risk suffering huge consequences and who are creating real jobs and real wealth.

What did the government do for those people? First, it eliminated a number of tax credits that helped stimulate economic activity for businesses. This government is going to increase pension fund premiums for every worker. Not only do employees have to pay $1,000 more for their pensions, but businesses also have to pay an extra $1,000 for each employee.

I would also remind the House that the Liberal carbon tax is going to penalize those who work to grow the economy rather than carbon producers. This is not the right approach, and we do not support it. This is why entrepreneurs ought to be supported, especially since the new American administration keeps saying that it plans to reduce fees and taxes for businesses.

Let us face facts: our Canadian businesses are going to go head to head with U.S. companies, which are both our main competitors and our main partners. They will be facing businesses that will see their taxes go down, while Canadian businesses will see theirs rise. That is not the right approach. We believe that the best way to help businesses is not to invent 36,000 programs, but to lower taxes. (1145)

Finally, let us look at airport privatization. This is worrisome because, to my knowledge, the Liberal platform did not include this measure. Every time the issue is raised, inside or outside the House, the government avoids giving a definitive answer: maybe yes, maybe no, maybe we will do this, maybe we will do that.

We are asking the government to take a firm position against this privatization. We must be vigilant. Let us keep in mind that starting on December 5, the Leader of the Opposition and I have asked about 20 questions in the House. The questions were about a possible tax on health and dental benefits. After he was asked twenty or so questions, the Prime Minister finally rose, here in the House, and said that the Liberals would not tax health and dental benefits. We were very pleased. Common sense had finally prevailed. However, six days after the Prime Minister said this, we had a vote on a motion that said exactly what the Prime Minister had said. What did he do? He opposed it. He voted against what he himself had said. What is the Liberal government's word worth? Nothing.

This is why we are concerned. When we hear the government say one thing, we know very well that it could do the opposite—not to mention that it got elected by promising to run small deficits, when in actual fact these are massive, colossal deficits, and the budget will not be back in balance until 2055. This is ludicrous, preposterous, and unacceptable.

What concerns us about airports?

Let us get one thing straight: airports are not corner stores. They are the gateway to Canada. The same goes for ports. There is an over-arching function to this kind of infrastructure that makes it different from the others. Moreover, Canadians have already paid, through their taxes, to develop the airports that we have today. If they are sold, the new owners will need to make money somewhere. This makes perfect sense in a market economy, of course. We have nothing against this principle, but can it be applied to airports? We do not believe so, because Canadians have already paid for airports with their taxes. By increasing fees and charges, this government will make Canadians pay twice for something they have already paid for. This is not the right thing to do.

We are not talking about jet-setters here. We are talking about average Canadians who go on pleasure trips with their families to see friends across Canada or abroad. Gone are the days when only the proverbial 1% trave...”

Greg Fergus (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... from under that. Now with the Canada child benefit in particular, which helps out more than 12,000 families in my riding, this is a huge initiative that allows people to take advantage of these tax-free benefits and, if nothing else, to do no more harm. At its best, I think it helps them find some financial freedom so they can do the things they need to do to raise their families properly and give their kids great opportunities to play around, to take part in school act...”

Francesco Sorbara (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...deteriorated service lines.

Commuters in Surrey, B.C., will get to spend more time with their families and enjoy a cleaner environment as a result of the expansion of key transit lines. These expansions will reduce travel times and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, something we all must applaud. In the north, residents of Iqaluit will benefit from a new secondary waste water treatment plant that will ensure cleaner water flows back into the environment.

Those are just a few examples of the outcomes we will see across the country.

With more than $10 billion announced in budget 2016, infrastructure projects across the country are already making a huge difference in communities. These projects include nearly 550 public transit projects, including the expansion of more than 80 transit systems that will make it easier to get to work on time, reduce pollution, and ensure that public transportation is there when Canadians need it; more than 700 projects under the clean water and waste water fund that will improve access to clean drinking water and reduce pollution in our lakes and rivers; more than 1,000 projects to retrofit or renovate social housing to repair more than 48,000 social housing units, which will make housing more affordable for families and more energy efficient to live in; and more than 950 housing projects in indigenous comm...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... heard a great deal from the government about how it was planning to grow the middle class and help families. However, what did we actually see and what were the end-user effects?

As I have said often in the House, I am the mother of five children. Issues such as the cost of post-secondary education, employment opportunities, affordable housing and taxes are commonly discussed. I want to know that my children have a chance at a good future and a chance to have the same opportunities that I have had.

In a report circulated by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, we have seen statistics comparing 2012 and 2016 data. In 2012, 48% of respondents stated that they felt the next generation's standard of living would be lower. We have actually seen an increase in this number in 2016, and over 58% of Canadians now indicate that they feel the next generation's standard of living will be lower. That is a huge increase, especially when we see these elements that the government is pushing. This same document stated similar findings when asked, “Canadians are increasingly feeling left out of the middle class”.

In 2009, 63.3% felt they were part of the middle class, with 28.9% indicating they were in the working class or poorer. In 2016, just three months following the federal budget and changes to the Canada child benefit and to the tax rate, only 48% felt they were part of the middle class, and a hike to 44.3% felt they were part of the working class or poorer. To me, these are not good results. This document indicates that job insecurity is increasing, saving for retirement is harder, and the growth has not been inclusive.

I would like to focus on the future and on the future of our country. Tomorrow we will potentially hear about a plan focused on the national child program and social housing. We will hear from the Liberal government plans to create new jobs through innovation investments. We may hear how the Liberals are planning on selling capital assets to finance an infrastructure bank. And we will hear that Canadians will be burdened with more taxes, whether it is today or in the future.

The 2016 budget introduced the Canada child benefit, while eliminating the universal child care benefit and the Canada child tax benefit. We saw the cancellation of important tax credits to families, including the child fitness tax credit and arts credit. We saw income splitting eliminated for families. While some families may be receiving more money through tax benefits, is the government making a plan to help families in the long-term?

I am also proud to be from a riding with many smaller municipalities that rely on volunteers, volunteers who include firefighters. In this budget, I fear that important tax credits, including the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue workers, will be eliminated. We have to think this. Without these credits, what will be the impact to municipalities like Central Elgin and the municipality of Bayham in my riding that have volunteer firefighters, who not only help with fires but as well the search and rescue missions on the shores of Lake Erie? What will these effects be?

There are also murmurs of the elimination on public transit tax credits, and extremely important in my community, the trades person tool deduction. At the end of the day, people will be paying more taxes.

Through the HUMA committee, we studied a poverty reduction strategy, and the committee is finalizing a report on the findings. Some witnesses clearly indicated that important factors such as skills development, high taxes and unreliable income were issues that were not being dealt with. When looking at some of the strategies that members of the government have spoken of in the past year, we see band-aid solutions. This will is not lead the country to growth and prosperity. We need solid plans, not just more spending.

The government promised to remove the cap on post-secondary education for indigenous people. We know that education will provide important skills development and knowledge that will help those living on a reserve. However, we have not seen or heard anything about about this important issued in the past 18 months. When reviewing the "Pre-budget tour: The State of the Middle Class", PowerPoint presentation put out by the minister, it notes that certain groups remain particularly vulnerable to poverty, specifically indigenous peoples on-reserve. Therefore, will the government do the right thing and remove this cap? (1230)

Youth employment is also a huge concern. In the 2015 election, the Liberal Party focused on youth employment, while scolding the Conservative government for its initiatives and belittling the efforts of the Canada summer jobs programs. Trust me, it happened in my own debates. However, in reality, increases to temporary work for summer students is all we have seen from the government. We need to ensure that we are looking at the labour force and matching it to the skills development. Has the government taken any of these steps to fill the gap in the labour force by ensuring we are graduating students from programs where employment opportunities exist?

I currently have two children in post-secondary education. I know the expenses that are incurred for each year of education, especially since we assist with some of those costs. Those costs include housing, tuition and food. My son pays $950 a month in rent in the city of Toronto so he can go to George Brown College. Each year, costs for each of my children are approximately $17,000. What are we doing to ensure that students have employment to assist not only in their current education, but down the road when they try to pay off these loans? Are we going to ensure that when our children graduate, there is actually going to be employment so they can get on their own two feet?

We know the best way out of poverty is a sustainable, reliable, and decent income. The most reliable method of gaining this income is through a job. We support job creation through tax breaks to small businesses, and avoiding needless government debt.

What is the government going to do to assist Canadians to get ahead? If we are looking at the government's record, we see the following: a decrease to disposable income through the Canada pension plan tax hikes; the cancellation of the small business tax rate; potential taxes on health and dental benefits; and potential user fees. The first three of the four points hurt employers. These employers are the people who employ Canadians in the private sector. It is the private sector that keeps our economy healthy.

According to a study published by the Fraser Institute, Canada has put itself at a disadvantage to attract and retain skilled labour, investment, and entrepreneurs, due to personal income tax rates that in response, truly failed to meet the expected increase in revenues to the government. Therefore, what we have seen is less revenue and more spending.

We have heard for months from the new administration in the United States that it will be focusing on lowering taxes and right now, we do not have a plan to compete with this new reality.

I live in a community with U.S. borders, both to the east and west of my riding, and along the 401 corridor. Over 500,000 vehicles per day travel this highway, with billions of dollars of goods transported through this corridor. My area is filled with agricultural producers and manufacturing facilities that rely on trade and export to the United States. If Canada cannot remain competitive, what will happen to these jobs and to the goods that cost more to produce in Canada?

We need to have a plan to be competitive, and I do not see the Liberal government creating a solid plan that can be implemented immediately. The government must come forward with a low tax plan to remain competitive that in turn will create high-paying jobs.

Just yesterday, I read a quote in the National Post. It said:

Middle-income Canadians may take comfort in the Liberal message, but this messaging hasn’t yet resulted in policies to increase median incomes. At some point, middle-class Canadians may start to wonder when the Liberal message will finally be backed up with cash.

To me, this means income and employment opportunities. I am concerned that the government's plan does not consider any of these factors and we are jeopardizing the future of young Canadians, families, and indigenous people. We need to ensure there is job security, the ability for businesses...”

Steven MacKinnon (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...tors with job training and an ability to grow our businesses in Canada. There is a renewed focus on families, with nine out of 10 families better off with the Canada child benefit, which they can now choose to spend as they wish. One would argue sometimes that this is a Conservative ideal, but I guess it is not something they can support because they voted against it.

My colleague is from southwestern Ontario. We have put all these measures in place that will help families in her very riding. Would the member not agree that these Liberal policies have been good f...”

Karen Vecchio (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker, let me go back to the statistics I just read from the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. We have seen a 10% increase in the number of families that feel they are no longer a part of the middle class. If this program is working, then p...”

Dianne L. Watts (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...se call on the government to ensure that Budget 2017 includes: (a) no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors or students; (b) immediate measures to encourage companies to hire you...”

Dianne L. Watts (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s absolutely key to create that environment. The more the job creators are taxed, the more Canadian families are taxed, the more people will leave. They will leave to find better opportunities. That i...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ass. We have introduced a new Canada child benefit that gives more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families and lifts 300,000 children out of poverty. We have strengthened the Canada pension plan to ...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ell their constituents, when we on this side are helping the middle class by increasing support for families, that they voted against it? They should be ashamed of themselves.”

Linda Lapointe (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...mong the most important members of our society. As we all know, they are very much engaged in their families and contribute actively to their communities and our economy. That said, seniors, particula...”

Karine Trudel (NDP)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... to those who make more than $90,000 per year.

The government goes on and on about the checks families are getting and all the benefits available to them. Once children turn 18, what happens to ...”

Dan Albas (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... have a household headed for trouble. We should not lose sight of the fact that it will be Canadian families of the future who will be left to pay these bills. Again, with an aging demographic, it loo...”

Michelle Rempel (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...vative Party, would have the government agree that there should be no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors, or students. That is a no-brainer. We have not seen a lot of economic growth under the Liberal government's tenure to date. It seems reasonable to ask the government to show Canadians that it is willing to make a commitment, ahead of its disastrous budget tomorrow, to stop the haemorrhaging and to stop raising taxes on Canadian families.

We are also asking the government to take immediate measures to ensure companies hire young Canadians and address the youth unemployment crisis. We know that economic growth has slowed under the Liberal government's tenure, and that the people who are most affected by this are young Canadians. Certainly, in my home province of Alberta, that crisis has been magnified to a very large extent over the last year and a half.

We are also asking the government to vote for a credible plan to return to a balanced budget by 2019, as the Liberals promised Canadians in the election campaign. They have completely abandoned this promise, and they are expecting Canadians just to turn a blind eye to it. The Liberals have an opportunity with this motion today to support that.

In this motion, we are also asking the government to not sell Canadian airports. The analogy I used this weekend on a television talk show is that it is as though the Liberals went to Vegas on a drunken weekend bender, got this massive credit card bill, have nothing to show for it except a hangover, and now they are selling Canadian airports to pay for it. We are asking the government not to do that.

That is the form and substance of the motion. Why is it so important that the government do that today?

First, I need to point out the higher tax burden that Canadians are paying under the Liberal government. We want the government to agree to stop raising taxes. Why? Since the Liberals have formed government, and because they have put in place higher Canada pension plan premiums, each Canadian household will pay about $2,200 more every year. That means $2,200 coming directly out of the pockets of Canadian families. For most Canadian families, that is a lot of money and the government has taken that right out of their pockets.

With the Liberals' national price on carbon, which we know will not actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will not do anything to help climate change, that means up to another $2,500 directly out of the pockets of Canadians.

The Liberals cancelled the family tax cut. We know that is about $2,000 per household. They cancelled the arts and fitness tax credit. That is about $225 a child. For a family that is trying to put their kids into hockey, that is a lot of money. The Liberals took that away, so effectively that is a tax increase. The other thing, which is especially for students, is that the government cancelled the education and textbook tax credits, which is another $500 roughly per student.

The Liberals also increased the small business tax rate. That is an average of $1,800 per company. They have also increased employment insurance premiums, which is another $85 per worker.

What is even more important is that the Liberals, if they refuse to stand up and say, “Yes, we agree. It is common sense, and we are not going to increase taxes on Canadians”, and I am not optimistic about it, then they are going to provide Canadians some assurances on what we are hearing is going to actually be in their budget tomorrow. We are hearing that tomorrow's budget will increase the capital gains inclusion rate. What does that mean? The Liberals are pre-positioning this with editorials in the Toronto Star and whatnot saying that the capital gains tax only affects the wealthy. (1350)

However, in reality, there are 1.2 million Canadians who earn less than $50,000 who take advantage of that tax credit. Many of them are low-income seniors. These would be seniors who had bought stocks in a company or something 20 or 30 years ago and are looking to divest some of that. They are going to have a huge tax burden. This is going to send a chill right across the economy. If this is in the budget tomorrow, my God. When we look at competitiveness with our neighbour to the south right now, this is just disastrous. It is not only disastrous for the economy, but it is directly disastrous for those 1.2 million people who want to become part of the middle class and are now not going to be able to afford to do it.

The Liberals are going to tax stock options for employees. We have heard about this. Ending the public transit tax credit is on the table, as is ending the volunteer firefighter tax credit. The Liberals have also been pre-positioning a tax on Internet services, like Netflix.

It is very simple for the Liberals to stand here and say, “We understand all of this damage that we have done to Canadian families, but we are going to give them a break tomorrow, and we are going to stand up and say that ...”

Dan Ruimy (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... our fellow cadets were among the victims.[English]

For over 40 years, these cadets and their families did not see the fair treatment or compensation they deserved. This month, the Minister of National Defence offered a formal apology, along with providing compensation for the former cadets and their families whose lives were changed forever by this tragic incident. [Translation]

The fight for...”

Colin Carrie (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... marks World Down Syndrome Day, a day where Canadians celebrate people with Down syndrome and their families, from coast, to coast, to coast.

Today serves as a platform to share information abou...”

Randeep Sarai (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...t is the number of lives lost last year in British Columbia to the opioid crisis, which has ravaged families and communities across British Columbia. Zero is the number of deaths that occurred at any ...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...erse this cold-hearted tax grab from the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. The defence minister has indicated that only a small group will have their tax relief restored, while nearly 300 stationed in Kuwait will continue to pay the Liberal's tax for fighting ISIS. I urge all members of this House to stand tonight, on behalf of every member of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families, to ensure that they receive all the benefits, danger pay, and respect they deserve.”

Rona Ambrose (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s a break from the Prime Minister.

In the last budget, he hiked taxes on small businesses, on families, and on students, and then we got the national carbon tax and a payroll tax hike, but that ...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e money to nine out of 10 Canadians by stopping the sending of child benefit cheques to millionaire families, which the previous government did.

The fact is, on the tax cut for the middle class ...”

Michelle Rempel (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ng to see this trend increase as warmer weather increases. Affected communities are very concerned. Families are concerned. Border enforcement issues are concerned. What is more concerning is that we ...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...iberals pulled away these benefits. Trying to pinch pennies on the backs of our troops and military families is wrong and it is immoral.

Will the defence minister support our Conservative motion...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ce to develop guidelines surrounding the reimbursement for travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our government taking office, no such policy existed.”

Blaine Calkins (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, lots of Canadian families travel by plane on a special getaway once a year. On these flights, one could buy a sandwic...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cil to develop guidelines surrounding the reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our government taking office, no such guidelines existed.”

Mélanie Joly (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the Canada 150 vision is rooted in our communities and designed for families right across the country. We are proud to have invested more than $130 million in projects ...”

Cathy McLeod (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls would lead to a brighter future, but families are losing patience. It has now been eight months, and we now hear that the commissioners only have 90 names in their database, yet hundreds and hundreds of families are waiting to hear from them.

The minister needs to take action. There are some very...”

Carolyn Bennett (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tragedy, we are confident that the commission has the tools, resources, and networks to provide the families with the support they need. I can confirm that government officials are scheduled to meet with the commission to discuss how best to utilize the information resources already provided.

We remain steadfast to our commitment and will continue to work collaboratively with all parties to ensure the commission is ready to hear from families this spring.”

Marc Serré (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ent of Canada understands how important mining exploration companies are to supporting middle-class families and indigenous communities and to building a clean, green economy.

Can the Minister o...”

Kent Hehr (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...th the private sector to build those bridges and get those opportunities for our veterans and their families to better their lives. We will continue to do that in our department.”

Marilène Gill (Bloc Québécois)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ment was to blame for the loss of 15,000 jobs in Quebec in one year. That means a lot of people and families, and many villages and regions are emptying out.

Among other things, our workers need...”

Julie Dzerowicz (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... in a career in trades because they provide good-paying jobs, which will help them to support their families and communities in the future.

The federal government is also addressing the importan...”

Julie Dzerowicz (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker, when I was canvassing in the last election, I spoke to many families and many youth. They told me that education is expensive and that life is expensive. They w...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...se actions will benefit everyday Canadians.

One, we call for no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors, or students. Two, we call for immediate measures to encourage companies to hire young Canadians and address the youth unemployment crisis we currently face in our country. Three, we call upon the government to put a credible plan in place to return to a balanced budget by 2019, as was promised to Canadians. Four, we call upon the Liberals to halt all plans to sell Canadian airports to finance their reckless spending.

Today my Conservative colleagues and I are doing what we do each and every day in the House: we are standing up for Canadian taxpayers. We are standing up for those who work hard to make ends meet, to pay their mortgage, to put food on their table, to fuel their car, to care for their children, to enjoy life.

We are taking a stand for those who do not have a job but desperately desire to have one. We are taking a stand for the students who have invested countless hours of time and energy into earning a degree and who are now looking for meaningful employment. We are taking a stand for business owners who have taken risks for the sake of pursuing a dream and by doing so have created jobs and contribute to the well-being of our economy.

Today we are taking a stand for the young and the old and all of those in between. Not only that, we are taking a stand for the generations that are still to come after us, because when all is said and done, we recognize that the decisions we make today will impact those tomorrow. We must do all that we can to ensure a vibrant future for those who come after us.

Today we are calling on the government to join us in this endeavour, an endeavour that will serve each and every Canadian.

Although all points of the motion before us today are certainly worthy of attention, I will focus the majority of my time advocating on behalf of Canada's young people.

Since being elected by the people of Lethbridge 17 months ago, I have had the privilege of travelling from coast to coast to talk to young people across our country, and without exception, they have made one thing very clear to me: despite the finance minister's damning position on job creation for young Canadians, calling it “job churn”, it will not be tolerated by the rising generation. They are insisting that things can and should be different, and I agree.

Allow me to home in on my home province of Alberta for just a moment. It is no secret that Alberta is facing a jobs crisis. From 2015 to 2017, the unemployment rate doubled, going from 4.4% to 8.8%. Today 220,000 Albertans are out of work. Youth unemployment sits at 13.5%.

During November and December, I held six round tables throughout my province, where I talked to young people with regard to their job prospects. Overwhelmingly they reported feeling discouraged by the labour market and the lack of opportunities that are available to them. Many have worked hard to earn their degrees, and they would like the opportunity to use them. Others are seeking to save for their education, for travel, for a house. Others are looking for a job in order to provide for their families, and still others are just simply looking to pay the bills and get by.

The state of A...”

Frank Baylis (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Private Members’ Business

“...re in Quebec City, I attended a number of vigils that were held in solidarity with the victims, the families, and the Muslim community at large. At one of those vigils, I met the widow of one of the m...”

Peter Schiefke (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Private Members’ Business

“... are the lives of Canadian women, children, and men. They are our constituents, our neighbours, our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. This cannot stand.

In my own community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, two faith leaders, of the Muslim faith and the Jewish faith respectively, whom I respect dearly, have shared with me their concerns about keeping their followers and institutions safe after receiving threats. In some cases, I am sad to report that these led to actual instances of vandalism. Nobody should feel threatened, insecure, or worried because of who they are, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

In 1971, prime minister Pierre Trudeau said that the freedom to be ourselves “must be fostered and pursued actively. If freedom of choice is in danger for some...it is in danger for all.” I wish only to humbly add that, if the will to defend and protect those who are most vulnerable and who are so often victims of discrimination is in danger, then we must do all we can to remind one another that Canada is a community of nations. That is a fixed fact. Therefore, to defend one community is a duty to defend them all. That idea is not new to either this chamber or this country.

In the past, I proudly rose and voted for similar motions condemning discrimination against the Jewish and Yazidi peoples. In February of last year, this House stood for a motion condemning anti-Semitism in Canada, as Jewish communities did face and continue to face ugly and un-Canadian hatred. A similar condemnation was passed by the House in 2011 on the attacks on Coptic Christian communities. (1910)

This government and the House did their parts then. It is time to rise once again and stand in solidarity with our fellow Canadians as we did in 2011, twice more in 2016, and so many times in our storied history.[Translation]

We have a duty at this time to support those in need, and this duty also extends to the next generation, that is, young Canadians. We must pass on a legacy that future generations will be proud of. This legacy begins with motions like this one, since the House is united in what is fair and what is needed.

If the House does not adopt this motion, it will be sending a clear message that Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination are not a real problem in Canada, and this lie will affect millions of Canadians.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth, I work with young people because I am convinced that they can make Canada a better place to live for everyone. They are watching us right now. Young people want us to do what is needed and what is fair.

As a father, I want to leave a legacy that my children will be proud of, knowing that their Muslim friends and their families will have the support of the House, as was the case for Jews, Yazidis, and Coptic Christian...”

Greg Fergus (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Private Members’ Business

“... clear that I am a member of a visible minority. When I grew up in Montreal, I was one of two black families in our neighbourhood. It was a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in Montreal. It was an anglophone Jewish neighbourhood, and we were one of two black families. I felt that I grew up in a minority within a minority within a minority within the larger ...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...litary personnel, recognizing the dangerous work they are doing, but is also about supporting their families back home. Military families are the enablers of our Armed Forces, and they are often dealing with all sorts of hardship...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...any times, and he knows how important these allowances are not only for our soldiers, but for their families back at home as well.

This is why Canadian Armed Forces members deployed abroad are e...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ly, this is about respecting the brave men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces, and the military families. It is one thing to put out all sorts of flowery language, but honestly, this is about lead...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...t sustainable solutions, it would rather play petty politics at the expense of our troops and their families.

The minister has become personally involved in this file. He knows what the families of our troops experience and he knows how tax relief and other allowances can help ease som...”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“....

We heard a lot about the disproportionate load of unpaid care that women tend to take on in families, whether it is early on looking after infants, or looking after aging parents near their en...”

Terry Duguid (Liberal)

March 21st
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ritories.

Another key action by the federal government involves ensuring that women and their families have a place to turn in their moment of need through access to shelter and housing. The Min...”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...To go back to Bill C-322, we have to look at the basic issue, the safety of Canadians and their families. At the moment, there are certain shortcomings in the bill. Clearly, we encourage people to...”

David Anderson (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, last year, students from Eastend School committed to a We project. Because area families had relied on Ronald McDonald House in the past, they decided to fundraise so others could ...”

Majid Jowhari (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... central and western Asia. This festival embodies a wealth of ancient traditions and is a time when families and friends join together at the haft seen table to celebrate new beginnings, exchange gift...”

Dean Allison (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ember put on by GlobalMedic where we packed welcome to canada kits for newly arrived Syrian refugee families. I want to note that the executive director of GlobalMedic, Rahul Singh, also spent some ti...”

Denis Lebel (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... government has lost control of spending and now it needs to create new revenues or cut credits for families. I can hardly wait for Wednesday's budget to see what cuts Canadian families will have to endure after losing their tax credits for sports and culture.

What new cuts will we see? What will these families be in for when they wake up Thursday morning after the budget is brought down?”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...to the occasion by implementing the Canada child benefit, which gives more money to nine out of ten families, while eliminating benefits for the wealthiest families. The Conservative Party voted against the Canada child benefit.”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...althiest 1% and put forward a Canada child benefit that gives more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families.

We have an awful lot we need to get done for Canadians to grow the middle class afte...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s for the wealthy.

We also created the Canada child benefit, which has helped nine out of ten families to raise their children. We have a plan, and we will continue to move forward. We are pleas...”

Alice Wong (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... own small businesses across our nation. It seems he will continue the attack on these middle-class families in the upcoming budget.

When will the Prime Minister end his attack on small business...”

Pierre Poilievre (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e Liberals admit that they do not know what the middle class is? However, this week the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development produced a diagram full of laser beams to clarify. In it, ...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rable seniors; and facts around the major impact that the Canada child benefit is having across the families of six million children in Canada.”

Romeo Saganash (NDP)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...believe that actions speak louder than words. To date, the commissioners have not even met with the families of the missing and murdered women. Today we learned that the commission has the names of only 90 participants. Why?

Why has the process not been announced yet? Why do the victims' families have to find the information themselves? The minister must ensure that all victims' families will be heard.”

Sheila Malcolmson (NDP)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the families of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls want justice, but they also want to be heard. Shockingly, the inquiry commission only lists 90 victims, and the government is refusing to provide additional names. The Native Women's Association of Canada has identified 4,000 victims, and we know that might be only the tip of the iceberg. With hearings scheduled in just eight weeks, is the government blocking information to the inquiry? Why is it not doing everything in its power so that all families can be heard?”

Carolyn Bennett (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... ITK, and all of the organizations, are working in close collaboration with the commission, and the families will be heard.”

Mark Warawa (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition on impaired driving.

Families for Justice is a group of Canadians who have had a loved one killed by a drunk driver. They...”

Linda Duncan (NDP)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...law and the erosion of democracy.

I met with representatives of the media, representatives of families who had been jailed, representatives of families who had been kicked out of the country. I heard concerns from human rights organizations. I...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...share that ideal and connection to the homeland of our baba and gido and want to make sure that our families' roots of the old country, as we always called it out in the Prairies, are never forgotten,...”

Linda Duncan (NDP)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ommunity and how stalwart it has been across the country in standing up and giving support to their families overseas. It is absolutely incredible and it keeps pressure on us, getting us to speak out....”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...sion is concerned, my first concern has been and always will be for our Canadian soldiers and their families. This is a hot zone. Even before the announcement that Canada was extending the Ukraine mission, Petawawa was already preparing for a summer deployment.

On March 9, the Conservative Party, after months of giving the Prime Minister the opportunity to do the right thing, brought to the attention of Canadians the most recent example of how the Liberal Party devalues the dangers inherent in missions like the one we are debating today. The decision to claw back the danger pay of soldiers on the front line in the war against international terrorism has soldiers asking me if their pay will be cut by not receiving the proper recognition of being in a hot zone.

Soldiers remember being sent to Afghanistan without the proper uniforms. Soldiers remember their comrades from the conflict in Afghanistan who were killed or injured by a roadside bomb because the Liberal Party played politics with air support when it cancelled the helicopter contract. In fact, history repeats itself with the same type of politics being played with the fighter jet replacement. Without the proper strategic airlift to get soldiers off the roads, lives were needlessly sacrificed.

Soldiers are asking what else the Liberals will take away besides their danger pay. What happens when the injured soldier comes home?

I brought the case of Warrant Officer Roger Perreault to the floor of the House. His treatment has been nothing short of scandalous. What about the Roger Perreaults and other soldiers like him who are waiting to receive the critical injury benefits they so deserve? To the soldiers and veterans who are watching this debate, I want them to know I have their back.

As a veteran Conservative member of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I am pleased to confirm that through the defence committee, I have been pushing the government to accept the recommendations of the National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman, Gary Walbourne, in the report presented last fall to the Minister of National Defence, “Simplifying the Service Delivery Model for Medically Releasing Members of the Canadian Armed Forces”. Specifically, soldiers need to know that if they are injured and no longer meet the universality of service requirement, the support is there.

Of the many problems that I am called upon to intervene in regarding service in the Canadian Armed Forces, the issues surrounding medical release are the most frustrating, both for releasing soldiers and their families. The need to provide the soldier a seamless transition has become an issue of crisis propor...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nger pay, tax benefits, and things provided to those in the armed forces and in support of military families back home that are dealing with long periods of separation from their loved ones who are de...”

Michelle Rempel (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...abroad. Oftentimes we do not take enough time to appreciate the sacrifice of these people and their families in upholding the law and the Canadian vision of democracy and peace around the world.

..”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rease to 1.6 million Ukrainians without a home, orphans without orphanages to take care of them and families to love them, and widows begging on the street. Also, could she comment on how Canada could...”

Michel Picard (Liberal)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ividuals need support, especially since over 73% of those displaced people consist of single-mother families. Canada's humanitarian response involves meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, particul...”

Kerry Diotte (Conservative)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...fiercest defenders of the values all of us say we support. They are fighting for their lives, their families, their hometowns, their liberty. They want to be living in a free country that respects the...”

Daniel Blaikie (NDP)

March 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ent of the United States, that people crossing through farmer's fields during blizzards with their families is a perfectly status quo way for people to immigrate to Canada, when it is clearly not.

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...heatre of operations. It also takes into consideration the extra hardship that is placed upon their families back home, whether it is their parents, spouses, partners, or kids. They need to have the support because of the extra costs associated with their loved ones not being with them. These soldiers are gone for anywhere from six to eight months at a time and there are extra costs at home associated with things like yard maintenance, house upkeep, taking kids to hockey games, extra babysitting costs. Extra costs that usually do not exist are involved because of one of the spouses being deployed offshore.

This is about fairness. This is about making sure we have the benefits available to support the families who are at home. Without that family support, without that resource for the families, it is hard to find Canadians who want to serve and be deployed for the very reasons that we are talking about today.

Yesterday in the House, the minister was asked a question by the member for Lethbridge. The member asked whether or not there would be retroactive pay for those 15 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are stationed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. (1020)

I will quote what the minister said. This is from Hansard. He said:

I would also like to correct the member in terms of the previous government's actions on this. It actually sent troops into Kuwait without the tax-free allowance, something we had taken up.

That is the second time the minister has said this, and it is actually in contradiction to what the minister told me in the past in answering questions on the Order Paper. These were questions on the Order Paper that the minister himself has signed. It said we have documents signed and tabled by the minister saying that all Canadian Forces personnel serving at all Operation Impact Kuwait locations received tax relief effective from October 5, 2014, when we put our troops there, right to September 1, 2016, when he took that away from them. The fact is that tax relief was in place for the entire time we were in government.

Peter MacKay, one of our former ministers of defence, said this had come up on a couple of occasions in the past when we had troops in Afghanistan. The hardship panel, which is made up of civil servants from Foreign Affairs, Treasury Board, and National Defence, goes out there and assesses whether there is risk or hardship living conditions for which deployed troops should receive benefits. On the two occasions it came to the attention of Peter MacKay, he said no. He showed leadership. He said troops may not be down in Kandahar, but if they are up in Kabul they are still in harm's way and still supporting operations for our troops that are on the ground. That is leadership when someone just says no. It is a recommendation. It may be a policy decision by the civil service, but the minister always has the ministerial authority to say no, to say we are going to pay our troops equitably and fairly and recognize the danger they are in, in operations, and recognize the hardship their families are facing at home.

This decision took effect after our troops were already deployed, so they went over there on the promise that they were going to receive the tax breaks and the danger pay. It amounts to more than $1,500 a month, as high as $1,800 a month, which they lost after they deployed. They got there, and halfway through deployment, bang, the government made a decision. The minister did not stop it, and the money was taken right out of our troops' pockets, even though they were under the impression they were going to receive danger pay when they were at Camp Arifjan.

Family members started reaching out to us. It was first brought to our attention on September 2. One family member wrote that this treatment of our service men and women is embarrassing. Military life is exceptionally challenging: her husband makes far less money as a civil engineer in the army than he could in the private sector; their lifestyle is very unstable as they move often; and as he is regularly away for months at a time, her ability to build a career has been sacrificed because they are rarely in the same city for more than three years, and their ability to start a family has been inhibited again and again by the fact that her partner is away for extended periods of time.

She goes on to say that they choose this lifestyle anyway because they are passionate about Canada, a country worth working for, worth continuing to strengthen and build and worth sacrifice; and that to have someone pass a policy that impacts her family in such an essential manner without taking into consideration the implications on the families who readily sacrifice is shocking and disconcerting.

That was the first time we had o...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...cares about the men and women who are serving in the Armed Forces, it should support them and their families with the proper pay. It is unbelievable that there are members who sit on the other side in the government who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces and who are not out there advocating to correct this wrong. All members who serve, especially when deployed in operations, deserve to have the full suite of benefits provided to them as hardship pay and allowances. That danger pay is necessary not only for their own personal well-being and recognition of the sacrifice and danger that they are facing, but in support of the military families at home, the enablers of our men and women in uniform.

Therefore, I have to say this....”

Randall Garrison (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t the danger pay in the field but the supports the troops need when they get back, the supports the families need when people return home with PTSD, the supports our veterans deserve, and the supports...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...he tax reductions and the increased salaries of $1,500 to $1,800 a month in their pockets for their families. That is leadership. That is something I am proud of that we did as a government, and it is...”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... share with the House the additional burdens that are borne by reservists, who not only leave their families but their regular, often better paying, jobs to serve our country.”

Harjit S. Sajjan (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... talking about how we care for our military family. That includes members' support networks and the families and friends who look after them. Members of the military can only perform well if they know their families are supported in their communities while they are away. Their families' welfare is critical to soldiers' peace of mind as they take on overseas assignments. I can attest to this myself.

The Canadian Armed Forces recognize the many contributions of military families and their vital role in sustaining our personnel. That is why the military family services program and the joint personnel support unit are there to keep families strong and resilient. The tools and services they offer address the various dimensions of military families' lives: physical, mental, emotional, and financial. The Canadian Armed Forces also provide access to a broad range of social support networks and professional counselling to aid families of ill, injured, or fallen because we want families to be in the best possible position to support serving members and each other.

It is difficult for people outside the forces to understand the strain on military families. One of the biggest issues they deal with is frequent moves. The government tries to offset the financial hardship that comes with moving under the Canadian Forces integrated relocation program. It provides multiple benefits to military families to pay for their relocation. As well, cost of living adjustments that reflect the realities of financial life in new locations help families when our members are on operations.

Another challenge many family members face is receiving health care as they move across country. Families of active military members do not receive medical care through the Canadian Armed Forces. Only Canadian Armed Forces members receive it. Their families depend on services provided by the provincial and territorial health care systems. They count on family physicians to make space for them in their practices, freeing up a spot, when one military family is posted, to make way for another. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of interest and support by community leaders anxious to rally behind our serving members and their families.

The Canadian Armed Forces' military family services team benefits from the backing of groups like The College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian military and veteran families leadership circle, The Vanier Institute of the Family, and the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. My wife is a family doctor and she, too, has been part of this, making sure that she educates other doctors on the challenges of military families so they take more military families into their practices.

The Canadian Armed Forces has joined forces with these organizations to develop educational tools for health practitioners across the country. For instance, I recently helped to launch the “Family Physicians Working with Military Families” physician guide. It was developed to give physicians insight into the challenges facing military families to help doctors provide compassionate and patient-centred care. This will go a long way to ensuring members' families receive the support and services they need.

Equally important is caring for loved ones returning from military missions. Transitioning back to civilian life is often difficult, especially when a member is ill or injured. The Canadian Armed Forces work with Veterans Affairs to improve services for ill and injured military members, veterans, and their families. We are currently looking at what more needs to be done as part of the defence policy review. The Canadian Armed Forces also provide leadership in the area of mental health. We have made significant investments to help people at risk for mental health problems to provide them the assistance they need. (1055)

There is no question that we live in challenging and risk-filled times. Just as there can be no doubt about the bravery, commitment, and sacrifice of members of the Canadian Armed Forces who take those challenges on, there is also no doubt that those who dedicate their lives to keeping our values and sovereignty secure deserve the best services, the best care, and the best support possible to help them do their jobs.

Our government's response to the motion before us today reinforces that we all agree that the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces deserve the best. Neither can there be any debate that this government is committed to supporting our troops, aviators, and sailors, both here at home and wherever they are deployed around the world. Care for forces members is a priority for our government, for our Prime Minister, and for me. We work to keep our service personnel and their families safe and secure wherever their job takes them.

I urge all parties to join us as we su...”

Randall Garrison (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...g what situation they will be in with respect to compensation, because it has a big impact on their families.

Obviously, the minister has some work to do before we send troops to Latvia, which, again, we have all-party support for doing, but let us make sure they know what they and their families can count on before they go on that mission. The same would be true before we take on an Af...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...evels of the military, it is something we hold close in our hearts, as we know it is our family and families across Canada who send their family members to represent Canada in the Armed Forces. We can never underestimate what a sacrifice that is, not only for our men and women in uniform but for the men and women who support them.

It is an honour to represent 19 Wing Comox, and it is also deeply humbling. It is the backbone of the community. It is a reminder every day of the protection we enjoy. It is also a reminder of the duty these brave men and women bring to the fabric of our country. It is a reminder of the miracles achieved, even with the constant struggles of underfunding and lack of proper equipment. I deeply admire the tremendous efficiency of the military. It is also a reminder of the close-knit families and the bond that makes Comox so beautiful. It is also a reminder of all of those we have lost.

I have had the chance to forge a relationship with the wing commander in our community. I deeply appreciate the patience and understanding, as I have been taught so much about what happens in our riding and the impact it has on our community.

The battle against ISIS is about intelligence on the ground. I am so proud of the air crews from 19 Wing Comox who are directly involved in Operation Impact, which is Canada's military contribution to the Middle East stabilization force. We are talking about the 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron, which is an integral part of 19 Wing Comox.

With CP-140 Aurora aircraft, our fighting chances are much stronger against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the Republic of Iraq. The CP-140 Aurora aircraft from 19 Wing will undertake important intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions as well as provide overland strike coordination and armed reconnaissance coordination that will provide critical information to the coalition forces. If required, they can provide search and rescue missions. As of March 4, 2017, Aurora aircraft have conducted 732 reconnaissance missions, and I am incredibly proud of that work.

Our priority in this House is to make sure that those who serve in the Canadian Forces have the training, equipment, and support they need to deal with the difficult and dangerous work we ask them to do on our behalf every day. Unfortunately, successive governments have failed to deliver proper funding to the Armed Forces to sustain the types of deployments to which they are assigned and to make sure they have the resources they need to fulfill their role and to keep themselves safe. This includes the government delivering on efficient procurement and on increasing major capital investments in the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole.

It has been a wonderful experience for me to represent my riding and the base that resides in it. I have had an incredible opportunity to tour the facilities and to meet so many people who serve us. I have been impressed by the military's flexibility, how hard the members work to make sure that Canadians are protected every day, and the pride with which they do what they do internationally. They do not give up. They make things work, regardless of how hard that may be. (1125)

It is not just about equipment. The government must also ensure adequate support services are in place for the returning troops to receive the assistance they may need. Just last night this House voted on Bill C-211 on post-traumatic stress disorder. I was very happy to see this bill move forward and have the chance to be studied in committee, so we can develop a comprehensive federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder in Canada. This is so important to supporting our men and women in uniform, and also to supporting their families that face challenges when they come home.

Recently I had the opportunity to represent Canada at a NATO update. One of the things that I came away so proud of was the incredible reputation of the Canadian Armed Forces. We heard again and again about the willingness, the flexibility, the high level of standards and training that our men and women in uniform have. It just made me feel so proud.

We know, every day, that when we stand up in the international world, we can be proud of the people who serve this country, because they have stepped up for us again and again. I think it is so important that we need to make sure we are helping save lives on the ground now by addressing the deepening humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria and Iraq.

Canada should be a leader in alleviating the suffering of civilians caught in this conflict. Again, what we heard repeatedly is that across the world people who are in crisis trust our amazing soldiers who stand up every day. I think it is important that we look at ways to welcome refugees coming to Canada, especially when we look at the reality of the American President backing away from his country's commitment to refugees. Canada must raise its humanitarian aid to refugee camps in the region, especially in Jordan, as the refugee crisis has continued to bring the Jordanian government and society to the brink of collapse.

This mission requires clarity. I do not know if the Conservatives, while in power, were very honest about the mission from the very beginning. They misled Canadians about our soldiers being involved in the ground combat and failed to make a case for Canada's military involvement.

Now we see the current government following in those footsteps with the latest announcement on the changes to Canada's military role. When the Prime Minister made the initial announcement, he left more questions than answers regarding our role in the fight against ISIS. With increased boots on the ground at the front lines, as the Prime Minister has indicated, we now have to see what commitment Canada has made to a larger military role with no end date and no parameters to define success. It is only right that our men and women in uniform know what they are being asked to do, and know what success looks like.

With Canadian troops deployed in conflict zones, those on the front lines engaging enemy forces should receive the extra tax benefit that previous deployments have received. Canadian troops have seen armed combat in this deployment, yet the government calls this mission advise and assist. We really need to know the truth here. If Canadian troops are engaged in combat operations against Islamic State fighters, how can the government justify taking away the combat tax benefit to our deployed troops?

I just want to close by saying this. I am so proud to see that all members around this House are going to support this motion moving forward. It is so important that, when we ask our men and women in uniform to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice, and when we ask those families to let them go to other countries and face huge challenges, we need to support them in the best way and make sure those families are provided the support they need.”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t the realities that our men and women in uniform are facing and what those challenges mean for the families.

It is true that, when troops come home who have dedicated their lives to fighting for their country, they want to make sure when they get back that the people here appreciate it, and when the government has asked them to make that sacrifice, that it is there to support them in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, in the last while, we have seen continuous cuts to veterans affairs, we have seen services on the ground removed, and we have seen more and more vulnerability for those communities, groups, and families. Absolutely, we need to do better. We hope to see the offices open and those services and s...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... any of us. This is about veterans on the ground who are struggling every day to survive, and their families are struggling with them. Therefore, we cannot make this about our egos and what we think t...”

Cheryl Gallant (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...of death is very real. The $1,800 per month the Liberals are ripping away from our troops and their families is peanuts to the government compared to the absence of a loved one who is proudly serving his or her country; that loss is priceless. Also, it is peanuts compared to the billions of dollars that are being wasted on the Prime Minister's foreign aid vanity projects.

When the former Conservative defence minister faced the same problem in Afghanistan, he cut through the bureaucratic red tape to ensure our troops would not get shortchanged. (1140)

In 2014, before our troops were ever deployed to Kuwait, our Conservative government ensured they would be qualified for full danger pay. I invite Canadians to fact-check Finance Canada's website.

Liberal apologists are just plain wrong trying to insinuate blame to others for this outrageous clawback policy. The first cuts by the Liberals were done on September 1, 2016. The talk on the military base in Petawawa is to get ready for summer deployment and members are asking me if their pay will be clawed back, if they will have proper uniforms, remembering the decision by the Chrétien Liberals to send soldiers to Afghanistan without proper uniforms, and what else the Liberals will take away.

If the defence minister does not stand up to the Prime Minister's puppet master and take action now, a lot more troops on other missions will be impacted starting this summer. It is wrong for the Liberals to take away $1,800 a month from our troops who are in harm's way. The members of the government really need to ask if the cost of buying a seat on the United Nations Security Council is worth the price of cheapening the lives of our soldiers by clawing back danger pay.

Liberals have no problem borrowing billions, but they undervalue the women and men serving in uniform. When will the defence minister stop funding the Prime Minister's out-of-control spending on the backs of our troops? The defence minister, I want to say, is a proud veteran and should know better than anyone how important danger pay is, not just to our brave women and men in uniform, but to their families back home as well. Soldiers who lived through the decade of darkness of military cutbacks knew that Liberals would cut defence spending when they got in again, but they did not ever imagine that the Prime Minister would literally do it on the backs of military members and their families.

On behalf of the women and men in uniform, I am asking the defence minister to quit taking his marching orders from the Prime Minister, fight for our troops, and reinstate all of the danger pay and benefits for all of our troops who are in the fight against international terrorism. I am proud of the work that our soldiers are doing, especially the special operations forces on the ground today, as well as the air combat mission that is taking place based out of Kuwait.

As a member of Parliament whose riding includes Garrison Petawawa, Canada's largest military base and home to the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, I am very sensitive about the treatment of our soldiers. The soldiers and their families are extended family to me. In our community, we share the highs and the lows and, at the end of the day, we stand together.

When the member for Vancouver South was named defence minister, there was hope among our women and men in uniform that maybe, just maybe, by appointing somebody who had actual service in the military reserves, the Liberal Party was trying to make amends for the decade of darkness. The decision to clawback the pay of soldiers serving in a war zone and the mistreatment of injured veterans has eliminated any goodwill the government may have had when the member for Vancouver South was first appointed defence minister.

The disgust of all things Liberal held by the members of the military community who lived through the decade of darkness and the politically motivated decision to disband The Canadian Airborne Regiment has transferred to a new generation of soldiers. Let us not forget the veterans' disgust at the way tomorrow's veterans are being treated. Veterans are not interested in hearing how many new bureaucrats have been hired or that empty offices are being opened in government ridings. They are not interested in listening to the Liberal Party fight the last election using the same tired campaign rhetoric that was used to confuse veterans and their families.

Mindless talking points scripted by the Prime Minister's Office are not acceptable to veterans. Veterans want action. Veterans are not interested in the fake promises of the Prime Minister. Under the Liberals, our troops feel like they have been kicked in the stomach and their families feel cheated. I call on the Liberal government to finally do its job, reverse that abhorren...”

Blaine Calkins (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... our being away from our homes, because those resources from our pay and salary need to support our families back in our ridings where we actually live.

This is the exact same issue. It is a different way of dealing with it, but it is the exact same issue. These men and women put their lives on the line to serve us. We can have debates about whether or not they should or should not be in a particular theatre of operations, but that is not the point. The reality is these soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces are deployed right now and 15 of them have lost this benefit going back to September of last year. Another 300 of them are slated to lose these same benefits this year. This is absolutely unacceptable.

We need the House and Liberal members to take the bull by the horns and realize the solution is simple. Ask the Minister of National Defence and ask the Minister of Finance, simply with the stroke of a pen, to fix this problem. This is what happened when the Conservatives were in government. It was brought to the attention at that time to the minister of veterans affairs, the minister of defence. “When the interdepartmental committee recommended the same benefits be stripped” this was back when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, “from our troops who were serving in Afghanistan, we cut through the red tape to ensure these troops received exactly what they deserve”.

I will quote what was said at the time, because the folks who were in charge at the time actually had a compass on this issue. They knew what the right thing to do was. They did not run and hide behind the rules.

“This decision about hardship and risk pay was made by officials; we believe it is incorrect, and the government intends to re-examine it.” This is from the press secretary of former defence minister Peter MacKay on April 10, 2013. “This decision was not appropriate, and we are asking for this decision to be reviewed”. This was said by the then veterans affairs minister on April 10.

“Our troops left with an agreed-upon salary, including risk benefits for those missions, and now halfway through their deployment this government is making significant reductions to the income on which they and their families depend.” That was said by Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire. (1155)

When our troops...”

Pierre Nantel (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...h the current government's attempts to pinch pennies when it comes to health care and our military families' peace of mind? Are we not lying in a bed that his party made when it was in government?

Pierre Nantel (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ry familiar with the reality facing our soldiers, at least with respect to military bases and their families.

We will recall that a while ago there were disagreements about the interpretation of...”

John Brassard (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...m a monetary standpoint is ensure that they get what they deserve and, more importantly, that their families get what they deserve.

I am our party's critic for veterans affairs and I sit on the veterans affairs committee. We have heard a lot of testimony dealing with the transitional aspects of moving from military life to civilian life, PTSD, and occupational stress injuries and how they affect the mental health of our soldiers. These have an equal effect on their families, families that are struggling day in and day out dealing with the fact that their loved ones are deployed overseas, not knowing what they are doing and the dangers they are facing. Think of the added stress on those family members when they are not being compensated in the manner in which they should be.

As I was listening to the debate in my office this morning, I went through some figures. This issue really came up in February, although it has been ongoing since last September. Our defence critic has been speaking to the minister about this. He initiated an Order Paper question. I looked at the numbers this morning and found that, since February 15, almost $1.3 billion has been doled out by the Liberal government for various projects across the country, and that does not include the $650 million that was issued yesterday for reproductive and health issues. The retroactive cost of this benefit to the men and women who serve our country is roughly $3 million, and since this issue came up, the Liberal government has doled out $1.3 billion and $650 million yesterday.

Why? That is the question. Why are we not looking after our men and women in uniform? A simple stroke of the pen would solve this issue. To the families who serve, we have an obligation to help them while their men and women are serving overseas.

What does it say to the families of our men and women who serve, and to those who served, when our government will not look after their financial needs? Not properly compensating them, in this case with respect to tax-free allowances, somehow diminishes the risk that they face overseas. I would suggest that it causes incredible distrust of the government. It causes morale issues among those who are serving. In fact, it would cause morale issues for those who are here at home. It also affects recruitment and the ability to attract people to our Canadian Forces. What does it to say to our recruitment efforts if the government is not going to look after our members and diminishes the role they play by not properly compensating them? Why would I want to get involved in the Canadian Forces if I think that my government does not have my back if I am deployed, and more importantly, it does not have my family's back if I am deployed? It is a great cause for concern.

This is the third time I have said this today. We are spending all day debating this. This issue has been going on since last September. The government has said that it is doing consultations and that it is going to review it. One stroke of a pen would solve this issue.

I am asking the government, on behalf of the families of Canadian Forces members, on behalf of those who serve so bravely, to resolve the problem...”

Sherry Romanado (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...like to thank him for that and for his advocacy in veterans affairs.

Does the member feel the families that are in his riding are being supported, given the many outreach efforts we are making to get this right? Could the member explain what he thinks we could be doing to make sure those families that are affected by this are supported?”

John Brassard (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...this. I think all of us would agree that we need to correct what I would call an injustice to those families and those who are serving. A simple stroke of a pen could solve this problem. The Minister of National Defence could go to the Minister of Finance, use his ministerial authority, and it would be completed.

On the issue of families and what we need to do to support our members, I think the hon. member brought up a critical point. We need to understand that, when members of the Canadian Forces serve, it is not just they who are serving. It is not just they who are paying the price. Their families are paying the price; their spouses, their children are paying the price.

I have had the opportunity to visit many resource centres across the country, including Base Borden, close to home. I will say that there is a significant attempt among those who are involved in those military resource centres to make sure they help our families. However, at the end of the day, and I think all hon. members in this House agree, we need ...”

Michelle Rempel (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...both financially and emotionally that is borne by our men and women who are over there and by their families back at home.

Bureaucrats might be sitting in the government lobby right now looking at some sort of technical matrix around risk assessment levels. I am looking at the fact that American soldiers are getting this. I am not quite sure about the difference in salary levels, fair enough, but they are certainly getting tax exemption status.

I pulled up our travel advisory for Kuwait. It talks about a high risk of terrorism. This is not an environment that we would perhaps willingly go into that our men and women in uniform are going into, so this small tax exemption is something that is absolutely reasonable. Going back to my earlier statement, it shows that Canadians understand the true cost of bearing this burden by our men and women in uniform.

I have a few other points, very quickly. The government is probably going to post a budget with close to a $50-billion deficit. To my colleague's point, I cannot understand why it would not, with a stroke of a pen, support our men and women in uniform with this decision. There is precedent for this decision. When we were in government, we had a similar discussion around troops who were deployed in Afghanistan. A decision was made to do essentially what the motion today calls for.

The one thing I want to highlight that was really concerning for me is that the decision to revoke this tax benefit was made after troops had agreed to deploy. In cutting the benefits, the Liberals have cheated our troops and their families out of hard-earned money that they expected, counted on, and deserved. I cannot imagine sending someone out to serve in such a stressful situation, asking them to serve our country and to acknowledge the fact that Canadian freedoms are not a static thing, and then say, “Oh, by the way, a committee of bureaucrats has changed your risk level and you're not getting this, what you budgeted for”.

Our men and women in uniform and their families have to make tough decisions when it comes to budgeting. For some people in the chamber, $1,500 to $1,800 a month might not seem like a lot, but it sure is to the families of these people.

It is really shameful that we are having this discussion here today....”

Sven Spengemann (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ition to civilian life.

These measures are taken so that injured or sick CF members and their families have access to benefits, services and compensation.[English]

For other soldiers, the return home can, in and of itself, be a significant stressor. Readjusting to life in Canada and reuniting with loved ones after experiencing radically different realities can be hard, so the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces make sure to provide adequate support at that point as well. Within three to six months, members have a post-deployment screening with physical and mental health professionals, whose role is quite simply to make sure that they are well in all aspects of their lives, to help them transition to a normal life, to rebuild healthy relationships with their families, and to help flag any signs of an operational stress injury.

For serving members who ...”

James Bezan (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...enefits for recognition of the risk the troops were facing and in recognition of the hardship their families were going through as they were deployed overseas? Does she believe the minister should hav...”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ews is that the change will not take effect until June 1, 2017, allowing time for members and their families to adjust to this decision. How kind of the Liberals. Instead of taking time to reflect on this choice, the Liberals came up with an equally appalling solution. Instead of restoring the benefits that our troops at Camp Arifjan deserved, they decided to revoke the benefit for all our troops that were battling ISIS. I understand, through the debate, that the Liberals are reconsidering and re-examining this, but I would challenge them to agree to our motion and keep this benefit in place.

The arrogance of the Liberal government is unprecedented. The Liberals are rolling back the tax relief for our men and women who protect our Canadian values, those men and women who ensure Canada remains “The True North, strong and free”. These men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces volunteer to leave their families as they travel abroad to perform dangerous work and put themselves at risk in the service of our country. They miss important milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, births, and deaths.

Instead of providing compensation that is a drop in the bucket for the tax-and-spend Liberals, they are choosing to take away from those who voluntarily sacrifice their lives. Instead of thanking our troops, they are telling our troops that are deployed to foreign third world countries that they are not in enough danger to justify $1,500 or $1,800 a month in additional finances. (1330)

I would like to use statistics because they tell the real story. Here is one for the House. During the last break week, from February 24 to March 5, Liberal MPs travelled throughout Canada on taxpayers' dollars spreading fluff and flowers all across the way and announcing 188 loans, grants, contributions, and government contract awards worth a combined $1.25 billion. I will repeat that for the record, $1.25 billion. Now they are going to trumpet it and say that they are spending dollars and they just announced another $650 million to be spent abroad, when indeed those who are in harm's way here at home and those who are most vulnerable and those who are wearing the maple leaf on their shoulders and protecting and promoting the maple leaf and all of our Canadian values abroad are being told that they are going to receive a pay cut. It is shameful.

The Prime Minister felt it necessary to cut the tax benefits of our military. This is simply unacceptable. The Liberals have known for months now that the Canadian troops who are deployed in the fight against ISIS have not been adequately compensated for the hardships and risks associated with their deployment and yet the decision was still made to cut this financial aid while the troops had already agreed to deploy. In cutting this benefit, the Liberals have cheated our troops and their families out of hard-earned money that they expected and counted on, and most of all, that they deserve.

I was not a part of the last government or the one before that, but all I have heard today and in recent months is that whenever the Liberals have to justify some of the things they are doing, they always like to say that Prime Minister Harper and his government started it and the Liberals are simply following through. They like to point fingers. It is a smokescreen and it is unacceptable. Liberals knew about this. If they believed the words coming out of their mouths, they would stand up for those who are putting their lives in danger for our country and our communities, but I guess it is acceptable to treat our heroes the way the Liberals are treating them. (1335)

Last night, something remarkable happened. The House stood in unanimous support of my bill, Bill C-211, and collectively we sent the message that we in the chamber value the brave men and women who serve our country and our communities. Collectively we have provided hope and I look forward to working with all colleagues to ensure Bill C-211 is strengthened where necessary and passed as quickly as possible, because with every minute, every hour, every day wasted, we are losing lives.

Over the course of the preparation for Bill C-211, I heard tragic stories from the men and women who have served our country proudly. Their stories were deeply personal and will sit with me for the rest of my life. I also had the honour of meeting with surviving friends and families of those who we lost in combat and those we lost here at home because we failed to live up to our responsibility in ensuring our soldiers are whole, that they are healthy, that they have every opportunity to integrate back into our communities and to provide for their families. I am going to say again that they are not healthy. There is tremendous stress placed upon our soldiers and their families when they are deployed, emotional, physical, and financial stress. We need to ensure that we provide every tool possible for our soldiers to be successful in their mission abroad and their mission here at home.

Taking away this tax credit from Canadians who have answered the world's call and are serving our country without hesitation is shameful. It flies against what we all stood together for here last night and against the message that this chamber delivered to all of the Canadians who were tuning in and to members of our armed forces, our brave men and women who put the uniform on every day to serve all of us and our families.”

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...not as risky as it was first thought. They are still at risk. They are still not at home with their families. They see the value going out the door. They see the money that is being spent overseas, yet it is not going toward helping to protect them and their families. That is shameful.”

Garnett Genuis (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e of danger pay is to recognize the added challenge, stress, and potential impact on them and their families associated with being in this kind of position. It is to recognize that and to properly com...”

Jean-Claude Poissant (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...porting our local producers.

If we all bite into an apple together, we will show all Canadian families that we—”

Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s of this House, know the importance that the uniform carries and the weight that it bears on their families, friends, and communities.

Every day men and women of our search and rescue community...”

Jean Rioux (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ional Defence, who has recognized the government’s responsibility to support the survivors, their families and the estates of those who died from the accidental explosion of a grenade at Valcartier ...”

Georgina Jolibois (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...irst nations and remain a dark chapter in Canada's history. Children were forcibly taken from their families and homes for the exact purpose of trying to wipe out their languages and their identities....”

Carolyn Bennett (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...t all Canadians can work together to advance the shared journey of reconciliation.

Survivors, families, and communities are still dealing with the intergenerational trauma resulting from Indian ...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... lowered taxes on the middle class. That is why we introduced the Canada child benefit, which helps families with children who need it the most. That is why we recognize we can have a sustainable envi...”

Brigitte Sansoucy (NDP)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ège des médecins du Québec have already expressed support for this. While this government waits, families are suffering to the point of ending the lives of their loved ones.

Will this governm...”

Rachael Harder (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue to make life unaffordable for Canadian families. With previous tax hikes that have taken place, it leaves us wondering, with the minister saying that everything is on the table, what is next for our Canadian families.

Stories are coming out every day with regard to potential tax hikes that we could be...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...about the wonderful work the government is doing to support middle-class Canadians and middle-class families.

It is this government that has put in place the Canada child benefit program that ha...”

Sherry Romanado (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...]

The government recognizes the hardships military life places on those in uniform and on the families that support them. They say that when members serve, their families serves along with them. I could not agree more. We want to give them the compensation and benefits that reflect the demands placed on them by their service.

The military is staffed with talented, passionate, and driven people. Those who put on a uniform do it because they want to serve their country. It is not a job; it is a calling. [Translation]

The amount of money soldiers receive is commensurate with their skills, education, and training, not to mention the fact that they put their lives at risk. Technicians and experts need special training to do their work. In the civilian world, such specialized training would result in a higher salary. The same is true in the military. Men in women in uniform must also be compensated for the additional costs imposed on them by military service.

Every member of a military family will say that moving to a new home every few years is part of their life. Moving is a difficult and expensive process for everyone. Frequent moves are a particular burden that members of the armed forces have to deal with. They are hard on soldiers and their families. We want to help them to be able to better manage these difficulties. The government tries to offset the financial burden that comes with moving from one city to another, such as the loss of capital from selling a house, the real costs of moving and any associated costs, such as travel and meals.

Through the Canadian Forces integrated relocation program, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and airwomen in Canada receive more benefits to help cover the cost of their relocation. The relocation also takes into account the variations in the cost of living in the country. A dollar in Vancouver does not get you as far as a dollar in Gagetown does.

The location of the assignment should not affect the soldiers' quality of life. That is why we provide Canadian Armed Forces members a cost-of-living adjustment to ensure that they can make the most of their hard-earned pay. (1520) [English]

The last thing Canadians want is to have those who serve proudly in our military pay extra because of their sacrifice. Canadians care about the Canadian Armed Forces. We do too. That is why we provide them with world-class compensation and benefits when they are in service, but we do not stop taking care of them when they leave. [Translation]

For many veterans, serving in the forces was their one and only career. Leaving the Canadian Armed Forces and making the move to civilian life can be difficult. The government and its partners offer several transition programs to help members be successful in civilian life. We want them to find new careers that make the most of their work ethic and dedication. The second career assistance network program is the main program offered by the Department of National Defence to help our men and women in uniform prepare to find a civilian job.

The program helps them prepare for job searching, determine the professional path that is best for them, and map out their long-term professional goals.

The government's relationship with private partners opens even more doors. Private programs such as the transition assistance website links soldiers with partners in the business community who want to help.

The helmets to hardhats program helps veterans find work in the construction industry with the help of labour unions. Operation entrepreneur provides training, funding, and mentorship to soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen leaving the armed forces and helps them start a small business.[English]

Transitioning to civilian life is challenging enough. It is even harder when a member is ill or injured. We want members to have fulfilling lives and careers after their service, where their injuries do not hold them back.

Taking off the uniform is not always an easy decision for Canadian Armed Forces members or their families, so the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence are working together to close the seam to ensure a smooth transition for members and their families.

In addition, the vocational rehabilitation program prepares Canadian Armed Forces pe...”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ry family. I wonder if she could comment on what she might perceive some of the effects would be on families when decisions like this become all of a sudden thrown in their laps.”

John McKay (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s a member of the Canadian Postal Corps, ensuring deployed personnel could keep in touch with their families back home.

The Canadian military has a proud history, one that we all should take som...”

Dean Allison (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...they were going to lose a tax benefit, which provided $1,500 to $1,800 per month for them and their families, saving more than $9,000 each over the course of a six-month tour.

If that was not enough, the Liberals went ahead and cancelled the benefit for all Canadian troops in Kuwait as of June 1 of this year. This was done, according to the Liberals, because it is not dangerous enough for our troops to receive this benefit while they are stationed in Kuwait and fighting ISIS in Iraq. I have to repeat this for everyone to really hear it, because it is so stunning. The Liberals ended a $1,500 to $1,800 per month tax benefit, essentially danger pay, for all Canadian troops serving in Kuwait and fighting ISIS.

Removing danger pay does not seem wise when the Minister of National Defence's own parliamentary secretary admitted that “...it is true that our soldiers will be at greater risk”. This refers to the Liberal's decision of February 2016 to put more troops on the ground in the fight against ISIS. More troops on the ground means greater risk. This was acknowledged by the Minister of National Defence who said, “Our people will be in close proximity to the dangers inherent in the region”. Now we are seeing the defence minister take away danger pay for our soldiers serving and fighting in that very area.

One of our Armed Forces members serving in Kuwait said that he believes that the Canadians are the only ones who will not be getting this tax break. When I first read this I thought that I had not read the report correctly. However, to my shock, I found out that it was indeed true. I could not understand why the Liberals would do this. To serve as a comparison, the United States provides tax exemption status to its fighters that are fighting ISIS. It is no surprise that one of our soldiers said that it felt like “we got kicked in the stomach”.

Do the Liberal government, the Liberal defence minister, and the Liberal members of Parliament want our troops in Kuwait to feel like they got kicked in the stomach by their own government who sent them into harm's way to flight a murderous, genocidal enemy? Right now, that is exactly the way it feels. (1545)

We can also listen to Glenda Lindsay, the mother of one of our affected soldiers, who said that she feels as though her son is being cheated. She said, “They're cutting corners at the troops' expense”. Ms. Lindsay has also started an online petition to help rectify this major error on the part of the Liberals. Petition e-882 calls upon the Government of Canada to immediately reinstate and retroactively pay back the tax relief measures for all troops deployed in Operation Impact. I encourage all Canadians watching and listening today to go online and sign their name in support.

Let us face it. As we are sitting here discussing and debating, those soldiers are fighting for our very right to do so. They are defending our right to have this debate in an open, tolerant, accepting society. Our troops will be fighting an enemy that hates these very values and is willing to die to destroy that throughout the world. What do our soldiers get for fighting this enemy? A well-earned and much-deserved tax benefit of $1,500 to $1,800 per month was taken away, just like that. This makes no sense. There is simply no logic to explain why the Liberals are doing this.

Our men and women in uniform volunteer to serve their country against all sorts of threats, in all sorts of dangerous environments, and it is difficult to think of a more dangerous mission than the one now being fought against ISIS. Members of our Armed Forces leave their wives, husbands, boyfriends, or girlfriends to travel abroad to perform extremely dangerous work and put themselves at risk in service to our country. They often miss their children's birthdays, their own wedding anniversaries, and their kids' graduations. Family members of those deployed to Camp Arifjan reached out to MPs to express concern and in search of explanations. They said this treatment of our service men and women is embarrassing. Why would the Liberals even consider taking a tax break away from any of our troops, especially those fighting ISIS?

What also shocked me is that the Liberals have known for months that the Canadian Armed Forces members deployed against ISIS have not been adequately compensated for the hardship and risks associated with their deployment. To be clear, the decision to take away this tax credit was made after the troops had agreed to deploy. What this means is that the Liberals have cheated our troops and their families out of hard-earned money, money that our troops and their families expect, count on; and to be very clear, it is money our troops and their families deserve.

If all of this money is being borrowed on the backs of our future generations, why are the Liberals penny-pinching when it comes to our men and women in uniform? Just yesterday the Liberals decided to spend another $650 million in other countries, but they away tax benefits from our soldiers fighting ISIS. I am not sure I can quite understand the logic of that. Do our soldiers need to transfer and serve in the armed forces of other countries to be properly compensated? I do not think that would be the case.

When I first read the reports of our troops losing this tax benefit, I thought it was definitely bad news and something I could not support. To make matters worse, when we brought it up in the House, the Liberals decided that the best solution to this issue was not to restore the benefits but to revoke them for all our troops fighting ISIS. I thought to myself, what about my son Andrew? As I mentioned earlier, he joined the reserves and has been training. What if he had been in Kuwait and he had lost his danger pay because the government did not think it was dangerous enough to fight ISIS? How would all of us in this place think if it were our sons or daughters who were serving? What would we want our government to do if we were in the same position?

When we were in government, a similar issue came up in relation to our troops in Afghanistan. What we did as a government was very different from what the Liberals are doing. We cut through the bureaucratic red tape, and made sure our troops got the support they deserved. We did the right thing for our men and women, and although we are no longer in power, we will continue to do right by our men and women in uniform. We ask the other side of the House to join us.

We have been listening to the families of those affected. We have raised the issue on multiple occasions. The Prime Minister and his Liberal MPs have no excuse. At this time, the Prime Minister has plans to deploy more troops to dangerous missions in Africa. It is very clear that he is interested in winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The Prime Minister and his Liberal MPs should not be penny-pinching when it comes to our troops.

Let me end with family members of deployed soldiers at Camp Arifjan, who said in correspondence with their MPs that this is a country worth working for, worth continuing to strengthen and build and worth sacrifice; to have someone pass a policy that impacts their family in such an essential manner without taking into consideration the implications on the families who readily sacrifice is shocking and disconcerting.

We call upon the government to f...”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nly occurred after the troops were already deployed, and without any notice.

Immediately, the families of these soldiers began reacting, reaching out to their members of Parliament to express their frustration and dismay that this promised benefit was taken away without any justification for doing so. These families were counting on this benefit to help support them while their spouses were far away from home, serving their country.

In my youth, which was just a few years ago, I was one of these family members, which is why this issue resonates deeply with me, but I will touch more on that later.

Once this matter was raised by Conservative members of Parliament, we took action. We listened to the concerns of the troops' families and committed to standing up for them and to representing them in a way the Liberals refused to do.

In November 2016, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman sent a letter to the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Finance asking that they look into the issue and ensure that all troops deployed on Operation Impact received equitable benefits.

A few days after this, he raised the issue directly with the CDS at his appearance at the Standing Committee on National Defence. The following month, he raised the issue again with the Minister of Defence at the same committee. The minister responded along the following lines:

For the specific ones that you're talking about, there is some work that the military has to do with Treasury Board as well, but we are working through the complexities based on how this is done to make sure there is more equity for our troops when it comes to deployments.

Finally, in January 2017, the departmental hardship and risk committee announced to the troops that in its December 2016 quarterly meeting it was determined that all tax relief measures to CAF members deployed to Kuwait under Operation Impact would be cancelled and that this change would take effect on June 1, 2017, to allow members and their families to adjust to the decision.

This is absolutely unconscionable. These brave men and women were being given this tax relief because they are putting their lives on the line to serve their country every day. Instead of doing the right thing, which would have been to reinstate the tax benefit after the initial 15 troops lost it back in September 2016, the Liberals have decided to end it all together.

When Canadian troops are deployed, there is an inherent risk associated with that. These risks can mostly be broken up into two parts. The first part deals with what we, and most Canadians, traditionally see as the dangers of being in a combat zone, such as the risk of coming under enemy attack. This is not just a concern for the front line. It affects all troops who are deployed, as they could potentially become soft targets for attacks, including mortars and suicide bombers.

As an example, when our Canadian Forces were deployed to Afghanistan, the high-risk area was deemed to be Kandahar, while Kabul was considered less dangerous. In Kabul, our troops would regularly leave their compound in order to go to the military hospital in Kabul. They would work there during the day and return to their compound at night. My brother, when he was performing these duties, fortunately had no incidents while he and our troops were there. However, as many members likely know, there was an attack on that very same hospital just two days ago, where an ISIS bomber and others dressed up as doctors in white clinic jackets entered and shot and killed 38 people and rising, and wounding many more.

That is just one type of risk that our men and women in uniform have to consider when they are volunteering to deploy. Other risks include environmental risks and diseases. Kuwait is a hot climate and there are diseases that exist there that we are fortunate not to have to worry about here in Canada, such as malaria. (1600)

The drugs used to protect our troops against malaria can have major side effects, as well. Our soldiers need to be protected, but they also need to feel as though their country understands and appreciates the risks that they are taking to serve. By taking away measures that provide tax relief for them and their families, we are doing the exact opposite of recognizing the sacrifices they have made.

I would like to acknowledge that while these troops are deployed, their quality of life changes dramatically. My father was a major general in the Canadian Army, and there were years when my entire family spent time following him around the world to his various postings. I recall that when we lived in Pakistan, the temperature was often so hot that it felt like going out into a blast furnace every time we stepped out of the air-conditioned building.

Our soldiers are expected to be able to work long hours in these conditions, often carrying equipment and gear such 40-pound rucksacks, sometimes seven days a week, for weeks on end, with limited time off. They deserve to be compensated for this, and I cannot understand how the Liberals do not recognize that.

One important aspect that needs to be considered in all of this is the effect that the removal of this tax benefit will have on the families of our troops. When my father was deployed to Cyprus in 1966, my family faced a number of challenges while he was gone. My mother had to step into the role of both parents, and as a child l keenly felt my father's absence. He was not around to help me with my schooling, to watch me play the sports I was so passionate about, or to teach me those day-to-day life lessons that are only available when someone is there, physically, in front of us.

After my father and mother passed away, I came across some of the letters that he wrote to her during his deployments. In them, he expressed his concerns about being away, and he expressed how he was trying his best to figure out how he could help with raising their four children while he was not around. He would indicate the friends and colleagues my mother could contact for help where possible.

One of the issues he brought up was finances. It is something that every household has to deal with, but it becomes infinitely more difficult when one parent is away and often unreachable. I strongly feel that anything that can be done to help our soldiers and their families ease the burden of deployment should absolutely be done. It is shocking that the Liberals do not seem to feel the same way.

One of the roles that I am honoured to hold in Ottawa is that of vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. We regularly hear from veterans of the Canadian Forces who have been deployed to high-risk areas such as Kuwait. One of the recurring things that we have been told is that when it comes to dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a huge level of distrust. Countless veterans have expressed their frustrations surrounding promises that have been made and broken by the federal government, time and time again. They are tired of hearing platitudes being dispensed by ministers when there is little or nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

Some veterans who struggle with PTSD are even triggered by receiving an envelope in the mail from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is called “brown envelope syndrome” and it is real. (1605)

When the government makes decisions unilaterally and without warning, such as ending this tax benefit, it shows our Canadian Forces members that there is reason to distrust those who are meant to be helping them.

The ending of this tax relief measure for our troops could have been easily resolved back in September 2016. The Liberals could have recognized the error and reversed the decision that took away the benefit for the 15 troops in Kuwait, troops who were already deployed when this decision was made. Instead, they chose to end the tax relief measure for all troops stationed in Kuwait.

The risk in Kuwait is still real. On Canada's travel website, travellers are warned "you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorism." I cannot comprehend how the government can say this, and still deny that our soldiers are at risk due to these same factors.

In making the decision to cut this benefit after the troops were already deployed, the Liberals have cheated our soldiers and their families out of hard-earned money that they expected, counted on, and deserve.

In conclusion, ...”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“..., that is true I was an army brat. I did not spend a lot of my time on the bases, as many soldiers' families do, but I was fortunate enough to see a lot of the world and I have benefited immensely fro...”

Robert Kitchen (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... they had committed to deploy and were in theatre. That has a huge effect on the soldiers and their families when all of a sudden they are being told that now it is being taken away from them. That tr...”

Cathay Wagantall (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... this tax benefit was made after the troops had agreed to deploy, adding additional stress to their families back home and causing deep frustration for these soldiers while deployed.

The Minister and many Liberals rising to speak today are doing doublespeak when they claim the troops were deployed without benefits.

On record, the minister tabled a response to an Order Paper question on January 30, in which he stated, “All Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving at all Operation IMPACT Kuwait locations received Tax Relief effective 5 Oct 2014...to 1 Sep 2016”.

In February 2016, the Liberal government made changes to Operation Impact that clearly made the mission more dangerous. It withdrew our six CF-18s, and increased the number of troops on the ground.

The minister stated the following in the House of Commons on February 17, 2016, “Our people will be in close proximity to the dangers inherent in the region. There may be times when they will have to defend themselves, their coalition partners, or the forces they are mentoring.” However, his department decided they did not deserve this risk tax benefit.

Since September, families and the soldiers who have been deployed have been reaching out. Our official opposition critic, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, has responded with a letter calling upon the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Finance to rectify this unfair decision. He raised the issue directly with General Vance and again with the minister himself at the Standing Committee on National Defence.

Ultimately what is the outcome our soldiers are facing, and why did we feel this motion needed to come before the House?

The departmental hardship and risk committee, in its December 2016 quarterly meeting, announced to the troops, not the public, that all tax relief measures to CAF members deployed to Kuwait under Operation Impact would be cancelled as of June 1, 2017, to allow members and their families to adjust to the decision. That sounds like it is full of mercy, but clearly that would not be the case for most families in this circumstance.

This is so in line with the fears and concerns raised with me by veterans in my riding of Yorkton—Melville when they recalled the frightening decade of darkness under the previous Liberal government. Knowing the tax-and-spend ideology of the Liberals, they were afraid that if the they were to form government, they would again fund their extravagance on the backs of everyday Canadians, and our Canadian Armed Forces specifically.

Here we are, looking at my grandchildren reaching the ages of 33 to 45 before the government will supposedly bring in a balanced budget while also bearing a $1.5 trillion debt.

The supposed infrastructure stimulus has yet to have any impact on the Canadian economy. The lowering of taxes for the middle class, while raising taxes on the wealthiest 1%, has failed in two ways. It is costing Canadians $1 billion annually because it is not revenue neutral, as the Liberals had promised in their campaign. The government has removed tax credits and increased taxes on those who can least afford it, effectively penalizing Canadians to lower take-home pay, with no hope of reaching that non-defined Liberal middle-class marker.

Entrepreneurs, our economy builders, along with every household in the country, are being burdened with a carbon tax that increases the costs of absolutely everything, and that will also not be federally neutral.

Significant volumes of Canadian taxpayer dollars are being spent outside of our country by the government to build the Prime Minister's good will with the United Nations. On top of that, as of yesterday's announcement, it is making an ideological shift in the reorientation of Canada's foreign aid strategy, committing $650 million on sexual and reproductive health rights worldwide (1645)

In plain speak, this means the Liberals are intending to legally challenge 125 countries worldwide, mostly in Africa, Latin America, Southern Asia, and the Middle East, where abortion is illegal, where women, their cultures, and the governments do not want it to be part of their maternal health plans. The government will be funding advocacy groups that will work to remove judicial and legal barriers, including the anti-abortion laws in many of these countries.

Perhaps it is time for big brother to come home and to start to focus on the needs of Canadians. If going into a spiralling debt is valid by spending the hard-earned money of Canadians overseas, where is the funding that is needed for 132 drinking water advisories in 89 first nations, and for even more advisories in rural communities in Canada? Where is the funding that returns growth to our small businesses and dependable jobs for our youth, rather than leaving them hanging with no hope but to job churn into the debt-laden never land? Where is the funding for procurement so our armed forces on land, air, and sea can protect our sovereignty and democracy long into the future, rather than reducing their capabilities and losing the deep respect our allies have for our willingness to fulfill our obligations to combat terrorism around the world?

I am glad the motion has the support of all parties in the House. However, as has been said, motions are only carried so far, that it requires more after that. Therefore, I am glad to hear we are all in agreement that this is something we need to do.

However, our armed forces need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when they deploy to train, protect, and fight on our behalf on dangerous combat fields, we have their backs and will not demoralize them or their families by not providing the danger pay and tax benefits they deserve. Canadians want them properly...”

Cathay Wagantall (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... these people were putting everything on the front lines and putting everything at stake with their families for us. That is why this circumstance needs to be rectified, and it needs to be rectified n...”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ds.

These people expect to be treated properly, particularly when they put their lives, their families’ health and their relatives’ health in danger simply by being in danger zones.

The decision to eliminate this tax exemption, which may be worth almost $10,000 for a six-month period, is making soldiers angry, as well as putting their families in danger. Their families sometimes have trouble making ends meet when their breadwinner is away from Canada for six or nine or even 12 months, in some cases, not to mention the problems associated with distance and worry. (1700)

The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces leave their families voluntarily. They travel abroad to do a dangerous job and they expose themselves to risks. ...”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... mistake in 2019. That is the only answer I have for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development for Housing and Urban Affairs.

What I want to say is...”

Adam Vaughan (Liberal)

March 9th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...find themselves in harm's way on peace missions, wherever they are deployed to make sure that their families are taken care of, that the reward for their sacrifice to this country is properly acknowledged.

There are systems in place to measure and to distribute this income to these families and to deliver the salaries and from time to time they need to be modernized and revised, especially in a world where conditions can change on what looks like a rescue mission that suddenly can become a civil war that suddenly becomes something even more catastrophic than that.

We have to redesign and rethink sometimes the policies that provide compensation to members of our armed forces. This is clearly the situation we find ourselves in now. This policy has existed since 2003. It is largely administered and assessed by an ongoing process inside the Canadian Armed Forces. When we discovered what had happened, we took steps to rectify the situation and made a commitment to the House and we will follow through on that commitment because we have the responsibility to do that not just as a government, but as parliamentarians.

We have challenges and those challenges need to escape the prism of partisan politics sometimes, although we have our fun across the floor, and we need to understand that this commitment to families is a sacred one, just as our commitment to veterans is a sacred one. We can all up our game...”

Alaina Lockhart (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rs to wear their ribbons next week to affirm their commitment to keeping all Canadian farmers, farm families, and farm workers free from injury.”

Judy A. Sgro (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... has become one of the largest building trade unions, with some 150,000 Canadian members. These are families who contribute to Canada by working each day to build something we can all be proud of.

...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... our system of bail to do justice in this country. It is important that we keep our communities and families safe. It is important that we protect victims. It is important as well that we uphold the C...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... have moved forward on many different measures that will put more money in the pockets of women and families, and by making sure that our most vulnerable seniors, two-thirds of whom are women, will be...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...alities create the opportunities and growth that they would like to create; and working better with families with children through the Canada child benefit. When it comes to the member's question, the...”

Georgina Jolibois (NDP)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls feel they are being left in the dark when in fact they should be properly informed and involved in every step of the inquiry. Worse, northern families do not have access to proper information due to unreliable Internet and other crucial services.

How will the Prime Minister ensure the commitments made to all indigenous families affected by these tragedies are involved and feel like true progress is being made?”

Cathy McLeod (Conservative)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...d phoning my office every day. They simply want to know who is responsible for these facilities. If families and patients have complaints, they are lost in an accountability fog. Either the government...”

Jane Philpott (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...nd reproductive rights.

Access to birth control is of fundamental importance to the women and families of Canada, to be able to control their bodies, to be able to control their reproductive rig...”

Jean-Yves Duclos (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ional housing strategy that will have a significant impact on the living conditions of our Canadian families, especially those who are most vulnerable.”

Marc Serré (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... petition concerning the unreliable land-line service and the impact this has had on the community, families, and businesses in the area. It is unacceptable in 2017 that residents in Canada do not hav...”

Ted Falk (Conservative)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rstood that our ultimate responsibility was to protect Canadians from those who would do us and our families harm.

Providing law enforcement and national security agencies the necessary tools to...”

John Nater (Conservative)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...y precise area, and that is being a long-time Liberal? He comes from one of the most famous Liberal families in Ontario.

Mr. John Barlow: Infamous.

Mr. John Nater: I would not say “infam...”

Brigitte Sansoucy (NDP)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“Madam Speaker, on November 15, I asked the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development if the Liberal majority would support Bill C-245, which I introduced in the House to develop a poverty reduction strategy. The bill responded in every respect to the mandate letter that the minister received from the Prime Minister.

The minister told me that the government was in the process of creating a poverty reduction strategy in Canada. What we did not realize is that the Liberals were going to vote against Bill C-245, shutting down what could have been a real policy to fight poverty, one that would help us avoid delays and improve quality of life for the less fortunate in our society more swiftly.

In that question, I also talked about the report from Canada's food banks. They had just tabled their report stating that one million people in Canada needed to use food banks. The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities is currently studying poverty. The study began in September and will wrap up in June. Representatives from Canada's food banks came to committee and told us that they would like to see a poverty reduction strategy by October 2017.

With the protracted consultations, I am not sure we will meet that deadline. However, adopting Bill C-245 would have made it easier. When we say one million people in Canada, we are talking about one in eight families. That is a lot of people who often have to choose between eating or paying rent.

As part of this study on poverty, we went to Medicine Hat, in Alberta. Two directors of a food bank told us that they were working every day to ensure that one day their food bank would not be needed. We all want a society where we no longer need food banks to feed families.

We will also remember that Statistics Canada just told us that the two richest men a...”

Adam Vaughan (Liberal)

March 8th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...s government is committed to reducing poverty and improving the economic well-being of all Canadian families so they can have a real chance to succeed. Our government is working on its first-ever Canadian poverty reduction strategy. The strategy will provide alignment with, and add to, the initiatives this government has already launched in the last budget and the strategies that already exist at both the provincial and municipal levels, as well as within our first nations communities and governments.

As part of the Canadian poverty reduction strategy, we launched two important initiatives that will support this development. These include a national consultation process and the implementation of an advisory committee on poverty. Through the consultation process, Canadians have the chance to share their opinions and their suggestions for more effectively tackling poverty. They can do this through an online consultation, which also includes discussion forums.

We are also holding in-person round tables with businesses, community organizations, academic experts, and, most important, Canadians with a lived experience who have come through or championed themselves as they succeed despite the poverty they may have endured.

We will also collaborate with indigenous organizations to ensure that the voices of first nations, Inuit, and Métis people are heard through this process.

For the advisory committee on poverty, I invite all Canadians with experience in poverty and with poverty reduction strategies to share their views and apply online at Canada.ca to take part in the selection process. This committee will help identify the best ideas resulting from the public consultations and will also provide expertise and independent advice to the minister.

There is more. Our government has also launched the tackling poverty together project that was done earlier this year in Saint John, New Brunswick. This is an important research project that is currently under way. It is dedicated to understanding poverty and identifying what can be done to lift Canadians out of poverty from coast to coast to coast. The results from the project, which will also involve case studies in six distinct communities across Canada, will help us better understand the impact that poverty is having and opportunities for poverty reduction programs in different communities that have identified poverty as an important issue.

Furthermore, our colleague knows that we have already announced important measures, for example, in budget 2016, that will reduce poverty among children, seniors, indigenous peoples, and all Canadians in need.

These measures are not limited to, but include the following: increasing the guaranteed income supplement with a top-up of almost $947 annual for the lowest-income single seniors, most of whom are women; cancelling the Conservative increase in the age of eligibility for OAS, changing it from 67 back to 65, again helping hundreds of thousands of Canadians; introducing the tax-free Canada child benefit, which is better targeted to those who need it most, low- and middle-income families and, most important, poor families across this country, to prevent them from falling into poverty. We have also doubled the in...”

Alexandre Boulerice (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nd equitable tax environment that works well for our workers, those less fortunate, and the poorest families in our country.

Let us put things in context. We live in a society where every year w...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... rate since 2014.

Since the Canada child benefit was introduced in July 2016, nine out of ten families are now receiving more money than they did under the previous system, or nearly $2,300 more on average in 2016-17. Parents with children under 18 will receive annually up to $6,400 more per child under age 6 and $5,400 more per child aged 6 to 17.

Whether these additional funds are used for things like buying school supplies, covering part of the family grocery bill, or buying warm coats for winter, the Canada child benefit helps parents cover the high cost of raising their children. (1045) [English]

As announced in budget 2016, the government is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the federal tax expenditures. It is doing so in recognition of concerns that have been expressed regarding the efficiency, fairness, and complexity of the tax system. The objective of this review is to ensure that federal tax expenditures are fair for Canadians, efficient, and fiscally responsible for all. External experts have been engaged to provide advice to the Department of Finance. This approach ensures the review is informed by a range of perspectives.

I can assure all hon. members that the government remains committed to ensuring federal tax expenditures are doing what they are meant to do and that they are doing it to help middle-class Canadians. In addition, the government is committed to strengthening efforts to combat international tax evasion and avoidance, and we have taken, and will continue to take, this important step and actions to do so.

These efforts help protect the revenues base and give Canadians greater confidence that the system is fair for everyone. Canadians work hard for their money, and the majority of Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. However, some wealthy individuals participate in complex tax schemes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This is unacceptable, and it needs to change.

The Government of Canada is working hard to crack down on offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance in order to ensure a tax system that is fair and responsive for all Canadians. In budget 2016, we invested $444 million over five years for the Canada Revenue Agency, better known as the CRA, to crack down on international tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.

These investments by the government are enabling the CRA to hire additional auditors, develop robust business intelligence infrastructure, increase verification activities, and improve the quality of its investigative work. These new investments to support the CRA's effort to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance are expected to generate around $2.6 billion in taxes over the next five years.

In April 2016, the offshore compliance advisory committee was created to advise the Minister of National Revenue and the CRA on strategies to combat offshore tax evasion and avoidance. However, we also recognize that assessing tax revenues alone is not enough. Once we do an assessment, we need to be able to collect the unpaid amounts. That is why budget 2016 invests an additional $351.6 million over five years to improve CRA's ability to collect these outstanding tax debts.

Canada has been a very active participant in international efforts to address tax evasion. Canada is an active member of the Global Forum which was established to ensure that high standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes are in place around the world. Canada has developed an extensive network of bilateral tax treaties and tax information exchange agreements which provide for the exchange of information that could be extremely critical in investigation processes.

Another international development with regard to addressing tax evasion is the new common reporting standard developed by the OECD and endorsed by the G20 leaders. The standard provides a framework under which information on financial accounts in a country held by non-residents will be automatically shared with tax authorities of the jurisdiction in which the account holder is a resident. Legislation has now been adopted to implement the common reporting standard in Canada, starting July 1, 2017, joining more than 100 other countries.

With our partners in the G20 and the OECD, Canada has been an active participant in the multilateral project to address base erosion and profit shifting, BEPS. BEPS refers to aggressive international tax-planning arrangements undertaken by some multinational enterprises to inappropriately minimize their taxes. Budget 2016 announced a series of actions Canada is taking to implement recommendations from the BEPS project. (1050)

First, Canada has enacted new legislation to require country-by-country reporting for large multinational enterprises. Second, the CRA is applying revised international guidance on transfer pricing. Third, we participated in international work that developed a multilateral instrument to streamline the implementation of treaty-related BEPS recommendations, including addressing treaty abuse. Finally, the CRA is undertaking a spontaneous exchange with other jurisdictions of certain tax rulings.

Going forward, the government will continue to work with the international community to ensure a coherent and consistent response to the BEPS. The government is also taking action in other areas to protect the integrity of Canada's international tax rules. In particular, budget 2016 introduced measures to extend the application of the income tax back-to-back loan rule to royalty arrangements, and to prevent unintended tax-free cross-border distributions of capital to non-residents.

The government has also agreed to strong standards in support of corporate transparency in both the Financial Action Task Force and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

I would like to point out that the proceeds of crime—also known as money laundering—and terrorist financing regulations include requirements for the collection of information on beneficial owners of corporations. Furthermore, the government recently took action to enhance corporate transparency by prohibiting the use of bearer shares.[Translation]

I would now like to draw attention to some of the government's investments that provide a great many Canadians with more equitable opportunities for success.

Last June, the government reached a historic agreement with the provincial governments to improve the Canada pension plan. This agreement followed a review conducted by the Department of Finance to determine whether families approaching retirement were adequately prepared for retirement.

Finance department officials found that around one in four families approaching retirement, namely 1.1 million families, may not save enough to maintain their current standard of living. This is very troubling. Middle-income families are the most at risk. Families with no workplace pension plans are at an even greater risk of not saving enough for retirement. In fact, a third of those families are at risk.

The government is aware of the need to help Canadians invest more. Armed with a higher level of savings, they would be able to more confidently envision their future and their ability to enjoy their retirement years with dignity.

Our government is particularly concerned about the situation of young Canadians, who are likely to be more exposed to market risks and, in most cases, will live longer than previous generations. Young people are faced with the challenge of trying to save enough money for retirement at a time when fewer of them can expect jobs that come with a workplace pension plan.

In short, the actions that our government has taken reflect our commitment to helping the middle class and those working very hard to join it.

In this context, the government firmly believes that the best way to increase prosperity for more Canadians is to invest in today's economy. This is why the government has made targeted investments totalling $50.2 billion over six years as part of budget 2016. These investments will ensure stronger growth right now and increase the long-term growth potential of the Canadian economy.

We have forged ahead in the knowledge that when Canadians achieve their full potential they can build a better life for themselves, their families, and entire communities. In doing so, they are building a better and stronger Canada for current and future generations. (1055) [English]

As Canada's population ages, our prosperity will increasingly depend on young Canadians getting the education and training they need to prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That is why, in budget 2016, we increased the Canada student grant amounts for students from low- and middle-income families, as well as part-time students. As a result, more than 360,000 students across Canada will ...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...usands of children out of poverty, and it has made a clear difference in the lives of many Canadian families.

When it comes to our seniors, we have made again some significant investments to hel...”

Dan Albas (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...tion by making it more difficult to start and run a business. We know that high taxes hurt Canadian families that are trying to build a brighter future for their children.

If we want to stop driving families and businesses out of this great country, we need to start by lowering taxes to make Canada...”

Ziad Aboultaif (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...dit, which were cancelled by the current government, were only trying to do what was best for their families. They used the deductions allowed them by law. I can only conclude that the hon. member who...”

Gord Johns (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t fairness for taxpayers. This is a lot of money that could be going to supporting our children and families, a national child care plan, a pharmacare plan, protection of the environment, retooling ou...”

Francesco Sorbara (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...

Also with budget 2016, we put more money directly into the pockets of low- and middle-income families through the Canada child benefit, a more generous, tax-free, and better targeted benefit that is lifting hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. The CCB is giving nine out of 10 families with children more money every month to spend on everything from school supplies, to school clothes, to sports equipment. Families benefiting have seen an average increase in child benefits of almost $2,300 during the 2016...”

Raj Grewal (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s a result, nearly nine million Canadians pay fewer taxes today.

In today's economy, Canadian families need all the help they can get. This is why we introduced the Canada child benefit, which is a real game changer. The Canada child benefit is making a real difference in the lives of Canadians and their families' budgets. Compared with the old system under the previous government, the Canada child benefit is simpler, fully tax-free, more generous, and better targeted to those who need it most. Because the government is no longer sending cheques to millionaires, nine out of 10 Canadian families are receiving more child benefits than they did under the previous government. Families benefiting saw an average increase of almost $2,300 per year. On a monthly basis, that is almost $190, on average, that families receive directly into their pockets. That is extra money to help Canadian families pay for school supplies, their children's education, and child care expenses.

Further...”

Tracey Ramsey (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...y riding of Essex. They would improve the quality of life and the affordability of life for so many families and individuals.

In the last election we talked a lot about the stock option deductio...”

Rachel Blaney (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...eaving most Canadians behind.

Seniors are making choices among heat, medication, and housing. Families cannot afford day care or even the toonie it takes to send their kids on school trips. It i...”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...n a generation; that is, bringing in the new Canada child benefit. The CCB is giving nine out of 10 families and their children more money every month to spend on everything from school supplies to sporting equipment. Families who benefit saw an average increase in child benefits of almost $2,300 in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The CCB has tremendously helped families in my riding of Brampton North. Raising a family in Canada can be challenging and the CCB has helped ease the financial burden for Brampton North families who need it most.

Our government is also taking important steps to make sure that Can...”

Ruby Sahota (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...er cent of earners in this country. In addition, the Canada child benefit has served nine out of 10 families in Canada; we have raised 300,000 children out of poverty. Many efforts are being made to c...”

Linda Lapointe (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nt social policy innovations in a generation: the new Canada child benefit, which is helping 10,300 families, with 18,870 children, in my riding. The benefit means that nine out of 10 families with children are receiving more money each month that they can spend on things ranging from school supplies to sports equipment

The families this measure helps have seen their child benefits rise by nearly $2,300 per year, for the 2...”

Linda Lapointe (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...pplementary expenditures in the ridings. As I mentioned in my speech, in my riding there are 10,300 families, including 18,870 children, who will benefit from this. That is equivalent to an average of...”

Daniel Blaikie (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ple go out to work every day and they pay their fair share of taxes. They are also looking at their families and noticing that as their parents and grandparents age, they need help with health services. The cost of drugs is high. Yet, we have heard successive Liberal and Conservative governments, no matter what they promise in their platforms, plead poverty. They claim not to have money for a national pharmacare program. They claim it is too expensive and ask where they would get the money. It is pretty hard to believe government, whether it be Conservative or Liberal, that we do not have the money, when we see the amount of money that is bleeding out of the Canadian economy every year because people who make obscene amounts of money do not want to pay their fair share of taxes.

It is hard to believe that we do not really have the money. The problem is that the Liberals and Conservatives would have to stand up to their friends in order to get it. Canadians deserve a government that is willing to stand up to corporate Canada and say, “You are here making money in Canada. You have to pay your fair share.” Companies are making money in Canada and they are making that money because Canadians go to work every day and produce value for those companies. Government should stand up and tell them to pay their fair share so that when a mother gets sick and needs a certain prescription drug regimen, she can afford it. When Canadians are going out to work to produce that value for those companies, the companies should chip in their fair share so that their workers can have proper child care so that their kids have a safe place to be during the day. The workers are producing value for the people and companies that cannot be bothered to pay their fair share in taxes but instead think that sending their money to Barbados is an acceptable way to conduct themselves.

This issue is one of the main drivers for my participating in politics. I look at the old line parties, be they Liberal or Conservative, and the way they fold when powerful, rich folks come to Ottawa to tell them what to do, and I think it is disgusting. Canadians deserve better.

As an example, we thought that maybe the Liberal Party was about to kick its old habit of kowtowing to the rich and powerful in Canada in the last election when the Liberals agreed to close the stock hold loophole for CEOs. It is in black and white in the Liberals' platform. That was a promise. Nothing changed from before the election to after the election, except that the Liberals were elected. They knew they had four years in government and they did not have to keep their promises to Canadians. That was their attitude. The only thing that changed was that they were elected. Then the Bay Street lobbyists came to Ottawa, and the evidence is in the lobbying registry, and spoke to their buddy the minister of high finance and said, “Mr. Minister, please, you can't do this. It is going to cost me so much money I am going to have to get the “B” class yacht instead of the “A” class yacht.”

Can the Liberals go to Canadian families and tell them there is not going to be a national pharmacare plan? Can they go to Canadian workers, the ones who are working for me, and tell them they cannot get reliable access to safe child care because people do not want to be embarrassed when they go down south for a month and their yacht is not the nicest on the dock? Imagine the nerve and the gall of what is being said in those private conversations and what is being asked of ordinary Canadians who not only need help but are working and paying their fair share for a system in this country that they want to deliver on the things they need, be it child care, be it a drug plan, be it investments in home care. (1335)

We have a government that is unwilling to go after tax cheats. It is giving them amnesty. Then the government is saying it does not have enough money for home care so the provinces are going to have to accept the Harper escalator on health care. If the provinces want just a little home care money that the government eked out for Canadians, which was an election promise that was to be flowed immediately, the government managed to find a little of that money but it is not going to give it to the provinces unless they sign on to the Harper escalator.

That is where politics has gone in this country under the Liberal government. It is using promises it made and money that should have been there, that the government promised would be there, to hold provinces hostage unless they accept less health care funding overall, funding which would have a direct benefit to Canadian working families. In the meantime, the government is instructing the CRA to give amnesty to the people who a...”

Shaun Chen (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...has since grown to 386 members who are part of Canada's largest organization for veterans and their families.

Not only do legion members support the brave men and women who serve our great count...”

Mark Eyking (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s question period, and I am sure they will be impressed.

When members of this House and their families come to visit our wonderful island of Cape Breton, I invite them to drop in to the Wagmatco...”

Murray Rankin (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...e now have the lowest vacancy rate in Canada and some of the highest rents and housing prices. Many families and seniors cannot find housing at all.

Victoria's economy is growing. We have a thriving high-tech sector, and young families are trying to build their careers and start families. We cannot let this housing divide hold our cities back. Our municipalities and provincial ...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e middle class, and that is exactly what we are doing. We are ensuring that nine out of 10 Canadian families do better with the new Canada child benefit, which is going to lift 300,000 kids out of poverty.

These are the kinds of measures we put forward, which are investing both in middle-class families and in their future through historic infrastructure investments. These are the promises we ...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s very important.

Thanks to our investments, we will be in a position to do more for Canadian families across the country. We now know that more jobs were created in the past six months than sin...”

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...in all that we do. That is why we cut taxes for the middle class. That is why we are giving more to families whose children have greater needs.

The Prime Minister has said many times that he wil...”

Don Davies (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...onal expense; yet the government's proposed framework fails to meet the needs of patients and their families. In fact, more than 30,000 Canadians have signed a petition to scrap the government's plan....”

Jane Philpott (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the impact that Lyme disease has on Canadians and their families. We had discussions at a conference to develop a federal framework on Lyme disease that was...”

Bill Morneau (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...se people who had been harmed by fixed-priced contracts could apply to get that money to help their families and help the drywall contractors.

We are proud to help the people of Fort McMurray in...”

Hélène Laverdière (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s that help homeless women have to turn people away because they do not have enough room. There are families with children who have to choose between paying rent and paying for groceries because the g...”

Joël Godin (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...now that high tax rates hurt Canadians who are trying to build a good life for themselves and their families.

I was singing the praises of the riding represented by my colleague from Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, but my riding, which has a shorter name, has its own vibrant economy. I am very proud to rise in the House to represent the 105,000 residents of my riding.

Thousands of people in my riding get up every morning and go to work. They work very hard, just like people all across this country. They need a little hope and a little help.

Tax rates also hurt businesses whether they are small, medium-sized or large, because they have to compete locally, nationally, and globally. Conservatives understand this and are committed to making sure that Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money for themselves.

The motion presented by the hon. member, the NDP finance critic, ignores the heavy burden placed on Canadians. That burden has been getting heavier since the Liberal government came to power.

The NDP cannot say it wants a Canadian economy that is good for all Canadians if it thinks the only battle worth fighting is the one against tax evasion. Vision is vital here. Fighting tax evasion on the one hand while bleeding taxpayers and businesses dry on the other is not good enough because it is not really tackling the problem.

We need to be more pragmatic. We need a balanced policy. We need to ensure that companies will want to set up shop here and that Canadians will see their dreams of starting their own business as achievable, that it is possible to start a business that will be viable and prosperous for the long term.

People have the right to make money here in Canada. That goes without saying. When people make money, it creates wealth and the government benefits from that. I hope this government will manage public funds better than it has done. Only then will we be able to provide social programs to everyone who needs them. (1635)

On the one hand, the government says that it cares about the well-being of the middle class. On the other hand, it did not keep its promise to lower taxes for the middle class. Day after day, this government breaks its election promises and misleads Canadians.

The Liberals promised to lower the corporate tax rate to 9.5%, but that has not happened. They promised a “modest” deficit of $10 billion. In my view, $10 billion is huge, but for the Liberals, that is modest. Plus, they said that we would return to a balanced budget by the next election, which will be in 2019. What are the forecasts? If nothing changes, that will not happen until 2055. In 2019, during the next election, Canadians should make the right choice. Everyone knows that we have hit a wall when it comes to public finances.

As for the NDP, it does not understand and does not see, or worse does not want to see, that tax evasion is just one part of the equation. The NDP supported not a single one of the tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises proposed by the previous government, that of Stephen Harper. The Harper government saw to creating a healthy fiscal environment for businesses thanks to its tax cuts which brought the general corporate income tax rate down from 22% to 15%. It lowered taxes for small businesses and created measures to attract businesses and make them more prosperous, which is the least we could expect, in my opinion.

When we acknowledge that small and medium-sized enterprises play a key role in our economy, it becomes clear that the government has to see to stimulating the creation of SMEs and to allowing them not only to survive, but to grow, create jobs, and contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of our great country.

Between 2006 and 2015, Stephen Harper's government lowered taxes 180 times. That is a fact. We brought taxes down to their lowest point in 50 years. That is what Canadians need.

Where are we today? Nearly two years later, the Liberal government is asking Canadians to tighten their belts even more. In budget 2016, the Liberal government rushed to eliminate the tax credits created by the Harper government to help Canadian families. That is not all. Who is going to pay off this massive debt? It is Canadian taxpayers, our ...”

Nathan Cullen (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...at at a time of high deficits and growing inequality between the richest Canadians and middle-class families this is a disproportionate benefit for the wealthy. What were the Liberals talking about? They were talking about this little tax loophole that costs the Canadian government $700 million a year in stock options. The Liberals also admitted in their election platforms in both 2011 and 2015 that this tax loophole overwhelmingly goes to the wealthiest Canadians. This is not about entrepreneurship and that go-getter attitude that we want to incentivize. That is not how this loophole is being used and that is what the NDP motion addresses today. We thought the Liberals were going to address this issue in their last budget. Why? Well, because they promised to address it. They said they would. They put a cap on tax avoiders who are aggressive with their taxes.

There seems to be a disturbing pattern with the Liberals. If one is well connected, if one is able to fork over $1,500 for a cocktail to rub elbows with the PM so to speak, if those individuals could be hosts at a private island then Liberal issues rise to the top. The finance minister has lobbied on this issue. Wealthy Canadians have asked him to please not take away this loophole because they love it, those wealthy Canadians who are able to forgo $400,000 a year on average in taxes. Not bad. I guess $1,500 for a ticket to a Liberal fundraiser is worth it if we did a quick cost benefit.

We also know, and we mentioned it in today's motion, that we want to aggressively get at the many tax evasions, the tax avoidances, that come under a number of rubrics, that Canada has become not famous for, but infamous for, that we saw in the Panama papers where the curtain was suddenly pulled back and all the international manipulation of tax regimes was exposed. What was Canada's role in that? What was our reputation? It is called snow washing, a new term we have come across. International accountants advise their international clients that if they do not want to pay taxes, they know that in Canada ownership of a company does not have to be declared but rather could go under a numbered account. If one does not live in Canada, then an individual can set up a company in Canada and declare its profits in another country. It is the perfect place if one wants to set up real action in Barbados, St. Kitts, or wherever it happens to be that income was actually declared because no tax will be paid on it. Canada's reputation just has to be used. These people and companies use the weak and vague laws that we have over corporate governance in this country to hide their money.

We saw this also in the KPMG scam, and there is no other word for it. Even Revenue Canada had the ability to call it what it was. For 13 years KPMG was advising its millionaire clients in Canada that if they wanted to pay taxes they could go ahead and do so, but if those millionaires did not want to pay taxes, they just had to cut KPMG a cheque and it would get their money to a little place called the Isle of Man. (1720)

The Isle of Man is famous for concerts and it is also famous for all the fake companies that get set up. Canadian millionaires hired KPMG to set up the scam. When it was finally uncovered and this was starting to unravel internationally, let us compare what happened in the U.S. to what happened here. The Senate called hearings. A half a billion dollar fine was put upon KPMG. It had to admit guilt. Three people were charged criminally and KPMG had to admit this was exactly what they did.

Let us flip it over to the Liberal-dominated committee here. For those who want to listen to the entire story, CBC's radio program, The Current, had this all playing out. It will drive people crazy, as it did my constituents. They wrote me to say that all they expected was basic fairness. When wealthy Canadians avoid paying their taxes, the rest of them, those who follow the rules, have to pick up the tab.

I will wager that every MP in the House has a horror story of some working-class Canadian, some middle-class Canadian, whom the Liberals are obsessed over, going through an interaction with the Canada Revenue Agency that ends very badly. Regardless of whether the person was in the right or in the wrong, the power of the CRA is incredible.

When this KPMG scam was exposed, no one denied it was going on. Hundreds of millions of dollars were being sent offshore and then gifted back to millionaire families. They are such generous people. They simply moved all their money to the Isle of Man, paid ...”

Luc Berthold (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ed an amendment to Bill S-201.

What we are discussing today is protecting Canadians and their families from discrimination based on genetics. Amending the Canada Labour Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act allows us as parliamentarians to do something and to achieve this objective.

In the previous Parliament, the Conservative government committed in its throne speech to adopt measures to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic testing, including in matters of employment and insurance. Various countries, including the members of the G7, have already adopted measures to prohibit any such discrimination. Unfortunately, Canada has not yet adopted this type of measure. Bill S-201 in its entirety, without the amendments proposed by the government party, seeks to bridge that gap.

We have some catching up to do, and Bill S-201 can help us do that. Some of my colleagues shared their concerns by providing concrete examples of discrimination and quoting various representatives, particularly representatives of groups that advocate for cancer patients and those suffering from other illnesses.

What is genetic discrimination? Why is it so important that we address this issue today? I would like to quote the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, which said:

Genetic discrimination occurs when people are treated unfairly because of actual or perceived differences in their genetic information that may cause or increase the risk to develop a disorder or disease.

We are not talking about someone with a disease, or someone who is suffering, or someone undergoing treatment. We are talking about someone who may have a gene that could eventually result in that person developing a disease.

The Coalition goes on to provide examples.

For example, a health insurer might refuse to give coverage to a woman who has a genetic difference that raises her odds of getting ovarian cancer. Employers also could use genetic information to decide whether to hire, promote or terminate workers.

This is all based on the results of a genetic test. The Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness also said:

The fear of discrimination can discourage individuals from making decisions and choices, which may be in their best interest. For example, a person may decide not to have a genetic test for fear of consequences to their career or the loss of insurance for their family, despite knowing that early detection and treatment could improve their health and longevity.

That is what the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness has said and how it describes the situation.

The concrete examples I just gave are, in my opinion, valid reasons for us as parliamentarians, in whom the voters have placed their trust, to pass legislation that protects them from all forms of discrimination. The voters expect us to act.

We do not want to stop progress. We want to see a continuation of the progress made possible by scientific research. We want to be able to treat more and more individuals thanks to the work of researchers. We want to discover the treatment for diseases faster. We want to know earlier and earlier who is predisposed to one day developing this or that disease. If we can help them prevent these diseases, all the better. (1735)

Indeed, genetic testing identifies those who are predisposed to developing some of these diseases.

That said, as a society, we cannot allow these discoveries to pave the way for discrimination. As I said a few moments ago, we heard from many who expressed their fears and serious concerns, and I must admit that I share their fears.

Some of my colleagues in the House spoke about the cases of individuals who were turned down for jobs or promotions based on the results of tests to determine whether or not they carried certain genes or whether they were predisposed to develop certain diseases. Testimony to that effect was heard in the Senate. Some of my colleagues here could tell horror stories like those. We cannot allow these discriminatory practices to occur.

If passed, Bill S-201 will give Canadians peace of mind, since it will give them the assurance that their genetic history will not be able to be used to determine the future well-being and security of their families.

If insurance companies use that history to refuse life insurance to an individual or his or her family members, we, as legislators, will have failed in our duty to ensure that none of our fellow citizens are discriminated against on this basis.

I am concerned about the Liberal government's plan to make major changes to the legislation that our Senate colleagues introduced and studied. The Liberal government seems to have changed its mind in recent weeks. I am very concerned. That is what I heard in the speech the member just gave. Given what is being reported in the media and the government's proposed amendments, it looks like the government is planning to gut Bill S-201, leaving just a shell. It will take away everything that could have given Canadians extra protection vis-à-vis genetic tests they have taken in the past or will take in the future.

In a piece published on March 2 in Le Devoir, we learned that the Minister of Justice spoke about having to go through the provinces to avoid any confrontation. There was mention of the Constitution and jurisdiction. When it is time to act to defend Canadians, I think it is a real shame that this measure, which was introduced by a government member in the House, is literally being gutted.

The government wants to lift the ban on insurance companies requiring the disclosure of past results of genetic testing. The Liberal government will have decided to let Canadians and their families down if the members from the government majority decide to support the proposed amendments....”

Don Davies (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... Coalition for Genetic Fairness, a diverse alliance of organizations that advocate on behalf of the families directly affected by genetic conditions, folks who are witnessing the disturbing prevalence...”

Pat Kelly (Conservative)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...e the answers that he would get, that he did not want to hear about first-time homebuyers and young families, or about the folly of imposing a uniform national policy on diverse regional markets?

<...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ss Canadians and those who are working so hard to join the middle class. This includes middle-class families' concerns over reduced housing affordability in some regions and taking on high levels of debt, reducing the likelihood that they will be able to afford their properties over the long term if economic circumstances were to change. Those who already own their homes want to know that the market is stable and that the most important investment they have made in their life is safe. This why our government has been focused on housing issues since coming into office. We have taken a series of carefully targeted measures to ensure stability and to promote affordability.

Effective since February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment of a new insured mortgage increased from 5% to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. In October, the government made changes to the mortgage insurance rules and tax measures to help ensure that new homebuyers are more resilient and that the principal-residence exemption is only claimed in appropriate cases. These measures are focused on addressing the buildup of housing debt across Canada. This includes markets such as Vancouver and Toronto, which have seen significant house price increases, but also other areas of the country where buying activity is more modest but new buyers are highly indebted. These measures will require borrowers and lenders to make adjustments in the short term and are expected to lead to a temporary reduction in housing activity. However, they are important in containing risk to preserve the long-term stability of the housing market.

The government is also committed to doing its part to fully understand the range of factors impacting regional housing markets. This is why in budget 2016 we provided funding to Statistics Canada to develop a methodology for gathering data on purchases of Canadian housing by foreign homebuyers. The finance minister also created the federal, provincial, and municipal working group of officials to review the range of factors affecting regional housing markets.

Finally, the government is engaging on housing affordability to support the needs of our most vulnerable population. In budget 2016, the Government of Canada spent $2.3 billion on affordable housing. It will continue to work closely with the provinces and municipalities on this file. My colleague the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is currently developing a housing strategy. We have seen in other countries what can happen to the housing market and economy when housing risks and the leverage are not appropriately managed. In these situations, it is often middle-class families who suffer the most.

It will take time before we can fully assess the impact of all of these measures, and the government is closely monitoring housing and mortgage markets across the country. Measures that ensure a sound and stable housing market and financial security for Canadian families are a part of the government's economic plan, which is based on the notion that, when we ha...”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Liberal)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...heir lives. Home ownership is vital to the economic and financial health of Canada and middle-class families. It is vital that we do what we can to ensure that the market is stable and that we provide...”

Jenny Kwan (NDP)

March 7th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...e people suffered frostbite and had their fingers and toes amputated. People crossing have included families with babies and toddlers, and pregnant women. In one of those crossings, a toddler said to ...”

Joël Lightbound (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...rogram also support the healthy development of vulnerable children aged zero to six years and their families. Special emphasis is placed on the inclusion of indigenous pregnant women, children, and families. The Nobody's Perfect parenting program is a strengths-based, educational health promotion ...”

Irene Mathyssen (NDP)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...vention.

I have heard considerable evidence of the toll that PTSD takes on veterans and their families. It is clear that action is needed, and increased services are desperately needed. I am sure that the bill was created with positive intentions. However, I remain concerned that there is nothing here to actually increase services for PTSD.

With nearly one in 10 Canadians experiencing post-traumatic stress at some point in their lives, it is time for federal leadership, to ease the suffering of those struggling with PTSD. I believe it is important to hear from veterans themselves about the impact of PTSD on their lives. I want to share with the House some testimony that was heard at the veterans affairs committee, and informal discussions I have had with veterans that highlight the struggles of so many veterans.

First, Mr. John Kelley Mcleod told the VAC Committee the following:

We're driven. We're fit people when we serve. There isn't anything that we wouldn't do for this nation, including giving our lives. I've often said, having suffered PTSD after serving in Somalia and Rwanda, it would have been easier for me to have lost a leg or two, or to lose two arms. People understand that.

When you come back, they do not understand when you tell them “Well, I have nightmares every day. I can't cope with day-to-day living. I don't like being in crowds.” For me, being a medic in those trades, everything I did at that moment was life and death. People die on the decisions you make, and you sometimes can't do anything.

I deal with that every day, and there are things that still stay with me today that are as clear as they were 20 years ago. That will never go away for me. Then, on top of that, because I served in Somalia and Rwanda, I spent over a year on mefloquine.

l'm getting older now. PTSD should be mellowing for me. I should be getting better, but l'm not getting better. l'm getting worse. I also have a terminal illness. I don't know how much longer I have, but every day I wake up and make a decision, do I live today or do I kill myself today?

Many of the veterans I spoke to said that their PTSD was triggered by financial insecurity, pensions and benefits delayed for months by an inept and dysfunctional veterans department. This is the reality of PTSD. It is terrifying and it is disabling our veterans. I also want to share with the House the words of Mr. Kurt Grant, a veteran who has been involved in the military his entire life. He came from a military family and became an air cadet at 13. He was in uniform for 41 years and deployed eight times. Kurt told us:

According to Veterans Affairs l'm now officially 136% broken; government math. I spent 15 years fighting with my PTSD before I wrote off my car and went into treatment. It's a tough thing to look at the back end of another vehicle and not realize how the hell you got there.

The stigma surrounding PTSD is huge. As much as we want to deny it and as much as we want to sit back and say, guess what, we're going to fix this, it's not going to happen. A cultural change has to take place.

...PTSD is not something that hits you right away. It took me 15 years before I finally collapsed under it.

It is clear that we desperately need to improve services for those with PTSD, and we critically need more supports for veterans specifically. We have heard testimony in veterans affairs committee that group therapy works very well for PTSD. However, there is a catch. It does not work well for veterans when therapy is in a group with civilians. Veterans have gone through traumatic experiences that civilians will never encounter. While they both may have PTSD, their experiences are not relatable. We need to make sure that veterans are able to access therapy with other veterans who understand what they have experienced and what they have lived.

We also need special supports for those living with military sexual trauma, many of whom also live with PTSD. Group therapy is very helpful for healing, but again our veterans are best served when with their peers. They not only need support from other veterans, but also those who are dealing with military sexual trauma. They may not get the support they need by being grouped with veterans or CF members with PTSD, and may not relate as well to sexual assault survivors without a military background. We need to bring men and women with MST together for healing. (1120)

Ultimately, that is what this is about. This is about healing those individuals who have given everything. This is about those who have set aside their lives and gambled on the promise that government was going to be there when they needed it, that government was going to somehow make sure their service was respected and honoured, that their suffering was understood, and that support would be there until the end of their lives.

However, we have military veterans in court against this government and the previous one for failure to make sure they have financial support. We now have a government that is making deals with the provinces and health ministries across this country. The government is saying that it will give them some money, but they have to accept that there will be less. “Oh yes, we'll give you a little bit of money for mental health, but the saw-off is that there is not going to be enough money to make sure that all Canadians are cared for.”

We are in this place to make sure and be absolutely confident that every Canadian who has given something important to this country has the support, services, and respect that we owe them. Our veterans are special, and we all know that. They are unique individuals. They go into the field and they are fearless, because they believe in this country. Let us not take away their hope when they return home. Let us not take away their families. Let us not take away the prospect of coming back to us with a place in our communities tha...”

David Sweet (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ave heard gut-wrenching accounts. Beneath the statistics, these are real stories, real people, real families, and real cries for help.

We know that what is stipulated in Bill C-211 is just a fir...”

Pam Damoff (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...f us. We have a responsibility to return our military personnel and public safety officers to their families as we received them, mentally well.

Caring for the health of our public safety office...”

Jim Eglinski (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...munities, some witness some of the worst that humanity has to offer. Then they return home to their families and try to live a normal life.

When most of us would head in the opposite direction, they are the ones who run toward danger. Their heroic efforts sometimes mean they are left to deal with the haunting images, sounds, and smells, which will stay with these men and women for life. Being a witness to human tragedy and suffering can become difficult to cope with in the days, months and years afterward.

We can look today at what is happening in B.C. Our first responders are dealing with the opioid problem and how it is affecting their jobs.

As a former RCMP officer for 35 years, I personally know what first responders go through, both emotionally and physically when they arrive at a scene.

Many years ago when I was a young air cadet, probably around the age of 12, I remember talking to a lot of different veterans on Remembrance Day, and there were a lot in those days, about their war experiences. I remember one particular gentleman from our community who drank a lot. I remember him telling me that he drank to hide the past and the horrors of war. This was probably the first time I was introduced to PTSD.

As I went through my working career as an RCMP officer, I remember in the sixties when a friend of mine came off an extended period of being undercover, where he intermixed with some pretty wild and dangerous individuals. He could not switch back to a regular life and suffered immensely, both mentally and physically. He eventually had to leave the force. This was PTSD, but we did not know what was wrong with him at the time. (1145)

I had a very good friend who I will call Mr. T. He was a lot like the guy on TV, but he suffered for many years with PTSD. He could not pull those hidden demons from within himself. As his commander, he came to me and talked about suicide. He received help and I worked with him closely over the next decade and even after we both left our careers in the RCMP. He could not get rid of the ugliness with which he had to deal.

As I am saying this, I thinking of Mr. T, as he is not here anymore. He committed suicide two years ago. I wish he had called me as I would have gone wherever he was to help.

I can think of a number of my colleagues who which I worked. A number of them drank too much, but were they doing this due to PTSD? Yes, they were. However, in all honesty, we did not know what it was. We did not know what to call it years ago.

I have to thank those members who have come forward in the last number of years, whether military, RCMP, paramedics, who were proud and strong enough to make public their problems and seek help.

It is out there among our first responders. As government we must work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to ensure that help is there for all first responders.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma around mental health issues, including PTSD. Those who are affected hate to admitting they need need assistance is showing weakness to their peers. Instead, they keep it to themselves, hidden, silently carrying a heavy weight until they can no longer bear it.

According to statistics by TEMA, an organization that supports people with PTSD through research, education, training and peer support, 188 Canadian public safety and military personnel have died by suicide since 2014. Five first responders and four military members have died by suicide in this year alone. That is nine people in only two months.

This is absolutely heartbreaking. These brave people risk their lives to serve their communities, so where are we when they need our help? They have served us, but we have not served them. This is why we so desperately need a national framework to address this issue.

The Prime Minister has already called on his ministers to act on PTSD and make the mental health of our men and women in uniform a priority, and I thank him for that.

In the mandate letter of the Minister of Heath, she is called to “make high quality mental health services more available to Canadians who need them.”

In the mandate letter of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, he is directed to “Provide greater education, counselling, and training for families who are providing care and support to veterans living with physical and/or mental health is...”

Earl Dreeshen (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...that brings it home for me. I really do understand what they go through and how difficult it is for families when such tragedies strike home. We have seen it. I think everyone in here has examples where that has happened, whether in the military, or with first responders.

The other experience I had was with the Pine Lake tornado in early 2000. As we were in it, we realized we had to be able to assist, and I was part of that. We saw the carnage that had taken place there. It was really difficult for individuals who were not trained to manage this. However, I think back to the great work done by our first responders in central Alberta. Every year, when we have the anniversary of that terrible natural disaster, we recognize the great work they did, as well as the seriousness of the loss of life.

We all recognize this. We see disasters happen, whether they are natural disasters or those that happen around the world where our men and women in our forces have to take charge or respond to terrible evils. We see it so often. What we have heard today is a great heartfelt response and support for those men and women who put their lives on the line daily and who bring it home to their families.

It is important that we recognize more can be done and that we have to go forward.

Todd Doherty (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... are with us on the Hill, because they are the ones who really champion and stand up for us and our families moving forward and every day.

Bill C-211 seeks to establish a cohesive and coherent national framework to ensure our military, first responders, paramedics, police, veterans, and correctional officers get timely access to the resources they need to deal with PTSD. I welcome the revisions that will strengthen the intent of this bill.

I also want to caution all of us here that we should not be doing anything to weaken the intent of the bill, or allow the current or successive governments to not live up to the responsibility that is due to our first responders, veterans, and military.

The bill sends a message to our silent sentinels that this is not a battle they have to fight by themselves. It is up to all of us federal, provincial, and territorial legislators to come up with a plan to ensure no one is left behind, and that our terminology and laws are consistent across the country from the east coast to the west coast. The reality is that experiencing human tragedy affects all of us differently. These incidents and experiences cannot be erased from our memory. Most of us can never imagine what our warriors go through on a daily basis, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the images. It affects their lives and the lives of friends and families of those who put themselves in harm's way.

We have an opportunity to give back in a s...”

Gagan Sikand (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...t can continue to be a strong partner, focusing on infrastructure, Canada 150, and the middle-class families who live in ridings like mine.

Later in the week, the Minister of Innovation, Science...”

Pat Kelly (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...tober, which were imposed without industry or consumer consultation, are making it harder for young families to purchase homes. I share the concerns mortgage brokers have raised with me about reduced ...”

Robert Aubin (NDP)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ndard for aggregates used in concrete.

Let us be clear about this. It is impossible for these families to sell their homes without suffering major losses, and it is impossible for them to get fi...”

Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ering taxes for the middle class and increasing taxes for the wealthiest 1%. We have helped 9 in 10 families with the Canada child benefit. We have increased the guaranteed income supplement by 10% fo...”

Denis Lebel (Conservative)

March 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e Conservatives are back in power before then.

Is the Prime Minister going to punish Canadian families by eliminating even more of the tax credits they need?”