Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park

Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park


2018 Pre-Budget Consultation Town Hall Report

Intro and presentation

MP Virani presented an overview of the state of the Canadian economy and what the federal government has done so far in terms of investments from Budget 2016 and Budget 2017.

Presentation2018 PBC presentation

After the presentation, he invited all participants to express their opinions about what the priorities for 2018 budget ought to be. Participants expressed the following views:

Priorities, questions, and concerns for Budget 2018 – Feedback from Parkdale-High Park Constituents

Gender equality: Achieve gender parity in every MP’s office. How do we address equality if women are still being harassed on Parliament Hill? Have a federal policy against harassment of women in the Parliament.
NAFTA: Since NAFTA is going to be renegotiated, ensure that the budget is flexible and can be adjusted.
International peacekeeping: the world could use more of Canada and its role in the UN; designate a place to send our troops.
• Participants raised concerns about the fact that our government should be considering sending a peacekeeping mission to Myanmar.
• Money should be allocated to military spending. Thailand is hosting NATO and they are inviting Myanmar regime to participate as observers. We need more presence there in the region of Southeast Asia to show our strength and leverage, to show international leadership in terms of military presence and peacekeeping since this conflict has been going on for years.
Housing: in particular, the Airbnb issue was raised, as municipal changes now mean that, as of June 1, 2018, an individual homeowner renting their property for short term will become an illegal activity, because they are making a profit. Concerns were raised that housing policy needs to empower homeowners to be able to keep and pay for their own homes. The MP outlined that the specific changes to Airbnb is a municipal issue and spoke to how the National Housing Strategy is meant to help address housing concerns, for both renters and owners.
• Money to be invested in Infrastructure – The focus needs to be basic infrastructures like the TransCanada railway, icebreakers, ports, roads, bridges and Canada’s north.
Environment and animal rights: Federal government should promote higher levels of vegetable consumption and recognize that eating animals produces the same carbon footprint as driving cars.
• Comment: The government should support the economy of artificially manufactured meat, which will also help to deal with animal cruelty. The government should support clean meat technology.
Defence spending – and Arctic sovereignty. The coastal patrol vessels for our north – out of 12 that should be replaced only six are being built. We need to have a policy on this and ensure vessels are replaced and used for coastal patrol.
• Putting university in the Northwest Territories. This would advance reconciliation. There’s currently a first nations university in Saskatchewan. In territories, the problem is numbers to make it sustainable. Indigenous education is part of Indigenous reconciliation.
Seniors: the need for affordable housing for seniors who lack core housing is very high, suggested to be as high as 180,000. There’s a huge need for core housing for seniors, which should be emphasized in the National Housing Strategy over the next 10 years. Units are falling into disrepair in TCHC, but spending is occurring, which is a step in the right direction.
Homelessness: We can’t even house our own people now – where are we going to put new ones? We can’t even keep track of the number of people who have died on the streets. Targeting homelessness must be a priority.
Poverty: Toronto has the highest number of children living in poverty. We need more programs like the CCB to assist them.
Environmental assessments: Canada is a resource economy. There is general confusion as to what the environmental assessment process is for mining and pipelines. There is no clear guideline as to what assessment needs to be done – provincial or federal – when it comes to extractive sector. There needs to be only one policy and the process needs to be efficient and transparent and it needs to be simplified and streamlined.
Innovation: We must be prepared for the switch to automation and AI, innovation, gender equality, supercluster and IT? We need to ensure the job creation numbers stay high by adjusting and modernizing.
• Comment: Small businesses need room to maneuver. The Minister of Finance has given an impression that people with initiative are penalized. Initiative and entrepreneurship is the future, and the federal government needs to in encourage that.
• The MP addressed and corrected the disinformation floating around regarding the tax reforms. It’s the 3% of the national CCCP’s that are targeted by passive income changes, not the small shops in Bloor West Village who will actually receive a reduction in their taxes.
• The September 13, 2010 nuclear radiation law and its effect on human health – please upload this to the government website.

Summary of additional submissions from Parkdale-High Park constituents (Not in attendance at Town Hall):

Fossil Fuel Subsidies:

The Mineral Exploration Tax Credit is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2018 and we expect the federal government will not extend the lifespan of this subsidy, or any existing subsidy that is scheduled to expire. The Trudeau government campaigned on a commitment to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and in 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau, alongside other G7 countries, set a deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies for coal, oil and gas by 2025. Budget 2017 reflected this commitment and we urge the federal government to indicate further steps, including ambitious timelines, to phase out remaining fossil fuel subsidies in Budget 2018.

Just Transition and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change:

We hope that Budget 2018 will secure funding to further implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The 2017 Budget provided important support to implement the framework, such as funding to accelerate the replacement of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. At COP23, Canada reiterated its commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity generation as part of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. This was a significant announcement where Canada showed climate leadership. We expect that the 2018 Budget will reflect this commitment and keep Canada on track to implement the framework’s priorities.

Nature in Budget 2018:

Correspondence received from Parkdale-High Park constituents cites that:

“The Green Budget Coalition of 19 environmental groups co-chaired by Nature Canada is recommending that Budget 2018 include a federal investment of $1.4 billion over three years to:

– establish new protected areas in such places as the South Okanagan of British Columbia, the grasslands of southern Saskatchewan, and the shores of eastern Lake Ontario; and

– share costs for funding establishment of new protected areas by Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments and nature groups.”