IN THE HOUSE ~ Bill C-63, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order in response to the government's intervention, and I will be brief.

The reality is that the interventions we have heard over the last few days from a number of opposition members simply have not been contradicted by the government. I looked forward eagerly to hearing what points it might offer in rebuttal, but there was no rebuttal. The government has created a bit of a straw man in saying that Standing Order 69.1 is not intended to divide debate. None of the opposition members who have risen to suggest that this be divided for the purposes of voting have suggested that.

What the government has really done today is validated all the interventions of opposition members over the past few days. I think, Mr. Speaker, you can get appropriate guidance from the House that for the purposes of voting, Standing Order 69.1 should apply to Bill C-63.

I thank the government for confirming what opposition members have been saying in the House of Commons.With respect to Bill C-63, the wording of that particular Standing Order states very clearly, I think, that a factual determination can be made. Do all of the initiatives presented in Bill C-63 also appear in the budget that was presented in March of this year?

If all of the initiatives “were announced in the budget presentation or in the documents tabled during the budget presentation� then the bill should not qualify for separate votes, pursuant to Standing Order 69.1.

If it is truly a budget bill, the Speaker should not “combine clauses of the bill thematically and...put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately� as called for by Standing Order 69.1.

I submit today that if Bill C-63 contains any initiative that was not included in the March budget, then the whole bill cannot be exempted under Standing Order 69.1(2), because the exemptions described in the Standing Order say that all measures must have been in the budget. I also submit that there are sections in Bill C-63 that were not in the March 2017 budget.

We found a couple more examples that the member for Carleton did not mention in his intervention last Friday.

According to the summary of Bill C-63, after the section that summarizes the changes to the Income Tax Act, the summary goes into a second list, saying, “implements other income tax measures by�, and then lists a number of measures, including, “(c) ensuring that qualifying farmers and fishers selling to agricultural and fisheries cooperatives are eligible for the small business deduction.� There is no mention in the budget speech or in the budget documents of such a plan. This, we assert, was not part of the March 2017 budget.

In the March budget, there were sections that allowed for insurance deductibility for farmers and fishers, but nothing that would change the small business deduction.

As well, the same section in Bill C-63 goes on to say, “Part 3 amends the Excise Act to ensure that beer made from concentrate on the premises where it is consumed is taxed in a manner that is consistent with other beer products.� This is reflected in part 3 of the bill, which introduces amendments to section 165 of the Excise Tax Act to change how tax on mostly homemade beer is calculated.

In the documents that accompanied the budget, only one section mentioned alcohol products, and that was to talk about potential changes to implement interprovincial agreements.

In the supplementary tax measures documents, there are changes to the tax on alcohol, but nothing specific to beer from concentrate.

While the government certainly has the right to ask for an increase to taxes on beer from concentrate, it did not do so in the last budget, and therefore this bill is not a true budget bill. Given that those two measures appear in Bill C-63, but are not mentioned in either budget 2017 or in any of the additional documentation such as budget planning or supplementary information on tax measures, I believe that Bill C-63 should be treated in its entirety as an omnibus bill as defined in Standing Order 69.1.

Remember, the Standing Order says clearly that the exemptions are only available for legislation that has as a “main purpose the implementation of a budget and contains only provisions that were announced in the budget presentation or in the documents.“

By throwing in elements that were not in the March budget, I submit the bill should be treated as an omnibus bill.

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order in response to the government's intervention, and I will be brief.

The reality is that the interventions we have heard over the last few days from a number of opposition members simply have not been contradicted by the government. I looked forward eagerly to hearing what points it might offer in rebuttal, but there was no rebuttal. The government has created a bit of a straw man in saying that Standing Order 69.1 is not intended to divide debate. None of the opposition members who have risen to suggest that this be divided for the purposes of voting have suggested that.

What the government has really done today is validated all the interventions of opposition members over the past few days. I think, Mr. Speaker, you can get appropriate guidance from the House that for the purposes of voting, Standing Order 69.1 should apply to Bill C-63.

I thank the government for confirming what opposition members have been saying in the House of Commons.

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