Bernard Généreux’s end-of-session wrap-up: 2018 in Parliament

PRESS RELEASE | The House of Commons finished its work in Parliament’s Centre Block on December 13, 2018. Bernard Généreux, MP, looks back on the issues that were important to him during the fall, and those that will remain in the news until the next federal election, scheduled for October 2019.

Public finances remain a concern for the Member for Montmagny―L’Islet―Kamouraska―Rivière-du-Loup and for the Conservative opposition. Mr. Généreux does not forget that, in 2015, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party committed to three “modest” deficits of around $10 billion annually and a return to a balanced budget in 2019.  But, after four years of the Trudeau government holding power, the accumulated deficits will reach almost $80 billion in new debt.

“We have repeatedly asked the government to tell us when the budget will be balanced. Knowing full well that they will not do so in their first mandate, the Liberals refuse to answer. According to the figures published in Minister Morneau’s economic statement on November 21, 2018, the Liberals have already thrown in the towel by projecting deficits even beyond the 2023-2024 year, when their potential second mandate would end!” Bernard Généreux said (in a question in the House on November 19, 2018).

According to the figures from Canada’s Minister of Finance, deficits could continue until 2045, or for eight consecutive four-year mandates, assuming majority governments are elected.

“If we care about future generations, Canadians cannot afford to re-elect a Liberal government to a second mandate in 2019, especially knowing that they do not even anticipate living up to their commitments before the end of an eighth mandate,” declared Mr. Généreux.

While not even mentioning the increased taxes that can be expected in order to pay back the additional debt incurred by the current government, Mr. Généreux denounced the Liberal plan to impose a new carbon tax across Canada. The tax will increase the cost of living, especially in rural areas, where the aging population lives on fixed incomes. (Speech in the House of Commons on December 4, 2018).

The government is misleading Canadians; it is not transparently communicating the additional costs that consumers will have to pay for their travel, according to the MP. When his colleague Pierre Poilievre, the shadow cabinet minister responsible for finance, tried to obtain an assessment of the financial impact that a carbon tax of $20 to $50 per tonne will have on a middle-class Canadian family, the government provided documents after an access to information request. The figures they contained were redacted.

“Quebec already participates in a carbon market that meets the criteria (with a rate of $50 per tonne), so the Liberal tax will not apply for the moment,” Mr. Généreux points out. “But let’s wait and see what come next,” he warns.

“In an internal memo from the Department of the Environment made public in March 2017, the government admitted that its carbon tax, at $50 per tonne, would have no measurable effect on Canadians’ GHG emissions. The tax will have to go to $300 per tonne by 2050 for Canada to be able to achieve its targets. It is only a matter of time before Quebec is dragged into it,” predicted the MP, as he deplored the Trudeau government’s lack of transparency.

Mr. Généreux reports that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer continues to work on a plan for the environment that will not depend on a new tax, but instead will seek to encourage best practices across the country.

In free trade, Mr. Généreux criticizes the Trudeau government’s failure in renegotiating NAFTA. He shares the opinion of the farmers in his constituency who deplore the additional concessions of market share to the Americans in the dairy sector. He is extremely disappointed that the USMCA still does not resolve the delicate issue of customs tariffs on softwood lumber and aluminum, industries that affect our region in particular and all Quebec in general.  (Speech on December 4, 2018).

“The Prime Minister gave Donald Trump everything and asked for nothing in return,” said Mr. Généreux. “When the Prime Minister joined in the photo-op when the accord was signed on November 30, we knew that his priorities do not include the fate of Canadian workers, much less, the fate of our regions.”

The United States’ lack of fairness in free trade has become worse in recent weeks, when VIA Rail Canada, a crown corporation, announced that it was awarding its contract for new trains to Siemens in California rather than to Bombardier in La Pocatière, Quebec.  When questioned on the matter, Marc Garneau, the Minster of Transport, stated that Canada had no other choice because of the free trade agreements. (Question in the House on December 6, 2018).

 

“Despite USMCA, the discriminatory Buy America practices will continue to apply to American groups like Amtrak, who will still not be able to buy our trains, while we are forced to buy theirs,“ said Mr. Généreux. “This is another failure of Justin Trudeau’s government; it has been unable to stand up for the regions of Quebec.”

Locally, the MP took part in the “Listening to Quebecers” tour of the province. His colleague Michelle Rempel, the Member of Parliament for Calgary-Nose Hill and the shadow cabinet minister responsible for immigration, travelled to La Pocatière for a business lunch. Bernard Généreux expects that the comments gathered on the subject of the labour shortage will lead to the announcement, for the 2019 election, of a new immigration policy more focused on the real needs of Canada’s regions.

The Member of Parliament also completed an ambitious farm tour to highlight the hard work of the farmers in Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Mr. Généreux was also the honorary chair of GOvember, raising funds for the Projet Pères de la Maison de la famille in the RCM of Kamouraska, the Fondation André-Côté and the Fondation de l’hôpital Notre-Dame-de-Fatima. (Statements by Members, November 8, 2018).

The work of Parliament will begin again on Monday, January 28, 2019, in the new Commons Chamber that is temporarily located in the West Block, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The current Chamber, which has been in the Centre Block since it was rebuilt in 1916, is now closing its doors for renovation work that will take a minimum of ten years.

Please note that Mr. Généreux’s offices will be closed from 11:30 a.m on December 20 until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 7.