Volume 43 | December 17, 2020
Hoback Electronic Herald
The Conservative Caucus and I continue to fight hard for the livelihoods of Canadians.

Under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, our team is united and focused on helping Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has worked hard to fix the gaps in the Liberals’ emergency programs that have left millions of Canadians behind. We will continue to be bold in our approach to ensure that workers have good jobs to return to and that Canadians can come out of this pandemic stronger than before.

This past year, our Caucus accomplished many things. In his first meeting with Justin Trudeau, Erin O'Toole fought for national unity by reemphasizing Western Canada's feeling of alienation as a result of policies implemented by the Liberal Government. We also fought and continue to fight for Keystone XL and the future of the most innovative and ethical oil & gas industry in the world.

Our Conservative team also passed four Opposition motions including:

  1. a health study into the government’s pandemic response;
  2. calling for the end of punishing audits on small businesses during COVID-19;
  3. giving the Liberals 30 days to make a decision about banning Huawei and demanding a plan to combat Chinese intimidation of Canadians; and
  4. calling for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, so Canadians will know when they can expect each vaccine type to be available in Canada and how many will be available per month.

To assist families and small businesses devastated by the economic downturn as a result of COVID 19, we:

  • fought for workers in every industry, not just the ones Justin Trudeau likes. We fought for and secured changes to the rent relief program to help more Canadian businesses; 
  • fought for and secured changes to the wage subsidy program (including an increase from 10% to 75%) to help more Canadians keep their jobs during this pandemic;. 
  • fought for and secured changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to help more small businesses keep their doors open during this pandemic;
  • advocated for an increase to the Canada Child Benefit to help families who have been hit hard by this pandemic, which the Liberals finally agreed to in their Fall Economic Statement; 
  • fought for and secured additional funding for the Auditor General to ensure that the Liberals would be held accountable for their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic; and we
  • advocated for the removal of GST/HST from face masks and face shields, which the Liberals finally agreed to in their Fall Economic Statement. 

Canadians are counting on us to hold the Trudeau government to account. They are also counting on us to help lead our nation out of this crisis, rebuild Canada, and help workers get ahead. When Parliament returns in January, I and my Caucus colleagues will continue to do just that.

What we have learned from this Liberal government is that it is entirely possible to spend billions of dollars and still leave millions of Canadians behind. Canada’s unemployment rate is 8.5%, among the highest in the G-7, despite spending more than any other country in the OECD. 

Justin Trudeau has failed to put forward a plan to help our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and get Canadians back to work. Instead, he continues to raise taxes, at a time when Canadians are already struggling.
To help young people develop stronger connections to the job market, and to support employers through a period of economic recovery, the Government intends to support up to 120,000 job placements through CSJ 2021.

In addition, the program will offer temporary flexibilities. Funded employers will be able to offer both part-time and full-time job placements, and the eligible employment period has been extended to take place between April 26, 2021 and February 26, 2022. Furthermore, funded public and private sector employers will be eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 75% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage.

Employers from the not-for profit sector will continue to be eligible for a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. 

Employers interested in applying for CSJ 2021 funding are encouraged to prepare their applications in advance of next week’s launch. Applicants who do not have an account on the secure Government Grants and Contributions Online Services portal are encouraged to create one prior to the launch of the application process. Registration is a one-time process that allows employers to submit their applications for CSJ funding and other funding opportunities offered through Employment and Social Development Canada.
I had the opportunity last week to rise in the House of Commons to pay tribute to the late Fred Sasaskamoose. Freddy was a great man.

You can watch the tribute by clicking above.

I pass on my condolences to the entire Sasaskamoose family.
Last week, the Conservative Caucus put forward a motion to stop the Liberals from raising taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did the Liberals and the NDP vote against our motion, Justin Trudeau announced last week his government will raise his Carbon Tax by $15 a tonne each year for the next eight years. This increase will mean that Canadians will pay more for groceries, home heating and add up to 37.57 cents per litre to the cost of gas.
The Trudeau Liberals promised that they wouldn’t raise the Carbon Tax, but that is exactly what they are doing today. This is just another example of Justin Trudeau promising one thing to get elected, and then breaking his promise when he no longer need your vote.
This is just another example of Justin Trudeau infringing on provincial jurisdiction. The environment is an area of shared jurisdiction. The Trudeau government should not be imposing an Ottawa knows best approach that will do nothing for the environment and only make life more expensive for Canadians.

Canada’s Conservatives will respect the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories by scrapping Trudeau’s Carbon Tax. If provinces want to use market mechanisms, other forms of carbon pricing, or regulatory measures, that is up to them.
Canadians have been asked to stay at home to help minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, an unprecedented number of employees who would normally work in an office environment are now working from home.

In response, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made the home office expenses deduction available to more Canadians, and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year.

Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. The use of a shorter qualifying period will ensure that more employees can claim the deduction than would otherwise have been possible under longstanding practice.

A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. Under this new method, employees will not have to get Form T2200 or Form T2200S completed and signed by their employer.

Employees with larger claims for home office expenses can still choose to use the detailed method to calculate their home office expenses deduction. To simplify the process for employees choosing this method, the CRA has created simplified forms (Form T2200S and Form T777S), and has introduced a calculator designed specifically to assist with the calculation of eligible home office expenses.
Documents recently obtained by the media through Access to Information requests show that senior officials at Global Affairs were alarmed that General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, had cancelled winter military exercises with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 2019.  

A February 2019 Global Affairs Canada shows that officials at there were concerned that “should Canada make any significant reductions in its military engagement with China, China will likely read this as a retaliatory move related to the Meng Wanzhou case.” The memo was written just months after the Chinese regime arbitrarily detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in retaliation for the arrest of Meng Wanzhou.

These documents show a stunning lack of leadership on the part of Justin Trudeau. Government departments are working in opposite directions. Canada’s military and diplomats are working at cross purposes. This is all a result of Trudeau’s prioritization of relations with Beijing over that of Canada’s democratic allies.

It is also clear that Liberal ministers did not back up the Chief of Defence Staff, Jonathan Vance, when he recommended cancelling a planned joint exercise between our military and the People’s Liberation Army on Canadian soil. Clearly, the Prime Minister and Liberal ministers are more concerned about how Beijing might react than in defending Canadian interests. The Liberal government has become so timid that it can’t even say no to Chinese soldiers arriving on our territory.

In the last several weeks, we have learned after much confusion and mixed messaging that the Liberal government’s much-anticipated and much-vaunted new framework on China is no longer going to be introduced. Instead, the Liberal government has said its policy toward China will ‘evolve’. An evolving or shifting policy is antithetical to a framework, which is a clear, consistent policy that will defend Canada’s interests and values.

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Trudeau Liberals to ban Huawei and present a plan to protect Canadians from Chinese intimidation – but we still don’t see any action or certainty for Canadians yet. The Liberal government promised to take action before the last election. More than a year after that election, my Conservative colleagues and I successfully passed measures demanding the Liberal government finally fulfill that promise.
Canada must be willing to stand for our values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Instead of spurning the advice of our allies, it is time to listen, and ensure that Canada stands on the right side of history.