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Results: 1 - 15 of 75
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, every year, Canadians of all stripes travel to France to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice at Vimy Ridge. I myself have made that trip to a place where Canada defined itself as a nation and a place that unites us all. That is why everyone was stunned, including veterans like me, that the government has decided that it needs to wipe it and other important symbols that define our nation from the new passport design. When will this minister reverse course and stop trying to erase Canadian history?
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, it was this Prime Minister who said veterans were asking for too much. The legion membership was disappointed, saying, “Removing that image was...a poor decision.”
The Vimy Foundation, whose mission is to teach Canadians' shared history, said its members were disappointed, especially with the decision coming just a month after the the 106th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Was the Minister of Veterans Affairs consulted on this change? Is he okay with his government's trying to erase the memory and sacrifices of Canadian veterans?
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he is investing in Canadians. In my community, people are struggling to make ends meet because of the government's inflationary carbon tax.
Adding to record deficits and national debt is not investing in Canadians. Everyone knows we cannot borrow our way out of debt. Life is simply getting more expensive under that government.
When will the government axe the tax and do something to help struggling Canadians?
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, no one is buying what the Liberals are selling, but they certainly are paying for it. The carbon tax is not a price on pollution; it is a price on people.
Canadians need a bailout, just like my colleague, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I thought it was a very catching photo.
Canadians are out of money. Therefore, I will ask this of the government that is out of touch. When will it axe the carbon tax and give reprieve to Canadians?
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in this House representing the great hard-working people of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan.
As parliamentarians, we sometimes have to deal with unpleasant situations, like today, when unfortunately I have to critique the Liberal government's latest inflationary budget. Let me state the dismal facts that confront Canadians. This budget is set to increase the national debt to a record of $1.3 trillion. The interest payments alone on this debt will reach $50 billion, which is $10 billion more than Canada spends on national defence.
The government's revenue, or taxes on Canadians, has nearly doubled since the Liberals took office eight years ago. In other words, the finance minister has managed to create a budget with both record revenue and record deficits. This record spending will only throw gasoline on the inflationary fire that Canadians are already struggling with. It will not help people who are struggling to get by.
Our party had three demands of this budget, none of which have been met. First, we wanted to help Canadians bring home better paycheques with lower taxes and for the government to scrap the carbon tax. Instead, the Liberals tripled down on higher taxes by tripling their carbon tax earlier this month.
As the PBO reported, this tax will cost the average family far more than what they get back in rebates. Here is the simple equation. In Saskatchewan, the average household will spend an additional $410 this year beyond the $1,781 they get back. Let me say that again. In order to get $1,781 in rebates, they will need to spend $2,191. I have to ask if this is the new math kids are doing in school, because it does not work.
Let me state the facts. The government is putting a price on people with this carbon tax. Liberal inflationary spending has also caused the price of food and groceries to skyrocket. One in five Canadians is skipping meals. People are going to food banks who have never gone before. We are blessed to live in a country with an abundance of natural resources and agricultural goods, and this should never happen.
“Canada's Food Price Report 2023” predicts that a family of four will spend over $1,000 more on food this year. That is nearly $600 more than the grocery rebate announced in this budget. Here is the equation: spend $1,000 and get $400 back. It is bad math.
Let me be clear. Not everyone qualifies for this rebate; most do not. Add to the equation I just shared that a large majority of Canadians will continue to struggle with the cost of food, along with the ever-rising carbon tax, with no help from the government. This compounds the cost of living crisis all Canadians are facing. This is after yet another hike in payroll taxes. Overall, the average Canadian will see another $305 deducted from their pay. They take home less and pay more.
Canadians are slowly getting their pockets picked by the Liberal government. The government's grocery rebate is simply giving money back to Canadians that has already been clawed away from them with tax hikes. It will not solve the cost of living crisis. The government is forcing Canadians to be dependant on it. It taxes them and gives them rebates when it sees fit, instead of trusting Canadians with their own hard-earned money.
Conservatives demanded that the government end inflationary debt and deficits that drive up inflation and interest rates. Obviously, this condition was not met, and I would have been absolutely stunned if it had been. After all, the Prime Minister has added more debt than all other prime ministers combined and has no plan to balance the budget and control his inflationary deficits.
Our national debt this year is projected to reach $1.2 trillion. To put that in perspective, that is nearly $81,000 of debt per household. The fall economic statement tabled just a few months ago projected a $4.5-billion surplus in 2027-28. Now that is all gone, with more massive deficits years into the future.
In last year's budget, the finance minister said that Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio was her fiscal anchor and that this number must decline for Canada's finances to be sustainable. She said:
...let me be very clear: We are absolutely determined that our debt-to-GDP ratio must continue to decline. Our deficits must continue to be reduced. The pandemic debt we incurred to keep Canadians safe and solvent must—and will—be paid down.
This is our fiscal anchor. This is a line we shall not cross. It will ensure that our finances remain sustainable.
According to this budget, our debt-to-GDP ratio is set to increase from 42.4% to 43.4% this year. The finance minister herself knows that her inflationary debt and deficits are unsustainable. Let us relate this to a household budget in which someone is putting tens of thousands of dollars each year on their credit cards while only paying the minimum amount. We all know this is unsustainable, and this is happening year after year. We cannot borrow our way out of debt. We cannot spend our way out of debt.
Conservatives' third demand was to remove government gatekeepers to free up land and speed up building permits to help build homes people can afford. The dream of home ownership for young and new Canadians under the government has died. Nine in 10 people who do not own a home say they never will. Over the past eight years, the down payment needed to buy a home has doubled. The average monthly mortgage and rent payments have nearly doubled in the same time. What used to cost $1,400 eight years ago is now over $3,000.
When the government took office, someone needed just 39% of their average paycheque to make monthly payments on the average house. Today, that has risen to 62%. We should remember that on top of that 62%, we are still facing the cost of living crisis, with the cost of groceries skyrocketing and the carbon tax increasing the cost of everything. Things are more expensive and Canadians are taking home less.
Let us talk about what this budget has, or rather does not have, for Saskatchewan. If we look through the document, Saskatchewan is mentioned only five times, and where it is mentioned is in paragraphs bragging about announcements made as far back as the summer of 2022 and some with little or no involvement of the federal government at all.
Our agriculture industry is barely mentioned as well, although this is hardly surprising with our current minister's abysmal track record in supporting our agriculture producers. What our agriculture sector needs most is relief from the punitive carbon tax. If the government was not so focused on trying to impress its European friends, it would know that our farmers are already tremendous stewards of the environment. Forcing them to pay obscene amounts in carbon tax means that they are less able to spend on needed new equipment that would lower their carbon footprint.
Thankfully, my friend from Huron—Bruce is working to fix that. His bill, Bill C-234, has passed the House, despite opposition from the government and the agriculture minister, and it is now making its way through the Senate. I pray that common sense will prevail and our farmers will see tax relief soon.
This budget has failed to do anything to help Canadians. It has failed those who are struggling with higher taxes and inflation. It has failed those who want to some day buy a home. It has failed our agriculture sector. It has failed Saskatchewan, and it has failed Canada. The cost of living crisis is real and it is hurting Canadians. The price of gas in Moose Jaw has risen over $1.60 after the government tripled its inflationary tax. This is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. The Prime Minister has said that he has put a price on pollution, but the fact is that he has put a price on people.
This is a bad budget, and I will not be supporting it.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, I was the mayor of Moose Jaw. The biggest challenge that I faced while the Liberal government was in power was accessing infrastructure dollars to help my community grow. Anything that the Liberals have touched has created problems and this budget does not help small communities like the city of Moose Jaw or communities in my riding.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, I know that my hon. colleague and I have a shared heritage in history, in being part of municipalities and supporting municipalities.
I have seen a rise in those using food banks in my community. It has been challenging. The way that we have tried to offset that has been to actually create jobs to attract people. The challenge that municipalities face with the oversight of the federal government makes it very difficult. That is a challenge that we are facing. That is because the Liberal government's policies are failing the people of our communities and raising the cost of living, which makes people need the food banks, disappointingly.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am grateful that my colleague is not voting in favour of this budget either. Obviously, as I stated, this is a challenge that we sometimes have to face. We have to face difficult decisions.
One of the things that I have always thought about leadership is that there are tough decisions to be made. Normally the first thing is to take ownership, but I have not seen that with the government. Second is to make tough decisions, not bad decisions. Third is to remember that this is about serving others, not oneself. Four is to leave a legacy and not leave a mess behind.
This is a difficult decision but I will not be supporting this budget.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, Canadian problems require Canadian solutions. The cost of living crisis is hurting Canadians. The price of gas in Moose Jaw has risen to over $1.60 after the government tripled its inflationary carbon tax. Let us be honest: This is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. The Prime Minister has said that he has put a price on pollution. The fact is that he has put a price on people.
Here is a Canadian problem: the Prime Minister. Here is a Canadian solution: When will the government get out of the way so Canadians can elect a strong Conservative government?
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, in small towns in Saskatchewan, people are always eager to support a good cause. They look after their neighbours. It is what makes representing a riding like Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan such a pleasure.
One of those causes is Moose Jaw's first-ever Walk for Warmth, which is happening later this week. Over 180 people have already signed up for this tremendous fundraiser. These funds will be going toward the city's first women's emergency shelter and will also help to continue the operation of a warming shelter.
Winter in Saskatchewan can be harsh and cruel, with temperatures dropping to below -40°C at times. I am proud of all those people who are stepping up to help Moose Jaw's most vulnerable. I thank everyone involved for their hard work and their support for this great cause. I wish them all the best for a successful walk.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this House on behalf of the people of my riding of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan.
The safety and security of our nation is of paramount importance, and I understand the need to enhance the safety and security of Canadians, both here at home and abroad. This would include many of our international corporations, which are large contributors to our economic base, and of course our own government institutions and interests. Having the opportunity to speak to cybersecurity in Canada gives us an opportunity to enhance or increase our country's ability to protect us from cyber-threats.
A significant concern for all Canadians is security. This concern has increased in recent times, as we see the rise in organized crime and gang-related offences, which have gone up 92%. The question I ask myself when I see this increase is this: Will the Liberal government be led by evidence and act on the evidence that has been reported?
Cybersecurity is extremely important for our nation to protect itself from inside and outside threats. I welcome Bill C-26, but I do have some concerns pertaining to the success of the bill, and one concern is about accountability. This is a question that we in opposition bring up every day in this House and regularly.
Bill C-26 is essentially divided into two different parts. The first part is to amend the Telecommunications Act to promote the security of the Canadian telecommunications system, adding security as a policy objective; to bring the telecommunications sector in line with other infrastructure sectors; and to secure Canada's telecommunications system and prohibit the use of products and services provided by specific telecommunications service providers. This amendment would enforce the ban on Huawei Technologies and ZTE from Canada's 5G infrastructure and would remove or terminate 4G equipment by the year 2027. What stands out to me, which has been a concern, is the time that it took the government to react to enforce the ban on Huawei.
The second portion of this bill is to enact the critical cyber systems protection act, or CCSPA, designed to protect critical cyber systems and “systems that are vital to national security or public safety and that are delivered or operated...within the legislative authority of Parliament.” As a report by Norton Rose Fulbright notes, the purpose of the CCSPA is, first, to “[e]nsure the identification and effective management of any cybersecurity risks, including risks associated with supply chains and using third-party products and services”; second, to “[p]rotect critical cyber systems from being compromised”; third, to “[e]nsure the proper detection of cybersecurity incidents”; and finally, to “[m]inimize the impacts of any cybersecurity incidents on critical cyber systems.”
The impacts of this bill would be far-reaching, and here are the things that need to be considered when this bill is in place. The government would have the power to receive, review, assess and even intervene in cyber-compliance and operational situations within critical industries in Canada; to make mandatory cybersecurity programs for critical industries; and to enforce regulations through regulatory and legal enforcement, with potential financial penalties. With this in place, the Governor in Council and the Minister of Industry would be afforded additional powers.
As the report notes:
If any cybersecurity risks associated with the operator’s supply chain or its use of third-party products and services are identified, the operator must take reasonable steps to mitigate those risks. While the Act doesn’t give any indication of what kind of steps will be required from operators, such steps may be prescribed by the regulations [at committee].
It goes on:
The Act also addresses cybersecurity incidents, which are defined as incidents, including acts, omissions or circumstances, that interfere or could interfere with the continuity or security of vital services and systems, or the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the critical cyber systems touching upon these vital services and systems. No indication is given as to what would constitute interference under the Act. In the event of a cybersecurity incident, a designated operator must immediately report the incident to the CSE and the appropriate regulator. At present, the Act does not prescribe any timeline or give other indication as to how “immediately” should be interpreted.
Some deficiencies in Bill C-26, as it is presently drafted, can be listed as follows:
The breadth of what the government might order a telecommunications provider to do is not sufficiently bounded.
The secrecy and confidentiality provisions imposed on telecommunications providers threaten to establish a class of secret law and regulations.
There is a potential for excessive information sharing within the federal government and with international partners.
The costs associated with compliance with reforms may endanger the viability of smaller providers.
The vague drafting language means that the full contours of the legislation cannot be assessed.
There exists no recognition of privacy or other charter-protected rights as a counterbalance to the proposed security requirements, nor are appropriate accountability or transparency requirements imposed on the government.
Should these recommendations or ones derived from them not be taken up, the government could be creating legislation that would require the public and telecommunications providers to simply trust that it knows what it is doing and that its actions are in the best interests of everyone.
Is it reaching the right decision to say that no need exists for broader public discussion concerning the kinds of protections that should be in place to protect the cybersecurity of Canada's telecommunications and networks? The government could amend its legislation to ensure its activities conform with Canada's democratic values and norms, as well as transparency and accountability.
If the government is truly focused on security for Canadians, should we not start by reviewing the gang and organized crime evidence showing that our present policies have failed? Should we not look at safety and security in our bail reform to protect innocent Canadians who become victims?
If Bill C-26 is a step in protecting Canada from cybersecurity threats, what is the review process to ensure compliance? What is the review process to ensure effectiveness and goals are met when we look at Bill C-75 regarding bail reform? The NDP-Liberal government is not interested in reviewing bail reform even though the evidence clearly shows that Bill C-75 failed.
Cybersecurity is important to our country's security, as are the victims of crime after their safety and security are violated. I am deeply concerned that the government is struggling with evidence-based information to review Bill C-26, as Bill C-75 and Bill C-5 are not supported by evidence. In fact, offenders and criminals are a higher priority than their victims are. My concern is if Bill C-26 requires amendment or review.
Bill C-26 proposes compliance measures intended to protect cybersecurity in sectors that are deemed vital to Canadian security. Therefore, although late out of the gate, Bill C-26 is a start.
In conclusion, I would like to see some clear accountability to ensure the objectives of this bill are met and that a proper review process is conducted that holds individuals, corporations, and most importantly, our government accountable.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very trusting people. We like to give. However, when we buy into something, such as an app, we are giving over some vital information that is ours. We have seen cases where people had that information abused, and there has been no full disclosure. This is one of the concerns I have with the bill.
There are concerns that we have already witnessed in this country in terms of different businesses; a colleague mentioned Indigo being attacked. My hope is that, during committee, we ensure that we are protected. We have a responsibility to Canadians to protect them.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member that when the bill is in committee, this issue has to be really focused on. Obviously, we want it to move swiftly but not at the expense of overlooking some of the potential pitfalls that will impact Canadians. I think we have to trust the committee to actually make good amendments on this.
View Fraser Tolmie Profile
Mr. Speaker, we always give loaded questions.
I would have to say that, obviously, when one is a member of Parliament, one's honour is on the line all the time. I would hope that our ability to restore honour in our profession always depends on our own moral compass. Sometimes we see that fail, and it is disappointing. However, I really hope this committee can get its act together and get this sorted out.
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