June 6, 2017

LIB

Serge Cormier

Liberal

Mr. Serge Cormier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the House that the Government of Canada will continue to offer its protection to people in need.

Canada will continue to have an asylum granting system with safeguards in place to ensure that those who would face harm are not sent back to persecution.

The safe third country agreement remains an important tool for Canada and the U.S. to work together on the orderly handling of refugee claims made in our countries. Recent changes in U.S. immigration policy have not impacted the functioning of the U.S. asylum system.

In fact, as the minister has pointed out, the UNHCR representative in Canada has stated that the conditions that prevailed at the time of the agreement in 2004 remain the same today. The safe third country agreement is based on the principle that individuals should seek asylum in the first country they arrive in. This principle is accepted by the United Nations Refugee Agency.

It is important to note that the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement applies to refugee claimants seeking entry to Canada from the United States via land border only. It does not apply to requests for refugee protection made inland. It also does not apply to claims made by people intercepted while entering Canada at a place that is not a legal point of entry.

Foreign nationals from any country may make a claim for asylum in Canada. Immigration officers receiving a refugee claim will decide whether the claim is eligible for referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, an independent administrative tribunal that makes decisions on immigration and refugee matters.

The Immigration and Refugee Board decides who is a convention refugee or a person in need of Canada's protection. Once a claim is made, individuals may also apply for social assistance, which is the responsibility of provinces and territories.

While the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement remains an important tool, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires the continual review of countries designated as safe third countries to ensure that the conditions that led to the designation continue to be met.

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation, and we are working with the United States as it reviews parts of its resettlement program. The Government of Canada will continue to honour this country's tradition of compassion and fairness, values that are a great source of pride for all Canadians.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
?

Jenny Kwan

NDP

Ms. Jenny Kwan

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary misses the point entirely. The whole thing about the safe third country agreement is precisely that the U.S. is supposed to be a safe country for asylum seekers. The fact that it is not is why many of them are trying to cross at irregular crossings to come to Canada.

In fact, Seidu Mohammed, an asylum seeker who crossed into Emerson, Manitoba, lost eight fingers due to extreme weather. His claim was denied by the United States for the same reasons highlighted in the Harvard University and Canadian law student reports urging the suspension of the agreement: there was punitive immigration detention and no access to counsel. The fact is that the individual felt it was not safe.

That is why the safe third country agreement needs to be suspended if we are going to make a difference in addressing this issue.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
LIB

Serge Cormier

Liberal

Mr. Serge Cormier

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows very well how this agreement works, and the recent immigration policy changes in the United States have had no impact on that country's asylum system.

I would like to quote the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canada. I know the member does not like it when we quote such people, but I will do it anyway:

I really think that the conditions which prevailed at the time of the drafting and adoption of the safe third country agreement in 2004 are the same as [they are today], and...it will be difficult to change the policy...[that is] seen as a good co-operation, a good responsibility-sharing between two...systems [that have] the same values and the same procedural guarantees.

...As far as the asylum system is concerned in the United States, legally speaking, we have not seen a change.

That is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I am therefore surprised that the member opposite is questioning his skills and expertise on this file.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Permalink
CPC

Larry Maguire

Conservative

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise tonight to speak on a related issue to Bill C-44 that we spoke about today in the budget discussions. Tonight I want to speak specifically about the deferred cash ticket purchase system that farmers in western Canada have used for generations to help manage their affairs. This was tucked away in the Liberals' latest budget in the early pages. It is one of those areas where they said they will not do it immediately, but they would have some discussions as to whether they should take it away. I am raising this issue, as I did in question period six weeks ago, because it is a management tool that farmers can use.

The current cash purchase ticket system helps farmers to stabilize their income from year to year. It means that if they can sell a product at harvest, they can defer that income into the next fiscal year and thereby help them in their tax planning. It looks upfront that the only person who would benefit would be that farmer, but that is certainly not the case. I used this management tool for all the years that I farmed and it was available. By balancing out the type of income that the farmers have on an annual basis, it helps to have a cash flow in a whole community. Therefore, it helps farmers to manage their time in regard to when they would hire, the purchase of fertilizer, purchasing their farm inputs, and perhaps even making decisions in regard to the necessity to hire others to help them take off their crop, depending on the weather.

No one wants to store grain in a damp condition, so they would hire a custom combiner, as an example, to get that into the bin in a dry state. That is important. If we take away the deferred cash tickets, some of this grain being forced to be held instead of being sold upfront might deteriorate to the point of spoilage in the bins. I think that is something that the government has not taken into consideration in making this decision. It has looked at a bottom line item and decided it needs to cut somewhere. This is a change that is not going to impact the government. From a tax perspective, they will still get the same amount of tax every year, it is just that they may not get a whole lump sum this year and then have a smaller amount next year. This helps to level that out. It is a management tool that the government could use as well, in its tax preparations and in the budget for Canada.

It is a win-win for everyone. The government puts dollars into things like crop insurance and other areas of growing forward on a regular basis anyway. This is one that it does not have to support very much, and it does not really impact the government at all. If it is not broken, why try to fix it, is the analogy that many farm groups are talking to me about in this regard. This is at a time when we are already discussing what growing forward 3 will look like as an agricultural program for safety to the future of our farm community.

Government also helps by putting trade on the line, and having trade agreements that help to even out the flow of our products. One of the roles that the government could play is to make sure that we have trade opportunities. This is important in this area because at times a particular grain company may require a certain kind of grain and—

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Jean-Claude Poissant

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Brandon—Souris is right to be defending the needs of farmers. Our government recognizes the importance of agriculture and it will continue to ensure that the agriculture sector remains strong in this country. Budget 2017 clearly acknowledges that Canada's agriculture and agrifood sector is a major engine for economic growth.

The agricultural industry will benefit from many initiatives announced in budget 2017. These include an investment of $70 million over six years to further support agricultural discovery science and innovation; the creation of a new strategic innovation fund, which will invest $1.26 billion over five years to improve access to support measures for value-added processors; an investment of $950 million in superclusters that increase Canada's global competitiveness by focusing on innovative industries, including the agrifood industry; an investment of $200 million over four years to support clean technologies in Canada's natural resources sectors; an investment of $2 billion to support rural infrastructure, including roads and bridges, to allow Canadian agrifood producers to more easily access markets in Canada and abroad; an investment of $80 million for a new, world-class plant health research facility; and an investment of $6 million over three years to support the growth of businesses by streamlining the regulations governing Canada's trade partners.

The government is also determined to establish a tax system that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it. This commitment includes the understanding that, over time, changes in the economy have made many of the provisions of Canada's tax laws less relevant than they were when they were passed.

That is why, in budget 2017, we launched consultations on the ongoing relevance and possible elimination of the income tax deferral available via cash purchase tickets for deliveries of listed grains. Budget 2017 invited stakeholders to share their comments on this tax deferral, including the appropriate transition period and rules.

As specified in the budget, the consultation period was initially supposed to end on May 24, 2017. However, given the overlapping initial consultation and spring seeding seasons, when farmers are very busy, the Department of Finance decided last month to extend the consultation period until July 24, 2017. As such, all stakeholders who wish to take part in consultations will be able to do so. Once the department has received comments from all stakeholders, it will take into account all views when it looks at the merits of maintaining the tax deferral on income earned through advance payments for the delivery of listed grains.

This will also allow us to make sure that we meet our government's commitment to implement a fair tax system that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it, which—

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
CPC

Larry Maguire

Conservative

Mr. Larry Maguire

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for at least listening to farmers. The Liberals brought this forward in the budget, and the discussions were, as the member said, to end on May 24. It is a very difficult time across all of Canada for people to put their ideas forward, in the middle of spring seeding. Extending it to July 24 is good.

I want to say that this is a very valuable tool. I hope the minister has listened to some of the farmers. During my question period discussion, one of the farmers sent this to me, which says, “It is becoming harder and harder to defend the Liberal government to fellow western Canadian farmers.”

The member has gone off on a number of other areas in the budget, a number of things they are doing for farmers, but here is one that really does not cost anything, or not very much. It is minuscule compared to many of them. I am just asking the member if the government would consider dropping the idea and leaving the deferred cash ticket program in place.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Jean-Claude Poissant

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

As I mentioned, the government is committed to implementing a fair tax system that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it. The extended consultation period means that all stakeholders who wish to take part in this process will be able to do so. We will support Canadian farmers and ensure that the agricultural sector remains strong across Canada.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
?

Luc Thériault

Bloc

Mr. Luc Thériault (Montcalm, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I am here before you on June 5, at 12:20 a.m., because the Minister of Transport has not seen fit to meet with me so that I can show him that his decision to approve the Mascouche-Terrebonne aerodrome was based on erroneous facts and approximations.

On February 12, in response to questions, including one from my colleague from Terrebonne, the minister said:

...before a decision was made about the Mascouche airport, the proponent commissioned a Léger survey, which indicated that 64% of the people in the Mascouche and Terrebonne area were in favour of developing this airport. We did due diligence in the public interest.

That is not true. The Minister of Transport misled the House. I have the Léger survey right here. It was not done by proponent of the aerodrome, which would be built in a forested area that is protected by the Montreal metropolitan area and has been since April 24, 2013.

Polled on the future of the airport that was built in Mascouche in the 1970s and which is now closed, 64% of those polled said that the runways should be rebuilt and the activities maintained. Only 3% of the people of Mascouche were in favour of relocating the airport in that same 2013 survey. The survey polled people from Mascouche only and not people from the surrounding area. The minister is basing his decision on an approximation.

The minister also based his decision on economic spinoffs. With help from the notes that public servants provided him, he quoted a 2010 study by Explorer Solutions. Again, the study was on the potential economic development of the former airport facility, not on a new recreational aerodrome which will have almost no economic benefits. There could be a flight school, perhaps. However, is that worth clear-cutting 19 hectares?

This government's slogan is not about doing politics differently, it is, “do as I say, not as I do.” The Prime Minister said in Neuville that respecting local communities is important. The minister says that only a handful of people were opposed to the project. However, there have been two unanimous motions by the National Assembly, with all-party support. Then there was the CMM, the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, the Union des municipalités du Québec, the NDP, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party.

That is considerably more than a handful. These are the people who are opposed to the minister's project, and they were all elected to represent their fellow citizens. Maybe the minister ought to reconsider his claims that a small minority of people oppose the project.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Sub-subtopic:   Air Transportation
Permalink
LIB

Karen McCrimmon

Liberal

Mrs. Karen McCrimmon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Montcalm for his question.

First, I want to assure the House that our government is working with Canadians to make sure that federally regulated aerodrome building projects take into account public safety and interest.

In March 2016, in order to make sure that the new aerodrome in Mascouche-Terrebonne was secure and in the public interest, the Minister of Transport issued a ministerial order to put the construction of the aerodrome on hold while the proponent, the Corporation de l'aéroport de Mascouche, held new public consultations.

We are aware of the concerns that the building of new aerodromes in Canada can create. That is in part what motivated the Minister of Transport to bring in additional regulatory changes to enable Canadians to voice their concerns. We examine thoroughly all the documentation and the arguments that are submitted over the course of the consultation process.

Members can be assured that Transport Canada will continue to work with provincial authorities and the aerospace industry to maintain the safety and security of the transportation network for all Canadians.

As for this project's compliance with the provincial Environment Quality Act, I am sure my colleague will understand that I cannot comment on that, since the matter is currently before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Sub-subtopic:   Air Transportation
Permalink
?

Luc Thériault

Bloc

Mr. Luc Thériault

Mr. Speaker, whose interests are we talking about here?

The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal implemented a land use and development plan regarding wooded lands and forest corridors in urban areas, and people want to set up there with the help of an invasive and abusive federal law that disregards local communities. There is a consensus in Quebec against that project. What about public interest? What is the parliamentary secretary to the minister's definition of “public interest”? None of this makes any sense.

What we are asking for is not a bogus consultation held by the proponent. That is why the minister's decision was biased in the first place. The proponent held its own totally bogus public consultation. We want an independent process. Quebec laws on the environment and the protection of agricultural land must be taken into account. This is 2017, not 1939.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Sub-subtopic:   Air Transportation
Permalink
LIB

Karen McCrimmon

Liberal

Mrs. Karen McCrimmon

Mr. Speaker, our government is aware of the concerns that the building of new aerodromes in Canada can create, including the project currently in progress in the municipalities of Mascouche and Terrebonne.

I want to assure my colleagues that our government is working with Canadians to make sure that federally regulated aerodrome building projects take into account public safety and public interest. Thanks to the regulatory changes made by the minister, which are already in place, Canadians can now voice their concerns before the decision to build or modify an aerodrome is made.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Sub-subtopic:   Air Transportation
Permalink
LIB

Anthony Rota

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until later this day at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 12:26 a.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Taxation
Sub-subtopic:   Air Transportation
Permalink
LIB

Jody Wilson-Raybould

Liberal

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

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table at this time, in both official languages, a charter statement related to the bill just tabled, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
Permalink
?

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

NDP

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present an online petition signed by hundreds of people. This petition is about Raïf Badawi, who is imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

One of the reasons why the government has refused to take action is that Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen. The petitioners therefore call on the government to give him honorary citizenship because they feel it would make more diplomatic resources available to press for his release.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
?

Pierre-Luc Dusseault

NDP

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour of presenting a petition signed by hundreds of people from Sherbrooke, who are calling on the government to do more to fight tax evasion and to put an end to penalty-free amnesty deals for tax cheats.

Hundreds of people signed this petition because they want the government to work harder to fight tax evasion. The petition also calls for an end to secret deals, such as the KPMG affair, that give some people preferential treatment and let them off the hook with minimal consequences for very serious actions.

The petitioners are disappointed in the Government of Canada's current measures and want it to do more to fight tax evasion.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Tax Evasion
Permalink
LIB

Denis Paradis

Liberal

Hon. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of Environment Week, I rise to present another petition regarding Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain supplies the entire population of Bedford, in my riding, with drinking water that is supposed to be potable. However, Lake Champlain has a cyanobacteria problem. When it gets hot in the summer, the water is like pea soup. It is terrible, and people are forced to boil their water. We have had a treaty with the United States on boundary waters since 1906.

Budget 2016, which passed here in the House, invested $7.5 million in Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. People from my region, specifically in Bedford, are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue a mandate letter to the International Joint Commission to ensure that a portion of the $7.5 million allocated for flood relief is also used to address Lake Champlain's water quality.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Water Quality
Permalink
?

Linda Duncan

NDP

Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from Edmontonians calling on the government to end the discrimination against first nation children. They are calling on the government to comply with the historic Human Rights Tribunal ruling to fund systemic shortfalls in first nation child welfare and to end the systemic discrimination against first nation children.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
Permalink
?

Peter Julian

NDP

Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition signed by nearly 12,000 Canadians online and on paper.

The petition supports an ongoing campaign called Tiny Ears, which is organized by the Hearing Foundation of Canada. It calls on the federal government to put in place a national mandate around early infant screening and intervention.

Thousands of children born in our country every year are deaf or hard of hearing. Therefore, having an early infant screening program would actually assist those children to grow up and have the kind of life they should have in our country.

All children should have the right to a good start in life, so they may enjoy a healthy life with a bright future.

I am hoping that the federal government will respond positively to this petition, which is signed by nearly 12,000 Canadians, to put in place early infant screening in our country.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Hearing Loss in Infants
Permalink

June 6, 2017