Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Second Reading of the Budget Implementation Act (2022)  


Check Against Delivery

Thank you very much, Madame Speaker.

I would like to first say that like so many Canadian women, I was both shocked and deeply worried by the news from the United States last night about abortion rights.

The US Supreme Court confirmed this morning the leaked document is authentic, but that it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.

I also want to recognize that this decision is a decision for American judges, American politicians, and the American people.

But having said that, and speaking here today as a woman, as a mother, and as Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, it is important for me to begin by underlining our government’s clear and determined commitment to protect a woman’s right to choose.

I want every single woman and girl in Canada to hear me say that here today.

Abortion is a fundamental right. Feminists fought for decades to secure it, and here in Canada we will not let it be undermined in any way.

As part of Canada’s feminist foreign policy, it has been a priority for our government to support the reproductive rights of women and girls around the world. We will continue to do so with greater determination than ever.

We cannot take any of our rights—including this fundamental one—for granted.

In a democracy like our own, our rights are, ultimately, secured by the will of the people as expressed by the decisions of their elected representatives—by all of us here in this House.

That is why it is so important for me to make this statement today, and why all Canadians—especially all Canadian women who care about a woman’s right to choose—need to be active, vigilant, and speak out.

Madame Speaker, it is my pleasure to launch today’s debate on Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures.

I first want to provide some context for this debate.

When COVID first hit, Canada suffered a tremendous economic blow. Three million Canadians lost their jobs. Our economy contracted by 17 per cent­­—the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Our relentless focus was on keeping Canadians employed, and on keeping their employers afloat. Which is why we provided unprecedented emergency support to Canadian families and Canadian businesses.

It was an audacious plan—and it worked.

We have recovered 115 per cent of the jobs lost in those awful first months, compared to just 93 per cent in the United States.

That means that more than three million jobs have been created or recovered.

Our unemployment rate has declined to just 5.3 per cent—that is the lowest level since Canada first began collecting comparable statistics in 1976.

Our real GDP is 1.5 per cent above where it was before the pandemic, with annual GDP growth of 6.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021, and a remarkable 13.9 per cent on an annualized basis in February of this year.

The IMF projects that Canada will have the strongest economic growth in the G7 both this year and next. 

And last Thursday, S&P—again—affirmed Canada’s AAA credit rating, and gave us a stable outlook.

This is, in part, thanks to the emergency support our government provided to rescue Canadians and the Canadian economy. And it is thanks to the remarkable grit and determination that Canadians have shown over these past two years.

But there are still challenges ahead.

Inflation—a global phenomenon—is making things more expensive in Canada, too. Snarled supply chains have driven prices higher at the checkout counter. Buying a house is out of reach for far too many Canadians.

Russia’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine is directly contributing to higher food and energy prices—both here at home and around the world.

We need to do better, as a country, at innovating and encouraging small businesses to grow. We need to continue to address the existential threat of climate change.

Which is why, with the investments outlined in the Budget—and through Bill C-19—our government is focusing on growing our economy and making life more affordable for Canadians.

One of the pillars of our plan is investing in the backbone of a strong and growing country: our people.

People need homes in which to live, Madame Speaker, but Canada does not have enough of them.

Our budget represents the most ambitious plan that a federal government has ever had to tackle that fundamental issue, and it will put Canada on a path to double the number of homes we build over the next ten years.

This must become a great national effort, and it will demand a new spirit of collaboration across all levels of government to build the homes that Canadians need.

Which is why Bill C-19 includes measures that invest in building more homes, and in bringing down the barriers that keep them from being built.

For example: This bill would provide up to $750 million to support municipalities as they address their pandemic-driven transit shortfalls.

But to increase the impact of that funding, it will be conditional on provinces and territories matching the federal contribution. This funding will also help leverage housing construction, accelerating their work with their municipalities to build more homes for Canadians.

We also need to make the housing market fairer, Madame Speaker.

Which is why Bill C-19 will legislate a two-year ban on foreign investors buying houses in Canada.

We know that foreign money has been flowing into Canada to buy residential real estate.

This has fueled concerns about the impact on costs in cities like Vancouver and Toronto and across the country. Canadians are worried about being priced out of the housing market.

By banning foreign purchases of Canadian housing for two years, we will make sure that houses in our country are being used as homes for Canadian families—not as a speculative financial asset class. We will make all assignment sales of newly constructed or renovated housing taxable for GST and HST purposes.

Bill C-19 will help seniors and people with disabilities live and age at home by doubling the Home Accessibility Tax Credit’s annual limit to $20,000, which will help make upgrades like wheelchair ramps more affordable. 

Madame Speaker, a growing country—and a growing economy—also demands a growing workforce.

With Bill C-19, we will make it easier for the skilled immigrants that our economy needs to make Canada their home by improving our government’s ability to select applicants from the Express Entry System who match the needs of Canadian businesses.

We will also invest in the determined and talented workers who are already here by making it more affordable for people working in the skilled trades to travel to where the jobs are.

This legislation would introduce a Labour Mobility Deduction for Tradespeople, which would allow workers to deduct up to $4,000 per year of travel and temporary relocation expenses as part of an effort to reduce labour shortages in the skilled trades.

We will also introduce 10 days of paid sick leave for workers in the federally-regulated private sector, which will support one million workers in industries like air, rail, road, and marine transportation, and banks, postal, and courier services.

Madame Speaker, the budget invests in the skills that Canadian workers need to fill the good-paying jobs of today and tomorrow, and it will help break down barriers and ensure that everyone is able to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Passing this bill is critical to that effort.

Bill C-19 will also continue our government’s work to ensure we have a robust tax system where everyone pays their fair share.

Our government knows that those who can afford to buy expensive cars, planes, and boats can also afford to pay a bit more. Canadians agree—we were elected on this promise and we intend to keep it.

To that end, we are following through on our commitment to introduce a tax on the sale of new luxury cars and aircraft with a retail sale price over $100,000, and on new boats over $250,000.

Today, anonymous Canadian shell companies can be used to conceal the true ownership of assets, including businesses and property.

Through this legislation, our government will hasten the creation of a public and searchable registry of federally incorporated companies to before the end of 2023—two years earlier than planned—to help counter illegal activities, including money laundering and tax evasion.

This will also help prevent shell companies from being used to avoid sanctions and the tracing and freezing of financial assets.

This effort is particularly pressing as Canada works hard with our allies through the new Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task Force to target the global assets of Russia’s elites and those who act on their behalf.

That brings me to the way that Bill C-19 will allow the Canadian government to cause the forfeiture and disposal of assets held by sanctioned people and entities, and use the proceeds to help the people of Ukraine.

Among our allies, Canada is leading the way on this work. We would be, with the passage of this bill, the first member of the G7 to take this important step, and I can think of no better way to pay for the very expensive rebuilding of Ukraine than with the seized assets of the Russian leadership that has waged this war.

In 2019 we introduced a national price on carbon pollution to make sure that it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada.

In provinces where the federal system applies, the proceeds are returned to Canadians and their communities.

For those living in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, Bill C-19 will change the delivery of Climate Action Incentive payments from a refundable credit on your tax returns to quarterly payments, starting in July of this year.

In Canada—and around the world—climate action has become an economic necessity. There are trillions of dollars looking to be spent in the clean jobs and industries of today and tomorrow.

Through important measures like the launch of a new Canada Growth Fund, which will help crowd in billions of dollars in private capital to transform our economy at speed and at scale, Budget 2022 will ensure Canada benefits from the green transition.

We will make it more affordable for Canadians to purchase zero-emission vehicles, we will build and expand a national network of zero-emission vehicle charging stations, and we will make new investments in clean energy.

And through Bill C-19, we will also help Canadians and Canadian businesses benefit from the global transition to a clean economy, including by cutting tax rates in half for businesses that manufacture zero-emission technologies.

We recently tabled the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, Budget 2022, and the very legislation we are debating here today. Measures in these three documents mean a more sustainable economy for Canadians today and for generations to come.

Madame Speaker, Bill C-19 will make a real difference in the lives of Canadians. It will help grow our economy, it will create good jobs, and it will help us to continue building a Canada where nobody is left behind.

And so, I hope that all of the Honourable Members in this House will support the swift passage of this bill in the weeks to come. Thank you very much.

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