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: 795 Speeches
Senate: 176 Speeches

House Senate

Bills

Active: 0

Regulations

Filed: 0
Proposed: 0

The House

Hon. Pierre Poilievre

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ent reduced taxes by $30 billion with a preponderance of that money going to low- and modest-income families. That is why poverty fell by almost one-third during the previous Conservative government a...”

Mr. Francesco Sorbara (Vaughan—Woodbridge, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...is too bad they also voted against the Canada child benefit, which benefits nine out of 10 Canadian families, representing an average of $2,300 more. In my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, I consistently hear about how the Canada child benefit is helping families fund their kids' day-to-day activities.

It was also noted about what is called “refundable” or “non-refundable” tax credits. A lot of the boutique tax credits the opposition party member referenced in his comments were ones working middle-class Canadians could not take advantage of because they did not have taxes payable, and only benefited wealthier working Canadians. It is a little fact that was missed.

Turning to Bill C-82, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said the following:

The conclusion of this multilateral instrument marks a new turning point in tax treaty history. We are moving towards rapid implementation of the far-reaching reforms agreed under the BEPS Project in more than 1,200 tax treaties worldwide. In addition to saving the signatories form the burden of bilaterally renegotiating these treaties, the Convention will result in more certainty and predictability for businesses and a better functioning international tax system for the benefit of our citizens.

Bill C-82 basically follows our government agenda from budget 2016. In chapter 8, we talked about making our tax system fairer, simpler, more efficient and also ensuring all organizations, enterprises and high net worth individuals follow the tax rules that everyday businesses and people in my riding follow. It is great to see Bill C-82 come to the House for approval, and it is great to see our party is shepherding this as quickly as possible.

On a personal note, I sat on the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants user advisory council for a number of years. I understand full well the importance of working with our international partners at various accounting institutions in the world, and also with our partners for multilateral purposes, including the base erosion and profit shifting deal.

To give an indication of the annual losses that are occurring, the OECD estimates 10% of global corporate taxing income, or approximately $100 billion to $240 billion is lost, where little or no overall corporate tax is being paid. This agreement is far-reaching. Working together in the OECD G20 BEPS project, over 60 countries developed 15 actions to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure a more transparent tax environment. Leaders of OECD and G20 countries, as well as other leaders, urge the timely implementation of this comprehensive BEPS package.

That information comes right from the document I was reading over the weekend on the multilateral convention to implement tax treaty-related measures to prevent BEPS from OECD. I encourage my colleagues to read it because it is an interesting document. (1215)

It pertains to our economy and ensuring we have a strong middle class and that we continue to help those who are working hard to join the middle class. It pertains to ensuring that all corporations in Canada with operations in the world and vice versa, those foreign entities that operate in Canada domestically, pay their fair share, much like all our residents do in each of our ridings. With that, it is great to stand up and speak to Bill C-82.

Taxes paid by Canadians are what fund the programs and services that make our country thrive. When the wealthy use international tax avoidance schemes to avoid paying what they owe, it is the hard-working middle class, those folks in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, who foot the bill. That is unacceptable.

Tax fairness continues to be a cornerstone of our government's promise to Canadians to grow a stronger middle class. In each of our three budgets, the government has passed laws on both the international and domestic fronts to enhance the integrity of Canada's tax system and give greater confidence that the system is fair for everyone. I encourage some of the opposition folks here this morning to look at our budgets. They are actually great documents that pertain to tax fairness for all Canadians, especially with respect to putting in resources. Over $1 billion was invested in the CRA, after those many years of cuts by the Conservatives. The Conservatives are synonymous with cuts to the system and the CRA. We want to ensure that all institutions in Canada are paying their fair share, because we know all hard-working Canadians go to work, pay their fair share of taxes, and want to make sure they create a better standard of living for their families and a better future for their children and for all Canadians.

Since our first budget in 2016, the government has continually strengthened the ability of the CRA to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance with increased funding. This funding has supported transformational changes to the CRA's compliance programs, allowing them to better target those posing the highest risk of tax avoidance, and more effectively fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.

Today we take another step toward levelling the playing field and ensuring all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. With this legislation, the Government of Canada is upping the ante in the fight against aggressive international tax avoidance and safeguarding the government's ability to invest in the programs and services that help the middle class and people working hard to join it. Whether it is putting in place a 10% increase in the guaranteed income supplement for our most vulnerable seniors, increasing the Canada workers benefit for those hard-working Canadians at the lower end, giving them that bump up, that extra few hundred dollars a year to make a big difference in their lives, we are doing those things while ensuring that our tax system is sound, efficient and fair for all Canadians and all Canadian organizations.

Ensuring tax fairness is complex. I know that for a fact because I sat on the CICA user advisory council. Understanding tax and accounting language does require a certain amount of specialization. It requires that we work with a wide range of partners at home and around the world, which is what we have done with the legislation we are debating today.

Bill C-82 would implement treaty-related measures to counter base erosion and profit shifting, also known by its acronym BEPS. This term refers to tax avoidance strategies through which businesses and wealthy individuals can use gaps and loopholes in tax rules to shift profits inappropriately to low-tax or no-tax locations. It would also ensure that transfer pricing is done fairly.

My riding is blessed with entrepreneurs of all different stripes. The city of Vaughan has over 11,000 SMEs. We have some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. I applaud their efforts. I meet with them regularly. I like to listen to what is working to ensure they have the skills and resources for their workers and that they can invest in their Canadian operations, and they are doing that.

That is why our unemployment rate is at a 40-year low. That is why our growth rate is near 3%. That is why firms across the world are choosing Canada to invest in. I am proud of that. However, we also need to make sure that our social programs are funded, that investments are made in early learning, that we enhance the Canada pension plan, that we reduce taxes for nine million Canadians. Yes, we ask those who are very fortunate and privileged in our society, those who are doing well, to pay a bit more. I think that is fair. I wish my colleagues on the opposition benches would appreciate that as well.

With that, I would like to close by saying that Bill C-82 is a good piece of legislation. It concerns an instrument that has recently been ratified by our counterparts, by many European countries, by France, Australia, Singapore, and some of the South Asian countries which have also adopted it in the last few weeks. (1220)

It is something that moves the needle forward on combatting aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion, which is something good for our society. It makes our society fairer but at the same time allows those companies and corporations that do the right thing day in and day out to make the right decisions for their employees and their employees' families. I will end with that.”

Mr. Francesco Sorbara

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ions is actually quite shameful as it ignores the Canada child benefit that is going to millions of families. It is literally a $5-billion increase to families from coast to coast to coast. It is shameful as the institution named earlier should have h...”

Mr. Darrell Samson (Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...to increase those for the most fortunate, which is extremely important.

When I speak to young families in my riding about the Canada child benefit program, they recognize how important that investment is in their families for their children. It is essential. It is very touching to hear young families share that information, and it is not just in my riding but right across the country. In the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, which I represent, $5.2 million per month—yes, everyone heard me correctly, $5.2 million per month—goes to young families. That represents $60 million a year. If we multiply that by 338 members, everyone can see h...”

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...child tax benefits, and they will point out that the government is targeting single mothers. I know families that have never gotten child tax benefits, because they cannot prove that they actually live in this country. They will make single mothers jump through every single hoop imaginable and will never ask the same of the Bronfmans or of any trust fund friends of the Prime Minister.

The idea that the government is serious about offshore tax havens is a joke, because we can see how it targets child tax benefits and targets single mothers. If the member had any dignity, he would stand up and say that what is happening against single mothers and young families across this country is unconscionable.”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ree people are working in their own best interests and figuring out how to make ends meet for their families, we can simplify and improve their lives. We are not doing that. We have been doing the opposite for the past three years. From this so-called middle-income tax cut, a Canadian who is earning $48,000 is saving $81.44 off their taxes. If we include carbon taxes, increased payroll taxes, depending on the provincial jurisdiction, where they are probably paying higher provincial taxes as well, costs are rising, including the costs of everyday essentials.

There are think tanks that say that the number one item on the average family's pay slip is taxes. They are paying more for taxes than for the essentials of life: rent, food, electricity or natural gas. For the first time ever, the average family is having to pay more in taxes than for anything else. We do not spend enough time talking about how to create more wealth and to broaden the base that has been a way of ensuring that more Canadians and corporations are at least paying a little bit into the system. When we pay into the system, it makes us part of it. There is a certain ownership in what the Government of Canada and what the Parliament of Canada do on our behalf. When we have to put a little money into it, we really do care what is being done with it. (1255)

The Liberals said in their campaign platform that a so-called tax hike on the top 1% would bring in $3 billion more. The Department of Finance then produced an estimate, saying it would bring in an extra $2 billion. The government actually lost money in its first year; $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion less money being brought in. Those are not my numbers. Those are Statistics Canada and CRA numbers, which say the government is bringing in less money than it did before.

The top 1% of income earners pay 20% of all taxes. The top 8% of income earners, including every member in the House, every cabinet minister, are paying half of all taxes right now. That is an incredible amount, just in the share of national revenue, that we are asking an increasingly smaller group of people to pay. It also speaks to the administration and the idea of taxing the rich, fleecing the rich, on a personal income side, which has been a total failure of the government.

Now we have Bill C-82, in which the Liberals want to go after multinational corporations and big business, and I am all for it. It is a fantastic idea. We have a tax treaty of tax treaties. It should be done right. I am glad we are at this point where we can talk about it.

However, where are we talking about the wealth creation to get small businesses and entrepreneurs to start creating more jobs, to want to invest? We had the aborted attempt by the Minister of Finance's department, and by him as well, to tax small businesses more because they were not paying their fair share. I heard loud and clear from general practitioners and small business owners in my riding who were just trying to make ends meet. They wondered how they could keep growing their small family businesses and eke out an existence to pay for the schooling for their kids and to continue living.

Calgary continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Canada. The reason for that is that the Government of Canada is in no way interested in ensuring that the energy industry of Alberta continues humming along. Most high-income earners come from Alberta. The Government of Canada has made changes to the tanker ban on the coast of British Columbia and the introduction of Bill C-69, which has passed through the House and is in another place. Every regulatory and legislative measure that the Government of Canada has been able to use to constrict and put the energy industry of Alberta into a pretzel, it has done it. The Liberals have succeeded in reducing our incomes. They have succeeded in undermining the ability of Albertans and Alberta families to make a living. They are not helping to create the wealth that they want to tax. We shoul...”

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...Liberal Party. They have been using the massive resources of the CRA to go after single moms, young families and small businesses.

We see one of the great and I think really disturbing political frauds in the last few years. The government says again and again it is committed to getting money to young families through the Canada child tax benefit, but what it does not say is that it is clawing that money back through a whole series of measures, which are actually cruel in their implementation, and targeting people who have no capacity to defend themselves.

I could give a few comparisons to show how unfair this system is in terms of how the Liberals look after the friends of the Liberal Party.

Let us talk about the need to deal with the tax avoidance system. The problem with the super rich not paying their part has a massive impact on the erosion of our economy, and our ability to make investments and to build an economy that is fair and just across this country. We are learning now that tax avoidance is upwards of $3 billion a year, but there may be $70 billion to $240 billion being held offshore and out of access to the Canada Revenue Agency.

What is the Canada Revenue Agency's response to such massive tax avoidance? Well, we saw how the government made a deal with KPMG after it was found out that KPMG was involved in establishing scams for those who had $5 million to blow. Now, not many people out there in television land probably have $5 million to spare, but if one is friends with the Liberal Party it is likely one may and could be set up in offshore tax havens, which is cheating.

When a small business in my region gets caught out not paying its taxes, the government brings the full weight of the law down on it. There is no mercy. I have never seen mercy from the CRA, ever. If one is not paying one's taxes, that is the way it has to be. However, why would the government make an agreement, why would the Prime Minister make an agreement, with KPMG, people who are tied to the Liberal Party and people who are tied to getting federal contacts, to give them an amnesty for avoiding taxes? That does not happen if one is a single mom with an overpayment on EI.

Let us talk about Stephen Bronfman, who is a very close friend of the Prime Minister. He is the Liberals' top fundraiser. In fact, he is so good at raising funds, he helped raise $250,000 in two hours for the Liberal Party. I mean, they just travel in different circles than the rest of us Canadians do. When Stephen Bronfman gets named in the Panama papers, one would think that would be a serious question for the legitimacy of the friends of the Prime Minister and the need to deal with tax loopholes and unfairness. However, the Prime Minister came out and said immediately that there was no investigation needed. He was a friend of his. Know what? No investigation happened. (1320)

My young daughter, who just starting working and makes minimum wage, is being audited for the second time. She was audited last year and is being audited a second time. I told her to get used to it. A young student trying to pay her rent might get audited by the CRA all manner of times, but I would never call the CRA to say she's my daughter and does not need to be audited. That would never happen. However, the Prime Minister went public, said Stephen Bronfman is a good guy and does not need to be audited, when he was named in the Paradise papers, and it never happened.

Who else was named in the Paradise papers? There was Leo Kolber. This was about the trust that was set up for the Kolber family. For those who do not know and are not part of the Laurentian class, Leo is a Liberal senator and a very well-placed Liberal bagman. He was named.

Paul Martin was named, but I guess that should not be surprising. Paul Martin made his name by keeping his ships offshore so he did not have to pay taxes. Paul Martin was named in the Paradise papers. Jean Chrétien was named in the Paradise papers.

Then, of course, there is the finance minister. Morneau Shepell had its Bahamas subsidiary. What would anyone be going to the Bahamas for, one of the notorious tax havens? Of course, there was lots of tax work to do there and Morneau Shepell had its subsidiary in the Bahamas. When the government says it is going to take special measures to deal with the Bahamas, set up with the finance minister, does anybody in any place in this country think it is going to be looking after the little guy? I do not think so.

It keeps going on and on. There is the Minister of Infrastructure. There was a report in Le Journal de Montréal about the Minister of Infrastructure and the transfer of payments to shareholders of a company in, wait for it, the Turks and Caicos. Folks back home who work at the mill, at the mine or at Tim Hortons might wonder why someone would have shares in the Turks and Caicos and wonder where it is. It is well known for offshore finance operations. Maybe we will be talking, if we have enough time, about the privatized infrastructure bank that was set up. I bet a lot of people from the Turks and Caicos will be very interested.

I am not being mean to just the Liberals. We can talk about the famous Nicole Eaton, a senator. When a bunch of documents were released from the notorious Bahamas, it turned out that she was a director of a corporation called Mount Bodun Limited and said she had no idea how she was named as a director of this corporation. That stuff happens to me all the time. I find out I am a director of a corporation in the Bahamas. Shrug, shrug, how did that happen? I guess it is the world that they are travelling in.

Let us go back to the illustrious upper chamber. Of course, we could not have this discussion about offshore tax havens without talking about Liberal Senator Pana Merchant. It was said that her husband “moved nearly $2 million to secretive financial havens while he was locked in battle with the Canada Revenue Agency”, and she gets paid until she is 75 by Canadian taxpayers to represent our interests.

What happens is really interesting. When rich people like these move assets around outside the hands of the CRA, what happens? Nothing happens. That speaks to the fundamental problem we are seeing, the unfairness, because ordinary Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. They work really hard, they are diligent and they pay their fair share. Therefore, when we see the super rich and the friends of Laurentian and Liberal class not paying their share, we have a problem, unless one thinks that the CRA is the most relaxed, laid-back organization and does not like making life difficult for anybody over taxes.

Let me give an example of what happens for people who are not super rich. Let us talk about what happens for the working poor and how they get treated. Let us also talk about the Canada child tax benefit, because again the great fraud that is being perpetrated by the government day in, day out is this great miracle of the child tax benefit that everyone gets and brings everyone out of poverty. What Liberals do not say after they make those announcements is that they use the resources of the Canada Revenue Agency to claw it back, and the vast majority of cases coming through my office right now—and I have talked to many members of Parliament—are single moms being denied the child tax benefit because of the loopholes that they are being forced to jump through. What are some of those loopholes? (1325)

A young father came into my office. His wife left town and left him with the kids. He did not know where she went. He had to quit his job to look after the little children. He was cut off from his child tax benefit because he could not prove where she was. At Christmastime the neighbours were putting together food hampers for the family because the family had nothing.

It is not just single moms. A young couple was told after getting the funds to go back and prove who they were, prove that they were married and where the children were, even though they had always had the children. Single moms are being told they are being cut off because they cannot prove they have their children. They say the children go to the local school, but the government will not accept report cards as proof anymore. It is not fair to make a single mom jump through those kinds of hoops when we would not make Stephen Bronfman do it.

I know a wonderful young Cree mother who has the most beautiful little girl and in six years that mother has never received any child tax benefit. Why? The government does not believe she actually lives in the country. She is not living in the Turks and Caicos. She is living in social housing. She is working and raising her child but she is not getting a single dime from the government. Officials tell her she has to go to the doctor or the dentist, but that is not good enough. Then she has to go to the landlord. They even told her to get the mailman to sign something confirming where she lives. She has paid her taxes every single year.

There are mothers who do not have proper housing, so they are couch surfing. When they are couch surfing, CRA says their address indicates that they are staying with their folks and it is cutting them off. CRA will make single moms jump through all kinds of hoops, but would not make anybody whose name is in the Panama papers go through that.

One of the other things the CRA has come up with is that for people to get the child tax benefit, they have to show proof of insurance on their residence and on their children. The people I represent such as single moms in poverty do not have insurance. I guess if someone is the finance minister and cannot remember he owns a chateau in the south of France, he probably thinks it is great: “We should just find out what people's insurance is.” What kind of idiotic loophole is it, telling a poor mother to prove she has insurance for her kids and maybe the CRA will give her the benefit? If she had insurance, she probably would not be so desperate to get the child tax benefit.

The government talks about the middle class and those wanting to join it. If it were a Liberal drinking game and the Prime Minister gave a speech, he would be bombed after the first five minutes if he had to respond every time he said the middle class and those wanting to join it. I do not want to be mean to the Prime Minister, but I think he and I grew up in different middle classes.

When I was young and starting out, my wife and I started a small business. We barely made ends meet, but we paid our taxes. We paid our employees. We worked really hard. I was really surprised when the Prime Minister talked about small business in the 2015 election. He worried they were being used as millionaire tax dodges.

For two terms I was on the Tri-Town and District Chamber of Commerce in northern Ontario. I did not know anyone sitting around that table who were there because they were establishing millionaire tax dodges. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and people work really hard. It seemed to me such a disconnect that the Prime Minister said we would have to watch small businesses because they are millionaire tax dodges, but then of course, he would know because he set up three numbered companies to handle his income, his investments and also the money he was getting as a member of Parliament to do public speaking so it would lower his tax rate. From his perspective, everyone else must be doing it, but other people are not doing it.

What do we need to do? We need to start addressing tax fairness in a coherent manner. We need to review the overall tax system. The last time it was reviewed was in the 1960s. We are in a very different world now in terms of tax avoidance, in terms of corporations not paying their share. More and more the cost of social services is being downloaded onto municipalities. Single households and people in the middle class pay a very good chunk of taxes. (1330)

We need, number one, an overview of the tax system. We need a really clear sense of where tax avoidance is happening. I was really surprised to see that the government fought so hard against the Parliamentary Budget Officer over the simple question of identifying where the tax bleeding is happening. If we can see where the tax bleeding is happening, we can start to make changes.

Then we need a government that will spend more time going after the superbillionaires who are hiding their money in the Turks and Caicos than going after single moms. That should be a fundamental principle that all members in the House, regardless of their political ideology, agree with. Young people, single mothers and young families who are trying to get by should not have to bear the kinds of burdens CRA is putting on the...”

Mr. Charlie Angus

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... card were sufficient, the CRA would not be telling single moms to go find a doctor. They are. Many families in the north do not have doctors, so the CRA tells them to go to a dentist. If the health c...”

Mr. Charlie Angus

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...f that they have children? This happened before Christmas. We were making Christmas hampers to help families actually have Christmas because the Liberal government cut off single moms and young single families at Christmastime. How is that possible in this country right now?”

Mr. Bob Bratina (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...anada child benefit. I am wondering if the statistics are correct for Timmins—James Bay, that 8,900 families receive benefits for a total amount in the 2016-17 year of $64 million. Would that be accur...”

Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rank leaves behind his wife, Mary-Eva, of 60 years this coming May, his sons and daughter and their families. Frank and I never had a conversation where he did not mention how proud he was of his kids...”

Mr. T.J. Harvey (Tobique—Mactaquac, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...My sincere congratulations to both Pascale and to Hongliang Yu, to their proud parents and their families. Full marks go to Paul McLellan Head of School at Rothesay Netherwood and Pierre Morin, dir...”

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ins for these have gone through the roof because of Donald Trump's policy of seizing and separating families at the border and putting them in privatized prison camps.

Does the finance minister ...”

Mr. Raj Grewal (Brampton East, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... strong community in Canada that has come together and stepped up to bring some of these vulnerable families to Canada as refugees.

Will the minister please update the House on the status of the...”

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...adians for almost 10 years. That means both Conservatives and Liberals failed to protect and inform families. In the meantime, Canadians put their kids on school buses to go to class, on field trips a...”

Mr. Earl Dreeshen (Red Deer—Mountain View, CPC)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ult harvest worse and wiping out all remaining profits.

Will the Liberals quit attacking farm families and scrap their punishing carbon tax?”

Mr. Sean Fraser (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tention to the report of Stephen Harper's former director of policy who indicated specifically that families can expect to be better off with the results of our plan being implemented. It is not just him. I would also point the member to the news last week that Professor William Nordhaus won a Nobel Prize in economics for identifying a plan that would actually lead to families being better off. He pointed specifically to the Province of British Columbia as a world le...”

Mrs. Brenda Shanahan (Châteauguay—Lacolle, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s an opportunity to learn more about autism and how we can help people living with autism and their families and friends. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that remains misunderstood by many people.

Can the Minister of Health tell the House about the measures the government is taking to raise awareness and help families?”

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Minister of Health, Lib.)

October 15th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ur government recognizes that autism spectrum disorder has a profound impact on Canadians and their families. That is why, in budget 2018, we invested more than $20 million in helping families and launching new community initiatives. We are also making major investments in research to better meet the needs of Canadians with autism spectrum disorder and their families.”

Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough—Rouge Park, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...for its work in the past 10 years helping hundreds of young people on the autism spectrum and their families.

One out of 66 children born in Canada is on the spectrum. However, services to suppo...”

Mr. Bob Benzen (Calgary Heritage, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...He has been leading the charge against the tax by outing it as "the absolute worst tax for Canadian families, Canadian businesses, and the Canadian economy” and one that “does nothing for the environm...”

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...l producers as bargaining chips. When Liberals abandon supply management, they abandon middle-class families and the next generation of farmers.

My question is very simple: do they realize this?...”

Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lévis—Lotbinière, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...al provinces are pulling out of this tax, which is unfair for Canadians, especially for low-income families. We know very well that this tax is used to pay the huge debt the Liberals have created.

Mr. Sean Fraser (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y has indicated that this government's plan is going to put more money into the pockets of Canadian families and at the same time lead to a reduction in emissions. It is disappointing in the extreme t...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, our priority is to provide veterans and their families with the benefits and support they need. These benefits apply to 129,143 veterans with service-related illnesses or injuries. Last year, 1,400 veterans received benefits and, to the extent that it helped their recovery, services for their families. We also know that our investments in financial security, career transition, training and hiring new staff will ensure that veterans and their families receive the best services.”

Mr. Robert Kitchen (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...this week Veterans Affairs confirmed that they have no idea what services are provided for veterans families and the number of people who are using them. It is the Liberals' responsibility to track th...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rvices. We will continue to deliver them. Our priority is to provide benefits to veterans and their families. Last year, 1,400 veterans out of 129,143 ill veterans received them. We are there to meet ...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, to be clear, we are not talking about benefits for veterans and their families. We are talking about benefits for the adult children of veterans. Veterans who are injured...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...terans received this service through all agencies. We work tirelessly to provide veterans and their families with the care that they need.

Unlike the Conservatives, we believe that when veterans...”

Mr. Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...markets. On this side of the House, we recognize the prosperity of hard-working Canadians and their families is directly linked to diversifying into new markets.

From the ratification of CETA to the recent conclusion of the USMCA framework, our government has long understood a commitment to free and fair trade is absolutely vital. As the only G7 country that is a signatory to all three of these agreements, once CPTPP enters into force, Canada would have 14 trade agreements that would provide preferential access to 51 different countries. Combined, this represents access to nearly 1.5 billion global consumers and over 60% of the global economy.

The complicated progression of this agreement on the global stage, as I have said previously, serves as further proof that these values are currently under attack from protectionist forces. In light of such pressures, I am truly proud of our government for having taken the lead in negotiating this progressive free trade agreement.

Before I continue, I would like to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Trade Diversification for their hard work on this file, as well as the members of the Standing Committee on International Trade for their insights and contributions. Moreover, as a former international trade lawyer myself, I would like to thank and congratulate former colleagues in the public service who helped make this important agreement a reality.

It was as a trade lawyer that I gained valuable first-hand knowledge into the tangible benefits that well-crafted trade agreements provide us with every day, and it is from that very same perspective I approach today's remarks. In particular, I would like to discuss six broad elements of Bill C-79 to highlight the very benefits this agreement would have for Canadian businesses, exporters, workers and families. My hon. colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles focused on the preservation of our cultural sector. In turn, I will talk about market access, the service sector, investment, government procurement, and small and medium-sized enterprises. (1305)

Speaking first on market access, implementing the CPTPP will eliminate over 95% of taxes being imposed on over 99% of Canada's total exports. From making our machinery, equipment and business services more competitive, to protecting and preserving our unique culture, we are improving market access for Canadian business and have secured an amazing deal for Canadians. In fact, the vast majority of related tariffs will be eliminated immediately upon enactment of Bill C-79. After that, we will see the gradual introduction of more products being included in this list of tariff exemption over a period of 10 to 15 years.

To cite just a handful of targeted market access benefits, Bill C-79 would enhance market access opportunities for Canadian pork, beef, fruit and vegetables, malts, grains, cereals, animal feeds, maple syrup, wines and spirits, processed grain, sugar, chocolate confectionary and processed foods and beverages. It would also eliminate 100% of tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products, benefiting the salmon, snow crab, herring, lobster, shrimp, sea urchin and oyster industries. In addition, we would see the elimination of 100% of tariffs on industrial goods and consumer products. Finally, tariffs on all Canadian exports of forestry and value-added wood products would be eliminated.

Delving into services, the CPTPP emphasizes the importance of transparency and predictability in order to give Canadian service providers more secure access to CPTPP markets, including a range of sectors for professional, environmental, mining-related, IT and financial services. In the face of a rapidly-evolving and modernizing global digital economy, the importance of these changes cannot be overstated.

Speaking of investment, this government has gone above and beyond the original conditions set in the TPP to better protect our investors, using Canada's negative list approach. Investors will be protected by provisions such as expropriation and denial of justice, backed by robust mechanisms for the resolution of investment disputes.

On non-tariff measures, Bill C-79 proposes to implement provisions related to non-tariff measures. Non-tariffs measures, as members are aware, refer to provision introduced regarding technical barriers to trade that will protect the key market access gains written into the agreement for the unnecessary and discriminatory regulatory burdens.

Moving to small and medium-sized enterprises, this government recognizes the importance of SMEs to the Canadian economy, which to do this day represents approximately 90% of our private sector jobs in Canada that will benefit from the provisions of this agreement. As a result, we have made it a priority to support SME access to the relevant data and information, a first among Canadian free trade agreements.

Provisions such as improved transparency, enforceable provisions on state-owned enterprises to promote fair business practices and an electronic commerce framework for cross-border data flows and server localization requirements have been made available to better protect Canadian businesses and encourage them to enter into the global market. These new measures will not only place Canadian businesses on the global value chain, but help them compete and thrive.

When our government came into office in 2015, in keeping with our commitment to evidence-based policy-making that listened to the needs and interests of Canadians, we held extensive consultations on the CPTPP, including over 41,000 correspondences and 265 interactions and meetings with more than 530 stakeholders. We did so to ensure a deal that promoted the creation of new jobs and benefits for Canadian families. The end result of this process is an ambitious and progressive trade agreement that will not only benefit Canadian businesses, workers, and families, but will certainly serve as a landmark for global trade arrangements moving forward.”

Mr. David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Private Member's Business

“...d all episodic disabilities impact most Canadians, not only the affected individuals but also their families and their friends who must come together to manage the illness. No one should have to face MS or any disability alone. There is an undeniable fact that episodic disabilities are treated differently than other chronic diseases and disabilities by government policy. These inequalities have negative effects on those living with episodic disabilities and their loved ones.

This motion seeks not only to address concerns for people living with MS, but for all Canadians living with episodic disabilities, including cancer, HIV, epilepsy, Crohn's disease, diabetes, arthritis, and the list goes on. The motion looks to support individuals living with episodic disabilities until one day we find a cure.

We need to remember that a cure is possible. Though there have been great improvements for people living with MS, there is still much unknown about this disease. However, researchers are zeroing in on what causes MS and are exploring ways to repair the damage it causes and ways to prevent MS from occurring. The best current evidence suggests lifestyle, environmental, genetic and biological factors all contribute. All these areas are being actively examined.

Studies funded by the MS Society are asking if certain risk factors such as gender, age, family history or lifestyle habits impact a person's susceptibility to MS. Until we find the answer, Canadians with episodic disabilities face challenges securing employment, income and disability supports. They struggle daily to access treatments, comprehensive care, housing and moving around in the communities where they live. For these Canadians, research is crucial to obtaining new treatments and a better quality of life.

Multiple Sclerosis impacts hundreds of thousands of Canadian families every year. Our country has the highest rate of individuals affected by MS in the world, with over 77,000 Canadians living with MS or approximately one in every 385 Canadians. That is a large number. Women are three times more likely to be diagnosed than men. These are moms, grandmothers, sisters, daughters and friends.

Christine Sinclair, two-time Olympic bronze medallist and a Canadian women's national soccer team captain, knows first-hand the impacts of MS as her mom lives with MS. She recently shared a story in a MS Society blog post. (1320)

She writes:

When you’re a kid, your parents are indestructible, and that’s what my mom was to me. Indestructible. But as years went by, I watched MS chip away at aspects of her life, and her fight against the chronic disease became tougher and tougher....

Today, my mom is still the strongest person I know and my number one champion. She currently resides in a care home, which can be challenging at times. Cognitively, she’s still my mom—friendly, social, and as sharp as ever—but physically, she’s placed in a facility where she is 20 years younger than everyone else.

MS is typically diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40. These are peak years for Canadians who are getting an education, establishing careers and raising families. A student with MS may not be able to hold a pencil and complete an exam. A person with MS has difficulty holding down a job, because the disease is unpredictable in nature and causes lateness, absence and sometimes even an inability to type on a keyboard. A new mother diagnosed with MS may have difficulty holding and feeding her own newborn baby.

People living with MS are our co-workers, our families, our friends and our children. These are the people who are impacted by the disease every d...”

Mr. Kelly McCauley (Edmonton West, CPC)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Private Member's Business

“...eing taken away.

What is going on with the government that it is allowing the CRA to go after families that have a loved one suffering from autism and now saying "you don't qualify"? Here is a h...”

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)

October 5th
Hansard Link

Private Member's Business

“...ish all of my colleagues a happy Thanksgiving. I hope that they enjoy every moment spent with their families and return well-rested on October 15.”

Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... which is poverty reduction.

Over two million Canadian children live in separated or divorced families. Of these, lone-parent families are the most financially vulnerable of all family types and are more likely to depend upon social assistance.

There are couple of other important statistics.

Right now, there is well over $1 billion in support payment arrears in this country. In the vast majority of such cases, 96% of all such cases, the arrears relate to money owed by men to women.

The data on the economic challenges of single parenthood are quite stark. In 2016, the median net worth of Canadian couples with children under 18 was over $300,000, while the median net worth of single-parent families was less than one-sixth of that, $57,200.

Separation and divorce can cause a financial crisis for some families. The benefits of sharing family expenses often disappear as a second home must be established. Some parents need to significantly change their work hours to accommodate their changed parenting schedule, which can affect their income and their employment opportunities. This is what I hear when I speak to families in my riding of Parkdale—High Park. I hear far too often from single mothers who are struggling to access spousal and child support after a marital breakdown. Bill C-78 will directly benefit these residents of my community and the residents of so many other communities in a similar situation right across Canada. It will help lift those individuals, whether they are mothers or children, out of poverty. It will mean less time fighting out support payments in court, which is costly and time consuming, and creates a court backlog. It will mean more tools to allow single parents to identify and locate the assets of their former spouses, and more tools to enforce the actual payment of spousal and child support to single parents and their children.

Allow me to explain. I want to first turn to the payment of child support reducing the risk of poverty.

The sooner a fair and accurate amount of child support is established after parents separate and payments are made, the better the outcomes are for the child in question. The payment of child support is a key factor in reducing the risk of child poverty, especially for low-income, single-parent families. (1025) [Translation]

Parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially after separation or divorce. Children have a legal right to that support. Federal, provincial and territorial child support laws require parents to disclose specific income information, including income tax returns, and set out penalties and consequences if a parent fails to disclose this information. This includes imputing income, which means that the parent’s income is assumed to be a certain amount for child support purposes, and the child support order is based on that income.

Most parents dutifully meet their legal obligations. However, some parents do not provide complete and accurate income information, despite the possible penalties and consequences. This is a significant issue that has serious consequences for children and families going through the family justice system, as well as for the system as a whole.

Family law practitioners and judges often say that income disclosure issues are one of the most contentious areas of family law. Failure to comply with disclosure obligations can put significant pressure on the family justice system. It may also discourage parents from reaching agreements through family dispute resolution processes, such as mediation. If income cannot be properly determined at the outset, it may also prevent families from benefiting from other family justice services such as administrative child support calculation or recalculation services.[English]

I want to turn now to the costs associated with the non-disclosure of income.

The financial and emotional costs to parents seeking income disclosure are significant. They are legally entitled to financial information from the other parent. However, when financial disclosure is not made, they must ask a court to order that the information be provided. This creates significant costs for families and can lead to overburdening of the family justice system, including the courts. The other parent may still not disclose his or her income information, even after the court has ordered it. In these situations, the court may then impute the income of the other parent.

Although imputing income may work adequately in some situations, it is very difficult for the court to determine a fair amount of support that reflects a parent's true ability to pay in the absence of complete and up-to-date income information. Imputing income may result in child support amounts that are too high, which, in many situations, will not be paid or result in support payments that are too low and thereby prevent children from benefiting from the support of both parents.

Consistent with our government's commitment to poverty reduction and to meeting the needs of low- and middle-income families, Bill C-78 would bring much needed changes to middle-class Canadians. It would limit the negative consequences of income-related disputes for the family justice system and parents. Bill C-78 also proposes much needed changes to help reduce child poverty.

I will turn to one aspect of the law that would be amended here, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act. Amendments to this act would ensure that a separating or divorcing parent's failure to meet their income disclosure obligations would not prevent the establishment of a fair and accurate amount of support. We would amend this particular law to allow the federal government to release an individual's income information, including information from tax returns, to a court for the purpose of establishing, varying, or enforcing a support provision.

The income information to be released would be listed in the regulations, and important safeguards would be included in the act. An application for information under this legislation would not be permitted if the court were of the view that a release of information would jeopardize the safety and security of any person. Where information is released to a court, it must be sealed and kept in a place to which the public has no access.

The release of this income information would help ensure that child support amounts reflect the parent's true capacity to pay. It would also reduce legal costs associated with ensuring income disclosure for a parent, as well as the associated use of court resources. Child support orders would be made more quickly, more accurately, with less conflict and less expense, helping the very women I mentioned at the outset, the 96% of recipients of spousal and child support in Canada who are women. (1030) [Translation]

The legislative amendments we are proposing will also allow the disclosure of income information to child support recalculation services. Recent information on a parent's income is needed so that those provincial and territorial recalculation services, which provide an administrative service, can do their job. They are an important tool in ensuring access to justice for parents who pay or receive child support. These services help update child support amounts through a process that is fast, more effective, low cost and non adversarial.

These recalculation services recalculate the amounts indicated in child support orders and agreements based on a parent's current income. However, they cannot proceed with the recalculation on income allocated or when no income information has been provided. In such cases, parents have to go through the courts to amend the child support amount.

These amendments to the act will reduce costs, not only for parents but also for the justice system, by allowing administrative services to recalculate to obtain the income information they need. Agreements with the provinces and territories on the disclosure of information will be updated in order to guarantee the protection of income information disclosed to the services responsible for doing the recalculation. [English]

Bill C-78 also proposes amendments to the garnishment provisions. This act provides for the payment of salaries and pension benefits payable to current and former federal employees to another person to help satisfy family support. Amendments to the legislation would help reduce child poverty by making the process more efficient so that families receive the support they are entitled to in a timely manner. For example, the amendments would prioritize garnishment for family support debts over all other debts, other than debts to the Crown, which allow for earlier garnishment where possible.

In conclusion, separation and divorce can be difficult emotionally and financially for families and children. That most Canadians dutifully meet their obligations when it comes to both th...”

Mr. Arif Virani

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... bill complements that. It is a staggering figure that two million children in this country live in families that have experienced a divorce. It is equally staggering that over a billion dollars of sp...”

Mr. Nick Whalen (St. John's East, Lib.)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...stice services, Bill C-78 is part of our government's commitment to improving access to justice for families going through separation and divorce. Under the pen of retired Supreme Court Justice Cromwell, the action committee on access to justice in civil and family matters stated that early management of legal issues and encouraging informal dispute resolution were key to improving access to justice.

Bill C-78 recognizes the need to improve access to justice and offers guidance, information and tools to help families going through separation and divorce, including people who represent themselves, as well as lawyers and courts involved in family law issues.

Bill C-78 encourages the use of family dispute resolution processes. These are defined as out-of-court processes used by parties to help them resolve their family law disputes. Negotiation, mediation and collaborative law are examples of such processes. These are often less expensive and faster than litigation and allow parents to actively participate in creating arrangements that are in the child's best interests.

Part of the role lawyers play is to ensure that parents who have family law issues have the relevant information on family dispute resolution. Bill C-78 would create a duty for lawyers to tell parents about family justice services that could help them resolve their disputes, and to encourage them to try family dispute resolution where appropriate.

In addition, if the case is before the court, the bill gives judges the option to refer parents to family dispute resolution where available. Bill C-78 also introduces duties for parents involved in a family law matter to try to resolve their issues through a family dispute resolution process where appropriate.

That said, family dispute resolution processes may not be appropriate in all circumstances, including where there is family violence. For this reason, Bill C-78 only encourages the use of these procedures where appropriate. Courts and lawyers must evaluate each of these situations on a case-by-case basis and take into account families' circumstances, including whether there is family violence, before encouraging the use of family dispute resolution. In addition, other service providers, such as certified mediators, play a critical role in screening for family violence and power imbalances in order to promote a fair and equitable process.

There are numerous ways that Bill C-78 would facilitate the resolution of family disputes and help parents reach out of court agreements focused on the best interests of their children. For example, it proposes changes to custody and access language, the definitions in the old version of the act, to use terminology that is more neutral and child focused and reflects the actual tasks of parenting, such as parenting time and other terms used in the act. It also includes a non-exhaustive list of criteria to help determine what is in the child's best interest, as well as criteria to assist parents dealing with relocation issues. This additional information will help parents make informed and child-focused decisions and better understand what the outcome might be if they were to go to court. This in turn is intended to help reduce litigation.

Our government is bringing forward some innovative thinking to help improve the family justice system. There are issues currently determined by courts that are administrative in nature and that could be handled outside of the court. Bill C-78 will expand the range of matters that child support services may address and will allow them to perform tasks currently that were in the sole purview of the court itself.

Many provinces and territories have child support services that recalculate support orders, for instance. Bill C-78 proposes several measures to make these services more efficient. This includes the recalculation of interim child support amounts in Divorce Act orders. In addition, the bill would allow child support services to recalculate child support amounts at the request of a parent, for example, if there were a job loss. Currently, the Divorce Act requires that recalculation be done only at fixed or regular dates.

The bill also includes a new approach allowing for the calculation of initial child support amounts by provincial or territorial child support services, where possible. This will allow administrative services, as opposed to courts, to calculate, based on relevant income information, child support amounts based on child support guidelines.

These proposed additions and improvements to the Divorce Act would make it easier, less costly and less adversarial to determine or recalculate child support amounts. (1040)

Changing Divorce Act orders when parties live in different jurisdictions can also be costly and cumbersome for families. Bill C-78 proposes to improve the process to change a support order for parties living in different provinces or territories.

Currently, two courts are involved, a court in the applicant's province that makes a provisional order and a court in the respondent's jurisdiction that confirms the order. The new process would involve only one court and would eliminate the need for the current first stage hearing, thereby saving time and money. Because this new system mirrors that in most provinces and territories, it would also ensure consistency whether interjurisdictional proceedings are conducted under the provincial legislation or under the Divorce Act.

The bill also includes provisions to improve processes in international child support cases. These changes are an essential step for Canada to become party to the 2007 Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance, which was signed in May 2017.

The 2007 convention is an international agreement that provides a low-cost and efficient legal framework for cross-border establishment, modification, recognition and enforcement of family support obligations. It will be of particular interest to Canadian families and children, as it provides a means for a parent to obtain child support from a former spouse living in a different country.

Another way in which Bill C-78 would increase access to justice and improve the efficiency of the family justice system is by amending the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act. This act is used to help parents enforce support. The bill proposes to amend it to permit, in certain limited circumstances, the release of income information when parents do not provide it.

Accurate income information is key to determining fair child support amounts. This change would help to accurately determine child support amounts and enforce support orders, as well as to reduce time spent in court to obtain this information. Proceedings to obtain this information currently take up a lot of court time and resources and this can be expensive for people who are trying to obtain support and is not a good use of family resources.

When this information is given to a court, it would be sealed and kept in a location to which the public has no access, and the court could make any order necessary to protect the confidentiality of the information.

While the bill encourages resolution of matters outside of the court system, there are some matters that require formal court resolution.

Budget 2018 announced funding to expand unified family courts, fulfilling one of the Minister of Justice's mandate letter commitments to Canadians. The family court in my riding of St. John's East has benefited from this.

Unified family courts provide one-stop shopping for the family justice system by combining jurisdiction over all family law matters into one court. They also provide access to a range of family justice services, such as family law information centres and mediation services to help families through a range of family law issues, including separation and divorce and other services.

Funding is essential for the delivery of family justice services which fall within provincial and territorial jurisdiction. In budget 2017 our government committed $16 million per year for family justice services on an ongoing basis. This funding will increase Canadians' access to family justice by supporting provincial and territorial programs and services, such as mediation, parent information, education and support enforcement.

We have to work together to improve the accessibility and the efficiency of the Canadian family justice system. Bill C-78, along with the expansion of unified family courts and sustained funding for family justice services, will help support Canadian families going through separation and divorce and the over two million Canadian children who live in separated or divorced families. This is a great step forward and I trust that the changes we have proposed will bring posi...”

Mr. Michael Cooper (St. Albert—Edmonton, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... Canadian society has evolved considerably in these last 33 or 34 years, including the structure of families and, unfortunately, the increased prevalence of divorces and marital breakdown. It is about time that Parliament moved forward to consider a comprehensive update to the Divorce Act.

In terms of the substance of this bill, let me say that we are open to looking at it carefully. On the surface, it would seem that this bill contains a number of positive measures. Among the key substantive aspects of this bill is the updating of terminology, encouraging families to settle disputes outside of the court, improving child support enforcement, and preserving the well-being of impacted children. All of these measures, on the surface, appear to be a step in the right direction. (1055)

In terms of the road to reform, it has been, as I mentioned, a long time coming. We saw a very thorough review undertaken by Justice Cromwell, back in 2013. One of the key recommendations from the Cromwell committee was the need to update terminology. Right now, under the Divorce Act, the terminology is quite adversarial, and that is not helpful as families deal with what is often the most difficult and challenging time couples can face when they are in a situation of marital breakdown.

Among the changes Bill C-78 would make would be to change the language to make it less adversarial, in accordance with the recommendations of the Cromwell committee. In what ways would the bill make the language in the Divorce Act less adversarial? For example, it would replace the term “custody” with the term “contact” and the term “access” with the term “parenting”.

Another aspect of the bill is that it would encourage parties to try to settle disputes through mediation or alternative dispute resolution. Far too much money is spent in our courts, and to the degree that families can settle their marital matters outside of court, outside of what is, by definition, an ad...”

Mr. Michael Cooper

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...tary secretary in a constructive manner to hopefully craft the best possible legislation for women, families and children in Canada.”

Mr. Michael Cooper

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...mic issue of family violence. We have always stood up for the safety and well-being of children and families as Conservatives. Again, I reiterate that I, along with all my colleagues, intend to work c...”

Mr. Michael Cooper

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...wyers, I guess, to some degree, benefit, although I do not think any lawyer takes comfort in seeing families in these disputes expending all kinds of money to no end.

As I mentioned, it is encou...”

Mr. Randeep Sarai

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...se four would have a great impact on making the process more efficient and more cost-preventive for families.”

Mr. Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale, Lib.)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... of the child and would make federal family law more responsive to the modern-day needs of Canadian families. Family law, as has been noted by all of the speakers today, is both complex and broad and as a result, there are significant gaps and inefficiencies, which existing laws have not adequately addressed. Bill C-78 seeks to remedy these gaps through a wide-ranging series of common-sense adjustments.

Today I will focus on six key elements of Bill C-78: strengthening the best interests of the child provisions, enshrining primary consideration into family law, important changes to terminology, modernizing the Divorce Act, creating contact orders and setting new relocation guidelines.

Allow me to start with the best interests of the child test. The best interests of the child test has been a fundamental part of family law in Canada and in many other countries for decades. Under the Divorce Act, courts must consider only a child's best interests when making decisions about who may care for or make decisions about a child. The Divorce Act, however, gives surprisingly little guidance regarding this test.

In 1998, the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access called for the Divorce Act to include a list of criteria considered to be in the best interests of the child. Many others have added to this call, including academics, child advocates and the Canadian Bar Association. With Bill C-78, our government is answering their calls and taking important steps to address existing gaps and inefficiencies in the family law system.

The proposed criteria for the best interests of the child would emphasize critical elements of a child's life. They include a child's stage of development, ties to loved ones, cultural identity, and personal views and preferences. However, the list is not closed or exhaustive. If a particular factor in a child's life is especially relevant—for example, if the child has medical needs or participates in competitive sporting events—courts could consider these factors where appropriate and relevant.

Adding definitional certainty to the best interests of the child test in the Divorce Act promotes children's interests. It also promotes another one of the bill's key goals: improving access to justice. In some Canadian jurisdictions, over three-quarters of family law litigants are self-represented. Also, a list of best interests of the child criteria in the Divorce Act would help parents better understand their legal responsibilities. It would assist them to better frame their negotiations on arrangements for their children and more often come to agreements outside the court system. Alternatively, if parents cannot agree on their own, this clarity would help self-represented litigants to better frame their arguments in legal proceedings.

Allow me now to move to the second point, which is primary consideration. The reference to “primary consideration” is crucial to the values embodied in Bill C-78. Emphasizing primary consideration would ensure that courts prioritize a child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being. Courts would weigh all other criteria in regard to this primary consideration. Doing so would ensure that the best interests of the child remain paramount in protecting families from the negative outcomes often related to separation and divorce.

I will move to th...”

Mr. Jim Eglinski (Yellowhead, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...C-78 is well overdue and is needed.

I listened in depth to the conversation about separation, families relocating, the court sitting down and evaluating a mechanism to look at both sides, and th...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...it can through these difficult circumstances. We understand very well how traumatic divorces are on families.

We are overall pleased with the intentions of Bill C-78, especially the promotion of child welfare and the measures to combat family violence. We have always stood up for and believed in the safety and well-being of children and of families.

However, where this goes off the tracks for me is in the fact that the counterintuit...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ere the legal system needs to do what it needs to do to deal with very violent circumstances within families. That is important. I am not denying it.

It was not I who compared the legislation to the Titanic, but Robert Harvie, a family lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. He is also the advisory board member for the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, and past law society of Alberta bencher. This is a man who knows his stuff. He indicated:

While we uniformly acknowledge how damaging and inappropriate litigation is to resolve family disputes, at the same time, at the same time, funding and support for alternate forms of resolution is so scant as to be almost nonexistent, while the funding for the litigation machine only grows.

I personally know of scenarios where couples find themselves in an overwhelmingly difficult circumstance, where both individuals realize they are facing divorce and know that they have to get through that process and are very concerned for their children. I am talking about scenarios where we could do a great deal more to help couples deal with the circumstances they are facing through other methods than having to go through the legal system, where lawyers charge huge amounts of money and litigation is the natural path for them to take.

This is unlike what my friend did, an amazing lawyer who solved most of the issues that came to his desk through arbitration and mediation without going to court and without expensive litigation. That is the point I am trying to make. That is not a priority of the legal system when people within it are told to go work at legal aid, rather than the government investing within Canada in these types of services in our legal system to see healthy families continue to thrive.”

Mr. Blake Richards (Banff—Airdrie, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... bill is an expression by the federal government that progress was needed in the way that separated families were treated under the law”. I would certainly agree with that. It goes on to say that “However, much of what is being proposed has been already implemented in out-of-court settlements, as well as in decisions made by judges.”

The second article is entitled “What’s in a name? Divorce Act amendment not enough to reduce parental conflict”. I will not read any passages from it, because I think the title speaks for itself.

The third is the article my colleague read from, but I want to read from some different parts of it. It is entitled “Bill C-78 amendments to the Divorce Act: ‘Rearranging the deck chairs’”. (1210)

I would like to read a little from that article. First, the author, someone who has vast experience in family law in my province of Alberta, says:

I would go further and suggest most of Bill C-78 is an expression of “good intention” without sufficient substance to accomplish real change.

That is quite a typical statement that could be made about many of the initiatives of the government. Often it tends to focus on symbolism, talking points and these kinds of things, rather than on really accomplishing anything that would achieve the kinds of objectives it often speaks about. I am not going to say that this is necessarily the case. The author of this article is certainly positing that, though.

The author goes on to say:

Also noted is that Bill C-78 is 190 pages long. The current Divorce Act is only 41 pages long. As self-represented litigants now comprise 80 per cent of the parties before many courts, one might reasonably ask how they will navigate through legislation that is over four times longer than the previous version—which was already difficult for a nonlawyer to digest.

So. My take?

Bill C-78 is a huge new ship, with some very nice looking aesthetic additions—but, with too few lifeboats.

And the iceberg is still coming.

Those are comments of the author of that article.

Obviously there may be some things we need to look at that may need to be addressed with this piece of legislation. However, as I have already stated, I believe that the objectives that are trying to be achieved here are laudable. I certainly hope that this bill will actually be found to address those or can be amended or changed in ways that would make sure that it would do just that. It is something that does need to be done. It is important.

I certainly discovered, during my time both as a member of Parliament and, as I mentioned, in my experience with family law, with my son, which ultimately worked out positively, that there were far too many parents, mainly fathers, and grandparents whose children and grandchildren were being deprived of time with them. That needs to be fixed.

That is part of the reason I am so proud to be part of the Conservative Party of Canada, which has the following policy regarding shared parenting. I will read the policy into the record:

The Conservative Party believes that in the event of a marital breakdown, the Divorce Act should grant joint custody and/or shared parenting, unless it is clearly demonstrated not to be in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should be allowed to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children and grandchildren, unless it is demonstrated not to be in the best interest of the child.

That is a very important principle and one that I fully support and believe in. It is one we should be seeking to achieve here.

I will just tell a brief personal story. I was a child of divorce as well. My parents divorced when I was about 12 years old. I have two brothers. After my parents divorced, I spent some time living with each of my parents, and actually both of my brothers did the same, at different times.

My parents, as in most divorces, I suppose, certainly did not get along very well. To this day, I would say that they probably do not get along very well. The key point, however, is that they were able to put aside those differences when it came to their children and tried to do what was right to make sure that their children were able to maintain a strong, positive relationship with both parents. Even though, at times, my brothers and I did not live in the same house, and, in fact, lived in cities that were an hour apart, they made sure that we had the opportunity to continue to have a very strong relationship as siblings. I would say today that I have maintained that with my brothers and with both my parents. That was important, but it is not a common enough story.

That is why these changes are so important and why it is important that this bill is done in the right way and is not just about symbolism, that it is actually going to accomplish the objectives.

I certainly hope that after examination in committee, and after any amendments that might be required, it will be possible, through this piece of legislation, for more children and more families to achieve that goal of ensuring that the relationship remains with both parents and with a...”

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...protecting children, particularly children who are exposed to domestic violence, children born into families, through no fault of their own, who experience things that can have a generational impact. ...”

Mrs. Sylvie Boucher (Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...

The Conservative Party is working and will always work in the interests of victims and their families, and we believe that, in cases of divorce, the Divorce Act should allow for shared custody or shared parenting responsibilities unless it is clearly demonstrated that this is not in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should maintain close, meaningful relationships with their children and grandchildren—unless it is shown that this is not in the bests interests of the child, of course.

All of this will have financial implications. To expand unified family courts, the government is planning to spend $77.2 million over four years beginning in 2019-20, plus another $20 million per year to create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Federal family laws have not been updated significantly in 20 years. According to the 2016 census, there were over 2 million children whose parents were separated or divorced, which is a huge number. Between 1991 and 2011, 5 million Canadians separated or divorced, which is also a huge number. Of those 5 million people, 38% had a child with their ex-spouse at the time they separated or divorced. Some 1.16 million children of separated or divorced parents lived in single-parent households, and 1.2 million children lived with a step-parent.

Single-parent families, especially those headed by women, which was my case for a very long time, are more likely to be poor than two-parent families. That is so true. Studies have shown that child support is a key factor in lifting families out of poverty following separation or divorce.

It is hard for single mothers or single fathers—let us not forget about them—to feed their children properly if they are earning $12, $13, $14, or $15 an hour and not getting support payments. We know that young children need a lot of protein. As they grow they eat a lot. Apparently boys eat more than girls do. I have daughters only so I cannot speak to that, but we do have to take that into consideration. We have to focus on single-parent families, but we must put the child first in a bill such as this. The child's well-being is essentia...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nt of it. The 2016 census shows that over two million children were living in separated or divorced families. Five million Canadians separated or divorced between 1991 and 2011. Of those, 38% had a child together at the time of their separation or divorce. This affects over one-third of the Canadian population, children of those who are part of a divorce situation. In addition, 1.16 million children of separated or divorced parents were living in a lone parent family. Another 1.02 million children were living in step families.

I will also be taking another perspective. I have had meetings with several of my constituents on the implications and impact of Bill C-78, and of course I am here to represent my constituents. Later on, because I received several letters, I will be reading one letter in particular into the record. The hope is that when the bill does go to committee, there will be reflection on what people across the country would like to see as changes to this legislation.

There is a lot to support in Bill C-78. It is rather robust legislation, 190 pages. When we contrast that to the Divorce Act, at 41 pages, there is a lot to consider and reflect on within the bill. There are some things to support and some things that need to be changed when we get to committee.

The reduction in delays of the justice system would save costs. Another thing I have witnessed over my years in the emergency services is the devastating impact divorce can have on families. There is a cost not just to fathers but to mothers as well, and that impacts the family.

What does Bill C-78 attempt to do? The bill was tabled on May 22. The proposed bill amends the Divorce Act to, among other things, replace terminology related to custody and access with terminology related to parenting. This is a simple modification, but it reflects modern times. It establishes non-exhaustive list criteria with respect to the best interest of the child. All of us in the House, and quite frankly across the country, are interested in the best interest of the child. It creates duties for parties and legal advisers to encourage the use of family dispute resolution processes. As I said before, the cost associated with divorce is debilitating for many. Some parents simply cannot recover from those costs.

There are things to like about the legislation. It would modernize the Divorce Act, but, more important, as we get it to committee, we will get to hear from stakeholders. (1240)

As I said earlier, I want to read into the record a letter that I received from Mr. Andrew Corbett, a constituent of mine. He is part of a Simcoe County support group called “Fathers Equal Parenting”. This is a letter that was subsequent to a meeting we had in my constituency office in Barrie—Innisfil and it provides a different perspective, a different context.

Today we are debating Bill C-78, which the government has proposed, but it is also important, I believe, and I think you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, to find those contrasting views, those things that can help parents across the country. The letter states:

As one of your constituents I am writing to express my concerns about Child Custody legislation and the recent Bill C-78. Bill C-78 fails to give sufficient credence to the views of the vast majority of Canadians who support a Rebuttable Presumption for Equal Shared Parenting when it comes to Child Custody law.

Although there may be some plausible, positive measures in the new government initiative, Bill C-78, there are a number of serious deficits in this proposed reform of child custody legislation. Notwithstanding, I believe that there are tenable solutions to significantly improve Bill C-78.

Andrew further wrote:

Canadians overwhelmingly support Equal Shared Parenting. In recent polls, nearly 80% support Equal Shared Parenting, country-wide. Moreover, many countries have adopted shared parenting, or have endorsed shared parenting, and are proposing legislative changes. Furthermore, social science research and literature has strongly came in favour of shared parenting, concluding that children in these relationships have superior academic, emotional, social and economic futures with drastically lower incidence of substance abuse, crime, and incarceration.

In view of the changes in social norms and family structures in the intervening 33 years since the current Divorce Act was passed, our child custody legal system requires fundamental structural changes. While the government initiative with bill C-78 should be commended for its housekeeping changes, we really need to make lives better for children and their parents, with reform of a more fundamental nature. I ask you to advocate a number of amendments to Bill C-78. I ask that you advocate for legislative change that incorporates accepted social science research findings and the consistently expressed views of the Canadian public. A rebuttable presumption in favour of Equal Shared Parenting is the appropriate course of action in light of the research and the consistent polling data over many years (ie. about 80% in favour). Interests groups, including Bar Associations and other interest groups, will surely oppose. In summary, the following points need to be incorporated into Bill C-78.

Canada needs a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parenting. This principle should be the starting point for “best interests of the child” deliberations.

Adopt continuity of family relationships as the definitional basis for the “best interests of the child” standard.

Amend proposed relocation clauses to place the onus on the relocating parent for changes in parenting responsibilities and arrangements.

Include arbitration as an explicit component of dispute resolution options.

Include provision for a “Parental Coordinator” to mediate and, if necessary, to break deadlock situations in day-to-day implementation of the Parenting Order.

Andrew goes on to say:

On paper the proposed Bill C-78 seems to support some admirable measures but I ask that you advocate for a less adversarial family justice system with implementation of the following:

Further implementation of the Unified Family Court;

Support for alternative and non-adversarial dispute resolution (e.g. expansion of such programs as “393 Mediate” where free, low cost mediation is provided in courts.);

Increased legal Aid Funding (wider access to justice in the family system is essential);

In conclusion, a Rebuttable Presumption in favour of Equal Shared Parenting will set the stage for equality and serve to reduce conflict stemming from unwarranted senses of entitlement; reduce excess legal expense, thus allocating family finances for the needs of the family and children; and promote the “best interest” of Canadian children to enjoy a decent relationship with both parents. Many like-minded Canadians support these changes. Now please propose these changes.

He thanks me for reading the letter. I will submit this into the record.

I have asked Mr. Corbett to come to committee once this bill passes through the House of Commons so that he can testify and submit his own view on where Bill C-78 needs to be approved. Many people believe that Bill C-78 is a good piece of legislation, but there are some amendments that could provide a better, solid piece of legislation that is in the best interests of Canadian children and their families.”

Mr. John Brassard

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ok after our children to make sure that we have a safe and secure environment for not only them but families, understanding that we need to make sure that there is a responsibility on the part of parents to be looking after their children. Not all of that responsibility lies on the part of the government. At least that is a fundamental belief that I have. We need to encourage parents to accept the responsibility of parenthood.

I will say in contrast to that that there are some difficulties and some hypocrisy on the part of the government, specifically as it relates to Bill C-75 where it has made some changes that directly impact crimes against children. However, I do not want to get into the weeds on Bill C-75.

Absolutely governments across this country, and throughout the history of this country, have always believed in the rights of children while making sure that we have a safe and secure environment for children and families as well.”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...te and fair maintenance is determined in the case of a marriage breakdown or divorce, that supports families, particularly low-income families who sometimes have a tough time ensuring that fair maintenance is provided. I suppose that contributes to it.

I hope, though, that this is not the only thing we will rely on to reduce child poverty. I am a new MP, a first-time MP in this chamber, but I can look back at the history. Back in the day when Ed Broadbent was an MP, many years ago, he actually proposed a motion in this House. It was unanimously passed, by every single member of this House. It said we needed to end child poverty.

However, to this day, we still do not have a national strategy to get there. Why is that? We have one piece here. I am sure government members will get up and say the government is doing this and that, and it is all fantastic and wonderful. However, it is not really. Those are all little patchwork pieces coming into play. Bill C-78 will contribute to that, but it is also just a patchwork piece.

What if we actually brought forward a national strategy to end child poverty, a comprehensive approach that would look at all the different approaches to achieving that goal? Would that not be in the best interests of a child? We would actually be able to realize the words and the intention of this very chamber, when Ed Broadbent brought forward his motion that received unanimous consent so many years ago. (1305)

That would be a positive way forward. I hope we can achieve that. It would be a significant piece toward ending child poverty.

The other thing that would be a significant piece toward ending child poverty would be the provision of affordable housing. Many people have a tough time accessing affordable housing. Where I come from in Vancouver it is almost impossible to get access to safe, secure, affordable housing.

The government will say it has put forward a national affordable housing strategy, which was introduced two years ago. The problem with that is that 90% of that money will not flow until after the next election. It is not as if people who are homeless today can say they will sleep under an alcove and feel really good about it until two years from now when the money flows.

Also, when the money actually does flow, having come from the non-profit sector I know it often takes, at minimum, three to four years to get a project built. That means it is another five, six or seven years before someone actually gets access to housing.

Access to housing would be a significant component to the fight against poverty. Would it not be great if in budget 2019 the government said it would flow the money right now, because the crisis is before us right now?

All of that would contribute to this equation.

I have met some women in my community of Vancouver East who are faced with domestic dispute violence but do not feel they have the option to walk away from the relationship, because they cannot access housing and have no other means of supporting themselves. This is heartbreaking.

Therefore, while the bill aims to provide some support for that, we have to look deeper than that. We need to make sure that women and families also have the option of walking away from a relationship by ensuring they have some resourc...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...On the question around linguistic and cultural recognition particularly for indigenous children and families, absolutely I would support that. This is Canada's shame in history, with the residential s...”

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...n, as that is not only a large percentage but is a growing percentage of the arrangements that many families have in Canada now.”

Mr. Arif Virani

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...statistics that I have unearthed.

Two million Canadian children live in separated or divorced families. Sixty per cent of all cases where there is a maintenance enforcement program involved are ...”

Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...lls have to get paid and children have to eat. Budgets need to be balanced, something that Canadian families do all the time. Our Prime Minister is unable to keep that promise.

The other promise...”

Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...lent job when it came to shared custody and shared parenting. That has become a nuance for many new families. If I was asked 20 years ago, when I look at that, shared parenting was not really an option. Now many families are looking at this. When the Canada Revenue Agency gave people the opportunity to divide their benefits, it became very beneficial for many of those families.

The only question I will have for the government with respect to this, what does 40% mean? A lot of times when we look at those numbers, it can be very difficult. We have to recognize that when someone has custody of his or her child, is that child in school? Is that parent picking the child up from school? Is the child sleeping in that parent's home? So many factors have to be looked at. I want to ensure that when we talk about the 40% for parenting, that it is looked at with a microscope.

As a person who has had a divorce, I understands what it is like to raise children who have come from that situation. It has been very difficult. If we talk about child support, I am pleased to see in the bill that child support does not have to go in front of a judge or to a court and that it can be done at an administrative level. For many families, this is a huge barrier, whether it is having to pay the legal fees or having to go through the entire process. Making it easier for families is very important.

We have to understand that there are barriers to that as well. My ...”

Mr. Arif Virani (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... its sexual education curriculum to bring it into the 21st century, to address things like same-sex families, gender identity, online bullying and consent, but the new Ontario government has seen fit ...”

Mr. Dane Lloyd (Sturgeon River—Parkland, CPC)

October 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...als to recognize that their carbon tax-and-spend agenda is failing Canadian businesses and Canadian families.”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (La Prairie, Lib.)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...victory and wish them all the best in the years to come. There is nothing I want more than to serve families alongside these new MNAs.”

Ms. Anju Dhillon (Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, Lib.)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rd the HMCS Charlottetown, I realized just how much the sailors sacrifice. They are away from their families for months at a time. They go beyond the call of duty. They risk their lives. Their motto, ...”

Hon. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...iberals are in favour of putting the comforts of criminals ahead of the rights of victims and their families.

Under our Conservative government, we listened to Canadians and took steps to correc...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, our government places the highest priority on ensuring veterans and their families have the support and services they need when and where they need them.

The member kno...”

Mr. Omar Alghabra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Diversification, Lib.)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nt into Canada.

This means more jobs and more prosperity for hard-working Canadians and their families. The CPTPP would deliver 10 new markets on a level playing field so more Canadian businesse...”

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)

October 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...been instructed that the fine art of diplomacy does not tolerate amateurs.

The livelihoods of families are at stake. Canadians cannot afford a government that puts its own political interests ah...”

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ght feel to people who live with the pain of crimes that have been committed against them and their families, the conclusions of this review that has already been undertaken, from what I understood fr...”

Mr. Michel Picard (Montarville, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ndments or changes.

Our government recognizes the impact these decisions can have on victims' families, and we certainly do not take these matters lightly. However, we also recognize the importa...”

Mr. Adam Vaughan (Spadina—Fort York, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...fortunately, it is the centre of child poverty in Canada. Despite historic investments in children, families and housing by this government, more than one in four Toronto children live in poverty.

...”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. It was a Liberal government that created the supply management syste...”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. A Liberal government created supply management, and it is a Liberal ...”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. We fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. After all, it was a Liberal government that created supply managemen...”

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

October 2nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, cases like this one are heartrending for all Canadians, especially for the families of the victims. Through the review that I have requested, we will determine whether all rel...”

Mrs. Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...s, and there is no more important job than caring for seniors and children. They leave behind their families to care for our families in Canada. It is a sacrifice that is hard for many parents to contemplate, but it speaks to just how strong their will is to build a better life for their families. We need to do more to bring these families together sooner.

Filipino Canadians are making a difference in all walks of life, fro...”

Mrs. Salma Zahid

October 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... advocate for them and will continue to be a strong advocate to make sure that we can reunite their families in Canada as soon as possible.”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...e many Filipino caregivers here in Canada who are far away from their original homes and from their families.

Much of the Filipino community's human rights and work stems from their own community's experience and that is what I would really like to focus on today.

When I rose in question period last week, I asked the Prime Minister about addressing the need for a national, affordable, accessible and high-quality child care program in Canada. The lack of such a program has forced families to navigate a patchwork of options, not all equally accessible or effective for their needs.

For a large number of families here, hiring a caregiver from the Philippines is their best option.

I have had the honour of working with and getting to know personally Filipino caregivers from across the country. Their dedication to their work, to their community and to their family is truly inspiring. However what our immigration system subjects them to is an injustice.

Under the old live-in caregiver program, we forced Filipino women to come to Canada, leave their families behind, live in the home of their employer and work for at least two years before they could apply for permanent resident status and reunite with their family here in Canada.

Caregivers in Canada are treated differently from any other stream of economic migrants in that respect. Filipino caregivers must jump through more hoops and cannot bring their family with them at the outset.

The live-in caregiver program was ended after far too many stories of employer abuse and hardship were made known to the public.

Despite knowing about the systemic hardships involved in the program and the risk of abuse, thousands of Filipino women left their families in the Philippines to come to Canada to care for our families, hoping that one day, after all their hard work, they would be able to secure a better life for their own children by finally reuniting with them here.

Tragically, their PR applications were not given much priority in terms of processing efforts or immigration levels plan space. As a result, an application backlog was created and swelled to tens of thousands. That meant that for thousands of caregivers in Canada, in addition to having to wait two years to even apply, it would take years before an application would be decided.

I met caregivers who, due to these unjust delays, were separated from their families for nearly 10 years. They missed life's milestones. They missed graduations. Relationships and marriages broke down. Loved ones passed away. All while they waited.

In addition to those hardships, they had to keep paying to renew their work permits and they had to keep paying for their family members to have their medical exams done.

They had to continue to respond to IRCC on time, but IRCC did not have that same responsibility to respond to them. In some cases, children aged out of the system. That is, by the time the application finalized, the dependent children were too old to be considered dependants. Families were permanently broken up by our system's backlogs.

Since getting a true sense of this issue I have been taking on live-in caregiver applications from across Canada and my office continues to advocate tirelessly for their completion. (1130)

I was pleased to see that the minister announced that 80% of the backlog would be clear by the end of this year, but at the same time I was heartbroken. It means that for 20% of those families, there will be another Christmas apart. It does not matter how many stories I hear, because I can never really imagine what that feels like. However, these women are so strong. In the face of all of this hardship, they continue to be some of the most dedicated, optimistic people I have ever met. The hope of bringing their family together keeps them going.

The current caregivers program, caring for children and caring for high medical needs, has seen improvements to the system, but it has also put in place additional hoops that caregivers must jump through to stay. The minister quietly had the department post online notice that these programs would be ending next year. I have questioned the minister in this place on what plan there is to replace these programs. It is still unclear.

It is my hope that all members of this House support the motion before us today to recognize the contributions and heritage of the Filipino Canadian community. However, it is also my opinion that to truly recognize those contributions, we must work together to put in place a just caregiver immigration stream, one that recognizes that if they are good enough to work here, they are good enough to stay. That means permanent residence on arrival, a stream that has in mind the best interests of not just the employer's family but of the employee's family as well. That means ending the forced separation of caregivers from their families. Let us not just recognize the contributions of the Filipino community to our country; let us commit to making sure that people are no longer forced to spend even one more Christmas apart.

There is still much work to be done. In addition to this issue, there is also the medical inadmissibility situation, whereby some of the caregivers are forced to leave their family members behind because one member of their family unit has a medical inadmissibility issue. Because of that, the entire family is being rejected. We have to ask what is wrong with this picture. Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, yet we have a policy in place that discriminates against people with disabilities. This is wrong. Caregivers are impacted by this. We want to honour them, and creating a heritage month to recognize the Filipino community is welcome and absolutely to be supported.

To honour that motion and the words behind it, let us also put policies in place and change our immigration policy to ensure that those women who come here to take care of our families are not leaving their families behind, that we are not forcing the break-up of families. We can do this. Canada can do better. Let us honour the Filipino Canadian community with a...”

Mr. Bob Saroya (Markham—Unionville, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...inalienable right to freedom and independence”.

Celebrations are held each year at this time. Families and friends gather together. There are often parades and fireworks. In my riding of Markham...”

Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan—St. Paul, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...were strong. They were highly skilled. They were determined to make a life for themselves and their families, and that is exactly what they did. The community grew. By 1972, another 1,211 garment workers in total had come to Winnipeg. Today, the community exceeds 77,305 active citizens.

Their total population in Canada is approaching a million right now. According to the 2016 census, there were 837,000 Filipinos. It is a strong and vibrant community, as we have heard from others. However, it is also one that understands the importance of democracy and political activism. Liberal democracy has been a vital goal of Filipinos throughout time. We have seen that play out in Canadian politics, in their activities at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

I am proud to say that Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan actually lives in my riding of Kildonan—St. Paul. He was the first member of Parliament of Filipino heritage to be elected into this House in 1988. He served until 1997. I wish Dr. Rey well. He is strong, healthy and still politically active.

Fifty years ago, the women came to the garment industry primarily to make a big difference, and that is exactly what they did. When they came, they got a free ticket to Winnipeg and $125 spending money. We can only imagine. I am hoping they also got a parka if they came in November.

It was a tough group of women who came. They earned $1.20 an hour doing piecework, which is not easy work. Did they give up or go back? No. They stayed. They shared a house or accommodations, and they worked together. Now they are a thriving community of professionals, health care workers, administrative workers, tradespeople, entrepreneurs and politicians, and are well integrated throughout Canadian society.

We see many of them involved in schools or at church. On Sundays they are often barbecuing at Kildonan Park. They bring their fishing heritage and traditions, and we see many rods in the Red River. Across many of the 100,000 lakes in Manitoba, we see Filipino families catching fish for the barbecue later on at Kildonan Park. We see them in sports, in culture...”

Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... year to modernize military family support programs. This will provide more support to our military families when members are deploying or during long periods of absence. We are also helping to stabilize family life for Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, which frequently have to relocate. Through our seamless Canada initiative, we have started...”

Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...always getting breaks. We want to make sure that we keep our streets and communities safe, and that families of victims have an effective voice.

As Conservatives, we are very proud of our record...”

Mr. James Bezan

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ould be helping them. By doing that, we will be able to get that help to military members and their families quicker.”

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, NDP)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e topic here today and I do want to set that aside. The goal here is removing, as I have heard from families, from veterans and from serving members, a major obstacle to those who need help with serio...”

Mr. Earl Dreeshen (Red Deer—Mountain View, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ess. Conservative are committed to keeping our streets and communities safe for Canadians and their families. We took decisive, concrete steps to hold offenders accountable for their actions, which ar...”

Hon. Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rs are partnering with our government to build 161 affordable housing units for low-income seniors, families and individuals. This affordable housing project in Calgary was the first to receive federa...”

Mr. Robert Morrissey (Egmont, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ves of Captain Glen DesRoches and Moe Getson, it reminded me of the risk faced by fishers and their families every time they take to the water. I would like to take this opportunity to send my heartfe...”

Mrs. Sherry Romanado (Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ll seniors and to recognize the invaluable contributions they have made and continue to make to our families, workplaces, and communities, and to Canada.[English]

Seniors worked hard for us, and...”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...This agreement will be good for Canadian workers and businesses. It will also be good for Canadian families.”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, I will start with supply management. We fully support our dairy farmers, their families and their communities. This agreement will open up access to markets, but the most importan...”

Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, NDP)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ke concessions on supply management. Unfortunately, today we have our answer. Over 200,000 Canadian families depend on dairy, yet the current government just sacrificed domestic production. Our farmer...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s decision. For once, will the Prime Minister do the right thing and stand up for victims and their families instead of criminals?”

Ms. Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River, NDP)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e active in their communities, contributing so much to society, yet too many are being left behind. Families struggle to support their elderly loved ones. Seniors poverty is on the rise. Too many are ...”

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Minister of Health, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...investment of $10 million to improve understanding of mental health for black Canadian youth, their families and communities in order to strengthen informed policies, programs, and interventions. This...”

Mr. Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...financing initiative will increase the amount of affordable rental housing options for middle-class families struggling in expensive housing markets across Canada?”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...uring a $2 million investment from the rental construction financing initiative, which will give 20 families in Kitchener a safe and affordable place to live.

This is all part of the national ho...”

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we fully support our dairy producers, their families and their communities. It was a Liberal government that created the supply management syste...”

Mr. John Brassard

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the previous government was, in contrast to the current government, to look after victims and their families to make sure that within the criminal justice system they were looked after. The emphasis in the Victims Bill of Rights was not on criminals but on the victims.

This piece of legislation would enshrine the Victims' Bill of Rights into the National Defence Act, putting a statute of limitations of six months on summary hearing cases and clarifying what cases should be handled by a summary hearing. Bill C-71 would have instituted these changes as well had it passed the previous Parliament.

The main difference between this legislation and Bill C-71 is the addition of the Gladue decision into the National Defence Act. This addition will mean that aboriginal members of the Canadian Forces facing charges under the National Defence Act would face lighter punishments and special consideration if convicted. (1520)

We have heard on this side of the House during the debate all day that it could result in sentences that are less harsh versus other CAF members, so the question of fairness comes into it. Members could undermine operational discipline, morale and anti-racism policies.

The vast majority of Bill C-77 is based on the previous Conservative government's bill. We are going to support this bill, but we are going to seek some amendments at the committee stage. Excuse the cynicism, but it is our hope that this bill and some of those amendments that come at committee will be looked at by the government side. I know that we will have lots of stakeholders who come to committee. There will be recommendations from those stakeholders, including first nations communities and other advocates for military justice and civil justice in this country. It is our hope that the government will listen to all the information that comes forward and will deal with some of those considerations. Again, the government has not shown that commitment in the past to being open to many of the recommendations, not just from the Conservative side but from the NDP side as well. We are hoping that the Liberals will do that.

The previous bill had hundreds of consultations. They had stakeholders. Victims and members of communities came forward and spoke to Bill C-71. We landed at a good place with that piece of legislation. However, the Gladue decision certainly made changes to that.

I am fortunate, as you are, Mr. Speaker, to be close to a military base, base Borden, or camp Borden, as it was known in the past. In the time I have spent at base Borden and with base commander Atherton, as well as Chief Warrant Officer Charette, many people who serve have come and gone. When I was the critic for veterans affairs, I used to travel across the country meeting with military members, veterans and stakeholders and their families. The first question I would ask when I was in front of them was how many had gone through b...”

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the criminal impacted their lives, how this activity has destroyed, for example, the lives of their families.

The Victims Bill of Rights also talks about restitution orders and the fact that victims have the right to have the court consider making restitution to them by the offender.

There are a number of other things in the Victims Bill of Rights, but that lays the foundation for us for Bill C-77. The bill is about enshrining that Victims Bill of Rights in the National Defence Act. It also puts a statute of limitations of six months on summary hearing cases.

We heard this morning about the various levels of discipline and how the defence minister , if we trust him, was trying to make some changes that would speed up some of the discipline cases on lesser offences. We are hoping that what the Liberals are saying is actually true.

This is virtually a copy of something that was presented three years ago by the former Conservative government just before the last election. I guess the good thing is, as I mentioned, the Liberals have taken this on and have decided that they are going to bring the bill forward in much the same fashion and structure that it was before and introduce those changes.

There are some differences. We have talked a bit about them as well. One of the main differences in this bill, and probably will be one of the main things that will be discussed at committee, is the addition of the Gladue decision in the National Defence Act. For those people who are not familiar with that, it instructs the courts to take into consideration an aboriginal person's background when he or she is sentenced. On occasion, when that is applied, it may mean that the sentencing itself or the sentencing process will be different for that individual than it would be for a non-aboriginal person. (1545)

People have questioned whether this should be considered in the military. Is it appropriate that in the military, where everyone is subject to the same structures of discipline, where we try to bring about equality and equal participation, someone would have a different sentencing structured or a different level of punishment than other people would based on these kinds of considerations? I am sure we will be bringing forward those issues and asking those questions at committee.

Our government made it a priority to stand up for victims. That is why we brought forward the Victims Bill of Rights. That is also why we saw our Bill C-71 come forward prior to the election, in pretty much the form being presented by the current government. We know that the priority of government, on this side of the House anyway, should be to protect the safety of its citizens. We take that responsibility very seriously.

Putting the rights of victims back into the centre of the criminal justice system was important to us. It was something we spoke about many times and made it the centre of a number of different pieces of legislation, the guarantee that victims would have the right to have a more effective voice in the system and that they would be treated with courtesy and compassion. I think we are all familiar with situations in the past years where often victims seemed to be harassed more than they were treated with compassion and respect when they came forward with charges. We were determined to try to reverse that trend and ensure people were treated with respect, while keeping our streets, our cities and communities safe for Canadians and their families. That was why we took so many concrete steps to hold people accountable for their actions. ...”

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... Minnedosa, Neepawa, and other areas.

They are our friends and our neighbours. They and their families are part of our communities. Many will know that due to our quality of life and the amazing...”

Mr. Larry Maguire

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...es, with French and English, and learning more from each side, as well as the opportunities for the families to be able to use that centre better. This is purely an example of why we wanted to have th...”

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC)

October 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...alling record of putting the rights of dangerous criminals ahead of the rights of victims and their families. Just last week, the Liberals voted against our Conservative motion calling on their Minist...”

Ms. Jennifer O'Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance (Youth Economic Opportunity), Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rams and services that Canadians need while keeping taxes low for small businesses and middle-class families is important to our government, and to all Canadians.

When our government took office more than two years ago, we made a commitment to invest in growth while upholding the principle of fairness for all taxpayers. A fair tax system is key to ensuring that the benefits of a growing economy are felt by more and more people with good, well-paying jobs for the middle class and everyone working hard to join it. The government is taking action on multiple fronts to ensure that all Canadians are paying their fair share of tax.

Let me remind hon. members that one of the government's first actions was to cut taxes for the middle class and raise them on the top 1%. In total, more than nine million Canadians are benefiting from this tax cut. Then we moved to provide simpler, more generous and better targeted support to those Canadian families with children that need it most. We did that by replacing the previous child benefit system with the Canada child benefit. Compared to the old system of child benefits, the Canada child benefit, or CCB, is simpler, more generous and better targeted to those who need it most, and it is tax free. Nine out of 10 families are better off under the CCB, and the benefit has helped lift 521,000 individuals, including nearly 300,000 children, out of poverty. On average, families benefiting from the CCB are receiving $6,800 per year to help put healthy food on the table, pay for lessons and buy clothes and supplies for school. The CCB is especially helpful for those families led by single parents. These families are most often led by single mothers, who have lower total incomes on average, and so benef...”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...f dollars worth of investment because of the government. Investment is fleeing; we are losing jobs, families are worse off than they were before; and we are going in the opposite direction in what mos...”

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... year's Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day, let us pledge our love and support to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives keeping us safe, those who battle with the c...”

Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...sport veterans to the mountaintop by helicopter.

I want to express my sincere respect for the families and descendants of the victims. It is our duty to remember all of the aviators and soldiers...”

Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, NDP)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ing up for my constituents and everything that comes with the challenges facing our underprivileged families, with our transportation issues and access to the shores of the river. It has also meant de...”

Mrs. Sylvie Boucher (Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, CPC)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ts is a supra-constitutional statute, which includes the right to information for victims and their families. It is unacceptable that Tori Stafford's parents were only informed after their child's kil...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ong advocate for veterans in Canada. For their contributions and sacrifices, all veterans and their families deserve to be supported and treated with respect by their government, yet when Mr. Bruyea p...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we have made sure to inform veterans and their families of the benefits and programs available to them. It is important to explain what the pension...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ns for serious crime, be addressed. This will ensure that we continue to support veterans and their families when they need help.”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., let us talk about respect. [Translation]

We on this side of the House fully understand what families go through every time the Conservatives rake up a situation like this. Imagine what these families must be going through. Imagine how painful it is to recall each of these cases.

For p...”

Mr. Richard Martel (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, CPC)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...g that a civilian would no longer be able to receive benefits from a program for veterans and their families if he or she is in prison. If not for the pressure applied by Conservatives, who forced the...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s opportunity to say that this petty politics is insensitive. It shows a lack of compassion for the families. We answered the question. Unlike the Harper Conservatives, we understand that when a veter...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...case.

All I am asking our colleagues opposite is to show some compassion and to think of what families must go through every day. They are putting back on the table a very sensitive and delicate...”

Ms. Kim Rudd (Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...th the OECD and the G7 when it comes to children being able to complete post-secondary education in families where their own parents did not. This means that more young people are able to get the skil...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

September 28th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“..., in the fall of 2017, the government announced small business tax changes that would have punished families for selling their businesses to their children. If a farmer sold his farm to his kids, he would pay a dividend tax rate of nearly 45% instead of a capital gains tax rate of 25%. If he sold that same farm to a foreign multinational, he could pay the lower tax rate.

In other words, there is a massive penalty for farmers selling their farms to their own kids, but a tax break for selling those same farms to a foreign multinational and having that multinational turn those children into tenants on their ancestral lands.

Because of the ferocious backlash led by the Conservatives and spontaneously ignited on the ground by Canadian taxpayers, the government has decided to put that change on hold until after the next election when it will surely be back. However, small businesses and farmers are not stupid. They know what bullet they dodged and are not going to risk having that change brought forward again.

What have many of them done? According to some of the most respected accounting firms in the country, many of them did their farm sales immediately upon learning that the government had put the change on ice. Therefore, those people will pay a one-time tax on that transaction in the 2017 year. After that year is gone, so too will future revenues, because those transactions will not repeat themselves every single year.

Finally, the government proposed to punish families that shared the work and earnings of a company. It calls that “sprinkling”. I can understan...”

Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough—Rouge Park, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...f of Tamil Canadians and their allies in solidarity with the courageous efforts of protesting Tamil families of the disappeared from the north and east of the island. Beginning in February 2017, Tamil families of the disappeared have protested continuously across the north and east for over 500 days....”

Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...gency shelters are 90%, up 10% over the last while. Of that group that are using shelters, more are families with children. They are the fastest-growing percentage of those accessing shelters.

T...”

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ortage of rental housing units, the lack of federal government funding for social housing, too many families spending over 30% of their income on housing and increasing homelessness are only a few examples of the causes and consequences of that crisis.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, housing is considered affordable if it represents 30% or less of a household's income. Households that spend more on housing are considered to be in core housing need.

According to the 2016 National Household Survey, 24% of households spend more than 30% of their total income on housing costs. That is one in four Canadian households. Of Canadian households that are renters 40% spend over 30% of their income on rent.

This means that households in core housing need are too often forced to choose which basic needs they will meet.

In a wealthy country like ours, no one should have to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

The purpose of this motion is to correct this situation and to obtain strong support from the House to ensure that the government meets its international commitments.

A few months ago, the government announced its national housing strategy with great fanfare. The fundamental problem with the strategy is that, as usual, the Liberals are not following through on their promises. I am not casting doubt on the housing minister's goodwill, but he probably needs to talk to the Minister of Finance. When the Minister of Finance announced the funding that would be invested in social infrastructure, including housing, he postponed 90% of those investments until the final year of this government's term.

Despite the urgent and long-standing need for housing, the government thinks it is a good idea to withhold 90% of the money that is supposed to go towards improving living conditions for Canadian families and maybe starting to meet our international commitments. Why is the government withholding this money? Is it so it can be offered up in 2019 as a kind of pre-election treat? That is simply shameful.

That is not all. The vast majority of the funding announced largely depends on increased collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners. Funding that would come from the provinces and the private sector was even included in the national housing strategy, but without their consent.

How long will it take for families affected by the housing crisis to finally see any of this money?

With this motion, we are calling on the government to bring forward 50% of the federal funding allocated to the national housing strategy before the next election and to invest that money in the following: housing for indigenous communities; the construction of new affordable housing, new social housing units and new co-op units; a plan to end homelessness; the renovation of existing social housing and old housing stock; the expansion of rent supplements; and the administration of programs that meet the special needs of seniors and persons with reduced mobility. (1025)

I will now elaborate on a few of these calls for action. The housing situation in indigenous communities could not be more dire, and federal authorities, which have full authority in this area and fiduciary obligations towards indigenous peoples, are aware of this.

I am not making it up when I say that the federal authorities are aware of the situation. As proof, I offer the response to a request for information submitted to the government by my colleague from Timmins—James Bay about the infrastructure needs of first nations. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada had this to say about housing conditions:

According to a needs assessment study based on the National Household Survey 2006, the housing shortage on reserve is expected to rise to approximately 115,000 units by 2031. Data from the 2009-2011 National Assessment of First Nations Water and Wastewater Systems indicates that 20,000 units need to be built on reserve in order to reduce the average number of persons by household to four people per home (on-reserve average), and 81,000 houses are needed to reduce it to the 2.5 Canadian average. Moreover, as of 2011, almost 41% of households on reserve are dwellings in need of major repair and mould or mildew has been reported in 51% of units.

That is what the government said.

Although departmental officials were aware of this situation, the government decided to fund the construction of only 300 new housing units per year in 2016 and 2017, which is only 3% of what is necessary. Moreover, if we take into consideration the fact that the housing shortage will rise to over 115,000 units over the next 15 years, it becomes very clear that the government will have to do a lot more to meet housing needs in indigenous communities and ensure that they too have the right to housing.

We are also calling on the government to invest in the construction of new affordable housing, social housing and co-operative housing units, as well as in the renovation of existing social housing and old housing stock. This is probably not the first time that members have heard me talk about this, because it has been my pet issue for a number of years now. However, it seems I need to repeat myself.

Until the federal government withdrew from the social housing sector in 1994, nearly 650,000 social housing units were built in Canada under long-term agreements with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Those agreements, effective for 25 to 50 years, made it possible for social housing providers to give rent subsidies so that tenants did not have to spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Hundreds of these agreements have gradually been expiring over the past decade or so. From 2006 to 2013, over 45,000 social housing units were affected by the expiry of agreements, and that has had an obvious impact on poorer families. Just last year, the number of households affected climbed to 140,000.

Despite all th...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t the Canadian government's renewed involvement will have as big an impact as possible for Canadian families in the decade to come.

Is she aware that approximately one-third of the more than $40...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s and all orders of government. As I will demonstrate shortly for members, hundreds of thousands of families are already benefiting. (1040) [Translation]

Investing in housing goes well beyond just bricks and mortar. As our Prime Minister said, all Canadians deserve to have a home, a place where they feel safe, where they can have confidence in their future and focus on themselves and their family.

It also means building inclusive communities for everyone and making sure that all Canadians have affordable housing that meets their needs. Unfortunately, too many Canadians simply cannot afford suitable housing. At this time, approximately 1.7 million families in Canada are in housing need. These families are living in housing that is overcrowded, unaffordable or in need of repairs. In addition, nearly 25,000 Canadians experience chronic homelessness every year.

In many urban areas, the housing supply simply does not meet the demand. The people building our communities, by which I mean middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join them, including teachers, nurses, store clerks, construction workers and so on, are struggling to make ends meet. This situation is unacceptable and must change.

My role as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is to improve the lives of all Canadians. That is why one of our government's priorities when it was elected was to immediately increase investments in housing, and that is what it did starting in budget 2016. That budget included a $2.7-billion investment for two new initiatives to increase the supply of affordable rental housing across the country. Budget 2016 also made an additional commitment of $2.3 billion to immediately improve housing conditions for low-income households, seniors, northern and indigenous communities, and survivors fleeing unfortunate situations of family violence.

Our first budget also included nearly $112 million in new investments over two years in the homelessness partnering strategy. This significant new investment represented an increase of 50% in the funding allocated to the strategy and the first increase in federal funding to combat homelessness since the strategy was implemented in 1999.

My colleague from Saskatoon West is well aware that, since 2016, we have invested over $4.7 billion in affordable housing through various programs, including the affordable housing initiative, long-term federal-provincial-territorial social housing agreements, and the social infrastructure fund. By so doing, we have helped 945,000 households, including families, seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, indigenous Canadians, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems and addiction issues, veterans, and young Canadians, and that is just the beginning.

In November 2017, we announced the Canadian government's very first national housing strategy, a 10-year, $40-billion plan that will help more Canadians, starting with our most vulnerable populations, obtain affordable housing that they can call home.

The goal of this ambitious plan is to ensure that all Canadians have access to housing that meets their needs and is affordable. Our plan will produce results for Canadians. Over the next 10 years, 530,000 additional families will finally be able to afford housing that meets their needs. Moreover, during this period, we will reduce chronic homelessness by more than 50%.

My colleague from Saskatoon West also knows, and will agree, that this is an historic strategy and an opportunity to implement lasting change that only presents itself once in a generation. That is why we consulted Canadians and experts across the country when developing the national housing strategy. I am very grateful to everyone for the time and effort they spent to participate in this important but all too rare conversation and for sharing their many ideas with us. These consultations meant that developing the strategy was truly a collaborative process.

The key pillars were a collaborative effort as well. We brought all the stakeholders together so that we could address each community's unique housing needs. After all, as the member for Saskatoon West knows, solutions for the housing needs in her riding are very different from the solutions needed in downtown Toronto or in Iqaluit, for example.

In the spring, we started introducing the key pillars of this ambitious plan. For example, we launched major initiatives to build up housing stocks, including the national housing co-investment Fund. This $13.2-billion fund will create 60,000 affordable housing units, and repair or renovate up to 240,000 units. Approximately one-third of the fund will be allocated to financial contributions, and the rest will be used for low-interest loans.

Since this is a co-investment fund, the partners will play a key role. The program encourages the provinces and territories, social and community housing providers, municipalities, the private sector and indigenous governments to work with the Canadian government to come up with solutions tailored to their communities' needs. It will focus on what Canadians really want and prioritize projects that exceed the usual affordability, energy efficiency and accessibility requirements. It will be aimed at individuals, communities, and partnerships and will come with specific targets for supporting survivors of family violence, seniors, and people with developmental disabilities.

In April, we also signed a historic agreement for a housing partnership framework with all of our provincial and territorial partners, at our first meeting in over a quarter century. This framework represents $7.7 billion in funding, which will be combined with equivalent contributions from the partners and invested in programs that meet the unique needs of Canadians, whether they live in a remote community in Nunavut, an urban area in British Columbia, a small municipality in Prince Edward Island, or anywhere else across Canada.

So far, Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick have signed bilateral agreements based on this historic framework. We expect to sign agreements with the other provinces and territories by April 1, 2019.

We also launched an initiative to keep federally administered community and social housing affordable, a critical step in protecting low-income Canadians in housing need. Each of these steps is based on other housing initiatives and programs that our government has implemented since it was elected in 2015. (1045)

For instance, in 2016, we announced the rental construction financing initiative. Interest in the program far exceeded our expectations, so much so, that we extended the initiative in budget 2018 and increased its funding, which now stands at $3.75 billion.

By 2021, the rental construction financing initiative will have helped create 14,000 new affordable housing rental units for middle-class Canadians. This is filling a gap between housing assistance and the rental housing market, where it is needed the most. (1050) [English]

Similarly, the affordable housing innovation fund will create 4,000 new units over a five-year period by investing more than $200 million in innovative financing models and unique designs.

Finally, to stretch our investments in new construction even further, we are making approximately $200 million worth of federal lands available to community housing providers at a discount or at no cost.

This past summer, we also launched a new homelessness strategy, a 10-year $2.2-billion plan to reduce homelessness by 50%. This plan, called “reaching home”, will give more communities more funding and tools to fight homelessness on their terms. It will lead to better solutions for youths, seniors, women fleeing violence, veterans, people living with disabilities and those from LGBTQ2 or racialized communities.

There is also new funding to improve the situation of indigenous people living in cities, who are eight times more likely to experience homelessness than other Canadians. Our plan also includes new funding for the territories so they can tackle the unique challenges of homelessness in the north.

To stretch our homelessness investment as far as possible, we have created tools to help streamline the process to get people into housing and to coordinate the support services they need stay in stable housing over the long term.

This work represents an incredible achievement over just two years. I am proud of how we have been able to collaborate with Canadians and other stakeholders along the housing continuum to launch programs that will make a lasting difference, but of course there is still much more work to do.

As I mentioned previously, we are working hard with provincial and territorial partners to sign bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories by April 2019. I know that members and other Canadians are particularly concerned about the difficult housing conditions in indigenous communities. Under the national housing strategy, $225 million has been invested in improving housing for indigenous families living in urban centres. An additional $200 million has been allocated to support urban ind...”

Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry—Suroît, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development for his speech.

I just wanted to point out that many...”

Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...le to go and buy a house for the first time that is $300,000? Possibly it is not. There may be some families who have that opportunity, but many families, many first-time homebuyers, many parents and many families who are trying to get in there with their newborn child cannot afford a $300,000 home.

<...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...eeing more seniors at our homeless shelters than ever before. Young people are losing hope. Working families are struggling to make ends meet. People living with disabilities or accessibility issues are finding it harder and harder to find a place to live.

This month I held three town halls in my riding to hear from residents about this issue. They made it very clear that this is the most important issue affecting people in our riding. We were fortunate to have experts come and sit on panels to talk about the situation.

One group that was there was the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. It brought forward the housing affordability definition. We can all agree that if someone is spending more than 30% of before tax income on rent and utilities, it is no longer affordable. In my riding, over 50% of renter households are spending more than 30% of their income. In fact, a quarter of renter households in my riding are now spending over 50% of their income. This is outrageous. There is no way people can put money aside to buy a home at some point in the future, or just to meet simple needs such as clothing, medicine and food. People are struggling. They are having to work two or three jobs just to make a living, never mind setting aside money for retirement.

I think about the most vulnerable. In British Columbia, someone on income assistance receives a housing allowance of $375 a month. Thirty-six months ago, the average price of a home in the most affordable community in my riding, which is Port Alberni, was $192,000. Today, it is $303,000. People are moving into our community and commuting out because it is the most affordable place. The problem is that people have to have an income that is almost 50% higher than the average median household income to be able to buy a home now, which now costs $303,000.

More and more people are not able to buy a home and more inequality is happening. People who can afford it are coming in and buying five or 10 houses. They are renting them out and driving rental prices up. As we know, people living on low incomes struggle to make ends meet. When they cannot pay their rent, they are pushed out onto the street to find another place to live. However, when there is a vacancy rate of .01%, they cannot find a place to live. Those rents are now higher than the threshold of $375 a month. More and more people are turning to the street or shelters. They are falling through the cracks or living in precarious situations.

In a question earlier, I identified that to buy a house in Parksville or Courtenay one would need to have an income of over $140,000. Less than 6% of the people in those communities earn over $140,000. It is completely not working for people in our communities. We have heard loud and clear from local governments. They are calling on the federal government to invest in their communities immediately. This is an absolute crisis. When there is nowhere to live and young people are losing hope, it is a big problem for all of us.

We can look at where we were in the 1970s and 1980s when 10% of our housing was non-market housing. Today, it is 4%. The Conservatives' approach that the free market will resolve it and we will just build more supply has not worked. It has completely failed. The Liberals' approach that they will roll out money over 10 years if they are re-elected and house 50% of the homeless people in Canada does not work for 50% of the homeless people because they are not going to have a place to live. As well, 10 years is too long.

We have seen bold investments from the Province of British Columbia. It has shown the Government of Canada what urgency looks like. It has rolled out $1 billion this year and is going to roll out $7 billion over the next 10 years. It would be great to have a federal government that does not just give it $31 million a year in transfers but actually matches the funding. This is an opportunity to support people who are falling through the cracks, but also the local economy. (1140)

We have heard the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce say loud and clear that this is the most important issue. Dianne Hawkins said, “Employers and their employees have been impacted by the lack of affordable housing and income inequity which exists in our area. Access to safe, quality, affordable housing and the supports necessary to maintain it create one of the most powerful social determinants of health. The Comox Valley needs a continuum, or wide range of housing solutions that target a full spectrum of population groups.” They are saying that it is actually limiting economic growth in the region for small and medium-sized enterprises.

We need to create diversity. There are countries that are doing it. In Europe over 30% of the housing stock is non-market housing. In Vienna, it is over 40%.

I was fortunate enough to live in a co-op housing project that was built in the 1970s and 1980s when the federal government actually invested in housing, before it started downloading in the 1990s. In 1993, Paul Martin cut federal transfers on housing to the provinces, downloaded on the provinces and then the provinces started downloading on local governments. I sat in local government. I remember how hard it was for us to come up with the capacity to deal with this complex situation. Most municipalities do not have the capacity, aptitude or resources to take on this problem on their own. They are relying on senior levels of government to invest and get involved.

When people cannot find a place to live, it affects their mental health. It affects child welfare. That is a huge problem in British Columbia and it is connected to housing. One of the most important determinants to health is housing. The stress this is causing families is unbelievable. Is this what we want? Is this the type of society we want in the future for our children? Do we want them to live under so much stress and have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet? We know that 30% of single women over the age of 65 are living in poverty. We are failing them. This is an opportunity to help them.

I think about working families a lot. The most important investment one makes in life is a home. Right now, so few people ...”

Mr. Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ntry. It is a 26-unit passive housing. It is providing housing for elders, youth aging out of care, families and kids going to university in Nanaimo.

I can assure members as well as the modular ...”

Mr. Wayne Stetski (Kootenay—Columbia, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...sted living spaces and no rooms. The Housing Society coordinator has a long list of individuals and families looking for housing. He receives calls every week from those trying to find a place to live. They are willing to move to Kaslo, but they cannot find a place to live.

George and Mary are an older retired couple who have lived and worked in Kaslo for many years. However, they could no longer manage living in their home. They sold their house last month and they now have to move, but they cannot find any place to go in Kaslo. There are no spaces available, so they are being forced to move to Nelson, which is an hour away, leaving their friends behind. They are fortunate they can afford a facility in Nelson.

A disabled gentleman from Fernie discovered bed bugs at a seniors residence. As a result, he effectively became homeless. He had nowhere to go and he ended up sleeping outside. Travelling to Cranbrook was not an option for him either, as the Salvation Army shelter is only open in the winter.

The city of Nelson has affordable and social housing units, but vacancies are rare. Youth homelessness is a problem. There are families living in their vehicles.

Alan, a Nelson senior with a minor disability which prevent...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...rksville at my town hall earlier this month. Her name is Lisa. She said, “I'm here to represent the families. My children are moving away because there is nowhere to live...they are moving to Europe...or come home to their parents' house because there is nowhere to live.”

We know families are worried. In the member's community, are families worried about where their children are going to go? Are their children moving away? What is happening to the youth in the member's community, and how does that affect the culture and the intergenerational connect for families? We know that with no affordable child-care plan, a lot of families that are young and starting out do not have the money to pay for child care in their commun...”

Mr. Gordie Hogg (South Surrey—White Rock, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...et their needs.

A home is more than just a roof over one's head. It is a place where Canadian families can thrive, where children learn and grow, where parents find the stability to succeed in the job market and where seniors can live in dignity. About 1.7 million Canadian households are in what is called “core housing need”. These people are living in homes that either cost more than 30% of their income or are unsuitable for their circumstances.

Safe, adequate and affordable housing underpins inclusive communities and economies that thrive. Community housing, or social housing, refers to government-subsidized housing that is funded under a range of federal programs developed over time to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. It has been at the heart of Canada's response to housing challenges since the 1940s when we created housing for veterans returning from the Second World War. It has since provided housing for a variety of low- to moderate-income Canadians, from immigrant families looking to start their lives in Canada to seniors aging in place in their communities. That is why for three consecutive budgets, the government has made significant investments in creating affordable housing. In the past two years, the federal government has invested more than $4.7 billion in funding and subsidies of affordable housing projects across Canada. As a result, some 945,000 families will have a home that meets their needs and that they can afford, like in Surrey where government support for community housing has meant that 144 families in the Totem Housing Co-Operative, the Common Ground Housing Co-Op and the La Casa Housing ...”

Mr. Gordie Hogg

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... year, where they were actually in the ground building a facility. I just made reference to the 144 families who are experiencing the changes with respect to Totem Housing Co-operative, Common Ground ...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ment, Chris Beaton and his team, have just transformed it and it has become much more of a home for families.

The John Howard Society is hands-on in Nanaimo. It works with men on parole who are ...”

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... such as an opioid crisis and other emerging trends. A safe roof over the heads of people and their families is so important to achieve. That is echoed across the country.

It is also important to note in the motion the role of the private sector. There are a number of different options available for us in the private sector. However, the government continues to make decisions that erode housing options.

The area I represent has one of the highest rates of child poverty. Most recently, not only have we been waiting for investments for federal housing, but there has been an order in council from the government, the cabinet, to eliminate housing from our market. I will get back to that in a second.

I represent the town of Sandwich, the oldest European settlement west of Montreal, where the war of 1812 was fought and where the underground railroad was located. Today, it also has one of the highest rates of poverty. It is an area challenged with immigration supports to ensure people get back to school. There are single one-parent families. It is recognized, even through third-party reports, as being one of the most challenged in the nation, most recently by Campaign 2000 to end child poverty. The riding-by-riding analysis shows, sadly, that we are just outside the top 10.

This area has one-third of Canada's daily trade to the United States? What did the government do? It gave a private American billionaire, Matty Moroun, who has his tentacles through the history of the Liberal Party, permission to build a new bridge and, at the same time, to demolish single-family and multiplex homes for affordable housing, which they bought. If that was not bad enough, the repercussions were already being felt because they bought these homes and boarded the doors and windows. We lost schools, mostly Forster High School. We lost the post office, which was the longest-standing post office in Canada, from the 1800s, at one point delivering mail by horse and carriage. We lost places of worship and businesses. (1250)

For those who are not familiar with an order in council, it is essentially a decree from prime ministers and their cabinets that avoids all scrutiny, that is the will of them in their moment, that they know everything and that they issue that law, have privilege, the right without coming through the chamber or even the unelected chamber.

The Liberals gave this billionaire, an American who was sentenced to prison because of his conduct in the U.S., the keys and the process to continue to have homes boarded and locked up, Now he wants to do that to another 30-40 homes. The situation has become so grave that he has decided to erect lawn signs on these properties, calling for their demolition. He had the green light, the special permission and the privileged access from the government to do another border crossing without any terms or conditions. There are not even any terms for community benefits. Ironically the Liberals voted for its private member's motion to do a community benefit project. They ignored advice from their members. I think the motion is buried in some committee somewhere, but it has not seen the light of the day here. It is just another Liberal motion that has gone to another place, probably to show they did something during their four year tenure. We have not seen it come back here.

What is happening right now? We have another war on the city streets of Windsor at a time when housing is at a crisis point.

Although Windsor has had the blessing of lower housing prices than other places and affordable housing has been attainable to a certain level, that has shifted radically in the last five years. Hundreds now are without proper accommodation. The market is increasing. More people are flocking to the city. We have issues over opioids and other social problems, which are multiplying. The perfect storm is taking place at this point in time and more and more people than ever before do not have a place for their families at the end of the day.

The Liberals are very cognizant of this and of their partner, ...”

Mr. Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... than 300,000 housing units. We are going to reduce or eliminate housing needs for 530,000 Canadian families across Canada. We are going to protect an additional 385,000 households from losing an affo...”

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...recedented leadership on this file, which is so important for the health and well-being of Canadian families.

I would especially like to point out that the government went to great lengths last year to consult Canadians on how to improve housing outcomes for everyone. The minister visited my riding together with representatives of affordable housing advocacy groups and associations. He took the time to consult the people in my riding. This was a commitment we made in budget 2016 in order to identify innovative ideas that could be included in Canada's first ever national housing strategy.

At the end of June 2016, a national conversation on housing was launched at the end of a productive meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for housing. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the CMHC, led consultations entitled “Let’s Talk Housing” for four months.

Between June 28 and October 21, 2018, the CMHC and the provincial, territorial, and municipal governments held a number of consultation activities on Canada's national housing strategy. The consultations included online initiatives and live events organized in cities and regions of Canada, during which time a tremendous amount of information was gathered. The opinions, ideas, and points of view of thousands of Canadians and dozens of interested organizations were gathered and recorded.

The consultations had three objectives. First, we wanted to encourage Canadians to actively reflect on the issue of housing, what it means to our communities, and to talk about it. We did that in spades.

Second, Canadians were invited to share their points of view on a long-term vision for housing in Canada. They were also invited to identify themes and significant results related to housing, and to find innovative solutions and approaches to housing. That was also definitely accomplished.

The third purpose of the consultations was to help develop a national housing strategy, which I will get to in a few minutes.

I would like to take this opportunity to summarize some of the engagement activities that took place last summer and early autumn.

Online activities included a CMHC social media campaign called Let's Talk Housing to promote the consultations. Canadians shared more than 1,900 ideas via social media. The campaign was so innovative and effective that it won two MarCom platinum awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The CMHC also won four gold awards in various video categories and honourable mentions in a number of website categories for its “Let's Talk Housing” consultations.

Over 6,300 Canadians also took the time to participate in a nationwide survey on the national housing strategy through the “Let's Talk Housing” website. Over 130 ideas were submitted on the CMHC's idea sharing platform, and over 475 online written submissions were received from individuals and organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the National Housing Collaborative.

The CMHC also organized a total of 22 roundtables to gather input from experts and advocates on Canada's national housing strategy. (1320)

Furthermore, 21 focus groups were held with vulnerable populations, including people with lived experience of homelessness, recent immigrants, low-income Canadians, and people with disabilities, to give people who face daily housing challenges a chance to participate in the development of the national housing strategy. This was a worthwhile initiative.

We also conducted public surveys, and some MPs organized town halls in their ridings. I also want to mention that all MPs received information and materials to help them communicate with their constituents. We reached out to indigenous peoples, who often experience some of the harshest living conditions in Canada. CMHC hosted round tables with housing experts on indigenous housing in rural, remote and urban areas, as well as on northern housing.

Meetings were held with national indigenous organizations, and we supported their own consultation forums. The result of all these efforts was a report entitled “What We Heard”, which was released by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in a Facebook event on National Housing Day, November 22, 2016. I urge all MPs to visit the website letstalkhousing.ca and to read the “What We Heard” report.

For now, I would like to say that a clear and common message came from the consultations, and that is that Canadians want better results when it comes to housing for people in need. Some clear themes also emerged during the consultations. For example, Canadians and housing stakeholders believe that the national housing strategy should encompass the full spectrum of housing while giving priority to those who are most in need. Housing must be incorporated into the other support services that vulnerable people may need. Housing providers need better access to capital to make it easier for them to build more affordable housing units. What is more, most participants favoured policies that enable local communities to propose solutions to housing problems.

More specifically, Canadians want their national housing strategy to reduce or eliminate homelessness in Canada. My riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles covers Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère, which are northern suburbs of Montreal. We have shelters to help homeless people there. Homelessness is not just a problem in urban areas. It is also a problem in the suburbs. Unfortunately, homelessness is a daily reality for some people in my riding. Shockingly, nearly 1,000 people access homeless shelters there every year.

I want to come back to what Canadians want from their housing strategy. They want priority to be given to the housing needs of low-income and vulnerable people. They also want the strategy to address the unique challenges faced by indigenous communities and the growing housing affordability issues faced by lower and middle-income Canadians, particularly in our larger cities. They want a strategy that will forge inclusive, sustainable communities and that will ensure that our social housing sector remains strong.

Those who took part in the consultations did more than just identify problems. They also identified options, proposed innovative solutions and helped focus on measurable results. All of this information and these perspectives will be taken into account when the government finalizes the national housing strategy's key initiatives.

As the minister said, the purpose of the national housing strategy is not to duplicate or replace existing provincial, territorial or municipal housing plans or strategies. Rather, its purpose will be to better coordinate the efforts of everyone involved, including governments, housing stakeholders, and indigenous and other organizations. We must work together on a common vision and results in a spirit of mutual respect.

First of all, we are taking a whole-of-government approach with the national housing strategy in order to look at housing in a global context and support the social and economic advancement of individuals and families. In addition, in partnership with the provinces and territories, we are working toward impl...”

Ms. Linda Lapointe

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...but I am afraid she is wrong. People in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, met with the Minister of Families, and when they took a look at the national housing strategy, they were very pleased.

...”

Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...es. In most small towns, the only affordable housing available is for seniors. There is nothing for families.

There are urban centres in the various RCMs of my riding that have benefited from so...”

Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s; and all the people who went out of their way to check up on seniors, bring food and hot water to families with babies and deliver ice to help keep food and medicine refrigerated. This shows that in...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...a crisis. Millions of Canadians are struggling to find appropriate housing for themselves and their families.

In every province, the dream of home ownership has been crushed for young couples. Renters cannot find affordable housing, and they face reno- and demoviction. Employers cannot attract the employees they need, small businesses are closing, and families are being separated as folks are forced to leave the communities they grew up in.

Des...”

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... of the residential schools. As each shirt proudly declares, every child matters. Their traditions, families, communities and dreams matter.”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, ensuring that veterans and their families know about the benefits and programs available to them is essential to my job as Minister o...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we are committed to supporting Canada's veterans and their families and ensuring that they are aware of all the benefits they are entitled to. I engage regular...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, ensuring that veterans and their families are aware of the benefits and programs available to them is an important part of my work as...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, ensuring that veterans and their families know about the benefits and programs they are entitled to is essential to my job as Ministe...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... announced that a civilian could no longer receive benefits from the program for veterans and their families if that civilian is in prison. However, the government refused to say whether Christopher G...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Christopher Garnier, who savagely murdered a police officer, under a program for veterans and their families.

Everyone—the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green Party and the Bloc—voted in favour of...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, ensuring that veterans and their families know about the benefits and programs they deserve and are entitled to is essential to my job as Minister of Veterans Affairs. That is why it is so important to explain what is involved. That is why I have hosted over 40 veterans town halls across the country. It is why we are working so hard to explain the pension for life as clearly as we can.

More effective programming will help veterans transition to civilian life with dignity. More effective benefits will help in supporting families, and more effective supports will help get ill and injured veterans well again.”

Mr. Francis Drouin (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...it to help parents share the work of raising their children more equally.

Can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development confirm to the House that the government is still on track...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

September 27th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... thank and congratulate the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell on all his hard work on behalf of families.

We know that improving gender equality means more prosperity for everyone. That is w...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...r annual family trip. Every penny donated there and by others is given to cancer patients and their families for medical bills, travel and parking costs, and other expenses not covered by insurance. Haying in the 30s currently supports 40 people a month.

My thanks go to Edgar for his labour of love and selflessness. I am so proud to represent families like his and communities like Mallaig that reflect the very best of what it is to be Canadi...”

Mr. John Aldag (Cloverdale—Langley City, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...r that our government is delivering for the people of Cloverdale—Langley City. We are investing in families. The enhanced, tax-free Canada child benefit means more money for over 12,000 families in my communities, making things like school supplies and sports more affordable for kids.<...”

Mr. Francesco Sorbara (Vaughan—Woodbridge, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... Contardi and Loredana Presutto, who desire to make a difference for children with autism and their families. Like Temple Grandin, they believe that, “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do.” In just three short years, Waves of Changes for Autism has raised community awareness and provided much-needed financial resources to families.[Translation]

Tomorrow evening, I will join more than 1,000 guests at the third annua...”

Mr. Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ourage everyone to wear orange and come together to remember residential school survivors and their families in the spirit of reconciliation.”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cant impact on various communities. We will continue to work with indigenous peoples to ensure that families like the one just mentioned are treated fairly, given every opportunity and, most important...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... gender-based violence that will work to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and promote a responsive, legal and just system.”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... national housing strategy, which dedicates 25% of the funds to projects for women, girls and their families fleeing violence. This means at least 7,000 spaces maintained or built for survivors of fam...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...his does not occur moving forward. This ensures that we will continue to support veterans and their families who need our help, while maintaining the integrity of the system.”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...in his heart that this is wrong and is an insult to our Canadian Forces members, veterans and their families.

I taught my children that no matter how deep a hole they may dug themselves into it ...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... as conviction of a serious crime. This ensures that we will continue to support veterans and their families that need our help, while maintaining the integrity of our system.”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ure this does not occur moving forward. This ensures we will continue to support veterans and their families that need our help, while maintaining the integrity of the system.”

Mr. Ramez Ayoub (Thérèse-De Blainville, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, families in Thérèse-De Blainville and across Canada got a pleasant surprise this summer when they received the Canada child benefit and got a little more tax-free money in their pockets.

This government indexed the Canada child benefit two years ahead of schedule. That means families are getting more money right now, instead of having to wait until 2020.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House how the Canada child benefit continues to help families?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...credible impact of the Canada child benefit.

Every time the kids head back to school, we hear families across Canada tell us how important this benefit is. It means new clothes, hot meals and new books. The reason why we can do this is that we put an end to the Conservative practice of sending cheques to millionaire families. We are proud to be investing in Canadian families, because it means investing in our communities and, above all, in Canada's future.”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... with the Canada child benefit that is putting more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families and lifting hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty.

This is something we will continue to work on because we recognize how investing in children's future now makes life better for families and for communities.”

Mr. Ron McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, the opioid crisis is a national public health crisis that is devastating individuals, families and communities across this country.

At the beginning of September, the governments o...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ple trying to access the CRA, or seniors trying to navigate the Canada pension plan and the GIS, or families waiting for key answers from Citizenship and Immigration about whether their family members...”

Mr. David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ivate member's motion aims to shed light on the fact that people living with disabilities and their families face several challenges in securing employment, income and disability support. They struggl...”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...to ensure a barrier-free Canada. I think all of us in the House have a story about someone in their families, or their friends or their circle of network who has experienced some kind of barrier to pa...”

Mr. Martin Shields (Bow River, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...boldt involving the hockey team, was not only the deaths as as result of that accident but what the families had to go through.

An individual became a paraplegic as a result of that accident. He...”

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ves by funding infrastructure upgrades for thousands of Canadians. That is the way to help Canadian families and people with reduced mobility. This fund is still being used today to build projects in ...”

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...speak to Bill C-78. The bill, which I tabled on May 22 of this year, would help support and protect families, especially children, from the negative outcomes and conflicts that are the sad reality of separation and divorce.

Our government has taken great strides to strengthen the Canadian family justice system. In budget 2017, we created ongoing funding for federal, provincial and territorial family justice activities through the Canadian family justice fund. In the same year, we also signed two international family law conventions. This year in budget 2018, we announced funding to expand unified family courts, fulfilling one of my mandate letter commitments. However, despite all this progress, we still need to do more.

Separation and divorce can be difficult for families, especially for children. We know that the impacts can be wide-reaching. Over two million children live in families with separated or divorced parents. There is no other area of law that touches as many Canadians.

Federal family laws should help families resolve their disputes quickly and effectively, but these laws have not been substantially updated in over 20 years and were in desperate need of modernization. Over the past two decades, families have changed and our justice system has changed. Our government understands that much should be done to improve federal family laws and the family justice system to better meet the needs of all Canadians.

Bill C-78 advances four critically important goals: promoting the best interests of the child, addressing family violence, reducing child poverty, and improving the efficiencies and accessibility of the family justice system. I will address all of these in turn.

I will begin with the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child test is the cornerstone of family law. It is the only basis upon which decisions about who may care for a child can be made under the Divorce Act. This test has been called a child's “positive right to the best possible arrangements in the circumstances”. It allows courts to consider how to best foster the child's overall development and protect the child from conflict and the disruptive effects of divorce at such a vulnerable point in the child's life.

Despite the importance of the best interests of the child test, the Divorce Act currently provides minimal guidance on how courts should apply this test. Bill C-78 would change this. It proposes an extensive, though not exhaustive, list of criteria for courts to consider when making decisions in the best interests of the child.

The criteria we have proposed include elements such as the child's needs, given the age and stage of the child's development, the child's relationships with important people in his or her life, especially parents but also others such as grandparents, and the child's culture and heritage, including indigenous heritage.

One criterion in particular, the requirement that courts consider the views and preferences of the child, giving due weight to the child's age and maturity, demonstrates Canada's ongoing commitment to its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This criterion encourages parents and courts to consider the voice of the child in determining parenting arrangements reflecting the importance of children expressing their views in matters that affect them.

The most significant change that Bill C-78 would bring to the best interests of the child test and the lens through which all other factors would be examined is the provision that would be called the “primary consideration”. This would be a requirement that courts consider the child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being. It would help ensure that the most critical elements of the child's well-being are always the centre of focus and of any best interests analysis.

Also, to further the best interests of the child, we are proposing to remove the terms “custody” and “access” from the Divorce Act. For years, these terms have been criticized for fuelling conflict between parents. Custodial parents have been long seen as the winners of custody disputes and access parents have long been seen as the losers. The terms are relics from property law, reflecting a time when children were legally considered to be their parents' property. (1625)

To help parents collaborate and focus on their child's best interests, we are introducing terms based on parents' responsibilities for their children. Instead of custody orders, courts would make parenting orders. Parenting orders would address parenting time and decision-making responsibility. Two provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, and many of our international partners, such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have replaced property-based language with this sort of language focused on the child-parent relationship. In Canada, even where custody and access are still on the statute books, many judges, lawyers and other family justice professionals have already begun to abandon property-based language in their orders and agreements about children, favouring language focused on the parent-child relationships.

Another major change Bill C-78 proposes with the best interests of the child in mind is the creation of a relocation framework in the Divorce Act. Relocation or moving with children after separation and divorce is one of the most litigated areas in family law. The stakes are often very high, particularly when a proposed move would involve a significant geographic distance. The bill creates notice requirements for parents proposing to move, best interests criteria for courts to consider in relocation cases and rules for courts to apply depending on the parenting arrangement in place for the child. This would help courts and parents make informed, child-focused decisions.

Canada has recently taken steps to advance the interests of Canadian children in international family law disputes. On May 23, 2017, Canada signed two international family law conventions. One of these conventions, the 1996 convention on the protection of children, would make it easier for Canadian parenting orders to be recognized and enforced in other countries that are also party to the convention. This would provide better assurance to families that travel or relocate to another convention country that their Canadian court order would be respected. Bill C-78 also includes amendments that are necessary for Canada to become a party to the convention. The other convention is the 2007 child support convention, which would help with poverty reduction, as I will discuss a little further on.

The next aspect of Bill C-78 that I would like to address is family violence, an issue of great importance to our government and to all Canadians. Most provincial and territorial family laws address family violence in separating couples, but federal family laws are conspicuously silent. It is long past time to address this silence.

Although separation may be a means of escaping an abusive relationship, evidence shows that spouses are at an increased risk of violence at the time of separation. We are also learning about the lasting effects of trauma such as family violence on children's developing brains. The impact can be debilitating and lifelong. More can and must be done to prevent this from happening. Bill C-78 includes three amendments to address family violence in the Divorce Act and one in the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act.

First, we have proposed an evidence-based definition of family violence in the Divorce Act that highlights common indicators of abusive behaviour. Coercive and controlling behaviour which is known to be particularly dangerous is highlighted.

Second, we have proposed a distinct set of best interests of the child criteria to help courts make appropriate parenting orders when there has been family violence. These include considerations such as the nature, seriousness and frequency of violence.

Third, we have a provision that would require courts to consider whether there are any child protection or criminal orders or any other proceedings that could influence an order under the Divorce Act. This provision would help prevent conflicts between courts, such as a family law order that gives a parent time with a child in a manner that conflicts with with a criminal restraining order. (1630)

Finally, we have proposed an amendment to the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act that would restrict the sharing of personal information in situations of family violence where a family member's safety may be at risk.

Together, these measures would help courts better address family violence at a time when family members are particularly vulnerable, and help prevent family violence as families adjust to their new post-separation arrangements.

Next, I will explain how Bill C-78 would address poverty reduction, and child poverty specifically. Many families who go through separation and divorce experience a dramatic increase in expenses. The transition from a single family home with separate expenses to two homes with duplicate expenses can be a great burden. Shifting child care responsibilities can affect a parent's ability to find and maintain employment. These changes make many families vulnerable to poverty. Therefore, it is critically important that families receive the child and spousal support owed to them and that these amounts be fairly and properly calculated, reflecting accurate financial information.

Bill C-78 includes several measures that would help reduce poverty and help families recover from the financial crisis many experience as part of separation. First, we have proposed changes to the Divorce Act that would make it easier for families to determine and change child support without going to court, saving them money and, potentially, complication and stress. We have also proposed measures that would introduce a new application-based procedure to establish or vary a support order when parties reside in different jurisdictions.

Earlier, I mentioned the 1996 child protection convention. Canada also signed the 2007 child support convention. The 2007 convention will help families by providing a low-cost and efficient way to obtain or change support orders across international borders. As with the 1996 convention, amendments to federal laws are proposed as an essential step for Canada to becoming a party to the 2007 convention.

We are also proposing a number of changes to federal laws that would facilitate the enforcement of child and spousal support. For example, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act would be amended to allow for the search and release of a party's income information to courts and provincial services, including provincial enforcement services, for the purposes of establishing, varying or enforcing support. This amendment is intended to allow child support orders to be made more quickly, accurately and with less trouble and expense. Costs would be reduced for families and courts.

There are billions of dollars of unpaid child support payments in Canada. With this bill, we would be giving provinces, territories and individuals more tools to ensure that those obligations are being paid. In addition, the vast majority, some 96%, of cases registered in maintenance enforcement programs involve male payers paying female recipients. The problem of unpaid support contributes to the feminization of poverty, which the measures in this bill would help address.

Finally, another proposal in this bill is to prioritize child and spousal support debts above all other debts except Crown debts under the federal Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act. Again, this would help make sure that families receive the money they are owed.

I will now move on to the bill's final theme, which is to improve the efficiency of, and families' access to, the Canadian family justice system. We know that changes to the family justice system are long overdue. Retired Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell has noted the many calls for fundamental change to, or a paradigm shift in, the family justice system. Parents struggle to pay for lawyers and often have no choice but to represent themselves in family law disputes, which may be highly contentious and emotionally charged. It is not easy to be one's own advocate in these circumstances, yet research tells us that between 50% and 80% of Canadians in family law disputes represent themselves in court. (1635)

Self-represented family law litigants risk making choices without understanding their rights and obligations, and can find the process incredibly stressful. They also add to the strain of overburdened courts. Judges and court staff take significantly more time with self-represented litigants to help them navigate their complex legal challenges. The bill includes several measures to facilitate family law processes for families and to divert people away from the courts, saving time and resources for cases that require a judge's consideration.

One of these measures is to encourage family dispute resolution processes, which can include mediation, negotiation, collaborative law and other forms of out-of-court dispute resolution. These processes are generally less expensive, can help families come to agreements faster, and often allow parents to play a more active role in crafting appropriate arrangements for their families.

After the bill's proposed changes, lawyers would have a duty to tell parents about family justice services that could be of assistance to them and to encourage them to try a family dispute resolution where appropriate. Courts would have the option of referring parents to a family dispute resolution where available.

Other measures to increase access to family justice include expanding the range of measures that the administrative services that determine child support may address. Provinces and territories have administrative child support services that recalculate support orders based on a parent's current income. The bill would expand the role of these out-of-court services, including allowing for the recalculation of interim support orders. Families could use these services rather than having to retain lawyers to go to court to change their child support orders, again saving them money and reducing court time.

I would like to conclude by again stressing how important it is for our government to improve federal family laws. As I said, our family laws are outdated. They no longer reflect the reality of middle-class Canadian families. Many of the processes set out in federal family laws are slow, cumbersome and heavily dependent on the courts. Bill C-78 will help Canadians find faster, more cost-effective and lasting solutions to family law disputes, with the best interest of the child at the heart of all of it.

I am confident that the changes we have proposed would bring positive change to the Canadian family justice system and to Canadian families and children. I look forward to working with all of my parliamentary colleagues to help promote the best possible outcomes for families experiencing separation and divorce. I urge all hon. members to join me in supporting this ...”

Mr. Martin Shields (Bow River, CPC)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...e what I believe is one of the most contentious and divisive situations we have in our country when families are in a state of divorce. When she talked about efficiencies, I would note that judges now...”

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP)

September 26th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ry long time. Senator Pearson served as vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.

Families' access to fair and equitable representation is sometimes unduly limited, and court solutions for family support in the context of shared custody are rarely fair, proportional or economic.

Consider the example of someone fleeing a situation of abuse, control or domestic violence. Those individuals often simply run away from the conflict by avoiding contact with the other parent. As a result of these kinds of situations and changing needs, many children never receive—and some parents never pay—the support payments they are entitled to.

The provisions set out in Bill C-78 are a step in the right direction, but the bill might not adequately ensure that support payments are made in shared custody situations.

In that regard, lawyer Jenny Woodruff indicated that it would have been a good idea for Bill C-78 to ensure that parents are paid appropriate child support, but that the bill does not address that issue.

It is important to ensure that the amounts paid are appropriate. Since the government claims that one of the purposes of Bill C-78 is to reduce child poverty, this shortcoming should be remedied in the interests of the child's well-being and in order to ensure that parents who are in a situation like the one I just described can obtain the child support payments their children are entitled to.

We are pleased that one of the changes this bill makes is to give the government the ability to share with and transmit to provincial entities more tax information on parents who refuse to disclose their income.

Right now, the Canada Revenue Agency can only transmit to the courts basic information such as the parent's name, address and employer. This measure will make it possible to fully assess the situation of a parent who may be trying to avoid paying child support. It is important to remember that, although the Divorce Act is a federal law that falls under the jurisdiction of our Parliament, the provinces are the ones responsible for administering and enforcing child support orders. We must therefore give the provinces our full support so that they can ensure that parents are making child support payments.

I would also like to mention that this bill seeks to better regulate the relocation of parents and children following a divorce, by requiring one parent to inform the other if he or she wants to move and by giving the courts criteria to help them determine whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child and should be allowed.

It is definitely a good idea, but we need to proceed with caution when making such a decision. I will come back to that because this was pointed out by an organization in my riding. I believe it is important to recognize the work of Céline Coulombe from La Clé sur la porte, a shelter for women and children who are victims of violence. Ms. Coulombe has extensive expertise in working with women facing domestic violence. She stated that this bill does establish important guidelines and contributes its share of necessary measures, but we must be cautious and discerning when dealing with such delicate matters as harassment and domestic violence.

Quite often, when these situations arise, the victim tries to flee from the abuser by going to another city, or even another province. We must ensure that, in these cases, the courts will exercise diligence and discretion in order to definitely protect the child and the victim.

I wanted to point that out because in the bill, it says:

A person who has parenting time or decision-making responsibility in respect of a child of the marriage and who intends to change their place of residence or that of the child shall notify any other person who has parenting time, decision-making responsibility or contact under a contact order in respect of that child of their intention.

The bill also says:

In considering the impact of any family violence...the court shall take the following into account:

(a) the nature, seriousness and frequency of the family violence and when it occurred;

That is fairly subjective. I realize that this bill leaves everything up to the courts, but we must take great care to ensure the safety of the child and the parent fleeing a dangerous situation. (1720)

We must be very vigilant.

I am proud of the organizations in my riding that do amazing work every day with people going through divorce and women who are victims of domestic violence. Le Petit pont is a community organization in Saint-Hyacinthe and Longueuil that helps create and maintain parent-child bonds in a neutral, family-friendly, harmonious space for families undergoing separation or conflict. The organization's priority is the child's best interests, including his or her physical and psychological safety.

Le Petit pont operates outside of the parents' home to ensure neutrality and fair, professional treatment for everyone involved. Services include supervision of parents and children during visitation as well as information and support for families. The organization strives to create a home-like environment. Its facilities are suitable for people of all ages and enable people to get into a daily routine and reduce the stress associated with supervision.

We consulted Le Petit pont about Bill C-78, and I just want to acknowledge the amazing work done by Martin Tessier, the executive director, who gave us the benefit of his wisdom. First, he told us his organization believes the interests of the child are paramount. He said that, as we discussed, it would be a good idea for marriage documents to include provisions setting out what would happen in the event of a separation, to clarify any issues that are important to the spouses. These important decisions need to be made while the couple is getting along, rather than waiting until after the relationship breaks down or becomes hostile. For example, provisions could be inserted covering elements like custody, visitation, access rights, pensions, division of property, relocation and the children's education.

Lastly, he said that like married couples, common-law partners should draw up a cohabitation agreement, a will, and a financial plan that covers what will happen if they separate. Mr. Tessier said that the most important thing is to raise public awareness of the many aspects people often overlook, like legislation, agreements and statistics. These are all very fair comments. I want to thank Mr. Tessier for his insightful recommendations and suggestions.

In my riding, we are lucky enough to be able to count on the professionalism of La Clé sur la porte, a shelter organization that has been taking in women from across Quebec for 37 years, with locations in Saint-Hyacinthe, Acton Vale and Beloeil. It is a women's shelter and support centre for victims of domestic violence and their children. Since 1981, it has welcomed over 4,000 women and as many children. I think it is imperative that we consult organizations like these when studying the bill before us today, because they have special expertise and an invaluable perspective.

The primary focus of La Clé sur la porte is the safety of the women and children. As soon as clients come through the doors of the shelter, they receive a warm welcome in a trusting, respectful and supportive environment. The clients are safe there. The caseworkers listen to them, support them, and help them in their decisions. Post-shelter assistance is also available from the organization to ensure that the women return to their normal lives under the best conditions.

Members of the organization also work on prevention and awareness raising. They visit high schools, where they give workshops on abusive relationships. They also give talks on domestic violence to social, community and educational organizations and institutions or other interested groups.

I had a discussion with Céline Coulombe, the coordinator at La Clé sur la porte. She voiced some concerns over the bill that I wish to share with the House. The first has to do with family mediation. The bill before us includes some elements to encourage parents to use other avenues than the courts, including family dispute resolution and mediation. Obviously, this alternative is a good idea for reducing court backlogs, but this method can be risky for victims in cases of domestic violence. (1725)

Ms. Coulombe told me that advocacy groups had fought for, and eventually won, the right for victims to opt out. This right should not be disputed. Once again, we must be cautious.

La Clé sur la porte and Ms. Coulombe expressed concerns about a second aspect, which is the requirement that a parent give notice of relocation to the other parent, even in the case of criminal proceedings, when the abuser is subject to a no-contact order. The abuser absolutely must not know where the victim is living. We all know that even if the courts issue a no-contact order, victims must often still take additional steps to keep themselves and their children safe.

Because the courts do not communicate, criminal judgments are often not taken into account when access to the children is being decided.

Unfortunately, my riding has seen some cases recently where women have been killed, or at risk of being killed, when they dropped their child off with their former husband. One such situation is one too many. We must be cautious and make sure that women and children are protected.

Lastly, the coordinator for La Clé sur la porte emphasized that the legislation focuses on the traumatic impact that divorce can have on children, and rightly so, but we also need to bear in mind that living in fear in a home fraught with violence is far more traumatic for a child. In addition, violence unfortunately does not usually end on the day of the separation or the day a court decision is handed down. Forcing victims to take part in dispute resolution or mediation sessions can put them in danger.

I am very familiar with La Clé sur la porte, as I used to work there. Back then, I was a recently divorced single parent. Fortunately, I never experienced violence.

I worked nights, and every night I was at La Clé sur la porte, I met women who suffered from insomnia. Those women would come and talk to me and share what they had been through. What I found most moving when I listened to their stories was the realization that it could happen to any one of us. Many of them had not seen it coming and had wound up in that situation through no fault of their own.

As we work to clarify the divorce legislation, it is important to remember that it applies to people who are at a vulnerable point in their lives. We need to make sure that we put in place all the necessary measures to keep them safe and to give their children access to the resources they are entitled to.

In divorce cases, each parent often has his or her own lawyer. However, many witnesses asked us to think about implementing measures that would support the provinces and ensure that, in some situations, the child gets a lawyer. The child's lawyer would be there simply to examine the situation and make sure that the child's interests are being protected under the agreement that is reached.

This would be applied in the provinces, so we would have to ensure that they have the necessary resources to continue to support organizations such as Le Petit pont and La Clé sur la porte.

I am reaching out to the government on this. As the critic for families, children and social development, I have the best interests of children at heart. I want to...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...rn, we have a duty to recognize our soldiers and veterans. The government must treat them and their families with respect and dignity. The government must provide them with support and assistance as long as they behave honourably.

Honour is very important, especially to those who serve or have served Canada. A single dishonourable act is justification for a soldier, veteran or family member to lose those privileges. Imagine, then, how our soldiers and former military personnel must feel when they hear this terrible story.

Please allow me to tell it.

In September 2015, in Halifax, Christopher Garnier, a 30-year-old civilian, cravenly took the life of Catherine Campbell of Truro, Nova Scotia. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison. Christopher Garnier never served a day in the Canadian Armed Forces. An expert at trial testified that Garnier developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of having strangled Ms. Campbell, put her body in a compost bin, and dumped her under a bridge.

However, as the son of a veteran, he qualified for support from Veterans Affairs Canada, which is still paying for his treatment for PTSD caused by the murder he committed. While behind bars, he is receiving treatment from a private psychologist funded through benefits intended for Canadian veterans, despite never having served our country. However, he would have access to similar support through the existing Canadian justice system.

The government is taking funds intended for our soldiers and veterans and using them to support a murderer. The family is outraged. Veterans are appalled. While some veterans are being forced to fight their government to access the services they are entitled to, a criminal is exploiting the system and the government is looking the other way.

Despite this atrocity, the Liberal government continues to support him financially. There is only one way out of this mess: immediately stop paying for this criminal's treatment under the veterans program. (1025)

The government must stop helping this murderer with money that is intended for our country's truly honourable men and women. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Veterans Affairs unfortunately do not want to talk about this case. They claim that the opposition should not be bringing up this issue in this political arena. On the contrary, I would say that it is our duty to talk about this tragedy in this chamber. It is a matter of respect, principle and honour.

We must break the silence in honour of the victim, her family, our men and women in uniform, and our veterans, who have been enraged by the government's decision. This is the opposition's role. We must denounce this foolish policy, which is yet another dismal Liberal failure, on top of all of their other failures. This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has treated our soldiers, our veterans, and their families unfairly. The current government broke its promise to no longer go to court against our sol...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...rise in the House today to speak to this motion and our recent efforts to ensure veterans and their families receive the respect, support, care and economic opportunities they deserve as they transition to a post-military life.

While much has been said in the past few days, the fact remains that our government has placed the highest priority on making sure veterans and their families have the support and services they need, when they need them.

Our government also places that same priority on the privacy of Canada's veterans' personal information, which prevents us from discussing specific cases. When it comes to Canada's veterans and their families, we are not in the business of political opportunism. We are interested in getting veterans well again.

We can and should, however, look at everything our government has done in the last three years to improve benefits and services, not only for our nation's veterans but also for their families. We know that when a man or woman serves in the Canadian Armed Forces, their whole family serves with them. (1040) [Translation]

Veterans Affairs Canada is a different department today than it was three years ago. It is driven by a new vision, with a focus on the well-being and successful transition of our Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP members, veterans and families.[English]

It is this vision that saw us reopen the nine Veterans Affairs offices that were closed by the previous Conservative government, open a new one in Surrey and increase outreach into the north. It is this vision that saw us staff up and hire more than 470 employees after years of cuts. It is this vision that saw us bring benefits in line with where they should have been years ago.

Year over year, our government has committed more money to veterans programs and benefits, ensuring more and better support for veterans and their families, based on feedback directly from them. Their feedback has led to investments of $10 billion since 2016. Ten billion is a big number, a bigger number than most of us can really picture. I will explain in a little more depth how that number translates into the programs, services and benefits that our veterans now have access to every day.

First, I want to address an issue that has recently been brought up, which is lapsed funding. Over the past three years, Veterans Affairs Canada has seen a significant increase in demand for its programs and services, and that is a good thing. It means veterans are coming forward and getting the help they need. It means they are beginning to trust their government again. I am sure that is not easy to do after 10 years of distrust in the previous government.

In order to respond to this increased demand, the department has to request additional funds in the middle of the year. As many of my colleagues in the House are aware, these are the supplements. The department goes and asks Treasury Board for more money, because we have more veterans who want more of the programs and services they are entitled to, indeed, that they deserve.

Our services are demand-driven, so whether it is 10 or 10,000 veterans coming forward, they will receive those services. Instead of going back every day when we see another veteran come forward, the department estimates how many people will access benefits and how much money is needed. It is not an exact science, though.

This process guarantees that whether a veteran comes forward this year, next year or the year after that, we will always have resources available for veterans and their families to access programs and services.”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... or the next or the year after that, we will always have resources available for veterans and their families to access programs and services. Lapsed funding does not result in anyone receiving less than they should.

Year over year, we have seen more financial compensation go to veterans and their families than in years previous, certainly in the previous 10 years. We have seen more veterans avail themselves of programs and services, and we have definitely seen more support being given to veterans than what the Conservatives failed to do in a decade.

I bring up the previous government because we know that they too had lapsed funding. This is not a new accounting method. It is how departments budget, but when we look at the Conservatives' record, when we look at the cuts in their Veterans Affairs departmental budgets, the cuts of 1,000 staff at Veterans Affairs and the closure of Veterans Affairs offices, it is a very different picture, one that veterans and Canadians see through.

I would like to dig in a little more on these benefits. Since January, I have held 41 town halls and round tables to meet with and hear from veterans, their families and stakeholders, and one thing I heard repeatedly was that veterans and their families needed better support and that change was needed. While there has been a lot of change at Veterans Affairs, my commitment to veterans and their well-being has remained the same. I am committed to ensuring that veterans' overall well-being is what drives everything we do. We want to make sure that veterans have purpose and are financially secure, safely housed, in good physical and mental health, resilient in the face of change, well integrated in the community, proud of their legacy and protected from political expediency.

When we look at these factors, we can all agree that without financial security, it is hard to focus on anything. That is why last December, we announced our plan to bring back a pension for life for ill and injured veterans. With that return of a monthly pension, the pension for life recognizes and compensates veterans for disabilities resulting from a service-related illness or injury with a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support and stability. (1045) [Translation]

Pain and suffering compensation is one of the main benefits. It is a monthly, tax-free payment for life that recognizes veterans' service-related pain and suffering.

This compensation is paid to members and veterans with a disability resulting from a service-related injury or illness.

Veterans and members can choose to receive either monthly payments or a lump sum, giving them the flexibility to choose what works for them and their families.[English]

As well, additional support will be available for those with severe and permanent impairments causing a barrier to re-establishment and post-service life through the additional pain and suffering compensation. This will be provided as a monthly, tax-free benefit for life.

On top of that, the income-replacement benefit is a monthly program that will replace six current benefits and provide income support for those facing barriers to re-establishment. Additionally, veterans using this benefit will be able to earn up to $20,000 per year before any reduction to their IRB payment, and that benefit is 90% of their pre-release salary, which keeps up with inflation and includes a salary increase every year for 20 years to match their expected career progression.

Set to come into force on April 1, 2019, the new pension for life combines what veterans have asked for with the most up-to-date research and understanding of a veteran's well-being, but more importantly, the pension for life will become an integral part of that comprehensive approach to veterans' well-being, reinforcing all the programs and services available at VAC, of which mental health is a priority.

Another issue surrounding mental health we have talked about recently in this House is psychiatric service dogs. Some veterans have made it clear that service dogs could be beneficial for them if they are suffering with conditions like PTSD. That is why, earlier this year, we expanded the medical expense tax credit to recognize the costs for these service animals.

The department also invested in a pilot study to explore the use of service dogs as a safe and effective support for veterans with PTSD. As was reported last week, this study was recently completed, the department is reviewing its results and the final report will help to inform policy decisions related to service dogs.

We know that military service creates unique stressors for serving members and their families, both during and after service. Veterans Affairs Canada has concrete measures in place to address mental health, including the joint suicide prevention strategy. Announced last fall, the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs committed to a coordinated collaborative approach and identified over 160 initiatives dedicated to saving the lives of veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. One suicide is too many, and with the two departments working together, we will be better able to help military service members and veterans reduce the risk, build resilience and prevent suicide.

Because families play an important role in a veteran's life, we recognize that they are there from day one. From base to base, from day to day, they bear intimate witness to the mental health struggles that some veterans deal with. That is why sometimes it could be determined by Veterans Affairs staff and medical professionals that access for a veteran's family members to counselling and other services would assist him or her better in achieving rehabilitation. Veterans Affairs staff consult and act on the recommendations of mental health professionals from across the country. The department has a nationwide network now of over 4,000 mental health professional who deliver services to veterans and RCMP and Canadian Forces members who have post-traumatic stress disorder and other operational stress injuries. Veterans and family members can also find mental health information, support and resources at the 11 operational stress injury clinics and eight satellite clinics across the country plus use of telehealth services, for those living in remote areas.

It is fundamental that we continue to learn and share best practices. Our government recently launched a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions that will allow us to do just that. Announced in May with the Royal Ottawa Hospital, this centre will create and share knowledge on veterans mental health treatments that work and place that information directly in the hands of mental health professionals and others working with veterans on a daily basis.

While mental health is a critical factor in a veteran's overall well-being, the department's vision aims to address all aspects of wellness. That is what led to the new and enhanced benefits that rolled out on April 1 of this year. Addressing families and well-being, financial security and education and training, all were designed with a veteran's well-being in mind. One of those new initiatives is the veterans emergency fund. Veterans or family members who may find themselves in an emergency situation can now apply for those funds 24/7, because as we know, emergencies do not only happen nine to five, Monday to Friday. Another is the caregiver recognition benefit, which provides a veteran's caregiver with $1,000 a month, tax free, recognizing the invaluable role caregivers play in caring for veterans.

Two other new programs that launched this year and are proving to be very successful are the education and training benefit and the career transition service. So far, more than 1,400 veterans have been approved for funding to further their education, and more than 900 Canadian Forces members and veterans have been approved for career transition services, and it has only been five months.

These are just a few of the real differences we are making in the lives of our country's veterans. (1050) [Translation]

Whether having served in the Second World War, the Korean War, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cyprus or any other mission Canada has supported, every veteran has his or her own story based on his or her service, combat experience or injury.[English]

Veterans' needs and the needs of their families and caregivers have evolved. They will continue to evolve, and we will evolve to meet them....”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t with each and every dollar of that $10 billion, we are protecting the lives of veterans and their families, even when it is unpopular to do so.

This is the most extenuating of circumstances. I...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...has power. The Harper-Scheer Conservatives used that administrative power to silence vets and their families.

When Sean Bruyea spoke out against legislation to strip veterans of lifetime pensions, he never imagined the government would try to smear his reputation using his own medical records. The Harper government was later forced to apologize for its actions, but it is just one example of that government's attempts to silence and discredit the veterans and their families who are standing up for their rights. They did this time and time again. Michel Drapeau, retired colonel, said that the government's actions were “despicable. It’s dishonourable. It’s unethical. And also illegal.”

It is incredible, because it is not only the veterans who are at the centre of what we are talking about, but also the services to their families, because the families are at the centre of military life. Without their family, the military member could do nothing. He could not be deployed because he would know that his children and spouse were not being looked after at home.

We need to ensure that those services are available all the time to all of those families, and not use administrative powers unethically as the Conservatives did to remove those ser...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s been frustrating to attend 40-plus town halls to talk to veterans each and every day and to their families. It will take a long time to win their trust back.

Like any other member on this side of the House, I do not like to stand up and continually blame the other side of the House for what we need to do, but it is very important that Canadians and veterans understand what we are dealing with. Most veterans get it. Most veterans understand.

We will do what needs to be done, and we will stand by veterans and their families, even when it is not politically expedient to do so.”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...The revelations regarding this case came as a shock to me, as they did to all veterans and their families and, obviously, to other members of this place and the Minister of Veterans Affairs and his department. It never should have happened, and the minister needs to fix it.

If one asked New Democrats how we have dealt with this highly unusual and outrageous case, I would note that I wrote a two-page letter to the minister on September 10 designed to make him aware of the media reports about the case and to ask him specific and pointed questions that came to me after reading the reports. I asked the minister three specific questions: was the decision to fund this care in accordance with any and all existing guidelines and/or regulations for the program and/or fund that was accessed; was the provision of care for illness unrelated to the service of veteran standard practice, and if so, what limitations are in place for such funding and provisions; and is funding still available to veterans in need of similar services from the same program and/or fund?

That said, in that letter, I let the minister know that I would be asking the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs to examine the regulations for this and other programs so they can be improved to ensure that all veterans and their families have access. To date, I have not heard back from the minister, but I await his thoughtful response before taking any further steps. New Democrats asked the government pointed questions in writing so we could find out what went wrong in this particular matter and, of course, work toward a solution to fix it.

Whenever we are talking about veterans benefits, we must discuss the challenges, the needs of veterans, and must have a wholesome conversation. All parties have expressed a desire to show respect and to help veterans and their families, but clearly we know that while the Conservatives were in government, they did not respect veterans. They cut services for veterans. Now the Liberals are making promises to fix the mistakes and are failing to do so.

Let us us not forget the way veterans were treated under the Conservative government, which cut more than 1,000 caseworkers and staff whose jobs were to work directly with veterans to ensure that they had access to the programs and services they needed, as well as the follow up they needed. It closed nine Veterans Affairs offices that served more than 20,000 veterans. There was also the failure of the Conservative government to spend more than $1.1 billion approved by Parliament to help veterans.

However, it does not excuse the Liberal government's broken promises today and for its following in the footsteps of the Conservatives on so many issues facing veterans today. While money has been allocated to help veterans under the Liberal government, something my NDP colleagues and I wholeheartedly support, it is not what the Liberals promised and is clearly not enough.

During the 2015 campaign, the Prime Minister promised to re-establish lifelong pensions, but instead his minister has put forward a pale imitation of the venerable old program. As has been pointed out by independent sources, the benefits paid out under the Liberals' new lifetime pension are not even close to the financial benefits veterans would have received under the old lifelong pension. I hope the government will stop misleading veterans about this fact.

While the government made a point of criticizing the last Conservative government for not spending $1.1 billion approved by Parliament over just seven years, it has continued the same practice, leaving over $374 million unspent in its first three years. For some reason, the minister likened this to getting a credit when one buys gas at the station. This is not five dollars, $10 or $15 left at the pump; this is enough money to hire back the over 1,000 caseworkers who were fired by the Conservative government and who could help deal with the growing backlog of over 30,000 veterans waiting for their disability benefit application claims to be opened. Many of them are not even getting a response. (1105)

With regard to the provision of service dogs that veterans absolutely need, they just got a report back from their own department, which veterans have been waiting for for years. The government chose to follow that path of doing its own report and ignoring a report that was done in the United States previously. It wanted to do a made in Canada report, but now the Liberals are deciding to wait for a report out of the U.S. before they allocate more resources for service dogs. A tax credit is great for service dogs. We appreciate that step forward, but veterans need more service dogs. More veterans are falling through the cracks, but the government did not do what it should have.

The Liberals could have used that money to open more centres to help veterans. We heard from the ombudsman's report that many veterans are waiting well beyond the service standards set out by the government. Most of them are waiting more than four months. They are actually waiting six months. Women are waiting longer than men. French Canadians are waiting longer than anglophone Canadians. Why? The Liberals are failing to address and meet their own service standards.

Many veterans cannot find someone to answer the phone. I have been hearing from constituents and others across the country. I have a note from Rose Doucette, a a former Canadian Armed Forces veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan and volunteered for an extended tour. She said she has had two claims in the VAC system since September 2017, that is, for over a year, and was recently told by a medical practitioner that the VAC wait time is now expected to be 24 to 28 weeks, but that even that was not likely. She was told that the new policy was never to discuss wait times with a veteran. She has also had four VAC reassessments waiting in the pipe since February 2018. VAC is not being truthful about its service to injured veterans. This is not how we should be treating our veterans.

I held five town halls in my riding this summer to listen to veterans. We heard someone say that the call centres are based on time zones that do not meet veterans' needs across the country and that people are not answering the phone. We heard from Vivian from Port Alberni who spoke about the application and appeals process impacting the families of veterans. She said that once a spouse gets through the system, they are sick themselves from dealing with it all.

Reg of Qualicum Beach also voiced his concerns regarding the long and convoluted process that generally requires multiple attempts.

Ken of Parksville expressed his desire for better communication with veterans when they submit an application or appeal. Confirmation and receipt with an approximate timeline would go a long way in addressing this issue for Ken. He is not even hearing back from VAC.

While the Liberals are patting themselves on the back, Ken, Vivian and Rose are all suffering, along with many other veterans across the country. Rick of Parksville summed up the feeling in the room. He compared it to medical insurance companies attempting to run out the clock on sick claimants to avoid paying them. We know that a lot of veterans will not get any benefits until their applications are approved. That means they are being left out and are leaning on family members to support them for the medications and treatment they need. This is absolutely unacceptable.

As New Democrats, we will continue to work in practical and meaningful ways to improve the lives of Canadian veterans and their families, because we think our veterans deserve no less from their political leaders. The huge probl...”

Ms. Christine Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue, NDP)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ion we could take together, as members, to quickly restore adequate services for veterans and their families.

Too many people never speak of the sacrifices they make throughout their spouse's mi...”

Ms. Christine Moore

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...or any treatment provided.

We should be focusing on what we can do now to improve services to families and veterans.”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...as gathered.

Does my colleague agree that our approach, standing up before veterans and their families, is the right approach?”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Madam Speaker, families are at the centre of military life. The Canadian Armed Forces recognized this in 2000, under a Liberal government, with the Canadian Forces family policy.

A central question that the Conservatives are asking is whether the minister has the arbitrary power to deny benefits to vets and their families without due process and administrative justice. Should they be politically expedient?

The Conservatives are very quick to the gun. They take action now and think later. We know the Conservatives are willing to use ministerial executive power to punish vets and their families that offer criticism. They did this in the past with Sean Bruyea.

Should this be the case today? Should we be debating how we offer services and the types of services we offer families and who should receive those benefits? Instead, the Conservatives want to be politically ex...”

Mr. Robert Kitchen (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...enefits in recognition of the huge impact that mefloquine has had on their lives and those of their families. People like Marj Matchee and David Bona are standing up and speaking for those who cannot. Where is their support from Veterans Affairs? They get none, yet a murderer who is a non-veteran gets coverage. These veterans had no choice but to take that medication. This murderer had a choice.

The penal system in Canada covers treatment for mental health issues, such as PTSD. This could include Garnier, yet Veterans Affairs Canada is footing the bill for his private psychologist. He does not need to use resources meant for veterans and their deserving families.

Why is the minister unable to explain the rationale behind this backward decision? What is taking so long for department officials to figure out how on earth this could have happened? Canadians want a response. In the meantime, the minister should use his authority to suspend the benefits until said response is provided.

It bears repeating the Prime Minister's recent comments to a disabled veteran, stating that Canadian veterans were, “asking for more than we are able to give”. That comment was extremely offensive from the start, as our veterans have literally given their lives so we may live peacefully in our country. That highly offensive statement, compounded with the fact the government is paying for a murderer's PTSD treatment, is another virtual slap in the face to all veterans.

I am sure most of us here remember what happened to the former base commander at CFB Trenton, Russell Williams. He was convicted of committing two murders. Following his conviction, he was stripped of his commission, his ranks and awards by the Governor General on the recommendation of the chief of defence staff. His severance pay was terminated and the salary he received following his arrest was seized. His uniform was burned and his medals were destroyed.

Imagine the outrage Canadians would feel if they were paying for the private psychological treatment for Russell Williams for the PTSD he may have incurred while murdering somebody. It is a disgusting and abhorrent thought, yet this is essentially what is happening with Christopher Garnier. We get to pay for his treatment, all because his father, not him, is a veteran.

I want to make it clear that I and all my colleagues on this side of the House are 100% in favour of helping veterans and their families. Being a voice for our veterans family is one of my main goals at the veterans affairs comm...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... Canadian Forces family policy. It was the very first time there was an actual policy that defended families within the Canadian Armed Forces.

A central question that the Conservatives are asking is whether the minister has the arbitrary power to deny benefits to vets and their families without due process and administrative justice. Should they be allowed to be politically expedient when it suits their cause?

The Conservatives are very quick to the gun. They take action now and think later. We know the Conservatives are willing to use their ministerial executive power to punish vets and their families that offer criticism. They did this for 10 years. It happened to Sean Bruyea.

We will stand by veterans and their families come what may. However, services are important and who gets those services are equally important. I remember that it was very difficult to obtain the services veterans were entitled to when I was in the military.

Families are important. Do we use one case to limit the amount of services offered to all families within the military who serve?”

Mr. Robert Kitchen

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...r, I thank the member for Winnipeg Centre for his service to his country.

He has talked about families and about veterans. This conversation that we have asked for is about an individual who is ...”

Mr. Robert Kitchen

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...irs committee, and that is what I am committed to doing, to helping not only those veterans but the families who are impacted by what is going on.”

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... to these services and yet he is getting priority benefits that are reserved for veterans and their families. Does he have an affiliation with Canada's armed forces? Sure, but does that make it right that a man who has committed a very serious offence has access to those benefits? No, it does not.

Our responsibility in this place is to correct wrongs when they happen. This policy should not allow this man to receive these benefits. Whose responsibility is it to fix that? It is the responsibility of the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Every single one of the Liberals who have spoken in here today, three years after receiving their mandate, have stood up and said that it is Stephen Harper's fault. They have said that it is Stephen Harper's fault that a man who was convicted of murder is receiving PTSD benefits from Veterans Affairs. Come on. Nobody believes that. Even Liberals are going to be hard pressed to believe that. Any Liberal member who stands up in here is saying, “Oh, it is Stephen Harper's fault.” Come on. They should do their jobs. The Liberals are three years into their mandate.

This morning, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, to cover a part of his body, his rear end, tweeted, “I have asked my officials to get back to me as soon as possible with the reasons for this decision.” That is the minister's job. He should not ask his officials for the reasons of this decision. He should go to his officials and say, “Fix it. He should not have benefits. Fix it now and I want every policy option on my desk in an hour or else somebody is going to suffer the consequence for it so that this does not happen again.” That is his policy. He should bring a memorandum to cabinet if that is what it takes. He should change the policy so that we can do two things.

The Liberals are standing up in the House saying that the Conservatives do not support benefits for families. Come on. It is the minister who stood up and explained to the Canadian media that the reason he was not spending money on veterans benefits right now and why there was unspent funds was because it was like a prepaid gas card. (1150)

Every single one of my colleagues here supports the benefits for families of veterans, because many of us understand what families go through when one of their loved ones is deployed or serves. Many of us have an intimate understanding of the long-term scars that can leave on a family and on a person. Of course we want to have benefits for these families. Of course we want to recognize their mutual sacrifice. However, when someone, regardless of his affiliation to that person, commits a crime that is so heinous that he is convicted and is suffering a punishment for it, and the PTSD he suffered was from desecrating a person's body, that person should not receive those benefits. That is a decision we can make in Parliament. That is why this motion is here today.

Every single one of those guys who stands up and says that it is Stephen Harper's fault or that we do not want benefits for veterans, it is those members who are abdicating their responsibility to our men and women in uniform, because by their defending this decision and allowing their minister to get off the hook for not dealing with this after 29 days, they are the ones who are holding back benefits for our veterans. They are the ones who have their priorities backward. The Liberals are three years into their mandate. If they wanted to do more for our men and women in uniform, they have had three years to do it. What do we hear? “It's like a prepaid gas card.”

We stood in here earlier this week and asked the Prime Minister and the minister over and over again if they thought it was right for this man to get benefits. The Prime Minister's response was that he should not have to answer that question. Come on. He should be a leader and stand up for what he believes in. I am standing up for what I believe in. I will proudly stand here and say that this man should not be getting benefits.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs has had 29 days to haul his officials in and say, “Fix this problem.” In any other universe that would be grounds for firing, because this is a no-brainer. That is all we are asking today.

My colleague from the NDP talked about different ways we could look at serving our veterans and their families more effectively. Yes, let us talk about that in this place. That is wonderful, but in this...”

Ms. Karen Ludwig (New Brunswick Southwest, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...o everyone in Canada, the well-being of members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.

I would like to reassure the House that this government is committed to improving the health and well-being of our veterans. This government has made it a priority to provide not just all Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and veterans the support and services they so rightly deserve, but also their families.

Most Canadians understand that the government is legally bound to protect the confidentiality of its veteran clients. This is a responsibility that we take seriously. Veterans should never have to worry that we would expose their personal information or use them as pawns for the sake of political gain, which is why I am disappointed that we are here discussing this opposition motion and ignoring the issue that has taken place.

All of us feel disgusted at the crime that has taken place. This is a feeling shared by all members in this place and Canadians across the country, but it is more important to Conservative members to try to expose more personal information for the sake of headlines.

Their focus should be on the health and well-being of veterans, in particular their mental health, which is a priority for Veterans Affairs Canada and for our government. Mental health is critical to overall wellness, and we know how important it is when it comes to our men and women in uniform transitioning to life after service.

That is why this government is committed to helping veterans living with an operational stress injury get the help they need, when they need it, and, more importantly, in person whenever possible. The three recently opened operational stress injury satellite service sites will help with this.

It is important to note that currently 96% of applications of post-traumatic stress disorder are approved, up from where it was under the Conservatives.

We took seriously the concerns of the Auditor General who criticized the previous government for not doing enough to facilitate veterans' timely access to mental health benefits, so veterans can access supports even before their application is approved.

This is also why, if it is identified that a veteran could benefit from a family member receiving counselling or other services, the department steps in in order to help the veteran. The focus of providing mental health supports to a family member is always based on the best interest of the veteran's well-being, and the decision is always made in consultation with public health professionals.

Veterans Affairs Canada offers both direct and indirect support to veterans' family members through a variety of benefits and services. The following are a few examples: case management services, transition services, mental health services, rehabilitation services and vocational assistance, caregiver recognition benefit, public service health care plan, financial benefits and disability death benefits, pastoral outreach network, VAC assistance service, and operational stress injury social support.

By providing specialized, evidence-based assessment, treatment and support, along with educational programs for individuals, couples and families, Veterans Affairs Canada is better able to assist veterans and their families.

It is clear to this government that when members serve, the whole family serves with them, which is why their health and well-being is also a priority for us. That is why families are central in the suite of benefits, programs and services that my colleagues talked about earlier.

In addition to mental health support services, the veteran family program is available at all 32 of the military family resource centres across the country.

Both this past summer and last year, I had the opportunity to attend the military family resource centre at Base Gagetown. Individuals and families told me how much they appreciate the benefits and services that are being offered and their enhancement.

What this means is that medically releasing CAF members, veterans who are medically released and their families who are in need of assistance, will now have access to more services that focus on the well-being of the entire family. This can include mental health first aid, referrals to programs and services, and access to the military family services program. This is in addition to the recently announced centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. (1205)

Everyone here understands the value of research and the need for scientific data to make informed decisions. We are committed to working with researchers, taking an evidence-based approach to developing new programs as part of our mission to better serve veterans.

The centre of excellence on PTSD will work to advance mental health research and support to improve the treatment of mental health conditions that impact veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. It will be a place where mental health professionals across the country can create and share knowledge on veteran mental health treatments that work. The research component will be critical as the centre will work to leverage scientific advancements in the area of military and veteran mental health while also developing best practices in assessing and treating mental health conditions.

A large part of the success of this centre will be through our partnership with the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research and capitalizing on the network of over 1,000 researchers at 43 universities across our great nation. As well, we will be working alongside many other recognized Canadian centres, institutes and universities. It will place it directly into the hands of other professionals across the country working with veterans on a daily basis. It will also focus on research, clinical program and tool development, education and outreach. The centre will provide important information to front-line health care service providers on mental health conditions specific to veterans and their families.

This is a perfect complement to the existing partnerships for mental health as offer...”

Ms. Karen Ludwig

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ink it is responsible for us as a government, on all sides of this House, to stand up for veterans' families. The case before us, in terms of this motion, is an individual case, and I think that in go...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ose promises. That is what we are doing. We have heard the concerns of soldiers, veterans and their families and we consulted the veterans' community, as well as veterans advocates and experts, on the best way forward.

That being said, we recognize that we will never make everyone happy. Our government has made a lot of positive changes over the past three years in order to better serve veterans and their families. New and improved Veterans Affairs programs have all the necessary ingredients for promoting well-being; an important one is the balance between financial, mental, physical and social well-being.

The result is a flexible set of benefits and programs that enable veterans and their families to decide what type of compensation is best for them. One of the promises was to provide a lifetime monthly pension. In his mandate letter to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Prime Minister clearly asked him to “[r]e-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured Veterans, while ensuring that every injured Veteran has access to financial advice and support so that they can determine the form of compensation that works best for them and their families.”

The new pension for life was announced last December and was designed to provide the greatest possible support for the most seriously injured veterans. This new approach consists of a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support and stability for military members and veterans who suffer from a service-related illness or injury.

One of the benefits that we are especially pleased to provide is the compensation for pain and suffering. It is a non-taxable lifetime monthly payment in recognition of service-related pain and suffering. This benefit is based on the extent of the impairment, and the monthly and lump-sum options give members and veterans the opportunity to choose what is best for them and their families.

The additional pain and suffering compensation, which is also a monthly, non-taxable benefit, provides additional support for veterans who have a service-related permanent and severe impairment. This benefit is paid in addition to the pain and suffering compensation and is meant to recognize the barriers to establishment in life that veterans face after service.

The income replacement benefit is another monthly program that will provide income support to veterans who need financial assistance because they are experiencing barriers to re-establishment in post-service life due to a health problem resulting primarily from service. In some cases, the benefit may also be offered to veterans, survivors and orphans, should they need it.

We realized that what we announced in December might have seemed complicated, which is why Minister O'Regan held round table discussions with veterans and stakeholders across the country. We wanted to make sure that veterans and their families understand the scope and the impact of the changes we are introducing. These meetings were also an opportunity to hear what veterans and stakeholders think about the new approach.

Overall, many people are satisfied with these changes. We are all aware that the needs of Canada's veterans have changed a lot over the past century. Since the Pensions Act was introduced, Veterans Affairs Canada has ensured that its programs and services have kept pace with those changing needs by adopting a better approach that incorporates the financial, mental, physical and social factors that play a role in the successful transition to post-service life. (1220)

It is clear that the new pension for life meets the government's promise to bring back a lifetime monthly pension. More importantly, it reiterates the government's unwavering commitment to ensuring that all veterans and their families are treated with dignity, respect and fairness, which is really at the heart of everything we do.

Over $6 billion in initiatives were announced in the 2016 and 2017 budgets, and we are investing another $3.6 billion on top of that in the flexible package of benefits and programs that is the pension for life.

We are committed to providing financial compensation for service-related pain and suffering. We are committed to providing income replacement to provide financial support for veterans during rehabilitation or to compensate them for their loss of income. We are committed to providing education, work and physical and mental health support programs for veterans. We are committed to making veterans' lives easier.

We know that every veteran has their own unique history and situation. That is why pension for life was designed to give every veteran the flexibility to decide what form of compensation works best for them and their family during the transition from military to civilian life. Pension for life provides a full suite of financial security and wellness elements to help veterans and their families transition to the next phase of their life and make choices about what they want to do next, whether it be education, work or retirement.

We have made a lot of progress in enhancing support to our courageous veterans. The government will never stop working to improve the lives of our veterans and their families.

Following a review, the Minister of Veterans Affairs has informed the department tha...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...mocracy. I do it often, out of respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. I do it for their families. I certainly appreciate the service and sacrifices that our members of our military and their families have paid to this country.

It is a sad day in this country when veterans who are suffering from PTSD have to stand in line behind a convicted murderer who never served a day in his life, in order to receive PTSD benefits. I never thought we would get to this point, but here we are on an opposition day asking the government to do something very simple: to stop the benefits to police killer, Christopher Garnier.

Members can imagine my surprise last week when we stood in question period and asked the Prime Minister about this issue. I asked what I thought were very fair questions about how this could happen and what he was going to do to resolve it. Of course, the Prime Minister stood up, as we have heard during the debate today, and talked platitudes about veterans, and the Veterans Affairs minister stood up and gave an infomercial on all the things his government is doing. If we ask veterans, the Liberals are not doing by them very well. Veterans will tell us that.

I had a follow-up question about how he could justify a paying PTSD benefits to a person who had killed a police officer, and a volunteer firefighter as well, meaning someone would had actually worn two uniforms in her community. How could the Prime Minister justify paying those Veterans Affairs benefits for PTSD to someone after he had murdered a police officer, Catherine Campbell? The answer from the Prime Minister was absolutely ridiculous. He accused us of fearmongering, of being insensitive to the issue. He refused to answer the question. He actually sat down and did not answer the question in question period in the House, where the opposition is obligated to hold the government to account. The reaction across the country since then has been nothing but incredible in terms of the outrage against the Prime Minister, and now the Minister of Veterans Affairs, for refusing to answer the question.

It showed, as I have said many times in the House, that the Prime Minister and the current Liberal government do not want an opposition. They want an audience. I have news for the Prime Minister and the government: we are going to continue to push on those issues that are important to Canadians, and this one certainly is. It is why we are standing here today, all day in Parliament, asking the government to stop this incredibly egregious act of paying a benefit for PTSD to a convicted police murderer who has never served a day of his life, not even one single minute, in Canada's military and yet is receiving those benefits.

In fact, on that day, within that question I posed to the Prime Minister, I suggested a fact, that if a serving member of Canada's military were to commit a murder, not only would their benefits be lost, but so too would be the benefits of their family. Christopher Garnier was not a dependant, as defined under any benefits plan. Certainly under the plan for us here in Parliament, we are entitled to benefits for our dependants, as do many other workplaces. Those benefits are paid up to the age of 21, and in the case of their children being in post-secondary education, they get those benefits paid until their dependants are 25. They do not get them when they are 30. They are cut off. (1235)

It is a really simple solution on the part of the government. We are standing here today not only on behalf of veterans and their families, including the Campbell family and friends, but more importantly for Catherine Campbell herself, the police officer who was killed by Christopher Garnier in Truro, Nova Scotia, to say at all levels that this is wrong. We are asking the minister and the Prime Minister to act on this case, which is well within their prerogative.

The reaction has been swift across this country. In fact, when this case broke almost four weeks ago, Stephen McNeil, the Liberal premier of Nova Scotia, said that he was initially stunned and shocked by the department's help for Garnier. He made this point in recent conversations with the veterans affairs minister and another Nova Scotia minister, whose title I do not quite know at this point as he seems to hide a lot. He stated:

I don't believe anyone in their drafting of this policy to look after military families believed that it would be looking after a convicted killer in our province, and I strongly ...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... is a 30-year-old person. The member suggested anyone over age 21 should not have services. I think families should have those services.”

Mr. Todd Doherty (Cariboo—Prince George, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...is is not what I signed up for when I began my career, providing services to our veterans and their families. I love my job and it is an honour to support those who are willing to lay down their lives...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t is what this debate is about: What level of services should we be offering to veterans and to the families of those veterans?”

Mr. Bob Bratina (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“..., we pledged to make it easier for veterans to access services. We said we would do more to support families, streamline benefits, reduce the administrative burden, improve the veteran's experience with Veterans Affairs Canada and help veterans make a successful transition to life after service. These were ambitious goals, and our government is making progress in leaps and bounds.

The veterans community told us loud and clear that we need to make it simpler, easier and more user-friendly to access the programs and services of Veterans Affairs. They told us about the effect of the backlog of applications for benefits and services and the time they have to wait for decisions to be made. They also told us that they do not always know about the suite of programs and services available to them, both of which are a result of the 10 years of cuts we saw under the Harper Conservatives.

Over the past three years, we have made significant improvements to both the programs and services available and our ability to communicate them to veterans. To make it easier for veterans to talk to our staff about these benefits, we reopened the nine offices the Conservatives closed, opened a tenth one in Surrey and hired over 475 new staff, including over 180 case managers.

We also increased service in the north. In 2017, our staff made 12 trips to Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse to meet with veterans and their families. Our staff is committed to ensuring our veterans and their families are better informed, served and supported. We owe veterans the means to get back on their feet and on with their lives, and that is what our department is committed to delivering every day: helping them to accomplish that with a successful transition and, after their release from the military, to rebuild their lives and enjoy a healthy state of well-being.

We learned from the 2016 life-after-service studies that while 52% of regular forces veterans report experiencing an easy or moderately easy transition to post-service life, 32% report having trouble. With the Canadian Armed Forces projecting an average of 2,500 medical releases per year over the next five years, we recognize the importance of strengthening our transition services to members.

We also recognize that no two veterans are the same. Each has his or her own personal history and experiences that result in different needs and challenges. This is why we hear so much about the department's flexible approach to benefits and services that can be tailored to each veteran and each family's individual needs. We have worked to create a system that can be adapted to each veteran's particular needs at that particular point in time. We saw that the cookie-cutter approach left some veterans falling through the cracks.

Our pension for life not only addresses the wide variety of needs of veterans but also takes into account feedback from veterans on the need to reduce the complexity of support programs available to them and to their families. Pension for life has three key pillars: monthly, tax-free financial compensation, services and benefits, and an income replacement benefit.

This income replacement benefit will consolidate six income support benefits into one single financial benefit to simplify the administrative demand on veterans and their families. Veterans told us to streamline our programs, and that is exactly what we have done. (1305)

Let me come back to the idea that no two veterans are the same. While some prefer to interact with staff in person, other veterans prefer to find information and manage their interaction with the department themselves, using online tools. Working with feedback gathered through the service delivery review, Veterans Affairs simplified its online system, My VAC Account. It made registration both easier and more secure, simplified the language and added functionality. Veterans can now communicate with department staff, including case managers, using secure messaging in their My VAC Account. They can ask questions about their benefits and services and get reliable answers from qualified agents.

The program is proving popular and is gaining more than 1,000 new users every month. The department has also taken concrete measures to improve service delivery by telephone, and is taking the initiative to reach out to veterans to get the information needed to support claims and explain benefits.

With all of these new enhanced benefits and services, and increased efforts to inform veterans of what is available to them, application rates have increased dramatically over recent years. For example, over the past three years we have seen a 32% increase in disability benefit applications. That is good news. It means more veterans are aware of the benefits for which they may be eligible.

To keep up with the rise in demand and ensure that veterans get the services and benefits they need when they need them, the government is spending $42.8 million over two years, starting this year, to improve service delivery to Veterans Affairs Canada. Following our announcement of this funding, Union of Veterans Employees president Carl Gannon Jr. tweeted, “$42.8 million over two years to rebuild service delivery capacity...I can more than live with this.”

We're going to do better to get veterans the benefits and services they need, when they need them. Following 10 years of nothing but cuts to funding and staff, we are rebuilding the trust of veterans with the investments needed to deliver services effectively and efficiently.

In addition to new funding, we have also made changes to ensure veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to. Veterans Affairs staff triage claims to ensure that veterans who apply for mental health services receive priority in their evaluation so they can receive treatment without delay. Mental health is an area where we provide access to services before a veteran is approved, in order to make sure they are getting the support they need to get better as soon as possible. Through additional staffing and process improvements, we have been able to increase the number of disability claims processed. For example, 96% of first applications completed for PTSD are approved.

As more veterans keep putting up their hand and asking for help, we want to make sure we have the staff and the capacity to make sure they have access to the services they need as quickly as possibly. To that end, we have hired more than 475 new front-line staff, new employees, to help ensure that veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, RCMP personnel and their families are provided with the best possible services when and where they need them.

Make no m...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t early period, in the 1990s, when I first joined, the work that was done by our leadership to make families a centre of the services, the centre of life in the military.

I remember taking medical mental health training with my fellow soldiers. We had to take this yearly. I learned that there were three components to serving well and learning to serve well. They were ensuring that we had a good personal life, a good professional life, and a good family life. They were the three principal spheres, and if one of them was not working well, we would find and encounter great difficulties in our professional life. We would not be able to accomplish the mission that had been set out for us, so we could not miss any of these elements.

As a serving member for 22 years, I have always believed that families should be at the centre of military life. In fact, I had a family when I was in the military. I believe that this is actually the Canadian Forces policy. Though sometimes it is not always respected within the Canadian Forces, because sometimes mission requirements do take precedence, nonetheless there are policies that are there to defend families. In 2000, the Canadian Armed Forces recognized this and came out with the Canadian Forces family policy.

In this debate, one of the central questions we are actually talking about is the level or amount of services actually offered to families. The central question the Conservatives are asking is not the one that is politically expedient. It is whether the minister should have the arbitrary power to deny benefits to vets and their families, not using due process and not using administrative justice. Should ministers be allowed to be politically expedient when it suits them?

Conservatives are quick to the gun to take action now and to think later. We know that Conservatives are willing to use their ministerial executive power to punish vets and their families who offer criticism of the government, because they did so under their previous administration, under the previous regime. They did so when they silenced vets and released their medical information without their consent. They shared that medical information. I am going to talk about that in a bit, because it is central to this case as well. I will say that we must stand with vets and their families, come what may.

Another important aspect of this debate is that services are important, and the question is who actually gets those services. I remember that it was very difficult to obtain the services vets were entitled to, especially when I was in the military. However, if we believe that families are important, and we have a family policy, do we use this one case to then limit the amount of services offered to families? Bad cases make extremely bad law. The Conservatives love using bad cases, because it is easy, but this bad case would make extremely bad law. It would make bad rules, and it would make bad regulations.

Decisions today actually do matter. They impact the services that are offered, and they impact how those rules and regulations will be interpreted in the future, not only by us in this House but by the bureaucrats and functionaries who actually carry out the orders of the executive branch. The Conservative motion, in my opinion, would lead to a tightening of the rules. This would have unintended consequences for vets and their families.

I remember, during the war in Afghanistan, how we needed to support our families to ensure that we had the widest opportunity to offer all services. We had the freedom to offer those services to those families no matter what their situation, because each family was unique and each veteran's case was unique. (1320)

I have asked hypothetical questions, and people have not been happy that I have asked them, but I am supposed to ask questions. What do we do with a 16-year-old who has dealt drugs? She is the daughter of a veteran of 20 years who has PTSD due to his service. Should that 16-year-old be denied services, denied education benefits later, when she gets her life in order? Let us say that this 16-year-old committed an even more heinous crime than dealing drugs, something irreparable, destroying the lives of others in ways that cannot be repaired. It is a hypothetical case, but it is possible.

Conservative political posturing puts at risk benefits for the military family. It makes it harder for bureaucrats to give them the services they require. We could tighten the rules. We could satisfy the political expediency of the Conservative Party. We could take action now, think later and regret later.

As the member for Calgary Nose Hill said, let us talk about leadership. She talked about leadership in this debate. I remember a time, in 2009, with the war in Afghanistan going full regime, that cuts were made by the Harper Conservative government, the cabinet she was a member of and where she had the opportunity of forcing her leadership on her cabinet colleagues. They made cuts to the military while we were serving in Afghanistan. There were thousands of reservists serving on army bases right across the country. At my military base in Valcartier, I remember how the contracts of reservists, who were serving full time, were not renewed, even though they were waging a war and working very hard to advance the national interest of Canada and serving the government and the people of Canada. That put the mission in jeopardy. The Conservatives did not really seem to care about what we were doing. They just decided that they were going to tell people what they should be doing and not listen to them, even though they were the experts. Those reservists filled important roles. They were an important component of mission success for many units in Afghanistan and back in Canada, and the Harper Conservatives cut those jobs. They cancelled those contracts and caused chaos in the deployed units trying to fight a war.

I like to talk about what the Conservatives did in their decade of darkness for veterans. In 2014, retired general Rick Hillier, the former head of the Canadian military, was talking about suicide and mental health anguish among Canadian solders. He stated,

I don't think we had any idea the scale and scope of what the impact would be. I truly do not. This is beyond a medical issue. I think many of our young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them.

Why would they not? The Conservative government at that time had killed the lifetime benefit for veterans. They did it on April 6, 2006, when it was in power and enacted the new veterans charter. The Harper minister insulted veterans and closed nine veterans offices. The Auditor General found the Harper government to be failing veterans. The Conservatives slashed 900 jobs in Veterans Affairs, despite pleas from managers. There was more than $1 billion not spent by the ministry to help veterans. A judge ordered the government to pay $887 million to veterans.

I do not believe we should release the medical information of veterans, even in debates in the House of Commons. When Sean Bruyea spoke out against legislation to strip vets of lifetime pensions, he never imagined in his dreams that the government of the day, the Harper government, would try to smear his reputation by using his medical records against him. His medical and financial details had been circulated after he criticized the new veterans charter. A Veterans Affairs official said that it was “time to take the gloves off”, which was reported in the Huffington Post. The Privacy Commissioner said that Bruyea's case was alarming and that the treatment of his personal information was very inappropriate. Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, a lawyer with expertise in privacy laws, said that the government's actions were despicable, dishonourable, unethical and also illegal. However, this never stopped the government from going ahead.

We can order bureaucrats to do what we want, but sometimes we need due process and time to think about these issues to make sure that we do not have unintended consequences impacting veterans and their families. It is most important that the considerations here be deliberate and well thought out, not ...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... who have a 30-year-old son, and that service member is killed. We need to be able to support those families, and make sure they have the services that are required to help them.

That is the question. How do we make the regulations better, so we can actually serve families, and respect each and every value that we have here in Canada, all the Canadian values that are extremely important? That is an important question that we need to answer and think about, not only ourselves but with bureaucrats. We need to talk to veterans to find out how we can make these regulations better and really ensure that the services get to the people who need them the most, and that is veterans and their families. Families are at the centre of military life.”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...time of the House.

Nonetheless, I will continue debating this, because it is important to the families of veterans. If I had a 16-year-old son who committed a crime, who, for instance, was dealing drugs, and I happen to have PTSD, and maybe in the service of my country I did have some terrible, dark moments in my life, and I will admit to that, nonetheless if I knew that it might, later on, limit his ability, if he managed to set himself on the right track, to obtain services which he might be entitled to, I would want him to be able to obtain those services.

I want to be sure that when we are setting regulations, we are not cutting off people who should get them. I think that is most important to veterans. We can use one case to decide thousands of people's future, but we should not be doing that. We should use one case to just think about the one simple case.

If we want to open a larger debate about services actually offered to veterans, I think we should do so in a calm and more beneficial way, which would bring greater accord to people. I do not think this case is the way to do it. The Conservatives are simply trying to score easy political points off the backs of veterans and their families, using them as pawns in their own political games so they can promote themselves on social ...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...as many members of the House know, speak to the issues that affect the Canadian Armed Forces, their families and our veterans. I said last week in the House that the Conservatives were going to be back here every day until the Liberals start to take some sense of ownership of their files. This is people's House. This is the House of Commons, where we are representing our constituents and the concerns of Canadians, be they veterans, family members, first responders or their families who are outraged by this situation.

I should say that I will be splitting my time with the member for Brandon—Souris.

Christopher Garnier is not a veteran. He never served a day in uniform and yet he took the life of Catherine Campbell, who wore two uniforms of service for her community and country. She was a police officer and in her spare time, she was also a volunteer firefighter, a young Canadian we should be proud of and should celebrate the fact that she dedicated so much of her life to serving others. Christopher Garnier snuffed out that life and he should be treated accordingly. He should be given no benefits from the federal government, certainly not those that are safeguarded for veterans.

On all sides of the House, and the member for Winnipeg Centre knows this, we have talked about the sacred obligation to our veterans. My first response when I stood in the House was to echo the words of Sir Robert Borden and the profound duty we owe to our veterans. In fact, I have echoed the sentiment of a World War I veteran who died in that conflict, Talbot Papineau, whose famous family now bears the name of the Prime Minister's seat, on the obligations we owe.

From the moment someone joins the Canadian Armed Forces, at 18, 19, 20 or older until the end of his or her life, we owe veterans that obligation. For those seriously injured, that obligation includes supports, benefits and treatment. Mr. Garnier is not one of those people. There have been a number of absolutely false arguments put forward by the government in its stubborn refusal to just do the right thing, acknowledge there was an error and rectify it.

Mr. Garnier, in September 2015, as the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has confirmed, killed Catherine Campbell and then desecrated her remains. I will not go into the sordid details, but they are horrific. In December 2017, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced in August of this year for killing a fine Canadian. What is horrific as well to not only the family but veterans across the country is that sometime ahead of his sentencing, he started receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada.

The government's own documentation show wait times for assessment are getting past the nine-month mark on average. Therefore, in many ways, Mr. Garnier was placed ahead of veterans who are waiting for operational stress injury support, mainly counselling, psychiatric counselling and peer support services. How a convicted murderer, who never served a day in his life, received those benefits is a scandal and the failure to own that scandal by the Minister of Veterans Affairs is shameful. It was suggested that privacy or other reasons are preventing the discussion. I would invite anyone to see the coverage of the case in The Chronicle Herald newspaper or on CBC, where Mr. Garnier's lawyer told the court that his client has PTSD from committing murder, where the father of the killer admits to the court that his son has PTSD from a murder. That PTSD has nothing to do with his father's service in the Canadian Armed Forces. (1335)

However, for the minister to suggest that he does not know the file is a joke. Since I joined the Canadian Armed Forces at the age of 18 until this very day, I have either been in uniform or have been working to support those in it. When I was minister, I admitted where we fell short and worked with veterans to make a plan to make it right. I never lied, I never misled and I always read my briefings. I will debate any member on that side of the House any day on any of the issues related to Canadian Armed Forces and veterans. I will tell them, because the minister, we know from the news, does not read reports but shelves them, that there is not a single program within veterans affairs that Mr. Garnier would be eligible for or programs outside of it.

I was happy as a new member of Parliament to visit Can Praxis in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, which was trail-blazing equine therapy for a veteran, a first responder, and a member of their family who were struggling. There are some programs available for spouses and dependent children. However, we are not talking about any of those circumstances in the Garnier case. This is an adult, non-dependent who murdered someone. I am sure that murder and the horrific circumstances around it have upset his family, but that has nothing to do with the service related to that veteran. That veteran, the father, needs as much support as we can provide. His adult, non-dependent child is not eligible for any programming, and the very fact that he can be accelerated before his judicial proceeding and sentencing is even complete, receiving benefits that some veterans are waiting for, is a travesty.

What I would like to see instead of the minister hiding behind privacy, when all Canadians can see this entire sordid story online or in the newspaper, is for him to take some ownership. A mistake was made where someone said there was eligibility when there was no eligibility. There is no legislative requirement for Mr. Garnier to get support. There are no privacy concerns that the Liberals cannot discuss it. He is ineligible. In fact, if the father had committed this crime while he was in uniform, he would not be eligible for treatment. That is how black and white this issue is. The fact is that once the Liberals craft a talking point, they will not move away from it, when veterans and Canadians are asking them to show some reality here.

We are always going to have cases where we need to do better, where we find a veteran or their family has fallen through the cracks. Let us fix those cases and rebuild trust, and not erode the trust by showing veterans that we are going to allow someone ineligible to access benefits faster than them.

As the minister should know, if he would read up, the permanent impairment allowance many veterans receive under the new veterans charter, and we increased the PIA supplement, was the focus of my attention as minister. A vast majority of veterans receiving the permanent impairment allowance have operational stress injuries. It has been something the Canadian Armed Forces has been struggling with. I talked about it on the 20th anniversary of the Swissair crash, which was the first time I ever heard “operational stress injury”. That is why we were opening operational stress injury clinics and not administrative offices that people still do not use. It is amazing that the Liberals are still talking about those issues. It shows they do not understand.

As I said last week, if the minister had shown some leadership, I would rise in the House and thank him on behalf of my constituents, on behalf of veterans, for showing that if a mistake was made within the department that he will own, acknowledge and rectify that mistake. If they do not, they will hear us every day, because we are listening to Canadians. We are listening to military families and veterans who are discouraged and disappointed.

It is time for them to show owners...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ill stand by our veterans.

We have spent $10 billion in three years on our veterans and their families. We have increased benefits. We have increased services. We have increased staff. We have r...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadian families have lost loved ones to an overdose epidemic the government has failed to stem.

Healt...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, in the 40-plus town halls that I have done across this country with veterans and their families, I can say I know the cost of 10 years of not just neglect but malice toward our veterans and their families. I wish we had seen more of that indignation that we see today over the 10 years that those people had to do right by our veterans and our families.”

Ms. Ruby Sahota (Brampton North, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...eek to recognize coaches from coast to coast to coast and the incredible contributions to athletes, families and communities. I would like to thank all coaches in my riding of Brampton North, includin...”

Mr. Sean Fraser (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...when we put a price on pollution, it is going to have an economic benefit for middle-class Canadian families.

I invite the hon. member to get on board instead of taking money out of his constitu...”

Mr. Mark Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... able to travel to the territories and northern communities monthly to meet with veterans and their families.

A little closer to home, in eastern Ontario, of the nine offices that were re-opened...”

Mr. Mark Gerretsen

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...terans charter in 2006, which the Conservative government brought in, that extended benefits to the families of veterans. It had not been changed since 2011. However, it was the extension of those ben...”

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...overnment that is committed to our Canadian Armed Forces and, in particular, our veterans and their families. We have seen the turning of a page with the last federal election. For many years, I sat on opposition benches. I am a veteran myself, having served for over three years in Alberta in the Canadian Armed Forces as an air traffic controller assistant. I had the opportunity to walk in many different parades with World War II veterans.

I understand and appreciate their many different illnesses, and the huge sense of pride in the service they provided to Canada, both during times of war and peace. Their service is ongoing, even upon their retirement. Their pensions and benefits are all very important things that we provide to veterans, because it is the right thing to do. That also includes the families.

As I have pointed out, for years I sat on the opposition benches and saw government ...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 25th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...which we support, as it is an outrageous case, but it has also now taken away all services from the families of incarcerated veterans. This does not take into account that there may be family members who are incarcerated because they had fallen afoul of the law as a direct result of mental illness or PTSD related to their experience as a veteran and who might have come home with some real and difficult challenges. The Liberals have taken a sledgehammer approach to this without analysis, without testimony at committee and without examining it properly.

We in the NDP brought forward questions through a letter. We took that approach because we know this is a sensitive issue and we did not want to see veterans lose their services and those of their families, which they fought so hard for. This is how the government has responded. It has mishandled...”

Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism (Multiculturalism), Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...f Ottawa-Gatineau, as well as the first responders and all those who were involved in assisting the families who were deeply affected by the events of last Friday.

I am honoured to contribute to this debate. I am pleased to acknowledge that I do so on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people. (1105) [Translation]

I thank the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River for introducing this bill. I also thank her for her ongoing work to achieve reconciliation.[English]

The idea behind this bill is to establish a national holiday that will allow Canadians to reflect upon and understand the long and painful history relating to indigenous people. The road to reconciliation between Canada and indigenous peoples requires all Canadians to understand our shared history and acknowledge past wrongs while creating a path forward. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action provide all Canadians with this renewed path forward for Canada's journey of healing and reconciliation.

This bill is inspired by call to action 80, which states:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

That is why when the calls to action were released in June 2015, the Prime Minister, who was then the leader of the Liberal Party in opposition, immediately affirmed the unwavering support of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus for all the TRC's recommendations and called on the Government of Canada to take immediate action to implement them. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report in December 2015, the Prime Minister then committed the Government of Canada to working “...in partnership with Indigenous communities, the provinces, territories, and other vital partners, we will fully implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

This past June, our government supported and passed Bill C-262, an act to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also known as UNDRIP. In February, our government established a recognition of rights framework, which is a fundamental shift in approach between Canada and indigenous peoples. Today, there are over 60 rights recognition tables around the country that seek to advance the process of this recognition and ultimately self-determination.

Our Prime Minister noted earlier this year that reconciliation calls upon all of us to confront our past and commit to charting a brighter, more inclusive future. We must acknowledge that centuries of colonial practices have denied the inherent rights of indigenous peoples. The recognition and implementation of indigenous rights will chart a new way forward for our government to work with first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to undo decades of mistrust, poverty, broken promises and injustices.

We have listened and learned, and we will work together to take concrete action to build a better future and a new relationship. Over the past three budgets, the government has invested significantly to advance the implementation of the calls to action and to support the crucial work with our indigenous partners to identify and address joint priorities. In fact, progress has already been made on over 80% of the calls to action under federal and/or shared responsibility. However, we know that more must be done and that we need to be held accountable for advancing this crucial work.[Translation]

The National Council for Reconciliation's interim board of directors presented its final report to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations on June 12. According to the final report, setting up a national council for long-term reconciliation with adequate funding and enabling legislation is important for indigenous peoples, Canadians and the government. The council will have to report periodically to ensure ongoing oversight and accountability on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation's calls to action.[English]

The National Council for Reconciliation's mandate will be to advance reconciliation efforts through the development and implementation of a multi-year national action plan for reconciliation.

The conclusion of the final report makes the following poignant observation:

We believe that hope is the first step in reconciliation. We believe hope is the basic building block upon which reconciliation must lay its foundation. We must plant and nurture seeds of hope in Indigenous communities and in the greater Canadian public. Hope gives us the belief that all action matters, no matter how small and no matter by whom. With trust, Canadians and Indigenous peoples can work together on building a new future, a better future. It all begins with hope.

We also need all Canadians to know what progress is being made.

The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has opened the eyes of many Canadians to the horrific truths of residential schools.

The Indian residential school system was a systematic plan to remove indigenous children from their homes, families and cultures to facilitate the stated policy of “killing the Indian in the child.”

During my tenure on the indigenous affairs committee, we heard from so many survivors of the residential school system. The member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou has shared his experience with all of us and has educated all of us in the House of his time in residential schools. Survivors like him continue to educate all Canadians of our past but equally, inspire us to do better.

All Canadians have a responsibility to educate themselves about this dark chapter of our shared history and work toward repairing the intergenerational damage caused by this appalling policy.

This is why our government is unequivocally committed to the implementation of the TRC calls to action and will be supporting sending this legislation to committee for further study.

"Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one." These are words from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report and words that the member from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River quoted in her speech when she introduced the bill that we are debating today. I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.

Healing the damage of residential schools will require the sustained action of not only involved governments, but other institutions and all Canadians.

The need to achieve reconciliation is a fundamental truth and is beyond partisan politics. That is why I am so pleased that the recent motion put forward by the member for Timmins—James Bay calling on the Pope to implement call to action 58 and issue an apology on behalf of the Catholic Church to residential school survivors, their families and communities passed with the overwhelming support of the House.

We look forward to...”

Ms. Karine Trudel (Jonquière, NDP)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ial schools and by paying tribute to the survivors and the victims of foster family abuse, to their families and to their community.

A statutory holiday would give Canadians an opportunity to be...”

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residen...”

Mr. Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay, NDP)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...hool with from the reserve. We did not talk much. I knew nothing of the struggles of them and their families, of the residential schools situation. I did not really know anything about their culture, heritage, or language. I did not even know there were still people speaking a traditional language there.

In 1978, I was out on the Chilcotin Plateau and went into a café. I realized soon that everyone in the café was speaking Chilcotin. I had never heard an indigenous language spoken before. I realized how little I knew of the cultures of the people who were here first, the first peoples of Canada.

In 1981, I met Jeannette Armstrong, someone whom I have come to know and respect a great deal. She grew up a couple of kilometres from me in Penticton. My father knew her mother and yet I never had met her before. She spoke of her family's struggle to retain the culture and language. She spoke fluent nsyilxcen, the language of the Okanagan people. I was totally blown away. I had no idea there were still speakers of that language, that the culture was still retained and so rich.

Since that time, I have learned a lot from my colleagues in the first nations communities of the Okanagan about that culture and what they have been doing to retain it and make their people proud of it and get their kids learning the language again.

Recently, I had the honour and very humbling experience of sitting in on an immersion class in Penticton that taught nsyilxcen. It was humbling to sit there for a day, hearing people speak a language that I knew very few words of, a language that was formed in my home valley. It was literally the language of my land and yet I knew nothing of it.

I still know very few words in nsyilxcen. I know a few of the plants and animals as I am a biologist. Probably the only word I knew as a kid, because my father would call bitterroot, was “speetlum”. Speetlum is one of the four food groups of the Okanagan people. It is the root that gave them sustenance through the year. I know the word for Saskatoon berries, “seeya”, again one of the important foods of the Okanagan people. (1150)

However, it was not until I moved back to the Okanagan in the 1990s and started working a lot with people in the local first nations communities on the conservation of their lands, as they were very concerned about conserving the environment of their lands, that I got to hear more of their personal stories. People who were working with me, very dedicated workers, had real personal struggles, such as families torn apart, addictions, life in residential schools, which had sent them to Alberta and nor...”

Ms. Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, NDP)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ave seen with my own eyes how our cultures and languages are growing in our communities and how our families and youth find strength in our traditions. There is still so much work the government needs...”

Ms. Pam Damoff (Oakville North—Burlington, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...es to make Canada a more equitable place, such as improving income security for seniors and helping families through improvements to the Canada child benefit.

Accessibility is a right in this co...”

Mr. Geng Tan (Don Valley North, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, today many families from across Canada will reunite to celebrate the mid-autumn festival, a special day of toge...”

Hon. Alice Wong (Richmond Centre, CPC)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese descent in celebration of the mid-autumn festival, when families and friends will come together in harmony under the full moon for good food and fellowship....”

Mr. Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain, NDP)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...d not afford their asthma medication.

After hearing the tragic stories of seniors and working families making a choice between paying rent or paying for lifesaving medication, I am more convince...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ars. The Liberals' failure is damaging Canada's reputation as a place to do business. Five thousand families now do not have jobs they were counting on. Opportunities for 43 indigenous communities are...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y aware of how important it is to invest in educational child care, not only to support the work of families and reduce poverty, but also to ensure gender equality in the workplace and at home in 2018...”

Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...navut.

In 2015, the Liberals promised a child care framework that meets the needs of Canadian families wherever they live. Families throughout the country are still waiting. Will the so-called feminist government commit to a national child care program to help families now?”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...d accessible child care services across Canada for all Canadians including indigenous Canadians and families. We announced just last week the first ever distinctions-based investments with our indigenous peoples that will support hundreds of thousands of families across Canada and indigenous communities and they should have more—”

Mr. Nick Whalen (St. John's East, Lib.)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ue des signes québécoise and indigenous sign languages. Every day, 310,000 deaf Canadians and their families contribute greatly to our society and yet, significant barriers still limit their full part...”

Mr. Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, CPC)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...he energy sector for work or transportation; to people in northern, suburban and rural communities; families with children; the disabled; or any other persons who are not easily able to walk, cycle or...”

Hon. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC)

September 24th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... I was growing up. I encountered all kinds of invisible social and economic barriers that immigrant families typically face, but time would prove she was right. What better proof that anybody could achieve their wildest dreams in Canada, however unlikely, than someone like me becoming Canada's minister of sport.

That opportunity that Canada offers, what this legislation seeks to ensure, is available to all has been very kind to me.

In politics, I had the opportunity to help rebuild the Ontario PC party in the early 1990s when I was party president, not a member of caucus, but we did help to get Mike Harris elected premier.

I had the opportunity to lead efforts to reunite the Conservative movement into a single party federally, including running the campaign on the PC party side to have our membership ratify the establishment of the Conservative Party of Canada, an event that restored competitive democracy to our politics. (1525)

As a member of the House, I have had the opportunity to serve as public safety minister, working to keep Canadians safe. My time as trade minister was dedicated to expanding our economic opportunities, making a free trade agreement with Europe our top priority, and initiating or advancing many other free trade negotiations.

I had the extraordinary opportunity to work with Prime Minister Harper closely, as Canada's longest-serving Conservative government House leader. For all of these opportunities, his guidance and leadership, I offer my gratitude.

In all these roles I was blessed to work with extraordinary staff in Ottawa and York—Simcoe, a team that was uniformly bright, hard-working, passionately committed to Canada, and fiercely loyal. That was reflected in what I believe was the lowest staff turnover of any minister's officer on the Hill. They made me look good.

Along the way, I was fortunate to acquire other great supporters, my wife Cheryl, and Caroline and John A. They were a constant reminder to me of why we serve, and they are also a reason to look forward to life away from this place.

When it comes to accessibility, I am proud of much of what we delivered for the residents of York—Simcoe, especially during the Harper government. High accessibility standards can be found in significant projects we delivered, like the new Bradford West Gwillimbury public library and new leisure centre, the expansion of the East Gwillimbury Sports Complex, and Georgina's outdoor recreation facility the ROC.

One of the last projects our Conservative government delivered on was accessibility improvements to Georgina's De La Salle Park Beach. It includes a revolutionary beach mat that allows accessibility for those in wheelchairs right into the waters of Lake Simcoe.

Of course, Lake Simcoe enjoys significantly improved water quality thanks to the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund. It was cancelled by the current Liberal government. However, I am confident that the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund will return again in the future. For over 10 years this Conservative initiative saw almost $60 million from our government harnessed by community-based organizations, who added their financial and incoming contributions to real projects that helped physically remediate the lake environment. This was in addition to other initiatives, like mandatory rules to protect the lake ecosystem from invasive species, a ban on harmful phosphorus in dishwasher detergent, and a ban on dumping waste from water vessels.

Undoubtedly, what I will miss most leaving this job is the opportunity to serve the extraordinary people of York—Simcoe. I genuinely love them. They work hard and simply want the government to give them the freedom to succeed and build a brighter future for their families. They want the opportunity to share in the Canadian dream. We worked to help them by loweri...”

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ims will be protected throughout the judicial process and that both people and support for military families are our top priorities.

Before I continue, I would like to come back to the Auditor G...”

Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...as quickly as we can.

Like the parliamentary secretary, I would like to say to those military families who may be watching our proceedings today that the NDP, like the minister, salutes them and...”

Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, CPC)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...tment to make a change and ensure that our streets and communities are safe for Canadians and their families. We took concrete measures to hold criminals responsible for their actions.

The Conse...”

Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ar, the society was active in 302 communities across Saskatchewan. A day's work may involve helping families come to terms with a recent diagnosis, guiding people through what to expect as the disease...”

Mr. Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... Mosaic Living Club and at Top Kids education centre with good food, fun, festivities, children and families. As communities across this great country come together to celebrate, let us all look ahead...”

Mr. Angelo Iacono (Alfred-Pellan, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...of dementia.[English]

Alzheimer's disease is not a bed of roses for people affected and their families. The disease is like an eraser on one's memories, and it is hard to see them being wiped out in a loved one's heart.[Translation]

Everyone can use a helping hand in such moments of distress. It is an honour for Alfred-Pellan to be home to Alzheimer Society Laval, which provides support to many people in the area. It is a precious resource and a source of comfort for people with Alzheimer's and their families.

I want to thank Alzheimer Society Laval and all of the organizations across the coun...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... pensions that they need to get by, worried taxpayers trying to reach the Canada Revenue Agency, or families seeking critical information from Immigration Canada, they face deeply frustrating obstacle...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ffs. The only card he had? Import tariffs.

The Prime Minister failed to put Canadian jobs and families ahead of his desire to impress China rather than work with our largest trading partner.

...”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ith them. That is what I want my colleagues opposite to understand. We will always be there for the families.”

Mr. Stéphane Lauzon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...fic attack. We also take our responsibility to protect the privacy and rights of veterans and their families very seriously.

However, we all know that the department has ordered an investigation...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ng in Canada's military, commits that murder, he or she loses all his or her benefits and so do the families. Garnier should do the same. The government should stand up and do what is right.”

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Minister of Health, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...l continue to work to make a difference in the lives of those living with dementia, including their families.”

Mr. Xavier Barsalou-Duval (Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, BQ)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cuse to block the project.

We are talking about a $750-million investment and 15,000 jobs for families in the area.

I am looking for assurances. Does the government believe in the port of ...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...controlled outflow of water.

The uncontrolled outflow is affecting business, the environment, families and the future of Round Lake. The uncontrolled outflow of water on the lake is the result o...”

Mr. Darren Fisher (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Lib.)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... service offences can affect various types of victims, from Canadian Armed Forces members and their families to members of the broader civilian community.

As I mentioned earlier, the military ju...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

September 21st
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...y in support of Bill S-245, the Trans Mountain pipeline project act. Thousands of workers and their families from the construction, steel fabrication and manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors want the Liberals to take meaningful action to get their jobs back.

As a result of the Liberals' failure to enforce federal jurisdiction since their approval of the Trans Mountain expansion nearly two years ago and their failure in the review before that, as ruled by the Federal Court of Appeal on August 30, more than 2,000 workers were laid off. Another 5,000 more were counting on jobs about to begin in the next couple of months and several thousand expected jobs from the pipeline in the next couple of years. All of these families are now wondering about their future.

That is why I thank Senator Doug Black for intr...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

September 20th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...of the Lake, due to the uncontrolled outflow of water. [It] is affecting business, the environment, families and the futures of Round Lake.

Being that the uncontrolled [water flow on the lake] i...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

September 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...chological assessment on owning the firearm.

Could the member comment on the ongoing issue of families in this situation, as well as how else we can address these issues to prevent these kinds o...”

Mr. Matthew Dubé

September 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...itting these groups against each other, and understand that these are terrible situations that tear families apart.

We just want to keep Canadians safe. We do not want to use these sorts of issu...”

Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC)

September 20th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... constitutional rights.

I am proud to live in the southern Alberta riding of Lethbridge. Many families there enjoy the heritage of hunting and sports shooting. These are peaceful individuals. Th...”

Mr. Mario Beaulieu (La Pointe-de-l'Île, BQ)

September 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s their money because they receive equalization payments.

I would like them to meet the 1,000 families who are out of work because the Canadian government awarded $100 billion in shipbuilding co...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...r were all built with St. Marys cement. It remains one of Durham's largest employers. There are 130 families who are part of the St. Marys story, a story that includes being one of the greenest plants...”

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...re languishing in UNHCR camps, instead of prioritizing genocide survivors being reunited with their families, the Prime Minister is doing this. How can he possibly think this is fair?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e firm commitments to enhance the employment insurance program to better meet the needs of Canadian families.

We have created a new family caregiver benefit. We have relaxed the rules for sickness benefits. We have improved the application process to make it easier for Canadians to access their benefits.

Naturally, there is still a lot more to be done, and we are working together with Canadian families to help them even more.”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e dogs, like Sarge, save veterans' lives. However, the Liberals continue to deny veterans and their families the funding they need.

Why is the government stalling on providing the funding requir...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...billion in our veterans over the past three years, the mental health and well-being of veterans and families is a priority for this government.

We have heard from the veterans community that thi...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...aker, this government recognizes that we have a sacred obligation to support our veterans and their families, and that includes investments in mental health.

We have invested, over the past three years, about $10 billion in helping our veterans, in supporting their families, in moving forward on veterans' mental health benefits and supports, in reopening shuttered...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cluding with tax breaks, and with more than $6 million a year for support and services for military families.

We have introduced initiatives to speed up recruitment and training to ensure our Ro...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ade it a priority to not only improve benefits and services for our nation's veterans but for their families as well. Since 2016, investments have totalled $10 billion for veteran programs and service...”

Hon. Carla Qualtrough (Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...not understand and of difference by creating systems that, by design, took children away from their families, that took power away from our citizens, that perpetuated a medical model of disability that saw persons with disabilities as objects of charity and passive recipients of welfare. We treated our citizens as if they were broken, when in fact it was our systems and policies that were broken.

In my own experience, my parents were told that I should be sent to a school for the blind, that public school was not for me, and that I should be shipped provinces away, far away from my family and friends. I cannot imagine how different my life would have been if my parents had not insisted that I had a right to be publicly educated in my own community and if I had been separated from my loved ones and sent away at age five. It is important to acknowledge this history. It is important not to forget.

Thankfully, Canada's history is also replete with individuals, families and organizations who fought these systems. As we all know, Canada has a robust human right...”

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...y positive, it is a wonderful step forward and this is a good day for communities of disability and families, and in fact all Canadians.”

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey—Newton, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ther it was finding employment or being accepted within society, all the while leaving behind their families in India.

In 1908, the Sikh community came together to build the first gurdwara in Ca...”

Mr. Bob Saroya (Markham—Unionville, CPC)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...iety.

In 1914, hundreds of our people were looking for a better life for themselves and their families. They sought that in Canada and they were denied entry. The result of the Komagata Maru inc...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...i language classes, runs youth camps and offers free tax filing services for seniors and low-income families. These valuable community roles stem directly from the Sikh faith's emphasis on selfless se...”

Hon. Steven Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...Columbia. They came to Canada with little or no money, but knew they wanted a better life for their families.

As my colleague mentioned, it has not always been easy for the Sikh community, as Sikhs have gone through difficult times. In 1914, hundreds of people wanted to improve their lives and their families' futures. They were hoping to find a better life in Canada, but were not allowed to enter. ...”

Mr. Raj Grewal (Brampton East, Lib.)

September 19th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...es as hard-working, generous people who are integral to the Canadian fabric.

As Sikh Canadian families enter the third and fourth generations in Canada, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the fact that the success of the Sikh Canadian community is, in large part, due to the early pioneers who left everything they knew in Punjab and India in search of a better life for themselves and their families. We salute the early taxi drivers, truck drivers, people in factories, the individuals who ...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs

September 18th
Hansard Link

S. O. 52

“...ated that it could be a week before a plan is unveiled and a month before action is taken. Canadian families cannot wait that long and for the workers affected, every day counts and every day damages ...”

Mr. Randy Boissonnault

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...oast who are trying to export their goods around the world. CPTPP is good for them and middle-class families.”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...al sales represents a significant and important contribution to the livelihoods of Manitoba fishing families.

In Manitoba, it is also important to maintain high quality. Manitoba is the only jurisdiction in the western hemisphere with an eco certified freshwater market. We have achieved a Marine Stewardship Council certification and are very proud of that. Now, 85% of the total fish harvested in Manitoba is exported to other markets. There are 3,155 licenced fishermen in Manitoba and 83% of these are of indigenous descent. They help support many indigenous communities and help provide a good livelihood and support for many families. There are 46 communities and first nations who are involved in this fishery and 294 result...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...eal. They would be exempted up to almost 90% of their emissions. Meanwhile, individual hard-working families will have to bear the entire brunt.

When will the Prime Minister finally do the right...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...above all, police services.

How can he justify yet another failure at the expense of Canadian families?”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... say it is a good thing that their failure cost thousands of workers their jobs.

Two thousand families have lost good-paying jobs and now are stressed about their uncertain futures. This is not “almost a really good thing”. It has been three weeks. A really good thing would be to tell these families what the plan is to get their jobs back.

Where is the plan for the Trans Mountain exp...”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... government is failing Canadians as investment flees Canada. The government is failing Canadians as families lose the means to keep food on their table.

When will the Prime Minister finally pres...”

Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ewanians is the Liberals' carbon tax grab. The Liberals are continuing their attack on hard-working families and struggling seniors with their unaffordable carbon tax.

Will the Prime Minister st...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...rovinces, even though none of them agree with it. Worse still, he is going to impose it on Canadian families without giving them all the information.

Could the Prime Minister tell Canadians the truth for once? He has the document in hand. Will he tell us how much the Liberal carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families?”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...been a summer of tax fairness failure for this particular government. We all know that middle-class families are paying $800 more in income taxes under the government, but we learned that the wealthiest taxpayers, the 1%, are paying $4.5 billion less, according to CRA data. Would it not then just be predictable that they would hit working-class families with higher carbon taxes while giving an exemption to those well-lobbied-for industrial pol...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... better shape. If he takes into account the Canada child benefit, what one can see is that Canadian families, average middle-class families in 2019, will be $2,000 better off than they were in 2015. These are the facts. We would be...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... of my riding. It thinks of the wheat developed in Canada. We have been innovators, and our farming families are some of our most committed Canadians to our economy. These trade deals from South Korea...”

Mr. John Nater (Perth—Wellington, CPC)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...heir suppliers.

It is a concern that I hear from small businesses, from farmers and from farm families. I hear it from those in the supply managed sector and those in non-supply managed commodities. My constituents and Canadians across this country are concerned about the uncertainty in the Canada-U.S. relationship and with NAFTA. This is why more than ever we need to be diversifying our markets, which is why when our Conservative government was in office those 53 countries were essential to that progress and why it is now important that we must ratify the CPTPP.

The 11 countries that make up the CPTPP account for a $10 trillion contribution to the global economy, or approximately 13% of the global economy.

As a country, Canada must be one of the first six to ratify this deal so that we can enjoy the benefits of the first-mover countries. We need those benefits. Our farmers, our farm families, our manufacturers, our exporters, our small businesses need to be able to enjoy the benefits associated with the trans-Pacific partnership. (1550)

What are some of those benefits? One example is that Australia will eliminate all of its tariffs on agriculture and agri-food products upon the agreement's coming into force, except for one tariff line, which will be eliminated within four years. Some have asked me what that one tariff line is. It is bamboo shoots. For those Canadians who are currently growing bamboo shoots, they will have to wait four years for that to come into force, but I am sure that Canada will have a strong bamboo economy within four years for exports to Australia.

In Perth—Wellington, there is a strong pork industry, a strong beef industry and certainly a strong grains and oil seeds industry. Japan's tariffs are currently up to 20% on pork products, including sausages, and will be eliminated within 10 years. Vietnam has tariffs of up to 27%, which will be eliminated within nine years. For beef, Japanese tariffs of up to 38.5% will be reduced to 9% within 15 years. In Vietnam, tariffs of up to 31% on fresh and chilled frozen beef will be eliminated within two years and tariffs of up to 34% on all other beef products will be eliminated within seven years.

For wheat and barley, Japan will have a specific quota for food wheat of approximately 40,000 tonnes, growing to 53,000 tonnes within six years. We will also have access to CPTPP-wide quota for food barley, which starts at 25,000 tonnes and grows to 65,000 tonnes within eight years. These are the kinds of benefits that Canadian farmers, farm families and exporters can enjoy with an implemented trans-Pacific partnership.

It is not just Conservatives singing the praises of the trans-Pacific partnership and the work that was done by the former Conservative government, but industry leaders within the agriculture industry as well. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture said:

Joining the CPTPP will open unprecedented new markets for Canadian farmers producing export-oriented goods, such as red meats, grains and oil seeds.

When I think of my riding, one of the biggest industries from an agriculture standpoint is the pork industry. The Canadian Pork Council chair stated:

This deal will provide our industry stability in vital markets like Japan and opportunities in emerging markets like Vietnam. Canadian pork producers can rest easy knowing that their livelihood and that of thousands other Canadians in rural and urban communities who work in the pork industry is supported by this newest trade deal.

When the original trans-Pacific partnership was signed, Mark Brock, a constituent of mine, then chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, said:

Japan is our largest market for food-grade soybeans, and countries like Malaysia and Vietnam have fast-growing GDPs and are major markets for both food-grade and crush soybeans. With market development a key pillar of our organization, improved access to these important export countries is a great success for our farmer-members.

This is the focus of us in the opposition. This is our focus on the need to expand our markets to ensure that Canadians have access to a growing global market. We need to have access not just for Canadian industries but also for the advancement of all Canadians to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of up to $20 billion in the next 10 years from the original TPP deal, and yet we see delay after delay in finally getting this deal ratified.

As I mentioned earlier, we offered to have this fast-tracked in June. That was denied. We offered to come back to the House in July to debate this bill during the summer to ensure that we were one of the first six countries to ratify it. That did not happen. We as Conservatives will support trade, we will support good trade deals, and now, more than ever, with the uncertainty south of the border, we need to continue to work hard to diversify our trading relationships to ensure that we access the Asia-Pacific markets for our pork industry, our beef industry, our grains industry, for those farmers, farm families and industry leaders who need that access.

I am very pleased to speak in favour of th...”

Mr. John Nater

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...he agricultural industry, towards the International Plowing Match and all that our farmers and farm families contribute to this world is disgraceful. That member should be ashamed of himself.”

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ssex County Ploughing Match this year and I am quite proud of that.

I spent Friday night with families from the supply-managed sector until very late at night in my riding office. They feel betrayed by the CPTPP, by what is on the table in NAFTA, and by what happened with CETA. They see themselves constantly being put on the table. They have a government that continues to bafflegab about protecting them while giving up portions of farm families' market left, right and centre, as though those families cannot see what the government is doing.

Unfortunately, it was the Conservative government that negotiated this deal before, which gives up percentages of supply management. Therefore, while I appreciate that the member speaks passionately about farm families, I would ask him why the farmers in the supply-managed sector are once again under attack in the CPTPP and how he can defend farmers when he will vote for this deal that will harm farm families in Canada.”

Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby, Lib.)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... created conditions where there is the lowest unemployment in over forty years. We are investing in families. We have invested $350 million in the dairy industry, which he brought up in his speech, $2...”

Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby, Lib.)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ecause where I come from in Whitby we have a lot of small businesses. We have a lot of middle-class families that depend on the growth and success of their businesses to be be able to provide for their children and to be able to provide for themselves for years to come.

The fact is that the CPTPP allows access to Asia-Pacific markets. It is something that will really benefit not just the people of Whitby or the people of Durham region, but people right across the country.

This particular agreement will open a market to an additional 500 million customers, resulting in 40% of the world economy. This allows us to not be solely reliant on the bulk of our trade going to the United States but opens up those markets and allows our businesses to be able to thrive in other jurisdictions. It is one of the largest free trade agreements in the world with access to a trading bloc of 495 million people, with a combined GDP of over $13.5 trillion. Canadian businesses will get preferential access, market access for our exporters to key markets in the Asia-Pacific region. I think that is critically important.

One of the things that Canadians need to understand about this agreement and one of the things that we want to ensure that Canadians know and Canadian business owners know is that we have full confidence in their ability to grow their businesses and to do well by their customers, and to put forward business plans that allow them to grow. We have seen that over the last three years. We have seen the Canadian economy being the fastest growing in the G7.

Our small businesses have created 500,000 jobs since we have taken office. They are the engine that drives our economy and we are creating even better conditions for them to get their goods and services to market.

We have the lowest unemployment in 40 years. Our middle-class families are seeing and feeling the positive effects of our policies. A family of four right now here in Canada will be receiving $2,000 more in their pockets, so we are seeing the economy doing well. How do we make that better for businesses?

I am going to go back to the previous speaker, who said that it was a tough three years and then he spoke about creating a level playing field for businesses. This government has done that. We reduced the small business tax rate for our businesses down to 9%. We are making sure that there is a level playing field. However, we can and we will do more. We are actively diversifying our trade, which is something that Canadians, when I go to the door in Whitby, are concerned about. They are concerned about NAFTA. They are concerned about steel and aluminum. They want to ensure that this government is taking the steps to not only make things better here on the ground but to also look forward and think how can we make things better. How can we allow our businesses to have access?

I want to talk about a couple of businesses in Whitby specifically. Whitby has a company called Greenwood Mushroom Farm. Not a lot of my riding is rural, but we have a few farms on the north end of the riding and they are really sophisticated, innovative enterprises. Greenwood Mushroom Farm is state-of-the-art facility in north Whitby. (1615)

Windmill Farms is the sales, distribution and marketing division of Greenwood Mushroom Farm, one of the largest mushroom-producing companies in Canada. It was built in the early 1960s. It has grown. They have made massive investments, ensuring that they are innovative and staying top-of-the-line. Going through the facility, there is no smell. They have a state-of-the-art compost facility. It is actually remarkable, and I would invite anybody to come to Whitby to tour this fantastic farm.

The reason that I bring up the Greenwood Mushroom Farm, and I could bring up any number of farms in Whitby, is because of the benefits we see for agriculture and agri-food products through the CPTPP. They will benefit from immediate, duty-free treatment of tariffs on many products, to be phased out gradually. This will create, of course, new market opportunities, not just for vegetables and fruits but for other Canadian agriculture and agri-food products, beef and pork, cereals, maple syrup, spirits and a wide range of goods.

I know the owners and people who work at Greenwood Mushroom Farms would appreciate the fact that we are looking at different ways for them to sell their products globally in a competitive way.

Again, this goes back to who is within these organizations. This is not some arbitrary company that is trying to grow. These are Canadian families. These are middle-class families that are trying to do the best they can to work at an organization, to stay competitive, to be able to expand and grow, and do what they need to do for their families.

I would also like to talk about the technology industry. I think many people will be surprised to hear this. In Whitby, we have a number of thriving businesses in our downtown core. We are having an immense revitalization of our downtown. It is becoming a place where people want to hang out. We no longer go to Toronto; we stay in Whitby. There are things to eat and drink, and activities for families. People like to be downtown.

It has the ability to be a place where people live, work and play. There is no longer the need, or we are creating what is no longer the need, for people to go to Toronto to go to work. We have companies like geekspeak that do global work, and companies like 360insights that work in international markets.

Our tech industries are really supportive of the CPTPP, more than the TPP, because of the provisions we negotiated in intellectual property. These are companies of middle-class families. I actually knocked on the doors of the owners of geekspeak. I have seen their children. I ...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River, NDP)

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...en precarious, part-time, and low-wage work, or community members have to leave their community and families behind.

It is the government's job to make sure that when we make opportunities for trade we open more doors rather than close them. Therefore, I hope that as we debate this issue, all parliamentarians keep in mind that the economic analysis conducted by Global Affairs Canada concluded that the CPTPP would generate economic gains for Canada of $4.2 billion. That sounds good, until we realize that this is over a period of 22 years. This is minimal. The sum of $4.2 billion represents the same level of economic output measured as gross domestic product Canada generates in one day. When we hold on one hand 58,000 family-supporting jobs and on the other $4.2 billion over 22 years, I am always going to vote to keep people working. (1635)

Some of my constituents have asked what the difference is between the TPP and the CPTPP. Well, besides more letters, I have to point out that there are not many differences. I am very sad to say that it contains the same harmful provisions on auto, dairy, temporary foreign workers, labour mobility, and investor-state dispute settlement. The idea that the TPP was somehow transformed into something progressive is simply not the reality of the text. In fact, it appears to be an attempt to mislead Canadians.

In the communities I represent there are concerns about keeping people in our communities working. This trade agreement would allow companies to bring in temporary foreign workers without a permit process or a study on labour market impacts. Many of my constituents agree with me when I say that if someone comes to Canada as a temporary worker, he or she should be allowed to stay when filling in a long-term job. I am shocked when long-term work is filled in again and again with changing temporary foreign workers. That is simply not temporary work.

When I look at our small communities and the challenges we face to attract and retain people, and as a parent who hopes that her children will settle close to home once their education is done, the ability of businesses to not connect with the local labour market and provide meaningful employment to the people in our communities concerns me deeply. The CPTPP expands these loopholes for companies to do this.

What is also missing from this trade agreement is the complete lack of safeguards in place to guarantee that foreign workers are getting paid what is in their contract with the employer. I spent over eight years working as the executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre serving all of north Vancouver Island. It was my job to support newcomers as they came to Canada, and they came in many different ways. Many migrant workers who came to our communities in the region had very positive experiences. There were a rare few who did not. The lack of support for these folks was just appalling. It is very hard to speak up against injustice when the risk to do so is so high. How can this be called a progressive trade agreement when this fundamental right has absolutely no safeguards for implementation? This is a severe gap and something that should be addressed seriously. That this is not being addressed is shameful in a country as great as Canada.

The response by the government to address many of these serious issues is to refer to the side letters. In fact, this is where the Liberals will point to in addressing all of the concerns that the New Democrats have. However, the reality is that these side letters are created with aspirational language that has absolutely zero enforceability. This is a serious problem. This is also where the Liberals point to the so-called progressive elements which carry very little weight compared to the text of the main agreement. Side letters simply cannot supersede the text of the main agreement, and a side letter is not enforceable through the agreement's dispute settlement mechanisms unless it is explicitly mentioned. This is a reality.

I would really like to hear the Liberals address this in a reasonable way. It is time for a meaningful conversation about these issues. Quite frankly, I am tired of simply being accused of being a person who does not support trade at all. What we are asking for is the basic rights of people in this country to be appreciated. We are asking for the meaningful work that supplies families with jobs, that helps them put food on the table, that helps them put their children into s...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...tunities. The people who are going to potentially lose their jobs, the 58,000 individuals and their families, definitely need to see where their opportunities will come from. They need to see what the...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney

September 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... remember our responsibilities, that we remember we have taken an oath to make sure that we support families.

The Liberal government has said again and again that it wants to support middle-class families and those that are willing and ready to join the middle class. I want to see those middle-class families get stronger. I want to see those families that are working so hard to join the middle class get stronger, because the more successful...”

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP)

September 17th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“Mr. Speaker, as the critic for families, children and social development, I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill S...”

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

September 17th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...he House that the previous Conservative government had introduced a tax credit to increase Canadian families' participation in sports. Getting Canadians moving is the best way to really bring down obesity rates. The tax credit brought forward by the Harper government focused on athletic, cultural, and social development to ensure that Canadians, even from a very young age, adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. That was real action. The idea was to encourage parents to get their kids to exercise by helping them pay for those activities. Enrolling your kids in sports like hockey and gymnastics can often be very expensive. My daughters were in gymnastics and I know from experience that a year of gymnastics for a little girl is very expensive, but at the end of the year, we received a tax credit that allowed both of our daughters, and not just one, to do gymnastics. The entire family was encouraged to exercise.

Unfortunately, one of the first things this government did was abolish the children's fitness tax credit. This credit represented a real solution to the obesity problem. I believe that hundreds, or even thousands, of children benefited from this credit and were able to participate in sports. The Liberal government chose to go after advertising instead of Canadians' lifestyles. This shows, yet again, that the Liberal government does not understand life in Canada's regions. Canadian families deserve better. The government could be depriving many organizations, all across Canada, of the money they use to run activities that get kids moving. I will explain. Yesterday Thetford Mines held its half marathon. One thousand people participated, including seniors, who were making a return to physical exercise, and young families with small children, who were exercising and decided to participate in the Thetford Mines half marathon. This means that the participants had been exercising and running with their families. These are wonderful family activities.

Thetford Mines was able to organize a half marathon because we have financial partners, which include Oasis juice, Yum Yum Chips, and Krispy Kernels. Unfortunately, under a Health Canada definition that has yet to be released, these companies could be seen as producers of unhealthy foods. I will come back to that. I think there is a problem when it comes to Health Canada defining unhealthy foods. Bill S-228 gives Health Canada the latitude to determine which foods are healthy and which are not. That is a real problem. (1150)

A number of companies promote physical activity by sponsoring sports organizations. If the Liberal government moves forward with this bill as it now stands, all of those companies would be prohibited from continuing their involvement in various communities. We proposed an amendment to exempt these companies from the advertising ban, particularly when they sponsor sporting events. Take for example Tim Hortons and McDonald's, which have supported Canada's Olympic athletes for a long time now. It is important to recognize that. However, no one on the other side of the House would support the amendment introduced by my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton, who does excellent work on the Standing Committee on Health.

I am very concerned about leaving it up to Health Canada to decide which foods are healthy and which are not, because this issue is closely connected to an agriculture-related issue I have been working on, namely front-of-package nutrition labelling. Health Canada is currently making decisions about what is and is not good for people's health instead of letting people decide that for themselves. I have some straightforward questions.

Is orange juice healthy? Is yogurt healthy? Is cheese healthy? I am sure Canadians encourage their kids to drink orange juice every morning and eat yummy yogurt. Health Canada, however, says that the front of these products' packaging should be labelled to show that they contain too much fat or sugar, for example. That is what Health Canada is looking at.

Will cheese makers have to stop running ads aimed at children? Will companies that make all-natural juices, such as orange juice, have to stop running ads aimed at children? I predict that, left to its own devices, Health Canada will prohibit such companies from advertising their healthy products to children because it seems disinclined to take all the science into account. The department is making decisions based on public opinion and forcing food manufacturers to label some products that have not been scientifically proven to be harmful.

The fat in yogurt is not necessarily unhealthy. People need to consume certain amounts of certain kinds of fat. That is good for our health. Even so, Health Canada has decided to put big warnings on these products telling people they are dangerous. Under Bill S-228, those same people will decide which foods are unhealthy. Things do not look good for dairy producers, cheese makers, and anyone who grows fruit that gets made into juice. That is how this is shaping up.

Bill S-228 will not solve the problem of obesity. Furthermore, it gives Health Canada powers that are much too broad, particularly regarding the definitions of what is healthy and what is unhealthy, and demands no accountability. Health Canada will make all the decisions, and in two years' time, everything will be prohibited. This is nonsense. It is time to take a step back so we can really understand what needs to be done to ensure that Canada's youth does not have to face the scourge of obesity. We need to encourage physical activity by making it easier for families to access physical education programs and encouraging youth to practice their sport. The tax credit we introduced in that regard was excellent and suited all families.

If we really want to eliminate obesity, we need to give Canadian families the means to purchase healthy food at all times. Above all, we need to allow them to decide...”

Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West, CPC)

September 17th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...re going overboard with over-regulation.

Imposing the carbon tax on provinces, businesses and families has been a complete disaster for the Liberals. Now the environment minister says that any province that does not get on board with the Liberals' climate plan will not get its share of the government's $2 billion low-carbon economy fund. We ask, “Why are they blackmailing the provinces?”

Despite this, many provinces refuse to sign on to the Liberals' carbon tax. Even Alberta's NDP premier withdrew her support for Ottawa's national climate change strategy. Seeing this, the Prime Minister tried quietly to walk-back how much some large companies will have to pay under this new carbon tax, yet he still plans to impose the carbon tax on smaller businesses and families to make up for the taxes the big guys are not paying. This makes no sense and is fundamentally unfair. The carbon tax is bad for everyone, not just the companies that can afford it most. The fact of the matter is that the Liberal carbon tax has increased the cost of living for every Canadian, including driving already skyrocketing gas prices even higher.

On top of everything, the Liberals are refusing to come clean on the true cost of the carbon tax for the average family. What we know so far is that gas prices will go up by at least 11¢ a litre and the cost of living to heat one's home will increase by over $200. However, again, the Liberals will not tell us the overall cost to an average Canadian family, because they do not want people to know what this scheme will actually cost. The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report recently that found that the carbon tax will take over $10 billion out of the Canadian economy by 2022, while other estimates argue that this cost could be as much as $35 billion a year. This will, without a doubt, hurt jobs, workers and their families.

The good news is that common sense is winning the debate on this issue. More and mor...”

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

September 17th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nomic reports, but are in fact people's livelihoods: their incomes, their means of supporting their families and in turn their contribution to their communities.

The impact of job loss on people and their families cannot be understated. Many of my co-workers struggled not only financially, but also with ...”

Mr. Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord, QD)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...pired by our constituents, by people who are proud of who they are and what they do, proud of their families, and proud of the place they call home. They are creative people. They write songs, build a...”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (La Prairie, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... salute all producers and the Quebec Produce Growers Association. These are the people who feed our families, and they are the driving force behind our vibrant local agricultural sector.”

Mr. Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ourable Madam Justice Robyn Diamond, whose work in family law has changed the lives of children and families in Manitoba, Canada, and around the world.

Justice Diamond was the first female legal...”

Mr. Bev Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ambton—Kent—Middlesex, and I am not done yet. We all know that this job requires the support of our families, our significant others, and our spouses. For me, my biggest supporter is my wife, Barb. So...”

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...to ensure that internally displaced people like the Yazidis qualify for resettlement, so that these families can be reunited.”

Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough—Rouge Park, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...s. As people flee to safety, to borders or to shores, they are routinely barred from entry. Refugee families and children are split up and incarcerated. Women and children face sexual and gender-based...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ic investments in infrastructure and with the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of 10 families and will lift 300,000 children out of poverty. We lowered taxes for the middle class and in...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ves voted against. Then we delivered on a Canada child benefit, which helps nine out of 10 Canadian families by not sending child benefit cheques to millionaires. It is lifting hundreds of thousands o...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...es that we have seen. As I said, what is happening is unacceptable. I cannot imagine the pain these families are experiencing.

The safe third country agreement has been in place for more than 10...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, as I have said, what is happening is wrong. None of us can imagine what these families are going through and I know all Canadians have the well-being of children first and foremo...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...essed. As I have said, what is happening in the United States is wrong. I cannot imagine what these families are going through.

As I have said many times, the safe third country agreement is ove...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...12,000 to replace a dock; and $5,000 on a golf cart.

Meanwhile, 80% of Canadians and Canadian families are paying more taxes under this government.

How can the Prime Minister justify that ...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...is why we are delivering a Canada child benefit that delivers more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families and is lifting hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty. Again, the Conservatives voted...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ging with Canadians, as will every member of this House. Hopefully, there will be a little time for families for many of us as well, but we know all of us in this House will continue to stay focused o...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...an doubled Canada's refugee numbers. We have provided a new home to more than 1,300 women and their families who endured the brutality of Daesh, 85% of whom are Yazidi.

Our government's commitme...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

June 20th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...berta representatives of all parties at all levels. He is hurting the 74% of women supporting their families and disabled workers with long-term placements in the office.

Will the Prime Minister...”

Mrs. Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, NDP)

June 19th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ed and hospitalized. They also reaffirm how important this is and the impact that this has on their families.

The petitioners call on the government to support Motion No. 117, which happens to b...”

Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC)

June 19th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...d today to recognize the month of June as Pride Month. It is a time when the LGBTQ community, their families, and their allies come together to celebrate who they are and who they love. Whether throug...”

Mrs. Eva Nassif (Vimy, Lib.)

June 19th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... with an investment of nearly $200 million, is based on prevention, support for survivors and their families, and the promotion of responsive justice and legal systems.[Translation]

Over the past year, our government has taken action. By taking steps such as providing about 7,000 new or refurbished beds for women fleeing violence, undertaking a review of sexual assault cases that had been deemed unfounded, and investing $20 million in projects to support survivors of violence and their families, our government has demonstrated its commitment to ending gender-based violence and helping...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... that up to 160,000 jobs in the Canadian auto sector could be at risk. Obviously, workers and their families are worried.

However, it was no surprise that under the Liberal administration we wou...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 19th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...did that this year, as we have done in past years. We are doing what we need to do to help Canadian families.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!”

Mr. John Aldag (Cloverdale—Langley City, Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...n love.

And why does this matter? Because in our aspiration to relevance, in our love for our families, in our desire to contribute to make this world a better place, despite our differences, we are all the same.

Words are important, and so are the values we put forward. Equally important, if not more so, are the actions we take in defence of those values. That is why our government has taken meaningful action to further embrace multiculturalism and promote diversity.

We have a Prime Minister who proudly represents Canada on the world stage as an open and welcoming nation. Indeed, Canada is a nation built in no small part through the contributions of immigrants.

Our government understands this. That is why we promote safe and accessible immigration. We have prioritized family reunification by bringing families together more quickly. We doubled the number of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications accepted per year, from 5,000 to 10,000. We know that when families are reunited and offered the opportunity to succeed, all of Canada succeeds.

Our government is committed to an immigration system that strengthens Canada's middle class, helps grow our economy, supports diversity, brings families together, and helps build vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive communities.

The story of C...”

Mr. Ted Falk (Provencher, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ts a profound failure to ensuring that these changes do not increase risks to Canadian children and families.

It is the primary duty of any government to keep its citizens safe. The specific goa...”

Mr. Bob Saroya (Markham—Unionville, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...hard for many Canadians to remember that marijuana is indeed damaging and addictive.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. Elected representativ...”

Mr. Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni, NDP)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, today my heart is with the Tla-o-qui-aht people and especially the families of three young men lost at sea off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Friday. Two other lives were saved, thanks to local citizens.

Dozens of private boats, marine tour operators, crews from across Vancouver Island, including Victoria, Nanaimo, Arrowsmith, Comox Valley, and Port Alberni, assisted local search and rescue, and so many others joined the search. As coastal people, we respond in times like this with compassion and sacrifice. Gas money is raised, food is carried to the dock, local leaders give comfort to the community, and we pull together.

I ask members to please join me in thanking the first responders and residents of Tofino, Ahousaht, and Hesquiaht for standing with the Tla-o-qui-aht people in this time of need. I also ask members to send their prayers and love to the families of the missing and to the many still on the water searching for loved ones.”

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...y top-quality dairy because of the very high standards placed on our producers.

Lately, dairy families have raised concerns regarding the future of Canada's supply management system in a renegot...”

Mr. Dane Lloyd (Sturgeon River—Parkland, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, every morning, families across Canada wake up not knowing where the remains of their loved ones are hidden. Convicted killers who conceal the remains of their victims so the families cannot have closure are committing a despicable crime.

One such family, the McCann family, has been waiting nearly eight years for answers, and it is not alone. The family wants to know where convicted killer Travis Vader hid the bodies of it parents. Mr. Vader will be eligible for parole in just a few years, without ever having to give a clue as to where he hid the remains of his victims.

Families deserve better, and that is why I am working on legislation to ensure that those who refuse to reveal the location of their victims' remains pay the penalty. I hope all parliamentarians will support the legislation to ensure that the families of victims of homicide receive the justice and closure they rightly deserve.”

Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... governments and community, finding the service that helps is a daunting task. When individuals and families find services quickly and easily, they are better equipped to meet life's challenges, families and individuals feel connected, and our entire community prospers.

I ask all members ...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... possession.

Since the Prime Minister knows how much his carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families, why does he refuse to tell them?”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Liberals like the Prime Minister might not mind paying higher gas prices, but hard-working Canadian families do. Will the Prime Minister finally come clean and tell Canadians how much his carbon tax w...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ands of kids out of poverty, a Canada child benefit, by the way, that helps nine out of 10 Canadian families, and that the Conservatives and the NDP voted against. We are going to continue to fight ch...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...arbon taxes. The Liberals will not even say how much their carbon tax will cost Canadians and their families. When will the Prime Minister finally come clean and end the carbon tax cover-up?”

Mr. Michel Picard (Montarville, Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...billion to our GDP. Our government remains strongly committed to supporting our producers and their families.

The Canadian Dairy Commission is vital to to the operation of our supply management ...”

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development announced an increase in the Canada child benefit. This is all well and good, but the government cannot fix poverty by mailing out some cheques. In the finance minister's riding, four out of 10 children live in poverty. A generous benefit helps, yes, but all families also need access to affordable day care.

When will we see affordable day care?”

Mr. Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...peaker, in terms of the Canada child benefit in the minister's riding, $45 million is being sent to families who need that support. The NDP voted against that.

In terms of child care, this gover...”

Mr. James Maloney (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ness, and more money for Canada's seniors.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell this House how our government continues to invest in ...”

Mrs. Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore, CPC)

June 18th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ood jobs in the oil and gas sector when we were finished our education. We would get married, raise families, and have confidence that we would be able to provide for our families as a result of the oil and gas sector, which was so relied upon by this community for so lo...”

Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... to be good moms. All of this feeds into their ability to economically support themselves and their families.

It is the government that is putting the carbon tax in place. Furthermore, we have asked the government how much the carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families. We would love to know how much it is going to cost a single mom who is working hard to rai...”

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e able to do it this year because of Canada's sustained economic growth. By providing more money to families who need it most, this benefit provides a new opportunity for Canadian families. We should also not forget our efforts on behalf of small businesses, who, as we know, crea...”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...arliament does not have the full picture of what is going on or the impact on middle-class Canadian families.

Why were the members instructed to vote that way? Why can we not have that information? Why do we find ourselves today debating this issue, still not having the full information on the impact on middle-class families, and this carbon tax cover-up?”

Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, Lib.)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...d, introduced the Canada child benefit, and indexed it two years earlier; cut taxes on middle-class families; and introduced various measures to support women through budget 2018.

The member for Lethbridge earlier today said that poverty is sexist and that the Prime Minister and our government are perpetuating it. I wonder if the member could correct the record on that and tell this House not only how much our government is doing to reduce the impact of pollution on climate change but what it is doing for Canadian families, especially the most vulnerable.”

Mr. Joël Lightbound

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...mpact this has had on the people it serves. We have stopped sending the Canada child benefit to the families of millionaires, in order to focus on those who need it the most. We know that the vast maj...”

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...concept.

Alberta is an excellent example of revenue neutrality, and less fortunate low-income families even have a surplus at the end of the year. They receive more money than they pay for carbon pricing. These figures are obviously put forward by the Alberta government. I do not have the exact numbers in front of me today, but costs are estimated at around $400 for each low-income family.

Furthermore, these are the families least affected by the carbon tax because they consume the least. The tax is estimated at $4...”

Mr. John Barlow (Foothills, CPC)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...uestion for the Liberal government. What is its farm-killing carbon tax going to cost Canadian farm families?”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...alities of Canada’s agricultural industry. Our government recognizes that Canadian farmers and farm families are important drivers of the Canadian economy. We understand that Canadian farmers are maki...”

Mr. Andy Fillmore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ct the price of fuel and other goods and services. Today the opposition is asking what it will cost families. Here is an example. The Government of Alberta has calculated the cost of its system. The d...”

Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC)

June 14th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...hree seasons in northern Alberta.

When it comes to what the carbon tax costs average Canadian families, my region will be affected more than others because furnaces there run more than anywhere else in the country. In Alberta, natural gas has gone up by one-quarter of the price. It was $3 a gigajoule before and now it is $4 a gigajoule. That translates to hundreds of dollars more every month for heat in northern Alberta, and that is the direct cost to families in heat alone.

The gentleman who spoke before me talked about how the carbon tax would be a direct cost of $500 per family. That is the direct cost, just on heating bills. In northern Alberta, the carbon tax is much more than $500 per family, but maybe that is the average for all of Canada. That seems fair as a direct cost. We do not know, however, because the government has redacted the entire document that the finance department created for this new initiative for a carbon tax in Canada.

It is the other things that trickle down that have a detrimental effect not only on individual Canadian families but our entire economy. The thing about the carbon tax is that it will be put on heating an...”

Ms. Kamal Khera (Brampton West, Lib.)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...il October 4. I am sure there will be many delicious, locally sourced options at the market to help families in Brampton West make healthier choices.

I encourage all Bramptonians to stop by, meet their neighbours, spend some time with their families, but most importantly, try some tasty treats.”

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ommemorate the 120th anniversary of the founding of Yukon territory. I invite all members and their families to come north this summer to visit the most beautiful riding in the country, enjoy Yukon ho...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...is carbon tax is unravelling. Will he finally come clean on how much the costs will be for Canadian families?”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...being lost. This situation is affecting Canadian steel and aluminum producers, employees, and their families.

The United States has been imposing unreasonable tariffs for nearly two weeks now. M...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... protracted trade disruption will have a devastating impact on Canada's economy, workers, and their families. But there are a lot of things a government could do to protect Canada's economy.

We ...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...he Fraser Institute calculates that the Prime Minister has raised income tax on 81% of middle-class families, on average by $800 per family. The PBO says this new carbon tax will axe $10 billion from ...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...kes a promise after he has already broken it. He said that he would not raise taxes on middle-class families, and we now know, from the Fraser Institute's calculation, an institute that he has cited in his remarks today, that he has raised taxes on 81% of middle-class families, and that is before this new carbon tax.

How much will that new tax cost the average ...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... of that, we delivered a Canada child benefit that delivered more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families, with tax-free money every month to help with the cost of groceries and school supplies.

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ll be happy to send him over that op-ed. They calculate that he raised taxes on 80% of middle-class families. How much more will those same families have to pay with his new carbon tax?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... them on the wealthiest 1%, is delivering a Canada child benefit that helps nine out of 10 Canadian families, and stopped sending the child benefit cheques to millionaires the Conservatives were so at...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, reuniting families is something the Prime Minister says he values, yet whether or not someone's parents and gr...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre

June 13th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the members did not get a chance to hear this. It says, “Yes, most middle-class families are paying more in income taxes” today.”

Mr. Randy Hoback (Prince Albert, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...out at a restaurant at 11 o'clock at night and looking over at the table next to me. There were two families having dinner together and they were laughing. I was thinking, it is 11 o'clock at night, why are these kids out? Then talking to a friend of mine he said that it was two teenagers out on a date. The teenagers were bringing the entire family on a date. That is part of their tradition. That is part of their culture. That is something that is appreciated and celebrated. It is quite a bit different from my kids who if they were on a date I probably did not even know about it until a week later. Right away, I could see how much family meant to them.

Then talking to them about what they do on the weekends and in the evenings, they have a love for life. They really know how to live life, appreciate the small things in life, and pull all that value out of those small things, and treasure them, and treasure each other.

Canadians, when we are doing the nine to five, or nine to 10, or, in this case, nine to midnight or 10 to midnight, sometimes we forget we need to express that love for life and to have that joyful time among family and friends.

The next trip was to Peru, Chile, and Costa Rica. I had the honour of going down there with the Prime Minister on two occasions. Again, in those scenarios, the world leaders in those regions really respected Canada. I think there are many reasons why. Part of it was that we never preached. We never went down there and told them they had to do this or do that. We always went down there with a manner of respect. We listened. We learned. We would give advice if they asked for it. We led by example. They appreciated that.

One thing I found when working with people from Latin America is that, when doing business there, the people want to know who we are. They want to understand where people come from and about their families. Once they have a comfortable relationship, then they are ready to get on to business. It is so different from other countries in the world where one sits down, has a business meeting, and that is it. Latin American people really want to know who they are working with and who they are doing business with. It is such a nice concept to have that in a business relationship.

I remember being in Cartagena, at the OAS, or the Summit of the Americas, watching President Obama. I remember sitting in the runway in the Prime Minister's jet looking out the window and there was President Obama's jet, and then there was a little jet that was Hilary Clinton's jet. I was laughing that they both came in separate planes. Maybe there were security reasons for doing that.

However, I remember talking to some of my friends down there. I said, “Isn't it nice the Americans are here?” They said, “Yes, it's nice but they only come once in a while and they write a cheque and then they expect us to do what they want. They don't get to know us. They don't actually understand who we are and what we are doing. They just drop in, drop out, and say, this is what we want.” They do not like that. They like the Canadian approach where they are treated as a friend and a partner, where respect is shown.

I think that is why we see the warmth that we have with the people and the countries in that region. I think that is why we have trade agreements with Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. Hopefully, we will see something in Mercosur countries somewhere down the road. Hopefully, we will do something with the Pacific Alliance that will even bring us closer and closer together. There are so many opportunities to do business and trade in that region. (1755)

As we do business and trade in those areas, their standard of living and quality of life are going to get better. Their ability to purchase more goods and have the things we have here in Canada will become easier. As we look at security in the region, it will become safer.

I encourage everyone, especially when it is minus-40 in Saskatchewan or Winnipeg, to acknowledge that Latin America is our saving grace sometimes. A lot of people from Saskatchewan travel and participate in tourism in places like Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Dominican Republic. A lot of people in my riding go and live in Mexico in the wintertime. They love Saskatchewan in the summertime. I would encourage everyone to come to Saskatchewan in the summertime. It is cheaper to come to Saskatchewan and travel because there is no carbon tax. I just had to get that in there.

However, a lot of people like to get away in the wintertime, whether it is for a week, two weeks, or a month. Where do they go? They go to Latin America. Why? It is the guaranteed sunshine and the friendly people. They love Canadians. They like who we are. They like to talk to us. They like to visit with us. It is such a nice environment and we have become such close friends.

The other thing we have had from Latin America, especially for our honey producers, is a stable force of labour through temporary foreign workers who come in the summer, work in the beehives, and do the work we cannot get Canadians to do. Then they go home and take care of their families in the wintertime, because they do not like Canadian winters, and I do not blame them. It has created a scenario where we have all these people coming into Saskatchewan in the springtime, working right through to September or October, and going back home. Again, families and friends are being created, connections are being created, and it has been a win-win for...”

Mr. Matt Jeneroux (Edmonton Riverbend, CPC)

June 13th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ud to be from a province that has welcomed and embraced so many Latin American immigrants and their families.

Football, or soccer, as we call it, is a national sport of Brazil and a popular game...”

Mr. Brian Masse

June 13th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...They are temporary foreign workers who have expertise in the agriculture sector and are part of our families in many respects. In the House, there have been debate to try to improve their rights. We have had many families and workers' issues brought about because of the value they add to our country and communit...”

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... workers don't have to choose between a good job and a healthy environment for themselves and their families; and (c) not spending billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infra...”

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e to support a carbon tax because of its detrimental effect of the Canadian economy and on Canadian families, or is he prepared simply to give the Liberals a blank cheque on that?”

Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...eing laid off with the downturn in world oil prices and divestment by major players. Workers, their families, and their communities are stressed. It is critical to commit to a transparent, inclusive p...”

Mr. Bev Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...r, and what we have tried to find out from the Liberal government, is the cost of the carbon tax to families and small businesses, businesses that create jobs. The Liberals know the cost, but they do ...”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...federal cousins will not tell Canadians how much their federal carbon tax scheme will cost Canadian families.

Experts advise the government that technologies such as solar power needed to be developed gradually to prevent renewable energy contracts from overwhelming the province's electricity system and sending hydro bills skyrocketing. Ignoring the experts, the province went ahead with unrealistic and poorly considered policies that it knew were going to be costly, ineffective, and inefficient, policies which cost Ontarians billions of dollars and ultimately cost the provincial Liberals official party status.

This is a lesson the current government would be wise to heed. As the Prime Minister shut down pipeline after pipeline and has ignored the growing uncertainty over the Trans Mountain expansion for over a year and a half, Canadian taxpayers, backed into a corner by the government, found themselves owning a pipeline Kinder Morgan did not need to sell. All that was needed was regulatory certainty for a pipeline project that had already met every possible criterion for approval and certainty that the government that had made those approvals would see them through. The ramifications of poorly considered policies like the nationalization of Trans Mountain, the oil tanker ban, the derailing of energy east and northern gateway, and the job-killing carbon tax are all too clear as investment flees south of the border to the United States and other international jurisdictions.

Royal Bank's president and CEO, Dave McKay, told the Canadian Press that a significant investment exodus to the U.S. is already under way, especially in the energy and clean technology sectors. (1105)

That is right, we know the investment climate in Canada is in distress when even investors in renewable energy, where subsidies abound and competing oil and gas face carbon taxes and regulatory excess, are leaving because they favour lower U.S. corporate taxes more.

In early April, NextEra Energy said that the sale of its wind and solar generation assets in Ontario for $582 million was specifically motivated by U.S. tax reform. Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer, stated, “we expect the sale of the Canadian portfolio to enable us to recycle capital back into U.S. assets, which benefit from a longer federal income tax shield and a lower effective corporate tax rate”.

The latest data from Statistics Canada shows foreign direct investment in the country dropped to $31.4 billion last year compared with $49.4 billion the year before. The rapidly declining investment climate has important and far-reaching consequences. If we want to ensure Canada becomes a global leader in clean tech and want to ensure future jobs will be located right here in Canada, industry investment will be critical.

In 2016, oil and gas business expenditures on research and design were nearly $1.5 million of the $2 billion that was invested in clean-tech R and D in the energy sector. Nearly 10% of all money spent on R and D in Canada was in the energy sector. Enbridge and TransCanada, the country's largest pipeline companies, both invest heavily in renewable energy.

CGA, ATCO, Enbridge, Énergir, FortisBC, Pacific Northern Gas, SaskEnergy, and Union Gas pool capital investment in the natural gas innovation fund to support clean-tech start-ups, which innovate in the natural gas value supply chain.

As the potential for renewable energy grows and the cost of the technology falls, experts anticipate a growing number of traditional oil and gas companies to invest in the renewable sector. Morgan Bazilian, former lead energy specialist at the World Bank, told an audience of Calgary oil executives in May that the industry has already seen some of the sector's largest companies such as Shell, Total, BP, and others, make billion-dollar investments in renewables. However, to get industry investment in clean tech, there must be industry in Canada to begin with.

Murphy Oil Corporation said it would repatriate Canadian retained earnings and that it sees the substantially lower tax rate in the U.S. as a big advantage for capital investments.

Dan Tsubouchi, chief market strategist at Stream Asset Financial Management LP in Calgary said, in an interview with the Financial Post, that oil and gas companies with assets in Canada waited for the Canadian government to respond to U.S. tax reforms in the federal budget but when “it offered nothing on tax competitiveness”, the next step was to look at redeploying their capital.

In its 2018 report entitled, “Competitive Climate Policy: Supporting Investment and Innovation”, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers makes the case succinctly:

The Canadian oil and natural gas sector is supportive of climate policies that are effective and efficient, and take into account cumulative impacts including taxation, market access, and regulatory review processes. With the right policies in place, the Canadian industry can be competitive, can attract investment and can reduce GHG emissions.

However, current climate and other policies are inefficient and duplicative, and are combining to create unintended consequences such as driving investment away from Canada into other countries that have less robust emissions-reduction policies. This emerging policy environment promotes carbon leakage and therefore does not lead to global emissions reduction.

Once again, unexpected consequences of poorly considered policies, which led to the demise of the Ontario Liberal Party, is leading to the demise of the energy sector in Canada, and with it, the unintended consequence of carbon leakage.

For those not aware, carbon leakage is the shift of greenhouse gas emissions from one part of the world to another, usually because of governments implementing uncompetitive policies. An example of carbon leakage can be seen in Canada as the Liberal government's tax policies increase cost to industry, and as a result, industry shifts its investments elsewhere. The implications of carbon leakage are both economic and emission related. (1110)

Economically, we are seeing reduced investment in Canada and the loss of good-paying jobs for Canadian families. Globally, as investment and jobs shift, we will see an increase in emissions, because that production is going to be moved to countries that do not have anywhere near Canada's world-leading regulatory regime. However, there is still time to reverse the course of declining investment in Canadian industry, time to stop carbon leakage, and time to support the growing but fragile clean-tech industry right here in Canada.

Canada's clean-tech energy industry now ranks fourth-highest globally and first in the G20. Canadian clean-tech businesses is already booming, accounting for 3.1% of our GDP, or $59.3 billion. According to the 2016 report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, “De-Risking the Adoption of Clean Technology in Canada's Natural Resources Sector”. There were 800 companies that employed 55,300 direct jobs, with $17 billion in revenue. Clean-tech firms paid 48% more than the Canadian average wage.

Eleven of the top 100 clean-tech companies are in Canada. Global clean-tech market value, by trade, is $1 trillion. Canada's share is 1.4%, or the 26th-largest in the world.

Canada has some great clean-tech stories to share, such as Montreal-based GHGSat, which can track global greenhouse gases from any industrial site in the world using a high-resolution satellite. This technology, more accurate and affordable than its alternatives, enables oil and gas companies to better understand, control, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There is Manitoba-based HD-Petroleum, which has created small-scale waste-oil micro-refinery units that transform used oil into diesel fuel. The cost of implementing this technology is relatively inexpensive, and the recycling process substantially reduces GHG emissions when compared with more traditional oil-disposal methods.

There is lmaginea, which uses its clean hydrocarbon ecosystem to deliver energy produced with the use of zero freshwater and with no toxic emissions or air pollution; DarkVision, which developed a new ultrasound technology that allows companies to create 3D images of the inside of oil wells, enabling them to make more informed and cost-effective production decisions; and Unsist, a company that uses artificial intelligence to help oil and gas companies make better production and operational choices.

These are just a few of the success stories right here in Canada's clean-tech sector. However, as I have said, it is a fragile sector that needs more than subsidies to thrive.

If we are serious about mitigating climate change, if we are serious about becoming a global leader in clean tech and ensuring that future jobs will be in Canada, we need sound fiscal policies and a competitive tax regime in Canada. We need to support the industry, which in turn will support the growth of Canada's clean-tech sector. Industry leaders have told us that they will do this, because it makes sense, it is good for business, and it is good for the environment in which their families and the families of their employees live, work, and play.

Making policy decisions regarding the energy...”

Ms. Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... to Alberta for work. It is very dangerous and hard work. It is hard for them to be away from their families. Often, people come home with addictions or injuries.

I now bump into people who have...”

Mr. François Choquette (Drummond, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ht climate change.

What plan do the Liberals' have for energy efficiency and helping Canadian families? They do not have one. That is why we need to adopt today's motion. The Liberals need to un...”

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...leagues. Is the NDP prepared to support the carbon tax regardless of how much it will cost Canadian families? Is the sky the limit? Is the NDP going to just give the Liberal government a blank cheque ...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... workers don’t have to choose between a good job and a healthy environment for themselves and their families; and (c) not spending billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies that increase greenhouse gas emissions and pollution and put Canadians’ health and Canada’s environment, coastlines, waterways, and wildlife, as well as Canada’s marine and tourism jobs at risk.

That is what we are talking about today. It has been disheartening to hear some of the comments in the House. Some people do not believe that climate change is happening. They do not believe it is something that we can impact. I completely disagree. I hear, “Canada has low emissions compared to other countries.” We cannot negate responsibility if we say we are not as bad as someone else. These are the realities our country and our world are facing.

Today we are standing in the House and we are asking Canada to be a climate leader. This is an opportunity for us to lead the way, to invest in technology and industry that other people will use, another way for Canada to build its economy. In fact, we know that Ceres and Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates there will be $12 trillion U.S. in renewable energy spending up for grabs for the next 25 years. The countries that come out ahead will be those that develop the technologies, the thinking, and the experience first, and use it to compete and grow in a global market for clean energy solutions.

That is a plan for Canada that I can get really excited about. What we have now is the reality that we have a government that has bought a 65-year-old pipeline that will bring less than 3,000 jobs. These are going to be direct short-term jobs that are created from the building of this pipeline and will only last during its construction, with less than 100 jobs remaining in place once it is constructed.

The commitment from the government, another broken promise, was the ending of fossil fuel subsidies. This would have been a step in putting renewable alternatives on a level playing field with the oil and gas sector. The Auditor General's spring report of 2017 concluded that the government has no intention of stopping the subsidies to fossil fuels.

On June 1, 2017, the Columbia Institute's Centre for Civic Governance released a report card, which found the Liberal government had not kept 50% of its climate change promises. The report card found that Canada had not established scientific GHG targets aligned with the Paris Agreement, was not guaranteeing new infrastructure funding that would not lock Canadians into a high-carbon pathway, was delaying the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, was not giving priority to community and indigenous-owned renewable energy projects, and was not developing a national thermal energy strategy.

This is very concerning for the people in my riding. In my riding of North Island—Powell River, we see a lot of people coming forward wanting to see a changing economy and wanting to see us moving towards an environmentally friendly economy. They want to be part of a strategy. They know where we are today. They know that oil and gas is an important part of our country, but it is something we need to look at, have more of a balanced approach, and move towards a more meaningful change in the future.

When I think of some of the specific challenges that have happened in my riding, I think of the Dzawada'enuxw First Nation in Kingcome Inlet. Over a year ago, unfortunately, a fish farm left diesel running all night. There was a huge diesel spill in their territory. They talked to me about going to that area and seeing, on top of the fish farm, some pads to absorb the diesel, but nothing else happening as the diesel was flowing in their waterways. (1325)

They asked to be a part of that. They wanted to have some training and some support to actually start implementing some of the things they needed to see happening. They waited hours for action. They are waiting now for more consultation and discussion. These are some of the important things that are happening.

Just recently, on Read Island and in Campbell River, we had forest fires in May. That is in my riding. That is something we do not usually see.

However, there are a lot of positive things happening. Recently, I participated in a “Forestry Proud” community event in Port McNeill. This event was showcasing the changing face of forestry, and talking about the history of forestry within our riding. We also took a look at green technology and how they are looking at new ways to harvest trees without such a large impact, while protecting some of those well-paying jobs that we have in our riding.

I think of the work that North Island College is doing. Right now it is working with several marine renewable energy companies in an effort to utilize the tidal currents we have in Campbell River, which are some of the best in all of the world, as well as looking at the wave energy available to south Vancouver Island. North Island College is working really hard and wanting to see investments so it can look at these initiatives that will support smaller communities and have a more impactful way around the environment.

I think of Jack Springer from Campbell River Whale Watching, who is working with Green Tourism Canada on an environmental certificate program in tourism and hospitality. Jack said it well. He said, “We've chosen to first clean up our own act.” Right now he has contributed about $5,000 to the Greenways Land Trust to maintain trails and the surrounding ecosystem. Greenways does so much good work in our area, and I am so proud of the investment it is seeing there.

I also think of another small business, Small Planet Energy, which is working across and outside the riding to help businesses and homeowners do more things for alternative energy so that they can be part of the change that so many Canadians want to see. What we have seen with that business is great growth, because so many people are interested in investing. They want to see that leadership and want to be part of it to see a more green economy, to make sure they are investing in things that will not harm the Earth for the future of their children.

Here we are today in the House asking the government to follow the leadership of so many members of communities across the country who are looking for a greener economy. They are investing in it themselves and want to see that reflected by their government.

I come from communities that have seen a lot of ups and downs. My riding has a strong resource-based economy in fisheries, forestry, and mining. One of the challenges is how boom and bust that is. We know that our small communities have paid a lot of taxes, and when those boom and bust cycles come we are often forgotten.

When I look at tackling climate change, it can actually allow us to make smart investments, to develop local communities, to look at small communities and see how we can support them. We can see the increase in energy efficiency. We can tackle pollution and promote Canadian entrepreneurship and skills building in the trillion-dollar global clean energy economy.

It is really important that we see the government take these steps. We are still waiting for that. We are still seeing significant investment in oil and gas sector subsidies. Where are the subsidies for those small businesses, like the one I talked about earlier, that are actively taking every step they can to educate people, to work with people, to find the most affordable way for people to look at alternative energy and become part of that cycle.

We are asking for leadership right now so that we can see actions that improve both our economy and the environmental outcomes for all of our country. We must put workers at the heart of this strategy. It is so important that we remember we do not have to set up that false choice of choosing between a good job and a healthy environment for workers, for their families, and for their communities.

I appreciate some of the hard work that is happening. I t...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...round world are also using our technology and we can protect farms long term. Those communities and families deserve to have farms that work and if there is a huge amount of climate change, they are g...”

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ontinue to have increasingly harsh impacts of climate change that threaten all our jobs and all our families, or we can choose a path to a low-carbon economy, one that creates good, family-supporting ...”

Mr. Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...next 70 years and the lasting impact the hospital will continue to have on Canadian veterans, their families, as well as the wider community.”

Hon. Lisa Raitt (Milton, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...“yes”.

A protracted trade war with respect to this issue has a significant impact on Canadian families. Whirlpool, a company in my riding of Milton, Ontario, has indicated that it is going to in...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ding to the Fraser Institute, since this Liberal government and Prime Minister were elected, 81% of families are paying more taxes than they paid under former governments.

How can the Prime Mini...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...anada child benefit. I think that it is important. What we did is give more money to nine out of 10 families across the country. To do that, we stopped sending benefits to the wealthiest families. We have lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty across the country. That i...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...mental problems. One, it does not look at the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of 10 families. Two, it looks at the payments people make into the Canada pension plan and calls them a tax.

Therefore, we can say that we lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians. It is very clear. From our standpoint, we have helped our economy by putting more money in people's pockets. Nine out of 10 families are better off, and that has helped our economy.”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... providing. The promise of the Liberals was not that they were going to raise taxes on middle-class families and give a bit of it back through government spending. They promised that taxes would go down for the middle class, but in fact they have gone up.

Second, the report to which I referred has nothing to do with CPP payroll taxes. It said that for middle-class Canadians, 80% are paying more income tax since this government took office.

How much more will these same families pay under the new proposed carbon tax?”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...oing to that riding. What does that mean? It means 18,000 children are better off. More than 10,000 families get, on average, more than $4,000 after tax. Perhaps the member should talk to people in his riding to understand how they are doing. They are doing better because we have helped Canadian families to raise their families for tomorrow.”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...lection of the situation. The numbers are clear. Thanks to the Canada child benefit, nine out of 10 families are better off. We also cut taxes for the middle class. Those are the real numbers.

Because of our policies, our economy is stronger. That means economic growth is higher, which is great for the families of today and tomorrow.”

Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... supply management. We will continue to defend it, as we will defend the interests of Canadian farm families and all our dairy producers.

The Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture, the cau...”

Mr. Mark Strahl (Chilliwack—Hope, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...oultry in the world.

Maintaining Canada's system of supply management is critical to the farm families that make up the backbone of my community. These families were worried when the Prime Minister went on American television and said that he was willi...”

Ms. Emmanuella Lambropoulos (Saint-Laurent, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...hat there are nearly 2,200 homeless veterans across the country. In talking with veterans and their families, we have learned that there are many factors contributing to veteran homelessness, includin...”

Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...er, I thank my colleague, the hon. member for Saint-Laurent, for her support for veterans and their families.

Veteran homelessness is unacceptable. One homeless veteran is too many. Last week, I...”

Mr. Wayne Stetski (Kootenay—Columbia, NDP)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... workers don’t have to choose between a good job and a healthy environment for themselves and their families”. Also, with local energy production, people do not have to leave home in order to make a l...”

Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC)

June 12th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... workers don’t have to choose between a good job and a healthy environment for themselves and their families....

Again, it is motherhood and apple pie. Who could disagree with that?

The ki...”

Mr. Marc Serré (Nickel Belt, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...d abilities, particularly persons with a physical disability, aging individuals, seniors, and their families in Canada.

I would like to highlight a couple of key benefits that visitability can bring to the senior demographic, specifically since my hon. colleague from Tobique—Mactaquac mentioned my motion calling for a national seniors strategy, Motion No. 106. This is something that must include the aspects of minimum standards for accessible housing.

Visitable homes can give the opportunity to welcome and include guests who use a mobility device, such as a wheelchair or walker, into residential homes, which would help reduce the isolation that can be experienced by seniors and persons with a disability and increase opportunities for social interaction and inclusive communities.

Also, as people age, visitable homes can help residents age in place and live at home longer, avoiding the necessity to move into an institutional setting. A house with a non-step entrance can also help reduce the number of falls and stairs-related injuries of seniors, which in turn would help save health care costs.

Visitable housing can reduce the length of hospital visits, something that seniors tend to experience more frequently than those who are younger. Because of accessibility features in the home, people can return home more quickly following an injury or a diagnosis of a mobility disability.

When visitability features are planned from the outset, costs can be negligible. Retrofits of a conventional home to make it visitable cost significantly more than making the building visitable from the outset. That is from the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies in 2017.

Speaking of costs, it is also important to note that incorporating visitability features in the design stage of building a new home reduces the cost of modifying the home to meet the changing accessibility needs of residents over the course of their lifespan. This means that the more I am aware of now, the better I can plan for my future when it comes to decisions about my home or in the event I need or wish to move homes.

Research from VisitAble Housing Canada indicates that, with planning, the cost of a non-step entrance can be less than $250, and wider doors are as little as $5 to $25. On average, in new home builds, main floor accessible bathrooms do not cost anything additional when planned properly.

I would also like to point out that there are additional low-cost visitable design features, as cited by the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies in 2017, which may be added to improve accessibility and the ability for all of us to age in place. They include lever door handles; lever kitchen and bathroom faucets; raised electrical outlets; lowered climate controls; lowered light switches; and reinforced bathroom walls for future installation of grab bars or ceiling track lifts. These are very important features to plan ahead for.

I have worked as a school board trustee for Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, as a municipal councillor in West Nipissing, and as a regional director of the Canadian Hearing Society, working closely with the March of Dimes and the CNIB. I understand and have seen first-hand the many struggles faced by the not-for-profit sectors and the clients they serve.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of participating in the official launch of the valley community ramp project, thanks to the Access2all foundation and its co-founders Dan Lebrun and Nadine Law. Access2all is a not-for-profit community group based out of Greater Sudbury. Its mission is to promote an inclusive community by opening doors and removing barriers, as Motion No. 157 seeks to do. Access2all does this by donating custom-built ramps to the business community. However, this project would not be possible without the support and participation of many community partners. (1120) [Translation]

This project was launched at Bitter Bill's Ice Cream Parlour in Val Caron. Those in attendance included enthusiastic students from the Grade 7-8 leadership group “Val Coeur On”, led by Chantale Goudreau from École élémentaire Jean-Paul II, as well as partnership representatives from Cambrian College and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 2486, in Azilda. All were present to celebrate the delivery of the donated custom built access ramp.

The students at École Jean-Paul II partnered with Access2all to see how they could help make their community more accessible. The students started off by doing an accessibility audit to see if there was a need in their community. They then chose a few businesses and organizations that they felt should be accessible to their peers, such as Bitter Bill's Ice Cream Parlour and Chico's Bowl and Sports Lounge, in the Valley.

The ramps were then painted and given to the organizations by the École Jean-Paul II students. All construction materials for these ramps were donated by local lumber stores, including Rona in Valley East. Thanks to the volunteers and all of the community partners, Access2All has been able to pursue this program.

There can be no doubt that this initiative has numerous benefits. For example, thanks to this project, little Katie, a student at Jean-Paul II elementary school, can now go get ice cream with her friends, something she could not do before, because the ice cream parlour did not have a wheelchair ramp.

Having worked in the non-profit sector and in accessibility, I strongly believe in building an environment that is accessible to all.

I commend Dan and Nadine for founding Access2all. It is a fantastic initiative. I also want to send out a special thanks to Jean-Paul II elementary school, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 2486, in Azilda, Cambrian College, Rona, and all the volunteers who made this project a reality. This initiative is a great example of the kinds of solutions and results that are possible when the community gets involved and works hard together. That is why Motion No. 157, the visitability motion we are discussing today, is so important. (1125) [English]

There is no doubt that this initiative is a shining example of the solutions and results we can come up with when community leaders get together and work hard to ensure everyone has access to the services and activities in the community.

Motion No. 157 is important to all Canadians. Visitability is about social justice for all. It is about providing accessible places to all: our families, our communities, our neighbours, our seniors, people with an ability, and our young families.

Visitability is important. Motion No. 157 is important. It is about inclusivity.

I want to thank my good friend, the MP for Tobique—Mactaquac, for giving me the opportunity to speak to this motion, and the importance visitability can have for all Canadians, of all ages and abilities, particularly persons with a physical disability, aging individuals, seniors, and their families in Canada.

Meegwetch.”

Mrs. Eva Nassif (Vimy, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...etings where information is exchanged and decisions are made. Women with reduced mobility and their families may refuse invitations to places that are difficult to access. Economic insecurity and inaccessibility, which are common among women with a disability, can lead them to live in places where there is no basic accessibility or to remain in precarious situations where they cannot exercise their autonomy because they depend on their partner or family. Single mothers who have children with a severe disability and who cannot afford accessible housing or cannot visit their families run the risk of not getting the help they often need. Visitability is crucial in order to p...”

Mr. T.J. Harvey (Tobique—Mactaquac, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... is not just for the benefit of persons with a disability but for all Canadians, including seniors, families, persons without a disability, and all of us in this place. Bringing visitability before th...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...se that, and to demand that the Liberal government start speaking up for the people of Iran and the families impacted, like Ms. Mombeini. It should be speaking up for the very principles that it talke...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole

June 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...oronto, who have been in touch with us. I met with them weeks ago, and they are concerned for their families. We have heard that from some of the debates in this House. They are concerned for Ms. Momb...”

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QD)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...uebeckers are reconsidering their summer vacation plans because of gas prices. That is bad news for families, and even worse news for remote regions like the Gaspé, whose economies depend on summer to...”

Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...autiful, and immensely important vocation. Fathers contribute immeasurably to the strength of their families and to the success of our communities.

My life has been informed by amazing examples ...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ian residential school system was a systematic plan to remove indigenous children from their homes, families, and cultures to facilitate in the stated policy of killing the Indian in the child. When P...”

Mr. Mark Warawa (Langley—Aldergrove, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...h were incredible men of God, who lived their faith with integrity and commitment. They loved their families and were role models for good. I am now the role model for my children and grandchildren. I...”

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...er, 10 years ago today, Prime Minister Harper gave a heartfelt apology to former students and their families for Canada's role in the operation of residential schools. In it he stated:

The Gover...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... of more tariffs at us. We are all Canadians first, and we will stand with Canadian workers and the families impacted by this escalating trade war.

Can the Prime Minister tell Canadians what his...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y this growing trade dispute.

We could immediately ratify the TPP, the carbon tax on Canadian families and businesses could be scrapped, and we could eliminate trade barriers between provinces. These would all have positive effects.

Will the Prime Minister begin working with Conservatives on these constructive solutions that will help Canadian families who will be impacted by this trade war?”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...y lowering taxes on middle-class Canadians. We moved forward with child benefits for nine out of 10 families, giving them an average of $2,300 more after tax for their families.

The kinds of things we did led to more disposable income for Canadians so they could...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...arbon tax. The government knows full well how much the Liberal carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families. The problem is that the Liberals have the document in their hands and are keeping it from ...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our approach because it is the right one for Canadian families. We decided to invest in Canadian workers. That is very important to our efforts to grow the economy and reduce our unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years. That is good for our economy and for families. Our economy is resilient for the future.”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

June 11th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cept the Prime Minister's scheme for higher taxes.

We know taxes make life more expensive for families, increasing the cost of home heating, electricity, groceries, gasoline, and much more. When...”

Mr. Dane Lloyd

June 11th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...d the great work it does here on Parliament Hill to raise issues of concern and to advocate for the families whose members were killed in the 1980s, which was hidden by the regime. We need to hold the...”

Hon. Andrew Leslie (Orléans, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... calls, and get engaged in the political process. This was truly a Canadian election. I thank their families, friends, and communities for being involved in our democracy as well.[Translation]

I...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... the decency to tell Canadians the truth? How much is the Liberal carbon tax going to cost Canadian families?”

Mr. Murray Rankin (Victoria, NDP)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tions of President Trump. Millions of Canadians are worried about how a trade war will impact their families and their communities. No one can predict what President Trump will do next. Will the gover...”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... created supply management. We will continue to defend it and protect it, and all interests of farm families.”

Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ands of children out of poverty with our Canada child benefit that benefits nine out of 10 Canadian families. We have a plan, it is the right plan, and that plan is working.”

Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ro-emissions buses in Winnipeg, and Landmark Homes, which makes energy-efficient homes for Edmonton families. They know that pricing pollution encourages innovation and will bring good, new middle-cla...”

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...it is time for the Prime Minister to stop forcing his punishing carbon tax on middle-class Canadian families. Farmers in Kitchener—Conestoga are especially concerned about this unfair tax, which would...”

Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ns will reject this terrible tax. The Prime Minister has to stop forcing his carbon tax on Canadian families.

When will the Prime Minister listen to Canadians and abandon his terrible carbon tax...”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Liberal government's carbon tax.

Will the Prime Minister now, finally, listen to middle-class families and scrap his carbon tax?”

Mr. Robert Kitchen (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...nister's job-killing carbon tax.

When will the Prime Minister stop his attack on middle-class families and axe his carbon tax?”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, our government supports the supply management system, and we support farmers and their families. It was our party that fought to establish the system, and we are still protecting and defending it. We have always said that it is an excellent system.

Do the Harper Conservatives want us to sign just any deal? This government will only sign a deal that is good for all Canadians. We will continue to support supply-managed farmers, their families, and all of our agricultural interests.”

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, our government supports the supply management system, farmers, and their families. This system is a model of stability around the world. Our party fought to implement this system, and we will continue to protect and defend it.

We have said many times that the proposals from our American partners about supply management are unacceptable. We will continue to protect supply-managed producers, their families, and all agricultural interests.”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ear officially from parents who have lost infants, organizations who advocate on behalf of bereaved families, experts in the area of grief counselling, and officials responsible for our government programs.

There are numerous cases in which parents have suddenly lost a child. I am familiar with many myself. However, today, I would like to draw attention to Rachel and Rob Samulack's experience, who say:

“Our son Aaron was diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis, which means he was missing kidneys at 20 weeks gestation. This condition is deemed incompatible with life. Despite pressure to terminate the pregnancy, we decided to continue the pregnancy with the support of the perinatal hospice program at Roger Neilson House. Despite the fact our son was critically ill, I was ineligible to receive compassionate care benefits or benefits to care for a critically ill child, as he was ill in utero. I continued to work full-time hours until 33 weeks gestation while attending numerous medical appointments, because I had no other option.

“Aaron was born on Father's Day, June 19, 2016. We spent 100 precious minutes with Aaron. He had beautiful strawberry blonde hair and looked so much like our older son Gabriel. Gabriel met him, as did his grandparents and aunts and uncles. It was hard, but it was beautiful. Aaron passed away in our arms surrounded by love.

“When Aaron died on the day he was born, my total of 15 weeks of maternity benefits started counting down. I was ineligible for parental leave benefits, as my son had died.

“When I returned to work after 15 weeks, Rob was in nursing school and our other son was two years old at the time. I had to repeatedly tell coworkers why I had returned months earlier than planned. I cried alone daily in the washroom and took a pay cut so I could work four days a week.

“If an infant dies while a parent is on parental leave, the parental benefits stop that day. They are left with three days of bereavement leave, and up to 15 weeks of sickness El benefits—if they are told about them and apply for them. Singing to my dying son, then later putting yellow roses on his tiny casket as we buried him, left me with barely the strength to cry, let alone navigate applying for sickness benefits. (1340)

“I was never told about these additional benefits by my employer, which is the federal public service. Despite the recent addition of two more bereavement days through Bill C-63, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, five days of bereavement leave is just not enough. Until you have had to plan a funeral for your child and bury them, it is hard to fathom the extended grief that accompanies this type of loss.

“With the support of our friends and families, Rob and I organized the first charity walk/run for pregnancy and infant loss in Ottawa, called The Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau. The Butterfly Run originally started in Belleville, Ontario, in 2016. The run was created to support individuals and families experiencing infertility or pregnancy and infant loss and to provide a community for those experiencing such losses. On Oct. 14, 2017, exactly one year after I returned to work following Aaron's loss, Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau was held. Approximately 400 people participated in the run and more than $30,000 was raised for pregnancy and infant loss programs at Roger Neilson House.”

This is one of the downfalls of government being too big. Looking at Rachel and Rob's experience, we can see that big government programs can sometimes paint broad strokes for people, causing those who need special assistance to be overlooked. Evidently the current system is not designed to serve parents who undergo such a loss. It has a blind spot that we now have all been made aware of, thanks to this motion.

Rachel works for the Government of Canada but was not even made aware of the benefits due to her. If it is like this in the public sector, imagine the difficulties for those in the private sector. Rachel and Rob have stepped up in an incredible way, and it is now on us who sit in the House to do the same. We have an opportunity to stand in the gap on behalf of these families. This is a moment when all parties can come together for the benefit of Canada.

In listening to other hon. members speak to Motion No. 110, I can clearly see that there is a fundamental belief across all party lines that we need to support those families who suffer from such a loss. We should not have to debate whether or not we should study this issue. Therefore, I invite all members to join me in support of Motion No. 110 so that we can move forward on finding some concrete solutions for these families.”

Mr. Sean Fraser (Central Nova, Lib.)

June 8th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...ng hard to join it. Part of fulfilling this promise, in my mind, is ensuring that parents and their families are supported during their greatest times of need.

When a parent loses an infant child to a random or tragic event, the emotional pain can be crippling for life. They should not have to worry about losing their jobs because they need to take time away from work. They should not have to worry about not having enough to pay the bills at home because their pay cheques have stopped coming in because they have been away from their jobs. We need to be there as a government for these Canadians, and while there are some supports available, we always need to be asking whether it is enough.

The existing supports include bereavement and sick leave under the Canada Labour Code as well as employment insurance sickness benefits, along with community-based and employer supports for some employees.

Our government has made a number of changes to help families. For example, we have created a new family El caregiver benefit of up to 15 weeks to care f...”

Ms. Julie Dabrusin (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... with a name that creates a false positive when it matches a name that is on the no-fly list. These families are unable to check in for a flight online, which can result in missed flights if a plane is overbooked, but more importantly, these families feel stigmatized and uncomfortable being stopped in the airport for additional screening ba...”

Ms. Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River, NDP)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...peaker, I especially appreciate the member's dedication to the no-fly kids and the challenges those families face when they try to travel and having their name screened as being a dangerous one. I cannot imagine walking into an airport and having my three-year old being accused of something as terrible as this.

However, I would like some clarity on is this. An amendment was proposed by the NDP to ensure individuals had access to the existing pool of special advocates so they could defend themselves against secret evidence they did not always have access to, but was being used against them. How does the member square that? Families need to know that. Waiting three years is a long time. Understanding why they are being sto...”

Ms. Julie Dabrusin

June 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...be matched.

I appreciate that my friend from across the way understands the concerns of these families.”

Mr. François Choquette

June 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...s mechanism to help people who suffer the consequences from being added to this list. Some Canadian families are very concerned. They want to protect their rights because children are at risk of being...”

Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... and enhanced procedural protections for youth. The act also recognizes the importance of involving families, victims, and communities in the youth criminal justice system.

The YCJA contains a n...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...government had months to prepare for this, but it did nothing. Steel and aluminum workers and their families are being hurt by these tariffs right now, but instead of having a plan ready to immediatel...”

Hon. Mélanie Joly (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...he summer.

The CPTPP would provide unparalleled benefits for hard-working Canadians and their families. We have worked hard to improve the deal, and we have made real gains for the middle class....”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... that have led to an $800 tax increase on the average middle-class family. How much more will those families pay under the new Liberal carbon tax?”

Mr. Jean Rioux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

June 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...clearly that we must take care of the well-being of the men and women of the armed forces and their families.

Unlike the Conservatives, we promised to increase defence spending by 70% over the n...”

Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC)

June 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...his carbon tax or will he listen to farmers and recognize that the carbon tax is crippling our farm families?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

June 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...They gave boutique tax credits to wealthy Canadians, delivered child benefit cheques to millionaire families, and then when we moved forward with lowering taxes for the middle class and raising them on the wealthiest 1%, they voted against it. Then we moved forward on a Canada child benefit to give more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families and did not send child benefit cheques to millionaires, while lifting hundreds of thousands...”

Mr. Alupa Clarke

June 6th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...h public consultations by many residents from the ridings of Québec, represented by the Minister of Families, Louis-Hébert, represented by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Louis...”

Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.)

June 5th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ry day in Canada, five women die from ovarian cancer. Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families deserve to have access to new therapies to improve their odds of survival. With no screenin...”

Mr. Todd Doherty (Cariboo—Prince George, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... within 24 hours, I believe, there were about 500 lobster fishermen who were very upset. The fisher families, the men and women who make their living in our coastal communities, depend on these fisheries. It is seasonal work. Whether a person owns a boat or works on a boat, or works in a factory, such as those in the town of Grand Bank where I have spent so much time in the last while over the surf clam issue, the “clam scam”, they are greatly impacted by decisions that are made in Ottawa without consultation. Thus, I ask members to pay close attention to that bullet. It is bullet (iii) of Motion No. 154.

The final bullet says, “and that the Committee present its final report to the House” by the end of the 2018 calendar year. As I said earlier, the Conservative Party cares about our whales. We care deeply about our marine habitat. We want clean oceans and waterways. I fish. I hunt. I want our waterways to be clear and fresh. I want our air to be fresh for my kids and my grandkids as we move forward. We all want that. When we listen to some of our colleagues, of course, they think we are the spawns of the devil, just ogres. However, we care deeply about our marine habitat, and we will be supporting this motion.

I look forward to working with my colleagues at the fisheries committee, because we do great work there. This is a committee that is made up of all parties and is, of course, led by the Liberal side. However, we have done some incredible work. We did some great work on the marine protected area study. However, again we found out that the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, as well as the Minister of Transport, like to talk about consultation and our indigenous peoples being the most important relationship that they have, yet time and time again what we do we see? We see no consultation. That is why, no different than the surf clam or the clam scam, we are seeing indigenous groups now taking the government to court because it is not consulting. (1125)

As a matter of fact, there is an organization that is made up of fishers and processors from right across our country, who said that when the Conservatives were in power, there were consistent regulations. The group may not have always liked them, but there was consistent access to ministers and it had a seat at the table. This group, a national organization, told me that with the current government, if it wants to see a minister or get a seat at the table, it has to go through an NGO, an environmental group, first.

I have attended events and functions which were supposed to be fishery round tables. The minister is very accommodating. He allows me as the fisheries critic or shadow minister to attend them, along with the NDP shadow minister or critic. However, at the one I attended, there was not one fisher there. It was entirely environmental groups. So be it, but I have to commend my hon. colleague from New Brunswick Southwest for adding (iii), which says, “those who might be impacted by any possible actions, and working to find a balance among various competing claims”.

I want to talk about the announcements within the last 24 hours. I am not a fisherman, which I said earlier, and far be it for me to talk about the process and how it goes. However, I have spent some time on the docks of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and Halifax, and I have talked to the fishers. I have been on the ground. I have been at Sharon's in Grand Bank and had coffee with the men and women who work either in the factory or on boats. I have spoken with them and heard their stories. I have asked them how long it takes for them to go out to sea and back and, for this fishery, it takes about six days.

This is some of the hardest work that anyone can imagine, but these workers do it and have done it for generations. Their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, have done it. They talk about the wounds of the past that go straight up the middle of Grand Bank, as there is not one family that has not been negatively impacted by this industry and not lost a family member to the sea. They work hard, they toil, trying to make a living for their communities and families. They expect their government to back them up or, at the very least, when it is making legislation, to consult them. They want the government to bring them to the table, tell them what it plans to do, and ask them how it will impact them. They want to be consulted when the government says it understands it is going to have a negative impact but that it needs to do it to save the whales.

Everyone agrees, and I am correct on that. We just bought a 65-year-old pipeline for $4.5 billion. That is not going to build even an inch of pipeline. We just gave $4.5 billion to a Texas oil company; thanks very much. There was no consultation.

There have been closures announced in the last 24 hours, and the fishermen and their families were given less than 72 hours to get their gear out of the water. I do not know how far off...”

Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...“Cetaceans possess intelligence, emotions, social lives that include extremely close bonds to their families, complex communication skills and roaming lifestyles.”

I would put it this way: We sh...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...adam Speaker, it is my privilege, and I am proud, to represent all the hard-working men, women, and families of Lakeland, including indigenous people across Lakeland in the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Wh...”

Ms. Georgina Jolibois

June 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...le, Cree, Dene, Michif, Inuit from coast to coast to coast is to include the elders, the youth, the families in a setting where we have an opportunity to voice our concerns and our matters.”

Mr. Marc Serré (Nickel Belt, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ry devoted advocate for social justice.[Translation]

Today I invite my colleagues to join the families in honouring the memory of all former parliamentarians who passed away in the last year. Th...”

Hon. Steven Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... in early July recognizing the benefits of this white gold.

Like farms owned by many Canadian families, the M. G. L'Heureux farm in Saint-Henri, Bellechasse, proudly produces high-quality milk. ...”

Mr. Richard Hébert (Lac-Saint-Jean, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ality.[Translation]

Our government understands the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on families and their loved ones. That is why we invest nearly $50 million a year so that we can contin...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ge on the world stage.

Will the ag minister finally admit that the carbon tax is bad for farm families, and maybe while he is at it, tell those families how much the carbon tax is going to cost them?”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Why is the Prime Minister giving money to rich millionaires while families in the energy sector are struggling to make ends meet because of him?”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, for those families who are relying on a strong energy sector, we are doing exactly what we should do: a projec...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are outraged over the Canadian government's handling of the Trans Mountain project. The Lib...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...my to invest in the pipeline in order to reach international markets. It is also very important for families, because of the number of associated jobs across the country. At the same time, we can boos...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

June 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...how important the EI system is to providing income security and job transition opportunities to all families and workers, and in particular seasonal workers.

We have listened to our provincial a...”

Hon. Catherine McKenna

June 1st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the city's history, and it is also going to be awesome for families. People can get home faster, with less pollution. That is what people want.

We unders...”

Hon. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...se in the House today to congratulate it on 50 years of service to thousands and thousands of local families. Its mission is to help children acquire a positive attitude toward school and learning, an...”

Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry—Suroît, NDP)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...d will be used to fund research and prevention initiatives and to improve services for patients and families.

I want to thank all the organizers, volunteers, and participants in advance, and eve...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... that will hurt them and the beginning of a trade war. Why are steel and aluminum workers and their families going to have to suffer because the Liberal government failed to prepare for what we are se...”

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...er, 146,000 Canadian steel and aluminum workers woke up today worried about their futures and their families. They support the government's retaliatory tariffs against Donald Trump, but they know that...”

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...economy to old news.

Atlantic Canadians do not think that creating good-paying jobs that keep families together and close to home is old news. The General Electric employees in Peterborough who ...”

Mr. Ramez Ayoub (Thérèse-De Blainville, Lib.)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...gned a bilateral agreement on early learning and child care. This is an important step for Canadian families because, for the very first time, the federal government has entered into agreements with each province and territory to provide more affordable child care for Canadian families across the country.

Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell us more about the impact of this agreement on Canadian families?”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...mber for Thérèse-De Blainville for his considerable support for affordable and quality day care for families.

I am pleased to confirm that we recently signed an agreement for child care services...”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ce 2001.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his latest rule changes are hurting Canadian families? Will he relax the rules, from his ivory tower in Ottawa?”

Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Farmers throughout southwestern Ontario are concerned about their increased input costs. These families are the stewards of our land and are using cutting-edge technology to reduce their own emissions.

Is the Minister of Agriculture willing to stand and oppose this carbon tax on hard-working Canadian farmers and their families?”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

June 1st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...the return of the NDI 75 identification card. The NDI 75 is an ID card that many veterans and their families feel recognizes and appreciates the values and sacrifices made by the members of our armed ...”

Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ble to do to strengthen the Canada child benefit has made such a difference to so many children and families in this country.

Could the minister tell us a little about how these initiatives are really reaching out to Canadians and responding to what Canadian families are asking for?”

Hon. Catherine McKenna

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ing this July, so that it will continue to increase in value every year, helping children and their families.

We have lowered the small business tax. This is really important. It will be lowered...”

Mr. Terry Duguid (Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...da child benefit. Since 2016, the government has also been providing additional support to Canadian families through the CCB. Compared to the old system of child benefits, the CCB gives low and middle-income parents more money each month, tax free, to help with the high cost of raising kids. The CCB is simpler, more generous, and better targeted to give more help to people who need it most.

Since its introduction in 2016, the CCB has helped lift hundreds of thousands of Canadian children out of poverty. Thanks to the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families have extra help each month to pay for things like summer camps, new bikes, and back-to-school clothes. Families who receive the CCB will get, on average, about $6,800 this year. That is money they are sp...”

Mrs. Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...askatchewan plan that tackles climate change without imposing the unfair carbon tax on Saskatchewan families. However, the Liberal government refused to accept it. The Liberals are forcing it on Saska...”

Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...the member's riding on the number of jobs that have been created there since we took office and how families, and children in particular, in her riding have benefited as a result of the Canada child benefit, does the member not see the benefit of dollars going into the pockets of those families in her riding?”

Mr. Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ry positive impact on their lives and has lessened their financial burdens. Nine out of 10 Canadian families receive the CCB, and they receive, on average, $6,800 per year. This money directly improves the quality of life of Canadians, whether by ensuring that families can afford nutritious food or by helping them pay for extracurricular activities, such as music lessons or hockey programs.

This program will be indexed as of July, which means that the program will continue to grow and increase in value each and every year. I know that in my own constituency of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, the CCB goes to over 8,800 families, directly benefiting 15,150 children. If we add the total benefits for those 15,150 children, we are looking at $4,938,000 in benefits going to the children of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital.

Unlike the previous program, the Canada child benefit is tax-free. That almost $5 million that is going to the children of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital is not taxed back at the end of the year. It stays with those families.

Budget 2018 would also introduce the new Canada workers benefit, which would give mo...”

Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, NDP)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...ld have maybe offered some suggestions on how the government could mitigate the costs to low-income families and the costs to industries that are very fossil fuel reliant.

Speaking as the NDP's ...”

Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... and bring a better balance to middle-class Canadians, those who work hard and try to support their families, but who always feel they are at an unfair disadvantage. We have been very focused on that ...”

Mr. Ken Hardie (Fleetwood—Port Kells, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... I started to use transit a lot more, and I ended up ahead. You want the average impact on Canadian families? If my family is average, then we are doing okay. Does he have any comments on that?”

Mr. Alexander Nuttall (Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... will charge HST on top of that. That is another 13%.

The carbon tax is going to cost average families $2,500 per year. What does that mean? It means higher food costs, higher gas costs, and higher costs of everything Canadians consume. That is the three-year legacy of the Liberal government. The fact that middle-class Canadians do not have trust funds seems to be lost on the Prime Minister and the finance minister. The legacy that we see over and over again, in budget after budget, is that the government can take and take from Canada's middle class, that it can take and take from the economy, and it can put that money wherever it sees fit. Then when it realizes that is not working, the government will take and take to buy a failing project whose failure, by the way, the government was responsible for in the beginning by introducing more and more taxes.

It is more taxes on payrolls; more taxes on gasoline as a result of the carbon tax; more taxes on Canadians across this country. That does not even begin to deal with the fact of red tape and environmental assessment after environmental assessment, the issues and regulations that constantly hold down the Canadian economy. The Liberal government constantly holds down Canada's poorest people who are looking for jobs, who are searching for that next job, who are looking for growth, and who want to create a new life for their families.

Those are the effects of the Liberal budget. Those are the effects we have seen from...”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...al or end journey that the government wants to get to in order to improve the situation of Canadian families, and of job-seekers as well. I just do not see that in this budget. I did not see this in t...”

Hon. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the 3,000 Canadian families living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, I want to point out that June is ALS Awa...”

Mr. David Tilson (Dufferin—Caledon, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... to demonstrate our support for the fight against ALS, so that together, we can support victims and families and promote research to find a cure.”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, today our thoughts are with the families of steel and aluminum workers in Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The Prime Minister went to these communities on a victory tour. He personally promised those families that he had fixed the issue. He walked into those communities as a saviour.

Today the...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not partisan when fighting for Canadian interests. The families impacted by this decision do not want more platitudes from the Liberals. They want a plan. ...”

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...He has no plan for this industry. Besides words, what concrete measures is he going to take for the families of workers who are worried sick about their future today?”

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...orkers.

Steel and aluminum workers are worried about how they are going to take care of their families. Will the government assure the tens of thousands of workers who are now caught in this tra...”

Ms. Kim Rudd (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

May 31st
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...we will not get there overnight, but we will get there.

This week is about providing Canadian families with certainty. No political interference should ever get in the way of that. Make no mista...”

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ficant economic challenges and burdens. However, despite these obstacles, persons with MS and their families live lives of quiet and courageous dignity.

Let us raise awareness of MS as parliamen...”

Mr. Luc Berthold (Mégantic—L'Érable, CPC)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...carbon tax will have on lowering greenhouse gas emissions and what that tax will cost Canadian farm families.

We believe that it is irresponsible of the government not to assess all of the impac...”

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...onomic growth is felt by everybody in society. Economic growth that brings everyone along gives all families a stake in Canadian economic success. This increased economic security energizes social for...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

May 30th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...w the government knows, because it has the documents. There is a 2015 memo that calculates how much families will pay based on the income they earn. Unfortunately, all the numbers are blacked out.

...”

Mr. Dan Ruimy

May 30th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“Madam Speaker, the Canada child benefit has been proven to give more benefits to families with children. That is real action. That is what parents and families need to have to be able to get along today in this country.”

Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes

May 29th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...oal number one is no poverty. We introduced the Canada child benefit, which supports nine out of 10 families and will lift hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty. We are on target for 2021 to en...”

Hon. Steven Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... development, namely, the social aspect. The Liberals are increasing the tax burden on middle-class families. The Fraser Institute has clearly shown that Canadian families pay more tax.

In contrast, the previous Conservative government reduced taxes for the...”

Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York, Lib.)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...e fair access to trials and treatments, no matter where they live in Canada or how much money their families have.””

Mr. Larry Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, CPC)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rder for all of us to carry out our work as MPs, it is vital to have the support of our spouses and families, but it does not end there. It takes good staff. Today I want to recognize two of my staff ...”

Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, NDP)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...Miriam Taylor, the little newcomer, has been with us since the 2011 election. Her dedication to families caught in the bureaucracy of the immigration system is inspiring and she has put her heart ...”

Hon. Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

May 29th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... British Columbia and jobs across the country that are going to make a real difference for Canadian families. At the same time, we are adding up to $15 billion to our economy annually. We know this is...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Points of Order

“...g in that proposed legislation that addresses any of the real gang and gun problems facing Canadian families, police, rural communities, first nations, inner cities, border agents, or the issue of rur...”

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, CPC)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...cos suffered a horrible tragedy. The wrenching agony of losing 16 young people was overwhelming for families, friends, and the province. Stories of courage and generosity underscored the Saskatchewan ...”

Mr. Gagan Sikand (Mississauga—Streetsville, Lib.)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ening last week, two birthday parties were being held at the Bombay Bhel restaurant. At a time when families and friends should be celebrating, the atmosphere of joy was quickly turned into an environ...”

Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“.... Part of the reason we introduced the super visa, in terms of service delivery, was to ensure that families were reunited faster. It was a 10-year multiple-entry visa, introduced by our Conservative ...”

Mr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Lib.)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ple had to wait to get their spouses to come to our country, our great nation. We are trying to get families together to make sure they are more productive and able to work better.

Could the mem...”

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...Canada is becoming more attractive to talented, skilled people, businesses, tourists, students, and families who want to contribute to our economic and social prosperity. For example, last year alone, the department processed more than 2.3 million temporary resident applications and more than five million passport applications, and it responded to nearly six million requests for information.

The government recognizes that a strong, effective, and efficient immigration system is not only desirable, but indispensable in every way for our country's future. With that in mind, IRCC has made it a priority to improve services for all of its clients. We know that by enhancing the quality of its services, Canada will be better placed to attract talent from around the world, boost trade and tourism, and help families reunite with loved ones or claim asylum in Canada.

We also know that while the number of applications in all of our business lines is rising, so are clients' expectations for faster, simpler services that are available electronically. Clients also have higher expectations of receiving updates on the status of their applications.

Because improving the client experience is a key priority for our government, IRCC recently launched a suite of initiatives aimed at improving service delivery and client experiences. The department also engages in an active dialogue with clients to better understand the issues they encounter.

To begin with, IRCC now has its very first client experience branch, whose mission is to improve services to clients. It is responsible for improving existing services, testing new and innovative approaches, and improving dialogue with clients. I would like to talk about these areas in greater detail.

The government knows that processing times have a major impact on client experience in all business lines. I can assure my colleagues that the department is working hard and will continue to work hard to reduce processing times for economic immigrants, citizenship applicants, family class immigrants, and refugees.

The department's commitment to reducing processing times and improving service delivery is already making a difference. For example, processing times for spousal reunification in Canada used to be 26 months or more. Now, most new spousal sponsorship applications are processed within 12 months. Processing times for citizenship applications have also dropped from 24 to 12 months. Family caregiver applications used to take as long as five to seven years. That was unacceptable. Now that we have made changes, those applications are also processed in under 12 months.

The new express entry system for economic immigrants has also improved client experience. Last year alone, more than 86,000 of these express entry candidates received invitations to apply for permanent residence. The system is easy to use for these potential applicants, who can easily create an online profile and, once they receive an invitation, can fill out an online application that will, in most cases, be processed in less than six months.

We acknowledge that improvements can still be made in some areas, and we know that ongoing discussions with stakeholders are important to simplify, clarify, and improve services in the various sectors. IRCC also regularly updates its website with information on processing times for the majority of its services to clients.

The department is establishing more and more service standards that it reviews regularly. Once a service standard is established, the observation rates are published annually on the IRCC website. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has opened visa application centres around the world, which is another excellent example of its commitment to providing more efficient services to clients. (1545)

Today we have a standard network of 137 centres in 95 countries. It provides claimants with several important support services, especially in areas where there are few or no visa offices.

These services include the reception and transmission of visa applications and documents, the return of processed documents to applicants, the scheduling of interviews, and the collection of biometric data. The centres also verify whether visa applications are complete, which expedites processing and helps decrease the number of applications rejected because they are incomplete.

At the same time that the government is undertaking initiatives to improve existing services, it is also testing new and innovative approaches in order to grow the Canadian economy through immigration. For example, last year we launched our global skills strategy to attract the best talent from other countries. It should be noted that a good number of the ideas that led to this strategy originated from stakeholders, particularly private sector employers, and we extend a very big thank you to them.

The strategy is designed to help Canadian employers recruit the highly skilled foreign talent they need when they need it. Whether employers need to bring in a professional to train Canadian workers, an experienced executive to lead a major expansion, or an expert with highly specialized, in-demand skills, our global skills strategy will make it faster for businesses in Canada to bring in the talent they need to succeed. To achieve this, the global skills strategy has set an ambitious two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for certain highly skilled workers for businesses operating in Canada.

Our government has also introduced a new work permit exemption for very short-duration work terms, for example 30 days or less for work in highly specialized fields and up to 120 days for researchers, which means less red tape for employers.

IRCC continues to innovate and invest in new ways to design its services. IRCC has also launched some design challenges that consist of choosing a service to improve and review from A to Z with the help of its clients.

Since 2016, IRCC has been tackling these design challenges with clients, consultants, lawyers, professors, immigration officers, call centre agents, and master's students in the design program at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Together, they have come up with new ideas that have been tested by our clients, then fine-tuned and turned into pilot projects. Using this approach, IRCC is creating solutions that directly address the issues raised by clients, so we can provide better services.

By understanding clients' frustrations and innovating to create a culture of service, IRCC is implementing lasting and major transformations.

We also need to recognize that the services provided by the government relate to some of the most important decisions and stages in the lives of our clients. It is vital that the delivery of those services reflects well on the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and showcases the best that Canada has to offer.

That is why our government has recently undertaken a series of initiatives to ensure that all of our actions reflect a positive attitude toward clients and our relationship with them.

For example, we want clients who contact the client support centre to be given information about their files more quickly, we want to provide sponsors with tools that will help them better track the status of their spousal sponsorship application, and we want to improve the online experience, since that is how a growing number of our clients are contacting the department.

The website is also constantly being improved to meet clients' needs. The department has already updated over 500 pages on the site. As members know, electronic applications also allow the IRCC to optimize the use of technologies and implement an effective application processing system so that it can offer clients simplified, more user-friendly services.

Our priorities include innovation and improving client service delivery. We know that, in addition to making service to IRCC's millions of clients better, our improvements will make our immigration system faster and more efficient, which is also good for our economy. Our government made a firm commitment to reunite families as quickly as possible, and these improvements will make that happen.

Ultimately, our...”

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...tion. We are making a real difference in processing times. The best example is the reunification of families. Imagine if a person is going to the Philippines or to India. In particular, I said I do a ...”

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... from cultural communities, people who came to live their lives in Canada in order to be with their families, for instance. God knows our assistants also deserve plenty of credit for the work they do ...”

Mr. Glen Motz (Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, CPC)

May 28th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...r economy, can expect delays of up to one year to get their permits. This means that they and their families could lose their access to medical care. There are employers who need to go through the labour market impact assessment process and end up getting rejected for their candidates because it takes too long.

Caregiver and family reunification is being delayed by months, if not years, while immigration officials deal with the mess at the border. Let us be clear. The burden and the backlogs are entirely because of the Prime Minister's irresponsible tweet. The minister should have gone to his boss back then and told him to fix the problem he created, but he did not. Now, thousands of Canadians and their families, legal immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and businesses are paying the price.

In my riding, agriculture co-operatives need very specific people for a specific growing season. Quite often, they are returning staff who have been through the process before. Here is what is happening. Delays to the labour market impact assessment approvals are causing temporary foreign workers to be rejected outright. Foreign workers are being rejected for very small application problems. Companies are having to restart the hiring process to try to find new people for their work because administrative resources are being starved.

Privately sponsored refugees are refugees in real need, from war zones and foreign aid areas, who have Canadians sponsoring them to come to Canada. There is a backlog of 45,000 applications. These are the refugees with the highest rate of success and the lowest cost to Canadian taxpayers, because they are privately sponsored. They are following the rules and agree to join Canada. They are seeing a decade of delays because there are no immigration officials to deal with the paperwork, while we rush through the process of illegal border crossers.

Illegal border crossers enter the country without permission, without following and respecting our laws, and are receiving full social assistance and work permits within days. Legal immigrants are waiting months and months, if not longer, for their permits. This is completely unacceptable to Canadians. We are giving priority to those who refuse to respect the law and hurting people who are following the law, including innocent families and children. Employers are hurting because they cannot hire workers due to these government backlogs. This is unacceptable and un-Canadian.

What have the ministers been telling us? They have said that everything is fine, that all is well, and that there is nothing to see here. We should not worry about that tweet, or about the record numbers across the border. We should not concern ourselves with reports coming from border officers, the RCMP, and Immigration that illegal border crossers are a crisis.

We know this to be completely false.

Let me go back to the genesis of this report. On October 7, 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration adopted its report entitled “Modernization of Client Service Delivery”. The purpose of this study was to study various issues with client service that were brought to the committee by a range of witnesses, including lawyers, immigration consultants, groups that work with refugees, and representatives from the private sector. (1640)

This issue is even more relevant today, a year after the report was introduced, because the government has failed to manage the borders, and this has exacerbated the existing issues within the Department of Immigration.

During the committee's study, witnesses identified a broad range of issues and shared with the committee a number of ideas for improving client service at IRCC. In particular, witnesses highlighted frustrations with the call centre, as well as the departmental website and online applications, including the status updates provided online.

More complex issues were also raised with the committee, including the possible use of artificial intelligence in business applications; how to address minor errors that can result in applications being returned, potentially jeopardizing rights; how to facilitate access to IRCC services for individuals with little English or French language skills; and the provision of in-person services. Finally, processing times, fees, and customer service from other government departments may not be new issues, but with the modernization certainly added some new perspectives.

All of these issues illustrate how inaccessible the Department of Immigration is, and this is unfair. We know that many newcomers ultimately turn to immigration consultants and lawyers to help them with their paperwork, which costs them thousands of dollars. This is another example of big government failing the people it has been set up to serve.

Let us talk a bit about a few of the issues that witnesses brought to the attention of the committee. The Canadian Bar Association submitted a brief to the committee, which highlighted that the Department of Immigration does not currently contact clients when it exceeds processing times. There is a simple fix to this. The department could send an automated email, which would be helpful, to advise clients that the application is being processed and further time is required, as well as requesting an additional inquiry if a decision is not made within a specific number of days. This would decrease inquiries and complaints.

We also know that if someone fails to check one little box, the department may outright reject the complete application. A simple fix would be implementing a system for routine requests for additional information on intake and triage, with reasonable deadlines to facilitate processing, rather than unnecessary refusal of applications. This would assist in reducing inefficiencies.

Another group we heard from was a private sponsorship group called Syrian Refugees Gravenhurst, which was generous and compassionate enough to put its own resources on the line to privately sponsor refugees from Syria. What it told the committee, as several groups did, was that the department met that generosity with stymying and bureaucracy, failing to communicate even the most basic information to the sponsorship groups.

Here is a list of issues that the group told our committee about.

The first issue is that there is great frustration among sponsorship groups that formed in response to the current refugee crisis, which are being told that the wait times for the family they are matched up with may be as much as 55 months, due to the location of the family. Groups do not understand how they were offered matches that could not come to fruition in a reasonable length of time, given that there were so many in need. It seems that this issue has been addressed for groups going through the blended visa office-referred stream, but not for groups of five who have raised the full funding themselves and now have it tied up for years.

If the private refugee sponsorship program is to flourish, IRCC policy and procedures must take into account the distinct nature of the undertaking of community volunteers. At the time this group contacted the committee, the IRCC website estimated that the processing time for privately sponsored refugees in Egypt was a staggering 55 months.

There is one group right now that is facing a zero-day wait time. Members can guess which one it is. It is the illegal border crossers.

Here is the second issue that Syrian Refugees Gravenhurst raised. The IRCC website is not well organized to support private sponsorship groups seeking to organize for the purpose of sponsoring refugees. Overall, it is not up to 21st-century standards for user-friendliness. There is no clear path for interested groups to follow to learn about the program and compare options, such as whether to constitute the group as a group of five or as a constituent group of sponsorship agreement holders, or whether to channel the sponsorship through community organizations, such as a local church or Rotary club. (1645)

More information is on the website than most groups were able to find at the stage when they needed it. Information for sponsorship groups is often mixed in with information that is not current and/or is about completely different classes of applicants.

A third issue they raised was that once the group's application is in process, lack of communication from IRCC affects almost every sponsorship group. The only projection for processing time is a generic number based on the past cases for immigrants, apparently of different classes, located in the same country. Statements from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship about clearing the backlog by a given date are of little use when groups cannot even confirm if the refugee family is defined as being in the backlog. Individualized communication is required and needed.

A fourth issue they raised was that similar to other classes of applicants, sponsorship groups are often referred to MPs' offices, which are said to have access to more information on applications in progress. In general, groups report that the MP's staff are very attentive to their requests, but often cannot get more useful information specific to the family in question.

A recent example comes from a group that had established contact with their matched family at a time when the information available to the MP's office still said the family was likely to arrive in 2020. The family suddenly reported that they had been interviewed and were told they would be able to depart in three or four months.

Many groups express concern that they place an inappropriate burden on MPs' staff when going to them to access information that should be available directly from IRCC. It seems that the department of immigration is off-loading their work onto MP offices, which often only have one or two staff who are caseworkers.

A fifth issue they raised was that flexibility in the system is needed to respond to unexpected situations. There is a backlog of applications from private sponsorship groups right now, at the same time that agencies that assist government-sponsored refugees report a lack of resources. Given the border-crossing crisis, they are stretched to the very limit.

Caught in the backlog of sponsorship groups waiting for families, there are groups outside of areas designated to receive government-sponsored refugees that would provide the needed support without putting demands on the agencies that are having trouble meeting the demand. It seems there is no flexibility to take advantage of the excess capacity for private sponsorship that would put minimal demands on government agencies in the designated centres. We know that privately sponsored refugees fare far better than government-sponsored refugees and are far less reliant on government resources.

Here is the sixth issue that Syrian Refugees Gravenhurst brought up: not all groups receive contact information for the refugees after approval. Communication between the private sponsorship groups and the refugees they will be sponsoring prior to arrival in Canada can ease the transition for the new arrivals and their sponsors. Depending on the situation, sponsors may be able to suggest things the refugees can do to prepare for establishing qualifications, obtaining employment, or qualifying for a Canadian driver's licence. Refugees can ask questions about their destination and can learn more about what to expect. If contact is possible, sponsors can be better prepared for the individual needs of the family when they do arrive.

Another issue that I want to raise, which will affect the provision of good client services, is the unfair closure of the Vegreville case processing centre. The immigration case processing centre in Vegreville is the most efficient processing centre in the country, and while the government tried to convince rural Albertans that it would save money to move the centre to Edmonton, we know that it will cost more.

We also know that it will cause a loss of up to 420 people from the community of Vegreville.

It will cost Canadians more to close this office, and it will remove 9% of the town's labour force.

It will cost Canadians more to close this office, and it will cost the town $15.9 million of GDP.

It will cost Canadians more, and it will also cost the town $14.5 million in labour income.

It will cost Canadians more, and it will result in a loss of $1.2 million in municipal revenue annually to the town of Vegreville.

It will cost Canadians more, and it will cost employees, specifically the 76% of employees who are women, forcing them to choose between their families, their community, their volunteer commitments, and a career. (1650)

It will cost Canadians more to close to this office, and it will impact over 250 spouses' jobs in Vegreville.

It will cost Canadians more to close to this office, and it will impact three local small businesses owned by employee families.

It would cost more and cause businesses to close their doors.

It will cost mor...”

Hon. Bardish Chagger (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Lib.)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...o assist low-income workers; an indexed Canada child benefit that will help nine out of 10 Canadian families; a lower tax for small businesses, and I am sure we can agree that the backbone of the Cana...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e Party and the official opposition, I convey our thoughts and our prayers to the victims and their families.

Can the government provide this House with an update on the situation?”

Mr. Greg Fergus (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...dered and missing children. They introduced a program that was so complicated that only a few dozen families received money.

On this National Missing Children's Day, can the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell the House what this government is doing to fill the gap in support for families dealing with these tragedies?”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer for his support and his empathy for grieving families.

Today, our government commemorated National Missing Children's Day by announcing a new benefit for parents of young victims of crime. This new benefit will provide more solid, more generous, and more flexible support that is better suited to the needs of grieving families. This benefit will also reflect greater empathy and compassion for families who need a bit of help taking care of what matters, in other words, the well-being of their...”

Mr. Marc Serré (Nickel Belt, Lib.)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...f living with dementia. Dementia continues to pose significant challenges for those affected, their families, and their caregivers.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health te...”

Mr. Bill Blair (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, Lib.)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ngly committed to improving the lives of Canadians with dementia and to providing support for their families and caregivers. The Minister of Health was pleased to announce at last week's national deme...”

Mr. Martin Shields (Bow River, CPC)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...urned with key information blacked out. The government knows what the carbon tax will cost Canadian families, but it is refusing to tell us. All the Prime Minister is telling us is that we are not pay...”

Ms. Monique Pauzé (Repentigny, GPQ)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ite denying all responsibility, the government is making all kinds of out-of-court settlements with families that launch legal action on behalf of the victims.

Rather than force families to take their cases to court, will the government publicly apologize and compensate all those hundreds of families?”

Mr. Murray Rankin

May 25th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...more expensive with taxes, even though they might make a little less, because they have to think of families and so forth. That is the first point.

The second point is new Canadians. When I thin...”

Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC)

May 25th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...e are not industrial buildings. These are residential communities. These grow ops are surrounded by families with young children. They have to put up with the oppressive smell, the stench of marijuana...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 24th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...nt has a study in hand that indicates what the impact of the Liberal carbon tax will be on Canadian families, a report that is not available to Canadians. We submitted an access to information request, which we now have in hand.

I will quote this study, which spells out the cost to families of the Liberal carbon tax:

...the potential impact of a carbon price on households' c...”

Mr. Bernard Généreux (Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, CPC)

May 24th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...rnment currently has documents that indicate beyond a doubt the cost of the carbon tax for Canadian families. However, the government redacted these documents to hide the exact amount it will cost Can...”

Mr. Joël Godin

May 24th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...x will have on greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot say how much money will be taken out of Canadian families' pockets. That is not very reassuring. Of course, we must protect the environment and take ...”

Mr. Randeep Sarai

May 24th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Chair, can the minister or the parliamentary secretary tell us how they have reunited families in Canada, particularly through changes and improvements to the spousal program?”

Mr. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood, CPC)

May 23rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...and Survivors of Crime Week, which gets under way this Sunday, we must acknowledge the struggles of families that are still waiting to get justice as a result of unacceptable delays in our judicial sy...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e first thing we did.

Then he wanted to continue to send child benefit cheques to millionaire families instead of giving more money to the families who need it. Our Canada child benefit gives more money to nine out of 10 Canadian families and is lifting hundreds of thousands of kids across this country out of poverty. Those are ...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

May 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...taxpayers are paying more since the Prime Minister took office, $800 more. How much will those same families have to pay in higher carbon taxes?”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...wners, who fear that these demonstrations will turn sour.

Last week, on FM93, the Minister of Families was rather vague when the mayor of Quebec City was very clear, and I quote, “I understand t...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

May 23rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tain project has landed us in a constitutional crisis. Who is going to pay for this? It is Canadian families, natural resource workers, and our economy across Canada, which is having a rough time than...”

Mr. Andy Fillmore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.)

May 22nd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...t some constituents living abroad. Whether they are there for work, for school, or to support their families, Canadians living abroad should still have the option to continue to participate in our dem...”

Hon. Andrew Scheer (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

May 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...e the Prime Minister do not worry when it comes to higher gas costs, but hard-working, middle-class families do. Why is the Prime Minister continuing to increase taxes on hard-working Canadians?”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

May 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...anada revealed that the carbon tax will “degrade” our fishing sector. It will mean that the fishing families trying to earn a living doing work that is already difficult will have to pay more and more...”

Mr. Colin Fraser (West Nova, Lib.)

May 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...he 2015 census, we know that as many as two million Canadian children live in separated or divorced families, yet family laws in Canada have not been substantively amended for over 20 years.

Can...”

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

May 22nd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ow that separation and divorce impact the lives of millions of Canadians and can be challenging for families, particularly for children. That is why Bill C-78 focuses on the best interests of the chil...”

Mrs. Marilène Gill (Manicouagan, BQ)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ese donations pay for the patients' immediate needs, such as making treatment accessible, reuniting families, and making dreams come true.

I hope that more great men and women in other communiti...”

Ms. Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East, Lib.)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...r local children's charities across Canada.

The 15 Ronald McDonald Houses provide out-of-town families with a home to stay in while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital.

I thank all who have participated in a McHappy Day. Their support will help families and will further heighten public awareness of the critical role of family-centred care.”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...gs in the face of adversity.

Sandy and the amazing team at Windreach have helped thousands of families heal, learn, and grow their confidence. Windreach is a welcome place to all. It helps people with autism and a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. In partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada and Can Praxis, I was proud to join Sandy and the Windreach team as they launched the equine therapy program for veterans and their families.

A member of the Order of the British Empire, even the Queen recognized how remarkabl...”

Mr. Colin Carrie (Oshawa, CPC)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... hire students in order to provide summer camps, day camps, and day programs, mostly for low-income families, which are often provided at no charge.

The petitioners are concerned that denying fu...”

Mrs. Brenda Shanahan (Châteauguay—Lacolle, Lib.)

May 11th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...my constituents. This government is taking care of the important things, like putting more money in families' pockets with the Canada child benefit.[English]

The Canada child benefit is putting more than $6 million a month in the pockets of our local families, which are spending it in our local economy. People on secure incomes have seen an increase...”

Mr. Marc Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs, Lib.)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, families across Canada will come together to celebrate Mother's Day. I would like to take this oppor...”

Ms. Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...il the government told us that the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls inquiry must put families at the centre of its work. However, it continues to ignore the calls from at least 500 families, many from remote and northern communities, that have not had a chance to speak at the inquiry. In order to heal, the families must be heard.

When will the government extend the mandate of the inquiry so all families can be heard?”

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ommission for its work so far.

I am discussing the commission's request for an extension with families and indigenous partners, and our provincial and territorial counterparts.

The independent commission's mandate is clear: families must be at the centre of its work. The families of these women and girls need answers. They need to be heard for the systemic and instituti...”

Mr. Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...yone, except the minister responsible, apparently, saw this coming.

Now, how are these women, families, indigenous communities going to heal and move forward?”

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Lib.)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ned to put an end to this national tragedy. The mandate of the independent commission is clear: the families have to be at the centre of their work. We are determined to give the families the answers they have long been looking for about the systemic and institutional failures t...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ompensation for the massive public cost of these dangerous products and the harm caused to Canadian families. Why have the Liberals failed to launch an investigation or pursue compensation as the U.S....”

Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...em isolated cases or accidental poisonings. We have to be concerned with the impact on the victims' families and on our health system, which is already overloaded.

When will the Liberal governme...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... are exempt from this restriction. This means that only those who are economic applicants and their families, caregivers, provincial nominees, parents and grandparents, students, foreign workers, and temporary residents would be subject to paragraph 38(1)(c). The provision works in such a way that should one member of a family be found at risk of placing an excessive demand on health or social services, the entire family's application would be rejected.

As I said, this is a cost-only analysis. Not only does it ignore the benefits that an individual brings to Canada, but it also ignores and invalidates the sum of benefits the whole family brings to Canada.

This issue made national headlines in 2016 regarding the case of Professor Felipe Montoya. Professor Montoya came to Canada with his wife, daughter, and son in 2012. He and his wife worked, paid their taxes, and contributed to their community. Their daughter and son attended school in Canada. However, when the Montoya family decided that they wanted to stay here, make Canada their permanent home, and apply for permanent residence, they were rejected. Why? Their son Nico has Down's syndrome.

Following this, last summer, Global News Investigative Journalism brought even more attention to this little-known provision, raising serious questions about how the policy was implemented. There were questions over the so-called basket of services that counted in the calculation and those that did not, why it was that the threshold was set the way it was whether or not the policy was discriminatory, and the impact it was having on families.

In October 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration undertook a study on this provision. We heard from 25 witnesses and received 23 briefs. Committee members heard loud and clear that this provision was legislated discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Of the witnesses that offered their opinion on what should be done with this policy, it was nearly unanimous that the only option was to repeal paragraph 38(1)(c) of IRPA. Anything less would simply continue the discrimination.

In fact, not only were the witnesses who appeared at committee convinced this policy was discriminatory, so too were Liberal MPs. The member for St. John's East stated to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during the minister's appearance, “I must say that at this point in time I do not see how raising the threshold and excluding fewer people changes the fact that excluding anyone is prima facie discriminatory and violates Canadian values.”

The member for Surrey Centre changed the opinion he had about the policy during the course of this study and evoked a strong and harsh image where he compared the idea of this policy to the mindset of slave trade. He said, “I would say that initially I thought it was a good policy, because that would perhaps be a big burden on Canadians, but then I looked back—and I don’t want to equate it to this—and it’s no different from the slave trade, in which only those selected as the strongest and the most able-bodied were brought from Africa. It’s not that the whole policy is good at all, but I’m saying it is akin to discriminating when we’re picking only people who are healthy, fully functioning, with no intellectual disabilities and no physical disabilities.”

The member also summed up the general view of committee members when he said, “As you can tell, almost all of us have an inclination that this policy is discriminatory. We already can see that even within immigration there's a two-tiered policy.” (1520)

The minister stated on numerous occasions that the policy is “out of step with Canadian values on accommodating people with disabilities”. The minister promised changes. Given the near unanimous opinion of witnesses, the strong views of Liberal members on the committee, and the minister's understanding that this policy was wrong, I was hopeful the committee would be able to table a unanimously supported report that called on the government to do one thing and one thing alone, which is to repeal paragraph 38(1)(c) of IRPA.

Unfortunately, I was to be disappointed. Instead of issuing that report, the committee tabled a report which, while it included repeal as a recommendation, provided the government with a host of interim measures it could take instead. It was as though committee members were no longer worried that this policy was prima facie discriminatory, as the member for St. John's East described it.

As the NDP representative at the committee, I attached a dissenting opinion to the report. I will never forget the story of Mercedes Benitez, a caregiver, who, after nearly a decade of working in Canada waiting to be reunited with her family, was informed her application would be rejected because her son has an intellectual disability. Thankfully, after intense advocacy, support from the public, and media reports, like the Montoya family, she was able to receive an intervention on the file from the minister, which ultimately was approved.

Mercedes Benitez told committee members:

Even though my case is already resolved, I think the excessive demands should be repealed. I still feel the pain when they say I'm good [enough] to work, but not good enough to stay because of my son.

In this spirit, the NDP moved two recommendations in our dissenting report: one, to repeal paragraph 38(1)(c) of IRPA; and two, for the government to work with the provincial and territorial governments to determine any increased costs to health and social services as a result of this repeal, and to increase CST and CHT funding accordingly.

The minister stated that the government would be announcing its policy change on April 12, 2018. This is because that was the deadline for the government to respond to the committee's report. While the minister did not feel the urgency to act, like many of the families impacted, I was very eager to learn what the minister would do to address this discriminatory policy.

The minister missed his self-imposed deadline, and when he finally got around to announcing the new policy, I truly was disappointed with the announcement. The policy announcement was not to repeal paragraph 38(1)(c). Despite warnings from the member for St. John's East, the government announced it would instead be increasing the threshold from $6,555 per year to $20,000, and amended the definition of “social services” by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services, and personal support services.

The government expects this will reduce discrimination by 75%. That is not 100%, which is to say that 25% discrimination is okay. While the government states that it agrees with the recommendation to eliminate the policy, it provides no timeline for when that 25% would no longer be discriminated against. At the press conference, the minister stated that this new policy would be forward-going only. This is devastating news for families whose applications were just rejected recently.

The suggestion that they can then apply for permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate grounds can add up to another three years to the long separation families have already endured. If the H and C application is accepted, only then can they submit a sponsorship application for the family to be reunited. For some families, this additional process may well mean that their children would not qualify to be part of the application as they would have aged out.

In addition, the minister also failed to state whether the new policy would apply to individuals and families with current applications in the system. As a result, many of the individuals impacted by this policy expressed hope, but still worry about the pathway forward. Such is the situation with Monica Mateo Ilarde. (1525)

Monica also arrived in Canada as a live-in caregiver in 2008. She has worked hard every day for 10 years taking care of the children of a Canadian family. She has spent most of her 13-year marriage separated from her husband, Richard, and their nine-year-old daughter, Brianna. On most nights, Monica cries herself to sleep from the pain of the separation.

In 2012, she applied for permanent resident status. Monica's permanent resident application was flagged for excessive demand, because her daughter, Brianna, who was cared for by Richard in the Philippines, was born with a visual impairment, a condition that was arbitrarily determined to require “excessive demand” on the Canadian health care system. Brianna would benefit from speech therapy, and could possibly require surgery, but is otherwise a healthy and happy child.

In December 2017, Monica was expecting her second child. Every effort was made so that Monica could be reunited with her family in Canada so she would not be alone when she gave birth to her second baby. The call for her file to be expedited failed, and she was advised by IRCC that her only option would be to apply for an urgent temporary visitors visa for her husband and daughter if she did not want to be alone during childbirth. After discussing this with her family, it was decided that the cost of applying for these additional visas and the travel expenses was just too much for the family. This is because over the course of the last six years, since first applying for permanent resident status, Monica and her family have had to redo medical exams four times, in addition to security screenings and continued renewals of work permits for Monica.

On January 1, 2018, Monica gave birth to her baby boy, alone, in Canada. Unwaveringly optimistic and driven to reunite with her family in Canada, Monica believes that she was blessed to have her son and sees him as a reward for her isolation. She continues to dream of being permanently reunited with her daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Richard.

According to information provided to Monica, it appears that as long as she is processed under the new rules, her application will finally be completed and successful. That means that her daughter would get to meet her little brother for the first time, and her husband would get to meet his son for the first time.

Her case is one example of why I was so anxious to learn whether the new rules would apply to pending cases. After multiple inquiries, I was finally given assurances from the minister's office, last Sunday night, that applications currently in the system would be assessed under the new rules. For that, I thank the government, and I thank the minister. Monica is hopeful that her case will be processed before this winter so that her family can be reunited here in Canada for Christmas.

Aside from the cases currently being processed in the system, I want to draw members' attention to caregivers who have been providing valuable support and services to families in Canada for years, have been subjected to unjustly long processing delays on their permanent resident applications, and after waiting 10 years, in some cases, to bring their families here, have recently been rejected because of this discriminatory policy. In fact, on Monday, May 7, I held a press conference in Toronto to shine a light on this heartbreaking story.

Shirley Benigno is a single mother of three. Her son, John Nicko, has Down syndrome. Shirley has worked hard her entire life to provide for her family. She first moved to Hong Kong, where she tolerated abuse and harassment in her work environment so that she could send money back home.

She had hoped her transition to Canada would mean a new beginning for her family. Upon arrival in Canada in 2009 as part of the live-in caregiver program, Shirley started working two jobs and saving all the money she could for her children's move to Canada. She applied for permanent resident status in Canada, and to be reunited with her family, in 2011.

Outside of work, she prepared food for various events, supplied homemade goods for two convenience stores, and took the national food safety training program, with the expectation and hope of one day going back to school and eventually opening her own family restaurant. All this came to an abrupt end, after waiting seven years, when her application for permanent residence was denied in 2017 because of her son's disability. This is despite her son's medical assessment stating that John Nicko is capable of taking care of himself and is even able to work in an unskilled or semi-skilled position. (1530)

As result, Shirley's work permit was revoked, depriving her of all income. She could no longer provide for herself, let alone for her family. This meant that she was unable to send money back home to her family, and her children had to leave school, because they could not afford tuition. This is absolutely devastating to Shirley and her family. Shirley stated, in disbelief, “I always thought Canada did not discriminate against people because they are different. I thought Canada had protections for people who are different.”

Since the rejection of her application, Shirley has finally been able to obtain legal counsel, who is trying to help her with a request to reconsider her denial. If this is not granted, she will be forced to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a purely discretionary stream of immigration that could take up to three years to process. Aside from this additional delay, if Shirley had to make a new application, it would mean that one of her children would age out and would not be able to be reunited with Shirley, shattering her dream of having her family here in Canada.

If Shirley's application were processed under the new rules, John Nicko would not be deemed an excessive demand. My office was advised that the estimated cost John Nicko would place on social services would be $120,000 over five years, which is $24,000 per year. We were provided with a breakdown of the costs per year: vocational skills training, $5,000; employment programs, $7,000; and day programs, $12,000. Increasing the threshold and exempting the cost of vocational skills training would mean that John Nicko would now be under the threshold and would be eligible for permanent residence in Canada. I brought this case to the attention of the minister, and it is my most sincere hope that he will use his authority to intervene and do what is right.

Shirley and others like her have shown for a decade that she is good enough to be here. She has earned her place in Canada and deserves to be reunited with her family. It would be a great injustice if we allowed individuals like Shirley to be forced to leave after all this time, after all this waiting, because of a discriminatory policy that has now been changed. The minister has the opportunity to prevent such a gross injustice and to do the right thing and allow this family to stay. If the government took that action and applied the new policy to Shirley and her family, they would be able to stay.

It would be reasonable for cases that have recently been rejected, such as in the last 12 months, for example, to be assessed under this new policy. This would not produce excessive demand on our system. During the committee's study, we heard that under the old rules, after appeals and mitigation times, fewer than 400 of the 1,000 cases per year flagged under paragraph 38(1)(c) were ultimately rejected.

We have the opportunity to do what is right and to undo the hardships our system has caused for families through a policy we all know was out of step with our values.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to remind the members of this House that in February, I tabled Bill C-398, which would repeal paragraph 38(1)(c). I would like to once again inform the government that I would be happy to work with the government to make this bill the government's own bill. Until that happens, until that discriminatory policy is repealed, the government can do something for the families that have been waiting for years and years, especially those families that have just recently been rejected. The government can apply the new rules to them and reopen their cases so that they have the opportunity to reunite with their families here. It is the right thing to do. I hope that I can hear a positive response from the gove...”

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...sked us to take our time and do consultations? We recognize that this policy is having an impact on families, and that is why we have decided to triple the threshold.

Should we take a little mor...”

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ligations under a program such the temporary foreign worker program, and then seek to sponsor their families, they and all of their family members can all be rejected if one of the family members has a certain condition, such as Down syndrome, deafness, or an intellectual disability. Underpinning that is the outmoded notion that these people are somehow a burden. People with Down syndrome, people who are deaf, and people with intellectual deficits are not burdens. These people have every ability to be fine citizens and contributing members of our society.

This typically arises when a live-in caregiver comes here. Does the member agree that we could perhaps have a system whereby caregivers are allowed to bring their spouses and children with them when they first come here so that families can be left intact? We could get rid of this outmoded system under which they are separated from their families, only to find two, three, four, five, or six years later that they and their families are no longer admissible to Canada after doing everything they were obligated to do under t...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...ncludes caregivers. They are the only people in the immigration stream who are separated from their families and have to work two years before they can even make an application to bring their families here under the economic class, and that should not be the case. Absolutely, I would agree that those people should be able to bring their families to Canada on arrival. No family, no mother, should have to endure what these caregivers hav...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“... under the old rule with the new rules just around the corner. They will not be able to bring their families here under the old rule.

If we open those cases, we will allow for those families to have an opportunity to be reunited. If people are worried about opening the floodgates and about there being thousands of cases, that will not happen. The officials said that in a given year we would be looking at about 400 cases. It is not that many, and it will make such a difference in the lives of those people.

I urge the government to do the right thing. We can continue to work on this file. I will continue to push for section 38(1)(c) to be repealed, but in the meantime, let us do something for those families that have suffered so much already, to make their lives better and to make those hardships mean something, so they can have their families here, reunited with them, making Canada their home.”

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...inclusion and diversity, as well as on the contributions made by people with disabilities and their families. Canadians see these services as investments that allow for the participation and inclusion...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...are older, will have aged out and would not be able to become part of that application.

Those families have waited for 10 years to be reunited and they would have been approved under this new po...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...er, I accept that, with this exception, and I hope the member understands the difference. For those families that have to reapply under the new rules, the older children, those who are older than 21, will have aged out. They will not qualify to be part of that family unit. That is the difference. That is the point I am trying to get at: to not bring in new policy to qualify these individuals, only to then break the family up, because that is what will happen if the government makes those individuals make a new application. It would break the family up, because the older children will have aged out and cannot be part of the application process.

If the intent is to allow for them to apply anyway, why not make them whole and allow for those families to come together as a unit simply by reopening their cases for reconsideration? I am not ta...”

Mr. Serge Cormier

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...as he said, with respect to caregivers, we have considerably reduced wait times for reuniting these families. Wait times for family reunification have dropped from 26 months under the previous government to 12 months under our government. These are the types of proactive changes we have made in a number of areas in the immigration department.

We also want to take a more accessible client-focussed approach and we want it to be much easier to understand how to apply, for instance, for family reunification. The changes we have made since we have been in government are very positive and will help families reunite much quicker. That is what we want. We also want to ensure that some families can come to Canada even if, for example, some family members have a disability. This policy...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...mately a year, and apply the new policy to them? This would particularly address the issue of those families that are forced to make a new application but have children who are older and have aged-out...”

Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes

May 10th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...or. My background in neurological research lends itself to ensuring that we support individuals and families with autism.

I will go back to my previous question. I know it is not just about cost...”

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ters of our rural communities and economic development. They were quick to help support the refugee families when they came to Nova Scotia.

I thank John Bragg, David Hoffman, and the entire Oxfo...”

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...jumpers, people who came to Canada legally are forced to wait even longer to be reunited with their families.

Can the Prime Minister tell newcomers in my riding how this is fair?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...at the centre of the process around the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry are families. That is why we are focused on a family-centric approach. That is why the commission is focused on hearing from as many families as possible and engaging with them in a responsible way. The inquiry is fundamentally about getting justice for the victims, getting healing for the families, and putting an end to this ongoing national tragedy, and that is what the inquiry is doing...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...s determined to put an end to this national tragedy. The independent commission's mandate is clear: families must be at the centre of their work. We are determined to give families long-awaited answers about the systemic and institutional failures that resulted in this tr...”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...Brunswick. We are going to continue to be there to provide constant support to flood victims, their families, and communities right across Canada.”

Hon. Erin O'Toole

May 9th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“.... I praised the government when it listened to many members from all sides of this House to provide families with that.

We are only going to be travelling more. That is why we have to be able to...”

Mr. Marc Serré (Nickel Belt, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...lion of Canada's gross domestic product.

The forestry industry puts food on the table for the families of more than 200,000 Canadians. This includes 9,500 jobs in indigenous communities, making ...”

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“... end of 2018. Ensuring that Canadian women get equal pay for equal work strengthens our economy and families and helps our communities to prosper.[English]

This historic proactive pay equity leg...”

Mr. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood, CPC)

May 9th
Hansard Link

Adjournment Proceedings

“...ccountability to Canadians by withholding information on the cost that this carbon tax will have on families in Saskatchewan? We know that families are going to see their heating prices go up. We know that families will be faced with the prospect of a higher price for gasoline: 11.5% is the speculation. Families will see more of their own money disappear due to the policies of the Liberal government an...”

Mr. Mark Warawa (Langley—Aldergrove, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in relation to impaired driving. It is from Families for Justice. The petitioners want to have impaired driving causing vehicular death called v...”

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...e my Conservative colleague to tell me how much doing nothing about climate change is going to cost families. The national round table on the environment and the economy, which was created by the Conservatives, told us that the cost of natural disasters related to climate change could rise from $5 billion a year to $43 billion a year. That is what it will cost Canadian families if we do nothing to tackle climate change.”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...joining the hon. member for Carleton in kicking off this debate on the carbon tax and its impact on families.

When we talk about affordability, we mean the bottom line for the average taxpaying Canadian: at the end of the day, how much would Canadians be paying just for the basic cost of living? It is going up, and it is not going up because of market forces; it is going up because of government action.

The carbon tax is a big driver of it, but it is not the only one. There are things like minimum wage, payroll taxes, and government decisions on energy regulations, which are making it harder for companies to keep Albertans and Canadians employed. That is having an impact at the end of the day on the budgets of families, especially those in my riding who find themselves on the tail end of a recession, in a recovery that they are hoping will bring back jobs, which they are not seeing. What they are seeing is that at the end of the month, their bills are higher.

They are paying more for heat. Of course they are. Even the federal government said they are going to be paying $200 more to heat their homes. They are paying more at the pump. If they drive vehicles, they are paying upward of 11¢ more. People in British Columbia and Vancouver are now seeing the direct impact on their bills. Every single month, they are paying more. Life is getting more difficult, not easier.

I know the government will say it supposedly lowered taxes on middle-income Canadians. That is not true. It actually lowered taxes for every single MP in the House, who got the full benefit of that middle-income tax cut. It is like the government does not even know how the tax system works when it makes that claim.

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting down with students and young people from CJPAC. We had an exchange of ideas and talked about issues of the day in politics. At every single table I went to, they expressed skepticism about the carbon tax. They expressed skepticism about what the government is doing because they recognize it. One young man told me what he thinks about the carbon tax. He said it would be like going to a dealership, picking out a car with his parents, purchasing a vehicle without knowing the price, and being told they will only know the price when they roll it off the lot. That is the only time they will know what the price is. That is how young people feel about the carbon tax.

The other side will say that it is nothing of the sort and that people like the carbon tax because they like doing something for the environment. People do, but this is not the only thing that they can do. There is an entire array of options. The previous Conservative government took advantage of them. Through regulation, it sought to reduce GHG emissions, and we know that GHG emissions went down. They went down.

We know that families are paying more at the pump. They are paying more to heat their homes. They are paying more for basic products.

Transportation has gone up. When we go to the grocery store today, we pay more for our vegetables, fruits, and meats. I notice that. I go to the Superstore in my riding and meet constituents, and everybody is saying that. The number one thing people email me about nowadays is the cost of living and how expensive it has become.

I always tell them I would like to be able to help them and that I would like to be able to tell them how much, on average, it will cost families, but I cannot even tell them that because the government is covering it up. It is covering up the true cost of the carbon tax on the average family.

It is interesting that every single other government program and initiative is costed out. Projections are usually provided on the estimated impacts. We know that the finance department has done this, but those documents have been redacted so that Canadians and Parliament have no way of knowing.

Before the House now is a piece of legislation asking us to approve a rebate program. How can we approve a rebate program when we do not even know the average cost to Canadians? How can we approve a rebate program when we do not even know how much it would cost the average family, those with kids, those without kids, those with higher incomes, those with lower incomes? The government will not give us that information, and as a result Parliament is not able to make a judicious, intelligent decision on it. It wants that information only for itself and not the rest of Canadians.

I have asked Order Paper question 834 many times now. I have also made access to information requests on the Alberta carbon tax rebate. It is a rebate program in Alberta that is actually operated by the Canada Revenue Agency. It would provide more detailed information on the true impact on Albertans, and the government still will not release it to me. It still will not provide me with that information. Finance officials at the finance department are completely unable to answer the simplest of questions: how much will lower-income Canadians pay? (1030)

I have moved a motion at committee to compel that information to be produced, so that during the discussions on the budget implementation act we would know the true impact on Canadians, on cost of living increases, and on affordability, so that we can make a judicious decision on whether or not this will work. However, we cannot even do that.

They say that stubbornness is the greatest ill. It is a Yiddish proverb, but it applies. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the government does not want to release the information. I have heard the argument that it is an old memo and we do not need that information now. If it is old, great, but release it and give it to us. If the information is old and that is why the Liberals do not want to release it, then they should update the information and make it public. They made a document public on Monday last week that has been roundly panned in the media. It is basically a showpiece, a sell job by Environment Canada, to try to make the case for their carbon tax, and it is the only thing they are doing on their side.

We saw that Australia abandoned a carbon tax after two years of trying to impose it on Australians. Australians revolted. They said no, the cost of living has gone up too high, it is unaffordable, and this is not the way to do it. That is where we are today.

When I travel the country with the finance committee, and when I speak to Albertans in my riding, I can see that people are fed up with paying more just for the basics of living. They are not asking to buy a highly rated Tesla and have it subsidized by a provincial government. They just want to buy the minivan, the basics, so they can take their kids to a soccer or hockey game.

In my riding, we have the Erin Woods arena. The moment the carbon tax was introduced, the arena started paying more. Articles started appearing in the Calgary Herald, saying how much more arenas were paying for heating and to keep the ice cold. They are not getting a rebate. The people who are paying more are the kids, through their registration fees. It is their parents and the dads playing a pickup game on the weekend who are paying more. They do not get a rebate. This is not revenue neutral. The government gains revenue. This scheme has been exposed in British Columbia; the carbon tax there is not revenue neutral. There was a full-on admission that it is not.

A line we often hear on the government side is that over 80% of Canadians already pay a carbon tax. Let us wait until June in Ontario. Let us wait until May 2019 in Alberta. How will that argument hold up then, when the residents of those provinces revolt against the endless increases in the cost of living imposed by the federal government and by bad provincial governments? That is what is coming.

As I mentioned, the cost of living is going up. This is not just because of the carbon tax, but it is one of the big drivers. The minimum wage increases, payroll increases, and income tax increases on companies all matter, and they all have an impact. It is the aggregate, cumulative effect piling onto businesses and onto workers. They are the ones paying more, and they then pass the cost on to others. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

I just do not understand the stubbornness on the government side of not wanting to reveal the information they have already, so that we can have a fulsome debate. A member on the Liberal backbench basically confirmed that there is a cover-up. Instead of talking about that, we could actually be debating the issue, the cost to Canadians, and the benefits.

I hear members on the New Democratic side saying that if we do nothing, then there is a cost. There are think tanks, universities, and private consortiums that can calculate projections. They provide their forecasts online. When it comes to the government's information on the cost to the average Canadian, we cannot have that information, but this other public information is freely available to all of us. How can we make a judgment when we only have half the information?

We need the full information, and we need to vote for this motion because it is for the benefit of Canadians. It is bringing their concerns to the House. The cost of living has been going up for two or three years now, because government actions are raising the cost of living for everyday families, with no benefit whatsoever. All it does is increase the bureaucracy and pay for more civil...”

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...hat doing nothing has a cost as well. Doing nothing to combat climate change will cost individuals, families, and our society as a whole.

On that point, the national round table on the environme...”

Ms. Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, NDP)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...and I hope that all levels of government step up and help immediately to reduce the burden on these families.

While we cannot point to a single event and say that climate change did this, we are...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... back to pick up the kids for soccer. These are the people I represent. They have to work for their families. “Better choices” from the person living in the ivory tower of the Prime Minister's vantage point shows a radical disconnect.

Also, what if the employer he might work for in Mississauga is an auto parts manufacturer? That auto parts manufacturer in southern Ontario or in Kingston, where my friend is listening from now, competes against suppliers in Michigan, where there is no carbon input price to their competitiveness, where they are lowering taxes. This government has been raising taxes, with payroll taxes and carbon taxes. (1155)

Every bank economist has talked about our affordability and our competitiveness with a government that is devoid of a connection with the real world, the real needs of families, the real needs of single seniors. I am going to show why the Liberals' false debate, their creation of the truism that only the carbon tax can help our economy, is a failure of public policy leadership. Instead of standing up and citing her platitudes time and time again, the minister should meet with people in the real economy. I will use an example.

Statistics from the Liberal government for 2016, which was the latest year for which I could get these statistics, say that we have 704 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in our country, 37% of which comes from 596 facilities across the country that are already reporting. Let us compare that.

We have reports for 596 facilities that produce over a third of Canada's total emissions. We could have a targeted regulatory approach to help them step down their emissions without laying people off and without reducing production. We could do that by a targeted sector-by-sector enhanced approach—and I will speak later about how we could do that specifically—or we could do what the Liberal government is doing, which is by regulating the 13,320,610 households in Canada. That is what the Liberals are doing with the carbon tax. That represents 32.8 million people in those households.

A single senior in Kingston is who the government is targeting for its GHG program. Seniors will pay more for home heating, for fuel, for all the goods in their house at a time when property taxes are going up and affordability is going up.

Perhaps when the member was mayor, he lowered property taxes. I do not know, but seniors are not the problem. The government's own documents show us that fewer than 600 facilities account for over a third of the GHG emissions. What is even more striking is that 50% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions come from two sectors: the oil and gas sector and the transportation sector.

I can tell the House right now about a program that is far better than every ridiculous time I hear the minister say the environment and the economy go together. She should understand the economy. She is detached from the real world, calling people who have a different plan for greenhouse gas emissions “climate change deniers”. I have been working on climate change and the environment likely longer than she has, but I have also been in the real economy and I know how we have to tackle these things.

Fifty per cent of our emissions as a country, over 350 megatonnes, are addressed in these two sectors. With the oil and gas sector, we can have two public policy goals to lower emissions. First is capital cost allowance acceleration for any investment that goes to a resource company or a company in the oil sands, one of our largest single contributors to the gross domestic product of Canada. Let us incentivize them to lower their emissions by using the tax system and writing off investments. I said during my leadership run that this approach could actually be extended to water usage too. We could allow any investments they make to depreciate at a faster rate.

Then we could work with those emitters. There are 596 of them. We know where the large emissions are coming from. We could lower their tax rate over a 10-, 15-, 20-year timeline if their emissions are reduced.

In the case of the transportation sector—remember that almost 50% comes from transport and oil and gas—the government has not lobbied for cabotage with our NAFTA modernization. As a result, right now if we make something in Oshawa, Ontario, and ship it to a state in the United States, such as California, because of trucking regulations, that truck has to come back empty. Just think of the wasted efficiency and the wasted GHG emissions. If we are modernizing NAFTA, we should work with President Trump in the U.S. and eliminate this archaic system whereby we have empty transports. In fact, there are hundreds of megatonnes coming from wasted inefficiencies in transport.

David Emerson, a former Liberal cabinet minister, agreed with me at the transportation committee that cabotage would be the single largest move to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as a country. We need cabotage for the transportation sector and a targeted, tailor-made approach using our tax system for the oil and gas and resource sector. (1200)

This is about using our tax system as a carrot to incentivize better choices, in the words of the Prime Minister, as opposed to a stick punishing the single seniors, punishing the families, and punishing the small businesses trying to compete. It is about time we had fresh thinki...”

Hon. Erin O'Toole

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ties. Where is the leadership on that? The government is going after the single seniors and working families, and is not taking care of its own.

I remind the member that I provided a plan. There...”

Mr. Francesco Sorbara (Vaughan—Woodbridge, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...20. (1225)

Since 2016, the government has also been providing additional support to Canadian families through the Canada child benefit. Compared to the old system of child benefits which sent c...”

Mr. Francesco Sorbara

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ustry. It is attracting investment. It is a great environment for people to live in and raise their families.

If members just look at the the province of British Columbia, it is also, in my view...”

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...numbers. The finance department has calculated the numbers in terms of the cost for individuals and families. When it was asked for that information, the government released it, but blacked out all of...”

Hon. Steven Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...t they are paying less in taxes, but I am sorry to say this afternoon that over 80% of middle-class families are paying more taxes. The Fraser Institute is an independent and non-partisan organization that studies public policies. It has said that, on average, middle-class families will have to pay $840 more in taxes. That article was published some time ago in September 2017. Unfortunately, families have to pay even more taxes, and it is only getting worse. Canada's debt is growing and people have to pay more taxes.

Another point that I would like to make is that Canada is failing to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. This government is really having a hard time governing. It is raising taxes, causing the deficit to skyrocket, and losing control of greenhouse gas emissions.

This same government just asked us for carte blanche today to impose even more taxes on taxpayers, without any idea of what the outcome will be. The fact that climate change exists is reason enough for the Liberals to tax Canadians without really knowing what the impact of that tax will be.

It will have an impact. The parliamentary budget officer published a new report showing that the carbon tax will reduce our GDP by $10 billion by 2022, possibly even $35 billion a year by some estimates. Who will pay for that? It is workers, families, and parents who drive their children to activities. Summer is coming, a time when, after work, people go home and have a quick supper and then drive their children to their activities, often soccer. They try to do that before it gets dark. The price of gas will continue to rise even though it is already heavily taxed. (1255)

We are already paying a significant tax on carbon, and now we will be paying even more, without knowing how this tax will affect the environment. However, we know that it will have an effect on the economy.

Yesterday, I was at a committee meeting where we were discussing how to help young Canadians, particularly indigenous youth, integrate into the job market. The committee heard from a representative from an organization representing agencies that help indigenous youth train for careers. We need welders, mechanics, and plumbers. These youth must leave the reserve and sometimes travel long distances to get to a training centre, and they pay a lot for gas. This indigenous representative said that this was another barrier preventing young Canadians from accessing the job market.

We would like to be able to say that things are going well with this government, but the truth is that things are not great. Debt is going up, along with taxes and greenhouse gas emissions. It is an interesting contrast, because we have an alternative to offer to those people who are tuning in, and we have been through it before. Sometimes, the solution is to look back. In a news release in February 2007, a certain organization welcomed an announcement made one morning in Sherbrooke by prime minister Stephen Harper and premier Jean Charest that the Quebec government would be getting $350 million from the federal government for its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That same organization was delighted that this $1.5-billion program applied to all the provinces. I was lucky enough to be part of that government, and the organization that was praising Stephen Harper's Conservative government was Greenpeace.

There are then two approaches. First, there is the approach of a government that cut taxes. Members will recall the GST being lowered from 7% to 5% and the general tax cuts for all Canadians. Such a thing had not been seen in decades, despite the economic crisis. When we handed the car keys to the government across the aisle, Canada had a balanced budget. We had also reduced Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 2.2%, increased our gross domestic product, grown the economy by more than 15%, and, of course, created hundreds of thousands of jobs, on the heels of a recession, no less.

Second, there is the approach of a government that says it is going to make us pay for a new tax, the carbon tax, and that we will have to pay more taxes and get deeper into debt. Of course, it cannot offer us any guaranteed results, because the commissioner of the environment, Julie Gelfand, says that if nothing is done about greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government will not meet the targets set by the previous Conservative government. Not only do the Liberals boast about being environmentalists, but they are copying our targets and cannot even meet them.

I see that my time is almost up, but that was the gist of my presentation. The saddest thing is that we are in a time of obfuscation and secrecy. The numbers are being kept from us. What impact will the carbon tax have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions? No answer. What impact will it have on Canadian families? We know from the parliamentary budget officer that it will cost at least $10 billion.

<...”

Hon. Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...stitute study. That study did not reference our Canada child benefit, which benefits nine out of 10 families. It therefore is out of date.

The member states that the carbon tax is inefficient. T...”

Hon. Steven Blaney

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...r his question.

I would like to correct him on something. When the Fraser Institute said that families are paying more taxes, it took into account the tax credit for families. This government gave with one hand and took away with the other. I am talking about the pu...”

Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ng energy and saving Canadians money is a win-win for our environment and our economy. We know that families that invest in energy efficiency can cut their home heating bills in half, and we know that energy efficient homes and buildings have higher resale values.[Translation]

Of course, these changes need not be overly complicated. Small investments can yield huge results. For instance, by using a programmable thermostat, people can save up to $150 a year. By putting energy-efficient light bulbs in the five light fixtures they use most frequently, people can save more than $65 a year. [English]

One company in Alberta, Landmark Homes, makes net zero homes through better insulation, heating, and lighting, and many produce more energy than they consume. Today, we see homes like this being built across the country. In Edmonton, where Landmark Homes is based, the city has the highest number of net zero homes in the country.

Now, for provinces that have signed onto our climate plan, we are making it easier for people to reduce their energy use and save money through our low-carbon economy leadership fund. A few weeks ago I announced our government was investing $100 million to help the people of Ontario make energy efficient retrofits to their businesses and homes, including apartments, townhouses, and low-income housing.

By teaming up with the provincial government, the GreenOn rebates will help property owners make energy efficient changes like installing better insulation, high-efficiency ventilation systems, and other devices to save energy and reduce costs. We are launching programs like this across the country.

Last year, through the green municipal fund, we also invested $72 million to support energy efficiency projects in 48 communities.[Translation]

The municipality of Saint-Ubalde, in Quebec, received some of that funding to install a district heating system for several buildings. The project, which creates energy by transforming residual forest biomass, will help the municipality cut its emissions by 218 tonnes and reduce long-term heating costs by 40% in the buildings using that system.[English]

Investing in energy efficiency also creates good-paying middle-class jobs: jobs in construction, services, research, and manufacturing. That is why we are investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure to build energy-efficient homes and offices, helping families save money on their energy bills and creating new jobs for Canadians.

In fact, over 100,000 Canadians were employed in energy efficiency jobs in 2013. A report just last year found that shifting to net zero emissions buildings could create just short of two million jobs over 33 years through construction from retrofitting and building new, green buildings.

We know that every dollar spent on energy efficiency programs generates between $4 and $8 of GDP. In other words, this is about reducing energy and saving money. It is equally about creating good jobs for Canadians across the country.

The opposition party wants Canadians to think that tackling climate change is a cost, but by failing to take action we see huge economic costs, and Canadians miss out on good jobs and major economic opportunities.

According to the World Bank, the Paris Agreement will help open up nearly $23 trillion in new opportunities for climate-smart investments in emerging markets around the world between now and 2030. Combined, this will spark incredible job creation, and that is why Canada is leading to take advantage of the opportunities. (1315) [Translation]

We are investing $20.1 billion to support urban public transit to help reduce commute times in our cities, increase the use of clean transportation, and allow people to spend more time with their families and less time in traffic.[English]

With a $2.2-billion investment, we are fostering c...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...uch a carbon tax would cost Canadians in terms of the impact of the reduction of emissions on their families. However, we continue to get no answers.

One of the lunacies of the argument that the...”

Mr. Dan Albas (Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...That leads to my second point. We will have a carbon tax that penalizes hard-working Canadian families because they never get exemptions from paying the carbon tax. We all know who pays for those subsidies and handouts. It is those hard-working families that are increasingly struggling to get by because the Liberal government keeps downloading costs onto them.

Environment Canada expects the carbon tax to go even higher. The Liberals are refusing to tell Canadians what it will cost. However, they are completely hiding that they will not stop there. They will continue to increase carbon taxes on Canadians. When either the Prime Minister or the environment minister are asked how much greenhouse gas emissions would be taken out of the environment by a Liberal carbon tax, we all know they will not answer. We should remember that in B.C., after a decade of a carbon tax, greenhouse gas emissions went up and not down.

The price of gasoline, the price to heat our homes, the price to buy groceries and provide food for our families, and the price of everyday goods that Canadians rely on will all go up under this Liberal c...”

Mr. Blaine Calkins (Red Deer—Lacombe, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...m to book a flight, go work in the oil sands for several weeks at a time, and then go back to their families. That paycheque would improve the quality of life of these Canadians. People from all over the world would come to Alberta.

Over 4,000 businesses in Canada alone have a direct line to the oil sands because they provide goods, services, or products to the oil sands development. These are millions and millions of dollars of revenue. (1355)

The cost is 100,000 pairs of boots on the ground that are no longer working in some of the highest-paying jobs, and paying the highest tax rate, by the way, providing government coffers with more wealth than virtually any other sector of the economy.

What has this cost been to families? When someone does not have a job it causes stress. It causes strife. It causes suicides. These are things that do not get talked about a lot, but as the member of Parliament for Red Deer—Lacombe, I can say this is one of the most egregious factors undermining the ability of those in an otherwise well-paid portion of our economy who have lost their jobs to be able to provide for their families. What I mean by that is places where houses are relatively expensive and the cost of living...”

Hon. Lisa Raitt (Milton, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... of Atlantic Canadians have not received a wage increase in the last few years. It is reported that families have significantly less money to spend, and households are actually worse off now than they...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...edits, after eliminating the public transit tax credit, and after raising taxes for 80% of Canadian families, the Prime Minister's new scheme to get more money out of taxpayers' pockets is to charge a...”

Hon. Ahmed Hussen (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...0 spouses from the backlog they left us.

Live-in caregivers who provided services to Canadian families, under that party, under the Harper Conservatives, had to wait five to seven years to spons...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...yment insurance program and how it must take into account the needs and circumstances of struggling families.

We agreed that the employment insurance program has improved over the past two years thanks to the new family caregiver benefit, which will help 24,000 families, and the easing of the rules governing EI sickness benefits, which will help many families and individuals who are struggling. We will continue to work hard to ensure that the EI sys...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...use, the EI system has a very important responsibility of addressing the needs and circumstances of families that are struggling with unemployment, with health care, and with family circumstances.

We are very conscious of the potential and the already positive impacts of the changes made to the EI system over the last two years. We have introduced a new parental sharing benefit, for instance, which is going to benefit 100,000 families. We have enhanced accessibility for sickness benefits.

We look forward to more of the...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...at is rather cowardly.

The question is simple: how will this tax directly impact middle-class families, those who work hard, and those who want something to show for their money? What will the L...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 8th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Liberal carbon tax will cost Canadian families, but the government is refusing to tell them how much. How much will the Liberal carbon tax...”

Mr. Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... They are seeking to reintegrate into our communities. They are trying to give themselves and their families better futures. They ought to be able to apply for and obtain meaningful employment, regardless of their means. Past offenders who are unable to find work are much more likely to reoffend, interacting with the criminal justice system all over again. In this sense, ensuring that past offenders are enabled to apply for and obtain gainful employment is crucial. This is not only part of an effective strategy to eradicate poverty in our community; it is key to combatting crime and keeping our streets safe. (1110)

To grow our communities, create more well-paying jobs, and ensure that communities across Canada are a safe place to live for everyone, we, as a government, must do everything in our power to break down the barriers faced by those currently living in poverty.

In 2012, the previous government passed amendments to the Criminal Records Act that dramatically altered the application process for what were then called “pardons”. The term “pardon” was changed to “record suspension”. This change was clearly made in an effort to make the process more punitive.

Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, explains the difference between pardon and record suspension: “Pardon indicates that someone has moved on from where they were, not just that we're hanging it [the suspension] over your head like a big dagger about to drop down on you if we perceive you've done something wrong.”

Pardon was replaced by record suspension. The goal of record suspension, and the policies that came with it, was to be publicly tough on crime. This unexamined toughness legislation was rammed through roughshod by the previous government and imposed on an already troubled pardons system. This toughness has had unintended negative consequences on Canadian society: legally, socially, and economically.

Here is what the previous government did to the pardon process: The base fee was quadrupled to $631, and wait times for pardon eligibility were increased from three to five years for a summary offence and from five to 10 years for an indictable offence.

The results of this unexamined policy initiative, this tough-on-crime pose of the previous government, were telling. In 2011, the Parole Board of Canada received 29,829 pardon applications. After the changes were made, in 2015, it received 12,743 requests for record suspension, down by 57%. That is 17,086 fewer requests. Did crime change over those five years? I do not think so. This unfortunate policy shift actively and demonstrably discouraged Canadians, particularly low-income Canadians, such as those from Saint John—Rothesay, from seeking a pardon.

The Parole Board says that pardons are designed to support rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. This dramatic drop in requests for record suspensions is a strong warning. Current government policy on pardons is moving in the opposite direction of rehabilitation and reintegration. Those 17,086 people, the 57% drop in applicants in 2015, are not reintegrated; they are not participating in the workforce.

Former offenders are often low-income Canadians, people who are statistically much more likely to tum to crime if they cannot get a job. Approximately 3.8 million Canadians have a criminal record, but very few eligible parties apply for a record suspension. Fewer than 11% of those convicted of crimes have been granted a pardon or a record suspension. We should not be putting roadblocks in the way of reintegration and rehabilitation.

As Dr. Mary Ann Campbell, director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of New Brunswick, explained, pardons have an important societal function. She said that research on record suspensions indicates that individuals who are granted record suspensions typically have a very low rate, under 5%, of subsequent criminal behaviour, and that record suspensions are likely to open doors for past offenders and justice-involved persons. These doors “support their pro-social lifestyle transitions” and raise families out of poverty.

For many low-income Canadians, pursuing a record suspension is a step in the right direction. We need to look carefully at the roadblocks our current system is putting in the way of the rehabilitation and reintegration of these less fortunate citizens. (1115)

If passed, Motion No. 161 would instruct the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to undertake a study on the record suspension system in Canada, in particular on how it affects low-income applicants. The committee would be instructed to study how the system could be improved to remove barriers to the reintegration of past offenders into society. The committee would report back to the House with its findings within nine months.

A life sentence of poverty for a summary offence is an extremely unreasonable punishment, yet this is what the record suspension system as it currently stands imposes upon far too many Canadians. The stories of young adults especially, who come into my riding office, are heartbreaking regarding the barriers that the system places on them. This is especially true for women, who most often bear the burden of child care and family support costs, and tend to apply for jobs in sectors that require criminal record checks more often than do men. The barriers to employment created by the record suspension program also disproportionately impact historically marginalized groups, such as indigenous Canadians, who are overrepresented in the criminal justice system.

The current system of record suspension takes a terrible toll on low-income Canadians, exacerbating the difficulties of some of our most vulnerable citizens. A recent poverty round table in my riding of Saint John—Rothesay, part of the federal tackling poverty together project, identified criminal records as a significant barrier to employment and a contributing factor to long-term poverty. As Dr. Campbell explained, “Individuals who have a criminal record are often blocked from adequate and meaningful employment, as many employers require criminal record checks and are reluctant to hire people with a record. By maximizing a person's opportunities for employment by suspending a criminal record for those eligible individuals, Canada is positively contributing to reductions in poverty.”

Judy Murphy of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John echoes these concerns, spelling out the implications of the current record suspension system on poverty, specifically on low-income women. She said, “Saint John has the highest rates of single-parent families living in poverty with a female head of the household in Canada. Over two-thirds of incarce...”

Mr. Wayne Long

May 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“... office, which is right in the middle of the part of the city that has 50% to 60% child poverty and families living in poverty, day in and day out, who are looking for a break and a way out of poverty...”

Mr. Glen Motz (Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Private Members' Business

“...gang violence taking the lives of so many young Canadians, and a drug crisis that continues to tear families apart, this House has important things to consider, and I just cannot say this is a top priority. Some crimes have the ability to shake our collective feeling of security across our communities and our country. In 2014, this House was shaken by an armed assault. In 2017, in Edmonton, an ISIS-inspired terrorist attacked a police officer and tried to kill other people with a van. Just last month in Toronto, all of us witnessed the madness that killed 10 people. We were not able to save those who were killed or injured, but we certainly should not reward the perpetrators and punish the victims.

Canadians want a government that ensures criminals face the full extent of the law. The Hon. Margaret Thatcher was fond of saying, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.”

This motion tells us where the belief and attention is for the Liberal government. It is not with victims. It is not with law-abiding Canadians. It is not with police or national security. It seems to be with criminals.

I would caution my colleagues in government that their actions speak loudly to Canadians. Canadians are on the side of victims, police, and safer streets and communities, and they are on the side of families. Being on the wrong side of that will determine each of our political destinies.”

Mrs. Mona Fortier (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... all know that these behaviours can have a long-term negative impact, not only on victims and their families, but also on employers and in terms of productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover.

...”

Mr. Nick Whalen (St. John's East, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...rticipated in the program. Former pages include the hon. member for Hull—Aylmer and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Other former pages like Marc Bosc, Katie Telford, Rheal L...”

Hon. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“... believe in fighting criminals who commit violent crimes; we believe in upholding victims and their families, and supporting law-abiding citizens. The Liberals are more interested in doing the opposit...”

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...en asking for immediate and effective action on the opioid crisis over and over again. There are 37 families throughout my riding of Essex who are mourning the losses of those they love from opioid overdoses. Our losses are more than one and a half times higher than the provincial average. Families continue to struggle, desperate to get their loved ones the help they need to overcome their addiction. Sadly, to date, the government has failed to provide real leadership on this crisis. Not only has it chosen not to declare this as a national public health emergency, it has failed to hold opioid manufacturers to account for their role in this epidemic.

Today, I stand with my NDP colleagues and call on the government to launch a criminal investigation into the role played by drug manufacturers in fuelling and greatly profiting from the opioid crisis. The government must also pursue substantial compensation from these manufacturers for the cost of addiction to our public health system and communities. This crisis takes a heavy emotional toll on families, friends, neighbours, and loved ones. Immediate action is needed before any more lives are ...”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...question for the Prime Minister is this: Can he tell us how much this tax is going to cost Canadian families?”

Mr. Alain Rayes (Richmond—Arthabaska, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...lity: this government creates deficits without a plan for balancing the budget, and 80% of Canadian families are paying more taxes today than under the previous Conservative government.

The Liberals even cancelled the tax credit for public transit. Now, with the carbon tax, they are going to siphon off $10 billion from the Canadian economy.

My question for the Prime Minister is simple. How much is this new Liberal carbon tax going to cost Canadian families?”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...althiest 1%. We cut business taxes. We provide the Canada child benefit, which helps nine out of 10 families and will lift hundreds of thousands of youth out of poverty.”

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... 1%. We lowered small business taxes. We delivered a Canada child benefit that helps nine out of 10 families and is lifting hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty, and we are moving forward on d...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister have any idea of the difficult choices most families already have to make when it comes to how they spend their money?

Let me give him an ...”

Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lévis—Lotbinière, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...bon tax's sole purpose is to pay down the Liberal deficit.

How much extra money will Canadian families have to shell out every year because of the Prime Minister's bad management?”

Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“.... He is forcing Canadians to make an impossible choice. Gas prices in B.C. are skyrocketing, making families choose between buying gas or paying for groceries. The Prime Minister says that is a good t...”

Hon. Ed Fast (Abbotsford, CPC)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“..., is the Prime Minister listening? Why will he not answer?

His government is forcing Canadian families to choose between taking kids to hockey and paying their heating bills. We have seen the mess the Wynne Liberals have made in Ontario. Families are unable to both heat their homes and pay their mortgages. Single mothers, seniors, and Canadian families are all suffering. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister will not feel the impact of his tax hike. ...”

Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... a result of the leadership of Premier Campbell. The revenues associated with that were returned to families in the form of tax reductions and rebates. Low-income families in British Columbia were absolutely no worse off and we had a price on pollution, which inc...”

Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...cy budget. They claim to be full of compassion but they are the ones who took medical aid away from families and children who came to Canada as refugees. This hypocrisy and them pretending to care abo...”

Hon. Ahmed Hussen (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

May 7th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...order security operations, and they pretend to care about the border. The Harper Conservatives kept families apart, with spouses, live-in caregivers, children, and others in queues. We inherited a hug...”

Mr. Randy Hoback (Prince Albert, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...f northern British Columbia? It means lost economic opportunity and lost jobs. What is left for the families that are employed in this sector, who are in good, well-paying jobs, who are in a good situation and are able to give their kids a good quality of life?

People in western Canada right now are taking part in rallies. I was on Facebook last night and watched a rally in Fort Nelson. Families are saying, “Enough is enough.” They have had enough. They want their MPs to represent them. They want their MPs to tell them that they care. They want their MPs to understand that the resource sector is not bad. They want us to understand that people need fuel in their cars and they would love to provide it. They want us to understand that they provide it in the most environmentally friendly fashion in the world.

What is the deal? Where is the problem? It comes back to one thing. The Prime Minister does not like the resource sector.

The Prime Minister went to Paris. He wanted to be the big guy in town, so he made commitments. He came back to Canada and he took the Conservative targets. He brings in things like a carbon tax, which he is going to shove down the throats of Canadians. People in Saskatchewan are looking at that carbon tax and they know it is really going to hurt them because they cannot pass those costs on.

A farmer cannot pass a carbon tax on. He cannot take the cost of fuel for his tractors, his combines, and his machinery and put it in the price of a commodity that is traded on the world market. However, he is still forced to compete against Americans who do not have a carbon tax. The Australians removed their carbon tax. Other countries are not going down this road.

What is even sadder about carbon is Saskatchewan has a really good game plan that does not involve a carbon tax, which would actually meet our commitments, and the Liberals will not agree to that. Why is that? What is the issue there? If their goal is to reduce carbon and there is a game plan that will not impact the economy and will actually achieve that goal, why not take it? It goes back to one thing: lack of respect.

The Liberals want to shut down the resource sector. We are hearing stories now that they want to shut down the coal sector. In Saskatchewan, we have carbon capture off our coal power plants. With this technology, those power plants have five times less emissions than natural gas. However, the Liberals say, “Let us get rid of coal.” What does that mean? Is that really crazy? I think so.

If there is technology to make coal clean and to reduce its carbon footprint, why would we not embrace the new technology and still use this fuel source? No, we are going to get rid of it. We are to ignore the science because, heaven forbid, cabinet knows best. That is what is happening. All the regulations and science are being thrown out the window, and it goes back to cabinet, and its members are going to say “Do I like this guy or not?”, or “I have a toothache so I'm going to vote no.” What about the science? Science needs to trump that.

In Bill C-48, where is the science to say it requires this type of ban? It is not there. There is no science.

There have been no consultations. It is something that is going to drastically change the lives of families across western Canada, if not all of Canada, yet the Liberals just march ahead. They put the earplugs in and just do what they do. Then they wonder why people are protesting in western Canada. They wonder why families are concerned and upset. They cannot understand why they do not love them. There needs to b...”

Mr. Robert Kitchen (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...eases with Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

Many of these 324 leaseholders and their families invested their life savings into the development of their future. Their leases have been in...”

Mr. Peter Schiefke (Vaudreuil—Soulanges, Lib.)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“Mr. Speaker, many activities for families, young people, and seniors are held throughout Vaudreuil-Soulanges year-round.

One of...”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... numbers. The Liberals need to tell Canadians how much their carbon tax will cost everyday Canadian families.”

Hon. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, high gas prices are not only a burden for Canadian families, but they are a job-killing expense for farmers, fishermen, and business owners.

My c...”

Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lévis—Lotbinière, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...l hurt the Canadian economy to the tune of $10 billion by 2022. That is a lot of money for Canadian families.

How much money does that represent for the families that will be affected by the sexist carbon tax over a one-year period?”

Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...ld let his environment minister know that.

The carbon tax is already killing jobs and hurting families in Alberta and British Columbia. Saskatchewan is taking this Liberal Prime Minister and his greedy government to court to stop this punitive tax. In court, the Liberal carbon tax cover-up will be exposed. Why wait until Saskatchewan wins?

Will the Minister of Environment come clean today and reveal the cost of the federal carbon tax on Saskatchewan families? No, she will not. How about the public safety minister, who was elected to represent the b...”

Mr. Dan Albas (Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...1.60 a litre. Of course, the Prime Minister and his cabinet will not feel the effects that everyday families are feeling, because everything is paid for. When will the Liberals come clean and tell Can...”

Mr. Glen Motz (Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...water levels expected to continue to rise in southern regions of the province over the coming days. Families along the St. John River have been forced to leave their homes and dozens of roads have bee...”

Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“Mr. Speaker, on April 6, the Ministers of Finance, International Trade, and Families, Children and Social Development enjoyed a tour of the Port of Québec. I am very pleased ab...”

Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC)

May 4th
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...bert gave an exceptional speech this morning. He compassionately explained how hard it has been for families in Saskatchewan to accept and understand the decisions being made one after the other by this Liberal government. The government seems to be sending a message that is crystal clear: it does not support western Canada's natural resources, namely oil and natural gas. What is important to understand, however, is that this sector represents roughly 60% the economy of the western provinces and 40% of Canada's entire economy. (1245)

I can see why the Minister of Environment and Climate Change says we need to tackle climate change first. The way she talks to us every day is so arrogant. We believe in climate change. That is not the issue. Climate change and natural resources are complex issues, and we must not forget the backdrop to this whole debate. People are suffering because they need to put food on the table. Nothing has changed since the days of Cro-Magnon man. People have to eat every day. People have to find ways to survive.

When the Liberals go on about how to save the planet and the polar bears, that is their post-modern, post-materialist ideology talking. Conservatives, in contrast, talk about how to help families get through the day. That is what the Canadian government's true priority should be.

...”

Mr. John Barlow (Foothills, CPC)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“... problems they are facing.

We have had stakeholders like the CFA. They represent 200,000 farm families. The Grain Growers represent 50,000 active producers, and they are asking for no further de...”

Mr. John Barlow

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Government Orders

“...as had is not simply a matter of frustration. It has really impacted people on the ground and their families.”

Mr. Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre, Lib.)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Statements by Members

“...ty of Fort McMurray and much of the surrounding regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. Thousands of families and individuals were forced to flee their homes, with fears and doubts as to whether and wh...”

Hon. Lisa Raitt (Milton, CPC)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...es away, to his residence.

Leadership starts at the top. Is it acceptable that while he tells families they have to make better choices, he chooses to have his food driven across the street? Is ...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“... the Liberal carbon tax is going to drive up consumer prices for all Canadians and for all Canadian families. He is covering that information up.

Why will the Prime Minister not come clean with ...”

Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...tite for taking money out of taxpayers' pockets.

Could the Prime Minister explain to Canadian families why they will have to pay more for everything they buy because of the Liberal carbon tax an...”

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.)

May 3rd
Hansard Link

Oral Questions

“...as the private and social sectors. It is also going to help construct or renovate homes for 300,000 families.[Translation]

Working together, we will provide more safe and affordable housing to middle-class families and those working hard to join it.”

Mr. Blake Richards (Banff—Airdrie, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Routine Proceedings

“...portant as this one. They believe the government should be standing shoulder to shoulder with these families and showing support and compassion for them, not telling them it does not have time to deal...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...censored form indicating how much the federal carbon tax proposed in Budget 2018 will cost Canadian families in order to put an end to the carbon tax cover-up.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Barrie—Innisfil.

As members know, the saga of the carbon tax cover-up has been ongoing now for several years, but today there are new developments. Just moments ago in the finance committee, we were studying Bill C-74, the government's budget implementation act, 200 pages of which are dedicated to the creation of a national carbon tax. Before the committee were officials from the environment and finance departments. I asked specifically whether or not either of those departments had modelled how much that tax would cost the average Canadian family. The assistant deputy minister of finance confirmed that in fact the government has modelled that information. In other words, the government knows the price tag but it is covering it up, and that, in essence, is the carbon tax cover-up.

Now that I have given today's news, I will lay out the chronology of events.

In late 2015, the Liberal government was elected. It had promised to institute a new carbon tax. Soon after that, I filed what is called an access to information request asking the government what such a tax would cost families in varying income groups. What would it cost middle-class people? What would it cost people below the poverty line?

The government came back with a big pile of documents, which the member for Barrie—Innisfil will be mentioning in his speech. One of these documents indicates, “This memo focuses on the potential impact of a carbon price on households' consumption expenditures across the income distribution.” The key findings are blacked out.

I will translate this government-speak into plain English. The memo focused on the potential impact of a carbon price on households' consumption. This means that the memo calculates what the tax will cost people when they buy things. It mentions “across the income distribution”, which means that the table which is blacked out tells us what people would pay based on the incomes they earn.

We know that the share of a family's budget is largely determined by how much the family makes. For example, Statistics Canada has shown that poor families spend about a third more on the goods that the carbon tax will apply to than do rich households, because if one is extremely wealthy, then heat, electricity, groceries, while they still cost the same or even a little more than they do for a low-income household, they are a smaller share of the family's budget. This is why it is important to know how much people in various income levels will pay with this new tax.

We know that taxes of this nature are regressive, because they take a larger share of household income from people who have less money. Those with the least disproportionately pay the most. As a result, such taxes can have the effect of actually widening the gap between rich and poor. The government has claimed that it wants to reduce that gap, but it is imposing a tax which is known to do precisely the opposite.

Then we come to the use of the revenues. What is the government going to use the money for when it collects it?

In Ontario, the Wynne government has given the blueprint. For example, Ontario has used the money to provide $15,000 in rebates to millionaires who buy electric Mercedes and Teslas. This is an example of a tax applied to working-class and low-income people which is then fed to the wealthiest 1% who can afford to drive the most elite vehicles. In that same province, the government has used the revenues to subsidize companies that would otherwise be money losing. They have, for example, increased hydroelectricity rates by paying these companies that offer so-called solar and wind power onto the grid at 90¢ per kilowatt hour when that kilowatt hour is worth about 2.5¢. (1020)

The effect of that is to drive up the electricity costs of everyday Ontarians, while bolstering the profits of well-connected Bay Street insiders, who successfully conclude those inflated contracts with the Government of Ontario. In Ontario the inflation of electricity prices is going to constitute a cost of about $170 billion over 25 years, according to the province's auditor general, which will make it the biggest wealth transfer from the working poor to the super rich in Canadian history. That is a form of redistribution that is common among regimes that impose schemes like the one the government has embedded in its budget implementation legislation, all of which reminds us that we should as Canadian parliamentarians know how much this tax will cost every household.

The government says that it cannot reveal that information for two reasons. First, it says that, for example, the table that I referred to earlier, is not relevant because it is a couple of years old and so much has changed.

While the fundamental structure of the Canadian economy has changed, the amount and share that people spend on heating their homes, driving their cars, and feeding their families has not fundamentally changed in two years. That being said, if the government thinks it is...”

Hon. Pierre Poilievre

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...wed upon them would further suffer with the higher taxes the government would pile on to those same families.

I think he mentioned having family in High River. I certainly have great sympathy fo...”

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...n about the cost of inaction on climate change. Many people talk about the cost for individuals and families in Canada, but that is just part of the reality. The other part is that doing nothing to ad...”

Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...censored form indicating how much the federal carbon tax proposed in Budget 2018 will cost Canadian families in order to put an end to the carbon tax cover-up.

The hon. member for Carleton already spoke about the fact that almost immediately after the last election he filed an access to information request to finance department officials asking, quite simply, how much the carbon tax was going to cost Canadian families, and how much emissions would be reduced.

They were great questions. The answer he received back was blacked out. We are talking about a government and a Prime Minister who promised in the last election that they were going to be more open and transparent than any other government in the history of the world.

Even to this day, Liberals stand up in this House and refuse to answer questions that have been asked at least 60 or 70 times: How much is the carbon tax going to cost Canadian families, and how much will it reduce emissions? This transparent and open government not only provi...”

Mr. John Brassard

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...overnment, then reality will start setting in and Canadians will see the actual cost to them, their families, and future generations in this country.”

Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... [English]

Today we are seeing the impacts of climate change across the country, and Canadian families are already affected. Let me provide a few examples.

One of the hardest calls I have ever had to make was to a rancher in Alberta's interior. Her family ranch was destroyed by intense wildfires that spread through B.C. and Alberta. Today, as a result of climate change, these wildfires are raging longer and are harsher than ever before.[Translation]

Last year, I was in Gatineau, Quebec, helping to fill sandbags. As I was talking to the families who were protecting their homes from the rising flood waters, some homes were saved and many more were destroyed. We are seeing devastation like this across Canada and around the world. [English]

Then there is the heart-breaking story from last summer when I was visiting the high Arctic. I spoke to an Inuit boy from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, who told me about the impacts of climate change that he was seeing in his homeland. He told me about his feet getting stuck in thawing permafrost like quicksand when he was hunting. He told me about the disappearance of the caribou, their country food. He also told me of experienced hunters—fathers, uncles, brothers, providers—dying after falling through the sea ice that they could no longer tell the thickness of. Today Canada's high Arctic is warming at three times the rate of the rest of Canada. Climate change is real, and it is having a real impact on Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Pollution is not free. It is a tax on future generations. From 1983 to 2004, insurance claims in Canada from severe weather events were almost $400 million a year. In the past decade, that amount has tripled to $1.2 billion a year.

By taking smart, sensible, and practical action, we can avert the worst impacts of climate change and grasp the enormous economic opportunities around the world worth trillions of dollars. By acting today, we can protect our environment and strengthen a clean growth economy.

The previous government was never serious about climate change. The Harper government announced targets with no intention of meeting them. Today we have the Leader of the Opposition saying that he is against the price on pollution. However, he is once again committed to meeting the Paris Agreement targets. We cannot magically meet our Paris Agreement targets without using the market. Canadians expect us to act, and that is what we have been doing since we formed government.[Translation]

Putting a price on pollution is central to any credible plan to combat climate change. That is exactly why we are working in partnership with the provinces and territories to price carbon. [English]

Central to any credible climate plan is a price on pollution. That is exactly why we are working in partnership with the provinces and territories to price carbon. Canadians know that polluting is not free. We need to price what we do not want, which is pollution, and invest in the things that we do want, like lower taxes, health care, and clean technology solutions that create good jobs here in Canada. Carbon pricing is flexible, is cost-effective, and lets the markets do what they do best: drive creativity and reward solutions. We could even call it a “conservative” idea. (1050)

As a recent Globe and Mail editorial put it:

Putting a price on carbon is an effective way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and fighting climate change. There is ample, persuasive evidence of this.

The research backs this up. Just yesterday, Environment and Climate Change Canada published a study that found that by 2022, a nationwide price on carbon pollution that meets the federal standards would eliminate 80 million to 90 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions. That is the equivalent of taking between 23 million and 26 million cars off the road for a year, or the equivalent of closing 20 coal-fired plants. Without a doubt, pricing carbon pollution is making a major contribution to helping Canada meet its climate targets under the Paris Agreement.

Pricing pollution is not only effective; it also strengthens our economy. Take British Columbia. It put a price on carbon pollution more than a decade ago, and since 2007, it has reduced emissions by between 5% and 15%, while provincial real GDP grew by more than 17% from 2007 to 2015.

Today over 80% of Canadians live in a province that already has a price on pollution—in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia—and last year these provinces led the country in economic growth.

Carbon pricing is the approach that economists overwhelmingly recommend. In fact, it is the policy that over 30 governments and 150 leading businesses have come together to support through the international Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. This group includes Canada's major banks, alongside Canadian companies in the consumer goods, energy, and resource development sectors. Steve Williams, the CEO of Suncor, Canada's largest oil producer, put it this way: “We think climate change is happening. We think a broad-based carbon price is the right answer.”

Around the world, governments are realizing the efficiency and effectiveness of pricing carbon pollution. Today some 40 countries, including Canada, are pricing carbon pollution, and more governments are planning to implement similar systems soon.

According to the World Bank, a price on pollution covers nearly half of the world's economy today. China recently launched the world's largest carbon pricing system, and last year Ontario, Quebec, and California signed an agreement to create the world's second-largest carbon market. A carbon price works best when people and businesses find ways not to pay it by investing in clean solutions to save money. This is not about raising money; it is about sending the right signals to spur clean innovation.

We have been clear that any revenue will remain in the province and territory it comes from. Provided they meet the federal standard, our approach gives provinces and territories the flexibility to design their own systems and to decide how best to use the revenues from pricing pollution to support families and businesses and to strengthen a clean growth economy. Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec are reinvesting the revenues in their own provinces through measures such as targeted rebates or tax cuts to households and businesses, investments in public transit, clean technology solutions, and home retrofit programs that help families and businesses save money.

These investments are already making a big difference for Canadians. They are creating good jobs, supporting cleaner growth, and driving investments in cities and communities. Importantly, governments can and should design their own carbon pricing systems to avoid putting extra financial pressure on low-income and middle-class households. For example, provinces can choose to provide money-back rebates, to cut taxes, or to fund discounts on technologies that help people save money on energy bills. Governments in Canada are already making those kinds of choices.

British Columbia's carbon price system has a tax credit for low-income groups. It helps many offset the cost of that province's carbon price through direct payments to low-earning families. By cutting personal or corporate taxes, B.C. also returns revenues from its carbon tax to households and small businesses.

I am very proud that our government is taking the steps to price pollution across the country. The evidence from at home and around the world is extraordinarily strong. It shows that pricing pollution creates good middle-class jobs and gives families and businesses an incentive to make choices that will help them save energy and money. Canadians expect a healthy environment and a growing economy, and that is exactly what we are doing right. (1055) [Translation]

In Alberta, about 60% of households receive full or partial rebates to compensate for the cost of the carbon tax. Families whose income in less than $95,000 a year receive a full rebate. Putting a price on pollution can protect families from the net costs. It helps reduce pollution and sets Canada up for success in the global transition to cleaner growth. The environment and the economy go together. Canadians expect a healthy environment and a growing economy, and that is exactly what we are doing right.[English]

For too long in Canada and elsewhere, cynics have worked hard to stall action on climate change. Some have failed to see the enormous opportunity before us, while others simply refuse to acknowledge that climate change is real. However, the time for inaction is over, and that is why Canada is leading during the clean growth century.

Part of our plan is pricing carbon pollution, but it involves so much more. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England and a great Canadian, put it best when he said, “The point is that the more we invest with foresight, the less we will regret in hindsight.” According to the World Bank, the Paris Agreement will help us open up nearly $23 trillion in new opportunities for climate-smart investments in Canada and emerging markets around the world between now and 2030.

With that in mind, let me lay out other parts of our climate plan, which together will not only reduce carbon pollution but will also renew our infrastructure, strengthen our transportation networks, and, through smart and strategic investments, spur clean innovation and opportunity in Canada's towns and cities.

We are investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure to build energy-efficient homes and offices and help families save on their energy bills. We are investing $20.1 billion to support urban public transit to help reduce commute times in our cities, to increase the use of clean transportation, and allow Canadians to spend more time with their families and less time in traffic. [Translation]

We are going to phase out coal-fired electric...”

Hon. Michael Chong (Wellington—Halton Hills, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...aws is that it is not transparent enough. The government is not being transparent about the cost to families. It is also not being transparent about modelling the numbers to 2030.

Fifty dollars ...”

Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...cing for a decade now. Let us look into what that means for the people of British Columbia, for the families and businesses and the opportunity they have to innovate and improve how they do things. We could also debate this with other provinces such as Alberta and Ontario, which have their own way of pricing carbon.

The Conservative motion ignores the other side of the coin. The motion talks about the potential impact on families and individuals. Yes, but if we do nothing, if we do not take leadership on this, if we take no action on global warming and its effects, about which there is unassailable international scientific consensus, there is a potential impact there as well. Global warming, which is already underway and could be catastrophic if the temperature rises more than 2°C per year above 1990 reference levels, will result in more natural disasters and climate extremes. I am talking about natural disasters that will have an even greater impact than what we have seen so far to the detriment of countless economic sectors.

If we want to be logical, balanced, and transparent in this debate, we also need to find out the cost of not taking action, the consequences of the extreme temperatures we may be facing. It has already begun in Quebec and across Canada. We already have studies and numbers. (1115)

The average number of natural disasters in Canada has doubled over the past 30 years. It is not that there were no natural disasters before, but they were fewer in number, less serious, and had less of an impact on people's lives, our environment, and our economy.

Climate change and the rising number of natural disasters are not unrelated. Quite the opposite, and there is a cost associated with that. Since we are talking about insurance, from 1983 to 2004, insured losses from natural disasters cost an average of $373 million a year in Canada. However, in the next decade, from 2005 to 2015, the average annual losses more than tripled. They were three times as high. They cost an average of $1.2 billion per year. We can already see that climate change is having an impact and that there is a cost associated with it.

The federal government's disaster financial assistance arrangements program helps the provinces and territories recover from natural disasters. In 1970, it paid out an average of $54 million. From 1995 to 2004, the program gave out $291 million per year. From 2005 to 2015, it paid out $410 million per year. In the past six years, this fund provided more financial assistance than it has in its 39 years of operation. The increase in the cost of this federal insurance over the past 20 years is a result of the increase in the number and intensity of large-scale natural disasters. Our Conservative friends like to talk about the impact on our wallets and pockets. There has already been an impact because it is costing the government a lot of money in insurance alone, and that is not even to mention individuals.

There is also an impact on our economic ability to make the transition and maintain acceptable economic growth. The two go hand in hand. Climate change can result in many economic losses. I talked about natural disasters and extreme weather events, but we also have to consider the impact on public health spending, losses in agricultural productivity, financial coverage of risk, or insurance, premature wear and tear on infrastructure, and energy costs. All these impacts could slow our economic growth if we do nothing. We must be fully aware of them.

The impacts of climate change are quite varied and include infrastructure that must be rebuilt, health problems, and destroyed crops. It can be difficult to evaluate their cost, but several studies have been conducted. I will name a few because it is important that this be part of the debate if we want to have a sound, balanced, and well-informed discussion. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, estimates that a 2°C increase in global warming could reduce global GDP by 2% per year. That is significant.

Some of the more direct costs in Quebec are associated with flood damage. Take, for example, the flooding this year and last year. Shoreline erosion resulting from decreased winter ice cover and infrastructure damaged by repeated freeze-thaw cycles are two more examples. I have the pleasure of living in Montreal, and I can say that the potholes are very real. When temperatures vary significantly during the winter, the snow melts and water seeps into the asphalt, which then cracks when the water freezes again. This happens several times a year.

I want to read a quote regarding the impact on the global economy. “Taking action now will not only solve the problems of protecting the planet, but it will be a tremendous boost for economies.” Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, said this in 2014. I could also quote the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding the potential impact on the American economy.

To have a balanced motion that looks at the overall impact of a carbon tax or climate change, I move, seconded by the member for Salaberry—Suroît, an amendment to the motion:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “indicating” and substituting the following: “to Canadian families how much the price on carbon proposed in Budget 2018 will cost them, and how much the growi...”

Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry—Suroît, NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... the Upper St. Lawrence. That flooding cost and continues to cost thousands of dollars to countless families who are unable to sell or renovate their homes. It is tough.

Furthermore, communities...”

Mr. Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...he Department of Finance, who said they have done modelling on the impact on Canadians and Canadian families. This information exists.

I thought this was all about evidence-based policy-making. ...”

Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...s and helping hard-working business owners grow their businesses. Growth means more jobs, healthier families, and more vibrant communities.[Translation]

We lowered the small business tax rate to...”

Mr. Kelly McCauley (Edmonton West, CPC)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...could be rent payments, sports for the kids, university tuition. These are all things that Canadian families can kiss goodbye thanks to this costly plan, but the government refuses to come clean on it.

The environment minister told us that a price on carbon could have to go as high as $100 per tonne in 2020 and $300 per tonne in 2050 to meet the government's 2030 targets, but that is not just individual costs; the carbon tax will have a huge impact on Alberta's oil and gas sector as well. Last week, I had a round table with various groups from the energy sector, including academia, labour groups, business groups, and provincial partners, and it was clear that the biggest barrier to growth and economic prosperity in Alberta is investment fleeing from our energy sector and from the carbon tax. The carbon tax makes everything we produce more uncompetitive. It punishes places of worship and the not-for-profits. The Edmonton Food Bank, for example, is getting hit with thousands of dollars of added costs, and a not-for-profit cannot just pass these costs on to customers.

We met with the local cement industry. It is losing out on government contracts because it cannot compete with Chinese bidders because of the added price of a carbon tax. Let us just think about it. Taxpayers' money is going to a foreign competitor that has a horrible environmental record because we have handicapped our cleaner and local industries.

This is what Dr. Andrew Leach talks about when he refers to the carbon leakage. In the end, we are not reducing overall carbon emissions worldwide; we're just moving it to other jurisdictions, mostly with worse environmental standards. The energy sector needs job-creating policy and proposals, not more regulation and higher taxes to operate. Nothing drives away business investment quite like a commitment against business investment, such as we have seen with the government giving taxpayers' money to fund anti-oil protesters.

We have repeatedly asked how much the Liberal carbon tax will cost families, but the Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment have flat out refused to answer. If...”

Mr. Kelly McCauley

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...oday is about the Liberal carbon tax cover-up. We know how much the cost is going to be to Canadian families. Finance has it. The Liberals submitted the report and said they have it but they would block everything. That is what this debate is about: why they will not release how much it is going to cost Canadian families. If they are so confident that this is the cat's pyjamas of fixing climate change, why woul...”

Mr. Kelly McCauley

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“Mr. Speaker, again, the question in this debate is what it is going to cost Canadian families. We on this side of the House, in the Conservative Party, are concerned for Canadian taxpayers. We are concerned because they should be able to pay for groceries, taxes, and rent, and not have to put one aside so they can pay the carbon tax. The question is how much the carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families. The government knows what it is, and we would like that answer.”

Mr. Mark Warawa

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“... down our greenhouse gas emissions without a carbon tax. How much will the carbon tax cost Canadian families?”

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...ffordable for Canadians, whether it is home heating, as the member talked about, transportation for families, or the cost of producing energy generally.

If it is reasonable to ask the government what the cost of carbon pricing across the country is for individual families, is it not also reasonable to ask the government to come forward with the cost of inaction on those same families? Those costs are real. They affect the natural resource sector, which the member is well fa...”

Ms. Pam Goldsmith-Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Lib.)

May 1st
Hansard Link

Business of Supply

“...nues fund tax cuts for small businesses and households. In Alberta, the revenues support rebates to families, action to phase out coal, and investment in energy efficiency. In Ontario, revenues from carbon pricing support clean energy, like solar panels. In Quebec, carbon pricing funds climate action, like investments in public transit. Carbon pricing is recognized as a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and stimulate clean growth.

The costs of inaction on climate change are significant. I recall when I was mayor of West Vancouver sitting in a seminar with Lloyd's of London representatives well over a decade ago, where the underwriters and insurance industry leaders globally expressed their growing concern regarding the cost of extreme and unpredictable storm events, patterns of human settlement, and which housing developments would be even worth underwriting. That was ages ago.

Some estimates suggest that climate change will cost Canada's economy $5 billion a year by 2020. We know from examples from around the world that putting a price on carbon pollution helps to drive innovation and create good, middle-class jobs. According to the World Bank, jurisdictions representing about half the global economy are putting a price on carbon, not even including China's national system, which was recently announced. (1315)

While it has been interesting to listen to the opposition as it looks in its rear-view mirror, pricing carbon pollution is the new normal. It spurs clean innovation, helping Canada to compete and prosper in the $23-trillion econ