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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Finance


NUMBER 142 
l
1st SESSION 
l
44th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

(1105)

[English]

    Welcome to meeting 142 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee is meeting to discuss Bill C-69, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024.
    Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to Standing Order 15.1.
    Before we begin, I remind all members and other meeting participants in the room of the following important preventive measures.
    To prevent disruptive and potentially harmful audio feedback incidents that can cause injuries, all in-person participants are reminded to keep their earpieces away from all microphones at all times.
    As indicated in the communiqué from the Speaker to all members on Monday, April 29, the following measures have been taken to help prevent audio feedback incidents.
    All earpieces have been replaced by a model that greatly reduces the probability of audio feedback. The new earpieces are black in colour, whereas the former earpieces were grey. Please use only the approved black earpieces. By default, all unused earpieces will be unplugged at the start of a meeting. When you are not using your earpiece, please place it face down in the middle of the sticker for this purpose, which you will find on the table as indicated.
    Please consult the cards on the table for guidelines to prevent audio feedback incidents. The room layout has been adjusted to increase the distance between microphones to reduce the chance of feedback from an ambient earpiece. These measures are in place so that we can conduct our business without interruption and protect the health and safety of all participants, including the interpreters.
    Thank you all for your co-operation.
    I will make few comments for the benefit of the members and witnesses.
    Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For members in the room, please raise your hand. For members on Zoom, if you wish to speak please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will manage the speaking order as best we can, and we appreciate your understanding in this regard.
    I will remind everyone that all comments should be addressed through the chair.
    With us today are officials from the Department of Finance as well as officials from the CRA.
    We have a number of officials who will be providing opening remarks. We start with Lindsay Gwyer, who will be providing an opening statement, and then we'll move through a number of other officials. Then, when we get to members' questions, members will all have an opportunity to ask questions to whomever they like, and if someone is in the background, they'll make their way to the table.
    Also, we have our clerk, Alexandre Roger, and Ariane Calvert is also joining Alexandre as we go through Bill C-69 here at the committee, so we have the resources and all the help we require.
    With that, I will ask Ms. Gwyer to start our opening statements.
    I'm Lindsay Gwyer, director general, legislation, at the Department of Finance. I'll be speaking about part 1 of the bill.
    Part 1 contains the income tax measures. There are 15 measures in part 1 of the bill, in addition to a number of technical amendments. Given the number of measures, I won't discuss them all. I'll just touch on some of the key measures. They're all summarized on the second page of the bill.
    First, part 1 includes a measure to restrict deductions in respect of short-term rentals that are not compliant with applicable laws in the province or municipality in which the short-term rental is located. Part 1 also includes changes to the home buyers' plan, increasing the withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000 and deferring by three years the start of the period during which individuals must repay their home buyers' plan withdrawals.
    It also includes changes to certain existing tax credits. In particular, it doubles the volunteer firefighter and search and rescue tax credits, enhances the Canadian journalism labour tax credit and extends the mineral exploration tax credit by one year.

[Translation]

    Part 1 would also implement the new Canada carbon rebate for small businesses. This measure would return a portion of federal fuel charge proceeds via a refundable tax credit directly to qualifying Canadian-controlled private corporations that have employees in provinces where the fuel charge applies.
    Part 1 would also implement two new refundable investment tax credits. First, it would implement the clean hydrogen investment tax credit. The credit rate for hydrogen production would range from 15% to 40% of eligible project costs, with the cleanest hydrogen receiving the highest level of support. Ammonia production equipment that meets certain conditions would receive a 15% credit. To obtain these rates, projects would need to meet the labour requirements in Bill C‑59. The clean hydrogen credit would be available for equipment that is acquired after March 28, 2023, and would no longer be available after 2034.
    The second investment tax credit is for clean technology manufacturing. It is a 30% credit that would be available for property that is acquired on or after January 1, 2024, and would no longer be available after 2034.

[English]

     Part 1 would also implement significant changes to the existing alternative minimum tax. Key changes would include an increase in the rate from 15% to 20.5%, an increase in the exemption amount, a requirement to fully include most capital gains in income, and restrictions on the available tax credits and deductions.
    Finally, contingent on Bill C-59 receiving royal assent, part 1 would implement a $10-million capital gains exemption available for qualifying shares of employee ownership trusts.
    Those are some of the measures in part 1.
    My colleagues and I would be happy to explain those or any other measures in part 1 in more detail.

(1110)

     Hello. I'm Peter Repetto, a senior director in the tax legislation division at the Department of Finance Canada, and I will be speaking about part 2 of the bill.
    Part 2 is a proposed new act that would implement the global minimum tax, known as “pillar two”, in Canada.
    By way of background, Canada is one of 139 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's G20 inclusive framework on base erosion and profit shifting that joined a two-pillar plan for international tax reform in 2021. Pillar two of that plan is a framework for a global minimum tax regime.
    The pillar two rules are designed to ensure that the profits of large multinational businesses, which are those with annual revenues of at least 750 million euros, are subject to an effective tax rate of at least 15% in each jurisdiction in which they operate. This is intended to reduce the incentive for multinational businesses to shift their profits into low-tax jurisdictions and to set a floor on tax competition among countries.
    The government originally announced its intention to implement pillar two in budget 2022, and then, in budget 2023, set out the proposed implementation time frame, starting in 2024.
    As noted, the new global minimum tax act in part 2 of the bill would implement pillar two in Canada. More specifically, it contains legislation that would implement the primary pillar two rule, known as the income inclusion rule, or IIR, with effect for 2024. Generally, under that rule, Canada would impose a top-up tax on a Canadian-headquartered multinational enterprise when its profits in a foreign country have an effective tax rate below the 15% minimum rate. This tax would bring the effective tax rate on those profits up to the 15% rate.
    The legislation would also implement a domestic minimum top-up tax in Canada. It would impose a top-up tax on a multinational enterprise when its Canadian profits have an effective tax rate below 15%, and this would also be effective in 2024.
    Thank you.

[Translation]

    Good afternoon, my name is Gervais Coulombe and I am acting director general of the Sales Tax Division at the Department of Finance.
    Part 3 of Bill C‑69 contains various budget measures amending the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, the Excise Act, 2001, the Underused Housing Tax Act, part 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and other related texts.
    The first measure under Division 1 would end the temporary GST/HST relief of certain face masks or respirators and certain face shields, which had been introduced in 2020 to support public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

[English]

    Division 2 of part 3 would implement, among other things, excise duty rate adjustments for tobacco, vaping and alcohol products. Specifically, it would implement the budget 2024 proposal to increase the tobacco excise duty rate by $4 per carton of 200 cigarettes, effective April 17, 2024. It would also implement the budget 2024 proposal to increase vaping product excise duty rates by 12%.
    Finally, as announced on March 9, 2024, it would extend by two years the 2% cap on the inflation adjustment on beer, spirits and wine excise duties, and would also reduce by half, for two years, the excise duty rate for the first 15,000 hectolitres of beer brewed in Canada.

[Translation]

    Division 3 of part 3 implements changes to the Underused Housing Tax, in response to suggestions from Canadians. The changes would facilitate compliance while ensuring that the tax continues to apply as intended. Among other things, the amendments would eliminate filing requirements for certain owners, reduce minimum penalties for failing to file a return and introduce a new exemption for residential properties held as a place of residence or lodging for employees.
    Division 4 of part 3 implements a measure that would broaden the provisions allowing the disclosure of confidential information in respect of a provincial Crown or its agent that is non-compliant or has stated that it will not comply with the federal fuel charge under part 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
    Mr. Chair, this completes our opening remarks for parts 1, 2 and 3 of Bill C‑69.

(1115)

    Thank you, Mr. Coulombe.

[English]

     Thank you, Mr. Repetto and Ms. Gwyer, for your opening statements.
    Now we're going to head to the members' questions. In the first round, each party will have up to six minutes to ask questions.
    We are starting with MP Chambers for the first six minutes.
    Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
    It's good to see everybody again.
    I'll start with a couple of general questions, and then we'll get to some specifics.
    Does anyone know how many full-time equivalents are going to be added, based on the measures in these parts?
    I don't think there's anyone here from the economic and fiscal branch, is there?
    Yes, that's right. We're just from the tax policy branch, so I don't think we have those numbers handy. We could get them for you.
    That's fair. That's fine.
    Since you are here, on the home buyers' plan, I was curious....
    This was very helpful, by the way, for the questions and answers. Thank you to whoever put that together. It's very helpful.
    Thirteen thousand households are expected to benefit from the proposed increase over the next five years. I'm curious—this is in part 1(m)—about what we know about the 13,000 households. Can you give me an idea, either in 30 seconds or in a written follow-up later, of who these 13,000 households are and, for example, their average income and how many assets they have in their RRSP account?
    It's tough to describe exactly what this group will look like, because we have a sense now of who, let's say, in 2021 or 2022, has taken the maximum amount out of the home buyers' plan—the current limit of $35,000—but we can expect that group to change pretty significantly over the next couple of years. That's because of the introduction of the tax-free first home savings account.
    In other words, given that the account started last year and so far has been quite a popular measure for prospective first-time home buyers, basically the number of people who would otherwise be constrained by the $35,000 limit will go down.
    Our best estimate is 13,000. Exactly how the composition of that group changes once you bring in the first home savings account is a complicating factor. We can see what we can provide, but I just provide that note of caution.
    Thank you very much. That would be very helpful. I'm very interested in the expectations on the average median income of these individuals, and also we want to make sure who's getting these tax preferences, I think, as I'm sure my NDP colleague is always interested to see who is benefiting from changes to the tax code.
    I think there are some officials from CRA here. I'm very interested in the measure with respect to a grace period for child care benefits for six months after an unfortunate death of a child. There is a fairly specific number of $15 million for the costing of this measure. I'm curious about how that number was arrived at.
    Is the finance department relying on CRA data in order to provide a costing estimate of $15 million?
     Go ahead, Mr. Bowen.
    I will actually turn to Department of Finance colleagues to provide some clarity on where the $15 million has come from, so maybe I will cede it back to Pierre.

(1120)

    Specifically, I want to know whether you received data from the CRA in order to come up with the $15-million estimate.
    The answer is yes. We receive, as part of our ongoing responsibility of advising on policy on the Canada child benefit, detailed administrative data on who receives the Canada child benefit. One of the pieces of information we receive as part of that is the number of eligible children who have died during the year. That's where we get the number of about 1,500 children per year. It's basically by using an average Canada child benefit amount that we arrive at the $15 million over the five-year period.
    Thank you very much for that.
    For the carbon rebate for businesses, how many people are going to be hired in CRA to carry out this work?
    I think I'll have a little bit of....
    I'll build in time for the transitions that are happening, for sure.
    I appreciate that, Mr. Chair. Thanks for your indulgence.
    The funding required for the implementation and administration of the Canada carbon rebate will be part of a Treasury Board proposal that we'll be making in the coming month. Following the approval of the Treasury Board submission, current year funding will be sought through the upcoming supplementary estimates (B) and (C), so it's still too early, Mr. Chair, to estimate exactly how many full-time equivalents or resources we'll require to administer the Canada carbon rebate.
    I mean, $180 million is a fairly significant one-time number.
    This is the sixth budget bill in this Parliament, and every time we get a budget bill, the question is always asked, “Well, how many people we are going to hire?”
    When we do the projections, we have operating and program costs. I provided the clerk with a notice of motion. I don't intend to move it now because I'm in the spirit of collaboration, and it's not fair to my NDP colleague.
    However, the deputy minister of finance and the Treasury Board deputy minister need to show up to this committee to talk about the people plan, because 25% of the government's savings targets are based on shrinking the public service, and yet every single year, when the departmental spending plans come out, they and show that, “Oops, we didn't shrink it. We grew it.” It's unclear to me who's actually looking at the people plan in government, so that's a motion that's put on notice, Mr. Chair.
    I yield the floor back, but I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on that issue.
    Thank you, MP Chambers. I do understand from the clerk that members should have received it in their inboxes, so we will look for that.
    Now we will go to MP Weiler for the next six minutes.
    Thank you to all our witnesses for being here today to answer questions on Bill C-69.
    I will start in part 1 with some of the measures that Ms. Gwyer mentioned in her introduction.
    I hope that Ms. Gwyer or other officials can explain to the committee how the new investment tax credits, particularly on hydrogen and clean-tech manufacturing, will interact with the other investment tax credits that are being implemented through the fall economic statement.
    Basically, as you indicated, this bill implements two new investment tax credits, the clean hydrogen investment tax credit and the clean technology manufacturing tax credit. Those are part of a suite of six investment tax credits that the government has announced. Those six investment tax credits represent the cornerstone of the government's plan for a clean economy. It has two core objectives.
    One is the environmental objective, of course. The second one is very much a competitiveness objective and a response to what we saw in the U.S. with the Inflation Reduction Act. In that regard, these two represent the next two credits in the government plan. That's sort of the big picture.
    If you're asking the technical question as to whether they interact and can be claimed together, the answer is that in general, no. You can't stack them. They're complements. Obviously, if a project has two separate pieces of equipment, one can take one credit if it's eligible, and the other can take the other. That's certainly a possibility, but one doesn't stack on top of the other. They complement each other. They cover a range of clean technologies that the government is seeking to encourage to implement its plan.

(1125)

    Thank you.
    Like Mr. Chambers, I do appreciate some of the information that was sent in advance about these different measures.
    One of them, I think, is very important in looking at the integrity of these investment tax credits. It mentions the clean hydrogen tax credits, which will be done through carbon capture from natural gas, which would be turned into a form of clean hydrogen.
    It mentions that the Environment and Climate Change Canada fuel life cycle assessment model is going to be used to assess the life cycle carbon intensity of a hydrogen project, based on its design.
     The history in Canada, and also around the world, has shown that carbon capture has vastly underperformed expectations, with some facilities only capturing half of what was expected.
    I was hoping that you could explain to this committee how the investment tax credits related to carbon capture—both this one and the one we discussed with the fall economic statement—will ensure integrity for carbon capture in practice, rather than just in theory, before it's built, given that it's an investment tax credit and is provided up front.
    In terms of the clean hydrogen investment tax credit, I think you'll notice that the credit is based on the carbon intensity of the hydrogen produced. Essentially, that looks at the amount of emissions from the beginning of the process, or what is called “cradle to gate”. It's essentially the point where the hydrogen leaves the factory. It's the amount of emissions through that entire production process that establishes the credit rate. Of course, the cleaner the hydrogen—i.e., the lower the emissions—the higher the credit rate will be.
    To your question, in order to reach a level of carbon intensity that allows you to access the credit or to access it at a higher rate, the carbon capture technology has to be effective. It has to be capturing a very high proportion of the carbon and storing it through approved storage mechanisms.
    Essentially, that is what allows you to ensure that the carbon capture technology is working properly. It's stored either underground or in concrete, as in the case for the CCUS tax credit. If that's not effective, then you essentially won't achieve the level of carbon capture intensity that is needed to access the credit.
    I think that answers the question.
    Was there another part?
    Just to follow up on that quickly, what happens if it doesn't perform as well as it's expected to? Is there any way of recapturing this tax credit?
    When you go through the initial project, you have to submit your project plans based on the initial plans for the credit.
    I'm just looking for the technical term here, but I'm not....
    The project plans are submitted. You go through an Environment and Climate Change Canada fuel life cycle assessment. That allows you to establish the credit rate. That's verified by the government. On that basis, the credit is granted.
    Then, after that, there's a five-year period when the carbon emissions are measured and then benchmarked against the actual emissions. If there's a deviation of more than 0.5, then there's effectively a recapture. That basically ensures that the actual performance matches the expected performance. If there are flaws, ultimately, in the actual performance, then there would be a recapture.

(1130)

    Thank you, MP Weiler. That's your time.
    Thank you very much.
    Now we'll go to MP Ste-Marie, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'd like to welcome all the witnesses and thank the senior officials once again for being here. I also want to join Mr. Chambers and Mr. Weiler in thanking them for the incredible quality of the document introducing Bill C‑69, which also includes a questions and answers section. That's very helpful, and we thank them for that.
    My first questions will focus on part 2 of Bill C‑69. I am very pleased to finally see a budget implementation bill include the measures it contains. They will bring about significant economic changes by starting to address tax fairness and equity. I commend the government for putting that forward.
    However, I'm disappointed to see that part 1(b), which deals with international shipping, seeks to exempt Canadian international shipping companies from this global minimum tax of 15%. I can come back to this question a little later, probably with the officials, to discuss this provision, which I will call “the Paul Martin and family clause”.
    Let's go back to part 2, which is 300 pages long with amendments to the Income Tax Act and other acts. I'm not sure I understand all the intricacies that well.
    Corporate income tax doesn't just go to the federal government because part of it goes to the provinces. Alberta and Quebec deal with corporate taxes themselves. However, in part 2, there do not seem to be any provisions for sharing the revenue resulting from this new tax between the federal government and the provinces, or even any mechanisms that would allow Quebec and Ottawa to coordinate their measures to achieve the 15% rate. Is my reading correct?

[English]

     Thank you, Chair, and thank you to the member for those questions.
    The member is correct in stating that the legislation for the new global minimum tax act in part 2 of the bill does not contain a mechanism for sharing the revenues from the pillar two global minimum tax between the federal government and provincial governments.
    The government indicated in budget 2023 that it intended to share with the provinces some portion of the revenues from the pillar two international tax plan that has been led by the OECD's G20 inclusive framework and is being implemented in Canada.
    We don't have any further information at this point in time as to sharing, but we anticipate that the government will be engaging with the provinces in due course on the question of the sharing of revenues from, again, the pillar two international tax reform, which consists of pillar one and the pillar two global minimum tax that is in part 2.
    To be clear, pillar one is not in part 2 of this bill.
    The other point that I would make in response to the member's question is that the pillar two global minimum tax does take into consideration taxes paid at both the federal and provincial levels by the large multinational enterprises that are within the scope of pillar two in determining the effective tax rate of the multinational in Canada for purposes of applying the global minimum tax.

(1135)

[Translation]

    Thank you very much. The answer is very complete and very clear.
    The government has therefore committed to holding discussions with the provinces with a view to transferring at some point some of the revenue generated by this new tax on multinationals. However, there is no mechanism to do so in Bill C‑69.
    If I understand correctly, Mr. Repetto expects the government to take steps with the provinces to reach an agreement. As long as it does not propose an allocation mechanism, Bill C‑69, as it currently stands, will see all the revenue generated by this new tax wind up in federal coffers, and the provinces will not receive any of this revenue, apart from the revenue they already receive. Is that correct?

[English]

    Go ahead, Mr. Repetto.
    Thank you, Chair.
    I'd like to begin by clarifying my previous response, because I want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding.
    In budget 2023, the government indicated that it intended to share a portion of the revenues from the two-pillar international tax reform, which consists, again, of not only the pillar two global minimum tax that is in part 2 of this bill, but also pillar one. I just want to clarify that the government didn't indicate in budget 2023 a specific intention to share a portion of the pillar 2 global minimum tax revenues. It was a portion of the two pillars combined. I just want to clarify that.
    In response to the member's last question, I can confirm that, once again, part 2 of the bill does not contain a mechanism for sharing the revenues from pillar two with the provinces.
    Thank you.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Ste-Marie.
    Thank you very much.

[English]

     Now we'll go to MP Davies, please.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     Thank you to the witnesses for being here.
    I'd like to start with division 3 of part 4, which authorizes the making of payments to the provinces respecting “a national program for providing food in schools”. Is there someone here who can answer that?
    We're here on parts 1 to 3.
    All of you here are just...?
     I think there will be other people here at a later time on part 4.
    Okay. Thank you. I'll leave it at that.
    I'll turn, then, to the global minimum tax. Can you confirm how much additional revenue the global minimum tax is expected to generate in Canada?
    Yes. Budget 2024 presented updated estimates of the projected revenue that we expect will be raised from pillar two. Over the three-year period from 2026-27 to 2028-29, we estimate that the government will raise around $6.6 billion in revenues from pillar two.
     Thank you.
    It's my understanding that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has announced that she is working to carve out an allowance for the U.S. research and development tax credit. Is Canada seeking any similar exemption, to your knowledge?

(1140)

    To my knowledge, our legislation follows the legislation that has been developed at the OECD. We're participating in these discussions, but no agreement has been reached so far, so it's not part of the law.
     Thank you.
    Clause 16 in part 1 includes provisions to deny income tax deductions “for expenses incurred with respect to non-compliant short-term rentals”. I think you touched on that.
    Do you have any estimate of the value of income tax deductions that are expected to be denied to non-compliant short-term rentals?
    We don't have that information at this time. The rules are designed to try to motivate people who are operating non-compliant short-term rentals—that's short-term rentals that are not compliant with the local laws in their province or municipality—to return those housing units to the long-term supply. It's not.... It's difficult at this point to say whether people will continue to operate those non-compliant short-term rentals—
    It's a compliance-generating measure, not a revenue....
     Yes, that's right. It's not.... There's no specific revenue estimate.
    Does the department have any estimate about the value of the tax credits for those that are non-compliant now?
    It's not a tax credit per se. It's just that right now, if they're operating a business, they would be entitled to just the regular deductions that anyone who's operating a business or earning income from property is entitled to—
    I'll rephrase it. Do you have any value of the deductions that are being inappropriately claimed?
     We don't have that information now.
    Again, it's really hard to estimate the number of short-term rentals that are non-compliant, because it is based on municipal and provincial laws and it's also an area where many provinces and municipalities are currently in the process of putting in place those restrictions on short-term rentals. At this point, we don't have a lot of information to be able to estimate those amounts.
     Okay. Thank you.
     In terms of the volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteer tax credits, do you have an estimate of the total value of these tax credits and approximately how many Canadians might qualify for them in a given year?
    We estimate that this measure would generate $105 million in extra tax relief over the 2023-24 to 2028-29 period, or about $20 million a year. Currently, about 44,000 individuals claim the volunteer firefighters' tax credit and another 6,000 claim the search and rescue volunteers' tax credit. There might be some increase from that, but that gives you a sense of the current claimants of these credits.
    Thank you.
     Turning to the refundable income tax credit to qualifying businesses for certain “clean hydrogen projects” and clean-tech manufacturing, I know that in December of last year the Department of Finance released draft legislation for the clean hydrogen investment tax credit and the tech manufacturing tax credit.
    What changes, if any, were made to the draft legislation based on consultations with stakeholders? Was there anything significant?
     Maybe I will start with the clean technology manufacturing investment tax credit and then I will let my colleague take clean hydrogen. There was a fair bit for clean hydrogen.
    On clean technology manufacturing, there weren't many changes. I think one of the key things that came out of the consultations and what we heard was about polymetallic mining and the difficulties and the lack of clarity there. Changes in that regard to allow polymetallic mining, mostly relating to copper, were announced in budget 2024, but those measures aren't part of this bill.
    I will let my colleague answer on clean hydrogen, because there were a fair number of changes and he's more familiar with them.
    Do I get credit for all the steps I'm generating?
    It's not 10,000 yet, but we're working on that.

(1145)

    I'm Tyler Minty, director of the business income tax division.
    With regard to the high-level design of the investment tax credit, the ITC, there were no changes to the initial design details that were provided in budget 2023 and then followed up in the fall economic statement of 2023.
    There were a number of technical adjustments that really don't relate to the high-level design of the tax credit, as well as additional details in terms of administration, the compliance period and that type of thing.
    Obviously these tax credits are intended to help Canada meet our overall strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    Is there any estimate of what impact these measures may have over time in that regard?
    I can take that one.
    As you indicated, that is clearly the intent of these tax credits.
    In the government's approach for estimating emissions, as you're probably aware, every year they put out the emissions projection for the economy. It takes into account the suite of measures that the government has put forward to achieve its objectives, and those projections look at those suites of measures.
    These investment tax credits are part of those suites and are therefore entrenched in those projections.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, MP Davies.
    Members and witnesses, we're moving into our second round. Times are a little different in this round.
    MP Lawrence, go ahead for the next five minutes, please.
    We have heard from the senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, Carolyn Rogers. We have heard from Bill Morneau, John Manly, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Fraser Institute and Dr. Ian Lee, among many others, about Canada's productivity crisis.
    I would like to go over these three sections. Maybe you could quickly point out to me which sections will improve our GDP and by how much you expect GDP per capita to improve.
    We will start with section 1. Could someone tell me which sections will improve our productivity?
    I will start with a broad response.
    The investment tax credits are meant to address investment and competitiveness and to basically enhance the competitiveness of the economy.
    Thank you for that.
    Could you table with the committee any analysis that your department has performed demonstrating that these ITCs will improve productivity?
    We don't have specific numbers. I can see what we can....
    We will move on.
    Thank you, sir.
    I'm sorry.
    With respect to part 2, how much will the implementation of part 2 improve Canada's productivity?
    We don't have specific numbers on part 2. It's a measure, as Peter explained, that's something being done on a global basis along with our peers. It's really about ensuring the competitiveness of Canada's tax system in terms of Canadian companies and ensuring that Canada can collect its appropriate share of tax in that context.
     I understand. Its goal is not to increase productivity.
    I think that's a fair statement.
    Thank you.
    In part 3, what provisions will improve our productivity, and by how much?

[Translation]

    Thank you for the question.
    Part 3 essentially contains measures to generate additional tax revenue. For example, measures on tobacco and vaping products will raise up to $1.6 billion. To my knowledge, there are no measures specifically aimed at increasing productivity.
    Okay.

[English]

    I think it's fair to say that this is not the intent. That's fine.
    I want to move on from there to talk a little bit about part 2, about the global minimum tax. I know that Mr. Davies asked this, but I didn't quite catch it. What was the total revenue to be gained from part 2?

(1150)

    The total revenue was $6.6 billion over a three-year period.
    Merci.
    Perhaps I can follow up on that as well. First, just so I understand, what's the estimated number of Canadian companies that will be caught by this who are sheltering profits in jurisdictions that have less than a 15% tax rate? How many Canadian companies do you expect to be caught by this provision?
    The global minimum tax has actually two components. One would target low tax revenues that are reported outside of Canada and another would apply to low tax revenue earned in Canada. It would apply as well to Canadian companies, Canadian multinational companies. As foreign companies that have operations in Canada, this component would apply to the foreign —
    Thank you for that clarification.
    How many Canadian companies will be caught by that and how many other multinationals operating in Canada will be caught by the provision? If you don't have the number, you can table it with the committee as well.
    We don't have the precise number, because the number of companies that would be caught by the rule would depend on the particular situation of every corporation. The rules apply to groups that have more than—
    I apologize. My time is running out. I can see that the chair is getting ready.
    Could you give us your estimates of the Canadian companies that will be caught by that? You can table it with the committee. That's fine.
    There's another part that I want to ask about really quickly. We're talking about capturing tax evasion here. That is a laudable effort, but could the CRA please answer how many dollars have been collected from the Panama papers and how many convictions there have been?
    If I can just answer your previous question, we estimate that there are around 200 Canadian multinationals that are above the 750-million euro threshold for being in scope of the global minimum tax.

[Translation]

    Thank you for the question. I'm Priceela Pursun, director general of the International and Large Business Directorate at the Canada Revenue Agency. I'm sorry, but the person responsible for the matter you are interested in is absent today.

[English]

    Would you mind tabling that with the committee and sending us a note on that?
    Certainly.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, MP Lawrence. That's the time.
    We will now go to PS Turnbull.
     Thanks, Chair.
    Thanks to all the witnesses for being here today.
    I have a motion to move from the floor. I'm sorry for the slight interruption, but I'm hoping that we can deal with it very swiftly and get back to the testimony that is so important to the pre-study that we're doing.
    I'll read it into the record:
As it relates to the committee's future business, it be agreed that:
i. the committee dedicate its meeting on Thursday, May 9th, 2024, to hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and officials, on the subject matter study of Bill C-69;
ii. the committee dedicate its regular meetings on May 9th, 21st and 23rd, 2024, to consideration of the subject matter study of Bill C-69, barring referral of the bill to committee; and that all evidence gathered as part of the pre-study be considered as evidence in the committee's full study of the bill, once referred to committee;
iii. any amendments to the bill be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024;
iv. clause-by-clause consideration of the bill start no later than 12:00 PM EST on May 27th, 2024, and that the chair be empowered to set up extended hours and request additional House resources on that day; if the committee has not completed clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by 11:00 AM on May 28th, 2024, all remaining amendments submitted to the committee shall be deemed moved, the chair shall put the question, forthwith and successively, without further debate on all remaining clauses and proposed amendments, as well as each and every question necessary to dispose of clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, as well as all questions necessary to report the bill to the House and to order the chair to report the bill to the House as soon as possible;
v. following the completion of the study of Bill C-69, the committee dedicate no less than two meetings on its study on the financialization of housing, followed by no less than two meetings to consider the draft report on the current state of play on green finance, green investment, transition finance and transparency, standards and taxonomy;
vi. the committee dedicate its regular meetings on the week of June 17th, 2024, on the committee's study on inflation in the current Canadian economy.
    I will speak to that. I've sent it to the clerk, Chair, in both official languages.
     We tried to schedule the rest of our meetings in the agenda pre-committee meeting. I note that the chair hasn't been able to report anything back, so we did not achieve consensus. Really, we're hoping to take a very collaborative approach and work with all parties. Unfortunately, we've seen that the Conservatives are not willing to collaborate. Yesterday, we saw the Conservatives in the House move an amendment to delay the second reading of the budget implementation act. I'm bringing this motion forward today because the budget implementation act needs to be the top priority, and I believe that Canadians are truly counting on us.
    I believe very strongly that this budget includes many measures that Canadians really need right now. The national school food program is just one of many that I know Mr. Davies and I and many others have worked on for quite a number of years. We're finally seeing the commitment to a billion dollars over five years. Feeding an additional 400,000 kids per year is truly gratifying to see in this year's BIA. We need to get that accomplished. Canadian families certainly are relying on us.
    The Conservatives stand up every day in the House and cite increasing food bank lineups. I think it's pretty inconsistent with the position that they seem to be purporting to hold, which is that somehow they care about families who are suffering from food insecurity but are then not supporting a budget that's attempting to feed 400,000 more kids in Canada.

(1155)

     We know that the investment tax credits in this budget, as we've already heard this morning—the clean tech manufacturing ITC and the clean hydrogen ITC—are things that industry is asking for. They have been asking for us to fast-track these ITCs. They need predictable timelines for their implementation. Many of the large projects to decarbonize our economy are relying on those ITCs to move forward.
    On research funding, I was in my riding and met with researchers at the Ontario Tech University, which is my local university. The researchers were ecstatic about the $3.5 billion for science and research that is in this budget, the tri-council funding, the research infrastructure, and the additional dollars for grads, post-grads and fellows.
    Those are things that Canadian researchers are counting on. They'll prevent brain drain in our economy. These things have been cited for quite some time. Many Conservative members have actually advocated to address brain drain in this country. I hope that we're aligned on wanting to get those budget measures through the committee and back to the House as soon as possible.
    With respect to housing, I talked to a senior from my riding yesterday who's concerned about rental construction and our need for more affordable rental housing. There is a significant amount of financing for more rental construction in this budget. There are also infrastructure dollars to help municipalities and provinces that are struggling to fund some of the infrastructure for new housing development.
    The budget includes the Canada carbon rebate for small businesses. I will note that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business was very vocal about this and the Conservatives were very vocal about it, yet they're going to stand against a budget that will get those returns back to small businesses across the country. I note that the number is 600,000.
    There is a major investment in artificial intelligence of $2.4 billion in this budget. It proposes to increase productivity across Canada, and it will have a significant impact in future years.
    I will also just note quickly that the employee ownership trust is another measure that's in here. The incentives are included in this year's BIA. They're essential for ensuring that there's an uptake of that option, that succession model that will allow owners to sell to their employees. It is an exceptional measure for the redistribution of wealth in a way that also protects Canadian businesses.
    Last, I also will just say that between our last meeting and this meeting, I ensured that I kept my word to the committee. I have secured the Deputy Prime Minister to come to the committee on Thursday for an hour of testimony. I truly hope that we can dispense with this motion quickly so that we don't jeopardize that appearance and can hear the important testimony from our Minister of Finance, who's ultimately accountable for this budget.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, for indulging me. I look forward to dispensing with this motion quickly.

(1200)

    Thank you, PS Turnbull.
    I do have a speaking list. I have MP Lawrence, MP Dzerowicz, MP Ste-Marie and MP Chambers.
    Thank you.
    I'm disappointed that this heavy-handed motion has been brought forward by the Liberals.
     I think in the most recent fall economic statement, while certainly pointing out the flaws, Conservatives were co-operative. In this budget, we moved right through it. I'm sure that if Canadians saw the first couple of rounds of questions, they would have seen very thoughtful questions that were there to help Canadians.
    I believe that in most cases, it's best that cooler heads prevail. What I would suggest, with unanimous consent of the committee, is that we adjourn this debate until the end of the meeting so that we can hear from these very hard-working, brilliant and professional members of our civil service.
    I heard a no.
    I do see hands up.
    MP Dzerowicz, is your hand still up? You don't know. I saw you say no.
    It's MP Ste-Marie, then.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'm really disappointed with this motion. I find that it's disrupting the work that the Standing Committee on Finance must do on Bill C‑69. As Mr. Turnbull said, the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure has not been able to come to an agreement. Basically, I think we could try to work on a motion that would focus solely on Bill C‑69. As for what happens next, there would be other discussions.
    The number of hours proposed for the study of Bill C‑69 is really insufficient. In fact, if I understand correctly, we're going to have very little time today to ask the senior officials questions on parts 1 to 3 of the bill. Personally, I still have a lot of questions to ask. In my opinion, even if we didn't debate this motion, we could run out of time, which means that we would not have the answers to all our questions.
    Only one hour to study part 4 is clearly not enough. We need to take the time to do things right. I would remind my colleagues that part 4 implements an open banking system. This is something new, and we need to take the time to reflect on it. In addition, what the government is proposing goes against the wishes of the Canadian Bankers Association and a number of financial institutions, if I'm not mistaken.
    This bill is not aligned with the laws of the various provinces. To my knowledge, no consultations have taken place between the government or the departments and their counterparts in Quebec and the provinces. If they did happen, it was very recently. We have a lot of questions about that. In addition, a number of things need to be improved. Several details seem technical, but they will have major repercussions.
    I'll give you an example. There's a bank that doesn't call itself a bank in Alberta, and it's owned by the provincial government, the Alberta government. If that institution wanted to be part of open banking, it would have to come under federal jurisdiction, at least for the part about open banking. We have to wonder why anyone would want to duplicate legal services and legal advice. That's a major concern.
    It's the same thing with credit unions. If memory serves, in British Columbia, lawmakers didn't allow credit unions to come under federal jurisdiction. What about that part? Are we creating a two-tiered open banking system, that is to say for banks under federal jurisdiction and for other institutions under provincial jurisdiction? We have a lot of concerns about that. So I'm going to have a lot of questions for the officials on this. In addition, the committee is going to have to call many witnesses.
    The committee must proceed with the study of a mammoth 660-page bill that affects a number of acts, makes a lot of amendments and contains a number of elements to be covered. Are we saying that we're going to finish studying the bill this week, hear from witnesses for two two-hour periods and move to clause-by-clause consideration immediately afterwards? In my opinion, that's woefully inadequate.
    During the pandemic, the government urged us to pass bills. We did it on the fly, but there were a lot of mistakes. A number of things had to be corrected because the committee didn't have the time it needed to do its work properly.
    This bill is 660 pages of jargon that's incomprehensible to the average person. It will take time for all stakeholders in society to read it, to reflect on it and to see whether it meets their expectations or causes problems. Therefore, we have to give all stakeholders a little time so that they can get an idea of the bill and contact us individually to share their concerns with us.
    There's not enough time allotted, obviously. Let's take the example of Bill C‑59, Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2023, which wasn't as significant. We spent 20 hours hearing from witnesses. Four hours are being proposed now for Bill C‑69. The officials will have been here for an hour, maybe a little longer, if we can get through this. A single hour to study part 4 is clearly not enough.

(1205)

    I also want to remind you that, recently, the Minister of Finance has spent only one hour at committee when she comes. However, Mr. Morneau very often stayed two hours to answer our questions. There are so many things to deal with in this bill. One hour is not enough time to ask questions.
    In my opinion, it will take much longer than what's being proposed to properly study Bill C‑69, improve it and ensure that everything is in order. We had 20 hours to question witnesses on Bill C‑59, but only four hours have been proposed for Bill C‑69. That's unacceptable.
    The minister should come for two hours, as Mr. Morneau did most of the time, if I'm not mistaken. We would also have to extend the deadline in order to do our work properly, which would mean holding meetings during constituency week, I believe. No one wants to do that, but if the government is in such a hurry, we will have to do it. We will also need to have additional meetings at least a week later to make sure that all stakeholders in the economy have had time to take note of the 660 highly complex pages of the bill, that everything is in order and that there's no distortion. Then, of course, we will have to withdraw what comes after the study of Bill C‑69 if we pass this motion.
    So I have a lot of reservations about this motion. In my opinion, it's completely unacceptable in its current form and I won't be able to support it. In fact, I find it very cavalier to propose such a motion, which I would describe as a gag order, to take up the debate without warning while the senior officials are here to answer our questions. We have to react to it immediately, as we were unable to read it in advance.
    Those are my initial comments. I'm sure I will have more.

(1210)

    Thank you, Mr. Ste‑Marie.

[English]

     I have MPs Chambers, Dzerowicz, Morantz, Lawrence and Davies.
    Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
    I appreciate the spirit of collaboration the parliamentary secretary showed by showing up to committee and not sharing his motion in advance with the members. That's very, very collaborative.
    Obviously, we're not going to agree to the motion as it's drafted in its current form. We've been doing this every single year. Wisdom has been chasing this government for a very long time; it just hasn't caught up with it yet. We do this every single year. We're in the same position. If you want MP Rick Perkins to come in to talk about elvers for another 40 hours, he's on deck. That's no problem. We can make that happen.
    However, in the interest of trying to get something done, why don't we park the clause-by-clause date? You can bring it back later. If you want to bring it back on Thursday, that's fine. If you strike that from the motion right now, we can continue with our meeting and we can revisit that on Thursday. We can revisit it when we get back. That would be acceptable, at least to me; I won't speak on behalf of my colleagues.
    I will just mention getting lectured about people visiting food banks. Stats Canada is going to release their household income survey in probably a week, and I'm not really sure you're going to want to be patting yourselves on the back for the work the government's done, because the survey is going to show that tens of thousands of people are falling below the poverty line. I don't really think lecturing people on food bank lines is a winning strategy for you.
    Of course, we also know that one of the requests we've had at this committee is to have Governor Carney show up. He was at a Senate committee last week, so apparently it's okay for him to appear at the Senate committee. If we were to arrange for Governor Carney to come here, I think we would be able to move this motion forward. If that's acceptable to the government, they'll let us know.
    In the interest of time and with the nice officials we have here, if we struck the clause-by-clause end date, we could move on. I'm not really sure that's going to be possible, so we'll get Rick Perkins all dialed up and ready to come in to talk about elvers.
    Thanks, Mr. Chair.
     Thank you, MP Chambers.
    I have MPs Dzerowicz, Morantz, Lawrence and Davies.
    Mr. Chair, if you could put me at the end of the list, I would like to hear from my other colleagues first.
     Thank you.
    Okay. Thank you, MP Dzerowicz.
    I have MP Morantz next, and then MPs Lawrence, Davies and Dzerowicz.
    Well, I have to say that it's very disappointing to have this motion thrust upon us in the middle of our consideration of Bill C-69. It's an attempt to program the rest of our meetings before the summer break, literally to the end of June, basically.
    Really, what I'm concerned about is that we have I don't know how many officials here. For the people watching, Mr. Chair, do you know how many officials are here from the finance department?
     Can I ask you, Ms. Gwyer, how many of your officials are here in the room?
    I think there are about eight or so.
    How many?
    I think there are maybe eight or 10 or so from the finance department.
    There are eight or 10 finance officials here to answer questions on a bill.
     Again, for all the many people who are watching this meeting right now, I think it's important for them to understand that this bill is another omnibus budget bill from this government. It's 659 pages long. It has 468 clauses. This committee meets roughly only twice a week for two hours, so we need every possible moment to examine this document and/or ask the questions that people expect us to ask. We have all these excellent officials here today who have the answers to our questions, and now we've been stopped from asking them, over a self-centred, overbearing, centrally planned Liberal motion that basically tries to neuter our ability to ask questions about this massive document.
     It's very, very disappointing, Mr. Chair, and I certainly echo the comments of all of my colleagues.
    I think one of the things that the Liberal members.... Maybe because Mr. Turnbull is new to this committee, he's forgotten that more people voted for Conservatives in both the 2019 and the 2021 elections than for Liberals and that in fact they're not a majority government. They're a minority government, and they can't just dictate to the committee what it is we're going to study and when we're going to study it. That has to be worked out.
    If there is some reason that they can't modify this motion to come to an acceptable arrangement, I think that's on them. They need to work in the spirit of collaboration and reach across the aisle, as Conservatives do every day, but they're just not willing to. They have deluded themselves into thinking that they're still a majority government, but they're not, and of course they won't be government much longer—everyone knows that—so they're bringing in these heavy-handed motions to try to map out the agenda for their government in their dying days to try to basically get through as much harmful legislation for Canadians as they possibly can.
     I have a lot of questions. I have questions about the small business rebate. I have questions about the journalism tax rebate, the short-term rental adjustments, the underused housing tax and the alternative minimum tax. However, I'm being basically prevented from asking my questions of officials because of this heavy-handed motion.
    Those are basically my comments, Mr. Chair. I think that Canadians watching will be as appalled as I am at the heavy-handed tactics of the Liberal members on this committee and will understand that they are not provided with the benefits of having their elected officials ask questions of finance officials about this 659-page omnibus budget.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.

(1215)

    Thank you, MP Morantz.
    I have MP Lawrence and then MP Davies and MP Dzerowicz.
     I have a quick technical question for the clerk.
    If I make a motion to adjourn, I still get the floor even if I'm unsuccessful. I get to continue. Is that correct?
     On a motion to adjourn, there is no debate. It will go directly to a vote.
    No, I mean after the vote: Do I get the floor back? I'm sorry if I didn't clarify.
    If it were defeated, yes, you would get the floor back, because you have the floor.
     Thank you.
    I move to adjourn the debate and I ask for a recorded vote, please.
    We'll have a recorded vote.
    (Motion negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
    I'll carry on—
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    We have a point of order.
     There's a lot of intellectual capacity in this room right now. I recommend that we allow our witnesses the opportunity to leave if they choose.
    I think we're going to keep the officials here.
    Go ahead.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I am really disappointed that the Liberals did not choose to circulate the motion beforehand. In having discussions and negotiations before with Mr. Terry Beech and Ms. Bendayan—as well as Mr. Baker, I might add—I've never had that happen, not once in about two years on this committee now.
     In fact, once the chair and I got in a bit of a tiff and he said to me, “You have my phone number. Give me a call.” Maybe Mr. Turnbull simply didn't have our phone numbers, but I think that's probably not correct.
     He did not even give us a chance to circulate that motion, and now we're wasting time. We've proven through that vote on the adjournment that neither the NDP nor the Liberals are serious about doing the people's business. Instead, they want to bicker about the schedule on the time of our civil servants.
    As Mr. Chambers said, there is a lot of intellectual capacity over there, and I would like to see their time spent in a more value way than in hearing the machinations, discussions and arguments of parliamentarians over relatively trivial matters such as scheduling.
    The reality is that the Conservatives have been constructive, if not co-operative. On the fall economic statement, I don't remember a budget bill passing as quickly as that one did. I can't remember one in recent history, even going back to majority governments. Even though Conservatives did not agree, we certainly did our democratic duty by pointing out the weaknesses, and we were constructive if not co-operative, as I said.
    This motion is definitely striking a different tone, and of course it will have consequences. There is just no way that.... It has certainly the trust I had in building trust with the members on the other side.
    Just to put some context to the issue of where we are and why the Conservatives are extremely skeptical about the impact of this budget, it's because the Liberal government didn't just get elected today. The Liberals aren't in opposition. They've been in government for the last nine years, and we've seen an economic lost decade. That means zero economic growth per capita. That is a scary place to be.
    That means our standard of living has not increased in 10 years. Sure, they'll point to the pandemic and other issues as to why this should have happened, but this isn't the case in many of our direct comparables. For example, in the United States, the GDP per capita has gone up 50%, while ours has gone up a paltry 4%, so we're in the midst of a lost decade here.
    We have record food bank usage and we have people who are struggling to get by. As I said, these Liberals didn't get elected last week; it's been nine years.
    I beseech them to just go out and talk to their constituents. How many of them think they're better off than they were in 2015? I'll tell you that if I walk around my neighbourhood, there won't be many people who say, ”Yes, I'm doing better than in 2015”, and I'm not being partisan. This is just the reality of it.
    Under Prime Minister Harper, we had balanced budgets, we had housing that cost literally half as much, we had rentals that were half as much, we had food prices that were under control and we had a much stronger economy. We actually had economic growth, whereas under this Liberal government, we've seen surging food bank usage.
    As Mr. Chambers alluded to, we have more and more statistics coming in about the challenges Canadians have. We can certainly look at statistics, but I don't even need to look at the numbers that would, no doubt, validate the anecdotal evidence.
     However, when I go out in the constituency and I talk to folks, I can't tell you how many heartbreaking stories—and I mean this in all seriousness—I have to hear about person after person who has simply more month than money, whether it be the single mom who has to use a food bank, even though she has a job—and I've had those conversations—or the young couple who got married and, with great excitement, bought a house, getting ready to start their family—but then their mortgage went from a little shy of $3,000 a month to $9,000 a month, and they had to sell their house and basically go to zero again on their finances for a house.

(1220)

    Canadians are struggling out there. You guys talk about how this budget is going to be this magic panacea, but you've done that for nine years now. I have heard how budget 2022 or budget 2021 or the budget in 2016, 2017 or 2018 was going to magically solve all of Canada's problems. Well, guess what? We're here now. Look outside. Times are tough.
    Unemployment is creeping up steadily. It's up to 6.1% and climbing. Inflation still remains outside the Bank of Canada's set range. So we have high inflation. We have interest rates that have climbed to record high levels and remain high, and I can't believe we actually haven't had more coverage or more questions about how the Governor of the Bank of Canada—or its board, more correctly—was telling us that he hasn't decided whether interest rates will go up or down, but the Prime Minister is saying he guarantees that interest rates will come down.
    That should not happen in a G7 country. You shouldn't have the leader of the executive telling the independent central bank what it's going to do. That just should not happen, and we still haven't received, and I haven't received, an explanation. I've asked the government about this with respect to who is right— the Governor of the Bank of Canada or the Prime Minister—and I have still not received an accurate explanation.
    I'm fresh off the prayer breakfast this morning. It was a great event, and I heard the Prime Minister's remarks and of course those of the leader of the opposition, as well as those of some other notable individuals. I'm actually taken by some of the humility the Prime Minister showed at the prayer breakfast and I wish some of his MPs would exemplify some of the words the Prime Minister brought to the prayer breakfast with respect to realizing that we need co-operation, that this is teamwork and that we are in troubled waters.
    As the Prime Minister said at the prayer breakfast, we are in troubled waters. We are facing significant challenges, whether they be the affordability crisis or climate change, and they require teamwork, but in this instance we've been given an ultimatum motion. I don't know what else to call it. It's certainly heavy-handed, and as I said, I've been negotiating and working on negotiating for the better part of two years now through many different budget bills, and I've never seen this. I've never seen the government plop something on the desk and say, “Take it or leave it.”
    We're not asking for anything extraordinary here. We just want to talk to the officials who have come prepared. They always give excellent testimony and they always do their best, and it's very enlightening for me to have those discussions. That's all that Conservatives want to get accomplished. We'll work away at this. We still have many hours of testimony to hear. There's no need for this heavy-handed motion. We can work together, negotiate a solution and find a way so that Conservatives can be the voice of the voiceless, those single moms who are struggling to get by, those business owners who are seeing their lifetime of hard work evaporate in front of their faces and those homeowners who have seen their mortgage payments go up sometimes two or three times.
    We need to get that out, and I don't apologize for that. We need to be the voice for those who are struggling, the most vulnerable in our society, but we can do it in a constructive way. This heavy-handed technique is just not helpful. It limits debate. It limits our ability to fight for those who aren't in Ottawa.
    I was elected by the 100,000 folks from Northumberland—Peterborough South, soon to be Northumberland—Clarke, and I'm here to represent them. I said that Conservatives have been constructive throughout the fall economic statement, and we have been constructive here.

(1225)

     We were having a great discussion. I very much appreciate some of my colleagues' questions with respect to the global minimum tax. I think it's a rich area for discussion and debate. Quite frankly, it's a technical discussion that requires a lot of the expertise we have here today in order to inform Canadians, because most folks don't get up in the morning and think, “You know what? What I'm going to talk about today is a global minimum tax regime.” However, it would certainly have an impact on our ability to fund social programs. It would also have an effect on our economy. Canadians need to be more aware of these issues. Who better to bring to that discussion than some of our terrific civil servants, who are able to carry that discussion?
    Specifically, if this meeting hadn't been ambushed by the Liberals' heavy-handed motion and if we had been given the opportunity to ask more questions, I would have loved to talk a bit more about the Panama papers and the CRA's failure to fully investigate and convict some of Canada's most egregious tax evaders. In a lot of ways, journalists did a lot of the work of the Canada Revenue Agency. While this government seems intent on getting their pound of salt—and I might say quite successfully—from the middle class, the super-wealthy, under this Liberal government over the last nine years, have done quite well. They continue to do quite well, whether it be by moving dollars offshore or, as the Prime Minister has done, by putting their money in trust funds to avoid higher rates of taxation.
    We could have had a very substantive discussion about the bill. Quite frankly, I really enjoy some of the technical discussions and getting into the weeds. I know other members do. It's getting underneath the hood, finding out what is wrong and coming up with specific technical answers with respect to some of these budgetary moments.
    Another area I would have loved to talk about is the employee ownership trust tax exemption. I think the employee ownership trust is, at least in theory and the big picture, a very good idea. It's been implemented in a number of countries around the world, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, I believe, with pretty good results. The whole idea behind that is to encourage business owners and allow businesses to flourish by having their business go on to those who have sweated, toiled and built the business into what it is. It has generally, as an approach, had conservative, liberal and socialist support because it hits on many different elements. I can remember learning, back in my MBA, that the likelihood of a business making it from one generation to the next is actually very low. I think it's around 20%. To make it to a third generation is actually in the single digits. Allowing employees to have ownership is beneficial both to the business owner and to the employees as they go forward.
     I would have loved a technical discussion about that. Unfortunately, the technical briefing—which I know our civil servants worked very hard on—came right on the heels of our doing clause-by-clause study for the fall economic statement, so I wasn't able to dig into the BIA much in the technical briefing. Therefore, I was very much looking forward to the testimony today and to digging into those commentaries so that I could do my job as a member of the finance committee and a parliamentarian and fully understand these provisions and be able to explain them.
    The other area I'm looking forward to talking about—and I don't believe it's in part 1, 2 or 3—is the Canadian entrepreneurs' incentive with the lifetime capital gains exemption.

(1230)

     What this adds is an additional portion of reducing it from an inclusion rate, or I guess a future inclusion rate—we'll see when the capital gains bill comes in. This contemplates that being in place, reducing it from 66% to 33%, but has a number of different criteria on that. I was curious as to how that would actually be technically input as well.
     All this is to say, Mr. Chair, that I'm extremely disappointed in the parliamentary secretary. Maybe he's new to this, Chair, and just doesn't understand how this can work and that we can collaborate. I would put in front of him the references of Mr. Terry Beech and also maybe even the deputy leader and Minister of Finance, who, yesterday in question period, actually was quite kind and said that she respected me. She did, then, say something disrespectful about me, but she did say that she respected me. Maybe he could talk to his boss about what she thinks of me and what type of negotiating partner I could be. This motion didn't even give the Conservatives an option to negotiate.
     I would be remiss, too, if I didn't talk a little bit about the NDP. I was very pleased and, I guess, maybe proud of the relationship I had with Mr. Blaikie, and hopefully he would say the same thing about me. Although we disagreed on about 97% of everything, especially when it came to economics, he was always conducting himself honourably. We certainly had some lengthy negotiations. Those didn't all come to fruition, but he was always up front with me. Certainly I felt as though he wanted to do things the right way.
    I don't really know Mr. Davies. I know his reputation of being a solid parliamentarian. I'm a little surprised that Mr. Davies didn't come and talk to us about this motion before. Clearly the NDP and the Liberals have already talked about it. They are coalition partners. I did know Mr. Blaikie to actually be quite independent, and he would not fall hook, line and sinker for what the Liberals were feeding him. I'm a little challenged by the fact that Mr. Davies didn't come to us with a discussion before the fact so that we wouldn't have had to go from zero to 90.
    Quite frankly, I guess I could comprehend the actions of both the NDP and the Liberals if the Conservatives were being obstructionist, and perhaps they felt in their own way that it was essential for them to move forward with this and that the Conservatives would obstruct.
     The fall economic statement was both constructive.... We just have to look at the clause-by-clause study, where, at Mr. Davies' request, we actually started grouping the clauses and expediting them. We were under no obligation to do so. Actually, when you look back at the time on debate during clause-by-clause consideration, the Conservatives actually had the lowest amount of time of all the parties, with the exception of the Bloc Québécois. We were actually very expedient in making our comments and expressing our disappointment with the fall economic statement while, once again, being constructive.
    The Conservatives are very concerned. We also heard from the Bloc Québécois that those parties not in a coalition government want the opportunity to explain to the Canadian people the challenges around this budget.
    As I said, I sometimes feel that we are in an alternative universe, that the Liberals somehow believe this is the first day they have to govern, every day, like in Groundhog Day. This is going to be the day. This is going to be the budget bill. This is going to be the thing that changes.
    Well, guys, we keep going further into debt. Our GDP doesn't keep growing. We don't keep hitting our climate change targets, except for, I know, during the pandemic when the economy was shut down, guys. If you want that, it's yours.

(1235)

     Whether it be climate change, whether it be food bank usage, whether it be the GDP or whether it be growth, we continue to go down. Things get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse. Then you come to us and say, “Why don't you help us make it worse faster, Mr. Lawrence? Why don't you do that?”
    My apologies to the interpreters. I get a little excited.
    Look at your record. Your record is abysmal. Philip Cross, noted statistician and former head of Statistics Canada, said that this is the worst economic record since the Great Depression. If you look at the GDP per capita, you see that we're actually in our seventh quarter of negative GDP per capita. There's a strong argument that we should measure recessions on total GDP. Our GDP is masked by our high population growth, so it looks higher than it actually is. If we look at the GDP per Canadian, the economic output per Canadian—the prosperity of each Canadian, in other terms—we see that we have had seven quarters of decline. We would be in one of the longest recessions since the Great Depression if we measured GDP per capita. While Canada is not in a recession, Canadians most certainly are.
    You can probably excuse my frustration when I hear folks say, “This budget bill will be the one. This is the magic pill. This is the magic bean that will make everything all right.” Well, I have now been elected for close to five years, as it were, and I've heard, through multiple budget cycles, that this piece of legislation is the one that will finally help Canadians. The reality is that when I go back to my constituents, they are consistently worse off because of this federal government.
    The carbon tax is absolutely crushing Canadians. It increases the cost of home heating, fuel and food. Of course, we heard the demagoguery with respect to the carbon tax. The Liberals will say that Canadians get back more than they pay, but that's not true. The Liberals play a shell game with words.
    With respect to the carbon tax, there are two different types of costs that Canadians focus on. One is the fiscal cost. That's the direct impact. That's what you pay for the carbon tax at the gas pumps, etc., and what you get back in terms of a rebate. The other part that the Liberals don't acknowledge is the economic impact. What does that mean? Well, a cascading effect happens when farmers and business owners pay carbon tax. When a farmer pays carbon tax, because they are price-takers and not price-givers, that cost will get passed on to the consumer. Literally everything in the grocery store, because it all had to be transported, has a hidden carbon tax in it. Therefore, when you add the fiscal and the economic impacts, more than six out of 10 Canadian households are actually losing money.
    That's a shell game that Liberals will play. They'll just talk about the fiscal financial impact without talking about the economic impact. The truth is that you have both. All Canadians are facing both the fiscal financial impact and the economic impact. When those things are added up, in every province the average household is at a net loss position. That's the reality of the carbon tax and what Canadians are playing against.
    It also gets to the fact that because of stretching the truth in arguments like that, we really need to dig into that and understand it. You can understand why Conservatives want to have discussions, and lengthy discussions, about the budget. It's important for us to understand it.

(1240)

     Ultimately, there's nothing magical about me, Jas, Adam or Marty, but we are the representatives. Our office is magical. All of our 338—soon to be 343—offices are magical, because they represent the voice and the will of the people. That's what separates Canada from many other places in the world that don't have rights or that don't have the ability to vote in or vote out their leaders.
    When we look at that office, you can certainly feel free not to respect me or other Conservative members, but you should have respect for Parliament. Parliament is the very base of our democracy, and it's critical that we are given the time to understand legislation. This bill is over 600 pages, and it modifies or amends hundreds of other pages.
    To fully understand this legislation will take hours and hours and hours of study. There is no doubt that there will be commentary from across the country from different organizations and various industries. I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that every single Canadian will be affected by this budget in some way or other. Conservatives want to get this right.
    Right now, we would like to be sitting here and talking to officials, as we were constructively doing before the parliamentary secretary brought forward a motion that he kept in secret, unwilling to share and discuss it with Conservative members—

(1245)

    I have a point of order.
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull, on a point of order.
    I don't want to cut off the soliloquy there, because it was very good and very well spoken, even though I agree with almost nothing that the member said, but I didn't keep this motion in secret. It's exactly identical to what we've discussed.
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, what's the point of order?
    Your point of order, MP Turnbull, is what?
    What rule in the book is he relying on for his point of order, Mr. Chair?
    MP Turnbull, what is the point of order?
    The point of order is that the member is claiming something that is untrue.
    Okay, thank you, MP Turnbull.
    We have—
    I have a point of order that is a bit more appropriate.
    Go ahead on a point of order, MP Davies.
    I appreciate my friend's eloquence and articulacy, and I know there is a wide latitude of where we can go, but the motion under consideration is a programming motion to schedule the meetings on the budget. If he could try to keep his comments towards that, as opposed to a wide-ranging discussion of the carbon tax, which I think is beyond the scope of the motion under consideration, that would be helpful.
    He has mentioned several times that he wants to be constructive, but there are others who want to speak on this as well. He's mentioned me in particular, and I'm wondering if we're going to get a chance to talk. I have not yet had a chance to speak at this meeting on this motion.
    I'm wondering if his spirit of constructiveness would extend to allowing people to have a chance. I do have something to propose as well that might help.
    Thank you, MP Davies. You are next on the list.
    MP Lawrence, please stick to the motion and to relevance, please.
    Yes, I will, 100%. Thank you very much.
    I yield the time.
    Thank you.
    We'll move on to MP Davies.
    I then have MP Dzerowicz, MP Hallan and MP Morantz after that.
     Thank you.
    Thank you to my colleague for that. I appreciate it.
    I want to get to something constructive, because that's where I think we need to be. However, I have a few comments to make just prior to that.
    Just to set the record somewhat straight, I'll say that I'm new to this committee. I've been on the committee for only three weeks. One thing that I believe is important is that in a minority parliament, as has been pointed out, we try to seek a consensus on how we get business done. No party can dominate in a situation like this. Frankly, even in majority governments, I don't think a majority can ever be used in a tyrannical way, but there has to be attention paid to other parties so that other priorities can make it to the committee's business.
    I think it's important to note that we did meet last week, and I was the person who proposed that we have a subcommittee on the agenda so that we could meet in camera. I'm not going to discuss anything that was said at that meeting, but the purpose of that meeting was to try to get an agreement on the scheduling for the next two months. Many of the issues that have been canvassed here today were precisely the subjects that we intended to talk about at that meeting. Therefore, it's not quite accurate to say that where we are at this moment is a surprise to anybody, because we specifically talked about each and every meeting between now and the end of June in our subcommittee meeting and tried to arrive at an acceptable agenda that met everybody's goals to some extent.
    On the motion that's been put forward today, for the record, I saw this motion for the first time last night at quite a late time, but there's no real issue of any intent to offend any of my colleagues on this committee.
    I do want to say that we're sitting seven of the last eight weeks. We have one break week in there. I do want to say that in terms of the break week.... By the way, if ever there was a less apt name for a week, it's “break week”. As all of us know, the last thing we all do when we go back to our ridings is have any break at all. However, it is a critical time to meet constituents and to consult. I know we're all just as busy as always, if not more busy, when we go our constituencies.
    I jealously and assiduously guard that break week. It's the only one we have, and I think it's really important for some work-life balance as well, but unfortunately, that week takes out time when we could schedule meetings.
    I did some quick research, and I found that in 2023 we spent 15.5 hours of witness time on the budget. In 2022, we spent 18 hours of witness time on the budget. That's excluding clause-by-clause consideration. I didn't go back to what was done before then, but if those are representative samples, that gives me a bit of an idea.
    I want to say that I empathize. I've been in opposition my entire time on the Hill. I'm sorry, but I'll say it every time I hear it: We're not in a coalition government. I wish we were, but we're not in a coalition government. We don't have any cabinet seats. We don't get to make decisions. We have the confidence and supply agreement. I know that's a nice slogan that gets thrown around, but I don't think it does our political atmosphere any good to use terms that don't accurately describe the real situation.
    However, being in opposition, I empathize with my Conservative colleagues when we talk about fighting to make sure that we have enough time to properly debate bills. I want to preface my proposal by saying this: Often when a bill comes to committee—just your garden variety of bill—that we've not seen before or had any study on, it's fresh. We don't know much about it, and we really need to hear from a broad variety of stakeholders and probe new concepts in order to do our job properly at committee.
    A budget, to me, is a bit of a different type of bill. First of all, you have pre-budget hearings. I haven't had the pleasure of sitting in on them, but I have commiserated with and watched many previous finance critics as they go through days and days of—and travel across the country for—pre-budget hearings to hear from stakeholders. I presume it happened with this budget too.
    Then we have pre-budget major announcements. I remember a day when budgets were secret until they were announced in the House.

(1250)

     It started with the Conservatives, actually. It's been a slow erosion of that over the last, I'd say, 10 years. In this case here, we did see major announcements made about the budget for several weeks in advance. Then we saw the budget itself.
    I think we all have to acknowledge that a 416-page document has been published that contains pretty much everything about the budget. We've had a chance to read that and to study it. We've had budget lock-ups. Then we had budget briefings. Then we had the ways and means motion that was tabled. I had briefings, as I'm sure we all did. We were offered those on the budget.
    When this budget implementation act comes to this committee, it's a little disingenuous to suggest that this is brand new and that we have to probe in all sorts of interesting areas. We're well aware of what's in this budget. We're well aware of what we like and, more importantly, what we don't like. We're prepared, in a way that we're not for any other bill, to probe in those areas.
    We don't need 65 meetings on this budget, given the preparatory work that goes into the preparation of this budget, in the way that we would on other things. When the issue is something like medical assistance in dying or something like that, it can take months and months to canvass, and it should.
    I do note that with Bill C-59, which was my inauguration to this committee, we had 20 hours of hearings. I have to say, with that 20 hours, and I think I've said this before, that I noticed a lot of repetitive testimony. We were hearing from multiple witnesses who were saying the same thing over and over again. I think that easily could have been cut by 50% or maybe more. We still would have gotten the thrust of the testimony. There were amendments made, I think from all parties, that were well crafted and that made the bill better, so I think that was important to do.
    I do have to correct a couple of things that my Conservative colleague said. I think he said that the Harper government balanced its budget. I happened to have been in the House from 2008 to 2015. I missed 2006, and the truth is that the Harper government had seven consecutive deficits in a row, and it only tabled what it claimed to be a balanced budget in year eight, which was the election year. I think that turned out to be a deficit budget when the numbers rolled in anyway.
    I just have to correct that for the record. I'm not taking a shot, but whether a budget was balanced or not is a matter of numbers and facts, and that's just a fact.
    I also want to say that in terms of this budget, I don't share a lot of the perspectives, reasons and policies of my Conservative colleagues, but I do agree that the budget is very important. I think we come at it from different ends. I also very much share my colleague's eloquent description of the difficulty that many Canadians are facing right now. There's no question about that. I don't know if I'd say that Canada could be in a recession, but Canadians are. I'll have to ponder that one for a while. I don't think they can be. However, I can say that millions and millions of Canadians, particularly low-income and middle-income Canadians, are struggling. I'm not sure everybody is. I think there's a sector, maybe the top quartile of this population, that's probably doing very well, maybe better than normal. However, millions of Canadians are not.
    Therefore, I've come to a conclusion that is the complete opposite of that of my Conservative colleague, and it is that I think those people need assistance as fast as possible. This budget has things like pharmacare. I am biased and I'm shaped by the eight years I spent as health critic. I heard too many stories of people suffering, living with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, through no choice of their own, who were out of pocket thousands of dollars every year, and they're also struggling with the high costs of food and rent, etc. They're the same kind of people who were accurately described by my colleague.
    If this pharmacare legislation passes—this money that's in the bill and the legislation in the House, which, by the way, the Conservatives are holding up and are trying to block right now—and gets royal assent by the end of June, you could have the federal government negotiating with provinces as early as July and August, and that would result in free diabetes medication. I negotiated the formulary for 11 kinds of insulin, SDG inhibitors, life-saving medication for free, including the devices, needles, syringes, test strips, pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

(1255)

     I heard some stories of people who have children who are five years old, of parents who have to wake their child up every hour and a half at night. Imagine waking your child up at one in the morning, then at 2:30 in the morning, then at four in the morning and then going to work—never mind the trouble to the child—because you're not sure if their blood sugar levels are going to spike in the middle of the night.
    This legislation would deliver them a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump so that the child can sleep through the night and those parents don't have to go to work the next day sleep deprived, never mind the out-of-pocket expenses. Do you know what parents do now if they're not covered for that? They'll buy that glucose monitor for their child. Who here wouldn't? Do you know what that costs them? It's thousands of dollars, so when we talk about giving Canadians economic relief right now, what about that?
     That's in this budget. There is $1.5 billion in this budget to fund those programs that we want the federal government to be negotiating—that I want them to be negotiating yesterday—and the Conservatives are blocking the legislation in the House for pharmacare and the bill that would finance it here.
    There is a school nutrition program. We're talking about the high cost of food; well, my primary concern for children is that I don't want a single kid in this country in grade 3 sitting at a desk trying to learn math or trying to read when their stomach is hurting them, but in addition to that, given the health and learning issues with the children and the families struggling with high food costs, what could be better right now to relieve their budget than to know that when their child goes to school, their child is getting a hot, nutritious meal in the middle of the day, five times a week?
     That's one meal taken off their budget and, if you have multiple children—if you have two or three children—that's 10 or 15 lunches that you don't have to pay for. For the families I represent in Vancouver Kingsway, which is a working-class neighbourhood, if you're struggling on a total median household income of $64,000 a year, that one measure alone might be the difference, and the Conservatives are holding this up. They want to have debate on this.
    Then, we have billions of dollars of affordable housing expenditure in here.
     I've said this before: There are 10,000 issues in politics. We all know that. Some are foundational. Some are existential. Housing is one of them, because housing anchors you. It anchors you in your community. It anchors you in terms of your work life, your community, your neighbours and your children's school. It anchors you. Too many Canadians can't find a decent place to rent or buy for love or money, and this has been going on for decades.
    I'm going to say this. This didn't start in 2015. I've been in Vancouver for 40 years. You couldn't buy an affordable house or rent an affordable house 20 years ago—or 15 years ago, for that matter. Holy mackerel—I'll show you housing prices from 2010 that not a single person in this room could afford on our incomes. It's $4 million for a house on Vancouver's west side that people bought for $60,000 30 years ago: That's the reality. This budget has money for that.
    There are critical indigenous services investments. I want to talk just for a moment about the indigenous people in this country. If there's one group of people in this country that is suffering more than any other, it has to be Canada's first peoples, and this budget has billions of dollars that ought to be flowing.
    I think we have to find a balance here. The balance has to be how we can preserve our role here to do a proper dive into this bill—given that we all know what's in it and we know where we want to probe—and how to get this out. Budgets are different. No government, not a Conservative government that I've ever seen and not one that we'll see in the future, will want a budget held up for three months while it's debated. This budget was tabled earlier in April. We all know that this budget has be passed by the end of June.
    I will talk for just a moment about the business community in this country. Again, if I've heard one thing more consistently from the business community over my time in politics, it's this: they want certainty. They can deal with a wide variety of policies—from the left or the right—but what they do need is certainty. In a time of economic uncertainty—and we're all aware of the problems that our business community is facing with productivity, lack of investment in machinery and equipment, technology and research—we want to hasten the transition to a more sustainable economy. We know the tax credits....

(1300)

     I had the opportunity to ask some questions about the hydrogen and clean-technology tax credits. We heard in the fall economic statement testimony that businesses are waiting for this.
    I do think the meetings that are proposed in this motion don't give quite enough time. I'm going to put in some form of amendment, but I thought I would just share this with my colleagues first.
    My calculations of the witness time for this, as has been proposed, is, in theory, two hours today and two hours on Thursday. That's four hours. Then we had the 21st and the 23rd, and this motion proposes another four hours for those. That would make a total of eight hours. I don't think that's sufficient.
    What I'm thinking is that we do our two hours today and we do our two hours on Thursday. On the 21st and 23rd, I think we should schedule six hours each for those meetings. That would bring us up to 16 hours—12 hours there, and the four we have this week.
    I'll go back to what I said. We had 15.5 hours last year and 18 the year before that. That puts us in the normative range for budgets—right smack in there—and it still preserves our ability to have the clause-by-clause consideration starting the week of the 27th. We can get this bill out of this committee by the end of the month and into the Senate by the beginning of June.
    I know that the Conservatives really want to call Mark Carney. I think they referred to him as “governor” Carney. I don't know if it's proper to call him “governor” Carney, as he's no longer the governor. He's a private citizen. If they want to call witnesses.... Once we get this set, we'll all be able to call witnesses that we want to come to testify on the budget. I fully invite my colleagues to call Mr. Carney as a witness if they wish to. That would get him earlier.
    I know this programming motion would have.... I wanted to point out as well something that's not been pointed out: It gives every party something in June that they wanted. It has two meetings on the housing study, which I think my predecessor Daniel Blaikie had started; two hours on the green financing, which I think the Liberals like; and two hours on the inflation study, which I think the Conservatives want. I also thought there's a built-in time, then, for calling Mr. Carney as well on inflation, since I think it was his remarks on inflation that spurred their interest. There are a couple of different points there when they can call Mr. Carney if they want to.
    I have said before that I know there's a concern if Mr. Carney doesn't come. Well, that happens in this place, and we know what the remedy for that is. We can get to that at the time. I don't know that Mr. Carney will come, but I think there's an opportunity to call him.
    I think that pretty much covers what I wanted to say. I want to thank my colleague for ceding the floor and letting me have a chance to have my say.
     I don't know if you want me to put it in the form of an amendment, but I'm happy to. For pro forma purposes, I will.
    I'll move to amend the motion, if I could, to make the meetings on the 21st and 23rd six hours each. I think that's all the amendment that's necessary—just add the needed hours.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.

(1305)

    Thank you, MP Davies.
    Are you proposing a friendly amendment?
    It's as friendly as it gets.
    Okay. We would need to incorporate that if we have UC for that.
    I see that we don't have UC at this time to do that.
    Do you want to move it as an official amendment?
    I do. I will move it as an official amendment.
    Okay, we have an official amendment.
    I have now on our list MP Dzerowicz, then MP Hallan, then MP Morantz.
    Go ahead, Mr. Albas.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I'm pleased to join everyone today, but usually after an amendment has been made, there's debate on the amendment.
    I'm making a list right now. I'm going to ask members if we are in agreement to allow the officials to get on with their day and to leave the meeting.
    I see that we are.
     Officials, you may leave. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Chair, wouldn't you reset the speakers list because a motion has been made?
    The Chair: We will suspend briefly.

(1305)


(1320)

     We're back.
    We're going to the speakers list. I have a number of different lists here that have come up. I hope I have this list right.
    I have MP Ste-Marie, MP Dzerowicz and then MP Albas.
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    I did have a point of order that when an amendment is moved, usually a new speakers list is prepared. You have not ruled on that point of order.
    My understanding, looking at all committees, is that it is done in many different ways and it is at the discretion of the chair.
    This is the list I am going with. I am going with MP Ste-Marie, MP Dzerowicz and then—
    Essentially what you're saying is that someone who put their hand up on a previous question now must answer Mr. Davies' amendment. Okay.
    What I am saying is that when we were in the midst of the discussion, I didn't see all of the hands that were up or weren't up, etc. I have conferred with the clerks. The list that I'm going with is who I see: MP Ste-Marie, MP Dzerowicz and MP Albas.
    MP Ste-Marie, go ahead, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I had actually raised my hand to respond to the amendment moved by Mr. Davies, whom I thank for his effort to have the committee reach a consensus, or at least a compromise.
    I think we could manage with the number of hours proposed. However, the problem remains on the issue of deadlines. For example, the third paragraph of the original motion reads as follows:
iii. that any amendments to the bill be submitted by no later than 5:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024;
    However, if there are six hours of testimony on Thursday, May 23, and we have to move the written amendments the same day, that would be a problem. We often want to draft our amendments working with the law clerks of the House, based on the testimony we have heard. The law clerks must study the amendments from a legal standpoint so that they are drafted in such a way as to achieve their objective and so that their form follows the rules. In addition, they must then be translated. So there is a problem with the proposed deadline.
    I understand how important the parliamentary break week is, especially since community groups often hold activities in May and June, and we are often sitting in the House, which leaves us little time to go and listen to our constituents and answer their questions. If we don't want to sit that week, then I suggest that we extend all deadlines by at least a week. Otherwise, I don't see how we can do our job properly, study the bill properly, and have the time to hear from witnesses, draft amendments and vote on them.

(1325)

[English]

    Thank you, MP Ste-Marie.
    I'm going to MP Dzerowicz now.
     Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    Just for the record, I want to say that I was on the previous list. Before Mr. Davies made his amendment, I was next on the list, but I then put my hand up again for this amendment, and I did come in after Monsieur Ste-Marie, so I was indeed second on the list.
    I just want to say thank you so much. I always like hearing the wise wisdom of my colleague Monsieur Ste-Marie. I always like to hear his thoughts.
    The first thing I'm going to say is that I very much agree with Mr. Davies' suggestion. I'm not sure how he did this. I think he was stealing all my notes, because just about all of his comments he was making were about everything I was going to mention, so we are very aligned.
    I will say first that I appreciated Mr. Davies' looking at how many hours we used in considering the BIA last year as well as in 2022. Indeed, his proposal does keep us in line with that. I want to let Mr. Davies know that I'm very much in agreement with what he has proposed for the week of May 20.
    I would say to you, regarding Monsieur Ste-Marie's comment, that there would then have to be a bit of an adjustment around possible amendments. I think that is something we have to think about as we move towards what the final schedule on this budget implementation act.
    The second thing I will also indicate, and I'm glad Mr. Davies has brought this up, is that we do have only seven weeks left. We do have to pass the budget before the end of June, for all the outstanding reasons my colleagues Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Davies made in terms of the importance of various aspects of the bill. There are a number of things I could put on the table as well that are important to my riding, but I will leave it, as I pretty much agree 100% with both colleagues and their excellent lists.
    I would also say that I would encourage us to try to reach some sort of consensus today. We do not want to lose the opportunity to hear from our Minister of Finance and our Deputy Prime Minister this Thursday. If I heard Mr. Turnbull correctly, she is available this Thursday. I tend to like to have our minister at the front end when we are considering the budget implementation act. It allows us the opportunity to ask some questions of her and get some of her thoughts before we continue asking more specific questions on each of the sections of the budget implementation act.
     I agree with Mr. Davies. I think that Mr. Ste-Marie made some thoughtful comments about timelines for the amendments that I think we have to consider. I do know that we all appreciate that we have a timeline to getting this budget passed, and there are only so many weeks left. I would ask for all of my colleagues' consideration that we find a solution today to this, because we do want our Minister of Finance in on Thursday and we want to get going on this testimony. There are a lot of excellent sections to this budget implementation act. I know that I have a lot of questions that I really would like to delve into, so I hope we could reach some sort of agreement today.
    Thanks so much, Mr. Chair.

(1330)

    Thank you, MP Dzerowicz.
    Now we'll go to MP Albas, please.
     Thanks, Mr. Chair.
    I'll be very brief here.
    On this particular omnibus piece of legislation, I'm very surprised that the NDP members have said that they want to see this process go so quickly. There are 50-plus divisions in here. The ways and means motion typically allows for the CRA to start acting as if the legislation has passed, so if there are any changes to tax laws within the BIA, those would already be considered implemented by the CRA.
    From my scanning of the BIA.... I always stand to be corrected because I believe MP Davies.... Congratulations to him on becoming their finance critic, but I think that when we talk about how this bill allows for the budget to go through, that's not quite right.
    The supply process is typically what funds the initiatives of the government, and quite honestly, the government can give money to whichever province it wants. That's something that it already has a clear area on, and those decisions are usually addressed through the estimates process.
    If you look in the BIA itself, Mr. Chair, there are areas about giving $100-million authorities to those who regulate our banks. There are so many things—CMHC changes, changes to the Criminal Code, money laundering, etc. I really think this whole thing about how we have to get this all wrapped up by the end of June really denotes a sense that the government is dictating to Parliament, rather than the government coming before Parliament saying, “Here is what we would like to discuss.”
    I know there will be a lot of other commentary and a lot of other issues. I just want to flag those things. Ultimately, the government will have, through the CRA, its tax authority. Most of the money that the government plans on spending—because that's really what I believe this government cares about—is already handled through the supply process.
    For members to be conflating the two does a disservice to not only this particular committee; it also creates a little bit more of a wrong idea about what the budget implementation act is there to do and what it's not there to do, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, MP Albas.
    Are there any other speakers on the amendment?
    It goes to a vote.
    Mr. Hallan, is this on the amendment?
    I just want to make sure I'm first on the list after the amendment vote.
    Yes.
    We'll go to a vote on the amendment.
    (Amendment agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We are back to the main motion as amended.
    I do have a speakers list. I have MP Hallan, MP Morantz and then MP Lawrence.
    Go ahead, MP Hallan.

(1335)

     Thank you, Chair.
    I'd like to address some of the comments that were made today, in particular one by Mr. Turnbull.
    Usually in the past we've had negotiations outside of committee if things don't get resolved. In this case, there was no discussion. We were not reached out to whatsoever. I'm surprised to know that Mr. Davies actually got this amendment before all of us, and he admitted that.
    It does bring up the question about this carbon tax coalition. It makes it more and more clear—to us, at least—that there is a coalition, not just in this committee, but outside.
    I would like to propose an amendment to the motion as amended. Before I do that, I would like to say, in the spirit of collaboration on Bill C-59, that Mr. Davies' request was to get this passed as soon as possible. I will remind him that I ended up pulling my two amendments at the end so we could group the rest of the clauses. We passed the bill right away in that collaboration, which is why we got to this point.
    We did help to pass his amendment. That's good. We should have some more witnesses.
    I'd like to make an amendment. There are a few of them. I'd like to speak to them after I've given them.
     In item ii, after May 23, I'd like to add the dates May 28 and May 30, 2024.
     In item iii, I'd like to remove the date and put May 30, 2024.
     In item iv, I'd like to change the first date to June 3, 2024, and strike everything after “resources on that day”.
     In item v, after where it says “Bill C-69”, I would like to add “four meetings on its study of proceeds of crime and money laundering”. Strike everything before that and replace it with that, so “following the completion of the study of Bill C-69” strike out everything and add in "four meetings on its study of proceeds of crime and money laundering”.
    I think we've distributed that, or we're going to distribute it. I believe it's been sent to you.
    It can't be distributed because it's only in English. We do not have the translation.
    I want to move it still. I'd like to speak to it, if that's okay, and in the meantime—
    You're speaking to your amendment.
    Yes, it's to my amendment.
    You can continue to speak to it, but it can't be distributed to the members without it being in both official languages.
     Okay.
    The reason I'd like to add these two dates, colleagues, is that I think we would like to have more witnesses come here. As it has been noted many times before, this is a 660-page budget. It's quite extensive. I think there is a will—I hope there's a will—in this room to be able to have more witnesses.
    I think my friend Gabriel expressed this as well. He suggested a postponement of one week. I think we could agree. In that spirit, I added the two dates of the 28th and the 30th. Subsequently, that's why I moved the other dates forward. It's to accommodate that. It's because I fully agree with Mr. Ste-Marie on having one more week of witnesses.
     It would shift those dates for amendments one week forward. On May 30, we could make the amendments, and the start of clause-by-clause consideration would be no later than June 3 at 12 p.m. Typically, as we know, opposition parties don't always agree to an end date, but we could definitely agree to start it then and there.
    The one that's really important, I think, is this item iv that we want to amend.
     We and the chair all received a letter from Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, on October 6, 2023. It was her request. She needed assistance with the fourth five-year parliamentary review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, so she requested this last year, in October. She also said that the last review was completed in November 2018.
    At this point, this is a very important topic, and my colleague and friend Mr. Chambers also put a motion on notice with regard to this, because right now, just in the last few days.... It just goes to show how important this study is.
     I'm going to read some headlines with regard to TD Bank: “TD probe tied to laundering drug money, says Wall Street Journal” and “TD Bank could face more severe penalties after drug money laundering allegations, says analyst. Bank could face worst-case scenario after report connects TD to illicit fentanyl profits”. These fines could hit up to $2 billion, says the article. Then “TD Bank hit with $9.2M penalty after failing to report suspicious transactions”.
    This is all getting worse, and we know there's an opioid crisis, so it could possibly be tied in to that. We are also seeing things like extortion and car thefts, which could also be tied in to money laundering and the proceeds of crime that are taking place under this government. That's why I think it's more important than ever.
    We never hear the Liberals or the NDP talking about how important this is, even though the finance minister has requested that this committee study it. My friend Adam Chambers talks about that all the time, and he's right. These headlines on TD are from just days ago. This is how serious this issue is.
    If we're going to be planning, I think we need to add these into the amendment so that it gets passed. If we're all going to decide to keep, and we want to keep, this so-called “spirit of collaboration”—which I feel the Liberals and NDP have broken—I feel this could be a good compromise as well, because this is important for Canadians. The amount of extortion....
    I actually visited the owner of a trucking company and I saw the video and heard the audio first-hand of someone who's trying to extort money out of him. They said, “We will shoot your house up next week.” They didn't comply. These people live in fear. The family had to separate and live in separate hotel rooms so they couldn't be seen together. The next video he showed me was of a car pulling up and shooting at his house. After that meeting, we went outside into the parking lot and he showed us his two cars, which had been fitted with bulletproof windows. This is the state of Canada after nine years of Justin Trudeau, with the help of the NDP.

(1340)

     This is what's happening. Common-sense Conservatives put forward a private member's bill from Tim Uppal, our deputy leader, who had to put forward a bill because this current government is not serious about crime. This soft-on-crime policy is the reason that things have gotten so bad in this country. He put a bill forward on extortion. If this government's not going to act, then we might as well, even before Pierre Poilievre becomes prime minister.
    It just goes to show how bad a state this country is in after nine years. Many people left where they came from to come here for a safer future for them and their kids. Many immigrants risked it all and left everything behind to come here. When they come here, they get hit with high taxes and crime like we have never seen before—drugs, chaos, crime all over the place—and get hit with double the rent. We're hearing about international students living under bridges in tents, and nurses and teachers living in their cars, because after nine years of this Liberal-NDP government, housing costs have doubled. Immigrants leave everything to come here. They risk it all. Then they ask themselves, “What the hell did we leave our country for in the first place? It's even worse here.”
    These are the kinds of comments we get when we talk to Canadians as we're travelling around the country. Every single place we go, we hear about these kinds of stories: “What did we do wrong? What did we do before? We were always heating our house. We were always filling up our gas. We would get groceries like anyone else. What is this carbon tax?” They had been doing things that they had always been doing; now they are being hit by a carbon tax that makes everything more expensive.
    It just goes to show you that you can risk it all, leave it, and come here, but under this current government there's no way you can succeed. This budget does nothing to help those people either. It does absolutely nothing for them. In fact, it just raises their taxes, which this government is known to do no matter what.
    That's why I think it's important that we have more witnesses. It's so that the government can clearly hear from people about their suffering. Obviously, they are not talking to their constituents. We might as well have more witnesses here so that they can hear from everyday Canadians about how bad their policies are and how negatively impactful they are to their lives.
     I think it's very important that we follow up with what the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has asked for as well, with the proceeds of crime and money laundering, and that we act on that right away so that more people don't have to face extortion. Under this current government, with the support of the NDP, they don't feel safe in this country anymore.
    I gave one example of a family and a company that we visited. There are numerous others across the country that are facing the same thing. They are too scared to speak up, because they know that under this current government, nothing happens. You can literally commit a crime in the morning and, because of the failed policies under this government, the soft-on-crime policies, you can be off in the afternoon, commit another crime and be out again in the evening. There's no justice for people.

(1345)

    MP Hallan, because some members have S. O. 31s, etc., we'll now suspend. We'll be back later in the afternoon.

(1345)


(1605)

     We're back.
    MP Hallan last had the floor. Then I have MP Morantz and then MP Lawrence.
    MP Hallan, you have the floor.
     I see my friend Marty Morantz is next, so I will concede my time to him.
    Go ahead, MP Morantz.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Given the fact that we had to suspend to go up to question period, I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to recap where we're at, for those watching.
    Essentially, what happened earlier today was that a Liberal member proposed a motion—a programming motion, as we call them—to basically set out for the committee what we're going to be meeting on through to just before the summer. It was unfortunate, because that member never spoke to Conservative members on the committee to say that they were going to do this.
    What was really surprising—because they talk a lot about working together and keep asking why we can't just all get along— was that what they did was kind of sneaky, Mr. Chair. They actually gave a copy of the motion to the NDP member of this committee last night. I know that because he told us. He had a chance to read it.
    Obviously the Liberals must have been working on it for a while. They said that they wanted to make sure they had the votes to carry it, but instead of coming to us to see if we might support something like that or at least talk about what we're going to do for the next couple of months, they just went to their coalition partner and said to vote for this. He was happy to oblige them.
    Just to recap, so that people who are watching understand, I think it would be appropriate to go through that motion.
    Mr. Hallan proposed some amendments, so I'm going to try to capture the motion with those amendments.
    It starts off with the sentence, “As relates to the committee's future business, it be agreed that”. The future business that they're talking about is the meetings that are going to take place over the next five or six weeks through to the end of June, when the House will rise for the summer.
    Then it says, “i. the committee dedicate its meeting on Thursday, May 9th”—which is in just a couple of days—“to hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and officials, on the subject matter study of Bill C-69”.
    That clause seems reasonable on the face of it, but what's really sad about it is that it talks about meeting with officials. What I think folks watching need to understand is that we had 10 finance committee officials in this room this morning, sitting right here. I know that I was burning the midnight oil preparing my questions. Apparently the Liberals and Mr. Davies were burning the midnight oil cooking up a programming motion plot that has thrust this committee into a filibuster. It's really too bad. It's really unfortunate.
    In any event, we had them here and I had questions. I had questions about the short-term rentals, about the journalism tax credit and about the so-called independent advisory board, which is a board that is appointed by the partisan Liberal cabinet. How independent could it possibly be?
    I had a question about that, but I didn't get to ask it. Do you know why? Because the Liberals proposed a unilateral programming motion without consulting us, so here we are.
    I had questions about the small business carbon rebate. For example, why is it only given to CCPCs? For those watching, I know we throw around a lot of acronyms at this committee. That stands for “Canadian-controlled private corporation”. This completely ignores sole proprietors and partnerships, which are apparently left out. At least, that's the question I wanted to ask to clarify, but I never got the chance to ask it because the Liberals decided to blow up the committee today.
    It's really just a very unfortunate set of circumstances, Mr. Chair.
    I wanted to ask about the underused housing tax credit. It's been in place for three years. I was curious as to whether or not anyone had paid the $10,000 fine that they're now backing off from. They're reducing it to $2,000. Do those people get their money back? I was going to ask that.
    I wanted to ask about the $5,000 fine that individuals were getting for not meeting their filing requirements, which they're now backing off from as well. The underused housing tax is another file that has been messed up by the Liberals for sure.
    I was going to ask a couple of other things. I was going to ask about the AMT—the alternative minimum tax—and about what they call “tax relief”. Only in Liberal land can a tax increase be tax relief, Mr. Chair. The excise tax went up by 2% and they cast it as tax relief. The mental gymnastics you have to go through to increase a tax and call it “tax relief” are amazing. It's quite astounding. I wanted to ask about that, but I didn't get the chance.

(1610)

     Here we are, then. It's “only” a 600-page bill, by the way, with 468 clauses. There is a lot of ground to cover. It's an omnibus bill, which is always problematic. There are things in there amending the Criminal Code. I don't know, but people might wonder why the Criminal Code is being amended at the finance committee. There are all kinds of things in there that really shouldn't be in a budget bill, but it's what the government does when they want to get everything, including the kitchen sink, through the House of Commons: They throw it into a budget bill.
    That's how we wound up with the SNC-Lavalin scandal, by the way. People shouldn't forget. We need to remind them regularly. I know Mr. Erskine-Smith remembers very well that the clause to provide a deferred prosecution agreement was buried in a bill like this at the finance committee. What was it doing there? I don't know. The committee members probably didn't even know what it was doing there. Maybe someone asked a question about it. I wasn't elected then. No one thought there would be a clause put in a budget bill for the benefit of one single corporation. However, there was.
    That's why it's important that we have the opportunity to ask questions about these bills. That's a question I asked last year and that I'd like to ask again. Is there a clause among these 468 clauses in this 659-page bill for the specific benefit of one company or one person? Again, I didn't get the chance to ask that question this morning.
    That's part i of the motion. There is a lot to unpack there, but I'm going to move on to part ii.
    Part ii says:
the committee dedicate its regular meetings on May 9th, 21st, and 23rd, [and with Mr. Hallan's amendment] 28th and 30th, 2024, to consideration of the subject matter study of Bill C-69, barring referral of the bill to committee; and that all evidence gathered as part of the pre-study be considered as evidence in the committee's full study of the bill, once referred to committee.
    Then there's part iii. It says:
that any amendments to the bill be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, May 30th, 2024
     Part iv says:
clause-by-clause consideration of the bill start no later than 12:00 PM EST on June 3rd, 2024, and that the chair be empowered to set up extended hours and request additional House resources on that day
    Mr. Hallan asked that the rest of part iv be struck. What he is asking to be struck—because it's important that folks watching know what we're voting on—are the following words:
if the committee has not completed clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by 11:00 AM on May 28th, 2024, all remaining amendments submitted to the committee shall be deemed moved, the chair shall put the question, forthwith and successively, without further debate, on all remaining clauses and proposed amendments, as well as each and every question necessary to dispose of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill, as well as all questions necessary to report the bill to the House and to order the chair to report the bill to the House as soon as possible
    If this motion as amended were to pass, those words would be struck.
    Then there's part v. It says:
following the completion of the study of Bill C-69, the committee dedicate two meetings on its study on the financialization of housing, followed by no less than two meetings to consider the draft report on the current state of play on green finance, green investment, transition finance and transparency, standards and taxonomy
    Those words would be struck under Mr. Hallan's amendment.
    Then part vi says:
the committee dedicate its regular meetings on the week of June 17th, 2024, on the committee's study on inflation in the current Canadian economy.
    The provision I want to circle back to is part ii.

(1615)

     There's been a lot of discussion about whether we could have Mark Carney appear at this committee.
    I just note that I'm assuming that Mr. Davies will support this idea, because just last week he said, “I look forward to Mr. Carney's coming to this committee at the appropriate time in the appropriate study, which can happen in the next two months.” He is on side with the idea of Mr. Carney's coming to this committee.
    Why are Conservatives asking for this? Well, Mr. Carney has been on the lecture circuit. He's been making speeches. He's been making speeches on government policy, and he's been critical of government policy in some aspects and supportive in others. He supports the inflationary deficit spending of this government, a government that doubled the national debt in eight years, which is quite a feat. The total federal debt from 1867 to the day this government was elected in 2015 was $616 billion. Now, it's over $1.2 trillion. The fiscal irresponsibility of this government is really astounding.
    Mr. Carney apparently supports those deficits, though, according to his speeches. He also supports the carbon tax, and that's another reason we'd like to have him here, because I think Canadians deserve to know how much he wants to jack up the carbon tax on them. There are questions that we would have for him, and it's also clear that Mr. Carney wants to be the leader of the Liberal Party. He is anything but a random Liberal. He is likely the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and I think Canadians deserve to hear what he thinks, and that's why we would like him to come to this committee. It's so that we can ask him a few questions.
    It is clear that he is angling for that position. He may not want to axe the tax, Mr. Chair, but it's very clear that he wants to axe the Prime Minister. I think that if he wants to be the leader of the Liberal Party, it's time for him to come here and answer a few questions. It's not like he hasn't been to the finance committee before; he was the Governor of the Bank of Canada. He is very familiar with this environment, and I'm sure he would do quite well here.
    With all that, what I'm leading to is to introduce a subamendment, Mr. Chair. My subamendment is to clause ii. I'll read it.
     The words I would like to add come after the words “to consideration of the subject matter study of Bill C-69,”. After the comma, I would like to add the following words: “the week of the 28th one meeting be dedicated to hearing from the Minister of Finance for two hours and one meeting be dedicated to hear from Mark Carney for three hours”, and then the rest of the clause, starting with the words “barring referral” and ending at the last word of the clause, the word “committee”, would remain intact. Again, it's inserting the words after “Bill C-69,”: “the week of the 28th, one meeting be dedicated to hearing from the Minister of Finance for two hours and one meeting be dedicated to hear from Mark Carney for three hours”.
    I don't know if this has been circulated yet or if the clerk has seen it and it's in translated form.
    I'm getting the thumbs-up, so we've met all of our procedural obligations with respect to this amendment.
     I'm putting that subamendment on the floor for further consideration, and I'm sure it will be an interesting debate.
    With that, I am going to cede the floor for the time being to the next speaker, but I'm going to ask my friend Mr. Clerk to add my name back on to the speakers list for later. Thank you.

(1620)

     Thank you, MP Morantz.
    We have MP Kurek, MP Ste-Marie, MP Goodridge and then MP Davies.
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, just to confirm, is the subamendment to the amendment in order?
    It is. That's what I've heard. Clerk...?
    We will suspend.

(1620)


(1620)

     It is in order.
     On the same point of order, just to clarify, is there a new speaking list or do you continue with the same speaking list? I'm just curious as to what the tradition of the finance committee is. I'm not a regular member of this committee, but I'm happy to take guidance. I would like to be put on the speaking list if it is a new one, and if not, I think I'm on it.
     You're next on the speaking list. Go ahead.
    Okay. I appreciate that, and if I could, I'll stay on the speaking list to the previous one as well.
    I think my friend and colleague Mr. Morantz did a great job in outlining some of the aspects that have led us to the debate today. I won't get too much into the details, because there may be a chance later on in the meeting to talk about the backroom deal, the not giving notice, the fact that we had officials here.... It's just unfortunate. I know that quite often in the House we hear how the government is quick to say that committees are masters of their own domain, yet it certainly seems that sometimes there is a puppet master pulling the strings.
     I won't get into the into the details of that, but I think it's very prescient to the issue that Mr. Morantz has brought forward. I'm going to first talk about this.... Some of my my colleagues may find this a little hard to believe, but I'm going to put the contemporary political situation aside for just a moment, if I could, and outline why I think there is relevance to adding Mr. Carney. I'll get to the politics of that in a moment.
    If we look at Mark Carney's past and his history, certainly we see that finance and Mr. Carney have gone hand in hand throughout his entire life. It's interesting, because he has done terms not only as Governor of the Bank of Canada but also as Governor of the Bank of England. I know that there is a whole lot of commentary that's been provided, and certainly there were some very tumultuous times, I know, having been a member of the Canada-U.K. parliamentary friendship group and having some U.K. family members. In fact, congratulations to my cousin Les Fry, a former police inspector, who just won one of the unitary council seats. Inspector Fry just won election as an Independent in the Dorset County unified council.
    Keeping in tune with some of what has transpired in the U.K. over the last number of years, I think it's interesting, because it builds up, and I'm not necessarily confident that they're positive attributes in a resumé, and I'll get into the politics, as I said here, in a moment. I would think that when it comes to being able to hear from a former governor of not only the Bank of Canada but of the Bank of England, in light of the issues we're talking about.... Just going through his resumé, I see that he has had experience in private sector finance in working with Goldman Sachs and, I believe, in a number of locations in their global offices that were certainly not locations that somebody in the middle class would move around to—Boston, New York, Toronto, Tokyo—but there certainly is a lot of experience there.
    He spent, I believe, over a decade with Goldman Sachs and spent a number of years at the Department of Finance. Then what is interesting is that in the lead-up to Mr. Carney's appointment as Governor of the Bank of Canada, I know there were a whole host of conversations.
     In fact, it was a minority Parliament under a former prime minister, Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, that oversaw that appointment. Especially in a minority parliament, I know that Mr. Harper took this very seriously. In fact, he was able to govern, if you can believe this, Chair, not to go off on too much of a tangent.... Former prime minister Mr. Harper was able to govern for five years without a coalition arrangement and without a confidence and supply arrangement. He did a tremendous amount of good work for our country and set our economy on a good footing, including during what were some of the most trying times economically in a very long time. I think there's a certain level of relevance to the conversation on being able to have Mr. Carney questioned.

(1625)

     I did watch when he came to committee, which was probably two and a half years ago. I know that it was in the height of the pandemic, and I'm not sure that he would necessarily be thrilled to come back—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Mr. Damien Kurek: Mr. Erskine-Smith is getting all kinds of shout-outs today, but he seems to be at those pivotal moments. Maybe we can look forward to his intervention shortly here, before, as he said, he has to head to another commitment.
    Now, to start to get into some of the political dynamics, I think it speaks to how we shouldn't be afraid of asking for some hard opinions and being able to question those who seem to be asked for their advice on significant matters. Here's where there's an intersection from Mr. Carney's resumé to where Mr. Carney seems to be at what many are suggesting....
    This is not simply me as a rural Alberta member of Parliament. I'm not the only rural Alberta member of Parliament here and I'm certainly not the only Alberta member of Parliament here. It seems that there is a “draft Carney” campaign, if you will. There seems to be almost an undertone of how the Liberals are approaching the fledgling leadership of the current Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, who is down in the polls and faces frustration wherever he goes. It seems that there's even frustration from within the ranks of the Liberal Party, certainly within the backbench, and I found it really interesting.
     If I could just opine on this for a moment, there have always been leadership questions. That's not specific to one party. One doesn't have to spend much time in Ottawa to know that to be the case, but what is very interesting is that over the last number of weeks—and months, rather—we have seen some very direct conversations about a post-Trudeau Liberal Party.
    Now, there are, I would suggest, two dynamics to that. One is in the context of speculation from those who are probably not on the inside, so to speak. We have a scathing editorial written by, I believe, a former Liberal Party president. It talked about how Justin Trudeau is dragging the Liberal Party down to the depths of destruction. I'm paraphrasing. I don't have that article right in front of me, but I think it's a fairly accurate depiction of what was a very scathing article about Mr. Trudeau's leadership.
     We have other open questions being asked by the press gallery about Mr. Trudeau's future. Certainly my constituents ask me those questions on a regular basis, and I can say confidently that my constituents are ready for a change. They're ready for a new prime minister and they're certainly not ready for another Liberal prime minister. We do have a solution to that, but I want to keep things focused, of course, on the issue at hand with Mr. Carney. What has been interesting to observe over these last number of months is how open questions about Mr. Trudeau's future and the leadership of the Liberal Party have not been slapped down, have not been refuted, and I think that I could suggest a couple of reasons for that.

(1630)

    I have a point of order.
    Go ahead, Mr. Davies.
    I think we're still discussing a programming motion for the committee and—
    An hon. member: Mr. Carney—
    The Chair: We are on the subamendment.
    Mr. Don Davies: We're on the subamendment. I'm sorry, Mr. Carney, but—
     Is the political future of Mr. Trudeau relevant to calling Mr. Carney? I fail to see that. I'd ask for a ruling from the chair as to whether or not that's relevant.
    Thank you, Mr. Davies.
    Mr. Kurek, we want to keep it relevant to the subamendment and to Mr. Carney. If that's what you want to discuss, you could discuss Mr. Carney, and I think you should stay on topic.
     Absolutely. I wouldn't want to stray too far away from the bounds of what would be relevant.
    Mr. Chair, I think this context is very important, because we are talking about the future political leadership of the country. What I suggest is that there is significant political involvement. I wasn't privy to the conversations or the heads-up that the Liberals gave to the NDP when it came to this particular programming motion. I'm certainly not present in the backroom dealings of Liberals contemplating Mr. Trudeau's future, nor am I aware of what exactly the parameters are around Mr. Carney's possible coronation as future leader of the Liberal Party. However, it's so significant, because we have seen—and this is where it really intersects with the true relevance of what we're talking about here—that the leader of our government, the Prime Minister, the head of the cabinet, exerts a tremendous amount of control and influence in the context of our governmental system.
     I'll spare the committee my feelings on Westminster democracy. However, Mr. Chair, what I would share simply—and then I look forward to being able to pass it over to my colleagues, as well, because I'm sure they'll have more to say about this—is the amount of influence that the leader of the government has. When we have such open questions surrounding Mr. Trudeau's future.... Minister LeBlanc not that long ago was openly saying that he was looking into it. We have Mark Carney who, although denying specific timelines for what a leadership run would look like, certainly seems to be positioning himself, as Mr. Morantz mentioned, on the lecture circuit, talking about all the challenges and how he would do things differently.
    What I think, and the message that I hope we can get support from my colleague from the NDP on, since it will be called into question, I would suggest—the confidence and supply agreement that they signed with Mr. Trudeau—if there was a change in executive leadership in the Liberal Party resulting in a change in prime minister.... We certainly have a lot of questions that need to be asked. There are a host of concerns, especially with regard to how Mr. Carney seems to be very much talking about the matters that are before not just this committee but the House of Commons.
    I think that it makes good sense. It would provide a valuable opportunity. Of course, Mr. Chair, as you know in stewarding these meetings, the neat thing about calling witnesses forward is that it is truly one of those few circumstances in parliamentary debate when there is equal opportunity, unlike the bringing forward of this motion.
    Again, I don't want to get too much into that, because I'll speak to the motion more generally when we get to it. However, if Mr. Carney were to come, there would be opportunity for all members of this committee.... For Canadians watching, it is important to note that when a witness comes, there's agreement among the parties. Each committee passes a series of guidelines for different rounds of questions, and they're distributed among the political parties to ensure that there is that equal opportunity to ask those tough questions, to contribute to witnesses. If I could—although it's a somewhat terrifying prospect—put myself of the shoes of some Liberal members, I think I certainly would want to have the opportunity to question somebody who might be my future leader.
    I would certainly suggest that there would be valuable input that could be provided in terms of the context of having not only a former Bank of Canada governor but also a former Bank of England governor. I think this is the sort of thing that would provide that opportunity among all parties to be able to get some answers to some very serious questions about where Mr. Carney is trying to lead some of these conversations in his lecture circuit.

(1635)

     We need to ensure that some larger questions about the future of some of these big economic arguments.... Right now it comes down to this, and I would conclude with this, Mr. Chair. The reason these questions are so important is that Canadians are hurting. I host town halls across my constituency, around 20 or so a year, representing about 60 different communities. A few of the larger centres, the communities of 1,000-plus, I get to every year, and I get to some of the smaller communities of less than 1,000 every two or three years.
    What I found very tragic over the last number of years is how there is pain and hurt beyond what I've certainly seen in rural Alberta, and that's not just me talking as a Conservative MP from rural Alberta. There is pain with respect to the cost of living, the cost of housing, the challenges associated with being able to pay the carbon tax and some of the onerous regulations and red tape that exist in terms of being able to start and sustain a business. Canada used to be a country where we would hear that if you buckled down and worked hard, you could succeed and live out the Canadian dream. A lot of that has to do with that entrepreneurial spirit, and being from the west, that pioneer mentality. Much of that has been pulled away from the future of so many Canadians.
     I would hope that my colleagues from all political parties, but specifically those in the Bloc and the NDP, would support calling Mr. Carney here so we could be able to ask those tough questions, because people at the very root of it are hurting. They are hurting. Why should we deprive them of this chance? What was a frustration.... I don't want to get into too much of the specifics of the motion and the context in which we're debating it, but when life gives us lemons, we're trying to make some lemonade.
    Let's get Mr. Carney before this committee. Let's make sure that we can ask some of those tough questions of somebody who seems to be the incoming leader of the governing Liberal Party, although we hope that party won't be governing for too much longer. Let's have that opportunity for not just Conservatives to ask questions, but for every party represented in the House of Commons to ask those tough questions.
     Mr. Chair, I would simply ask that my name be put back on the list, because there are a few more things I'd be happy to share. I look forward to being able to continue the conversation.
     I'm hopeful that Mr. Morantz's subamendment to the amendment to the motion will be successful.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, MP Kurek.
    I have MP Ste-Marie, MP Goodridge, MP Davies, MP Morantz and MP Kurek.
    MP Ste-Marie, go ahead, please.

(1640)

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I will speak to the proposed subamendment in the context of the amendment. I will start by saying a few words about the amendment.
    For me, the dates that Mr. Hallan is proposing would enable us to do a better job of studying Bill C‑69. The proposal that the deadline for sending amendments be Thursday, May 30, seems fine to me. I don't feel that the proposal that the clause-by-clause study of the bill begin on June 3 would delay the process very much, since it only adds one week, which is a minimum, in my opinion.
    I would like to remind my fellow committee members that, normally, when we study the budget implementation bill, we sit throughout the May constituency week to meet with witnesses. If we don't do it this time, at a minimum we'll have to make up an extra week.
    Having said that, Mr. Hallan is proposing four meetings to study proceeds of crime and money laundering. I am certainly interested in this important topic, but other matters have been raised that deserve the committee's attention. So I think we should have a discussion about that.
    Concerning the subamendment proposed by Mr. Morantz, as I said at previous meetings, I would like to hear from Mark Carney, for whom I have enormous respect and who has significant political experience. It would really be worthwhile to hear from him on the issues that come under our committee's purview.
    I especially hope that we will be able to come to an agreement in committee. I hope the parties negotiate to come to an agreement during this time of debate. Otherwise, we will remain at an impasse; I can tell you from experience because that's how it is every year. Until the parties talk to each other, we won't come to an agreement. Everyone has to do their part.
    I am less directly interested in the topics that will be selected for study after Bill C-69. I want to remind committee members that a key measure in the budget, which would help minimize the deficit, is the changes to the tax treatment of capital gains. However, it is not in the notice of ways and means motion or in Bill C-69.
    I don't know if this is the case for everyone, but my Bloc Québécois colleagues and I have been receiving tonnes of emails, phone calls, interpretations and requests for meetings on this subject. For the time being, we can respond that the details are in the budget, but that there is still no bill on the matter. Can we make sure that this other bill will be fair to everyone and that we will be able to study it and improve it? This other bill will be referred to the committee by the time Parliament rises in June. In my opinion, once the committee has studied this potential bill, in addition to Bill C‑69, we will almost be in the summer recess of Parliament.
    In closing, I would like to remind my committee colleagues that this is something of a Groundhog Day situation right now. The government has appointed a lot of parliamentary secretaries to the Minister of Finance. Every time there is a new one, it seems as though everything starts over again: We proceed in a cavalier manner, and the rebuttal results in endless hours of debate, unproductive hours, as long as there is no parallel negotiation between the various parties, between the Liberals and the Conservatives. I can tell you from experience that it can go on for days and days. So I hope that the various parties will come to an agreement as quickly as possible so that we can work on Bill C-69.
    On that point, we have only had one of the two hours planned with senior officials for parts 1 to 3 of the bill. I hope we can invite them back for at least another hour. For example, if we reached an agreement before Thursday, we could have the minister for an hour on Thursday and the officials we had today for the second hour. As for studying part 4 of the bill, since it contains so many provisions and raises a lot of questions, it would take at least two hours. That would be the minimum in terms of the time proposed here.
    I hope my proposal has been heard. I urge the Liberals, their parliamentary secretary and the Conservatives to negotiate quickly.

(1645)

    Mr. Chair, I would ask that the debate be adjourned while they negotiate.
    Thank you.

[English]

     Are we going to take the vote? He's asked for adjournment of debate.
    I have a point of order, Chair, to make sure that we understand exactly what we're voting on. Was the motion for adjournment of debate on the subamendment or the motion or somewhere in between?
    I'm going to suspend for one second.
    Monsieur Ste-Marie, was the adjournment of debate on the subamendment?

[Translation]

    I was asking for the meeting to be adjourned while the negotiations are taking place.

[English]

     I didn't get the translation.
    He didn't ask for an adjournment of the meeting. He asked for an adjournment of the debate on the vote. He didn't ask for that initially.
    Listen, I didn't hear it. He's asking for an adjournment of the meeting.
    (Motion negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)
    The Chair: Next on our list, we have MP Goodridge, and then MP Davies, MP Morantz and MP Kurek.
    A voice: Doesn't Gabriel get to keep talking?
    The Chair: I think he's done.
    MP Goodridge is next.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's wonderful to be back here at the finance committee today.
    I think that this is an incredibly timely opportunity for us. As many of my colleagues have mentioned, this is an omnibus bill, and the budget has much wider implications, to a point that we don't quite understand what the implications of all of the changes in the budget are because we haven't had the opportunity to actually have those conversations, so then it becomes a bit of a circular conversation.
    One thing I'm going to bring up that is rather concerning to me and that many Canadians have brought to me is the amount of government money that is going toward so-called safe supply contracts. We see this happening and we don't quite know exactly how much. The government hasn't been very clear or upfront with exactly how much this is. This is precisely why my colleague Garnett Genuis, from Fort Saskatchewan, brought forward a motion specifically to deal with getting to the bottom of where the government contracts are when it comes to so-called safe supply or prescribed alternatives, or whatever mot du jour the government has decided is the moniker they will use for hydromorphone, Dilaudid or any other drug that's being used in so-called safe supply programs.
    We don't want it just from the Government of Canada; we would like to have the contracts with all provincial and territorial governments, because it's absolutely important that we actually be able to see these in an unredacted form so that we can get to the bottom of how much government money is actually going toward this because, effectively, it is tax dollars that are going toward this program.
    Just yesterday there was a really interesting podcast. I would recommend everyone listen to it. It was with Brian Lilley and Dr. Julian Somers. Dr. Somers is an addiction physician in British Columbia. Through the course of this podcast, he talked about how not only did the B.C. government flood the streets with dangerous opioids, as I think most everyone at this point is well aware of, but it was using flawed and unproven studies to justify this in the first place, under the guise of the pandemic.
    The truly alarming information that came out of the podcast was that those who were responsible for leading the charge on pushing for the so-called safe supply to be put into place in British Columbia also created businesses so they could profit from the so-called safe supply, and these same promoters of the so-called safe supply grew friendlier and friendlier with big pharma through this process. If that's not a conflict of interest, I'm not quite sure what would be considered to be more of a conflict of interest. I think this points to the need to get to the bottom of this.
    On this budget, we haven't had the opportunity to have these conversations. I think it is incumbent upon us to hear from Mark Carney. He has been able to present on a number of different topics since his time as the Governor of the Bank of Canada, as he is preparing himself for what will be his Liberal Party leadership bid here, or the supposed leadership bid. He has gone on a number of podcasts. I've actually listened to him on a number of different occasions talking about—

(1650)

    Go ahead on a point of order, Ms. Thompson.
    I don't see how this is relevant. Could we get back to the motion and stay within the context of the motion so that we can continue to have conversation that is relevant and timely and important for this committee?
     Thank you, MP Thompson. Yes, so just the relevance to the subamendment—
     This is actually exactly where I'm going with this.
     Mark Carney has, in fact, presented a number of topics that I think are quite relevant. He's done a variety of podcasts that I've had an opportunity to listen to. Subamending this motion to have Mark Carney come will allow us to be able to hear his thoughts and opinions not only on the impacts of the budget, on which we desperately need to hear from him, but also on a variety of other topics. He hasn't limited his views and his sharing to just fiscal policy or monetary policy. We have some questions regarding what the housing policy would be under him. I think all Canadians deserve to understand this.
     I understand that the Liberals don't necessarily want to have us go into these spaces, but it's worth noting that he is planning to attend the Senate committee tomorrow, so it is not as though he is somehow afraid of attending a committee. He's more than well versed. I believe there are very few people who have attended the finance committee more times than Mark Carney did in his former role as the Governor of the Bank of Canada. It comes back down to this being a programming motion that is trying to stifle debate.
     When I look through the budget, being a northern Alberta member of Parliament, I always look at the budget forecast for West Texas Intermediate, which is the crude oil price, to see what the government expects will be their price for selling crude. This government, which has had no qualms about expressing its distaste for and absolute hatred of, in many cases, Alberta's energy industry and Canada's world-class energy industry, puts the budget forecast at $78 across the board all the way to 2028. It's worth noting, and I've noted it in speeches in the chamber, that the Government of Alberta, which is actually a proponent of oil and gas, was criticized for its rosy outlook on West Texas Intermediate when they put it at $74 a barrel. I highlight this fact because these are all questions on which we need to hear from people, and we need to hear specifically from Mark Carney. I'd love to hear his opinion on whether $78 U.S. is a good number and where he believes they would have found such forecasting or whether he, as someone who is very up and current on a variety of the monetary and fiscal policies of this country and around the world, has any publicly available information and whether he thinks that's a responsible number or that it actually means our deficit is even larger than what has been presented in this current budget. That's one of the big pieces. Frankly that is a large stake in terms of where the budget comes from.
     Another thing that I think is worth highlighting in this piece of legislation is that they plan to change the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which on the surface seems okay. However, as I read through it, I'm very curious as to whether this is just an attack on Saskatchewan for refusing to charge people in Saskatchewan the punishing carbon tax. We don't have an opportunity to even have those conversations, because the NDP-Liberal government has decided that they're going to ram through a programming motion.
    I think every person in Saskatchewan deserves to have an answer as to exactly what that will mean for them and whether there will be major implications for their provincial Crown. This is a piece of legislation that is not going to have just a small impact on a few people's lives; this is going to have an impact on the life of every single Canadian.
     I've had the opportunity, in the last few weeks, to talk to a number of students from right across my riding. The number one concern that was brought up by these students was the cost of living crisis. The number two concern brought to me by these students was their frustration with the fact that members of the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc seem to attack our energy industry at every opportunity. They don't understand why they hate our region, why they hate the economic driver of not just my riding but also of Alberta's economy as well as Canada's economy.
    As I've cited, the Liberal-NDP government has no problem using a very high forecast number for WTI and they have no problem taking the money from the oil industry; they just have a problem supporting the industry and allowing it to grow in any capacity.

(1655)

     We have seen this very clearly with the number of world leaders who have come to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, asking him for LNG, Canadian liquefied natural gas. The answer from this Prime Minister time and time again is that there is no business case. This allows countries like Germany, Poland, Japan and others to continue to have to buy their energy from dirty dictators, which fuels Putin's war machine.
    I think this is an absolutely insane space, but that is exactly what this Liberal government has done every time it says no to a business case on this. Effectively, by opposing clean Canadian energy, we are supporting Putin. That is exactly what we are doing here. This is something that the finance committee needs to get to the bottom of, going line by line through this budget, to actually ensure that there are no unintended consequences.
    However, we know that there are going to be unintended consequences because history is a good predictor of what we're going to see. We know this government has previously hidden things in its budget. This isn't a conspiracy theory or something out of the blue; this is something that has happened in the past.
    Mr. Chair, I appreciate the opportunity that I've had to speak on this bill. I do think that this is critically important.
    I think it is also an interesting space. I understand that numbers matter when it comes to Parliament. This is Bill C-69. In my riding, most people don't understand or pay attention to bills. They don't really care about the numbers of the bills. They might possibly know the names of them, but almost every single person you talk to.... Mr. Chair, if you were to come to my riding and talk to people on the street—actively canvass people—and you said “C-69”, they would say, “No more pipelines; that is shameful”. In my area and across northeastern Alberta, they understand the punishing impacts that the bill carried. The fact that this government decided to choose that same number for this budget implementation act shows an absolute distaste for Albertans and the impact that the anti-pipeline bill had on Alberta families and on the hard-working energy workers who keep the lights on and the heat on in our -50° winters.
    It is just another point of proof to the hard-working people throughout my riding and throughout Alberta that this government doesn't consider them when it's making decisions. That is quite unfortunate.
    With that, I will pass my time on to my next colleague.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, MP Goodridge.
     I have MP Davies, MP Morantz and then MP Kurek.
     While I empathize with my Bloc colleague, who I think expressed a genuine attempt to move this forward, I'm finding myself a little bit concerned that I'm not really seeing a way forward. The Conservatives are filibustering and talking endlessly about all sorts of issues in an attempt to delay, without offering constructive proposals on how we move forward.
    I will repeat that there seems to be either a misunderstanding or an attempt to misdescribe, I guess, what happened last week.
    When we had our subcommittee meeting on the agenda, these are the exact issues we discussed. What we're trying to do here is schedule the finance committee's meetings for May and June. That's what we're trying to do, if Canadians are watching this. I haven't counted up the meetings, but it looks like we have about another 10 or 12 meetings. We're trying to use that time efficiently.
    I heard references from Mr. Morantz that it was as if I was doing something nefarious by discussing with my Liberal colleagues, following that meeting last week, how we could come together and make a proposal at this committee in lieu of the fact that the Conservatives wouldn't come to an agreement last week. We put forward exactly these proposals about how we could schedule the budget meetings for the next three weeks, and then how we could move ahead on studies on green financing, on house financialization, and on inflation—studies that all three parties really want.
    When we couldn't reach an agreement last week, you wouldn't have to be a parliamentarian to know that the other parties would talk to each other about how we could come to this meeting today, in lieu of no agreement, and put a motion forward to deal with it. The Conservatives can't not come to an agreement in subcommittee last week and then come here and complain when the other parties try to work productively to come up with an agenda. The agenda is not going to magically appear. It's going to take all of us working together and speaking to the issues at hand, not filibustering and not talking about the political fortunes of Mark Carney or the political ambitions or future of Mr. Trudeau or what's going on in Fort McMurray or any of the other issues that may be important in their own right but really don't have anything to do with how we schedule the budget matter before us.
    There was a reference to how moving the motion to schedule the remaining meetings for May and June was “to blow up the committee”. That was a quote from my Conservative colleague. That's just nonsensical. We need to have a motion adopted by this committee to determine how we're going to move forward. I will tell you that one of the biggest difficulties of working on committee—I think we've all experienced this, if we're honest—is moving ad hoc, meeting to meeting. It's very difficult to prepare. It's very hard on the analysts. It's very hard on the clerk. It's unfair to the witnesses.
    Mr. Morantz went through a number of the questions he would like to have put to the witnesses who were here today. Well, that's exactly how I felt when the Conservatives were filibustering during the fall economic statement. One of the witnesses who was testifying here about water in this country ended up leaving without any questions being asked of him. He actually wrote a letter to this committee, asking to come back, because of the time that was wasted. The Conservatives claim to want to get to the issues, but then they continue to filibuster. That's an oxymoron that I just don't think can be squared.
    There have been references to this being an omnibus bill. The Harper government was the king of the creators of omnibus bills. That's all they brought in for budget bills. They were omnibus bills. In fact, they were the first major government to regularly use omnibus bills as a routine matter. I remember how they changed the way riverways and waterways in this country were regulated in a budget bill, as an example. There were hundreds and hundreds of pages that went way too far in amending legislation.
    I agree that the Liberal government has brought in omnibus bills. I don't think that's appropriate either. I know that there's some reason to go a little wider in budget bills, but for the record, I agree that we should resist the temptation to use budget bills as mega bills that make all sorts of changes to legislation. I remember that in the last budget bill, there was a change to the way pharmaceuticals were regulated in this country. That didn't even come to the health committee. That's a problem, I think, because as parliamentarians, our first job is to scrutinize government bills.

(1700)

     While I do agree with that, I don't think it lies in the mouths of Conservatives to appear pure on objecting to omnibus bills when the last Conservative government used them every year for 10 years. I hope it will be different if and when the Conservatives are in government again.
    We'll see. I think there was a reference to the Harper government being pure. I remember Senate scandals, Nigel Wright secretly writing a $90,000 cheque to pay for Mike Duffy's legal bills. I remember the G8 Muskoka scandal: Tony Clement was overspending for the—

(1705)

    I have a point of order.
    Go ahead on a point of order, MP Goodridge.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I am very curious as to what the relevance to any of this would be, specifically when the subamendment we're supposed to be discussing is regarding Mark Carney coming to the finance committee. I would love to hear that.
     Thank you.
    Thank you.
    MP Davies, be relevant and stick to the subamendment.
    The relevance is clear. I'm responding to the point made by the Conservatives about the Harper government being ethical and providing clean government. That's what was said by my opponent. I'm responding to that, so it's clearly relevant.
     I remember them using Conservative logos on government cheques, giant government cheques. Talk about misusing government taxpayers' dollars for partisan purposes. I remember their tough on crime legislation. Just about every bill they ever brought in was struck down as being unconstitutional. Those are the kinds of things I remember from the Harper government's days, and I'm afraid that the current Conservatives will be even worse.
    Point of order.
    On a point of order, MP Goodridge.
     Again, we are discussing a subamendment on having Mark Carney come to the finance committee. I and all of my colleagues in the Conservatives that I have had the opportunity of listening to have been quite clear in keeping to the matter of the subamendment and talking about having Mark Carney attend. Unfortunately, our colleague Don Davies from the NDP insists on bringing up the ghost of Harper from 10 years ago rather than talking about whether he supports having Mark Carney, yes or no.
     I truly believe that this isn't something we should continue having to bring up. This is purely not relevant.
     Thank you, MP Goodridge.
    I have a point of order.
    On a point of order, go ahead, MP Baker.
    What I'm struggling to understand is where Ms. Goodridge is coming from. Mr. Davies is responding to points that she and her colleagues made. If it's out of order for Mr. Davies to respond to her comments, then her comments were out of order in the first place. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
     Thank you, MP Baker. I understand where everybody is coming from. We have given a lot of latitude in this committee. I don't know how many hours we spent on elvers, Clerk. I don't even want to count them. There's been a lot of latitude.
    I do ask for people to be relevant and to be focused on whatever we are discussing. As I said, there's been a lot of latitude. MP Goodridge maybe has not been around here on our committee, but we have allowed for a lot of latitude.
    MP Davies, the floor is yours.
     Thank you.
    We are talking about Mr. Carney. Ms. Goodridge was talking about pipelines in Fort McMurray, if I recall, only five minutes ago, and I don't know what that had to do with Mark Carney either.
    It's funny that Conservatives like to criticize and throw condemnations at other people, but if you bring up their record at any time, are they sensitive. Maybe there's a lesson there that if they don't like hearing about their own problems, issues or failures in government, maybe they should be a little bit more careful in how they attack others.
    The points I was making are facts as opposed to things like repeatedly saying that the NDP has been in government with the Liberals for nine years, when that's just factually incorrect. I have told that to my Conservative colleagues many times, but they still say it, so they have disrespect for the truth. I don't know how far you can get into a debate if someone has that little respect.
    With regard to Mark Carney, Conservatives seem to have an unhealthy obsession with this issue. I'm not quite sure. The funny thing about it, though, is this. It would be somewhat psychiatric to analyze, except that—and this is the part that I think Canadians who are watching should be concerned about—this is the finance committee, and we have a budget in front of us. Conservatives are concerned about the political future and possibilities of Mark Carney; I'm interested in the economic needs of Canadians. The funny thing about Conservatives is that they've slipped up. They have clearly revealed, on many occasions, that they want Mark Carney to come to this committee because they view him as a future leader of the Liberal Party. They view his political future and want to bring him here to this committee to question him on that.
    It would have been one thing if they tried to hide it by limiting their interests to something that he might say about this budget or about the financial situation of Canadians but, of course, they can't do that because Mark Carney is a private citizen now. He was the Bank of Canada governor at one time and he was the governor of the Bank of England, but he is no longer, and they are clearly obsessed with his potential future as a leader.
    I don't think that Canadians are interested in the political future of Mark Carney when we have a budget to pass that has immediate economic impacts upon them, their pain and their hurt, and I will say this: I give Conservatives credit, as do all colleagues around this table in the Liberal Party and my Bloc colleagues, because I think we all share an accurate description of many Canadians suffering and having a legitimate desire to have meaningful supports from government. We can disagree on what those supports may look like, and that's what we should be focusing on in the budget. For some reason, Conservatives want to hold that up. We've been talking for hours here. We're in extraordinary meetings at the finance committee because they insist on having Mark Carney come here instead of our being able to schedule the budget.
    The pain and hurt that Canadians are feeling are not going to be ameliorated by our grilling Mark Carney on his political future. What will be of assistance to Canadians is debating the issues that arise in this budget, and there are major legitimate issues there. I want to hear from my Conservative colleagues where they think this budget gets it wrong and their suggestions for improving it. I want to hear my Bloc colleagues' suggestions in that regard, and I have my own thoughts as well, so I wonder where this filibuster by the Conservatives is going. They seem to have made a decision that they want to hold up this committee until they get Mark Carney to testify. Interestingly, there was a way to do that last week in a subcommittee when we were sitting there trying to decide on an agenda. Conservatives well know that there were different possibilities.
     I've said this before, and I'll say it for the record: We have to call witnesses to this committee on the budget. We have meetings scheduled in two weeks. According to the motion, if we pass it, we'll have meetings in two weeks. Every party around this table will be able to nominate witnesses, and Conservatives can nominate Mark Carney as a witness if they want. Nothing stops them from doing that. That's how witnesses get here. They know that. Canadians should know that. If Conservatives want Mark Carney at this committee, they can have him here in two weeks if they want. They just have to put him down as their number one witness.
    Of course, the reason they will deny that and the reason they're filibustering is that they're afraid Mark Carney may turn down their request, as witnesses have the right to do.

(1710)

     Given the way the Conservatives are speaking about Mark Carney and given that they have zero interest in hearing Mark Carney's legitimate thoughts on the budget or on finances but really want to grill him on his political aspirations, I well understand why Mark Carney wouldn't want to dignify that kind of approach by coming here, because it's subterfuge. The Conservatives are pretending to want Mr. Carney to come here on the economy, when in fact what they really want to do is a political—
    I have a point of order.
    We have a point of order.
    I'm talking about Mark Carney, which is the motion before us.
    Thank you, MP Davies. There was a point of order.
    Yes, MP Goodridge, go ahead, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     Imputing false motives is not parliamentary and—
    MP Goodridge, I think what MP Davies is speaking to is relevant.
     I didn't question it on relevance. I'm questioning it on imputing false motives and talking about how Conservatives are pretending as if somehow we're not genuine, and I believe—
     That's the member's prerogative, MP Goodridge.
    MP Davies, the floor is yours.
     Not only is it not imputing false motive: I'm imputing the actual motive.
     Ms. Goodridge didn't have the benefit of being here for the last several meetings. She's new to the committee, so I understand why she wouldn't know this, but I've sat at this committee and heard the Conservatives speak repeatedly about why they want to call Mark Carney. From Mr. Hallan to any other person on this side....
    I shouldn't say that. There are some of my colleagues who have not said that, but I've heard Mr. Hallan repeatedly go on at length about Mr. Carney and how he's going to be the next Liberal leader and using that as a reason to want to call him here for committee. They've said it. It's on the record. Check the Hansard. That's not imputing false motive. I'm reciting back the motive that's been stated.
     Even if he didn't, why would we be holding up the budget?
    Let's assume the Conservatives didn't say what they said and that they want Mr. Carney here only because they're interested in his economic ideas. Why would they be holding up the budget? Why would they be filibustering the scheduling of the BIA because they want a particular citizen to come here and testify on the budget? There are thousands of people who can come to testify on the budget.
    It's obvious. Let's not be disingenuous here: The Conservatives want Mr. Carney here because they want to politically attack him. That is not an appropriate use of a witness. In my opinion, it's not an appropriate reason to hold up a budget implementation act and it's not an appropriate reason to delay giving relief to Canadians who are suffering, whom the Conservatives claim to care about, but their actions belie it.

(1715)

    I have a point of order.
     On a point of order, MP Morantz, go ahead, please.
     I just want to circle back for a second to the use of the word “subterfuge”, because I just looked—
    That's not a point of order, MP Morantz.
    MP Davies, go ahead, please.
     No, it is a point of order.
    The Chair: How is it a point of order?
    Mr. Marty Morantz: It's a point of order on whether it's parliamentary. If I might just finish my point, I'll tell you what the definition is.
     The very first word of the definition is deceit: “deceit used in order to achieve one's goal”.
    Mr. Chair, the NDP member, Mr. Davies, accused my colleagues, Conservative members, of subterfuge. He accused us of being deceitful. I ask you to rule if you think that word is parliamentary.
     MP Morantz, I'll look into it.
    MP Davis, you may continue. You have the floor—
     No, you can't just look into it, Mr. Chair.
    Is that your ruling? I'll challenge it right now. I want to challenge that ruling, if that's your ruling.
     You can't just look into it, Mr. Chair. You're the chair.
     Okay, you've challenged the chair.
     You should say—
    Maybe you should confer with the clerk.
    He's challenged the chair, Clerk, please. Just take a vote.
    Mr. Marty Morantz: What's your ruling?
    The Chair: It's a vote.
    The question is, shall the decision of the chair be sustained?
    If you are in agreement with the chair's decision, you vote yes. If you are against, you vote no.
    On a point of clarification, we don't know the ruling that he gave to us. There is no ruling.
     Is “subterfuge” parliamentary? It means “deceit”.
     What my ruling was is that I would look into what MP Morantz had to say—
    That's not a ruling.
    Yes, that is my ruling.
     MP Davies has the floor again.
     Mr. Chair, I'm happy to withdraw that word.
     Thank you.
    That wasn't the intention.
     It's been withdrawn.
     Good. Great. Thank you.
    Mr. Don Davies: I'm happy to withdraw that word.
    Mr. Marty Morantz: I appreciate it.
     What I was getting at is that I think it's not appropriate to call a particular witness for, in my opinion, clearly political purposes and to hold up the work of this committee any longer.
    I'm also a little concerned that once we run out of time at this committee, we also have the Minister of Finance, who's scheduled to come on Thursday. If this continues, then we're going to lose that time as well. At some point, we're going to have to come to an agreement about how we schedule our time. Our time is limited.
    I haven't heard the Conservatives dispute, in any real way, the need for the government to get this budget passed by the end of June, before the Senate rises in the summer. I think we all realize as parliamentarians that this what the norm is, and that's what we've done. After 15 years of being in Parliament, I know that is what has happened every year. It has to be done then for all sorts of reasons.
    Reasoning backwards, we have only a limited number of meetings between now and then. I'm going to exhort my colleagues to be creative. I did amend the motion was put forward by Mr. Turnbull to give us an extra two meetings of six hours. That's 12 hours of meetings. Altogether, that comes to 16 hours of meeting on the budget. If we don't come to an agreement on that quickly, we're going to lose the next two meetings. We already lost one today. Mr. Morantz, I think, was right to point out that we lost an hour today.
     I don't think I've ever filibustered at a committee in 15 years. I think I can honestly say I've never caused any of my colleagues the disappointment that Mr. Morantz felt by not being able to ask questions. I've been in many meetings where the Conservatives have filibustered, while witnesses are sitting there, so that the rest of us have not been able to ask questions, and it's not pleasant. I don't think it's fair to the witnesses. I don't think it's fair to us as colleagues. I feel his pain, but I also want to point out that it was the Conservatives filibustering in the second hour on this motion that caused us to not be able to ask the questions for the last hour. We could have voted on that motion quickly.
    My final point is that this is a minority Parliament, but we still live in a democracy, and in a democracy, the majority rules. That doesn't mean you get your way all the time; it means you have voice.
    The question I would ask my Conservative colleagues is this: If you don't like this motion, why not move to amend it? Let's vote on it and let's live with the result of the motion. You may not like the result. I've been in opposition 15 years, and if I had a dollar for every vote I lost, I'd be retired. It's important that we do come to a conclusion on this as soon as we can.
    I think the motion by Mr. Turnbull is reasonable. It gets us everything that we need to do to move forward. We could be grilling the finance minister of this country on this budget in two days. We could be putting forth witnesses, probably dozens of witnesses, by the end of this week, and we can have them scheduled two weeks from now, and then we could put those important questions to them.
    We could also be working on the amendments. I think this motion would give us a minimum of 12 hours to debate amendments. That's lots of time to debate amendments. We just did it with the FES, the fall economic statement, which is a document similar to what we have here.
     I don't know what we're fighting over at this point. Is it an extra meeting or two? I'm not sure. However, I think the Conservatives, if I'm not mistaken, put forth a motion to call Mr. Carney, and I think it failed. If it didn't, I would invite them to put forth a motion, and we'll let democracy rule. If the majority of people in this committee want to call Mark Carney, then we will, and if they don't, we won't. That's the way it works. Holding up the process because you hold a minority opinion and don't get your way is not appropriate.
    I'll conclude by saying that I want to bring it back to Canadians, some of whom may be watching, although most will not be. We are all here as finance committee members to try to pass a federal budget that brings the best possible benefits to Canadians and to Canadian businesses. The only way to do that is to call the witnesses to move this forward, to ask the penetrating questions that need to be asked and that I know my colleagues on all sides will ask, and to move the amendments that we think need to be proposed, if that's the case.

(1720)

     Thanks.
    Thank you, MP Davies.
    I have MP Morantz and then MP Kurek and MP Hallan.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I just want to take a moment to thank Mr. Davies for withdrawing his unparliamentary language. Obviously, referring to honourable members as deceitful is inappropriate, and most competent chairs would agree with that sentiment—
     I have a point of order.
     MP Morantz, I'm just going to—
    That's unparliamentary. I would ask Mr. Morantz to withdraw the implication that Mr. Fonseca is not competent.
    Thank you, MP Davies.
    MP Morantz, as I said, I would look into it to see if that word was unparliamentary, but I did not want to stop the conversation from happening. MP Davies had the floor. What I was going to do was look into that word.
    I appreciate that, Mr. Chair.
    Now, since—
    I'm sorry. I'd like a ruling on on my request.
     I'm calling Mr. Morantz to account for what I consider to be unparliamentary language in the implication that the current chair is incompetent. I think that should be withdrawn. It's unparliamentary.
    Go ahead, MP Morantz.
     I withdraw it.
     Thank you.
     Many people tune in to these meetings, and this meeting's been going on for quite some time. Some people tune in and then tune out. Some members come to sub in for other members. They come and then they leave, so it's a bit of a turnstile. A lot of people are coming and going, so I think it's important that from time to time we recap what we're actually talking about.
    Earlier today, we had a regularly scheduled finance committee meeting. In the middle of the meeting, the Liberal member, Mr. Turnbull, tabled a motion on which there had been no consultation with our members. Apparently he had provided it to the NDP member of this committee. They were, I guess, collaborating to try to schedule meetings for this committee until the end of June.
    The problem is that the Liberals got fewer votes than the Conservatives in both the 2019 and 2021 elections. They don't have a majority of members in the House of Commons, so for these committees to function properly, they need to collaborate with all members. They can't just be heavy-handed in their approach.
    Therefore, Conservative members quite rightly protested. We said, “What is this?” They can't just hammer us with a motion that's going to program the next two months of meetings without consulting.
    Because so many people are probably getting off work now, getting home, turning on their computers or looking at their phones, and logging into ParlVu in droves, I think we should remind them or at least bring them up to speed on what we're talking about.
    This motion basically blew up the meeting. We had eight or 10 finance officials here to answer questions about the budget, which is massive. I don't know if people realize that it's a huge document. It has 659 pages and 468 clauses, so there are a lot of questions to ask that people want the answers to.
    This motion that really derailed the democratic right of elected members of this committee to ask public officials about the budget was this: It starts with the words, “As relates to the committee's future business”.
    What they're referring to there is the next couple of months of meetings, through to the end of June. That's the future business that this motion is specifically addressing, Mr. Chair.
    It continues, “it be agreed that”. In other words, it's asking that all members agree—or at least the majority of members on this committee—and vote in favour of this motion that would program all of these meetings.
    It's to agree that:
i. the committee dedicate its meeting on Thursday May 9th, 2024, to hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and officials, on the subject matter of Bill C-69.
    That's fair enough. Of course, the finance minister should come to the committee. This is her budget, and she would certainly be able to answer a lot of questions for Canadians, particularly around the affordability crisis, the fact that housing prices have doubled under their watch, that inflation went up to 8% at one point under their watch, that the dream of home ownership has been destroyed by her government's policies and all that stuff. All those questions we could ask, as well as about whether she understands—well, I know she understands, but whether she appreciates—the fact that many economists have said that exorbitant government spending has clearly led to inflation, which has jacked up interest rates in this country.
     There are many questions like that around monetary policy. I think she probably likes to think about monetary policy—I think she's a thoughtful person—and I know the Prime Minister doesn't, so somebody in cabinet better be thinking about monetary policy, and I think it's likely the Minister of Finance.
     I think that paragraph i is reasonable.

(1725)

     By the way, as I go through this motion, Mr. Chair, I'm going to be incorporating the various amendments and subamendments, because people who have just tuned in after work need to understand exactly where we are in the story of this motion.
    That brings me to paragraph ii. It says, “the committee dedicate its regular meetings on May 9th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th, 2024, to consideration of the subject matter study of Bill C-69”. Fair enough; that's the bill we're talking about here. It's the budget bill.
     Then there's the subamendment that I added probably 45 minutes or an hour ago. We'll call it the Carney subamendment. It says that in the week of May 28, one meeting be dedicated to hearing from the Minister of Finance for two hours and one meeting be dedicated to hearing from Mark Carney for three hours.
    Speaking about the subamendment for a second, what's really fascinating about this is that I know Mr. Davies is okay with this. He said it last week: “I look forward to Mr. Carney's coming to this committee at the appropriate time in the appropriate study, which can happen in the next two months.”
    It's the words “in the appropriate study” that I find interesting, because Mr. Carney is going to be at a Senate committee tomorrow testifying on green finance, which is actually one of the subjects that is in the initial iteration of this motion. There we have what would be a great opportunity for my colleagues on this committee to ask Mr. Carney about green finance, and I don't see why they would object to that. I mean, their colleagues in the Senate will be asking questions about that tomorrow.
    There are all kinds of reasons for Mr. Carney to appear before the committee, not the least of which is the fact that the Liberals and the New Democrats are trying to program a meeting on green finance, which Mr. Carney is an expert in, and he's going to be speaking at the Senate finance committee tomorrow. There you have it. It's hard for me to understand why that would be objectionable at all.
     It goes on to say, “barring referral of the bill to committee”. I think it's somewhat awkwardly worded. It's probably not how I would have written it, but fair enough. It continues, “and that all evidence gathered as part of the pre-study be considered as evidence in the committee's full study of the bill, once referred to committee.” It's a bit jargonic. It has a bit of legalistic jargon there, but the bottom line is that the idea is to basically tell Conservatives, “We're going to program out these meetings and we don't really care what you think.”
    I want to back up for one second to what I also find interesting. I really appreciate the fact, by the way, because I made a big deal of this last year, that Mr. Davies doesn't like omnibus bills either. I made the point earlier in this meeting that I think the classic example of why they're bad is the SNC-Lavalin affair. In this case, a clause was inserted in an omnibus bill just like this one for the specific purpose of giving one company a special deal for a deferred prosecution. I don't know whether such a clause exists in this bill. I would like to know, because it has happened before. The Liberals did it before. Mr. Davies doesn't like omnibus bills, and I don't either.
    There used to be a time when the NDP was actually an opposition party in this country. Tom Mulcair would cross-examine the prime minister. He was very effective in question period. Jack Layton was an incredible opposition leader. May he rest in peace. I know he is sorely missed.
    However, this iteration of the NDP will talk a big game. The New Democrats will talk about not liking omnibus budget bills. You know, I think the New Democrats make a good point when they say they didn't like the amount of the disability payments, but then they'll vote for the budget. They're going to vote for it, despite the fact that they don't like it.
    It's a bit rich. I have a bit of trouble getting my head around that. People expect their elected officials to stand on principle. If you don't like something, don't vote for it. If you like something, vote for it. The worst of both worlds is to say that you don't like something and then go vote for it. It's kind of a weird situation, Mr. Chair.

(1730)

     Anyway, for those tuning in right now to this meeting to know what we're talking about, I'm going to go on to item iii of the motion, which says “that any amendments to the bill be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, May 30th, 2024”. For those watching, what that means and what we're talking about is that the budget was introduced, but the budget isn't legislation. The government then tables a piece of legislation called a ways and means motion for the budget implementation act, which has, in this case, 468 clauses.
    Members of this committee have the right to suggest changes or amendments. Every member of this committee has the right to do that, and then the committee will vote at some point on whether those changes are acceptable or not. At the end of the day, the committee fashions a bill that gets referred back to the House of Commons for more debates and more votes.
     When it says “that any amendments to the bill be submitted no later than 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, May 30th”, what it's saying is that members like me; Mr. Hallan; my colleagues from the Liberal Party, Mr. Baker and Mr. Turnbull; and of course Mr. Davies can all draft amendments and submit them to the clerk. We will discuss those amendments and debate them.
    I think I have that right, Mr. Clerk, don't I? Thank you.
     For those watching, that's a very important aspect of this motion. The ability of elected members to actually have an input on the content of the budget bill is fundamentally important to the democratic process. I really appreciate that part as well.
    Then it says, under item iv, “clause-by-clause consideration of the bill start no later than 12:00 PM EST on June 3rd, 2024, and that the chair be empowered to set up extended hours and request additional House resources on that day”.
    What does clause-by-clause consideration mean? If you're just tuning in.... I'm sure that people aren't really familiar with all of our jargon and what actually goes on. Even though it's a 468-clause bill, we're going to go through every one of them, every single clause. That's why it's called clause-by-clause consideration. We're going to vote. We're all going to have the opportunity to vote. It's part of the democratic process to vote on every single clause. Just like we did last year—and I'm hoping that we will do it again this year—we will actually vote on every single clause, one by one.
    I think that's really the most democratic way that we can do it, because that's what we're sent here to do. We're sent here to vote and to represent our constituents. It's the most important thing that we're sent here to do: to vote and to represent our constituents and bring their concerns to the table. The budget is obviously the signature piece of legislation of any government throughout the year. It's a prime time to meet our constituents where they are, to bring their concerns to the budget. Clause-by-clause consideration is a very, very important part.
    I think we're going to need a lot of time for it, Mr. Chair, because it will take quite a bit of time to debate and vote on 468 clauses. I'm really looking forward to it, I have to say. I know it's long hours, but I know Conservatives aren't afraid of long hours. We'll stay here morning, noon and night to talk about every single clause to make sure that Canadians are getting the best representation that they can possibly get through the clause-by-clause process.
    This brings me to item v, which says that following the completion of the study of Bill C-69, there will be no fewer than two meetings on the study of proceeds of crime and money laundering, a very important study.

(1735)

     I guess it has been proposed to be amended out. We haven't voted on all of this yet, but there's the possibility of a continuation of an existing study we're doing—I think it was Daniel Blaikie's study—on what they call the “financialization of housing”. This is the idea that somehow people are trading houses like they trade stocks on the stock market, but we know that's not true. The vast majority of homes are used for people's residences. They're not trading homes like they are shares in bank stocks. It's a woke approach to the whole real estate market to call it “financialization of housing”, but we'll entertain them and let them talk about their little financialization thing.
    Then there's this other issue I talked about earlier. The former governor of the Bank of Canada, Mr. Carney, is going to be in the Senate tomorrow to talk about the state of play on green finance. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Davies said last week, “I look forward to Mr. Carney's coming to this committee at the appropriate time in the appropriate study”, which can happen in the next two months. If he's talking about the state of play on green finance at the Senate and if the committee decides we're going to have meetings on the state of play on green finance, I don't see any reason that Mr. Davies would object to his coming for that meeting.

(1740)

    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    There's a point of order.
     I think we've gone around on this particular motion, amendment and subamendment quite a number of times. I think members have expressed their points of view. I don't think we're getting anywhere on this tonight. I would respectfully ask to suspend for this evening.
    An hon. member: You can't do that on a point of order.
    No, you can't.
     It's up to the chair to suspend, but I agree that we're not getting anywhere here, from what I've seen. I think we need to come back to this, because members—with a bit of time to think this through—may come back with a different perspective.
    We will suspend at this time. We'll get back to this on Thursday.
    [The meeting was suspended at 5:41 p.m., Tuesday, May 7]
    [The meeting resumed at 11:04 a.m., Thursday, May 9]

(5900)

    Welcome to the continuation of meeting number 142 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee is meeting to discuss the subject matter of Bill C-69, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024.
    Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the Standing Orders.
    Before we begin, I'd like to remind all members and other meeting participants in the room of the following important preventative measures.
    To prevent disruptive and potentially harmful audio feedback incidents that can cause injuries, all in-person participants are reminded to keep their earpieces away from all microphones at all times. As indicated in the communiqué from the Speaker to all members on Monday, April 29, the following measures have been taken to help prevent audio feedback incidents.
    All earpieces have been replaced by a model that greatly reduces the probability of audio feedback. The new earpieces are black in colour, whereas the former earpieces were grey. Please only use the approved black earpieces. By default, all unused earpieces will be unplugged at the start of a meeting. When you're not using your earpiece, please place it face down in the middle of the sticker for this purpose, which you will find on the table. Please consult the cards on the table for guidelines to prevent audio feedback incidents.
    The room layout has been adjusted to increase the distance between microphones and reduce the chance of feedback from an ambient earpiece.
    These measures are in place so that we can conduct our business without interruption and to protect the health and safety of all participants, including the interpreters. Thank you all for your co-operation.
    I'd like to make a few comments for the benefit of members and witnesses. Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For members in the room, please raise your hand if you wish to speak. For members on Zoom, please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will manage the speaking order as best we can. We appreciate your understanding in this regard. Also, all comments should be addressed through the chair.
    We are resuming debate on the motion of Mr. Turnbull, the amendment of Mr. Hallan and the subamendment of Mr. Morantz. Going back to my speaking order, MP Morantz is not here, so I have MP Hallan next to speak.

(5905)

     Thank you, Chair.
     I will cede the floor to my friend Philip Lawrence, who will talk about this very common-sense subamendment to a very common-sense amendment.
     Thank you, MP Hallan.
     I have another person on the list after MP Lawrence. It's MP Dzerowicz.
    Thank you very much, Chair.
    To be candid, it's a little disappointing that we don't have the ability to talk to the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, today. We were looking forward to having a robust discussion. I've personally had many interesting discussions with Ms. Freeland about such things as the gap in GDP per capita between Canada and the U.S. and some of the financial struggles.
    Just to set the stage, as it were, for the discussion—and unfortunately I suspect it will be a lengthy discussion on where we are right now—I don't want to tell tales out of school, but I did have a discussion with the parliamentary secretary, who was very upfront this morning. I appreciate his candour. However, the challenge is that we started off on the wrong foot. He surprised us with a programming motion. For those in the media or simply watching at home, a programming motion sets up the organization of business. Normally this is done through a collaborative, co-operative process, even when parties are having a very heated exchange over their various different ideas and thoughts as to how the government.... There have to be certain administrative and procedural agreements.
    In the last couple of years, while sitting on the finance committee, I've had the privilege of negotiating those with various Liberal members, including Mr. Terry Beech. Yvan and I have also had some chats in the interim. They were not always friendly, but they were always respectful. Mr. Beech, for example, would nearly always give me the opportunity to discuss and have input on a motion prior to it being brought forward. While we didn't always agree, I very much appreciated that from the former parliamentary secretary, whose title is now “minister of fixing government” or something like that, I believe.
    As I said, I try as much as possible to be an advocate for the truth. In fairness, there was a subcommittee meeting, but that meeting broke down. I would have expected maybe a courtesy call, as I got this morning, and I appreciated that.
    Mr. Turnbull, I would very much have appreciated a call beforehand, and maybe we would have had a discussion. What we have is a programming motion that calls for, really, a very small amount of testimony. I understand that the government and the NDP brought a subamendment to increase it, so that's a positive sign. However, this programming motion is still deficient in a number of different ways, and I want to characterize it correctly. It's not that I'm objecting on behalf of Philip Lawrence or on behalf of the Conservative Party or Pierre Poilievre. I'm objecting on behalf of the people of Northumberland and the people of Peterborough South.
    This is a massive document. It's over 600 pages, and I think even just some of the finite tax provisions in it could be the subject of lengthy debate and discussion, because anytime you're amending the Income Tax Act—it's a massive document—there are nearly always knock-on effects from that amendment. We need significantly more. I am pleased that Mr. Davies brought a subamendment to expand that. I think that's a step in the right direction.
    The challenge is that Conservatives really want to know what the direction of the government is. In order to know the direction of the government, we need to hear from them. We've certainly heard enough from their current leader, but we need to hear from their future leader to know what the direction is to help us understand it so we can convey that to our constituents.

(5910)

    For example, we have seen Prime Minister Trudeau be absolutely unequivocal that he's going to continue with his carbon tax. He's actually going to quadruple that carbon tax. It is said that there will be no variation from this plan. In fact, his environment minister has said that if there's any deviation from the carbon tax, he will resign. That is absolutely crystal clear. What we don't know is what the Liberal plan is with respect to the carbon tax going forward if there is a change in leadership.
    We have the Deputy Prime Minister, who is, of course, one of the likely Liberal candidates, for one hour. It's not really sufficient enough to discuss even her role as Minister of Finance, much less as a future potential leader of the party. We have an hour to discuss a 600-page document that will affect every Canadian through one provision or another. Some of these are quite in-depth; these are not simple provisions.
    We can talk about some of the tax changes specifically. One of those changes could easily take up two or three hours. I suspect that many individuals haven't had the briefing they need to fully understand some of the ramifications of tax policy. We really need Ms. Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, for at least two hours.
    There's another challenge that Conservatives have. We would really like to hear from Mark Carney. It's no surprise that to many Liberals that he is the heir apparent as we move forward. I don't know whether we'll see a resignation from the Prime Minister; I don't know if he knows that. Clearly, things are not going well. While it doesn't appear that Liberal members will push the Prime Minister out the door, it does appear as though he's frustrated. Clearly, the economy and other factors are pointing to an early exit. With that being the case, there's a high likelihood that we're going to have Mark Carney as the new Liberal leader.
    What we're asking for is to have Mr. Carney, who has in the past been an outspoken advocate for the carbon tax, appear. He's a huge proponent of the consumer-driven carbon tax. However, in recent days, including in recent Senate testimony, he has seemed to equivocate. When asked directly about it, he wouldn't give a yes or no answer. In fact, he quite adeptly equivocated, I guess getting ready for his career in politics. We want to ask him whether a Carney-led Liberal government have a consumer carbon tax.
    We've heard the NDP equivocate on this point in recent months with the leader of the NDP stating that maybe the consumer-led carbon tax was not the best direction to go in, while they continue to support and prop up the regime of Prime Minister Trudeau's Liberals, which is on track to quadrupling the carbon tax. Canadians deserve to know whether the future Liberal leadership candidates, whether it's Deputy Leader Freeland or former governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney, would indeed support a consumer carbon tax.
    The other issue that I would really like to talk to Mr. Carney about is what his thoughts are on the actions of the current Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem. Of course, during the pandemic, Mr. Macklem said that interest rates would be low for long, and many Canadians relied on that. They selected variable mortgages and had shorter renewal terms on their mortgages thinking that interest rates would be, as Mr. Macklem said, unequivocally I might add, low for long.
     I would really like to know whether Mr. Carney would criticize Mr. Macklem's actions. I'd also like to know, because inflation doesn't seem like it's going down, as is often the case with inflation.... We saw this in the 1970s and in the 1980s. Getting that first part of inflation down is oftentimes the “easy part”. It's in that last mile that inflation gets really sticky and hard to remove.

(5915)

     We've heard past comments from Tiff Macklem that excessive government spending is unhelpful because it boosts demand, which increases the prices and costs of nearly everything and raises inflation. I'd love to hear from the future Liberal leader on whether he would reduce spending or continue with the $54 billion of interest at which the debt is being paid. That's more than the entire amount in health care transfers. Just imagine if we did not have a national debt in Canada. We would be able to double our health care spending. That's really amazing.
    Another issue was pointed out by Thomas Mulcair, former leader of the NDP. What he said, which is interesting, is that the amount of interest is equal to the entire revenue collected by the goods and sales tax, the GST, across the country. If we didn't have that $1.3-trillion national debt, we would be able to cancel the GST, which was a Liberal promise from many years ago that still has yet to come to fruition.
    I think that having Mr. Carney here is an absolutely reasonable request. He went before the Senate, so he's clearly not shy, and he has a willingness to go before public officials. It does get to me. I try not to, in politics—or as little as possible—speculate on people's intentions, because I believe that most people's intentions are good. I think you get into a dangerous world when you start speculating on the intentions of our colleagues. It's hard to look into someone's heart, but it does make you wonder where the brakes are here.
     What is the Liberal government so afraid of that they will not allow Mr. Carney to testify in front of the finance committee? Maybe they're protecting.... Maybe the Prime Minister prefers his successor to be the Deputy Prime Minister, and he doesn't want Mr. Carney to come here and outshine him. Maybe it's a Paul Martin-Jean Chrétien type of thing, where they're afraid Mr. Carney will make too much of a splash.
    I hope it isn't that Mr. Carney is afraid to answer questions. Clearly, as a former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, he's hopefully faced tough questions. In fact, I'm mindful of an exchange that I saw between the current leader of the official opposition, Mr. Poilievre, asking Mr. Carney some difficult questions. I don't think anyone can say that Mr. Carney did a great job of answering those questions, but if I were him, I might want an opportunity to redeem myself and come before the finance committee. If nothing else, for altruistic reasons, I would think Mr. Carney would want to share his experience with us.
    Specifically on that, I have talked at length about productivity and the importance of economic growth in bringing prosperity to our country. I'm not the only one, of course; there's a wide symphony of voices across economic experts. I can rattle off the names of Bill Morneau, John Manley, the C.D. Howe Institute and the Fraser Institute. Even the current finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, has talked about it. Of course, most recently, Carolyn Rogers gave her famous “break the glass” speech about productivity. Do you know who else has spoken about productivity? It's Mark Carney. He's criticized this government for their lack of focus on economic growth and their lack of focus on productivity, so I would welcome him into the discussion.

(5920)

    It is a nut that Canada hasn't been able to crack. Out of fairness, it has been a 30-odd-year problem, but it's gotten significantly worse over the last 10 years. You can see that; it comes through in the numbers. If you look at a chart—I tried to show the chart to the Minister of Finance, but the chair said I wasn't allowed to use props—a clear departure between GDP per capita in the United States of America and GDP per capita in Canada started in about 2015 and 2016. The gap is now wider between income per Canadian and income per American. It has never been wider in recent history—in the last 100 years.
    Of course, the productivity crisis has led us to the lost decade in Canada. We have had virtually no economic growth in the last 10 years. Our GDP per capita has more or less been flat. That really is an outlier. We are the worst in the G7 in the last five years in growth of GDP per capita, and we continue to be a laggard. Actually, our GDP per capita is, I believe, in its seventh negative quarter. I would have asked the Minister of Finance some questions: Have you looked at these numbers? Could you explain to the committee why our economy is the worst in the G7, looking at a GDP per capita lens? Why do Canadians have to suffer through the seventh quarter of declining GDP per capita?
    These were the questions I would have asked Minister Freelandand quite frankly, I'd put them to former governor Mark Carney as well. We really need to have these discussions for the BIA, because I think it's important for Canadians. We need to have these discussions now about the economic changes that Canada needs in order to get back on a strong footing.
     As I said, it's not just me talking about this. It is the C.D. Howe Institute. It's Bill Morneau. It's John Manley. It is the Fraser Institute. It's Ian Lee. It is Jack Mintz. They're noted economists, and it doesn't really matter whether they're left, right or centre. There's a near consensus across this country that the numbers are the numbers and that we are struggling mightily when it comes to productivity.
    These challenges will continue to plague our country as we go forward. We really need to have a discussion, not just at the boardroom tables on Bay Street but at the coffee shops on Main Street, about how Canada can get out of this economic hole. As my colleague Damien Kurek talked about a bit in his speech last night in the House, when you're at the beginning of piloting a boat or a plane and you have a long journey, even a slight error in navigation early on in that journey can have massive consequences down the line.
    We actually saw this under Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Of course, Pierre Elliott Trudeau ran up massive deficits, and that left the Mulroney government in a difficult position. It ran structural surpluses, meaning that if you took out the debt that was accrued under the Trudeau government, every year under the Mulroney government, it took in more than it spent. Part of that was because of tremendous economic growth, no doubt spurred on by the free market policies of the Mulroney government. The challenge was that they carried along with them a Pierre Elliott Trudeau legacy.

(5925)

    We're really, sadly, at the beginning of a debt or deficit crisis if we don't get ourselves back on course. Right now, we're at $54 billion in interest. If the minister were here, I'm sure the first response to some of my economic questions would be that we have a AAA credit rating, and that's true for now. The reality is, though, that if we don't course correct on the debt and deficit, we won't, because sooner or later the interest will get to be such a big force. In fact, Albert Einstein said that the most powerful force in the universe is compounding numbers or compounding interest, meaning that if you are on the wrong side of this—and we are now on the wrong side of it, with $54 billion of interest being paid—it starts consuming more and more. Eventually, it will get to a point where Canada will no longer be able to pay its bills. Already we're at the point where we're spending more on interest than we are on health care, and there's more interest being paid than the entire amount collected by the GST. Alarms should be going off.
    The challenge, too, is that there is a bit of a spiral effect. The more resources in general—and I'm sure my NDP colleague might add some caveats here—that businesses have for spending on investment and on their workers.... Quite frankly, I agree with him on that, but in general, the more resources the private sector has, the more effective it can be at investing and innovating, at becoming competitive and at creating prosperity for the country.
    As you suck more of the revenue, the wealth, from the private sector and give it to the public sector, not for goods and virtuous services like some of our social safety nets, our health care or our productive resources, but to banks and bondholders in the form of interest payments, you reduce the efficiency and the effectiveness of the economy. Then the economy actually starts to shrink, which means there's less revenue and the government has to increase rates. Then it goes back again: The economy shrinks more and rates go up more, and you get into a negative debt-spiral trap. We've seen this in non-advanced economies, and it has had devastating consequences. We've had many economists talk about this, so we need to get our spending under control.
    The leader of the official opposition has put forward a dollar-for-dollar plan, saying that every new dollar we need to spend—and there will certainly be new dollars we have to spend—will be matched with savings from somewhere else. The Liberal government has talked about potential savings, but as the member for Simcoe North has talked about, while the government has planned to generate savings through attrition in the public sector, it has yet to publish any type of plan that will allow that to happen. All we see is a government that continues to spend more and more money.
     As Ed Fast, the member for Abbotsford, has talked about many times, we can't let that spending get out of control. The reason is not that Conservatives want, in any shape or form, any type of austerity when it comes to government or otherwise, but that it would prevent the type of austerity we saw during the nineties era, under the Chrétien-Martin Liberal government. They dramatically cut health care transfers because the debt, which was largely accrued under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, got to a point where banks and bondholders basically cut the country off. That led to very dramatic reductions in health care transfers and other spending. Conservatives want to protect health care and other government spending by making sure that we are fiscally responsible now.

(5930)

    If the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister were here, she would no doubt tell me that we are on track to hitting all three of our guardrails. The reality, though, is that that's on very shaky ground, and I'll tell you why: A number of the economic forecasts in the budget are very positive, bullish forecasts, such as increasing GDP.
     The other issue is that we haven't yet seen capital gains legislation, and to make that budget work, they need $7 billion in the first year from capital gains. Otherwise, they miss two of the three guardrails. I confirmed that with testimony from the PBO. Those guardrails would be the debt-to-GDP ratio not increasing and the deficit not increasing. They would miss two out of three of those guardrails. Quite frankly, right now that capital gains legislation hasn't appeared.
    You might say, “Well, Mr. Lawrence, we have the whole year to gain additional revenue from capital gains, so just relax. We might even get some retroactively.” However, no, that's not the case here because the government has set up an artificial fire sale by saying that the legislation goes into place on June 24 or June 25. I have no doubt that there are Canadians right now preparing to sell their property to take advantage of the current capital gains rate as opposed to what it will be. Until there's certainty and Canadians know that the capital gains rate will go up through the introduction of legislation, I'm sure many will just wait to see whether this legislation comes into place. We're quickly approaching—I think it's June 24, but I can never remember if it's the 24th or the 25th—that timeline. If the government doesn't introduce this capital gains legislation—which, for political purposes, they decided to pull out of the budget—they will not hit two out of three of their guardrails. That means we will have more spending, which is going to put us further down the debt and deficit spiral going forward and will worsen our economic growth.
    When last I checked in, Mr. Davies wasn't sure whether he agreed with me. However, I'll say it again, and maybe he'll have a chance to agree or disagree. We'll see. It's my contention that, while Canada's GDP growth has been just high enough to keep us out of a technical recession, if you look at GDP per capita or the economic reality of the average Canadian, it has been negative for much more than two quarters continuously, which is the definition of a technical recession. We're at seven quarters, and that means that while Canada as a country is not in recession, Canadians are. In fact, we are in one of the longest recessions to occur since the Great Depression, and that is a great segue into talking about what Philip Cross said on GDP per capita or the economic circumstances of the average Canadian: We are in the worst economy since the Great Depression.
    When we look at the severity and the seriousness of the economic situation we're in, I don't think Conservatives are being unreasonable—I really don't—by asking for three things in total. One of them has already been agreed upon, which is additional hours of study. For 665 pages, I don't think 30 hours is much. In fact, I've thought about a good change in process. For those who don't know, parliamentarians get a technical briefing for maybe a couple of hours, and we are responsible for, within 24 hours, reading 665 pages of extremely technical information. By the by, I say 665 pages, but those 665 pages are amending thousands of other pages. In order to understand those 600 or so pages of amending legislation, you have to understand the other thousands of pages of legislation.

(5935)

     While I have the floor, one of the changes of process I'd love to put forward to the government for the next budget would be to have the bureaucrats, many of whom have great depth of understanding of these changes and the context around them, give a presentation of five or 10 minutes on the substance of the changes. In a budget, there might be 100 different substantive changes, so it might be a couple of days. I would sign on to working from dawn until sundown to fully understand that and to have some of the knowledge held in our bureaucracy transferred to the politicians. That's one of the changes I thought would be a great idea.
    I was a little bit surprised, although Mr. Davies did, in fairness, ask for additional time. I appreciate that, and Conservatives agree. He said that some of the testimony got repetitive. I didn't really see that, but to the extent that it did, I think that we could have eliminated that by having the public service put forward a substantive discussion of each of the provisions being changed. I don't think it would be unreasonable, when you look at the provisions in place that would affect literally every Canadian from coast to coast with millions, billions or, in some cases, if you look at it globally, trillions of dollars, to have a discussion on each one of the objects for five or 10 minutes and let them present to parliamentarians the substance of the issue. I think if we did that, we would give parliamentarians a good base for having fruitful, meaningful and constructive discussions about the individual areas.
    The way the budgetary process works is that when we have the briefing, it is within 24 hours. By the by, the night before, we were working hard at the finance committee trying to get the fall economic statement through, which left us very little time to study those 600-odd pages and to fully understand that budget. Then, instead of being briefed on some of the technical provisions, we were told to ask any questions we wanted to.
    I certainly did my best to try to review and understand it, but it's hard to consume such a massive amount of information in a very short period of time. That's why I believe a great change to the budgetary process would be to have members of the bureaucracy brief us on each one of those changes. Therefore, as I said, if there are 100 changes at five or 10 minutes a pop, it might be 500 or 1,000 minutes. I'm sure each one of those minutes would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in changes that we would effect in each minute. I would throw that out as a constructive suggestion.
     I do want to respond to what I expect will be some comments from the parliamentary secretary, among others, that Conservatives are holding up this legislation. I think, quite frankly, our track record, specifically over the beginning of this year, rebuts that quite conclusively. Clause-by-clause consideration is where the rubber meets the road and where we as parliamentarians decide what will be in the legislation and what won't be in the legislation. Conservatives were actually agreeable, candidly, to the NDP's request to start grouping sections so we could move quickly. In fact, my colleague Mr. Singh Hallan actually withdrew some of his amendments so that we could get through the fall economic statement quickly. I would also point to the fact that it was a very constructive process in which my colleague Mr. Chambers said he had not, in his considerable experience, seen a budget amended as thoroughly as the fall economic statement implementation act was, so it was also a thorough process.

(5940)

     Conservatives were willing to do that going forward. We have, I think, a very reasonable—I won't even put it as a demand—request to have Mr. Mark Carney for at least three hours and then to have the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for two hours.
    Quite frankly, I don't like it when people speculate on my intentions. I don't think it's fair, and I try not to do that as well. I would just throw this out as free advice to that side. Minister Freeland is a very intelligent, eloquent speaker, and so if I were one of them, I would try to get Minister Freeland up as much as I could, and Mr. Carney has always acquitted himself fairly well. I'm not exactly sure why they're afraid of having two of their future leaders answer some questions.
    As Minister Freeland has said before, certainly our exchanges in the past have been respectful. I don't believe I asked Minister Freeland any inappropriate questions. Maybe I asked tough questions, but that's the job. It's my job to ask those questions to make sure that the people of Canada and the people of Northumberland—Peterborough South, soon to be Northumberland—Clark, are given the answers so they know, so they understand.
    In context, of course, during the early part of our calendar every year as parliamentarians, a fair amount of our time is spent in our constituency. Like all other 337 of my colleagues, I spend a lot of time at events talking to people. Soon we'll be on the barbecue circuit again, talking to thousands of people. In all sincerity, it really hit home. I've never had a series of interactions of the kind I have had in the last two or three months, with nearly every individual saying one of two things, or both. One is, “I am really struggling. I've never had these economic conditions before. I've never gone to a food bank. In fact, I have a lifetime of donating to food banks, and now I'm a recipient of the food bank.” These are very serious issues. I'm sure we've all received those calls or emails or have had those direct one-on-one interactions. I don't think I'm in a vacuum at all.
    Quite frankly, I think having the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance here for two hours and having the future Liberal leader, Mark Carney, here for three hours to explain their economic plans, their commentary on why Canada is in such a terrible economic shape, is reasonable.
    Right now we will agree to the scheduling put forward by the NDP and the Liberals. All we're asking is that we get a little bit of insight for two hours from the current finance—

(5945)

    I have a point of order, Chair.
    I'm sorry to interrupt your stream of consciousness and riveting speech, Mr. Lawrence, but I just wanted to make a quick point. It's not really a point of order, but I'll just make a quick comment that might be helpful. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance is here and is willing to appear today. We have committed to that.
    You've said multiple times in your speech today that you'd like to ask the Minister of Finance your tough questions, so I would respectfully seek unanimous consent to pause this debate and return to it after her appearance. That way you would get your questions in.
    It was not a point of order, but the members have heard what PS Turnbull has had to say. I don't know if members want to speak to that.
     Go ahead, MP Lawrence.
     Conservatives are agreeable to that.
     Conservatives are agreeable to that.
    Okay. Are the Bloc and NDP agreeable to this?
    Yes? Okay.
     MP Lawrence, the floor is yours still, and then it's MP Chambers after that.
     Thank you.
    We are agreeable to the UC motion.
    What time is the minister coming?
    She's coming at 12 o'clock.
    Will we just continue to debate until 12 o'clock, Chair? Is that what the plan is? We can suspend if you want, as riveting as my speech was.
     I'm looking to everybody.
    We're suspended.

(5945)


(5955)

     We're back.
    First let me say, Deputy Prime Minister—Minister Freeland—thank you very much for extending an opportunity to have you come here before our committee, and the members have agreed to that. You'll be here with us from 12 o'clock to one o'clock. We will be discussing the budget and Bill C-69. On that, Minister, you may have some opening remarks.
    I also want to welcome Mr. Jovanovic.

(6000)

    I'm sure that the members have many questions for you, Minister. Now you'll have an opportunity to provide some opening remarks, and then we'll get to members' questions.

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, I am pleased to appear before you and the members of the committee to discuss the bill to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024. The bill would implement many of the important measures in this year's budget. Our budget and the measures in this bill are intended to provide a fair chance for all generations.
    These measures include a plan to make housing more affordable. This plan will help millennials and generation Z become homeowners, and it will enable them to save for a first down payment by offering them non-taxable shares, which is very helpful.

[English]

     We're also putting more homes back on the market by cracking down on short-term rentals and by banning foreign buyers of Canadian homes. We're making life cost less, and we're strengthening Canada's social safety net for every generation, from expanding the Canada student loan forgiveness program to supporting workers across health care and social services who work in rural and remote communities to launching a national school food program to making switching Internet and phone plans easier and more affordable.
    We're also increasing investment and productivity, including by delivering two more major investment tax credits to attract more private investment, create more good-paying jobs and grow the economy.
    Mr. Chair, these investments are built upon a fiscally responsible plan. Last week, Moody's, one of the leading credit ratings agencies, reaffirmed Canada's AAA rating with a stable outlook. Moody's also predicts that over the medium term, Canada will see more growth than some other AAA economies and that inflation will remain near the Bank of Canada's midpoint target of 2%.
    This is a powerful, independent, objective proof point. A AAA credit rating means that Canada's economy is strong and resilient. It means that our economic plan is fiscally responsible. It means that we can afford to make the investments Canada needs and create the good jobs Canadians need. It means that the federal government can responsibly invest and borrow at lower costs, as can other orders of government and Canadian businesses.

[Translation]

    Our triple-A credit rating also shows that the Conservative leader would rather make inflammatory statements and mislead Canadians than admit the truth. Our government's plan is fiscally responsible. The reality is that the Conservative leader simply does not want to make the investments needed to give young Canadians the opportunities they deserve. While the Conservative Party is looking for excuses to reduce investments in Canadians, our government is taking action.
    That is why I am asking my parliamentary colleagues to pass the bill to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 16, 2024, as quickly as possible. Young Canadians are counting on us.
    Thank you very much. I look forward to your questions.

[English]

     Thank you, Minister Freeland.
    We're going to go to our first round of questions.
    Minister, I'm sure you are aware that we have a new member to our committee, MP Don Davies for the NDP, and a new parliamentary secretary, MP Ryan Turnbull, here on committee.
    Now we'll go to our first round of questions. Each party will have up to six minutes. We're starting with MP Hallan, please, for the first six minutes.
     Thank you, Chair.
    Minister, do you think it was fair to increase the carbon tax 23% when 70% of Canadians told you not to, as two million Canadians visit a food bank in a single month? Was that fair?

(6005)

     Mr. Hallan, eight out of 10 Canadians get more money back than they pay in with the price on pollution. We also know that the only way to have a credible, effective economic plan in 2024 is to also have a climate plan. That is what our customers, Canada's customers, are requiring. That is what foreign investors are requiring.
    We're seeing the results. In 2023 Canada had more FDI, foreign direct investment, per capita than any other G7 country. That's because we have a strong economic plan that includes a strong climate plan.
     Minister, your carbon tax is actually a tax plan and not an environmental plan. The PBO, on multiple occasions, came to this committee and proved that a lot of the stuff you're saying is misinformation and false.
    For example, he said just a few weeks ago that a majority of families pay more into this carbon tax than what they get through these rebates that you're talking about.
    The last time you were here, for example, your own words were that an average Albertan family gets “$1,800” in rebates, but I have the PBO report here in my hand that says an average Albertan family pays $2,900 into the carbon tax.
     Do you think it's fair that an average Albertan family has to pay $1,100 more into the tax? Is that fair to them?
     Mr. Hallan, I think the people who are trafficking in misinformation when it comes to a price on pollution are, I'm sad to say, the Conservatives.
     Is the PBO wrong?
    The average eight out of 10 Canadian families, very much including Alberta families, get more money back—
    But he said a majority of families are worse off. Is he wrong?
     —than they pay in on a price on pollution. That is simply the reality. It has been verified by economists across the country, including the most esteemed economists in Alberta. The reality is that this is a revenue-neutral plan that is giving money back to Alberta families. I am delighted that we are now giving money back to small businesses across the country, including small businesses in Alberta.
    The final thing that is just so important—it's important for the province that you and I love a lot, which is Alberta—is that the only way for us, as an open trade-exposed economy, to have an economic plan that actually works, to actually be able to attract foreign investment and to actually be able to sell what we produce, is to have a strong and credible climate plan. That's what our government has.
     Minister, I think it's clear to see, by you ducking and dodging the facts, that you absolutely are still peddling misinformation about the carbon tax. Someone who claims to love Alberta wouldn't take an extra $1,100 in a carbon tax over what what people get in rebates. I just want to make that clear.
    I will move on. Mark Carney testified yesterday at the Senate committee. As someone who will probably be your next leader and as someone who's rumoured to be also a leadership candidate in the next Liberal leadership race, Mark Carney was also ducking and dodging the question on whether he supported the carbon tax.
    Before you launch your campaign, we want to know this: Will you continue down the path of Justin Trudeau and quadruple the carbon tax?
    Mr. Hallan, I'm not sure that the best use of this committee's precious time is to indulge in political speculation and political horse racing—
    I think the committee needs to know, if you're running for leadership, if you'll quadruple the tax.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Hallan. I didn't interrupt you with your very long comments. I would ask you politely to do me the same courtesy.
     Sure.
     Let me just be clear, because you have waded pretty far into waters of political speculation, that our party has a leader and our government has a Prime Minister. He has the full support of our cabinet and our caucus.
    Fair enough, Minister, except I have a short amount of time—
     Mr. Hallan, please don't interrupt me.
    —so on that note—
    You used up your precious time speculating about party politics. You leave me no choice—
    As a follow-up to that question, Minister—
    —but to answer. I'm quite happy—
    I just wanted to ask you if you support his quadrupling—
    I'm sorry, Mr. Hallan. I didn't interrupt you.
    Minister and Mr. Hallan, perhaps we could try to find the right balance here so that we can hear and we can get some answers.
     Sure.
    I'll move on, then, because I just wanted to know—
    I wasn't finished with my answer, Mr. Hallan.
    That's fine. I'll take my time back, because I only have a limited amount of time.
    I have a point of order.
    Mr. Chair, I think it's customary, when members ask questions, to give witnesses an equal and weighted amount of time to answer, and I don't believe the minister has had her time to answer.
    What I would ask for is respect here in the room. We do have the minister. It is precious time. We have one hour. I'm sure you want to hear from the minister.
    MP Hallan, I'm sure you want to pose your questions, so let's find, as I said, the right balance to make this happen.

(6010)

    All I want is to move on to my next question, because I have only a limited amount of time.
    Minister, under the nine years of your government, rents have literally doubled. They were half what they are now before your government took over. Rent prices are outpacing income for the first time in 60 years. Your $89-billion photo op slush fund, supposedly for housing.... After you announced that, it has doubled rents. I want to know how you spent $89 billion to double rents.
    I am glad to see all of us paying attention to housing. I think it is one of the most pressing issues for Canada and Canadians. That is why, with this budget and the actions we have taken, our government has put forward the most ambitious plan to get more homes built faster than at any time in Canadian history. All of the measures taken together will mean that nearly four million new homes will be built by 2031. That is what Canada needs. That is what we are doing. That's what we're investing in. Conservative austerity will not accomplish that.
    You also offer me a nice opportunity to point out that when your current leader was responsible for housing, he managed to get only six homes built. That is a record we're happy to stand against any day of the week.
    Thank you, Minister.
     We're going to our next questioner, MP Thompson, for the next six minutes, please.
    Thank you.
    Welcome again to committee, Minister. I'm sorry that I'm not there in person, but I'm pleased as well that I'm back in my riding today.
     I would like to reference the school nutrition program.
     Specifically, we know that every child in Canada deserves to have the best start in life, but nearly one in four kids just doesn't get enough food. This, obviously, has a real impact on their ability to learn and to grow.
    Certainly, while the Conservatives seem to be against supporting fairness for every generation, our government—I'm very proud of this—is taking action, and we're certainly seeing this with the launch of the national school food program.
    Would you outline some of the benefits of this program, please?
     I know that you, like me, are a mother. I know that you have worked as a nurse. I know how much you know and care about Canada's children.
    I must say that the national school food program is one of the things in this budget that I am most pleased that we're able to invest in. This investment means that an additional 400,000 Canadian children will get some food in school, before school. I know that you, like me, have had heartbreaking conversations with school teachers who talk about how, in Canada today, they have students who come to school and can't focus because they're hungry. I know that you, like me, have talked to teachers who say that they spend their own money to buy some snacks to bring to school to give to those kids. We, thanks to this investment, are going to be able to provide nutritious, healthy snacks to 400,000 more Canadian children. I think that is surely a measure we should all support.
     I do have to point out that this is just one example of why we need a government that recognizes the importance of investing in Canada and Canadians. This is why austerity and cuts always, always hurt the most vulnerable. They hurt the people who need help the most. They hurt Canada's children.
    That's why I am so glad that our government, with this budget that promises fairness for every generation, is investing in the youngest Canadians.

(6015)

     Thank you.
    I wanted to stay with young Canadians or younger Canadians for another moment.
    We know that young Canadians were disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It's interesting to me that in so many of the comments we hear here at committee, we seem to forget that it was a very difficult period of time that this government, I believe, did a remarkable job in navigating Canadians through, but young Canadians certainly faced the worst of the pandemic, and they're still feeling the economic pinch. I certainly feel, and I believe the government does, that it's very important that we address the struggles that young Canadians are experiencing, particularly around the high cost of living. I'm glad and very pleased that so many of the investments in budget 2024 address these concerns for young Canadians.
    I'm wondering if you could speak to this. You referenced some of the programs in your opening statements, but I'd be really interested. I think it's important to outline in a little more detail the specifics of what is in the budget to help young Canadians who are feeling that the opportunities are not available to them that were available to their parents.
    Thank you very much, Ms. Thompson. I could not agree more.
    This is a budget for fairness for every generation, with a particular focus on millennials and Gen Z. That is because we recognize that today the promise of Canada—the good middle-class life, if you study hard and have a good job—is just too hard to reach. That's why in the budget we are aggressively investing in housing, in measures to make life more affordable, in economic growth and productivity, and we're doing it all in a fiscally responsible way, because we understand that that is also part of our promise to young Canadians.
    Then how do we make the math work? We're doing that by asking those who are doing the very best in our society to contribute a little bit more. That's a budget that delivers fairness for every generation.
    Specifically for younger Canadians, I want to highlight two measures. One—and I'm going to smile at Don Davies—is free prescription contraceptives. It is high time to deliver this for Canadians, for all Canadians. It is especially important for young Canadian women.
     As we were putting together this plan, I spoke to gynecologists and obstetricians, who said to me that every month they have young women who come to their offices who are pregnant and don't want to be. The reason is that these young women—teenagers, some of them—can't afford to pay for prescription contraceptives, and they're too scared to ask their parents for the money, or maybe their parents don't have the money. It is a tragedy for every woman who goes in to see a gynecologist or an obstetrician in that situation, and it's a tragedy for our country, and I am really glad that we are now taking action to change that.
    Thank you, Minister.
    We'll move to MP Ste-Marie.
    Thank you, MP Thompson.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Good afternoon, Minister and Mr. Jovanovic. Thank you for being here.
    There are four areas I'd like to discuss today, if I have time. However, I'm going to focus on just one topic during this round.
    I'm talking about the part of the bill that regulates open banking. We understand that there will be a follow-up to Bill C‑69 in the fall to regulate consumer protection and other aspects. In this bill, though, you're laying the groundwork for open banking.
    I am really concerned because the purpose of the proposed regulations is to ensure that everything is controlled by the federal government. However, you could have chosen to use the co‑operative model in the area of securities, where each province has equivalent standards and there is mutual acceptance among the provinces.
    So I am concerned about the possibility of a two-tiered system. Banks in Toronto are under federal jurisdiction, but caisses populaires such as Desjardins, credit unions and financial institutions such as Alberta Treasury Branches Financial come under Quebec and provincial legislation. If those institutions want to enter the 21st century and participate in open banking, they must have the authorization of their province, which must then give up its right to legislate to the federal government.
    It would be a concentration and a centralization of powers. In addition, based on what we have heard, the provinces were not consulted on this until very recently.
    Why did you choose to do that?

(6020)

    Thank you for the question, which is concrete and specific.
    I would like to begin by reassuring you that we respect the role of the provinces and territories in the financial system. We are not going to and do not want to impose anything. We understand the importance of working closely with the provinces and territories, and that is what we will be doing by moving forward with this system.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Quebec's Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, with whom I have an excellent relationship. Our entire team works in co‑operation with Quebec and all the provinces, but perhaps somewhat particularly with Quebec. This is an important issue, and we take it seriously.
    I also take seriously the role of credit unions, which you mentioned. They are an important part of our financial system and we must always include them. There's another thing we need to think about: The world is moving forward, as you said, and it's important to have open banking in order to have a modern, productive economy in this country.
    However, I really want to reassure you by telling you that, as we move forward with this, we will take very seriously the position, ideas and wishes of the provinces and territories, including those of Quebec, and that the role of the caisses populaires is very important to us.
    I would like to make another point. Quebec investors, innovators and entrepreneurs already play a key role in the financial technology ecosystem. That group of entrepreneurs is among the most advanced in this system. In my conversations with entrepreneurs in Quebec, I am being told that it is important for our country to move forward because we already have the capacity to innovate in this sector.
    Thank you for your answers and comments, as well as for your show of respect toward Quebec and the provinces, their areas of jurisdiction and institutions such as the caisses populaires Desjardins.
    However, the choice put forward in Bill C‑69 is to stay in the 20th century or to move forward into the 21st century. However, if institutions under provincial jurisdiction want to move forward into the 21st century, the first step is to regulate open banking. Given the architecture of Bill C-69, that step goes through the province, which must voluntarily relinquish its jurisdiction and announce to institutions that the portion of their operations under open banking will be regulated by the federal government from now on.
    Ultimately, it is worrisome to see that it's the province that would give up one of its areas of jurisdiction. In addition, institutions that would remain under provincial jurisdiction would have to double their legal services in order to comply with the requirements of the province on the one hand, and those of the federal government on the other hand, as a result of open banking. That would be a competition issue. Why would an institution want to remain under provincial jurisdiction if costs were higher?
    So there is a real fear that the federal government will go for a power grab and could use its power over the banks to regulate all businesses that interact with them. In my opinion, what your government is trying to do with this bill is to squeeze out Quebec and the provinces in the world of finance. Based on the skeleton of the proposed system, that gives me some concerns.
    In order to respect jurisdictions, could you not instead consider a system such as the one for securities, or a system such as Interac, where there is self-regulation?

(6025)

[English]

     I'm sorry, MP Ste-Marie, but you're going to have to hold on to that. Ms. Freeland can answer that in another round, because we're way over time. I'm sure you'll also have an informal chat to speak to that issue.
     MP Davies, go ahead, please.
     Thank you, Minister, for being with us today.
    Minister, I know we have about a $40-billion deficit and that there are different ways of addressing deficits over time. We can cut expenditures, as I think the Conservatives would do, and there's growth in the economy, which I think everybody hopes for, and there's raising revenue in, hopefully, a fair and measured way.
    Given that oil and gas extraction companies in Canada made a record $63 billion in profits in 2022 and that they are, I think, on track to come close to that in 2023, can you explain why your government has declined to impose an excess profits tax on the oil and gas sector, as it did for banks and insurance companies in 2022, which made significantly lower profits?

[Translation]

    That's a very good question.

[English]

     I'm going to start just with a little lighthearted commentary, okay? You guys have to forgive me, and I hope you will forgive me, because Mr. Davies and I have known each other for longer than anybody else in this room has known each other.
    The question I want to start with is this: Who are you cheering for, the Oilers or the Canucks? It's a tough question. I was facing similar challenges in my own house, but the Leafs are out.
    Given where my voters live, it's an easy one to answer—go, Canucks, go!
    Okay.
     Well then, one thing we are going to differ on is that my house is now cheering for the Oilers with a clear conscience.
    As long as a Canadian team wins the Stanley Cup, I'm happy.
     I think maybe the committee could have unanimous consent around that idea.
    I'm sorry to take up that time. I just couldn't resist.
    Our government does believe that part of a responsible and effective economic plan that delivers fairness for every generation means you have to make the investments that Canadians need. To do that in a fiscally responsible way, you have to raise revenue.
    As you know—because I heard you talk about this in the House earlier this week—the main way to raise revenue in this budget is to increase the capital gains inclusion rate. That is the right thing to do. That really is a way to deliver fairness for every generation. I think that measure, appropriately, asks those who have benefited the most from everything that is great about Canada to contribute a little bit more for the next generation. I think it does that without hurting, and it does it in a way that maintains Canada's strength as an investment destination, Canada's economic strength and the ability of our economy to grow. That's why we chose that particular measure.
     I have more to say, but I think you want to say something, so I had better shut up.

(6030)

     Thank you. Maybe I can give you some more room on that. You may have anticipated a bit where I'm going to go, because another potential revenue item is corporate taxes generally.
    I think I've put this to you before. In the United States, President Biden is proposing to increase the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 28% from the current 21%.
    I know that it seems to be a key economic feature in Canada that we need to keep Canadian corporate taxes competitive relative to those in the United States, and I think we all accept that. Right now we're at 15%, and they're at 21%. If the U.S. is raising their corporate tax rate to 28%—another 7%—do you agree with me that it opens up room for us to have a measured increase in corporate tax rates in Canada that would help with revenue for the federal government while also keeping Canadian businesses competitive vis-à-vis the U.S.?
     Mr. Davies, a thing I learned very early on in the NAFTA negotiations—and it became a rule that I set for myself—was to never make commitments based on a hypothetical, particularly when it comes to political events in the United States. However, I am going to make two general comments, because I think you raise an important issue.
    Number one, I do think all of us need to be thoughtful about Canada's global competitiveness. At the Department of Finance, Mio is the head of tax policy, so he's in charge of all the harder stuff that the finance department does. The other finance people will be mad that I said that, but he has an internationally respected kind of engine that calculates METR, the marginal effective tax rate, comparing Canada to other economies.
    We have a table for METR in the budget, and we look at that closely all the time to be sure we are competitive. It's a relative measure.
    The second thing I'll say is that I do think that we, as people in western democracies, have been living through a period of a race to the bottom when it comes to taxation. You've seen in every single country a real corporate push to drive rates down and to tell citizens that they have to accept this because otherwise the capital will move to another jurisdiction. That's why I think the OECD two-pillar process is so important in trying to put a floor on that. I do think that this kind of collective action helps us as western democracies to maintain the revenue base that we need to make the investments that, in our case, Canadians need.
    Thanks.
    Mr. Chair, do I have some time?
     You do, for a really quick question and answer.
     On the Canada disability benefit, you know that 1.4 million Canadians are living in poverty. You promised that your proposal would help lift about 600,000 people out of poverty, but it's only $200 a month.
    Minister, are you willing to increase that amount in this budget, and are you willing to look at the eligibility criteria so that every Canadian living with a disability and living in poverty in this country will actually be lifted out of poverty?
     You know, Mr. Davies, that it's a very significant investment in the budget right now. It's a big deal that as a country, for the first time, we're putting a benefit in place.
     Our government and I personally certainly share your aspiration that this needs to be just a first step and that we need to go further. I do think it's important to take it step by step and to carefully get the system in place. Something I think we need to be thoughtful about is to ensure that additional federal spending actually goes to the people who need it and doesn't get lost through clawbacks of various kinds, and I think acting in a step-by-step way is the best way to ensure that.
     Thank you, Minister.
    Thank you, MP Davies.
    Members, we are moving into our second round. This will be our final round, and I am going to have to hold pretty tightly to the timeline so that we can get through it.
    We're starting with MP Lawrence for five minutes. Go ahead, please.
     Thank you, Minister, for appearing before the committee today.
     Minister, I have a simple, straightforward question for you: Which country in the G7 has had the worst per-person income drop in the last five years?
    It's very good to see you, Mr. Lawrence.
     I think I can see the direction you're wanting to travel in, and so let me reassure you by pointing out that in the last quarter of 2023, Canada had a healthy move in GDP. The first quarter of this year shows strong GDP growth—2.5%—and we're seeing that reflected in the productivity numbers too.

(6035)

     Thank you, Minister.
    What was the per capita GDP growth in Q4?
     As I said, I can see the direction you're going. That's why I will take this opportunity to highlight good, solid GDP numbers in Q4 of 2023 and really good GDP numbers in the first quarter of this year. In terms of productivity and per capita GDP, I think the outlook for this year is really quite positive.
    To take one project alone, the Trans Mountain pipeline, the Governor of the Bank of Canada estimates that it's going to add 0.25% to GDP growth in the second quarter of this year alone.
    Thank you.
    Stephen Poloz thinks it's going to be 0.5%, and that will translate into the per capita numbers.
    Thank you.
    I'm glad you're a fan of oil and gas there. That's good to hear.
    I want to get back to my original question: Which country had the worst per-person income drop in the G7 over the last five years?
     I think that I have spoken to some relevant measures of economic growth and talked about how we're seeing growth doing really well, particularly considering the widespread predictions about how Canada was going to suffer a recession, including from your side of the House.
    I think a measure that is worth pointing to is median income, and I would point all members of this committee to some commentary recently written by Tyler Cowen, a U.S. economist, on Bloomberg, about how median income is a very important measure. That captures the life of the middle class. In median income, Canada has had steady growth over the past decade, and it looks really good compared to comparable economies.
    Thank you, Minister.
    Could you please just answer this question? If you don't know, just say you don't know. That's fine.
    What country had the worst per-person income drop in the G7 in the last five years?
     I think I've spoken to where I see the important measures of growth, productivity and median income.
    One of the valuable things about looking at the median income measure is that, as everyone is aware, because of some of the COVID dynamics, Canada had a real surge in the number of non-permanent residents in this country, such as international students. Obviously an international student won't have the income of someone who has been working here for many years, and that fact does have an impact on the numbers.
    The budget included a section devoted to talking about these economic impacts. I would point people to median income as a really good measure that speaks to people's lives.
     I do appreciate that, and I would love to get to some of what underlies that, but first we need to sort of put where the baseline is.
    To answer that question, Canada has had the worst income drop in the G7 over the last five years. The U.S. is at an 8% increase. Italy is at about 7%. Japan is a little shy of 4%. Then we have France and the U.K. Germany is slightly negative, and Canada is an outlier at negative 2%.
    GDP per capita has a real impact on people. In fact, that's how most economists measure economic well-being. We've also had seven quarters now in which Canada's GDP per capita has been shrinking. If in fact we measured GDP on a per capita basis, we would be in one of our longest recessions. Since the Liberals formed government, our GDP per capita, our economic growth, has not grown a bit, not in the last 10 years. We are in a serious economic crisis, and it's troubling to me, Minister, that you won't answer basic questions.
    Thank you, MP Lawrence.
    Thank you, Minister
     I know the minister has a hard stop at one o'clock, and to get through everybody, we have to get to MP Dzerowicz. Maybe you could follow up when the Conservatives have the floor again.
    MP Dzerowicz, go ahead for five minutes, please.
     Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    Minister and Mr. Jovanovic, thank you for being here today.
    My first question to you, Minister, is on the capital gains inclusion rate.
    Since you introduced federal budget 2024, we've heard a lot of different commentary on the government's plans to increase the capital gains inclusion rate. Can you speak to us and shed light on why these changes will support investments in growth and productivity and how these changes will play a role in creating fairness for all Canadians of every generation?

(6040)

     I'll start where you concluded, which is to say this really is a budget for fairness for every generation. We recognize that means we have to make investments in Canada, for Canadians, and especially for millennials and Gen Z, and that means massive investments in housing. This budget has the most ambitious federal housing plan in Canadian history, with nearly four million new homes to be built by 2031. It means investments in affordability and in the social safety net. We've been discussing some of those, and they are really important for all Canadians, especially young Canadians.
    Crucially, it means investments in economic growth. The budget includes a $5-billion investment for students, for post-docs, for our universities and for research. That investment in our fundamental intellectual capacity is an investment in young people. It's an investment in the future.
     The budget includes an investment of more than $2 billion in AI to be sure Canada maintains its strong position in this essential frontier of the global economy. The budget includes really important investments in productivity overall, like the expansion of the accelerated CCA, the accelerated capital cost allowance. When you talk to businesses, they say that is a measure that drives investment. Of course, with this measure, plus Bill C-59, we will have four of our investment tax credits in the clean economy passed into law. That program is essential to ensure that Canada can remain an industrial and manufacturing economy in the 21st century.
     We're making really big investments in Canada's economic capacity, and those investments cost money.
    Now, some people would simply choose not to make any investments and follow a path of austerity. I think that would be a terrible mistake. Other people might choose to make the investments, but not do it in a fiscally responsible way. We saw that with a far-right budget, which didn't last very long, that was put forward in the U.K. I think that would be a mistake here also. Our government, which recognizes we need to make investments and we have to do it in a fiscally responsible way, is making our tax system more fair and using that fair approach to fund the investments that Canadians need.
    I think the elephant in the room—in this committee, in the House of Commons, in Canada—is the Conservatives' really refusing to be clear on their view of tax fairness for every generation. I think that we're actually going to end up disagreeing: The Conservatives are going to prefer not to invest in Canadians because I think they find it too challenging to ask those who are doing the best to contribute a little more. I think that's a clear line of difference, and that would be a real mistake for Canada and Canadians.
     Thank you.
    I have one quick final question. I know you talked about how a strong economy is very important for us. You talked about investment tax credits. We introduced them in Bill C-59 and now in this budget. Can you talk to us, Minister, about how you see investment tax credits helping Canadian businesses remain competitive in the global market while also pushing Canada towards a more sustainable economy?
     Our chair says I can't, but I'll just say they're important.
    You have 15 seconds. Yes, they're very important. That's great. Okay. Maybe in another question you'll be able to follow up on that.
     We go to MP Ste-Marie.
    Again, you have two and a half minutes, MP Ste-Marie.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Minister, I'm going to ask you a question on another topic. Depending on how much time is left, you can answer my question and then come back to the issue of open banking.
    I'm very pleased to see that part 2 of Bill C-69 includes the implementation of the OECD's pillar two, a framework for a global minimum tax. I commend all the work you are doing to combat the use of tax havens. I think this is really major, and I commend your courage.
    However, in the 300 pages that are difficult to understand, there seems to be nothing about the distribution among the provinces of this tax that would be collected. In particular, what is the plan for provinces such as Quebec and Alberta, which collect corporate taxes?

(6045)

    Thank you for the question.
    First, I want to quickly wrap up our conversation on open banking. It's really optional and we don't want to impose anything. However, I want to assure you that, for us, it is important to work with the provinces and territories and with caisses populaires. We are also prepared to work with you and to exchange ideas. You have raised an important concern, which we have discussed at length.
    On the implementation of pillar two of the global tax agreement, I thank you for your understanding. I spoke a bit with Mr. Davies about the importance of having a multilateral regime, but it's really a complex regime. For all the processes related to the OECD and also for pillar one, it may be a good idea for us to continue the conversation among our teams to explain what we are going to do. We are currently doing work as part of pillar one, and it is not just up to us.
    Thank you very much.

[English]

     Thank you, Mr. Ste-Marie. We're right on time.
    We'll now go to MP Davies for two and a half minutes.
    Thank you.
     Minister, just before I leave the topic of the Canada disability benefit, last June this is what Minister Qualtrough, who is responsible for disability inclusion, said:
No person with a disability in this country should live in poverty. Yesterday, the Canada Disability Benefit Act became law, creating the framework for a new federal benefit which will lift working-age persons with disabilities out of poverty. ...I look forward to working with the community this summer as we begin the regulatory process to make the Canada Disability Benefit a reality.
     Minister, the reaction from the disability community in Canada is overwhelming. That $200 a month is not going to lift anybody out of poverty, really—any person living with a disability.
    Would you agree with me that maybe as positive a start as this is, this disability benefit does not meet the promise of this government to establish a benefit that will lift people living with disabilities out of poverty?
     Let me say I think we have the same values and the same aspirations, probably in general and certainly with regard to this benefit.
    From my perspective, if we want to build robust and enduring programs for Canada and Canadians, we have to act step by step and ensure that we are building them with a foundation that is going to work.
     I would say we have to recognize two more things. One is that Canada is very broad and diverse. As Mr. Ste-Marie was pointing out, it applies to everything. In thinking about open banking, I think we all share the same vision, but we know we have to take into account what is happening already in different provinces.
     As you know very well, Mr. Davies, that is true also when it comes to treatment of people living with a disability across the country. I really believe—
    Mr. Don Davies: I only have 10 seconds.
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland: I'll stop there.
    Is that okay?
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland: Sure.
    Mr. Don Davies: Thank you.
     I'd like to move to the school nutrition program. Your budget says it will help 400,000 people. In my calculations, there are 2.2 million kids in Canada in grades 1 to 6. We all know that this program needs to be universal. I want to single out Ryan Turnbull, who has helped on this program.
    How is this amount of money going to be allocated? What conditions may be attached to this money to make sure that all children in Canada get universal access to this program? Clearly, if it's for 400,000 kids, it won't even come close to being a school nutrition program for 2.2 million kids a year.

(6050)

     Again, we have been clear with the national school food program that this is.... We currently have a patchwork, and some kids are getting support. That's great. Some of that support comes through programs supported by the federal government.
    This measure is a big deal. It's saying we need to build a national school food program, but we need to be practical and build it based on what we have today in Canada and not kind of try to tear it up, but we have a patchwork. Our approach is going to be to build on that patchwork with willing partners, and that's why we're saying—
    I'm sorry—
     Yes, we're going to have to get in there, because now we're over the time, and I don't want to take up time from the final two members.
    I have MP Chambers for five minutes, please.
     Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
    Minister, it's always a pleasure to have you here at committee. I'm sure you're always very busy, but it's nice of you to make the time to see us.
     I want to take you on a vacation. Let's go to Mexico for a second. The Government of Mexico's average yield to maturity of their debt is around 18 years, and 59% of Mexico's debt is in 10-year bonds or longer.
     In Canada, our average number of years to maturity is 6.9, and the number of 10-year bonds we issue as a percentage of our total debt is 33%. During COVID, 60% of the debt we issued was for three years or under. That's all renewed now at 4% or 5% interest rates instead of being locked in at, say, 1% for 10 years. In rough numbers, that's about $10 billion a year in extra interest payments.
     Do you think the government made a mistake during COVID by issuing short-term debt instead of long-term debt?
    First of all, I think the people who are taking a break from their regular activities at this committee, which they're very busy with, are the people who have been filibustering the work of this committee. I'm very grateful—I sincerely am—that people took a break from that important work that the people of Canada appreciate on filibustering to have this conversation.
    I would also say that it's an interesting choice to contrast Canada's fiscal position—our credit rating and our debt management—with that of Mexico. I can assure you that there is.... Well, I haven't talked to every single person in Mexico, but I talk to their government a lot. They would cheerfully trade their position for ours, given our AAA credit rating, which was reaffirmed last week by Moody's.
    I'm glad that you're focusing on Canada's debt and our debt issuance, because it gives me an opportunity to highlight an important fact, which is that we issued a five-year global U.S. dollar bond. That's important, because the Bank of Canada likes to maintain some U.S. dollar debt—
     Minister, respectfully, the question is whether we made a mistake—
    No, no. You were talking about how we're issuing our debt. Let me just finish my sentence—
     We're now halfway into the two and a half minutes here—
     The spread on that debt was 10 basis points. It was issued last month, and that is the lowest spread relative to U.S. treasuries of any other issuer.
    Mr. Adam Chambers: That's wonderful—
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland: That speaks to the strength of Canada's fiscal position and of our debt management.
     The truth is that the decision of the government during COVID to issue short-term debt was absolutely negligent, in that it's now costing taxpayers an extra $10 billion a year. You would have extra money to give to Mr. Davies' or other Canadians' priorities had you not done that. We'll agree to disagree on that point.
    Do you know how many people are going to be hired through the measures that are proposed in the budget?
     That's a very broad question.
     What I will say is that the measures proposed by the budget, I believe, will increase Canada's growth, will do so in a way that is fiscally responsible and thus allow inflation to continue to stabilize, creating conditions that will allow the Bank of Canada to lower rates.
    I am very happy to take the opportunity to point out that 1.2 million more Canadians are employed today than were employed before COVID—

(6055)

    Thank you very much, Minister—
     I think we're going to see a strongly growing economy, and that will mean more jobs for Canadians across the country.
    Thank you very much.
    For every budget bill that comes to this committee, we ask the same question every time, and nobody has an answer. Twenty-five per cent of the government's savings objectives are linked to the shrinking of the public service over time, yet no one in the government actually seems to have a plan for people.
    I'll go to my very last question.
     In our last exchange when you were here, I brought up an individual who's on the Infrastructure Bank board. You're the Deputy Prime Minister and you hold significant influence in cabinet.
     Has this individual, Ms. Andrée-Lise Méthot, been asked to leave the Infrastructure Bank board, and are you concerned about the standard that this is setting for people who serve on our Crown corporations?
     In your previous question, Mr. Chambers, you didn't specify that you were concerned with the public service. You just talked about employment in Canada, and of course my objective is for more Canadians to have good jobs. The budget does, though, make clear that we believe it's important, when it comes to the public service, to have a levelling off. You will see clearly in the budget text that we're going to see the size of the public service, over time, decrease by 5,000 employees. That is absolutely appropriate. It is part of responsible fiscal management.
     Thank you, Minister.
    Thank you, MP Chambers.
    These will be the final five minutes, MP Dzerowicz.
     Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    Minister, I have two questions for you as well. I'm going to start where I ended last time, when we were talking about the importance of a strong economy for our federal government.
    You introduced investment tax credits in the fall economic statement. You introduced additional investment tax credits in federal budget 2024. Can you talk to us about how you see investment tax credits helping Canadian businesses remain competitive in a global marketplace while we are pushing Canada towards a more sustainable economy?
    Look, all kinds of ritualized jousting aside, I am really glad to have.... That was the last time, I know, but we haven't jousted that much today. I do want to be really sincere in talking about these investment tax credits. I think they are something that every MP here should support.
    Mr. Davies has been clear that he is a Vancouver MP and is cheering for the Canucks, but something Mr. Davies, I and Mr. Hallan have in common is a close connection to Alberta. These tax credits are really important for Alberta, so I say to Mr. Hallan directly, “Please help us get them passed into law.” The last time I was in Calgary, I heard from Alberta business that they really need these tax credits and they need the certainty that comes from their being actual law in order to make investments. That's speaking to those with Alberta connections.
    Julie, you and Ryan and I and I think Mr. Chambers and Mr. Lawrence are all Ontario MPs—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland: —and, oh my God, our chair, so there are a lot of Ontario MPs here. Our province is so much a workhorse for the Canadian economy. I am proud of generations of Canadians who, unlike some other major industrialized economies, didn't give up our manufacturing base in the 1980s and 1990s, as happened in some other peer countries. Right now we're at a moment when, as a country, we have to decide: Do we continue to be a strong, powerful, industrialized manufacturing economy in the clean transition? These tax credits are about the government saying, “This is absolutely essential, and we're going to do it.”

[Translation]

    Mr. Ste‑Marie, I want to point out that we are working closely with the province of Ontario on its investment tax credits. We also have an amazing collaboration with the province of Quebec. I must say that Mr. Legault personally agrees with the idea that today, in this period of global economic transition, we must have an industrial policy. The government has to be involved in this process because otherwise the capital will not be invested here, in Canada.

(6100)

[English]

     Finally, the proof of the pudding is in the results. In 2023, Canada had the most FDI per capita of any G7 country, the highest total quantum of FDI and the third highest in the world. Only the U.S. and Brazil were ahead of us, and they are much more populous countries.
     Do I have time for another question?
     You have 30 seconds.
    I'll just say thank you, then.
    Thank you for coming here today.
    Thank you, MP Dzerowicz.
     Thank you, Minister.
    We're right at one o'clock.
    We want to thank you for coming here before our committee on Bill C-69, the budget implementation act.
    We thank you even more in bringing all of us together in cheering for the Canucks or the Oilers. Hopefully a Canadian team goes on to win the Stanley Cup. We are all in agreement on that.
    Thank you and have a wonderful day today.
    We thank Mr. Jovanovic for coming here and being with us.
    Members, we are suspended now.
    [The meeting was suspended at 1:01 p.m., Thursday, May 9]
    [The meeting resumed at 2:08 p.m. on Friday, May 17]
    Good afternoon, colleagues. I call this meeting to order.
     Welcome to the continuation of meeting number 142 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to Standing Order 15.1.
     Before we begin, I would like to remind all members and other meeting participants in the room of the following important preventative measures.
    To prevent disruptive and potentially harmful audio feedback incidents that can cause injuries, all in-person participants are reminded to keep their earpieces away from all microphones at all times. As indicated in the communiqué from the Speaker to all members on Monday, April 29, the following measures have been taken to help prevent audio feedback incidents.
    All earpieces have been replaced by a model that greatly reduces the probability of audio feedback. The new earpieces are black in colour, whereas the former earpieces were grey. Please use only an approved black earpiece. By default, all unused earpieces will be unplugged at the start of a meeting.
    When you are not using your earpiece, please place it face down on the middle of the sticker for this purpose, which you will find on the table, as indicated. Please consult the cards on the table for guidelines to prevent audio feedback incidents. Also, the room layout has been adjusted to increase the distance between microphones and reduce the chance of feedback from an ambient earpiece.
    These measures are in place so that we can conduct our business without interruption and to protect the health and safety of all participants including the interpreters.
    Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For members in the room, please raise your hand if you wish to speak. For members on Zoom, please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will manage the speaking order as well as we can. We appreciate your understanding in this regard. I will remind everyone that all comments should be addressed through the chair.
     Thank you all for your co-operation.
     The chair has convened the meeting today, pursuant to a request by five members under Standing Order 106(4), to discuss the recent revelations regarding TD Bank Group and allegations of failing to report money laundering related to the trafficking of the illegal hard drug fentanyl and other money-laundering violations across the financial sector in Canada.
     Mr. Chambers, I see that your hand is up.
    Mr. Chair, I would like to start the meeting if we may.
     Sure. Go ahead, Mr. Chambers.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I appreciate colleagues for coming together this afternoon.
     As you know, money laundering is a very important issue that we've been talking about for quite some time, one for which we put a motion on notice on Tuesday, March 19. That was distributed by the clerk in both official languages. For those of you who would like to pull up that motion, it was on Tuesday, March 19, from our meeting. Verbal notice of it was given.
     I'd like to move that motion officially here today, Mr. Chair.
    On a point of order, I would like to ask the chair if he can clarify with the clerk what advice the chair was given for the conduct of our meeting in terms of starting the meeting. My understanding is that the clerk gave the advice that the previous meeting was suspended and that this meeting should start on the subamendment the Conservatives introduced in a previous meeting, which is on a motion regarding the rest of our schedule between now and June.
    For clarity, could the clerk share with the chair what advice the clerk has given the chair?
    We'll suspend the meeting for now.

(25410)


(25410)

     Colleagues, having just consulted the clerk, I would like to advise members that any discussions between the chair and the clerk are confidential. There was advice given, and we are continuing, pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), the matter that was brought forward today. That is what we just discussed.
     Mr. Chambers, you may continue.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I have a point of order, Chair.
     Mr. Chair, before we do a point of order, can I get a ruling on the attire that's required at a committee meeting, please?
     Mr. Chambers, in committees, there are no attire requirements.
     Okay. Thank you.
    Are we back to the point of order, Chair?
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull.
     Chair, have you made a ruling as to how to proceed based on the way you've opened up today's committee meeting? My understanding is that, based on the last meeting having been suspended, the clerk's advice was to start this meeting on what was suspended previously, which was the motion I introduced that was then amended and subamended by the Conservatives. What I'd like to know is what your ruling was on that, given the advice you received from the clerk.
     On that point of order, I think we have a very important study. Mr. Chambers is introducing a critical motion to study a problem that is costing Canadians hundreds of billions of dollars, inflating housing prices and aiding in the trafficking of fentanyl. I think this is a very serious matter, and I'm very troubled that the Liberals don't seem to want to have a discussion.
     Could I speak to that point of order, Chair?

[Translation]

    On a point of order, as well, Mr. Chair, there is no interpretation when Mr. Turnbull is speaking.

[English]

     Mr. Turnbull, there is no interpretation. I think there were some issues with your audio before as well. I'm not sure if that's been addressed.
    A voice: No.
    The Vice-Chair (Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan): It has still not been addressed.
     Mr. Turnbull, your audio is still causing issues for the interpreters. That's why there is no interpretation from your end.
     I'll look to Mr. Ste-Marie. Is that going to continue to be an issue for you? I'm seeing yes. Thank you.
    I have a point of order.
    Just one second, Mr. Lawrence.
    I talked with the clerk, and he makes a good point that there may be people listening to the interpretation from across the country, Mr. Turnbull. Since your audio is not clear, it may be difficult for those who are tuning in online across Canada to hear the interpretation, which is the issue that Mr. Ste-Marie brought up.
     I'm sorry, but I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Go ahead, Ms. Kayabaga.
     Thank you.
    I'm not a permanent sitting member of this committee. I'm just visiting today, but I'm a member of other permanent committees, and when there's an audio issue we usually suspend to try to resolve that issue.
     For the sake of all colleagues who are here who have taken their time on a Friday in a non-sitting week to be at this committee meeting, can we just take time to suspend to figure out MP Turnbull's audio issue? He is using the appropriate devices that we're required to use, and I think we should give him a fair chance to participate.
    I have a point of order.
    Go ahead, Mr. Lawrence.
    The Liberals had the opportunity, just as we did, to be here in person. Conservatives have chosen to have a member here in person. They have chosen not to.
     If they're unable to fill the basic tenets of the requirement to log on appropriately, other members are able to speak, presumably. For Mr. Turnbull, just as in Parliament in general, if you're not in your seat, it's not the responsibility of the rest of the committee to take care of that.
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, that's not factual, as we are a hybrid committee. Hybrid means that you're able to provide both services.
    Yes. I would ask all members members to wait to be recognized before anyone speaks.
     At the beginning of each meeting we do have audio checks, and it is a responsibility for each member to make sure their audio is working correctly. I know that on this call there are other members who have audio issues, and they've chosen not to to participate until they get them resolved. Unless anyone else wants to speak to this point of order specifically, we'll move on.
    Go ahead, Mr. Davies.
    We can't hear you, Mr. Davies.
     May I intervene?
    I'm sorry to intervene.
     Mr. Davies, on your wire there is a button, and sometimes we click it by mistake. If you follow the wire, there should be an on and off button on it.
     We cannot hear you. You can hear us clearly, but the info from you to us is not coming through. Is there no button on your wire that goes to your computer? Okay. Then I have no idea, because you're not muted.
     At the beginning, we could hear you. I don't know what's wrong. I'll have IT call you. This should be easy to fix.
    Mr. Davies, I think you can work with IT in the background, from the advice I got.
     I've also been advised, Mr. Turnbull, that we can't recognize you because you can't be interpreted. In the meantime, you're more than welcome to have your Liberal colleagues present on your behalf.
     Moving on, we'll go to Ms. Thompson.
     You have your hand up. Is it on this point of order?
    No. My point of order is that I would like some clarity, please, Mr. Chair. The clerk's email indicated that today's meeting, Friday, May 17, would resume meeting 142, which is currently suspended. Could the chair confirm which meeting we're on? I think we've lost focus here.
     Then I would like to speak to the need to suspend and ensure we have communication and the ability for all members using House of Commons headsets to have the opportunity to participate.
    Perhaps we could begin, please, with clarity on the terms of what meeting we are beginning with today.
    Can you hear me now?
     Yes, Mr. Davies.
    Ms. Thompson, we're on meeting 142. As I indicated before, as the chair, that is what we're on right now. I think that's pretty straightforward.
     I'll move on to Mr. Davies. He has his hand up.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I agree with Ms. Kayabaga's remarks earlier. It's a question of privilege. Each one of us is a member of this committee. We have a right to participate, and we have a right to participate either in person or remotely. There's no distinction. Rights are not accorded as to whether or not you're present in the meeting room. Every person around this table has participated both remotely and in person, particularly in a break week.
     Mr. Turnbull is the parliamentary secretary to the minister. He is a lead, and he has a right to participate in this. It appears, through no fault of his own, that the technology is not working. The proper answer isn't to plow forward with a meeting and remove his voice at the committee. It's unfortunate when we have technical problems, but this is not an analogous situation to being either in the House or not in the House. This is a situation where we all have a right to participate.
    I would agree that this meeting has to be suspended until Mr. Turnbull's right to participate is resolved. If he were not using the proper headset or were otherwise somehow not doing proper.... It's like I did just now: I had a proper sound check and then couldn't speak. The meeting should not proceed if I am silenced because of the technical issues. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it goes. You can't just say that someone else can speak for you. We each have a right to participate equally in this committee.
    I'm going to move that this meeting be suspended until Mr. Turnbull's audio issues are resolved.
    I have a point of order.
     I have a point of order.
    Before we get to that, colleagues, I have talked to the clerk, and he's made it quite clear that it's not that any privilege is being taken away. This is much like the House of Commons. The Speaker ruled that if interpreters could not interpret, then members could not be recognized. It was a very clear ruling by the Speaker in the House of Commons.
    It's not that any member's privilege is being taken away. Just as in the House of Commons, any member has the ability to have other colleagues speak on their behalf. After any speeches are given, if someone is recognized and is able to be interpreted, then they're able to speak.
    That's the rule I've seen followed as well. If interpreters cannot interpret, then members cannot be recognized. It's happened to other members in this committee before, and we've never had an issue.
     That being the case, Mr. Chair—
    Mr. Davies, there were other people ahead of you.
    Okay, I'll—
    I'll ask members to be recognized.
    Mr. Chambers, go ahead.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Here's what I would propose on the point of order that we've been discussing with respect to Mr. Turnbull.
    We could suspend for two minutes to allow Mr. Turnbull to try to get this worked out. If that does not work, we should continue with the meeting, as we would in any other circumstance. We would give the governing party the opportunity to find a substitute, if that's what they require, or to rearrange their affairs accordingly. However, we should get back to the meeting, called under Standing Order 106(4). I believe I still have the floor and I have moved that motion.
     I offer that point of order. Whether you would like to continue and give the floor back to me I leave up to you, Mr. Chair.
     I'll just ask for a minute while I discuss this with the clerk.
    Colleagues, I think that's what we'll do. We'll give Mr. Turnbull about two or three minutes to try to figure this out with IT. Otherwise, we'll do what we do in the House, and Mr. Turnbull can have his colleagues speak on his behalf.
    We'll suspend the meeting until then.

(25425)


(25430)

    Thank you to the IT team for getting this back under way.
     Mr. Chambers, you have the floor.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair—
    I have a point of order.
    I'm glad we can get back to our wonderful motion here today. It's pretty good—
    I'm sorry, Chair. I have a point of order.
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull.
    I really need to be clear on whether we're doing. You said earlier to Ms. Thompson's comment that we were starting our meeting as a continuation of meeting 142, which means that this is not a separate meeting and, indeed, means that we're continuing debate on a subamendment. I don't understand how Mr. Chambers could have the floor, both because we had a speaking list on that subamendment and because we were on a subamendment. We can't move to debate any other motion until that subamendment has been dealt with.
    Chair, could you clarify your ruling on whether you're following the advice of the clerk? If you are, then I don't see how Mr. Chambers could be moving a motion right now.
     On a point of order, Mr. Chair—
     Mr. Chambers, is it the same point of order as Mr. Turnbull's?
     Yes, it is, Mr. Chair.
     My understanding is that committee members have the right to request an emergency meeting and that Standing Order 106(4) takes precedence over other committee business. I may have been mistaken on that front, but there is a bit of an unintended consequence here. You could envision a point in time when there would never be a Standing Order 106(4) request because committees could always just suspend. I don't believe the initial intent of having the Standing Order 106(4) request was that it could be frustrated by suspension.
     I'll just leave that for you to consider.
     Thank you, Mr. Chambers.
     Colleagues, look, advice was given by the clerk on this. A Standing Order 106(4) request does take precedence in most cases. I'm the chair, and that's how we've proceeded with this meeting, as I have already announced. I think I've made that clear.
    On a point of order, Chair, if that's your ruling, I challenge the ruling of the chair.
    We'll go to a vote, then.
    (Ruling of the chair overturned: nays 6; yeas 4)
    The Vice-Chair (Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan): Colleagues, I'll suspend to get some advice from the clerk on how to proceed from this point.

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(25440)

    Colleagues, I've conferred with the clerk, and what we'll do is continue at this point from the subamendment that was put forward by Mr. Morantz at the last meeting. I have a speaking list from the last time that starts with Mr. Lawrence and then has Ms. Dzerowicz.
    I'll just give a heads-up, Ms. Dzerowicz, that the interpreters cannot pick up your connection, but you're more than welcome to pass your time on to other colleagues.
    Colleagues, anyone who wants to get on the speaking list is more than welcome to.
    We'll go on to Mr. Lawrence.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     As I said earlier, I'm deeply disappointed and troubled. Money laundering is a scourge that's affecting the Canadian economy, and that has a real impact on individual Canadians. Currently, it's estimated that money laundering is costing Canadians upwards of $100 billion.
    What's as troubling as that is where those proceeds are often directed. We've seen in recent news articles regarding TD Bank that perhaps money being funnelled illegally through a Canadian financial institution was used for fentanyl. We also know for sure that money laundering currently supports such terrible activities as—
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I'd like to ask for relevance. This does not relate to the subamendment introduced by Mr. Morantz, which focused on having someone appear at our committee. I believe it was Mark Carney, if I'm not mistaken. I don't see how Mr. Lawrence's intervention has anything to do with that subamendment.
    Mr. Lawrence, if you can, keep it relevant.
    Continue on.
     As I said, a significant portion of these funds end up with some of the worst people and the worst activities you could possibly imagine, including the illegal trade of drugs such as fentanyl and other opioids, which are poisoning Canadians at record rates; human trafficking; and other horrible crimes that I know everyone stands united against.
    A portion of these funds also distorts the economy. They end up driving up the cost of real estate, most notably in some of our largest cities, contributing to the worsening of housing unaffordability—
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I'm uncertain of the relevance. We are back on the subamendment about bringing Mr. Carney to committee. Given what Mr. Lawrence is saying, I'm not at all certain if there's any relevance to the motion.
     Ms. Thompson, as far as I've seen, there is usually some preamble given whenever anyone talks, but I would ask Mr. Lawrence to get to his point as soon as he can.
     Thank you very much.
     I will inform the members of the Liberal Party that I will be connecting this back to Mr. Carney. However, specifically in the amendment, there is notation of and reference to money laundering, so that is completely within the scope of the discussion.
     My thought process is that, although there are many things that Liberal, Conservative and NDP members disagree upon, our problem with money laundering I would not list among them. In fact, I hope that this is a non-partisan issue.
    We, of course, got a letter from the Minister of Finance, which has now lapsed, calling for a review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
    Mr. Chair, I want to raise the point of order that we're still hearing our colleague go off the subject. I don't know how money laundering connects to the current discussion. We're discussing the subamendment. If he wants to discuss the amendment on anti-money laundering, he can bring the subamendment to a vote. So—
     Mr. Chair, on that point of order....
    On that point of order, go ahead, Mr. Morantz.
     I will just point out that in the motion introduced by Mr. Turnbull, paragraph v calls for a study on money laundering. A discussion of money laundering in the context of the motion, amendments or subamendments would be on point and in order.
    Mr. Chair, on the point of order....
    Mr. Turnbull, go ahead on the point of order.
     My understanding from the procedural rules is that when you introduce a subamendment, you're confined to speaking about the nature of that subamendment and to making arguments that are relevant to it, not to the whole motion.
     I would welcome any advice from the clerk or from you, Chair, on that topic.
     Thank you, colleagues.
    I'll ask Mr. Lawrence to get to his point.
    Thank you, Chair.
    It's difficult to respond to the various points of order when I'm not even given the opportunity to explain the connection. I can assure my Liberal colleagues, who seem very eager to point out relevance, that I've been in lengthy committee discussions before during which members of the Liberal Party have wandered far from the subject. We are given, according to Bosc and Gagnon, a wide latitude. That is a matter of principle.
    I'll continue. If the members wish to make points of order, that is their right.
    We have now missed our statutory obligation with respect to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. This is significant. We are becoming a pariah on the economic world scene. We have seen money laundering, and there are even terms for it now. That's how significant an issue it has become. It's called “snow washing”.
    We need to take this issue extremely seriously. Allowing a review from the deputy leader to lapse is not showing leadership. We are ultimately the finance committee, so reviewing money laundering and illicit financing is squarely within our rubric. Our failure to do that is, quite frankly, putting forward a signal that I'm not proud of. It's saying that Canadians are not taking money laundering seriously.
    On our side of the aisle, we have been outspoken in calling for greater enforcement and improvements to money-laundering legislation in Canada. My colleague Adam Chambers, for example, brought forward Bill C-289, which would have made lying to financial institutions when opening an account a more serious offence.
    This is a significant problem. We are seeing over and over again, after nine years of this NDP-Liberal government, that the country is not working as it should. The government seems incapable of doing the most basic of tasks, whether that be delivering passports or, in this case much more seriously, preventing illicit funds from flowing from around the world, which are being snow-washed in Canada and then are coming out the other side to finance illicit activities such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and even terrorism.
    This is a most serious subject. That's why Conservatives called the Standing Order 106(4) meeting. Liberals are using a technicality to delay this debate. That perhaps says all you need to know about—
    Chair, on a point of order with regard to relevance, my understanding is that the subamendment introduced by the Conservatives on the motion that was amended and then subamended adds the following text: “the week of the 28th one meeting be dedicated to hearing from the Minister for two hours and one meeting be dedicated to hear from Mark Carney for three hours and that clause by clause not begin until the aforementioned witnesses appear for the requested times”.
    I still cannot for the life of me understand how any of the comments made by Mr. Lawrence thus far relates to that particular subamendment, which is the only thing this committee is debating. Perhaps Mr. Lawrence would like us to move to a vote so he can make his arguments on his colleague's amendment, which does include a reference to this.
    Mr. Turnbull, from my recollection of the last meeting, the chair did give quite a bit of latitude when colleagues were talking about Mark Carney, who was also in the subamendment, and Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Finance. As I recall, those conversations have continued, with the chair giving quite a bit of latitude on what was discussed at this committee.
     Mr. Lawrence, please continue—

[Translation]

    I have a point of order again, Mr. Chair.

[English]

     Go ahead, Mr. Ste-Marie.

[Translation]

    The interpreters are indicating that the sound quality for Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Weiler is not good enough for them to do their work. I'm sorry.

[English]

     Mr. Turnbull, I'd advise you to talk to IT in the background until we get that resolved.
     In the meantime, Mr. Lawrence can continue.
     I will connect Mr. Carney back to what I was talking about: the money-laundering issue. I want to put it very clearly on the record, though, that Conservatives are absolutely unequivocal that if we cannot conduct business in both English and French, we should not be recognizing members. As harsh as that might be, we are a bilingual country, and Conservatives will stand up at every opportunity that they have for francophones and the right to speak French and to hear French. We are unequivocal on that.
     I was giving a little preamble, with the indulgence of the chair, but the connection is from a recent CBC article written by Mr. Pittis. Mr. Carney said with respect to money laundering that it was “deeply troubling” and that bankers have to “substantially raise their game to levels of conduct” expected “in any other aspect of life”. Mr. Carney has commented many times, quite notably, with respect to money laundering, and as he's a former governor of the Bank of Canada, one would think there's a fair bit of relevance to talking about the substantial problem that is money laundering.
    With that point of order put to rest, I'd like to continue and discuss the importance of money laundering. We've seen piecemeal attempts by this Liberal government to fix some of the money-laundering issues, but what we really need is a comprehensive approach, one that approaches this head-on and sees a solution, because the reality is, as I said, that after nine years of this NDP-Liberal government, we have seen failure after failure of the government to deliver on the most basic—
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
     Go ahead, Mr. Davies.
     I let it pass the first time, but it's a basic rule of Parliament that we don't actively mislead. This is the second time that Mr. Lawrence has referred to nine years of the Liberal-NDP government. That is factually incorrect. There have not been nine years of an NDP-Liberal government. He knows that there has been a confidence and supply agreement for the last two and a half years, but prior to that, there was no basis to say this. I would just ask him to please respect that basic fact of Parliament.
     Mr. Davies, the clerk will double-check that. From what I remember, there was a ruling in the House on “Liberal-NDP”, if I'm not mistaken, but we will see if we can get the clerk to verify that point of order for you.
    In the meantime, I'll ask Mr. Lawrence to continue and to keep that in mind.
     Out of courtesy to Mr. Davies, I'll refrain from saying “nine years of the NDP-Liberal government”. I think Mr. Davies would grant me that in the last two and a half or three years of the Liberal government supported by the NDP, we have seen no notable or material improvement with respect to money laundering in the Canadian economy. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, there are numerous media reports on the significant impact that money laundering is having on the Canadian economy. Nearly every major media outlet has reported on that.
     We've seen some of Canada's largest financial institutions receive fines, both here in Canada and in the United States, for their lack of safeguards and protections against money laundering. At this committee, we've heard from FINTRAC, among other organizations, about the lack of enforcement and the impact this is having on the Canadian economy.
     Let's get real and serious at this committee as the finance committee. This is a scourge. It's a blight on the Canadian economy and our country. Passing a motion to call for the study of money laundering and actions we can take would take a strong stance, not just here in Canada but across the world, on protecting our country. It would also take a strong stance on protecting, quite frankly, the most vulnerable, whether they are young women being sucked into the horrible world of human trafficking or young folks across our country being sucked into the opioid crisis.
     This is an opportunity for us to do something that's right. It's valid. Let's not let partisan bickering and silliness get in the way of that. Let's just pass this motion.
    With that, I move that we adjourn debate on Mr. Turnbull's motion to move forward to the subject of the Standing Order 106(4) request and Mr. Chambers's motion.
    Given that this is a dilatory motion, we'll go to a vote on what Mr. Lawrence is proposing.
    (Motion negatived: nays 6; yeas 4)
    The Vice-Chair (Mr. Jasraj Singh Hallan): Mr. Lawrence, you have the floor again.
    Thank you.
     I'm disappointed in that. The Conservatives brought up this meeting. Just to be clear, in no way would having this meeting obstruct any other parliamentary business. We certainly could have continued the discussion and debate over Mr. Turnbull's programming motion and had an important discussion.
     We're not even on the motion that we were here to propose, which Mr. Chambers had put on notice. We have not even set a timetable. This would have been a simple up-and-down vote. I had assumed we'd have unanimous support in the fight against money laundering.
    Unfortunately, the Liberals have used a technicality to delay and deny. It's delay and deny. We're left in a position where the Conservatives wanted to send a strong stance out there to all the folks who—
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    On a point of order, I have Ms. Dzerowicz.
    Mr. Chair, it seems like Mr. Lawrence has run out of steam in speaking about Mr. Carney. If he would like to talk about budget 2024, we're happy to vote on the subamendment on Mr. Carney and then happy to get to the original programming motion that my wonderful colleague Mr. Turnbull made. However, right now, whatever Mr. Lawrence is talking about has absolutely no relevance to Mr. Carney.
    Thank you, Ms. Dzerowicz.
    Mr. Lawrence, again, I know there's usually a preamble before everyone talks, but let's get to our main points.
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I respect parliamentary procedure and that members have the right to make points of order. However, I did mention previously—and I guess I'll mention it again—that Mr. Carney is on record as saying that money laundering is “deeply troubling” and that the financial institutions need to step up and do more. The subamendment is with respect to Mr. Carney. Having Mr. Carney appear here would provide us greater light on Canada's money-laundering issue. Also, it's directly on today's topic.
     I can tell that perhaps our Liberal members are frustrated with hearing me talk, so I'll sum up here out of courtesy and respect to them. What I'd like to put on the record is that Conservatives came here today in good faith to put forward a motion to fight money laundering. That is a significant issue for Canadians. However, Liberals have chosen, at the finance committee, to delay and deny this important motion, this important fight against illicit financing activities that finance human trafficking, finance drug trafficking and even finance—
    I have a point of order, Chair.
    Go ahead, Ms. Thompson.
    Again, it's on relevance. I appreciate that Mr. Lawrence is concluding his remarks, but let's stay with the subamendment on bringing the minister to the committee and also Mr. Chambers—Mr. Carney.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
     Go ahead, Mr. Lawrence.
     I appreciate that, and I would like to hear from Mr. Chambers at any opportunity, but in all seriousness, Mr. Carney has testified before the Senate and is outspoken in the media. We've asked him to come here, and he has denied our request to speak at the finance committee. If he can speak to The Globe and Mail, the CBC and the Senate, I'm unsure as to why he wouldn't want to come to the finance committee. I would certainly invite him to speak on anti-money laundering, as he has been outspoken on it in the past.
    We're not sure why he's not being allowed to speak and whether it's maybe internal Liberal politics. He does appear to have an edge on the deputy leader, Ms. Freeland, according to recent polling, so maybe the PMO doesn't want to hear him speak. As there has been, of course, repeated speculation that the Prime Minister will be stepping down towards the end of this session, maybe it's the Prime Minister who's a bit nervous about Mr. Carney.
     I believe the time is right for Mr. Carney. He looks to be the future Liberal leader, and as we have done, we will continue to interrogate witnesses and ministers about the failures of the Liberal Party. However, we also want to know what the plans are going forward.
     I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull.
     I wonder if the member making broad, sweeping claims could back up some of the things he's saying with evidence and perhaps quote the polls that he's referring to.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
     Mr. Turnbull, that's not a point of order.
    Go ahead, Mr. Lawrence.
     Well, how does one respond to that? I presume that Mr. Turnbull is backing Ms. Freeland in the upcoming Liberal leadership. That's the only reasonable conclusion I can draw from that.
     In all seriousness, money laundering is a completely important topic. It's one that's squarely within our rubric. I beseech the Liberal members to just vote for this. Send a signal to the world markets. Send a signal to those who would profit from human trafficking, from drug trafficking and from terrorism, so that we can at least take a bite out of some of those horrible things today. Let's get past partisan politics and pass this sensible motion.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Lawrence.
    Next on the speaking list I have Ms. Dzerowicz.
    It is my pleasure to be speaking to this motion.
     Because we have spent so much time on things that are not relevant to the motion and subamendment at hand, I just want to remind everyone where we are.
    Originally, my very fair and fine colleague Mr. Turnbull put forward a programming motion. It includes how we are going to spend our time this month and next month and how we are going to get through government legislation, the budget before us and other issues that are important and before this committee. That was put before us. The Conservatives seemed to be very upset, saying this was thrust upon them, so they were utterly surprised and bewildered. How could we have proposed such a programming motion without notifying them?
     We reminded our colleagues—who at that moment had short-term memories—that in a subcommittee meeting, we discussed all of the ideas and all the things we wanted to discuss for May and June. We discussed how we could get through the budget, how we could get to important issues like money laundering, how we could get to green financing and how we could get to the housing study that is important to all members of our committee. Alas, the Conservatives decided they wanted to play a few games, so we unfortunately have a programming motion and some amendments that were put forward. One of the amendments, which we are debating today, asks that as part of our programming motion, we have Mr. Carney come and present.
    What I would like to do is reiterate some points I made previously.
    The Conservatives would like to have Mr. Carney present on budget 2024, and as everybody knows, everybody has witness lists. The NDP has witness lists, the Bloc has witness lists, the Liberals have witness lists and the Conservatives have witness lists. Everybody can put forward their names. If the Conservatives would like to have Mr. Carney present, or if they would like to have anybody present—they could ask any Canadian they'd like to present on any of the studies before the finance committee—they can. However, I would like to remind my colleagues, particularly my Conservative colleagues, that it is not the job of finance committee to interview possible future politicians.
    Irrespective of whether Mr. Carney has opined on things like money laundering, affordability or housing, I would say that most business leaders and leaders from every different sector are very concerned about money laundering. Any of them, equally, should have the chance to present before the finance committee. I don't think it's only Mr. Carney. I would say most business leaders in our country have opined on money laundering.
    I would plead with the Conservatives to stop using the finance committee for their fishing expeditions, and to use the important role that has been thrust upon us by Canadians to continue to look at critical legislation coming before our committee. We have important work to do. We are in the final six weeks of this part of our Parliament before we rise for the summer. It's really important for us to be looking at federal budget 2024, among many other things. That is an urgent request, because almost every day in the House, the Conservatives talk about—
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I question the relevance. That was such an important topic to government members with respect to Mr. Lawrence's intervention, so I'd make the same request of you with the current intervention.
    I would say it's completely relevant, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Mr. Chambers.
    Ms. Dzerowicz, just wait to be recognized, please.
    As I told Mr. Lawrence, I understand there's a bit of a preamble, but please get to the point.
    It's not a preamble at all, Mr. Chair. Everything I'm saying is completely relevant to exactly what we're talking about. There's not one thing outside of that. There's not a little tippy-toe outside of it. I'm also not using any of this for any social media video.
    You can intervene at any point, Mr. Chambers, or anyone else who wants to say “point of order”, but I can assure you that everything I'm saying is completely relevant and exactly to the motion at hand.
    Let's move forward. We are talking about the programming motion before us and the subamendment that has been made to it. It is absolutely relevant.
    I was talking about how there are a lot of really important initiatives that are important for us to pass and consider as part of the 2024 federal budget. The Conservatives, and I would say all members of the House, have been rightly concerned about housing, affordability and a number of the measures that our 2024 federal budget has been addressing. It is urgent that we turn the attention, focus and energy of our very important committee to looking at federal budget 2024 so that we can make sure that Canadians are able to access some of the new programs, funding and supports that our government is proposing in it.
    What else would I like to say?
    I'll mention one point, and if you'd like to call a point of order on it, Conservatives, that would be funny for me. You may not know this, but in federal budget 2024, we have proposed a number of items to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. I worked with my team to look at all of the federal budgets we have introduced since 2016, and almost every year, we have introduced anti-money laundering legislation.
    If you truly care about anti-money laundering legislation—which we all care about—then we want to get to federal budget 2024, because there are a number of outstanding measures in the budget that are going to continue the excellent work—
     I have a point of order.
     Mr. Chambers, go ahead on a point of order.
    Oh, that's wonderful.
     I'm having a really hard time. I'm struggling to understand how a question of relevance can be raised by a government member when an opposition member talks about money laundering, but when a government member talks about money laundering, it's supposed to be relevant. I'm confused about how we're applying the rule of relevance or how we're thinking about relevance.
    I appreciate Ms. Dzerowicz's intervention. However, it seems a bit hypocritical to, on the one hand, question the ability of Mr. Lawrence to talk about that issue, but then freely decide to cite it themselves.
     Thank you, Mr. Chambers.
    I agree that we should stay on topic. I did find that when Mr. Lawrence tied in the money laundering with Mark Carney directly, that kept it relevant.
    Ms. Dzerowicz, I would ask the same of you. Keep it relevant. Of course, there is latitude, as every chair in this place has given, but tie it in to the subamendment.
     I am very happy to address that issue directly, Mr. Chair, and I want to thank the honourable member for his intervention.
     I was talking about the programming motion and then the amendment to the programming motion, which includes Mr. Carney. Mr. Carney is in the amendment to the programming motion, which is on how we're going to spend our time both this month and next month before we rise for the summer. One of the key items that we talk about in that programming motion—which is still directly tied to the amendment that we're talking about right now—is federal budget 2024. I was merely pointing out—very much in order, I would say, Mr. Chair—that there are a number of outstanding measures in federal budget 2024 that address money laundering and terrorist financing.
    It's completely different from what Mr. Lawrence did earlier. Not only am I tying it back to the amendment to the original motion that we put in place, but I'm also talking about the key elements that were included in the original motion put before this committee, which was a programming motion.
    Ms. Dzerowicz, I'm sorry. I was just talking to the clerk. We are just talking about the subamendment, not the amendment or the original motion.
    Would you like to read out the subamendment, Mr. Chair?
     The subamendment reads as follows: “the week of the 28th one meeting be dedicated to hearing from the Minister for two hours and one meeting be dedicated to hear from Mark Carney for three hours and that clause by clause not begin until the aforementioned witnesses appear for the requested times”. That is the subamendment.
     Okay. Well, I think I already addressed the subamendment, and I was going back to the programming motion.
    There's really not much to say other than to repeat again—perhaps we should repeat it several times—that if the Conservatives would like to have Mr. Carney or anybody as a witness, I would suggest they put Mr. Carney or anyone else on their list once we get to studying federal budget 2024. I also indicated, and I'm happy to indicate it again, that it's not the job of the finance committee to interview any possible future politicians or anybody the Conservatives are fearful might run for the Liberal leadership any time in the future.
    I would urge our Conservative colleagues to stop playing games. We have important work before us. I say that genuinely. We started—we had a beautiful beginning—by looking at the budget implementation act. There are so many really important elements within federal budget 2024. They deserve questioning. They deserve our time and attention.
    I ask our colleagues to get past the games. Let's get back to the original programming motion, come up with a way to move forward and get back to the business at hand for Canadians.
    Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Ms. Dzerowicz.
    Next on the speaking list is Mr. Davies.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I was a lawyer for a lot of years. I think a number of people on this committee were as well. I always noticed that when a lawyer said, “with the greatest of respect”, what was about to follow was generally anything but respectful. Similarly, in politics, when someone says, “we're not being partisan”, pretty much what follows after that, in my experience, has been extraordinarily partisan.
    I would really like this finance committee to focus on the work that I think Canadians expect us to focus on. I want to thank Mr. Chambers for bringing forth his motion. Listening to everybody here, I know that all of us care deeply about money laundering and terrorist financing, and there's an appropriate place to get to that.
    I will address my comments briefly, if I can, Mr. Chair, to the subamendment. I note, by the way, that the subamendment doesn't speak—
     I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Go ahead, Mr. Morantz.
     I just want to get clarification. I know that five members of the committee, including Mr. Ste-Marie from the Bloc, signed a letter that was submitted to the chair under Standing Order 106(4). It called for this meeting to be a study of the issues that have arisen with respect to money laundering. It's unclear to me, again, why we're back on the programming motion. As a signatory to that letter, I didn't request a meeting about the programming motion. I requested a meeting about money laundering. I think this whole discussion is out of order.
    I would remind my colleagues that when a Standing Order 106(4) letter is signed, it is mandatory for the chair—not the vice-chair but the chair, who is Mr. Fonseca—to call a meeting. It's in the Standing Orders. I think any discussion of a programming motion is out of order. We should be discussing the Standing Order 106(4) request.
    I'd like a ruling from the chair as to why we're not doing what members requested under the Standing Orders and why we're not respecting the Standing Orders.
    I'd like to speak to that point of order, Chair.
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull, and then it's Mr. Chambers.
    My understanding is that the clerk provided an email that contained advice to the committee, which said that this committee would reconvene on meeting 142. That was the direct result of the previous meetings being suspended. That was the procedural advice based on procedural consistency with the House. It has nothing to do with anybody else.
    I understand that the Conservatives didn't want to follow procedure, and that's why the committee overturned the ruling of the chair on that. I found it pretty disappointing the way we proceeded at the beginning of the meeting, because what wasn't made clear was the ruling of the chair based on the very clear advice given by the clerk. I would note that other clerks have made the same ruling in other committees where meetings had been suspended previously.
    On that point, Mr. Turnbull, as I mentioned before, any communications between me, as the acting chair, and the clerk are private. I can't confirm any claim that it's anything other than that, because those conversations are private.
     I explained before the reasoning behind continuing with the Standing Order 106(4) request, which was asked for by this committee. In the experience I've had, when a Standing Order 106(4) request is brought forward by more than one party, which is what happened in this case, a meeting is called.
    We discussed the Standing Order 106(4) request. In that discussion, Mr. Turnbull challenged the chair, and the ruling was overturned. After that, the discussion went back to the subamendment from the last meeting we had. Once Mr. Lawrence brought forward another motion to continue with the Standing Order 106(4) request, as far as I remember, there were four votes to continue from the Conservatives and the Bloc. It was voted down by the Liberals and the NDP. That is why we are where we are right now.
    That's an answer both for you, Mr. Turnbull, and for Mr. Morantz.
    Next I have Mr. Chambers on this point of order.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I'm saying the word “precedence” so that I can find this in future years in the Hansard transcript.
     We have found a loophole in the Standing Orders such that any committee—if I understand the ruling correctly—at the end of every meeting could suspend the meeting to essentially frustrate a Standing Order 106(4) request from being called over the summer, as an example. You could call a meeting, but all of a sudden, you're back in the suspension.
     I don't believe the intention of the Standing Order 106(4) rule is that it does not take precedence and that it is supposed to be subservient to a suspension. I don't believe that's the initial interpretation. If this is in fact true and a ruling is confirmed here today and perhaps has even been used in other committee meetings, in the future, all that committees will have to do is suspend every meeting before there's a break, and they'll never have to deal with the substantive nature of a Standing Order 106(4) request.
    I apologize for intervening before my friend Mr. Davies, as I understand he's waited a long time to chat, but I felt I was required to put it on the record that future parliaments may use this power in a different way from how the government intends to use it today—or perhaps in the same way, but even more aggressively.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     Thank you, Mr. Chambers.
    Mr. Davies, you have the floor.
    Thank you.
    I had intended to speak to the point of order, so I'll briefly do that. Then I'll go back to the subamendment, Mr. Chair, if I may.
     Mr. Chambers makes some good points. What I would add to this is that different consequences flow from a meeting being suspended versus being adjourned. When a meeting is suspended, there are advantages that members can take from that. For instance, when you come to the next meeting, you pick up where you left off, which, for some parties' purposes, may be advantageous. Second, you preserve the speaking order, which can be advantageous as well.
     I will point out that when the meeting was suspended last time, nobody objected. Sometimes parties want a meeting to be suspended for the purposes I just mentioned, and at other times it should be adjourned. I agree with him, though, that were a future government to abuse the distinction between those two, that would be cause for concern, and it would be up to the parties and Parliament to amend the Standing Orders to deal with such a situation. In my 15 years of Parliament, I have not seen any government of any stripe or any committee chair ever abuse this by suspending every meeting to prevent a Standing Order 106(4) request.
    I'm going to speak briefly about why I took the position I did on the request, and it wasn't because I'm opposed to the substance of the motion to study money laundering. I think that is a good thing to study, which I'll talk about briefly in a moment.
    Here's what I got when the Standing Order 106(4) request came in, which, by the way, I was not asked to sign, nor was I even aware of it going in. I looked into this, and this is the advice I received. The information sent by the committee directorate regarding finance's meeting on Friday says that as the committee has a meeting that is currently suspended, it cannot simply convene a new meeting on a 106(4) request. It must first deal with the business from the suspended meeting even if it is to simply set that business aside and move on to the 106(4) meeting. It goes on to say that in such a situation, the committee clerk would discuss with the chair in order for the chair to determine how best to proceed in the circumstances, and the clerk could suggest that the chair discuss with the vice-chairs about the approach for the meeting.
    I think it's quite clear that we had to begin this meeting—because it had been suspended—with the business under consideration, but Mr. Chambers is correct, and I think this speaks to his point about how a future government could control this. If every meeting were to be suspended, it still is open to committee members at the next meeting of the suspended meeting to adjourn that debate and address the Standing Order 106(4) request. A government can't stop a that simply by suspending meetings. It will always be open to the majority of members at the committee to end the suspended meeting and begin a Standing Order 106(4) request, which we could have done today.
    Let me just speak briefly about the merits of the subamendment, which I'm going to say for the moment is not restricted to Mr. Carney. The subamendment says to call the minister for an hour as well. When the Minister of Finance is called to this committee, that leaves it pretty wide open to talk about any issue one could put to the Minister of Finance. I've been listening carefully to people's points of order and what's relevant or not. Maybe the part about Mr. Carney might be relevant to Mr. Carney, but if the subamendment calls for having the minister come, I think there's much more latitude when speaking.
     Here's why I have taken the positions that I have today. I agree that money laundering and terrorist financing sanctions and other measures are a critical issue that this committee should look at, but I want to point out, if we're all being completely frank here, that the Conservatives are engaged in a filibuster right now to prevent us from considering the BIA, the budget implementation act.
     I want to read to you a bit of what's in the BIA.
     Part 4, division 34, proposes amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the Criminal Code, the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act to support stronger anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing compliance, enhance information sharing and continue to provide new tools for financial crime investigations, prosecutions and asset recovery. It goes on to describe that in detail.
    The first area is on strengthening supervision and the anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing framework. Here it says that amendments proposed would enable the introduction of regulations to cover cheque-cashing businesses and factoring, leasing and financing companies. Coverage of these sectors under the legislation would ensure comprehensive and consistent coverage of businesses providing financial services in Canada. I'll skip the rest of it.
    The next major heading is on enhancing the sharing of information and financial intelligence. Here it says that amendments are proposed to the legislation to enhance the ability of businesses with obligations under the Act to share information with each other. Information sharing between private sector entities can improve their risk mitigation practices and promote higher quality reporting to FINTRAC, Canada's AML-ATF regulator and financial intelligence unit. This, in turn, can lead to better intelligence in support of financial crime investigations and prosecutions. Amendments are also proposed to permit FINTRAC to disclose financial intelligence to provincial and territorial civil forfeiture offices to support their efforts to seize assets linked to unlawful activity, and also to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to administer the Citizenship Act. This would help ensure citizenship applicants do not pose national security or organized crime concerns.
    Another major heading is on improving tools to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Here it says that amendments are proposed to the Criminal Code, the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act to strengthen investigative powers and support the operational effectiveness of Canada's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime. Two amendments are proposed to the Criminal Code to support the enforcement of laws dealing with money laundering and associated crimes. First is a new order to keep an account open or active for a limited period of time to assist in the investigation of a suspected criminal offence. Financial service providers often close accounts suspected to be linked to criminal activity, which can hinder investigations into financial crimes. Second is a new repeating production order to enable law enforcement to obtain information regarding ongoing activity in an account believed to be linked to criminal activity on pre-established dates over a set period of time. This would provide law enforcement more consistent and timely information to support criminal investigations and would include robust safeguards to respect charter-protected rights.
     I'll just stop there. Those are measures in the BIA on money laundering and anti-terrorist financing that are being held up by the Conservatives' filibustering. They put a Standing Order 106(4) motion in today that wasn't properly drafted, meaning that we had to first deal with the suspended meeting. However, we could deal with this next week. We could call witnesses from FINTRAC, TD Bank and the RCMP next week to talk about these provisions in the BIA, and we could work towards getting this bill passed to provide legislative measures to address the very concerning stories we saw in the media this week about TD Bank, the Royal Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
    I'm new to the committee, so please forgive me for any mistakes, but from my research, I'm pretty sure this committee has already started its mandatory statutory review of anti-terrorist financing laws or the money-laundering laws. I believe there was one meeting at which we heard from officials. I see Mr. Chambers nodding his head, so I look forward to his correcting me on that, but that's my information.
    We have proposed that if we can get this budget passed by late May or maybe early June, we will have six or eight days of hearings for this committee in June, out of which I would be more than open to devoting at least two meetings to anti-money laundering or anti-terrorist financing. I've had discussions with everybody from all sides of the House, and I think everybody would agree to that, including those on the government side.
     I think it's important to note for the record that I believe all of us want to get at these issues. We're in politics, so we can be a bit partisan, but I don't think it's correct or fair to assert that nobody is interested in this. I will say, however, that there is a clear pathway to getting at these issues, and that is by stopping the Conservative filibuster and getting to the BIA and the scheduling of hearings in June, to which we could be calling witnesses and hearing evidence on this right away.
     On Mark Carney, I just want to say a couple of things.
    I don't think it's unfair to say that the Conservatives have spoken extensively on why they want to call Mr. Carney. Some of their reasons are stronger than others, but what is absolutely clear—and they've put it on the record repeatedly—is Mr. Carney's potential political ambitions. I won't out the colleague who said this last time, but last meeting, a Conservative member spoke about how unfair it was to speculate on his motives. However, all I hear on this issue is speculation about Mr. Carney's motives. I don't think that's fair either. The point is that the basis upon which the request to call Mr. Carney has been made is not exclusively his thoughts or ideas on any matters under consideration. It's been repeatedly pointed out that he might be a potential future Liberal leader, and that's why they want to call him to committee.
    Now, if we talk turkey here, the Conservatives don't just want to proceed with the business and call Mr. Carney as a witness, which they have every right to do. They could call him next week if we proceed with the BIA. They're worried that Mr. Carney won't come. He may or may not; I don't know. I do know that he testified before a Senate committee a week or two ago, so he's no stranger to coming to Parliament.
    He may have different reasons, depending on the motivation. If he's being called to be grilled on his political ambitions, that may make him less interested in coming than if there's a bona fide interest in hearing his comments on, say, money laundering. The Conservatives said that they want to call him for money laundering because he has expressed that money laundering is troubling. Well, that's hardly insightful. Who wouldn't say that? I could probably call 55,000 Canadians who would say that money laundering is troubling. That's not a basis to call someone before this committee.
    More importantly—and this is my main concern about this—I think it would create a very improper if not dangerous precedent—I'll get that word on the record too—for us to explicitly use the rare power of a parliamentary committee to issue a summons. Let me stop there. That's why the Conservatives want there to be a motion of this committee to call Mr. Carney. It's because if there's a motion passed by this committee and Mr. Carney doesn't come, we're in a position to potentially issue a summons. This is what I find to be a dangerous precedent. For a parliamentary committee to use its ancient and very rare power to summons—essentially subpoena—a private citizen to this committee to be grilled on his or her political views or political ambitions is, I find, an improper use of the power to summons.
    With great respect to my colleagues in the Conservative Party, they could not be clearer that that's why they want to call him. What's next? If I don't like the political prospects of the person who wants to run for the Conservatives in my riding and I want to use my power as a parliamentarian to haul that person before this committee so I can grill them on their political ambitions, that is improper, in my view. Worse, it's dangerous. Again, you can go back to the record and read any number of interventions from the Conservatives—even today—showing that that's why they want to call Mr. Carney.
    Now, if Mr. Carney was the current Bank of Canada governor, if he was currently in the position, there might be a basis for calling him to this committee. However, he's a private citizen now. He has every right to talk to the media and talk to any economic club to express his views like every Canadian does. These are the basic fundamental charter rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association. You shouldn't have to risk being hauled before a parliamentary committee to be grilled on your views for partisan purposes. Unfortunately, again with great respect to my Conservative colleagues, that's exactly what they want to do. They said it themselves. That's why I am resistant to this.
    It would be easy to pass a motion to call Mr. Carney as a witness. However, having knowledge that this bona fide request is contaminated by overtly partisan reasons makes me absolutely opposed to misusing the power of our committee for that purpose. I would say that to any government of any hue. If the Liberals were trying to call a potential Conservative leader here and said they wanted to bring him before Parliament because he might be the next Conservative leader of this country, that is the politicization of the finance committee. It's worthy of a third world dictatorship. It's banana-republic politics, in my view.
    That's why I wanted to put on the record why I've taken the position I have today. We must follow proper procedure at this committee. That's why the suspended meeting meant that we had to start this meeting with the suspended business. It also meant that we could have moved to the Standing Order 106(4) request. It would have been improper to begin with that, but we could have suspended and gone to the Standing Order 106(4) subject matter if we'd wanted to.
    I find that to be disingenuous, because everybody here knows that we could be talking about these very subjects next week, but the Conservatives are blocking that. We could be scheduling this in June, so I don't believe the Standing Order 106(4) request to get to money laundering this week is entirely sincere. Certainly, it cannot be said by anybody on this committee that the Liberals and the NDP, or anybody else for that matter, are not interested in dealing with money laundering or anti-terrorist financing, because we have taken the position we have today. I want us to be dealing with that very issue on Tuesday. However, we can't unless the Conservatives release their filibuster.
    My understanding is that when we come to the finance committee next week, the fifth last week of Parliament, we're going to face a filibuster. There will be endless talking about all matters under the sun, such as the price of tea in China and the mating rituals of the wombat. We're going to talk about everything except the BIA, which includes anti-terrorist financing and money laundering provisions. Those are the facts.
    Again, for Mr. Carney, I've already said my piece. I have never met Mr. Carney, and I have no track or trade with Mr. Carney. I wish him all the best as a private citizen. However, it doesn't matter to me what his views are. I'm a New Democrat. His potential participation in other parties is of no interest to me. If I felt that he had relevant evidence for the BIA, I would be happy to call him as a witness, but I do not see a basis for taking the very unusual step of issuing a summons to call him before this committee to be grilled for partisan purposes. I just don't think that's appropriate.
    I respect each and every one of my colleagues, and I have been very impressed in my three weeks on this committee by the degree of knowledge, commitment and, I think, bona fide interest. We have different views on financial matters, and that's what makes a democracy a vibrant and interesting place.
     There are good ideas on all sides, but what I don't think is appropriate is for us to be holding up and stalling the business of the finance committee at a critical time in May, when we have a budget to discuss. I don't think that is appropriate, especially holding up the business because one party wants to grill a particular private citizen on his potentially partisan, political interests. I don't think that's an appropriate use of the filibuster.
    We've all done it. There are appropriate uses of a filibuster, like if there's a very important matter of principle or there's an important political narrative, but it doesn't resonate with me that holding up the entire budget of Canada so that we can have a three-hour grilling session with Mark Carney is appropriate. I really hope we can get to the business of the people, battle out the budget and grill it, criticize it and praise it—it probably deserves all of those things—in the next couple of weeks. Then we'll have a democratic vote on whether it passes or not. That's what I sincerely hope this committee can get back to next week.
    Thank you all, and thank you all for not interrupting me with points of order.
     Thank you, Mr. Davies.
     Mr. Davies, before I move on, you brought up a point of order before about the Liberal-NDP government, and the clerk graciously looked into it. I'd just like to point to the ruling that was recently made on March 29, 2022. It pointed back to a ruling that was made by Speaker Milliken on September 24, 2001, on the same basis of what you asked about. The Speaker noted:
...Speaker Milliken, dealing with the question of the identification of parties, specified at page 5491 of Debates:
...these are matters that the House has always left entirely to the discretion of MPs. They identify themselves as individuals and are free to identify themselves as a group. Their spokespersons are theirs to select. Neither the Speaker nor other members has a say in such matters.
It is clear to the Chair that there is no change in the status or designation of the members of the New Democratic Party, nor in that of their officers, as a result of this agreement.
    Thank you, Clerk, for looking into that.
    Next on the speaking list I have Mr. Morantz.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     At the outset, I want to correct Mr. Davies on one thing. Nothing in my subamendment calls for the committee to issue a subpoena for Mr. Carney. He said that several times, but that's just not accurate, and I think for the record it needs to be clear.
    There's another thing I want to say with respect to Mr. Davies. I'm somewhat surprised to hear what he's saying today, because just a couple of weeks ago in committee, he said, “I want to be clear on the record: I look forward to Mr. Carney's coming to this committee at the appropriate time in the appropriate study, which can happen in the next two months.” I don't know if his position has changed from two weeks ago. Maybe it will be different next week or whenever we finally get to vote on the subamendment. It is odd to hear him change his position depending on where the politics are most advantageous for his party.
    Speaking directly to the subamendment, I want to start with the issue of bringing in the Minister of Finance. One of the reasons it's really important to have the Minister of Finance at committee is that the Minister of Finance wrote a letter to the committee chair on October 6 that had to do with the five-year review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. The appearance of the finance minister would be directly relevant to discussing the issue of money laundering in Canada.
    This is a request from the Minister of Finance in a letter to Chair Fonseca:
The last review of the [act] was completed in November 2018....
I am requesting that the Standing Committee on Finance conduct the review.
After conducting the review, the Committee would be required to submit a report to Parliament recommending any changes to the PCMLTFA or its administration. I suggest the review of the PCMLTFA be initiated this fall and completed by winter 2023-24.
    Obviously, “this fall” was last fall. That has passed and the committee hasn't done anything. We've essentially ignored her request. No study has commenced. For Mr. Davies's clarification, the meeting we did have was on a motion, which I believe was brought forward by my colleague Mr. Chambers, to at least do some groundwork in advance and in anticipation of conducting the study.
    The appearance of the finance minister is directly relevant to the issue of money laundering, and the issue of money laundering is very serious. We've had many banks fined across the country. We've had reports that money laundering in Canada has increased home prices by 7.5% because of the increased demand generated by people trying to launder money through home acquisitions. I think earlier last fall, before Mr. Davies joined the committee, we talked about Sam Cooper's article, where he identified the issue of HSBC accepting fraudulent income verification letters from foreign students in order to get loans and launder money through housing. It is a really serious problem. We have banks being fined in the United States and in Canada for not adhering to the rules set out by FINTRAC on how they're supposed to manage their money laundering.
    What was supposed to happen today was that we were supposed to have a meeting about this. We followed all the rules. Someone said earlier that the Standing Order 106(4) letter wasn't done properly. It was done exactly properly. The people who signed it needed to sign it. It was worded properly, but here we are at this point.
    It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that Liberal members of the committee don't want to talk about money laundering. Their record is abysmal. After nine years in office, the problem has gotten so much worse. Canada's enforcement of money laundering is being noticed internationally. We have other countries, the United States in particular, whose fines have been much more aggressive than fines here in Canada. The problem has only gotten worse and worse.
    This meeting was supposed to be about that. We issued a Standing Order 106(4) request, yet here we are. We have the NDP again carrying water for the Liberals. For the life of me, I don't understand why. I don't understand why they would hand this to the Liberals on a silver platter and put up with the political price they're going to pay for trying to stall this important meeting about money laundering in Canada—money laundering that creates chaos and crime in our streets. They are propping up a Prime Minister who is simply not worth the cost of that chaos and crime. The Conservatives are here today trying to do something about it, and Liberal members are blocking it.
     We have other examples. If the Minister of Finance comes to the committee, I'd like to talk to her about this letter and ask her if she's disappointed that Liberal members of the committee won't support Mr. Chambers's motion, which is actually about—
    I have a point of order, Chair. Mr. Chambers never moved a motion. I don't know what Mr. Morantz is talking about. We had only a few utterances from Mr. Chambers, and obviously we knew that the meeting was supposed to start as a continuation of the previous meeting. I'm sorry that Mr. Morantz hasn't gotten his way. Following procedure is not within his general values and ethics, but it's strange.
    Mr. Turnbull, this is not a point of order.
     Go ahead, Mr. Morantz.
    I have a point of order. Before I get the floor back, is it parliamentary for a member to question another member's ethics?
     Mr. Chair, on that point of order, of course, in Parliament you can't do indirectly what you can't do directly. You can't call someone a liar or say that they are lying. Calling on someone's ethics is, in my view, analogous to that. Quite frankly, it undermines the collaboration within this committee.
    On that point of order, Chair....
    Go ahead, Mr. Turnbull.
    My intervention was based on the interpretation I have that Mr. Morantz doesn't want to follow the procedural rules of the committee. Perhaps he interprets them differently, but the advice of the clerk was sent around to committee members in an email, and I'm glad to see that we upheld the procedural requir