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43rd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 002

CONTENTS

Friday, December 6, 2019




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 149
NUMBER 002
1st SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 9:30 a.m.

Prayer


  (0935)  

[Translation]

École Polytechnique in Montreal

[Tribute]
    Pursuant to an order made on Thursday, December 5, the House will now proceed to statements on the 30th anniversary of the tragedy at École Polytechnique in Montreal.
    I now recognize the right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago today, 14 women were murdered in an anti-feminist attack at École Polytechnique in Montreal. It has been 30 years since Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau and Barbara Daigneault were killed in cold blood, 30 years since the lives of Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair and Anne-Marie Lemay were tragically cut short, 30 years since we lost Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
    We gather today to mourn the loss of these women, these daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues.

[English]

    Each December, as we honour the memories of those 14 women, the survivors and the families, we promise to do better, but the reality is that in 30 years things have not changed enough. Women, girls and people of diverse gender identities still face unacceptable and preventable violence, violence that destroys lives, families and communities. It is more than time for change.
     It is more than time to put an end to gender-based violence, including the national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, because it is more than time to build a country where everyone is safe and where everyone's rights are respected and realized.
    To find the way forward, we need only look around. From coast to coast to coast, people are coming together and saying enough is enough. Students and parents, women and men are saying no to misogyny, to sexism, to hatred and to discrimination.
    To the survivors, advocates and everyday Canadians who have taken up this work, their courage is powerful and we will always stand with them.

[Translation]

    Actions speak louder than words. That is why we will be building on the progress made under Canada's strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence in order to develop a national action plan. That is also why we are investing in women-led organizations in Canada and around the world. However, we cannot stop there. We need to do more, because even to this day, people in our communities are still losing loved ones to gun violence.

[English]

    This fall, I announced that we will strengthen gun laws and ban the types of weapons used at École polytechnique. These weapons, designed to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time, have no place in our communities, in our streets, in our country. Too many lives have already been lost, and thoughts and prayers will not stop another tragedy. It is time to take real steps to end gun violence in Canada.

  (0940)  

[Translation]

     On December 6, 1989, I was in CEGEP, just a few blocks away from the École Polytechnique. I will never forget that deadly night.
    As we come together today to remember the tragic events of 30 years ago, we must take action, on behalf of our sisters, our daughters and all Canadians, to ensure that it never happens again.
    Mr. Speaker, there were 14 of them. They were young, smart, and filled with ambition. They were looking forward to the bright future that lay ahead for them. No one knows when their time is up, and those young women never could have guessed that one evil man was about to rob them of what was most precious—their lives.
    Exactly 30 years ago today, these young women were heading to university. For many of them, it was the last day of class, which is normally a happy day. What were they thinking about when they got up that morning? They might have been thinking about the upcoming holidays, or reuniting with their families and loved ones. Maybe they had a Christmas carol in their head. They were likely a little nervous about their upcoming exams. They might have been thinking of future projects they wanted to take on.
     All of those hopes and dreams were brutally destroyed that afternoon when a man committed a terrible and violent crime. On December 6, 1989, at the École Polytechnique, he separated men and women and started shooting the women, murdering 14 women and wounding many others.
    Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte lost their lives. These names of these 14 women deserve to be read and honoured.
    The victims of the École Polytechnique were wounded or killed by a man who targeted them because they were women. Thirty years later, we pause on this day, December 6, to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
    As a father of three wonderful girls, as a brother to two brilliant sisters and as a husband to an extraordinary woman, it pains me to think that these women who I love so much, and all women today, still have to be concerned for their safety just because they are women.
    It is completely unacceptable that violence against women is still happening. That is why I am proposing that all Canadians, myself included, do more than just be respectful toward women. Let us also be proactive and demonstrate through our actions how much we value the safety and dignity of every life, of every single woman.
    Thirty years later, let us honour the memory of these innocent victims.

  (0945)  

[English]

    Let us consider the messages we send about the value, worth and dignity of women in our speeches, our actions and the examples we set for our sons and daughters. Let us each decide to do our part to make Canada a safer place. In this way, 30 years later, let us honour the memory of the victims of École Polytechnique.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a plaque on the wall of the École Polytechnique, and there are 14 names engraved on that plaque: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte. They were the 14 women whose lives were taken, who were murdered because they were women. These 14 women were daughters, partners, sisters, friends. They were taken from the people they loved, from the people who loved them.
    Although 14 women were killed in the anti-feminist attack at the École Polytechnique, the victims number in the thousands, in the millions even. Thirty years later, all Quebeckers still bear this burden, this awful sense of being tainted. This happened in Quebec at the hands of a Quebecker. We all lost something on December 6, 1989. A man walked into a classroom in a place of knowledge and learning, he separated the men and the women, he let the men leave, and then he lined up the nine women and opened fire.
    One of the students, Nathalie Provost, looked him in the eye and tried to calm him down. She said, “Listen, we are just women studying engineering. We are not feminists about to take to the streets in a tirade against men. We are just students trying to live normal lives.” Six of the women were killed, and three were injured. They were just students trying to live normal lives. After that, he left the classroom and went on a terrifying a 20-minute rampage through the school.
    We all want our children to go to school. We tell them to go to school, to learn, to find a career that suits them, to contribute to society and to do their best. On December 6, 1989, however, a school, a university, was the site of a cowardly act of violence, hate and misogyny.
    It is not enough to commemorate the events at Polytechnique. It is not enough to remember where we were and who we were with. That is not enough. Thirty years after this event, we must continue to fight to ensure that an anti-feminist attack like the one on December 6, 1989, never happens again.
    The following 14 names will be forever etched in our history books: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte.

  (0950)  

    We must take action in your name. You forever symbolize the fight to end violence against women, you are part of our conscience, and you are what inspires us to do better and be a better society.
    Thirty years later, thirty years after this day of infamy, let us make a solemn commitment to fight misogyny, hate and violence against women.
    Words are not enough. In the House, we have the ability to take concrete action to ensure that an anti-feminist attack such as the one that occurred at the École Polytechnique in Montreal never happens again.
    We can introduce stronger gun controls, especially for assault weapons and handguns, tighten border controls for firearms and ensure that buyers of firearms are not a threat to anyone's life.
    We must also address daily violence against women, the blows, the horrible violence committed against women simply because they are women.
    We need to get going. We need to take action. We have a duty to be vigilant. We owe it to the women we lost on December 6, 1989, and to the women we have lost since then. Let us act to ensure that this never happens again.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on behalf of all New Democrats in remembrance of that terrible day, December 6, 1989, when 14 women were killed by a man who hated them because of their gender.

  (0955)  

[English]

    Even after 30 years, it is still horrific to think of these deaths, how young the women were and how much promise their lives held. What continues to hit me today is how ordinary violence is, and the message that it sends to women. We need to stop putting the responsibility of being safe on women and girls and start putting the responsibility of respecting women on men.

[Translation]

    The hatred of women that fuelled the shooter that day 30 years ago has not gone away. It still exists and every two and half days a woman or girl is killed in our country, often by someone she knew.

[English]

    It is here when women walk home at night with their keys in their hands and a friend on speed-dial to make sure they make it home safe. It was in Toronto last year, when a bitter young man with a violent hatred for women ran down 10 people with a van, and it is here every single day when indigenous women and girls are dehumanized, stolen from their communities and murdered.

[Translation]

    Thirty years after Canadians said “never again” in the wake of the École Polytechnique tragedy, we must all acknowledge that we have a long way to go to keep that promise.
    Systemic change begins when governments take male violence against women seriously, recognize that it is an epidemic, and bring in a national action plan to end gender-based violence.

[English]

    It means calling out damaging language that blames women, dehumanizes survivors and excuses men's brutality wherever it appears in our media or our justice system. It means listening to women and believing them when they share their experiences. It means men working every day to become better feminist allies and holding other men to account for sexism and misogyny. It means making sure that when a woman, girl or trans person needs access to counselling or a shelter it is there for them with no wait, no matter where they live.
    It means that groups providing these services on the ground have stable funding so that they can focus on helping women to escape violence and rebuild their lives, instead of on scraping by until the end of each funding cycle. It also means all of us in the House naming this epidemic for what it is: men's violence against women.

[Translation]

    Today, 30 years after that terrible December 6, we remember the 14 women who were killed because a man hated feminists and we mourn them. I hope that 30 years from now, we look back on this time as one when we as a country said “enough is enough”.

[English]

    There is no such thing as an isolated incident of violence against women. There are only choices that we make as Canadians. Today we say that one death is one too many, and that toxic masculinity hurts us all.

[Translation]

    Every woman and girl has the right to humane treatment, safety, happiness and freedom and they have the right to have ambition. We support that choice through the actions taken in memory of the thousands of women and girls killed by violent men. On this day, we owe them nothing less.

  (1000)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the unceded, unsurrendered homeland of the Anishinabe Algonquin nation on which we stand.

[Translation]

    Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. We remember the victims of the December 6, 1989, attack at École Polytechnique. This attack was a vile, anti-feminist act, and it was not an isolated one. This attack was a direct consequence of the rampant misogyny in our society. Violence against women has not been eradicated in our communities.

[English]

    Misogyny continues to exist today and has seen a resurgence as of late. As with racism or homophobia, we must name it so we can end it. There can be no place for gender-based hatred in our society.
    This day commemorates a living history of ongoing violence against women and girls and members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, particularly those who also face other forms of discrimination for their race, religion or economic status. Whether it is in the echoes of a fight from the apartment upstairs, in hateful comments on Facebook or Twitter or in the backlog of case files of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, we must not forget that there is still so much violence and marginalization facing women across the country.
    We must work to educate society about consent and our responsibility to call out violence where we see it, to intervene and to help prevent instances of abuse. We must also support women who are seeking to end the violence they face. We must believe them.

[Translation]

     Yesterday, CBC/Radio-Canada reported that New Brunswick had the highest number of domestic murder-suicides of all Canadian provinces. Seventy per cent of these homicides are committed in rural communities. These tragic deaths prove that there is a glaring lack of essential services to support women who are facing all kinds of violence.

[English]

    By the same token, we need to support women who continue to push boundaries and break through the glass ceilings in their own worlds, despite the challenges and sometimes the dangers that this brings.
    Today I remember the 14 women cut down in the massacre at École Polytechnique, and today I commit to women across Canada, and indeed across the world, that I believe them and support them. There is no room for misogyny in Canada.
    I remember.

[Translation]

    I remember.
    [Member spoke in Wolastoqiyik and provided the following text:]
    Nwewitahatom.
    [Member provided the following translation:]
    I remember.
    [Translation]
     I invite all members to stand and observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the tragedy that occurred 30 years ago at École Polytechnique in Montreal.
    [A moment of silence observed]

Speech from the Throne

[The Address]

[English]

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply

    The House resumed from December 5 consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the applause from the other side, but members have not heard what I am about to say yet, so they might want to retract it in a few moments. I appreciate it and thank them.
    As we take our seats and take up the people's business in this chamber, we all share in a privilege of protecting the hopes and dreams of our neighbours, communities and fellow Canadians through the work we do.
    As I return here for the sixth time, I am so grateful to once again have earned the confidence of my constituents in Regina—Qu'Appelle, because this seat does not belong to me; it belongs to them. None of the seats in this chamber belong to any of us, including the Prime Minister's seat. Instead, these seats all belong to the people who sent us here, and they sent us here to get to work. Canadians sent us here to make sure the country works for them, their jobs, their livelihoods, their cost of living, their health care, their environment, the safety of their communities and the security of our country on the world stage.

  (1005)  

[Translation]

    It is clear that we have a lot of work to do. No matter what party or region we are from, we all have a duty to listen, to learn, to grow and to improve. All of us, on both sides of the House, need to expect more from ourselves and from others.

[English]

    This is particularly true in light of the results of the last election, in which the people sent a clear message to all of us that the status quo had failed, that the approach of the previous four years was just not good enough.
    Canadians want better, and as the strongest opposition in Canadian history, we are going to make sure they get better. We will spend this Parliament proposing constructive solutions to Canada's most pressing problems. We are prepared to work with Canadians of every political stripe, focused on implementing ideas that actually work.
    This does not mean we will compromise on the principles that make us Conservatives, and it certainly does not mean that we will shirk from our responsibilities as Her Majesty's loyal opposition to hold the government accountable every day in every way for its ethical lapses, errors and misdeeds. Canada's Conservatives are always prepared to look for common ground, but make no mistake, we will do our job.
    It is just as important to recognize that when Canadians voted in the fall election, when they passed judgment on the previous four years, they were rendering a verdict on a four-year stretch in which the Liberal Party wielded virtually unchecked power. While the talking heads and pundits have been working overtime to spin the election results as anything else, the facts of this election are clear: The Liberal Party lost votes and seats in every region of the country. It lost the popular vote and was reduced to a minority government with the weakest mandate in Canadian history.

[Translation]

    Canadians sent the Prime Minister a message that requires some reflection, as he himself admits.

  (1010)  

[English]

    Just because the Prime Minister avoided being fired does not mean he gets to act like he had a promotion. To be fair, he gave the appearance that he might be changing. He met with me and opposition leaders early on to discuss shared goals. He made a grand show of meeting premiers and mayors from across the country. However, yesterday in the Speech from the Throne, he revealed that he has not learned a thing, that he has not changed at all, even though the people of Canada sent a message that they demand better: better than four years of unserious, entitled government; better than four years of government that puts the interests of activists and lobbyists ahead of the jobs for Canadian families; better than four years of the Prime Minister's lecturing others about standards that he himself refused to live up to.
    Canadians demand better. They demand a fundamentally new approach by a government that is prepared to rise to this moment in history. Times of fear bring times of division, and Canadians are afraid for their country. We must return to what makes us strong as a nation. We must put a stop to the divisive policies that have pitted province against province and region against region.
    Canada was built on the idea that we are stronger when we work together, when we dream together, when big nation-building projects are seen not just as possible but necessary. I believe we can build that kind of Canada again. That is what we came to the House prepared to work for.
    Yesterday we were sorely disappointed. This throne speech was supposed to be the first real part of the Prime Minister's new approach. That is what these speeches are all about. It is a statement of intent about how the government has changed, how it will learn and how it will improve. As I listened to the Governor General, that is what I was waiting to hear, some humility. I am still waiting.
    If this Liberal government ends just like the last one, then an opportunity to learn and grow will have been missed and the message Canadians sent to the Liberal Party on October 21 will have truly been ignored.
    One of the most important roles of the official opposition is to always be ready as a government in waiting to provide an alternative to the status quo. This is doubly true in a minority Parliament.

[Translation]

    Today I want to talk about the challenges our country is facing, as well as the opportunities ahead and the leadership it will need.

[English]

    I will talk about the kinds of actions all Canadians should expect from all parties in this Parliament: first, support for Canadian families that are struggling with the rising cost of living; second, keeping Canadians safe in an increasingly unstable world; third, creating and sustaining good Canadian jobs in a time of economic uncertainty; fourth, protecting the environment and fighting climate change at home and around the world; and fifth, preserving national unity and healing the divisions between provinces, between regions and between all Canadians.
    Let us begin by talking about what should be the top priority for us all: supporting Canadian families who are struggling with the rising cost of living. Too many of the political games being played by the political classes are far removed from the real hardships facing real people.

[Translation]

    Over half of Canadians have $200 or less in the bank at the end of the month. They are a breath away from financial hardship. They are vulnerable to interest rate hikes, living as they do on the brink of insolvency.

[English]

     September 2019 had the highest number of personal bankruptcies since the Great Recession and the middle class is struggling. Over the past three years, the number of food bank users with jobs has gone up 27%. More and more hard-working people are not getting by. People are struggling to pay the mortgage, the rent or their bills.

[Translation]

    More and more Canadian families are struggling to put food on the table or gas up the car.

[English]

    The tax burden is going up. Studies have shown that for an average Canadian family earning $117,000 of combined income, 44.7% of that income, or $52,000, goes to paying taxes, and 53% of that goes to paying federal taxes. Nevertheless, over the past several weeks there has been a chorus of voices from elite corners of Canadian high society demanding that our party endorse the carbon tax. Let me be clear: We will always oppose a carbon tax because we know the real cost it imposes on the Canadian people.
    The entire point of the carbon tax is to make essentials more expensive, making it harder to put fuel in the tank. It is about punishing a mom for driving her kids to school, punishing a dad for driving his daughter to soccer practice, punishing a senior for turning up the heat on a cold winter's day. We are not going to support that, especially when the Liberal carbon tax has granted a massive exemption to the country's largest emitters. There are better ways to fight climate change.

[Translation]

    It is time to take action to lower the cost of living and put more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

[English]

    Another issue Canadians are looking to the government for leadership on is how we are going to keep them safe in an increasingly unstable world.
    Let us not sugar-coat it. The world has become a much more dangerous place. The Government of China continues with an expansionist agenda that is threatening Hong Kong's vibrant democracy and the safety and security of the people of Hong Kong themselves.
    Just as important to Canadians, the same Chinese dictatorship continues to hold two innocent Canadians hostage in retaliation to Canada's fulfilling its legal obligation to arrest and extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. I understand that this is a matter of very serious diplomatic sensitivity for the government, and I have no doubt that behind the scenes there is a lot of work being done to secure the safe return of the two Canadians the Chinese government is holding. However, what is incomprehensible to Canadians is that in the face of this blatant attack, the Minister of Small Business still travelled to China and posed in photo ops to promote China as a place for Canadian investment.
    Canadians are asking why the government is still giving $256 million to the Asian Infrastructure Bank so that China can develop infrastructure in other parts of the world. In fact, we found out just recently that this Asian Infrastructure Bank, funded by Canadian tax dollars at a time when western Canadian energy companies are struggling to get their product to market, funded not one but two pipeline projects in other countries. Canadians want to know why the Prime Minister is so silent in the face of such a blatant outrage. He should at least respond to what his own Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “China stand[s] out as [a] beacon of stability, predictability, a rule-based system, a very inclusive society.”
    While he is at it, the Prime Minister could also share how his government intends to check the Russian expansionism that threatens countries like Ukraine and the Baltic states while funding cyber-sabotage around the world that threatens our alliances and democratic institutions.
    While he is at it, he could explain the calculation his government made in abandoning the State of Israel and Jews around the world when his government curried favour with anti-Semitic factions at the United Nations to earn itself a Security Council seat.
    However, most of all we would really appreciate hearing the Prime Minister talk about Canada's deteriorating relationship with the United States, one that was only exacerbated by his own conduct at this week's NATO summit. We understand that President Trump is a challenging negotiator, but Americans are our partners all the same, and no international file is more important to Canadian jobs and livelihoods than the ratification of the new NAFTA.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    The fact is that 80% of our GDP depends on trade. We need an effective foreign policy to ensure that our allies and trade partners continue to trust us and trade with us.

[English]

    Whether we are talking about steel industries in Ontario, aluminum industries in Quebec, our forestry industry in B.C., our agriculture and agri-food industries, including our supply-managed sectors, the auto sector, the aerospace sector or the hundreds of thousands of workers who depend on our energy sector, Canada's economy, Canadian workers and Canadian jobs depend on having a government that will stand up for our country no matter what.
    This brings me to what should be another very important government priority: creating and sustaining Canadian jobs in a time of economic uncertainty.
    Let us have some true moral clarity in the House right now. As I speak, a network of foreign-funded activist groups is trying to permanently shut down Canada's energy sector and drive hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work. They have already done lasting damage to the economies in western Canada and to the livelihoods of thousands of families who depend on the development of our oil and gas to pay the bills. Every single member of the House should be expected to stand up and be counted. Do they stand with the activists or do they stand with the workers of Canada?
    These groups take foreign funding and interfere in our discussion around energy and pipelines in this country. It has never made any sense to me why there are loud voices in this country, including many from the government benches, that want to ban and block the exportation of Canadian energy to foreign markets. Meanwhile, they do nothing when tanker after tanker of foreign oil comes into Canadian markets.
    When Canadians make these decisions for themselves, they should be doing it by themselves. That is why a core Conservative commitment is to ban foreign-funded activist groups from participating in the approval process for large energy projects.
    I can stand here confidently on behalf of every single member of the Conservative caucus and say with certainty that every single one of us will stand with Canadian workers every single time. Therefore, we are going to fight for pipelines, for lower taxes and for reduced regulations to make Canada the best place in the world to invest, start a business and create jobs. This will include repealing Bill C-69 and the tanker ban that has signalled that Canada is closed for business.

  (1020)  

[Translation]

    We will seek to diversify our trade relationships to reduce our dependence on the United States. When we, the Conservatives, were in office, we negotiated free trade and investment agreements with 53 countries, while protecting our business interests. We will put the same amount of energy into breaking down trade barriers in Canada as we will into standing up for free trade beyond our borders.

[English]

    I hear it from our provincial counterparts and I hear it from businesses: It is time to build a true single market inside of Canada that can compete with trading blocs around the world and other single markets. We can do all of this while living up to our responsibility to future generations when it comes to environmental challenges like climate change.
    Fighting climate change will require honesty and it will require co-operation, but first is honesty: Canada produces less than 2% of global emissions. China alone produces over 27% and saw a 4% increase in CO2 emissions just in the first half of 2019.
     That is why our Conservative plan focuses on exporting Canadian green technologies and on substituting coal in China with clean Canadian natural gas and carbon capture technology. It is because we know that Canada can make a real difference by taking the climate change fight globally. Imposing a carbon tax on seniors will not do that. Even if it were possible to drop Canada's emissions to zero, it would not make a dent in our shared global obligation.
    As well, if the Liberals do take climate change seriously, why would they rely so much on imposing taxes on essential things that are known to be unresponsive to price increases? It is time to stop targeting Canadian commuters and seniors and instead focus on innovative market-based policies that prepare Canada for the future and can ensure we make a real impact on global emissions. A real plan must offer a global vision for fighting climate change.

[Translation]

    We can fight climate change without imposing taxes on parents who are taking their children to school. We need to invest in new technologies and establish a higher standard for big polluters so that they reduce their emissions at the source.

[English]

    Finally, I want to talk about the gravest danger facing our nation's prosperity and the steps we can and must take to preserve national unity during this time of peril.
    We are facing a time when our country is being divided between east and west, between English and French and between urban and rural. Even the divisions between generations continue to grow. No Canadian can afford to be oblivious to this threat, least of all members of this House. As a proud MP from Saskatchewan, I would caution all of our colleagues from across Canada to not underestimate the deep alienation and anger that people of my province, along with our neighbours in Alberta, currently feel about their deal in the confederation.
    The damage done over the past four years is significant. Today, 175,000 Alberta energy workers are unemployed. Proud Canadian companies like TransCanada and Encana are moving their businesses to the U.S.

[Translation]

    After only four years of Liberal rule, the Bloc Québécois, 32 sovereignist members strong, has returned with a vengeance. Premier Legault had specific requests. The Liberal government did not consider any of them, yet the Bloc members have decided to support the throne speech anyway. During the election campaign, the Bloc claimed to be the voice of Premier Legault, and this is the result. Only the Conservative members will stand up for Quebec's interests, not the Bloc.

[English]

    The rifts dividing our country are deep, but they can heal. The first rule of medicine is to do no harm. That is why we must relegate the rigid ideological approach of the first Liberal term from the front pages to the history pages. We must focus on the things that unite Canadians.
    I still believe that Canada can be a place of big dreams and that the same spirit that built the Canadian Pacific Railway, the TransCanada Highway and the St. Lawrence Seaway still exists today. We can still achieve big things together. This country can work for both the west and the east and for all provinces in between, but only a Conservative government has the vision to do just that.
    I do believe that national unity is not something that we do; it is something that happens when we get the big things and the little things right. Our role as an official opposition is to fight for Canadians who, inadvertently or not, are hurt or left behind by the government's agenda, so we will show up every day. We will be ready to do our job.

  (1025)  

[Translation]

    We will use every tool at our disposal to oppose the items on the government's agenda that could harm Canadians.

[English]

    We will constantly be at the ready, with better policies and a better plan to replace the government when it falls.
    Canadians can no longer afford a government that gets the big questions wrong. We know we have a better program that will help unite Canada, create jobs, help Canadians make ends meet, and allow more Canadians from all races, regions, genders, religions, sexual orientations and languages to pursue their dreams and build a better life right here in Canada, right here at home.
    On behalf of Canada's official opposition, I therefore move:
    That the motion be amended by adding the following:
“and wishes to inform Your Excellency that Canada is threatened by:
     Declining productivity and competitiveness, a rising cost of living and challenges to our society which requires:
     Offering a plan for tax relief for Canadians with a path to a balanced budget,
    Restoring Canada as an attractive place to invest,
    Addressing social challenges that limit the ability of Canadians to achieve their full potential, and
    Developing a real environment plan that strengthens the competitiveness of our economic sectors and tackles global climate change;
    A weakening position within an increasingly uncertain world, which requires:
    Confronting threats such as the regimes in Moscow and Beijing and protecting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic,
    Developing a principled foreign policy that stands with traditional allies such as NATO, Ukraine, and Israel, and
    Facing the rise of protectionism and strengthening the relationship with our largest trading partners;
    A national unity crisis, which requires:
    Respecting provincial jurisdiction and scrapping the carbon tax,
    Stopping the attack on the Western Canadian economy, and
    Restoring confidence in our national institutions, starting by returning ethics and accountability to the federal government.
    The amendment is in order.
    Questions and comments.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, over the years it has been very well established that this government and this Prime Minister have been focused on Canada's middle class. We have seen many progressive policies brought to the floor of the House that have enabled hundreds of thousands of children to be lifted out of poverty. Seniors have been lifted out of poverty. We have seen record amounts of infrastructure dollars invested in every region of our nation. We are—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Could I have members' attention, please?
     I want members to remember one thing I said yesterday: that our moms, dads, daughters and entire families are watching. I want them to be proud of us here and I do not think shouting is the way to do that.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North.
    Mr. Speaker, we are committed to providing ongoing support of Canada's middle class and those needing assistance to be lifted out of poverty. The throne speech embodies many progressive measures, such as a continued commitment to tax breaks for Canada's middle class. I am sure the leader of the official opposition will recall that the Conservative Party voted against many of those progressive measures, including the tax break.
    When the leader of the official opposition says he will support Canadians from coast to coast, will he put actions to his words and support the government's initiative, which will continue to lift Canadians out of poverty and provide tax breaks for Canada's middle class?
    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives always support tax reductions. What we were voting against were the tax hikes the Liberal government included in its budget, the cancelling of the children's fitness tax credit and the public transit tax credit, and the tens of billions of dollars of new debt that the Liberal government has piled onto the backs of future generations of Canadians taxpayers.
    The member wants to talk about infrastructure dollars. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the Liberal plan “did not exist”. He wants to talk about jobs. November saw the biggest job decline in Canada in recent years. He wants to talk about the middle class. They are paying more taxes under the Liberal government. Almost 45% of their income is going just to pay the taxes.
    If the member wants to see concrete proposals, he will find them in our plan to make life more affordable for Canadians by lowering taxes on all Canadians, by bringing back those popular tax credits that made life more affordable and by having a responsible plan to get back to balanced budgets so that less money from Canadian taxpayers is going just to pay the interest on the debt. I would invite him to vote for that plan.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the Leader of the Opposition back as Leader of the Opposition.
    I listened with great interest to his speech and I heard the disconnect that we heard throughout the election. Sure, we heard about Liberal corruption, but we heard a lot about melting ground. Certainly the ground is melting beneath his feet for failing to put forward any coherent climate change plan.
    I represent blue-collar industrial workers, and they are concerned about the issue of catastrophic climate change. Year in and year out, emissions rise. We are expecting a 60% rise in emissions from the oil fields in the next 20 years, and what do we get from the member? We get the conspiracy theory of foreign radicals trying to undermine our industry. Nobody buys that.
    We do not have any coherent plan other than the carbon tax, but what I find deeply offensive is the fact that the Leader of the Opposition is telling the House that if Jason Kenney does not get his way and massively expand the oil fields, the Conservatives will put the issue of the future of our country on the table.
    It is unacceptable that a Conservative member stands, without any coherent credibility on the single biggest crisis facing our planet, and tells the rest of Canada that they have to go along with his conspiracy theories, with no credibility on environmental change, or Conservatives will break up our country.
    I would tell that member to drop that kind of language, because the ground is certainly melting beneath his feet very quickly at this point.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member on his re-election. I know he has a new seat in the House of Commons. He is being returned to that party as a member of the fourth party. I hope he enjoys the new perspective over there.
    I can understand why the member does not believe there are foreign radical groups trying to destroy jobs in our economy. In the NDP, the members are all domestic. This is the problem with that party. It does not understand that our plan achieves the dual balance of reducing CO2 emissions by taking the climate change fight globally and by recognizing that Canadian industries have taken advantage of things like innovative tax credits for investments and technology to reduce the amount of emissions they produce.
     I would invite the member to come to Alberta and Saskatchewan to see the types of advancements being made in extracting our natural resources at a lower rate of emissions. That is the benefit of our plan. That is why we need to replace the Liberal government and implement these policies, so we can get the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs back on their feet.
    If the member thinks that it is just idle rhetoric when I talk about the hurt and alienation in Saskatchewan and Alberta, that is despicable and shameful. I will take no lessons from him about standing up for this country and standing up for—
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know it is your first day, and you will make an amazing Speaker, but for the Leader of the Opposition to accuse someone who is representing their—
    I am sorry. We cannot hear. It is not working. I cannot hear to make out whether it is debate. Can I have order in the House for a second so I can hear the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay?
    The hon. member Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, it is very unparliamentary for the leader of a party to accuse someone of being despicable for asking the question. That is the antithesis of democracy—
    I am sorry. If I can interrupt again, we are having a real technical problem here. I cannot hear what is happening.
    The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, if we are going to establish a tone in the House, and while you have a lot of our respect, to call someone “despicable” for asking a question that is relevant to the issues of the day is very unparliamentary. If this is the tone that member is going to raise, we are going to have a very difficult number of years.
     I am asking, Mr. Speaker, that you ask the member to withdraw that personal attack.
    I was listening to both back-and-forth and there were words I could have picked out of both questions.
    What I am asking is that all members keep track and watch what they say to each other. Remember that we are not naming people and we are not badgering people to bring them down. We are debating ideas. Let us keep it at that level.
    The hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to speak in the House of Commons, I would like to thank the good people of Nanaimo—Ladysmith for electing me not once but twice in the last six months. However, I am not excited about the idea of going back for another election. I know some members are.
    There are a lot of things to deal with in my community. I have four first nations that are looking forward to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. My community has the highest homelessness per capita in Canada. We have an affordability crisis. We have a mental health crisis. We have an opioid crisis. Our regional hospital is old and it serves the oldest population per capita in Canada. We have more people over the age of 75 in the regional district of Nanaimo—Ladysmith than anywhere else in Canada.
    There are a lot of things that I want to work on across party lines to get things done in this Parliament with the government. One of those things is climate change.
     I know that my hon. friend for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford has carried fish in trucks to get them up the river because of the droughts. Our forest industry is suffering because of climate change. We see our forests dying. People want action. It is affecting our economy.
    If members would indulge me for a moment, my mother was born in Alberta and my father was born in Saskatoon. I have a lot of relatives in those communities. They are hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, innovative, industrious people. They are get-her-done folks.
    Does the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle see a future for Alberta and Saskatchewan, besides ripping and shipping raw resources out of those provinces, by using the innovation and hard work of the people of those provinces to change the future for our children and grandchildren and so we can have a future?
    Mr. Speaker, the last part of the member's question was a very unfortunate attack on two provinces and the energy sector, which provides jobs for so many thousands of families. That is the type of rhetoric that we hear from groups and individuals who are trying to shut down Canadian development while other countries expand and develop overseas markets for their products.
    I agree with the member on much of what he said as it relates to the lack of a mention in the throne speech on many important issues. However, we have an exciting plan to help those who are addicted to opioids with a recovery plan that invests in people. Instead of just maintaining addictions we actually will help people get off harmful drugs. Those are the types of things we will be proposing in this Parliament as well.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to respond to the speech from the Leader of the Opposition.
    One of the things we have listened to and heard from Canadians over the past number of months of the election campaign and subsequently is the need for us to collaborate in the House, a need for us to work together. One element of that will involve actually listening to each other in the House.

[Translation]

    My team gave me an excellent speech to read in response to the Leader of the Opposition's speech, but this morning, I am choosing not to read it because it was written yesterday. I want to take the time to really listen to the Leader of the Opposition, who shared his thoughts on the work this Parliament will be doing and his vision for the best way to help Canadians across the country.
    This is indicative of the new approach we need to take. Instead of merely reading a speech that itemizes everything we have done and everything we want to do, a speech that brings together all the elements in the excellent throne speech delivered yesterday, I would rather respond to the Leader of the Opposition's speech by addressing each of his points individually.

[English]

    Unfortunately, as I go through the elements that the hon. Leader of the Opposition laid out in his speech, I will have to stray a bit from them. There are some really important issues that matter to this country and to Canadians that he did not develop, dwell on or share his perspective on. First and foremost is the issue of indigenous reconciliation.
    We are gathered here today, and every day, on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. As we move forward as a country, we have to include every Canadian and ensure they have a real and fair chance to succeed. For far too long in these houses of Parliament, we have not properly walked the road of reconciliation, which is a difficult road to be sure. It is one that will have setbacks and challenges as we walk it, but one on which we can make real progress, not just for indigenous Canadians but for all Canadians, as all Canadians have asked us repeatedly in recent elections to do. To continue to step up on indigenous reconciliation is something that we on this side of the House will do. I am sure it was a simple oversight on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition. I know that many people on the other side very much want us to work in partnership and in respect with indigenous peoples in the country.
     He also did not touch on the health challenges and health opportunities we have as a country, to move forward on the big things that will make a real difference for Canadians, whether they be national universal pharmacare, ensuring that every Canadian can access a family doctor or ensuring that there are clear outcomes and expectations on mental health care right across the country. These are the things, along with home and palliative care, on which we intend to work.
     We understand they are elements we will need to work on with the provinces, in respect and in partnership, because of provincial jurisdiction. That is why I am pleased to have begun some of those conversations already. I am very pleased to have an outstanding health minister and team, along with our deputy prime minister, who will engage directly with the premiers of provinces and territories across the country to move forward on keeping Canadians healthy.

  (1045)  

[Translation]

    Now the challenge for me is to respond to the Leader of the Opposition's speech, so I will go over his list of priorities for Canadians.
    I do not think any Canadian anywhere in this country will be surprised to hear me say that, aside from those omissions, we agree with what he identified as Canadians' top concerns: the cost of living, affordability, the safety of Canadians abroad, ensuring the availability of good jobs for Canadians, fighting climate change and, lastly, national unity.
    I think it is worth taking a look at each of those issues as well as some of the points he made and how he thinks we can address those issues. I want to show not only that we know how to listen, but also that we want to work with all parties in the House of Commons.

[English]

    I will first address the question of affordability.
    The Leader of the Opposition recognized that many Canadians are feeling anxious about their personal finances, about the path forward for themselves to retirement and about the path forward for their children to getting good jobs in the future. There are concerns about the rising costs of living. Questions of day-to-day expenses, the costs of housing and everyday purchases keep Canadians anxious. We agree entirely. That is why the Liberal Party set out four years ago to focus on the middle class and the people working hard to join it. What we proposed in this Speech from the Throne, and in this mandate as we move forward, is to respond to that in concrete and tangible ways.
    A number of the initiatives we put forward in our first mandate have started to have significant positive effects on Canadians, but we know there is much more to do. The very first thing we did in the last Parliament was put forward a tax cut for the middle class by raising taxes on the wealthiest 1%. We knew that lowering taxes for Canadians was something that would make a difference in their lives and would demonstrate that we understand the anxiety people are feeling. That is the very first thing we moved forward with. We propose, in this 43rd Parliament, that the very first thing we do once again is lower taxes for Canadians.
    We are planning on putting forward very shortly a proposal to raise the basic minimum exemption that people pay on their taxes to $15,000. That means that thousands of Canadians will no longer have to pay taxes at all, because they make less than $15,000. Many more will see their tax burdens decrease significantly. If we are looking for common ground in this House of Commons, as we are, this proposal significantly resembles the proposal put forward by the leader of the official opposition to help at the lowest levels of our tax system.
    The Leader of the Opposition put forward a proposal that would help Canadians. We only have one small issue with it, which our proposal actually fixes, and I do not think it is a proposal that the Leader of the Opposition or his team will be preoccupied with. I think they can support it, because the change we made is to make sure that as we lower taxes for low-income Canadians and the middle class, we do not actually give any extra advantages to the wealthiest Canadians. The small hiccup in the proposal that the Leader of the Opposition put forward was that it would benefit someone making $400,000 a year, rather than someone making $40,000 a year. We are ensuring that the help we are giving to Canadians by lowering taxes really goes to those who need it most. That will help with affordability.

  (1050)  

[Translation]

    The second big thing we did as a government four years ago was introduce the Canada child benefit. We stopped sending cheques to millionaire families like mine and that of my colleague, and we started giving more money to those who need it most: low-income and middle-class families. This measure has helped lift over 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty.
    However, we recognize that more work needs to be done, and I do not want to use my time talking about what we have done over the past four years. I would rather talk about what we plan to do moving forward. We want to increase the Canada child benefit for families with children under the age of one. I think everyone here can get behind such a measure. As we know, it costs more to care for newborns than it does to raise children who are three or 13 years of age. This measure will truly help families, and we know it will help boost people's confidence in their future and in their children's future. This will also help reduce the anxieties that we know many Canadians experience.
    We also acknowledge that housing is a concern for so many Canadians. That is why we recently developed a national housing strategy that will improve affordability and access to housing for Canadians. However we, of course recognize that we still have a lot of work to do.

[English]

    We have worked with municipalities and provinces to respond to the very real need for housing. We recognize there is more to do and that is why we are continuing to invest in infrastructure. We look forward to bringing in the Canada housing benefit, which will be a portable benefit based on going to families rather than to a specific apartment or location. This will give families a broader range of choices in affording the housing they need in order to build a future for themselves and their families.
    We also recognize that far too many young Canadians, far too many first-time homebuyers are seeing greater barriers to buying their first home as housing prices rise across the country. Even with economic growth and more jobs, we know that people are facing anxiety, and that any delays in millennials or others buying their first home ends up accumulating in missed opportunities to build the equity throughout their lives that would afford them a good retirement. That is why we put in place the first-time home buyer initiative a number of years ago, which provides money to first-time homebuyers that lowers their mortgage costs and makes buying their first home more affordable. However, that is something we have done already.
    What we are proposing to do as a next step around housing affordability is to make sure that people in high-cost markets, like Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Victoria or the GTA, have a larger benefit. That would allow more people to buy their first home, even in places where the cost of housing is significantly higher than other places. Our focus on affordability and supporting the middle class, as well as the people working hard to join it, runs through everything we do.
    What was interesting about the Leader of the Opposition's comments on this is that he talked about the carbon tax as being a significant cost for Canadians. If he is serious about reducing people's anxiety about the future and reassuring Canadians about their ability to tackle new challenges and support their families, it would be good if we were able to lay out the actual facts of what our plan of putting a price on pollution means for Canadians across the country.
    First of all, to prevent pollution from being free anywhere in the country, we wanted to work with the provinces to ensure that they could create a price on pollution in a way that suited each province and its realities. That was the starting point. We would rather not have to bring in a federal backstop anywhere across the country, because we know that provinces have varied needs and perspectives and should be able to determine their own way of fighting climate change and putting a price on pollution to make sure it is not free anywhere in the country. However, we also need to make sure that everyone across the country is doing their part to prevent pollution from being free anywhere in the country, and that we have a level playing field. That is why, rightly, in our pan-Canadian framework to fight climate change, we expect a similar level of equivalency and stringency right across the country.
    There are a number of provinces that do not believe it is important to fight climate change or to put a price on pollution. Therefore, we have to move forward in bringing in a backstop.

  (1055)  

    However, every single dollar collected from a particular province for the price on pollution will be returned to that province. Most important, average costs for an average family in that province will be less on the price on pollution we added than the climate action incentive we return to them at tax time before the full year is up. Therefore, very simply and clearly put, in the provinces in which there is a federal backstop, that is, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and soon Alberta and Manitoba, the average citizens of those provinces will be better off with this price on pollution than they would be had there been no price on pollution. Indeed, in a province like Saskatchewan, where the Leader of the Opposition is from, I can point out that families will be hundreds of dollars better off every year with this price on pollution. If one wanted to truly bring down the temperature and the anxiety in the west, pointing out that fact might actually help.
    We recognize as well that fighting for better affordability for Canadians means fighting the challenges of poverty that far too many Canadians continue to face. That is why initiatives like the Canada child benefit and our fight against poverty have helped in lifting over 900,000 Canadians out of poverty over the past years. That is something on which we know there is much more work to be done. For every family we have seen lifted out of poverty, there are more families we need to help. That is what we are going to focus on in the coming years.

  (1100)  

    I was just going to suggest we break so we can go to question period. I am not sure if the right hon. Prime Minister is going to continue his speech afterward. I just want to clarify.
    Mr. Speaker, I have still four points to make, based on what the Leader of the Opposition said. I will continue after question period to respond to the Leader of the Opposition.
    I thank the right hon. Prime Minister. That was for my clarification.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. I wanted to give the Prime Minister the ability to finish the bulk of his remarks, so I waited to bring it up.
    My point of order relates to the general practice of the House, which is that before the government talks about the provisions that are going to be contained in a bill, it tables the bill with this House. The Prime Minister, in his remarks, made a specific reference to a tax measure and the exact change he is going to bring in with respect to the basic personal exemption in a bill that has not yet been tabled in this House.
     We are talking about collegiality. I would ask the Prime Minister to table the bill that contains the specific tax measures referenced in his remarks, so that Parliament can review what he is talking about as per the normal course of this House.
    Mr. Speaker, the initiatives I proposed are spelled out in our platform, which is there for everyone and every Canadian to see.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, we have a duty to commemorate one of the greatest tragedies in our country, a tragedy that occurred in my riding of Outremont at the Polytechnique 30 years ago today.
    On that day 14 women were killed by a semi-automatic rifle. Why? Because they were women.

[English]

    We know the task before us. It is to legislate stronger gun control, such as for the type of gun used to kill those 14 young women.
    Today at 5:10 p.m., 14 white lights will shine from across Mount Royal in Montreal where the Prime Minister and I, and hundreds of others, will honour the memory of those victims. As I look around this chamber at the women here and in my community, I know how deeply that act of cowardice has failed to silence women.

Political Co-operation

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to be able to speak in the House of Commons on the first day of this 43rd Parliament.
    To the people of Parry Sound—Muskoka and to all Canadians, I have a simple message: It is time for all of us to start working together. We have just come off a bitter campaign, and our country is divided. Voters are crying out for positive leadership.
    In this minority Parliament, I hope we will tone down the rhetoric, turn up the positivity and take up the good work of nation building with things like finding common ground to bridge the growing urban-rural divide in this country; a serious commitment to infrastructure and housing in all communities, big and small; and common-sense solutions to the very real challenge of climate change.
    For my part, that is the kind of positive change I sought office to bring about. Regardless of the challenge, we need to get all levels of government, along with the private sector, working together.
    Our job together, today and tomorrow, is to ensure that we live up to these goals.

[Translation]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, on this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, I would like to recognize the work being done in the Outaouais by wonderful and dedicated organizations.
    This includes, for example, the work done by the Maison Unies-vers-femmes, a women's shelter in Gatineau, and the essential services the staff has been providing to women victims of domestic violence and their children since 1979. As part of the organization's Open Your Eyes to Stop the Violence campaign, we are reminded that according to a 2014 study by Statistics Canada, the City of Gatineau has the second-highest rate of domestic violence in the country. We all have a responsibility to speak out against violence against women. We cannot close our eyes to it.
    I invite the people of Gatineau to watch the video clips the organization has posted online and to get involved in this important awareness campaign.

  (1105)  

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, we have not forgotten.
    Today, December 6, we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the painful École Polytechnique tragedy, when 14 young women were murdered in their classroom because they were women. Still today, tragic incidents of violence against women are far too common. For those women, for our daughters, our mothers and our sisters, there must be an end to this violence.
    “We must not forget” means that we must keep on marching, speaking out, putting in place real measures and taking concrete action to eliminate all forms of sexual violence. This is a collective effort that concerns and engages us all. It is our duty to speak out and to take action—above all to take action—that engages all of society.

[English]

George Springate

    Mr. Speaker, we have lost a great Canadian, a man of extraordinary talents and accomplishments.
     George Springate was a man with a big heart and a boundless love of Canada. As citizenship judge, one of the many roles he occupied over his lifetime, George inspired countless new Canadians with his passionate invocation of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.

[Translation]

    A police officer, lawyer, football player, member of the National Assembly, professor, judge, television sports commentator, George Springate epitomized all the opportunities that Canada offers its citizens.

[English]

    George was larger than life. He was a friend to all. He touched our lives by his friendship and his philanthropic work, which benefited so many wonderful causes and organizations.
    On behalf of all members of the House, I offer his wife of 35 years, Dr. Judy Gill, our most heartfelt condolences on this profound personal loss that is shared by so many.

Harry McWatters

    Mr. Speaker, when the Canada-U.S. free trade deal was first announced over 30 years ago, many B.C. grape-growers feared it would mean tearing out the whole valley full of crops, tearing out vineyards out of fear that they could not compete with the giant California wine industry.
    However, there was a man, a visionary man, who believed B.C. could grow and produce the best wines in the world, and his name was Harry McWatters, who is also known as the grandfather of British Columbia wine.
    Harry's accomplishments are far too many to mention, but suffice it to say he was a visionary, his thinking was bold and his passion and commitment to excellence were traits he happily shared with those in the industry. More importantly, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather.
    This summer, we sadly said farewell to Harry, who passed away at his home in Summerland, British Columbia. I would ask this place to join me in recognizing an outstanding Canadian, a man who in his own endeavours demonstrated that Canadians can succeed and compete in an industry once thought impossible.
    God bless Harry McWatters, and may he rest in peace.

London North Centre

    Mr. Speaker, as I rise for the first time in this 43rd Parliament, I wish to extend sincere gratitude to the residents of London North Centre for once again placing their trust in me to serve as their member of Parliament. I am honoured and humbled by their ongoing support. I will continue working hard to advance priorities that improve their lives, while also ensuring London is well represented.
    This includes building upon accomplishments from the last Parliament: historic investments for better transportation, improved infrastructure, support for affordable housing, research, job creation, tax cuts for those who need it most, and much more.
    Finally, none of us would be here without our support networks. To my campaign volunteers, I thank them so much for helping return me to the House. To my family and friends, their support is beyond appreciated. To my wife Katy, her love and unwavering dedication mean so much. I thank her for always being by my side.

  (1110)  

Jean Leahy

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and celebrate the life of Jean Leahy, who passed away in August. Jean, who hailed from Fort St. John, was a tireless champion for women's rights, farmers, seniors and the environment.
    As a farm activist, Jean served as women's president of the National Farmers Union and was instrumental in developing more equitable farm property ownership for married women. She was also a driving force behind legislation to allow farming women to contribute to the CPP.
    Jean worked passionately as a member of the Peace Valley Environment Association to protect farmland in the Peace Valley. Recognized as Fort St. John's citizen of the year, Jean was seen as a pillar of her community. She served as president of Save Our Northern Seniors on the affordable housing committee, and others.
    Jean would say that she wanted to make sure her grandchildren grew up in a better world. The world is certainly a better place thanks to Jean's life's efforts, and we salute her.

Edmonton Manning

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to first take the opportunity to thank the constituents of Edmonton Manning for once again placing their trust in me as their member of Parliament. It is an honour and a privilege to serve my constituents in this 43rd Parliament.
    This summer, I knocked on every door in my constituency. What I heard was that Albertans were struggling to get by and the Liberal government was not making it any easier. I heard stories from past engineers in the oil and gas sector who lost their jobs and were still struggling to make ends meet.
    For my constituents of Edmonton Manning, I will not stop fighting for their livelihoods and their ability to support their families. I will be their voice in Ottawa, not Ottawa's voice in Edmonton Manning.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking the people of Brampton North for returning me to this place for another term. I am grateful for their trust in me to move forward on our community's top priorities.
    I am beginning this work today by speaking to a critical issue to both my constituents and many Canadians: the increase in violent domestic crime in our communities.
    Over the past 10 years, 22 women and children have been murdered in Brampton as a result of domestic violence. Their names include Lucy Wojtalski, Maria Gorospe, Christian Gorospe, Laura Grant, Riya Rajkumar and many more. Too often they died at the hands of someone they knew well, like a spouse or a parent.
    No one should fear for their lives at home. We need our community and all levels of government to keep working together to prevent these horrific crimes before they occur. We must keep building on the work we started in 2015. We must do more.

[Translation]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, on December 6, 1989, the entire country was horrified to learn that 14 young women with bright futures had been killed in cold blood for the sole reason that they were women.
    There were tears and anger, and 30 years later, the sadness and bewilderment still linger.
    How can we, as a society, stand by when people are killed simply because they are women? The pain of their loss will stay with us forever.
    We must never forget this tragedy, and every single one of us has a responsibility to keep building a society in which all women feel respected, are free to pursue their passions, and do not face barriers because they are women.
    We owe that to these 14 women, but we also owe it to our daughters, to our sisters, to our mothers and to who we are as Canadians.

[English]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the constituents of Sarnia—Lambton for sending me back here to represent them in this 43rd Parliament.
    Today I rise to honour and remember the victims of the tragic massacre at École Polytechnique 30 years ago. As the first female engineer in the House of Commons, it is fitting for me to pay tribute to these women. They were my sisters. I name them now to respect them for the strong women they were: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
    We must each do more to prevent such acts of violence in our country, especially those that specifically target women. May we never forget them.

  (1115)  

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, young people have been taking to the streets calling for action on the climate crisis. They are worried about our future. They do not need more pretty words. They need action now. They want ambitious targets, a green new deal and the government to wake up. Instead, the Liberals are hitting the snooze button, kicking targets from 2030 to 2050.
    Canadians are tired of the Liberal government's empty words, declaring a climate emergency one day and approving a pipeline the next. The government promised to end fossil fuel subsidies but still hands out billions to big oil and gas companies.
    COP25 is a time to announce real action to invest in green jobs, power, transit and housing; to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies; and to put tougher emission targets into law.
    Canadians are counting on us.

[Translation]

Claude Béland

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to Claude Béland, a great Quebecker who left us on November 24 at the age of 87.
    As president of Mouvement Desjardins from 1987 to 2000, he embodied everything that is most noble and admirable about Quebec.
    A passionate advocate of co-operation, he is one of the reasons the co-operative movement is more entrenched in Quebec than virtually anywhere else in the world.
    He was a true humanist who believed that the economy should serve the people, not the other way around. He was nothing like the cold and calculating bankers we encounter far too often in the world of finance. He loved Quebec and belonged to that great generation we know as the architects of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, and to whom we will always owe so much. He was the noblest embodiment of our finest qualities.
    Thank you, Mr. Béland. You still inspire us, now and for many years to come.

[English]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, today we mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. This day has been set aside to commemorate the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, which occurred at Montreal's École Polytechnique, where 14 women were murdered. Today marks the 30th anniversary of this tragedy. It reminds us of the daughters, sisters and friends who lost their lives. These victims were all women with bright futures, whose families will never have the opportunity to see them flourish.
    Throughout Canada, communities and organizations are joining together to commemorate this day and to continue our efforts to fight for a world free of violence against women.
    I would like to finish with an excerpt from a poem written by Wadia Samadi entitled Finding Freedom.
    

My makeup does not cover my bruised face
My smile does not hide my haggard visage
Yet, no one comes to help
They say: it will get better
They say: don’t talk about it
They say: this was my fate
They say: a woman must tolerate
Don’t air your dirty laundry, they say.
When will this end?

  (1120)  

[Translation]

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago, I was a student in Montreal, and I still remember just how shocked I was when I heard what was happening at the École Polytechnique and how the attack targeted women.

[English]

    Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. It is a day of remembrance, but it is also a day of action.

[Translation]

    Let us take action to put an end to violence against women.

[English]

    Let us seek out women's groups in our communities and make donations of our time and money to support them.

[Translation]

    Let us take action to establish better gun control.

[English]

    We need to have stronger controls and ban handguns and assault weapons. That is what the survivors and families of Polytechnique victims have asked of us, through their group, PolySeSouvient.
    Let us join together as we remember the women from Polytechnique. Let us not forget what we need to do. We need to end violence against women. We need to introduce stronger gun control. Let us do this. It is the least we can do in their memory.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, we learned that 71,000 jobs were lost in Canada last month. Alberta and British Columbia lost 18,000 jobs, while Quebec lost 45,000. This is a serious economic crisis across the country.
    Why did the government make no mention of this in the throne speech?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we take job losses very seriously and we will always work to strengthen the middle class and help Canadians prosper in an uncertain world. That is exactly what we will continue to do.
    The plan that we proposed yesterday talks about strengthening the middle class and fighting climate change while creating new opportunities and new jobs for Canadians, protecting Canadians and keeping them healthy all across the country.
    That is exactly what we will continue to do. We will address the needs of all Canadians who are concerned, including those who have lost their jobs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, quite the contrary, the status quo is not working. His plan is leading to jobs leaving this country. In fact, under the Prime Minister, foreign investors are rushing for the exits. Foreign direct investment is down 56% on his watch and today's job losses are the worst since the 2008 financial crisis.
    Again, with all signs pointing to an economic downturn, why did the Prime Minister fail to mention any of that in his Speech from the Throne?
    Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne we recognized the challenges facing workers in our resource sector. With the lower prices on international commodities, there have been some very difficult times for workers, particularly in the Prairies. That is why, after many years of trying and failing by previous governments, we are moving forward on building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. There are shovels in the ground. There are thousands of Canadians newly hired to make sure that we can get our energy resources to new markets responsibly and sustainably.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is going to spend the next few weeks and months trying to blame everything else, except his failure, for the challenges facing this economy. Other countries are increasing their investments in natural resource development. In fact, the United States has gone from being a net consumer to a net exporter of energy, so there are clearly countries around the world that are getting it right. The Prime Minister is getting it wrong.
    The Montreal Economic Institute has stated that people are giving up on Canada as a safe place to invest in natural resources. It is seen as a very hostile environment now.
    Why has the Prime Minister continued with this failed approach?
    Mr. Speaker, the failed approach is choosing to do less to fight climate, choosing to do less to listen to indigenous communities and work with other communities to get things done. That approach of blaming foreign activists did not get pipelines built during the Conservatives' time in office.
    What we are doing is actually getting our resources to new markets with shovels in the ground right now. We also drew in the largest private sector investment in Canadian history with the $40-billion LNG Canada investment. We are going to keep working on bringing in investment to create good jobs for Canadians right across the country.

  (1125)  

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, deep cracks are showing in Confederation and the Prime Minister has divided this country like it has never been before. However, he has managed to unite provincial premiers around one thing: their opposition to his failed approach on Bill C-69. Will the Prime Minister listen to the voices of our premiers of all regions of this country and commit to overhauling his approach on Bill C-69?
    Mr. Speaker, as we move forward on Bill C-69, we adopted many of the proposals put forward by industry and by various parties to improve and amend that proposition. We are looking forward to working with all concerned partners on ensuring its proper implementation and making improvements if necessary.
    We recognize that the current approach of CEAA 2012 is not working. If we look at the Springbank dam in Calgary and the Lake Winnipeg outlet that are delayed under the previous process, Bill C-69 will help in moving forward concretely.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, recently the Liberal government voted for an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations. The Prime Minister's hand-picked ambassador to the UN even went so far as to brag that the vote showed Canada has found its voice by opposing the only democracy in the Middle East.
    Could the Prime Minister tell the House what his ambassador meant by that?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know we are a strong friend to Israel.
     We maintain our opposition to the singling out of Israel, unfairly, at the United Nations, and have voted against the vast majority of the Israel-related votes.
    Canada is committed to the goal of comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
    In keeping with Canada's long-standing position, it is important at this time to restate our commitment to a two-state solution, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

[Translation]

Intergovernmental Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Quebec and the premiers of Canada's provinces gathered at the Council of the Federation meeting on Monday. They unanimously called for a 5.2% increase in health transfers.
    As they pointed out, it is not the Canadian government that hires doctors, nurses and orderlies; rather, is the Government of Quebec that does that. However, just a few days later, the throne speech once again reflected the federal government's firmly established practice of interfering in Quebec's jurisdictions.
    Did the Prime Minister hear the premiers' unanimous call and will he heed that call?
    Mr. Speaker, we were very pleased to renegotiate the health transfer agreements with the provinces a few years ago. We signed an agreement with the provinces, including Quebec, to ensure a strong future for Canada's health care system.
    In the last election, we proposed an additional investment of $6 billion in health care priorities, priorities that the Quebec government shares with us. We will work with the provinces to ensure that all Canadians have access to a family doctor, to ensure pharmacare across the country and to provide supports for mental health.
    Mr. Speaker, should respecting provincial jurisdictions not be the first consideration when working with them?
    Similarly, on the environmental front, all the premiers, including Quebec's, asked that environmental assessments carried out by the provinces and by Quebec take precedence over those carried out by Ottawa, to ensure that the environmental protection measures are consistent and to implement measures requiring projects to respect the environmental priorities and issues of Quebec and the provinces.
    Will the Prime Minister refuse to listen in this case, too?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we have often heard about the concern that duplication of environmental assessments delays projects. That is why we introduced Bill C-69, which will help us improve our collaboration and ensure greater clarity for investors and more successful major projects. It will also ensure better partnerships on environmental matters and an understanding of the concerns of communities, including indigenous communities.

  (1130)  

[English]

Pharmacare

    Mr. Speaker, across Canada, people are making difficult choices every day about cutting their pills in half or going without the life-saving medication that they need.

[Translation]

    Canadians deserve leaders who have the courage to stand up to big pharma and to fight for a pharmacare plan that will improve people's lives.

[English]

    What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to keep his word and to deliver pharmacare that covers all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, no Canadian should have to choose between putting food on the table or paying for essential medications.
    That is why we have done more than any government in history to lower drug prices for Canadians. We recognize that now is the time to do more and to move forward toward national, universal pharmacare.
    However, we recognize, as the Leader of the Bloc Québécois brought up, that there is an issue of provincial jurisdiction. That is why we are going to sit down with the provinces and work with them as we move forward on ensuring that Canadians can afford the medications they need. That is the future of health care, and it is something we will do.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between saying the right things and actually doing them.

[Translation]

    The Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the government wilfully and recklessly discriminated against indigenous children.

[English]

    You are still taking these kids to court. What kind of Prime Minister does that?
    Mr. Speaker, we agree that indigenous children who suffered through past government policies need to be compensated, and that is exactly what we will do. Just as we did with respect to the situation of the sixties scoop, TB and relocations, we will be compensating those children, now adults, for the harms they suffered.
     We will be working with all parties and partners to ensure we are compensating them justly and adequately, as we have done in past situations.
    I want to remind hon. members to place their questions through the Chair. I know some of us have had experiences in some provincial legislatures where one can speak directly across. However, I want to remind everyone that they are to go through the Chair to place any questions or statements.
    The hon. member for Durham.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, my question is through you to the Prime Minister, and I would appreciate his answering on behalf of his government.
    Next week we mark one year since Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were imprisoned by the Chinese state in an act of retaliation against a lawful arrest of a Chinese citizen: 12 months, two ministers, two ambassadors, zero progress.
     What is the Prime Minister's plan to get our citizens home?
    Mr. Speaker, our absolute priority is the well-being and safety of the Canadians who are detained in China. The Prime Minister raised these cases with President Xi and President Trump at the G20, and more recently at the NATO summit. On November 23, my third day as the foreign minister of Canada, I raised these cases directly with my Chinese counterpart.
     We have rallied an unprecedented number of partners around the world in support of Canada's position and we will continue to raise these cases at every opportunity. We will always defend Canadians around the world.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is something else that the Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about during his trip to China. He told a Chinese media outlet that, and I quote, “In a world of uncertainty...China [stands] out as [a] beacon of stability, predictability, a rule-based system, a very inclusive society.”
    We know that two Canadians are currently being detained by the communist regime in China. The Chinese ambassador even dared to suggest that our parliamentary work could constitute a violation of Chinese internal affairs.
    Could the minister tell us whether the Chinese communist regime is still a source of inspiration for him?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Canadians know that Canada is the one country on the world stage that stands for stability and predictability, that values the rule of law and that embodies an inclusive society. That is what people around the world recognize.
    If my colleague misunderstood comments that I made in an interview many years ago, I want to remind him today that all Canadians know the answer to that question.
    Canada is an inspiration in the international arena.

  (1135)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, since 2006, Canada has stood on principle against the annual Israel-bashing at the UN. This year, the Liberal supported a hateful motion by North Korea, the PLO and others. Worse still, our ambassador bragged that Canada had “found its voice”. What exactly did the ambassador mean when he said that?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians know we are a strong friend of Israel. We have maintained our opposition against the unfair singling out of Israel at the UN and have voted against the vast majority of these Israel-related votes.
     Canada is committed to the goal of comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
     In keeping with Canada's long-standing position, which has been expressed by our government, it is important at this time to restate our commitment to a two-state solution. We will always stand for Israel.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not simply a matter of another Liberal foreign policy train wreck to be shrugged off. Canada has broken faith with the only democracy in the Middle East, given comfort to tyrants and hate-mongers, and betrayed the Canadian Jewish community after offering election campaign promises of solidarity, as when the member for Mount Royal earnestly offered that the Liberal record spoke for itself. Yes, it does.
     Is this faithlessness of Liberal Canadian foreign policy merely in reckless pursuit of tainted Security Council votes?
    Mr. Speaker, indeed our record speaks for itself. Canadians in the Jewish community who are watching know that we are a strong friend of Israel and that we stand up for Israel. We maintain—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I want to remind the hon. members to place their questions through the Chair and not directly across when it is not their turn to speak. I am having a hard time hearing the answer. I am sure we all want to hear the answer from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
     I will let him continue now.
    Mr. Speaker, I am afraid it is more of the same. If those members were listening, perhaps they would be able to appreciate what we are saying.
    We maintain our opposition to the singling out of Israel on failing at the UN. As those members know well, and as the world knows well, we have voted against the vast majority of the Israeli-related votes. We will stand with Israel, and Canadians know that.
    I want to remind hon. members on both sides of the House that respect is a two-way street. It has to go both ways. Blaming others for something that is not right when they are doing it themselves, does not go over well.
    The hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, a growing number of Canadians no longer believe the Prime Minister when he says that Canada is back.
    Every one of his international trips turns into a disaster, and the examples are endless. Just look at his trip to India and what a fiasco that was. His recent performance at the NATO summit is more evidence of his undiplomatic conduct.
    Will the Prime Minister finally get the message and stop embarrassing Canada on the world stage?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to assure my hon. colleagues and all Canadians that the Prime Minister is an excellent representative of our country abroad, especially when it comes to our essential relationship with the United States.
    I want to assure all Canadians that our current relationship with the United States is very constructive. The Prime Minister attended a very constructive bilateral meeting with the President of the United States. This morning I spoke with Ambassador Lighthizer about NAFTA, and I will be speaking to him again after question period.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not reassured. Canadians continue to lose confidence in the Prime Minister's ability to defend our interests abroad. His diplomatic disasters continue to mount.
     His trip to India was a failure. He angered our partners in the Asia-Pacific. Our ties with Saudi Arabia are frozen and our relationships with China are at an all-time low. Now his actions this week at NATO are further evidence of his undiplomatic behaviour.
     When will the Prime Minister stop embarrassing Canada and just stay home?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to assure hon. members in the House, but above all, all Canadians, that our Prime Minister is an excellent representative and, crucially, because this is something that Canadians care about because it affects their daily lives, that we have an excellent relationship with the United States, led by the excellent working relationship the Prime Minister has with President Trump.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, in the opening paragraphs of the throne speech, the government issued “a call for unity in the pursuit of common goals”.
    That is exactly what Quebec and the provinces did last week at the Council of the Federation. Every single one of the premiers called for a 5.2% increase in health transfers. Funding for the care of our loved ones is the priority for all constituents in every one of our ridings.
    Will the Prime Minister respect Quebec and the provinces' united front and increase health care transfers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House and respond to my hon. colleague's question. First I would like to thank the constituents of Thunder Bay—Superior North for sending me here to do this phenomenal job on their behalf.
    As the Prime Minister indicated, we have committed an additional $6 billion. We have made this commitment to ensure that every Canadian has access to health services in his or her province or territory which will meet the growing needs of our country and the changing needs of our country. Of course we will work closely with our provincial and territorial partners to make sure those services reflect the needs of the residents where they live.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees that health transfers must go up. The government says it wants everyone to have a family doctor. Well, give Quebec the money. The government wants better mental health care. Give us the means to provide it. We have the expertise.
    Quebec and the provinces are unanimous: they want more money for health care. Will the government give it to them?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are rightfully proud of their public health care system. It is something that we all know is the first point of pride for Canadians, whether they travel abroad or people visit Canada. Of course we are going to work incredibly hard with provinces and territories to protect this institution, to grow the institution, to meet the changing needs of Canadians all across the country and to make sure we work closely with provinces and territories to get it right. Canadians are expecting us to do that on their behalf.

[Translation]

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, during their last term, the Liberals did not do much about addressing Quebec's specific demands, such as the single tax return, the third link and the issues surrounding illegal immigration at the Quebec border, to name just a few.
     I have a very simple question for the Prime Minister today. Could he tell us clearly whether Quebec is getting a single tax return, like everywhere else in Canada? Yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the CRA employs over 6,000 people across Quebec and is a major economic driver in cities like Shawinigan and Jonquière. Unlike the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois, we have no intention of putting those jobs at risk.
    That being said, we are always open to working with Revenu Québec to make tax filing easier for Quebeckers. Though it comes as no surprise to me, the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois should be ashamed of proposing policies that could jeopardize the livelihoods of people in the regions.

  (1145)  

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that the request regarding tax returns was made by the Quebec National Assembly and by all political parties, without exception.
    Once again, we see that the Liberals do not want to respond to Quebec's specific requests. Again yesterday, in the throne speech, there was absolutely nothing regarding those requests. I will ask another question.
    Could the Prime Minister clearly tell us whether he will commit to supporting the third link project in the greater Quebec City area, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, today, as we mark the anniversary of the deaths of 14 women, I urge everyone in the House to put their words into action.
    Mobility issues are very important for the Quebec City region. That is why will we be investing $5.2 billion in Quebec's public transit infrastructure over the next 10 years. We know that the third link project is very important to the residents of Quebec City and the south shore and to their representatives. We will continue to closely monitor this file. We are still waiting for a proposal.

[English]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the B.C. forestry industry is in crisis. Thousands have been laid off and more job loss is expected before the holidays.
     The Speech from the Throne yesterday failed to mention that the Liberals will not even acknowledge a crisis exists. The government has failed to negotiate a softwood lumber agreement, and the Prime Minister's antics at NATO may have destroyed any opportunity to get a deal done.
    What is the Liberals' plan to get forestry workers in B.C. back to work?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the very important question. The forestry industry is an absolutely essential industry for Canada and one that all of us are deeply concerned about.
    We have been working hard with the forestry industry and with our provincial colleagues to support the forestry industry. When it comes to softwood lumber tariffs, we are taking cases at NAFTA and at the WTO.
     We have preserved chapter 19 at NAFTA that allows us to fight for Canadian industry, and we are prepared to talk to the Americans when they are ready to come to the table.

Natural Resources

    Right, Mr. Speaker. That is going well.
    The Prime Minister said that he heard western Canada and would “work hard to bring our country together”, but Canada is more divided than ever because of him. Still, he refuses to overhaul his anti-energy, anti-business bill, Bill C-69, which ignited the unity crisis. As recently as Monday, every single premier in this country wanted major changes to Bill C-69.
    If the Liberals are serious about dousing the fire they lit, when will they stop their attacks on Canadians resource workers and on provinces?
    Mr. Speaker, the Impact Assessment Act delivered on an important promise that we made in 2015 to fix a broken environmental assessment process that had been gutted by the Harper Conservatives in 2012.
    The new process will put in place better rules that will ensure that we address issues early in the process, such that good projects will move forward and be built in this country. It is an enormous step forward, both for the environment and for the economy.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say congratulations to you and all other members for being trusted by Canadians in their roles here in the House. I am honoured to be representing my territory, Nunavut.
    We know that climate change is a crisis. It threatens the lives and abilities of our hunters to provide for families and communities. We need to treat it just as it is, a crisis. In Nunavut we continue to fight for basic human rights: to have a safe place to live, to afford to feed ourselves and to have clean drinking water.
     The Prime Minister gives billions to oil and gas companies and has delayed climate action for 20 years. The target now is 2050. These companies are being put ahead of people, our people, our Canadians. When will the government work for people?

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, climate change is a crisis. Clearly, Canadians told us in the election that they want governments and all members of the House to address climate change on an urgent basis. There is no area in Canada that is more affected by climate change than the north. We must act. We must act now.
     We have said that we will work, and we look to other parties to work with us, to exceed the target that we established for 2030 and to move toward a net-zero economy in 2050. I look forward to working with my hon. colleagues to do just that.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the planet is warming. The verdict is clear. We are running out of room to manoeuvre. People in the North are already living with the effects of climate change. The ice season is getting shorter and our infrastructure is at risk.
    The throne speech does not even mention this. Ending oil subsidies would have been a start, but not buying any more pipelines is not even mentioned. In fact, I wonder what the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie thinks about this. Clearly, he is finally discovering just what the Liberal Party's legacy is.
    Why are the Liberals refusing to take action?
    Mr. Speaker, two out of three Canadians voted for serious action on climate change. This means that we must co-operate in order to discern the best ways of fighting climate change.
    We already have a credible and affordable plan that includes 50 measures developed by Canadians for Canadians. We know that we must do more. We want to work together with our colleagues in the House to do more to combat climate change.

Women and Gender Equality

    Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago today, a man committed the most horrific act of extreme violence against women in our history. Fourteen young women were shot to death at École Polytechnique in Montreal simply because they were women.

[English]

    Could the Minister for Women and Gender Equality tell this House what our government is doing to ensure a safer future for women and girls in Canada?

[Translation]

[English]

    Today the names of 14 women will echo in this chamber and across the country. Tonight Parliament Hill will be lit up with 14 rays of purple light, one representing each of the lives needlessly taken 30 years ago.
    Every day our government will work to further implement the gender-based violence efforts we have already begun. We will respond to the calls for justice from the MMIWG inquiry. We will work to prohibit the type of assault weapon that was used by the Polytechnique shooter. We will work to pay women fairly, and stand up against misogyny so that our daughters can reach their full potential.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, last month, 71,000 Canadians went home, looked their families in the eye and said, “I lost my job.” Half of all Canadians are $200 away from insolvency, and the rate of insolvency is up 13% in just one year, a decade-old record. Government taxes and regulations have driven investment out, jobs down and the cost of living up.
    When will the Liberals reverse course, get off the backs of Canadian workers and businesses and let our economy get back on track?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, we will continue on the course of investing in Canadians. We know that what we have done over the last four years in creating jobs has been important. We also need to recognize that as the economy goes through changes, we need to continue making those sorts of investments.
    The first action of our government will be to recognize some of the challenges that Canadians face by reducing taxes for middle-class Canadians and ensuring that people actually have more money in their pockets. I am looking forward to the member for Carleton voting for that, recognizing that Canadians do need more money and that tax reductions are in order.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister was patting himself on the back. He should have spoken directly to the 71,000 Canadians who lost their jobs. Insolvency rates are the highest we have seen in a decade. Rates have increased by 13%.
    When will the Minister of Finance get out of his dream world and face reality?
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we need to think about how to improve our economy and make things better for Canadians. That is our approach.
    We are investing in the future and in families, and it is important that we continue with our approach. We have had success in recent years, but we certainly face more challenges. This is why we will look at how to lower taxes to help families in the future.

  (1155)  

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was found guilty by the Ethics Commissioner of politically interfering in the criminal prosecution of his friends at SNC-Lavalin. He blocked an investigation into his own corruption at the justice committee and again at the ethics committee. Now the Prime Minister is continuing to block the RCMP by refusing to co-operate with its investigation.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and end his cover-up?
    Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of any prime minister to stand up for jobs across the country while upholding the rule of law. We have accepted the Ethics Commissioner's report, taking full responsibility. We have already begun to implement the recommendations made by former attorney general Anne McLellan.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am sorry, and maybe the Speaker is getting old and his hearing is going, but I am having a hard time hearing the government House leader. I would ask him to continue so that I may hear it.
    Mr. Speaker we want to ensure that, going forward, governments never face this type of situation again.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am back facing a minority government that is under close scrutiny.
    We on this side of the House are not the only ones keeping an eye on the Prime Minister. The RCMP is, too.
    The Prime Minister is blocking the RCMP from obtaining documents on his political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case.
    When will the government finally co-operate and let the RCMP have the documents?
    Canadians want the truth.
    Mr. Speaker, some things never change. My colleague says the government is under scrutiny. Well, all parliamentarians are under scrutiny by Canadians. On October 21, Canadians sent us a very clear message. They want us to work together and try to move forward together on matters of common interest. On that note, it is the responsibility of every prime minister to stand up for jobs across the country, while respecting the rule of law. We accepted the Ethics Commissioner's report and took responsibility. We have already started implementing the recommendations of former attorney general Anne McLellan.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, in yesterday's throne speech, the government reiterated its commitment to strengthening old age pensions. That is a good thing, something we advocated for during the last election campaign. However, there is something unclear that I would like the government to clarify right away.
    Does the government want to increase old age pensions for people 65 and older, or does it want to create two classes of seniors?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, given this is the first time I have had the chance to stand and speak in the 43rd Parliament, I want to thank the people of King—Vaughan for electing me again to represent them here in the House. I also want to thank the Prime Minister for giving me the opportunity to serve a very important demographic in our country, our seniors, as Minister of Seniors.
    I want to assure the member that our government has been working on behalf of seniors since the first day it was elected. As members are aware from our platform, we will be looking at increasing the OAS and at how we will do that. We committed to do that in our platform. We will be working forward on a 10% increase at age 75. That is what we promised in our platform.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there is a lot in the throne speech about seniors, but not all seniors. The Liberals' promise is for seniors 75 and older, not all seniors. Poverty does not wait until people hit 75. For too many seniors, it is a reality as soon as they retire.
    Will the government commit to increasing old age pensions for everyone 65 and older, or does it want to create two classes of seniors?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I did hear the question and I did answer the question.
     I want to make sure that I reiterate the work that we have been doing on behalf of seniors. Earlier in our mandate, we were focusing on more vulnerable seniors. We have restored the age of eligibility for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to 65, and that kept 100,000 seniors out of poverty.
    More recently, we supported low-income seniors who work by increasing their earnings exemption for the GIS from $3,500 to $5,000. We raised the guaranteed income supplement for single seniors, helping 900,000—

  (1200)  

    The hon. member for Foothills.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, agriculture was not even mentioned in the throne speech but why should we be surprised? The Prime Minister is responsible for Canadian farmers losing their most important canola market.
    Liberal failures are crippling Canadian farm families and it is only getting worse. Three million acres of canola are buried under snow, and because of the Liberal carbon tax the cost of drying grain is skyrocketing.
     When is the Prime Minister going to stand with farmers, stand up to China and regain market access for our canola?
    As we promised, Mr. Speaker, we are standing with our ranchers and farmers. This is very important. We are working with them through a working committee, with the provinces and with industry. We are doing different things to support them and to reopen the market in China.
    We have started conversations through the WTO. We are having technical discussions with Chinese officials. Ambassador Barton is working hard in the field, and we keep working with our industries here in Canada as well.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, our beef farmers are hurting in Ontario. Farmers are being left in the dark about the ongoing dispute between the CFIA and three specific beef processing plants in Ontario. The shutting down of these plants has caused many farmers to go into crisis.
    What immediate action is the minister going to take to help these farmers impacted by the closures?
    Mr. Speaker, we understand the resulting loss of processing capacity that the closing of Ryding-Regency has had on the beef sector and the impact this can have on farmers' income. I can assure the member that we are working with the industry to find other ways to support the industry. Food safety is obviously a top priority for our government and for CFIA. We have different programs ongoing and are supporting the industry.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has completely abandoned farmers.
    Farmers across the country have many reasons to be concerned: dairy, egg and poultry producers still have not received full compensation; inaction on China, which continues to ban imports of western canola; uncertainty in fuel transport, which led to a propane shortage and nearly caused a disaster in Ontario and Quebec.
    What does this government plan to do to stand up for our farmers?
    Mr. Speaker, the agricultural industry is extremely important to our government. We are working with every sector.
    Take supply management, for example. I would remind hon. members that we promised to give our dairy farmers $1.75 billion. The first cheques have already gone out to our farmers. The process is under way. I invite all farmers who have not completed their claims to do so as soon as possible in order to receive their money.
    On the issue of canola, talks with China are ongoing.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me express my gratitude to the residents of Bonavista—Burin—Trinity for re-electing me as their member of Parliament.
    The offshore industry provides many opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stay in the province and find good, well-paying jobs. It is an industry that builds our communities and has turned our province into a hub for the creation of new technologies and innovation.
    With recent news of an expected uptake in exploration activity, including multi-billion-dollar investments, can the Minister of Natural Resources please inform the House on his priorities for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry?

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's offshore industry has created economic benefits that reach families in communities right across the country through sustainable and responsible development. We do this through strong investments, regulatory stability and meaningful relationships with stakeholders. We are ensuring that Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore remains an attractive place to invest and create good jobs.

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, today Canadians pay the same amount for five gigabytes of data as an American pays for 12 gigabytes, and the difference is even more stark compared to what a European pays. It is not fair to Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet and it makes us uncompetitive.
    Over four years, the Liberals have always put Canada's big wireless companies first, as opposed to lowering costs for Canadians with innovative spectrum licence designs or other ways of getting low-cost wireless access for Canadians. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a very thoughtful question on an issue that we campaigned on. We were very clear that we are going to reduce cellphone bills by 25%, and this is above and beyond the actions we have taken to help consumers. We brought forward a policy directive that makes it very clear to CRTC to make affordability front and centre. We have also dealt with consumer-related issues when it comes to high-pressure sales tactics, which has led to a new wireless code of conduct, as well as an Internet code of conduct.
    We are going to remain committed to making sure that we use spectrum in a strategic way to help consumers.

Privacy

    Mr. Speaker, U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to open and review Canada Post mail going to Campobello Island. Campobello is Canadian territory but is only accessible year-round by driving an hour through the state of Maine. The ongoing mail search by U.S. officials is an invasion of our privacy rights. It also challenges Canada's sovereignty. It is unacceptable.
    What is the federal government doing to safeguard the privacy rights of Canadians living on Campobello?
    Mr. Speaker, this is something that the member brought to my attention yesterday. We will be looking at this matter and will have further things to say on it in the future.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government secretly slashed health care funding for our troops, leaving them vulnerable when they need help the most. Because of these Liberal cuts, in Ontario alone, hospitals are out of pocket by over $10 million and may start turning away military personnel seeking treatment.
    The defence minister owes our brave men and women in uniform a straight and simple answer. Will he restore full funding to military health care right across this country and reverse these callous cuts, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I assure this member and all members of this House that the health and well-being of our Canadian Armed Forces members is a top priority.
    Every member who is in need of medical services will get top priority and the full support that is required. We are in discussions with the province when it comes to how members are charged. We will work with the province. One thing we will make sure of is that for every single member, if there is a need for any type of health care service, it will be the top priority and top class.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the residents of Kitchener—Conestoga for allowing me the privilege of serving here in Ottawa.
    There are many students in my riding of Kitchener—Conestoga who are excited about the work of making post-secondary education more affordable. They re-elected us to keep working so that more Canadians could afford higher education.
    Could the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion share with the House what progress we have made?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that education is vital to succeeding in our workforce. We are investing in Canadians so they reach their full potential. We started by giving students more support through Canada student grants. We expanded the eligibility for student loans and grants. We introduced a six-month interest-free and payment-free grace period, and we lowered the interest rate on student loans.
     That is not all. In our platform, we committed to further increasing Canada student grants by $1,200 and extending the grace period to two years. This is how we are making sure that every Canadian has the opportunity to succeed.
    Mr. Speaker, the government talks about the importance of equal access to university and college, but it is only that, talk. Action is needed to ensure fair access to education based on a desire to learn, not on an ability to pay.
     While provinces are raising tuition fees and the government has happily written off billions in debt owed by big corporations, why is the government still gouging students and charging interest on federal government loans?

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we know what a burden student loans put on Canadian students as they enter the workforce, and we are taking steps to make sure that we lessen that burden.
    That is why we are committed to increasing the grace period for repayment to two years and increasing the amount of money an individual has to be making before they even start making these payments, from $25,000, which was an increase in our past mandate, to $35,000 this year.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

    Pursuant to section 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled “Economic and Fiscal Outlook November—2019".

Petitions

Human Organ Trafficking 

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you for taking on the role of Speaker, and I would like to thank my constituents for sending me here again.
    This petition is on Bill C-350 and Bill S-240 from the last Parliament. They dealt with the scourge of forced organ harvesting and trafficking. This petition is in support of legislation that would have made it a criminal offence for a Canadian to go abroad to receive an organ without consent and also dealt with the admissibility to Canada of foreign nationals involved in this abhorrent trade.
    There is no doubt the petitioners hope that this issue is taken up in the 43rd Parliament and that we are finally able to get legislation passed to address this terrible situation.

Violence Against Women  

    Mr. Speaker, this petition calls on the House of Commons to recognize that violence against women remains a critical problem in Canada and disproportionately impacts indigenous women, as reflected in the crisis of missing and murdered aboriginal women; that striving for pay equity and equal participation for women in leadership roles must be political priorities for all members of Parliament; and that shifting a cultural attitude toward women and gender minorities in our society requires structural changes to education and socialization.

Homelessness  

    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate you on your election as Speaker, and I thank the people of Courtenay—Alberni for sending me back here.
    I am presenting this petition on behalf of constituents from Port Alberni, Courtenay and Vancouver Island. They cite that there are an estimated 235,000 people in Canada experiencing homelessness in every riding of the country. They are calling on the government to follow through with its commitment to reduce homelessness.
    They state that the government's plan to reduce homelessness by 50% over 10 years falls short. That would still leave 117,500 Canadians homeless each year, and that is unacceptable. They call on the government to officially recognize that housing is a human right and to develop a plan to end and prevent homelessness in Canada once and for all.

  (1215)  

Veterans Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I too want to take my first opportunity to speak in the House to thank my constituents and all of the volunteers in my campaign.
    I rise to present a petition signed by a number of my constituents, as well as other individuals from many parts of Canada. They are concerned about veterans' access medical care for PTSD and about a change to the medical form that has made it more difficult for veterans to access this type of care. They call upon the government to either revert to the old form or amend the existing version of the form.

Child Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, on this first regular day of Parliament, I would like to thank the voters in New Westminster—Burnaby for returning me to this place to work on their behalf.
    To this end, I present several dozen names of constituents and representatives in cities like Chilliwack, Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford who have joined with activists from the Elizabeth Fry Society to call on the government to change the way it provides funding for children. As we know, we have not met the standards set by the United Nations to recognize the barriers within our current government services for direct payments to family systems. Therefore, funded services like the homelessness partnering initiative do not provide support to all children, particularly those living in irregular family situations where their parents are homeless or in prison.
    All of these constituents join their names with the thousands of people across the country who have already called on the government to regularize the system in Canada so that every child in this country can benefit from the funding system in place and the funding supports that exist for Canadian families.

Violence Against Women 

    Mr. Speaker, on this day when we remember the lives of women who were murdered in a heinous terrorist act of misogyny, I would like to bring a petition forward to oppose gender discrimination and violence against women.
    The petitioners want the House of Commons to recognize that violence against women remains a critical problem in Canada that disproportionately impacts indigenous women, as reflected in the crisis of missing and murdered aboriginal women; that striving for pay equity and equal participation of women in leadership roles must be a political priority for all members of Parliament; and that shifting cultural attitudes toward women and gender minorities in our society requires cultural changes to our processes of education and socialization.

Speech from the Throne

[The Address]

[English]

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply

    The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, it is extremely important that in the House we engage substantively in robust debates, which is why I am pleased to be responding to the Leader of the Opposition's speech in response to the throne speech.
    I have structured my speech to follow through the various points made by the Leader of the Opposition, highlighting a few omissions in the first part of the speech.
    I want to continue with many of the things Liberals are doing to improve affordability for Canadians and address the Leader of the Opposition's second point, which was about keeping Canadians safe.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

    Keeping Canadians safe is obviously a priority for any government. That is what we have been doing for the past four years and what we will continue to do.
    The Leader of the Opposition talked about China. We will continue to stand up to protect the interests of Canadians. Securing the return of the two Canadians detained in China is obviously top of mind. We are continuing our diplomatic and other efforts to keep the pressure up in order to bring those Canadians home safely.
    While continuing to defend human rights and express our concerns regarding the Uighur people and the citizens of Hong Kong, and we hope to see those disputes resolved and the two-system policy maintained, we will also be there to protect our farmers and our exporters, including our canola producers, whom the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle forgot to mention.
    Of course we will continue to defend the interests of our exporters while working to ensure continued access to Chinese markets.
    As for Russia, which the member also mentioned, we will continue to stand up for Ukraine and protect its sovereignty. We will also maintain our presence in Latvia, to help protect NATO's eastern flank.

[English]

    We have increased our defence expenditures over these past years. Indeed, our defence policy review, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, looks at increasing by 70% our investments in the men and women of the Canadian Forces, because we know that being strong abroad, being engaged in keeping peace and security around the world, is a way of keeping Canadians safe at home.
    When we talk about keeping Canadians safe in an uncertain world, we also talk about working in partnership with our most important trading partner, the United States. That we were able to renegotiate a new and improved NAFTA is extremely important for Canadians and also keeps Canadians safe.
    When we talk about keeping Canadians safe, particularly on the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, we also need to talk about what we are doing here at home to keep Canadians safe. That involves moving forward on fighting gender-based violence, including a strong response to the national public inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and it means moving forward on gun control. Strengthening gun control is what Canadians expect and need. We will be banning the type of assault weapons used in the École Polytechnique massacre 30 years ago. We will continue to move forward on strengthening gun legislation, including by giving cities the opportunities to work with their provinces to ban and restrict handguns even further. We know that keeping Canadians safe in their communities continues to be a priority for Canadians, and that is why, on this side of the House, we are resolutely determined to do just that.
    The third point that the Leader of the Opposition made was around jobs.

[Translation]

    We recognize how critical a good job is to economic security and also to the well-being of families and individuals across the country. For that reason we are proud to say that Canadians created more than one million jobs over the past four years. We recognize that we still have a lot of work to do, and we will continue to do it.
    Whether as a result of international trade or our actions, Canada is now the only G7 country that has a free trade agreement with all the other G7 countries. We will continue to create opportunities for our exporters, our workers and our entrepreneurs to succeed in this global market while ensuring that we make progress on trade within Canada.
    We have taken concrete action, and we will continue to work with the provinces and territories to better harmonize regulations and approaches to ensure better worker mobility and flow of goods and services throughout the country. It is important for Canadians and it is important for workers.

[English]

    When it comes to standing up for our workers, when the United States brought in punitive and unfair section 232 tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, we responded with countervailing measures that ended up lifting the steel and aluminum tariffs for Canadian workers entirely. That is standing up for workers right across the country.
    I am happy to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that part of standing up for workers means respecting trade unions and the labour movement in this country. We have been a solid partner to labour over these past years and we will continue to be. A very timely example is that we believed in the collective bargaining process and were able to see the CN Rail strike come to a rapid conclusion without having to take any of the measures that the members opposite suggested around legislating against workers in that situation. We know that working with labour unions is an essential part of moving forward.
    On top of that, we recognize that the workplace is changing and that new skills are always needed, which is why we are introducing the Canada training benefit, which will allow people to take courses to upgrade their skills. Whether they are in small businesses or larger industries, they will be able to take time, covered by EI and direct grants, to up their skills and be able to stay competitive in a transforming world. It is about reassuring people over the anxiety they feel about whether their jobs will carry them through to retirement. We have heard that people are worried about their path forward in a changing world, and these are concrete measures to help people out as we move forward into a world where there are going to be new types of jobs created, and new abilities, new responsibilities and new capacities will be needed to succeed.
    At the same time, we need to recognize that innovations in technology and advances in environmental protections will require new skills to be developed. That is why we are going to work with energy resource industries to ensure that people have those opportunities as we move forward.
    We recognize that people are looking for and expecting a lower-carbon economy, and we need to be there for workers in the energy industry, not just to support them but to have them able to support this movement toward a brighter future. We know the solutions that Alberta and Saskatchewan energy workers have put forward over the years in improving energy efficiency and technologies and in developing the kind of future we are living in now and need to keep moving toward will be essential. We look forward to partnering with workers right across the country as we build a better future, not just for workers and their families but for all Canadians and for the entire world.
    When the Leader of the Opposition unfortunately talked about the approach against climate activists and foreign activists, we recognized as well that the Conservative Party is choosing to double down on an approach that failed to get resources to new markets under previous governments. We cannot build pipelines without recognizing environmental responsibilities, recognizing the partnerships necessary with indigenous peoples and recognizing the very real concerns of communities across the country about how we are moving forward. That is why we have put in place measures that are allowing us to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built. As we speak right now, there are shovels in the ground and thousands of workers being hired to work on the Trans Mountain expansion to get resources to new markets.
    The failed approach of blaming climate activists for not getting pipelines built does not work. The Conservatives have been hurting the west by insisting on that kind of fearmongering instead of working together to build the projects that will get us to markets other than the United States. We will continue to work in responsible ways to make sure that Canadian workers have all the opportunities they need to succeed.
    That brings us to the fourth point that the Leader of the Opposition brought up, which is the impact of climate change and the protection of the environment. Right now, across the country, we are feeling the impacts and the costs of climate change, whether they be forest fires, floods, changing temperatures or infestations of our forestry areas. We know we are going to be facing more extreme weather events. We need to both support Canadians and prevent further climate change and extreme weather events. That will happen by having a responsible plan to fight climate change.

  (1230)  

[Translation]

     We have that plan.
    We need an ambitious climate plan, and that is exactly what 60% of Canadians asked for. Furthermore, 60% of Canadians asked us to find responsible ways to get our resources to new markets. We listened. Everyone in the House must listen to Canadians and take meaningful climate action.
    We put a price on pollution across the country, and we made sure that middle-class Canadians see positive changes in terms of affordability and cost of living. We must continue to help families transition to a cleaner and greener world.
     We also recognize that nature-based solutions are essential to fighting climate change. That is why we committed to plant two billion trees over the next 10 years and to protect 25% of our lands and oceans by 2025. It is because nature also has an important role to play in the fight against climate change.
    Furthermore, we know that investments in the green industry, zero-emission vehicles and new technologies are essential. That is why we are making Canada a global centre for innovation in zero-emission technologies by proposing tax cuts for businesses that innovate in this area. We are therefore very pleased to be able to work with the various parties in the House on an ambitious plan that will both protect the environment and create economic growth.
    Finally, the Leader of the Opposition spoke about the importance of Canadian unity. Obviously, I could not agree more with that concern. That is why we are working with the provincial premiers, the various parties and all parliamentarians in the House to respond to people's very real concerns about their future, their economic situation, their children, their grandchildren and their communities.
    It will be very important to tone down the political debate surrounding those issues.

[English]

    People are suffering. People are hurting. People are worried about their future and their family's future in various regions across the country. We need to work to allay those fears. We need to do things like point out that the Trans Mountain pipeline is being built as we speak, which many people in the Prairies still do not know about. We need to move forward on getting those resources to new markets and talk about the investments we are making.
    We need to talk about the fact that the price on pollution will actually leave families in Alberta, Saskatchewan and elsewhere across the country better off than before we put the price on pollution. That is hundreds of dollars more per year for average families in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
     We know there is much more to do to listen to people's concerns and work with them on reassuring them that this place works hard for them. Anyone who is worried that minority governments are not places where things get done concretely for Canadians need only to look at the history of what minority governments have been able to deliver for Canadians. Universal health care, official bilingualism, the Canada pension plan and the legalization of same-sex marriage all happened in minority parliaments. Therefore, there is no reason for us in this place to not be extraordinarily ambitious in our desire to serve Canadians.

[Translation]

     Let me end with this: it is important for us to work together and to treat each other with respect. Various parties will come up with good ideas. In the last election, Canadians asked us to work together to serve them, and we can do that. That is exactly what we on this side of the House intend to do. I think that participating in debates, listening to speeches by members opposite and addressing their concerns directly will put us on the path to doing exactly what Canadians asked us to do.
    I am very eager to work with all MPs as we build a better future for Canadians, a future in which they will be more prosperous, safer, and more confident about what lies ahead in this magnificent country.

  (1235)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for his remarks. I have a comment and a very important question based on them.
    The Prime Minister seems to believe, with respect to the steel and aluminum tariffs, that his decision to impose retaliatory tariffs against the United States somehow led to their removal. That is a fiction. What is interesting is that, if he felt there was unfair trade action against Canada from a trade partner, a friend like the United States, and he imposes retaliatory tariffs against them, then why no action against China on canola, pork and beef? Not only has there been no retaliatory response, the government refused to even bring a WTO trade challenge with respect to these unfair practices. He seems to be tougher with our neighbour and friend than he is with China, which is detaining our citizens.
    The steel and aluminum tariffs were actually removed when the Conservatives went to Washington and spoke before a committee of 100 members of Congress. In one meeting we had more members of Congress listening to the Canadian position than the minister did in a year. We made an agreement that we would support NAFTA modernization in Canadian Parliament if they removed the tariffs. They did, and we supported the bill in the last Parliament.
     The agreement appears to be changing on labour and we are now hearing about changes on pharmaceuticals. If there are substantive changes to the USMCA, will the Prime Minister commit today to bring it back to the House for full debate? The deal has changed. I would note that it may change more after the Prime Minister's trip to NATO where he was caught mocking the person we are negotiating with.
     Will the Prime Minister acknowledge his mistake in London, and will he commit today to bringing NAFTA and any changes to that agreement back to this minority Parliament so that we can work together in the best interests of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I think it is extremely important to highlight that the work we did on protecting steel and aluminum workers across this country was an all-of-Canada effort, absolutely, but it was the leadership of people like the member of Parliament for University—Rosedale who actually worked the hardest to ensure that the countervailing measures that we brought in on the steel and aluminum tariffs had the political impact of moving forward with the full and complete lifting of those tariffs with no extra conditions or punishments for Canadian workers. That was something this government was pleased to be able to achieve, and we do not need to engage in revisionist history on that particular approach.
    I would also correct the member opposite that, in fact, we have launched a WTO challenge against China's actions on canola. We are very concerned about standing up for our workers, and we will continue to do exactly that. I would also highlight to him that we were able to get the measures against Canadian beef and pork lifted from China, because we know how important it is to stand up for our exporters. It would be great for the member opposite to actually get his facts straight before he asks a question like that.
    On the issue of NAFTA, I am pleased to say that we continue to make solid progress on it, and the changes being proposed that the Democrats are asking for in order to secure support for ratification are actually very much aligned with the negotiating positions that Canada had originally asked for in the renegotiation of this NAFTA deal. Of course, as the member well knows, the process of ratification requires a vote here in this House. We look forward to the Conservatives' support as we move forward to protect workers right across this country in regard to our most important relationship with the United States.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the member for Joliette also went to Washington. It would be a little naive to think that individual action alone can produce results. Sometimes actions outside of Canada can transcend party lines. Unfortunately, things are little more complicated when it comes to blunders and human rights cases.
    We have already talked about this. Every time the Prime Minister mentions human rights, the word “Catalonia” comes to mind. Just recently, he once again boasted about being a great friend to that country, a country that has imprisoned people, elected officials, for the simple crime of organizing a referendum, a country whose legitimately elected president has been forced into exile. That is a human rights issue.
    I want to come back to the last topic the Prime Minister touched on, climate change. Indeed, in the Speech from the Throne there are a number of statements of intent that by all accounts can only be well received. There is a willingness to take action that just might reduce the environmental footprint of Canada's terrible greenhouse gas emissions. I agree that it is a concern shared by all Quebeckers, all Canadians and, I would add, all first nations. However, words are not enough. Science has an important role to play in all this.
    I am not one of those people who is going to pretend to want to bring down the government by voting nay. Nobody wants that and it might be a convenient way to deflect attention from certain internal issues in certain parties. I think we should work together with what we have. There is no way around that.
    The throne speech contains some good measures. I want to highlight the measure aimed at making it easier to get a zero-emissions vehicle. We can easily agree on that. There are some proposals. Quebec is home to the only two manufacturing plants making fully electric buses. They could help us replace our school bus fleets, since school buses are particularly well suited to electrification.
    Unfortunately, the actual effect of these measures is completely cancelled out by Canada's steadily increasing greenhouse gas emissions, especially from oil and gas activities, sadly. This is a challenge for science. Canada hopes to achieve zero emissions by 2050 by planting trees. However, we know full well, and the science is very clear on this, that all of the promised new trees will not cover so much as a decent fraction of Canada's current greenhouse gas emissions, which seem to be on the rise.
    Does the Prime Minister believe that the plans announced in the throne speech can outweigh all of our knowledge and science, which tell us that what is going on right now in Canada's oil and gas sector cannot be offset by the proposed measures?

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Bloc Québécois leader for his question and for his reasonable approach to asking questions. He is thinking about how we can best serve all Canadians, which is our responsibility.
    I want to point out that Catalonia is a Spanish domestic matter. We will always stand up for human rights around the world. We hope that a solution can be reached through dialogue, in compliance with the principles of the rule of law and the Spanish constitution.
    As for climate change, we agree that we must be very ambitious with our climate plan. We must make sure that Canadians have confidence in their future and their grandchildren's future. They must have confidence in the air that they breathe and the world that they live in. They must also have confidence in the jobs that their grandchildren will have and in a better future for the generations to come.
    That is why we included in our pan-Canadian climate plan an absolute cap on oil sands greenhouse gas emissions. We are convinced that, with this absolute cap, we will reach our 2030 targets. In fact, we will exceed these targets, as we will indicate next year when we increase them.
    We will continue to work together in the House, with experts, indigenous peoples and all Canadians to ensure a better future where we will fight climate change with creative ideas from all sides. We will ensure prosperity for everyone across the country.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, by its very nature, the throne speech is a statement of principle. It contains ideas that may seem, perhaps intentionally, vague, hazy and ill-defined.
     Yesterday's speech, delivered by the British monarch's representative at the Prime Minister's behest, is nonetheless very revealing. A highly detailed, specific speech full of clear, costed commitments with concrete timelines could mask its true intentions.
    In contrast, if a speech is too vague, it cannot really hide just how devoid of meaning it is.
    There is clearly not much there. There certainly isn't anything clear.
    Yesterday I talked to the media about issues facing seniors and farmers as well as what Quebec and the provinces want. Today I will start with the most glaring omission in the speech.
    I believe I speak for many Quebeckers and artists from Quebec in pointing out that there was not a single word about the arts, culture and the unprecedented crisis Quebec media are going through.
    Not so long ago, the Bloc Québécois was the only party, like France, that was calling for a 3% tax to be imposed on the income of web giants. Then, one by one, every Canadian party began to adopt our position. While just a few months ago, the Liberals and the Conservatives saw this tax as a tax against the middle class, now the Liberals and even the Conservatives are more open to it.
    First, I would like to point out that this alone is proof of the Bloc Québécois's relevance. Of course, we have served Quebec's artists and media, but we are also pleased to have been useful to Canada's artists and media.
    This benefits everyone. The tax that web giants, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, would pay is not actually a tax. It is a royalty, which is an amount that must be paid by anyone who is using a product that does not belong to them for commercial purposes. Given the vulnerability of creators whose content is commercialized and pirated for advertising revenue, it is the government's duty to set the terms of what is, in effect, a licensing agreement.
    However, the Bloc has added two criteria to this. First, any money collected in this way must be reserved for the arts, entertainment and the media. Then, 40% of it must be reserved for francophone media, entertainment and artistic creation, as is done in the music industry.
    We will not budge on these criteria. The absence of culture in the Speech from the Throne sadly speaks volumes, as does the absence of language. The fact that so many Franco-Canadians and Acadians are turning to the Bloc Québécois to have their voices heard in their language in Parliament should have tipped off the government. They are right to turn to the Bloc. We will support all of our North American francophone brothers and sisters whatever the future may bring, including the creation of the country of Quebec.
    As far as culture is concerned, many people lamented the fact that the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie is not being called to work on making Canada a nation that is a bit, even just a little bit, greener.

  (1250)  

    Personally, as someone who worked for over 20 years in the world of arts, entertainment and news, I do not blame him. I do not blame him for not being able to work “Canadian Heritage” into the throne speech. Of course, for us, it would be “Quebec Heritage” rather than “Canadian Heritage”.
    That being said, I sincerely invite the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie to collaborate with me so we can properly advocate, together if necessary, for the issues facing Quebec's creators, artisans and media. However, he will have to forgive me if, in conversation, I hark back to the days when he used to climb towers to raise awareness of threats to the environment.
    There is another aspect of this speech that is worth mentioning. No one could fail to notice that the speech referred to the regions of Canada. It referred not to the provinces, territories or Quebec, but to the regions.
    Let us make one thing clear: Quebec is not a region of Canada. Quebec is the territory that the Quebec nation shares with several first nations. Today's Canada is composed of provinces, territories and Quebec.
    The regions that the throne speech seems to create are the provinces, territories and Quebec. Each one is perfectly real and has its own legislature and government. It is the jurisdictions of these provinces, territories and Quebec that this speech, like all speeches written by the Liberal Party of Canada, tends to encroach on.
    Canada does not hire doctors, nurses and orderlies. It is Quebec that hires doctors, nurses and orderlies. Quebec and the provinces called for a 5.2% increase in health transfers on Monday. The throne speech once again exhibited the Liberal Party's habit, which it shares with the NDP, of interfering in areas of provincial jurisdiction in a centralist Canada. Ottawa has ignored the unanimous call of the Council of the Federation. The Bloc will not allow such interference and will protect Quebec's jurisdictions. If this also helps the provinces, that is good.
    With a similarly united voice, Quebec and the provinces also called for environmental assessments done by Quebec and the provinces to take precedence over federal assessments. That is interesting because the Bloc Québécois introduced a bill on that very topic at the end of the last Parliament. Unsurprisingly, that bill was defeated. Of course we will introduce another bill in this session, as we promised to do. In doing so, the Bloc Québécois is voicing in this place the will of not only the National Assembly of Quebec but also of the provinces. Ottawa ignored the unanimous call of the Council of the Federation on this issue, as well.
    I want to make something else perfectly clear: The Bloc Québécois was given a unique mandate.
    Many Quebeckers do not identify with any federalist political party. They are not all sovereignists, but they are nationalists. They have left behind the years when they were made to feel guilty about their language, their values and, generally speaking, their differences, years during which Canada sought to erode, and even drown, a proud and legitimate nation within its own system of multiculturalism. Many of these people voted for us and told us so outright because that is the urgent need of the Quebec nation, because that is the current configuration of the National Assembly of Quebec, and because Quebec needs a voice all to itself, a voice of its own.
    The Bloc Québécois accepted this mandate. We will not prevent Parliament from doing its job to prove that it does not work. We will not attempt to make Canada more dysfunctional than it already is to prove that it is. Even in an entirely functional Canada, the fact remains that a nation is better represented and served when it can exercise all of the elements of its sovereignty.

  (1255)  

    Let me be perfectly clear: although it may not be our focus this Parliament, Quebeckers know that the Bloc Québécois is a separatist party. It certainly feels good to say that out loud.
     I want to get back to those three topics. The government wants to make life better for seniors, and so do we. We campaigned on this topic. We proposed that seniors should get an additional $110 a month. We believe that this extra money is necessary not only to increase the buying power of those who built the prosperous society we now live in, but also to support Quebec's regional economies and populations.
    Unlike what is in the throne speech, our position on this is clear, as are many other of our positions to help seniors and retirees. We will repeat it again and again, and we will continue to explain that if the government does not satisfy this legitimate request for our seniors, they will take note and this government will soon be judged again.
    Supply management is another file that has progressed. The Bloc Québécois cannot take full credit, of course, but it is clear that this file, just like the web giants file, would not have progressed as much without the Bloc. There is still work to be done, however.
    Paying compensation for the first year is the right decision. Producers want confirmation that the conditions will be the same for the entire eight-year payment period. Producers want to know what the compensation will be in the wake of the free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico negotiated on bended knee by this government. Processors also want to know what is being done for them.
    The Bloc Québécois also called for an initiative that is important to supply-managed producers. We want legislation to be introduced to ensure that supply management is never again used as a bargaining chip, like it was this time around to support Ontario's auto industry and the Canadian economy, to the detriment of Quebec's economy. We will introduce that legislation.
    Let us now talk about oil. The word oil does not appear in the Speech from the Throne.

[English]

    For those who want know what I will be talking about, it is oil.

[Translation]

    Science is very stubborn. Human activity is causing greenhouse gas emissions that continue to grow. The climate is warming. The economic and human costs are astronomical. This is only the beginning.
    Canada is one of the worst performers in the world in that respect. There is no measure to fight climate change that will offset Canada's eagerness to increase the production, export and consumption of oil and gas for purely commercial reasons.
    Science is very stubborn. We are not indifferent to the plight of western Canadians. As world citizens, we believe that we need a plan, not for reducing, mitigating or offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, but for moving away from this economic model. It will have to be done carefully, gradually, wisely and without pushing anyone into poverty, but we need to move away from a carbon-based economy within the next few decades.
    We will support any initiative that will help carbon-dependent economies transition toward an economic model that is compatible with the environmental issues the planet is facing.
    I want to address the rude or offensive messages I am receiving from certain parts of Canada. The example comes from the top, but I want to take this opportunity to speak to the people of western Canada.

[English]

    I want to say for the people of Alberta and Saskatchewan mostly that the Bloc Québécois, and for that matter something like the whole of Quebec, offers to collaborate on a necessary transition toward an economy that will, in due course, not depend anymore on carbon, on oil or on gas.

  (1300)  

    Investing in such a transition with an open mind and compassion is an extended hand from us. However, we do not want to be part of any further contribution to any further climatic impact of an economic model of the past.

[Translation]

    The throne speech that was read to us reveals a lot more by what it does not say than by what it does. There is nothing in the throne speech about culture, language or media. There is nothing about the fight against tax havens or about a solution to the problem that has been plaguing the families of public servants, who are still waiting to get their fair take-home pay. Contrary to what its name would suggest, the Phoenix pay system is a failure that is unable to rise from its own ashes.
    While the speech does mention human rights, it fails to address the repression of Catalonia's democracy. I want to take a moment to quickly mention that, by nature, the right to self-determination cannot be subject to a constitution written by the majority or the conqueror with the goal of abolishing that same right. That does not make any sense. Even Canada did not do that.
    However, the Prime Minister of Canada boasts about his friendship with Mr. Sanchez and extols the virtues of the Spanish regime, virtues that I have my doubts about. It is embarrassing. Instead, the Prime Minister should be ensuring that the President of Catalonia in exile, Carles Puigdemont, is able to travel freely to Quebec and Canada to meet with people, institutions and the media. I have had inspiring conversations with Mr. Puigdemont, and I can assure the House that he is a very peaceful, caring man who loves arts, culture and diversity.
    The word “oil” does not appear in the Speech from the Throne, but the debate over oil is a profoundly divisive one in Canada, pitting those who see no solution but oil against those who insist on the urgency of ending oil dependency. Obviously, the only way forward involves collaboration and alternative technology.
    I get that the Prime Minister wanted to please everyone at least a little. I understand why, as the head of a minority government, his approach was to offer vague promises and keep mum on some issues altogether.
    The Bloc, in contrast, has such a clear agenda that people have often asked us why we were so specific when we obviously never intended to be the governing party. We did it because Quebeckers, Canadians and the elected members of the House know our values and our ideas. There will be no surprises. This is who we are. That is why 32 Quebec ridings elected us to bring these ideas forward.
    We believe in healthy, courteous dialogue, so today we are committing to the kind of well-intentioned collaboration that will characterize our relationship the day it undergoes a profound transformation, the kind of collaboration that will characterize our relationship once we are two equal, friendly, sovereign nations.
    I therefore move the following:
    That the amendment be amended by deleting all the words after the words “national unity crisis, which requires” and substituting the following:
“respecting provincial jurisdiction, in particular by not authorizing any project that does not comply with provincial and Quebec laws relating to environmental protection and land use planning;
(d) underfunding of the health care system, which requires an increase in transfers;
(e) an unprecedented crisis facing media and creators, who must be supported through the imposition of royalties on web giants; and
(f) loopholes in the supply management system that must be protected by legislation”.
    The questions were a little long after the last speech. This is problematic, because I want all the parties to have a chance to ask a question. I would therefore ask members to ask shorter questions. Ideally, members have a minute and a half to speak. I hope I will not be forced to cut members off in the middle of their question.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, this being my first time speaking in the House in the 43rd Parliament, I want to thank my constituents in Saint-Laurent for trusting me to represent them in the House for a second term.

[English]

    I thank all my constituents in Saint-Laurent, all the volunteers who helped with my campaign and all the donors who made this possible.

[Translation]

    Canada and Quebec both know that fighting against climate change is very important. Quebeckers know this better than anyone. This issue is the government's priority.
    I would like to ask the leader of the Bloc Québécois and his party whether we will be able to count on their support when we put environmental policies in place.
    Mr. Speaker, I am overjoyed to answer yes.
    I will even go further. When measures are proposed that could potentially have a real impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, we will be there. We have even proposed some ourselves, including a bold law that would require Canada to meet its own targets, which amount to nothing more than a slogan right now.
    We will go further. We will also tell Canada to stop being inconsistent and stop being a petro-state that emits far more than its share of greenhouse gases while it tries to hide that fact behind a facade of climate action. If they do not mind, we will keep the facade and make a smart, gradual move away from oil.
    Mr. Speaker, I was told that the Bloc Québécois was a sovereignist party. That is why, for 15 long years, I was so surprised to hear the demands of the Bloc Québécois in this place. It calls for federal programs to help the media, federal programs for culture and more generous federal equalization programs. Now it is also demanding broader environmental programs, which are still federal programs. Those programs give the federal government the authority to get involved in the environmental decisions of the provinces, even outside Quebec.
     I find it very interesting that this party is called the Bloc Québécois. It should be called the “Centralist Bloc”, because day after day it keeps calling for an increasingly large and costly federal government.
    Will the leader of the Bloc Québécois therefore accept the new title that I am proposing, namely leader of the “Centralist Bloc”?

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would gladly agree to that if the Conservative Party would agree that, from now, we will say that there are two conservative parties, many conservative parties, fragments of conservative parties. However, as I just explained, the Bloc Québécois is a separatist party. If we are that annoying, then people need to stop lying to everyone and let us leave. It is quite simple.
    Obviously, there is some propaganda going on here since that is part of politics, but if we are such a heavy and disagreeable burden with the bad habits of speaking French and not wanting public servants in positions of authority to wear religious symbols, then we can come to some other sort of agreement. Canada can sit on one side of the table and Quebec on the other, and, as two sovereign nations, we can come to an agreement that would likely be more productive than the current situation.
    However, in the meantime, last time I checked my pay stub, I was still paying taxes in Canada so, as long as Quebeckers are paying taxes in Canada, Quebec will claim, require and occupy more and more seats on this side and maybe a few more on the other side too, if no one minds.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Beloeil—Chambly on being elected, on his first questions here today and on his speech.
    Throughout the entire campaign, the Bloc Québécois presented itself as the greatest defender of Quebec's interests. That practically became their trademark. Sometimes they even made it seem they had a monopoly on defending Quebec's interests.
    When the Liberal government brought down its throne speech yesterday, the Leader of the Bloc Québécois rushed to the mic to say that he would support the throne speech delivered by the Liberal Party of Canada. That is a mystery. I thought it must have included some amazing gains for Quebec. There must have been something in there in the best interests of Quebeckers that we simply missed.
    Compensation for supply-managed producers was announced before. As for the suggestion that oil was not mentioned in the throne speech, I just want to say that when the Liberals talk about diversifying export markets for natural resources, they mean the Trans Mountain pipeline.
    Still, there was no mention in the throne speech about setting higher greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030, nothing for the aerospace industry or the Davie shipyard, no employment insurance reform, nothing about taxing web giants, nothing about the crisis plaguing local and regional media, no pledge to tackle tax havens and no response to any of the Quebec government's demands.
    That brings me to a very simple question: How can the leader of the Bloc Québécois vote in favour of a throne speech that does not even include the word Quebec?
     Mr. Speaker, I would say that we are essentially doing the NDP a favour. However, I thank the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie for reiterating the essence of my speech. Not too long ago, the NDP had a virtual monopoly on the interests of Quebec. There is not much left.
    It would be intellectually dishonest to claim that everyone who is not on the other side would want to get back in election mode tomorrow morning. No one would benefit if we failed to fulfill the mandate given to us by Canadians and Quebeckers. This means that we must try to work together.
    This will, of course, be difficult in some instances. I do not believe that we will agree with the Conservatives tomorrow morning, but we do have a duty. I would even say that in some respects we are not too far off from the NDP, aside from the party's centralizing tendencies. We are able to work with everyone.
    I also see a lot of common ground with the Green Party agenda. We are able to work together and that is what Quebeckers have asked us to do, without abandoning Quebec's demands. I am not sure where the hon. member was, but I talked about those demands in every one of my speeches. We will keep raising the demands and the consensus of Quebec's National Assembly with the federal Parliament because until further notice, some topics that affect Quebec fall under federal jurisdiction.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government party, I sincerely welcome our colleagues from the Bloc Québécois and of course their leader. We thank him for his support for the government's agenda and his vote in favour of the Speech from the Throne. We appreciate his reaching out to the government and the Liberal Party in a spirit of collaboration.
    Today is not the day to engage in partisanship. There will be enough time for that. We simply want to welcome him and say to him that on election night it turned out that Quebec chose us both.
    Mr. Speaker, here is our modus operandi: preaching by example, even though I have not always been perfect, and demonstrating that Parliament really can be a collaborative space. It is the same kind of collaboration, the same kind of attitude we will adopt the day we agree to sit across the table from each other to talk about our needs, our hopes and our demands so that, as friends, we can define the things it can be hard to define when we have to share a room and one of us snores.
    There will be an agreement one day, and when that day comes, we will continue to be extraordinary partners and collaborators.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Liberal government touched on a number of important areas in the throne speech, but they just touched on them. They touched on the climate crisis, but they did not include any new targets. They did not include any new commitments to boldly tackle the crisis that we are in.

[Translation]

    They said it is a crisis, but they did not come up with any bold measures to tackle it.

[English]

    The Liberals did not mention in the throne speech something that in the past they promised to do, which is to fully end all fossil fuel subsidies. There is no path to achieving something that they committed to. The Liberals touched on the climate crisis, but they did not deliver on any sort of vision to achieving meaningful action to tackle it.
     We want to fight the climate crisis like we want to win it. For the kids we met who were fighting in the streets in the climate actions that took place across Canada, where thousands and thousands of people said they need and they demand more action, the government has not delivered.
    The Liberals touched on health. They touched on pharmacare, a very important issue, but they just touched on it. In fact, the way the throne speech rolled out, the government mentioned national pharmacare, a step back from what it proposed during the campaign, which was universal pharmacare. To be clear, I do not expect a 15-point plan in the throne speech, but I do expect that the government would, at a minimum, accept its own report commissioned by the government and written by Dr. Hoskins, which states that the way to move forward that will help out all Canadians is a universal, single-payer pharmacare for all. This means that no matter where they live in this country, there should be no barrier for those who need medication.

  (1320)  

[Translation]

    People in this country need medication. We need a system that enables everyone to access medication.

[English]

    What we are proposing is this. If people need medicine, no matter where they live in this country, they should use their health card, not their credit card. This is something we can achieve. We are the only country in the world that has a universal health care system that does not include access to medications.
     We know that by doing this we can address some of the concerns raised by premiers. By having access to a universal medication program, everyone could get the medication they need and we would save money for the federal government and for the provinces. It would also save money for businesses. It would make Canada more competitive and it would help out millions of Canadians, some of whom have coverage but, because the deductibles are so high, they effectively do not have coverage. For the millions of Canadians who do not have coverage at all, this would mean such a difference in their lives.
     While campaigning, I met many people who talked about those stories. They told me they spend thousands of dollars on medication each month, which means tens of thousands of dollars a year. I met people who said they cannot afford medication. Therefore, they gamble with their lives every day because they cannot afford the heart medication that they need. We know what happens when people cannot treat an illness. They get more and more sick and end up in the hospital, putting further strain on our health care system. We could avoid all this with a universal health care system that includes medication coverage.
    The Liberal government touched on student debt. This is a very important issue, but the Liberals just touched on it. The government is profiting from student debt. There is a question of choices. The Liberal government chose, last year, to waive billions of dollars, as much as $7 billion, in corporate debt. It waived that entirely. However, on the backs of students, over four years, the Liberals made $3 billion in interest. While the Liberals talked about student debt, a simple step they could have taken is to say that they would do what is right and waive the interest on student debt.

[Translation]

    The time for talk is past. Now it is time to take concrete action.
    I agree that the government is addressing important issues, but it is not doing enough. We need concrete action now to help people tackle the climate crisis and to help students pay back their loans.

[English]

    The Liberal government touched on cellphone and Internet services and said that it would take steps to make them more affordable, something I support and is encouraging. Its attempt to do that is basically to have a conversation with the cellphone companies. However, having a conversation is not going to lower the cost of cellphone services.
    Just to put a point on this, in Canada we pay some of the highest cellphone and Internet fees in the world, and it is not a coincidence. Governments have allowed the telecommunication companies to do so. The New Democrats proposed a solution that did not make its way into the throne speech, a very clear solution, fully within the federal government's mandate. We have the power to do this. In fact, other jurisdictions around the world have done the very same thing, with great success, by putting a price gap in place. If our price is so high, let us put a price gap in place like the United States and Australia have done. The result is that it drives down the cost of cellphone services.
    To highlight how important this is, we know in this modern age, access to Internet and cellphone services is not a luxury; it is a necessity. People need it for work. People need it for their education. People need the Internet to access services for their families. The cost of cellphone and Internet services is impeding people in their day-to-day lives. It is hurting families that need it for work, for education and for accessing services and the government has the opportunity and the power to do something about it.
    However, in the throne speech, I was not expecting a 20-point plan, but I was expecting the government to say that it understood something needed to be done. Canada is paying the highest rates in the world and there is no excuse that makes sense. We are a large country; so is Australia. We have remote communities; so does Finland. Both places have far cheaper prices for cellphone and Internet services because the government did what we expect government to do. When an industry takes advantage of people, then government has to stand up and defend them.
    Canadians are seeing the Liberals defend the profits of the powerful industries instead of helping people and families that actually need their assistance. That is why their priorities are wrong.
    There are some things that the government went beyond just touching on. It did include some more details on justice for indigenous people. I acknowledge the government touched on truth and reconciliation, which is incredibly important, and we have to implement the recommendations. The New Democrats are committed to doing that and we are going to ensure the government actually does it.
    We have seen for far too long that the Liberal government is great at announcing things and making promises, but not so good at following through on those. We know we need to go beyond that.
    It was also very encouraging to hear the government mention not only the calls to action, but also the recommendations put forward by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which is incredibility important and would save lives. It is vital that we do not just mention it but follow through by implementing those important recommendations.
    Where I fail to follow the logic is when the government talks about the importance of following through on these vital recommendations and calls to action, but at the same time continues to take indigenous kids to court. It continues to delay the funding the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has pointed out is not just discriminatory, but wilful and reckless.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal stated that the current government wilfully and recklessly discriminated against indigenous children. Therefore, it must immediately stop taking indigenous children to court.

[English]

    I cannot wrap my head around how a government can, on one side, talk about the importance of reconciliation, of justice and of fairness, while on the other side, ignore a Human Rights Tribunal ruling, delay funding to end discrimination and continue to take indigenous kids to court. Those two things do not coincide. They do not make sense. That is why I will continue to call on the Liberal government to stop taking these kids to court, to pay the fee that is required to ensure that justice is served and to make sure that this injustice ends, that the kids who have been discriminated against have fairness in their lives, and that no other kids face this unfairness in the future.
    The impact of this discrimination is not an academic discussion. It is not just the fact that there was discriminatory funding. Indigenous children have died because of the lack of funding and they will continue to die unless the government does something about it.
    The government did put one encouraging addition in the throne speech. It accepted what we have been pushing for, which is national dental care, and that is vitally important.
    When we were in communities across this country, we spoke with people who were deeply concerned about health care and the cost of medication. Many people could not imagine a future where they could get dental services. There are so many people right now who do not consider it an option to take care of their teeth. Dental care is one of the major gaps in our health care system. People can go into the hospital if emergency surgery is required for their hearts. They could have complex surgery that would put them back together involving their entire body, their lungs, issues with the joints, but if they have a problem with their teeth they have nowhere to go. Millions of Canadians do not get the dental care they need, yet we know that unhealthy teeth can impact the rest of their health.
    During the campaign we called on the Liberal government and all Canadians to imagine a future that included a national dental care program. It can be achieved. We can do it and it would not cost us too much money. The plan the NDP has laid out and that we are asking the government to consider would be less than $1 billion a year and could cover 4.3 million Canadians immediately. It would be a federal program that would cover Canadians across this country and give them access to dental care. It would mean a massive change in people's lives.
    I remember a woman on the streets of Vancouver who ran up to me and said she had heard my announcement on dental care, and her hand was covering her mouth. She said that she was so embarrassed of her teeth and she had not been able to afford dental care. She was stuck in a job and was too afraid to apply for a new job because she did not think anyone would hire her with the way she looked. She was afraid to go out in public. She said she was even afraid to talk to me because of her teeth. She should not have to feel that way. She should not have to worry about the way her teeth look. However, this is the reality for far too many Canadians who cannot afford dental care and whose teeth are not in a healthy state. We know this impacts overall well-being. We know this impacts overall health. We have to do something about it.
    While it is encouraging that the government mentioned it, if you read between the fine lines it says that national dental care is something that Parliament should explore. I call on the government to take a step toward ensuring we have national dental care. That is what we need.
    There is a path forward. While we New Democrats are not satisfied with what we heard in the speech, we do not lack confidence in the government simply because we do not think it is good enough. We have met with people and spoken to people across this country, and they have told us that this is not good enough. This is not going to make sure people's lives get better.

  (1330)  

    One of the most pressing crises people are faced with in their lives is housing. The government said in the throne speech that it is going to continue to do what it is doing on housing. What does that mean? That means the Liberals will continue to spend 19%, as a portion of GDP, less than the Conservatives before them.
    How can they claim that they are doing something to tackle the crisis when they are spending less than the previous Conservative government? They continually said in their campaign that Canadians should be afraid of the Conservatives because they would make things worse, but the Liberals are doing worse than they did.
    The crisis people are faced with in this country is such that people cannot find places to live. In large cities across the country, young professionals and families and people who earn good salaries cannot find places to rent, let alone buy. In rural communities, people cannot find anything, rental or housing.
    It is not even a question of affordability in some communities. It is a question of availability. There is just nothing there. People are living on the streets. There is homelessness and people who need supported living, and the government thinks that it is okay to continue to do what it is doing. It is not okay. It is not going to make people's lives better, and it is because it is not going to make people's lives better that New Democrats are saying it is not good enough.
    However, here is the thing. I am calling on the Prime Minister and the government to sit down and have a chat with us. If Liberals want to make life better for Canadians, we are ready to work with them. If the Liberals want to stay in power, it is clear they have some options.
     If they want to make things better for Canadians, if they want to lift up people who cannot find housing, if they want to lift up people who cannot afford their medications, if they want to make a real difference in people's lives and implement national dental care then, yes, they can count on New Democrats.
    However, if they think this throne speech is good enough, it simply is not. I know you can do better, but you are not going to do it on your own. That is why New Democrats are here. We are going to push you. We are going to make sure you do it right.

  (1335)  

    I am sorry to interrupt. I know the hon. member comes from the Ontario legislature where members are allowed to say “you”. In this House, “you” means the Speaker. I can assure the member that I will not be taking part in a lot of the stuff that is taking place on the government side. I am neutral. I want to make sure the hon. member speaks through the Speaker and not to the Speaker. I would not want to let the member down.
    The hon. member for Burnaby South.
    Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt in your ability to keep the House moving and make sure things are fair. Thank you for that clarification.
    In closing, I want to again point out that there is a powerful opportunity.

[Translation]

    We now have an opportunity to work together to make progress on issues that will improve the lives of people, and that is our goal. That is what we want to do for all Canadians. We know that Quebeckers and Canadians—all people across Canada—want to move forward together, and we can do it. We have a plan and, if the government wants to implement a plan to truly improve people's quality of life, we will be its partner. However, if it only wants to remain in power, it should not count on us.
    We can do what needs to be done, but every time we take action we must think of how it will help ordinary Canadians.

[English]

    That is going to be New Democrats' focus in this Parliament. That is going to be our focus in all of the work we do. We are focused on one thing: making sure that government works for people, not for the powerful; that government works for families, not for the powerful corporations. We are here for the people who need help the most and we are going to continue to fight for them.
    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity for almost 20 years of being an MLA in the Manitoba legislature. When I was the health care critic, one of the important issues was medicines.
    For the first time, in the last three or four years, we have a national leader, who happens to be the Prime Minister, and a government that have made significant moves toward a national medicare system for prescribed medicines. The constituents I represent and, I believe, Manitobans and Canadians as a whole, would love to see a national pharmacare program. It is something our ministers of health have been working diligently to put in place.
    Would the Leader of the New Democratic Party acknowledge, especially as he was a provincial legislator previously, that Ottawa cannot do it alone? There is an obligation on our part to work with the provinces and other stakeholders to ensure we implement a truly national program.
    We could click our heels and do all those wonderful things, but until we recognize there needs to be that co-operation among different levels of government, it will be extremely difficult to achieve what we on this side want and what Canadians want.
    Would the New Democratic leader agree that there is an obligation to work with the provinces to get a national pharmacare program?
    Mr. Speaker, we absolutely need to work together to achieve anything in this country.
    In order to make advancements in health care, we absolutely need to work with our provincial partners, provincial premiers and governments. However, here is the thing. To be able to work together with provinces, we need to have a vision, and the federal government has not provided that clear vision.
    One of the things the government could do very easily is accept its own report. The government commissioned a report. The report found that the best way to ensure we implemented pharmacare was to ensure that everyone in the country was covered. To me it seems pretty simple. The government could say yes, that is will move toward national pharmacare, and this is what that means. It could say that it will accept the report that it commissioned.
     The report backs up what all experts are saying, that if we want to lift up people, save money for provinces, save money for the federal government so it can reinvest in health care to ensure people get the type of health care they need, it has to be a type of pharmacare that covers every Canadian, that is public, single-payer and truly allows us to take on the powerful pharmaceutical companies.
    I am asking the government to do that. We need to work together, but the federal government has to provide leadership. Right now that leadership is lacking. I am going to push the government to provide the right type of leadership to achieve the right type of plan.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, as this is the first I am able to rise in the 43rd Parliament, I want to thank my constituents for putting me here, I want to thank my wife and my family for allowing me to do this job. I also want to thank everyone who gave me their confidence to represent them in the House of Commons.
    The New Democratic leader talked about hard-working Canadians. I have 1,000 hard-working Canadians at the EVRAZ steel plant in Regina. These constituents are wondering if they can get support from the NDP to ensure those good-paying jobs stay in Regina. These Canadians make a world-class product. They do a fantastic job. They make some of the most environmentally sound steel in the world. They have great technology, ensuring their steel is at the top of environmental standards.
    Will the New Democratic leader use his position to ensure these hard-working Canadians have good-paying jobs now and into the future?
    Mr. Speaker, my congratulations to the member on his election.
    Absolutely, we need to support families and working people across the country. The company that the member is speaking about produces some of the best steel in the world. However, ensuring that those jobs remain in Canada is a problem.
    The problem is that many of the projects that the member's party speaks about do not require Canadian-made products. The problem is that without making sure or requiring that Canadian infrastructure uses Canadian steel or Canadian workers, it is meaningless to talk about infrastructure projects. We need to make sure that the infrastructure projects that we are moving forward with require made-in-Canada content.
     I would go beyond that. Something we announced during the campaign and now continue to push for is to make sure our manufacturing sector is strong in Canada. I believe that when we are using public procurement and using public dollars to purchase something for public Crown corporations, we should require made-in-Canada content there as well. Without the stipulation that made-in-Canada content is required, those good hard-working people at EVRAZ steel will not get jobs. If it is simply a question of making infrastructure without requiring that the jobs remain in Canada and that there be a benefit to Canadians and a benefit to Canadian workers, then no, they will not get the jobs.
     However, that is why we have New Democrats. It is because we are not going to talk about infrastructure unless we talk about benefits to communities and jobs in communities. We require made-in-Canada content because we are proud of Canadian workers and we want to make sure that they get to work and that we get the benefit of their quality products.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to address the people of Berthier—Maskinongé and thank them for putting their trust in me. I will do my best to fulfill my responsibilities.
    My colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue did a good job of raising this issue yesterday. The throne speech contains statements about compensation for the agricultural industry. We will work together to ensure full compensation for the farmers in every agricultural sector who were sacrificed in the trade agreements signed.
    However, there is something important missing from the throne speech. It does not include any guarantee that the government will never again touch supply management. The Bloc Québécois intends to put forward proposals in that regard. We intend to be very proactive. The government's response yesterday seemed evasive to me.
    Quebec has an outstanding and effective system for ensuring that our farmers have a decent standard of living while providing high quality products at stable prices. The Bloc Québécois thinks that we should promote this system abroad instead of using it as a bargaining chip.
    Can we count on the support of the New Democrats as we try to get this minority government to act in the interests of the common good, for the greater benefit of our farmers and to preserve the future of our local agricultural model, which is the best in the world?

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, farmers can count on us. It was our party that said that agreements with other countries must protect supply management. That aspect is missing from the new NAFTA. We had pointed out three problems with that agreement.
    First of all, the measures to protect workers and the environment are not binding. Second, it will raise the cost of drugs. The third problem has to do with the breaches in supply management. This is completely unacceptable, and that is what the government is doing. It talks about the importance of farmers, but it does not walk the talk. Breaches in supply management have hurt our dairy farmers, especially in Quebec.
    The member is right, however, when he says that we also need to think about all of the producers across agricultural sectors. This issue is especially important to me, since my parents were farmers. We must always protect our farmers, for they are the ones who feed the entire country. If we want to have a sovereign nation, we must have a strong agricultural sector, and the NDP will always protect and promote our agriculture.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take this opportunity to say a few words on the Speech from the Throne, but first I want to recognize your election as our new Speaker. I congratulate you and wish you well in a Parliament where I think there is a real opportunity to do great things for Canadians. There is a real opportunity to come together as members of Parliament.
    I firmly believe that every party has some good ideas in its platforms. We have to draw those out and work together, because Canadians sent us a message that they want this Parliament to work. They do not want to see the kind of division that we saw during the election campaign, the personal attacks and the misinformation that seemed to filter out in the election, which was unbelievable. They want to see us work together in the interests of all Canadians. The leaders of all parties and all of us as parliamentarians need to try and achieve that in this 43rd Parliament. I wish you well, Mr. Speaker, in your endeavours trying to manage that.
    I also give my thanks to the people in the riding of Malpeque, Prince Edward Island, for their support. This is my ninth term that I have been fortunate enough to be a member of Parliament and it is always an honour. No matter how often one gets up to speak here, this place is somewhat intimidating. Not many people get the right to stand here and state their remarks, challenge others in debate and be challenged themselves by others who may question them. This is what democracy should be all about, the give and take within a Parliament where there are views on all sides, but we come together and as a result make better policy.
    I think that the debates in this place were more open quite a number of years ago. They were more forceful and not always written by speech writers and others. That is the kind of place I really believe this place should be, where we get up and spout our ideas, even though we may have to give up on some of them. When I first came here 26 years ago, I thought I had all the ideas and all the answers. I know today that I did not. In fact, I have fewer answers today than I thought I did then. However, we need to have that discussion and that debate, because everybody has some good ideas, and constructive criticism is what should take place in this parliamentary chamber and in committees.
    For the new members here, it really is at committees where the work gets done. At committee, we travel together and get to know each other on a more personal level. Away from the partisanship and party lines, that is when the real work gets done, when ideas come out. We build friendships across the aisle, which is two sword lengths wide. We build friendships and move forward together. That is what this place should be all about. I hope in this 43rd Parliament that is what we can do in this chamber and at committee.
    I will now turn to the throne speech and read a few sentences from the opening:
    This fall, Canadians went to the polls. And they returned a minority Parliament to Ottawa. This is the will of the people, and you have been chosen to act on it.
    And so we open this 43rd Parliament with a call for unity in the pursuit of common goals and aspirations.

  (1350)  

    As I said a moment ago, I know this will be a challenge. I have been through nine elections. I found that in my riding, on the ground, this was the most bitter and divisive election I have ever been in, as I have heard from many others. There was an awful lot of false information out there. When false information is produced enough times and never challenged, it becomes the truth in some people's minds. We faced a lot of that during this election campaign, and it was very bitter.
    We have seen divisions across the country as a result of what I think is false information. There is the simple naming of a bill, Bill C-69, as the “no-more-pipelines” bill. It is not a no-more-pipelines bill. There may be some difficulty with it, but from the government's perspective it was a way to deal with environmental issues. It also gave us the opportunity to put pipelines and other natural resource measures in place without the constant challenge of going to court further down the road. That was the intent, but the simple naming of the bill put up a flag in front of many people and it became divisive. In this Parliament we have to try to get away from that kind of wording, stick to the facts and try to make this place operate better.
    Let me turn to the first section of the Speech from the Throne, which talks about fighting climate change:
    Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action—or inaction—on the defining challenge of the time: climate change.
    From forest fires and floods to ocean pollution and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impact of climate change every day. The science is clear, and it has been for decades.
    I know there is a strong difference of opinion on this, but there is the scientific community and the so-called experts. We have to be careful with experts, as they are not always as expert as they think they are, but the science is that a carbon tax makes sense generally. The Prime Minister talked about it extensively today. With the carbon tax in place, which is thought to be one of the best solutions to fight climate change in the world, people on the ground will actually do better and we will protect our environment for future generations. We have to move there. The fight on the bill on carbon tax has been fought, and it is wrong for the Leader of the Opposition to stand in this place with the objective of saying he is basically going to take the government down.
    We have been sent here to do a job, to work together. Let us do it. Let us deal with the environment and build on our natural resources in other ways as well.
    In our platform we talked about a number of things regarding environment and climate protection and building our economy. I want to name them so that members in the opposition know what we said. I expect they all have our platform anyway, but they need to hold the government to account and make sure that we address the things we said we would as a government. I expect this from my own party.
    We want to make Canada a net-zero emitter by 2050, cut taxes in half for businesses that produce clean-tech zero-emissions technology, interest-free loans up to $40,000 for homeowners and landlords who want to make their properties more efficient, increase the amount of ocean and land that is protected to 25% and plant two billion trees while creating 3,500 jobs a year in doing so. Those are some of the measures we proposed.

  (1355)  

    During the election campaign, I stopped at a constituent's place who had just built what is called a “passive house”. This is one of the things that we can do. This passive house has walls that are probably 18 inches thick, or maybe a little thicker, with heavy insulation and an inner wall and an outer wall. In Prince Edward Island, which does not exactly have kind winters like the ones in Vancouver and Victoria, my constituent and his wife will be able to heat that house for $300 a year because of the way it is built. That shows what is possible when the right things are done.
    I was in another passive house that has been in place for about six years, and the owners have been heating the 2,000-square-foot house for $340 a year. The rest of us, who are using oil on the same-sized house, are probably paying about $6,000 a year and producing a lot more greenhouse gases. This shows what is possible if the government is willing to assist with infrastructure and housing, which is what Liberals proposed to do in our platform.
    It also states in the throne speech that the government will help to make energy-efficient homes more affordable, introduce measures to build clean, efficient and affordable communities and make it easier for people to choose zero-emission vehicles. That is the way we have to go to make strides on the climate change issue.
    Let me turn to another section of the throne speech. The reason I quote the throne speech is that we often fail to go back to these documents after they are read and really look at what the words say. We have our own agendas that we want to push, and we have our own lines that we may want to get on the cameras with and hope our constituents hear. However, let us delve into what the government is really proposing. With regard to strengthening the middle class, the throne speech states, “As its first act, the government will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest Canadians, giving more money to middle class families and those who need it most.”
     What was proposed in the Liberals' platform was to raise the basic personal exemption amount to $15,000, which puts more money in everyone's pockets. Raising that basic exemption level helps a tremendous percentage of the population. I think the amount was $12,200 and it will go up to $15,000, so that takes taxes away from $2,800, which is good for all Canadians.
    Liberals are proposing to cut cellphone bills by 25%, and that is outlined in the throne speech. We are going to try to save small businesses up to $7,500 by lowering small business taxes from 11% to 9%, which we started on in the last Parliament. We will make it easier for Canadians to purchase their first home, by giving them up to 10% of the purchase price with the first-time home buyer incentive. Those are some of the things we are proposing to do by taking actions to strengthen the middle class.
    I could also talk about the trade agreements we have signed. I could talk about some of the things done. When I was on the campaign trail, I was amazed and shocked at how many people really did not know about the Canada child benefit, even though it was coming into their homes. In my riding alone, that amounts to over $2 million a month that goes directly to families tax-free. Those are the kinds of initiatives we were able to do in the last Parliament as a government and we need to continue to build on in the 43rd Parliament.

  (1400)  

    I will not get into this in great detail, but the throne speech goes on at length about walking the road of reconciliation. There is always controversy among people over the reconciliation file with the indigenous communities. However, and the Prime Minister mentioned this as well, we have made some strides in this regard. The indigenous community is the fastest-growing sector of our population. They are the greatest human resource we have in this country to prosper for themselves and to prosper for Canadians, to build our economy, and to build safe communities and homes. There has been serious trouble in the past caused by governments and others. We need to work with those communities and build them to be safe and prosperous communities with their own culture protected in a way that they can be proud of their history and their country, and want to work together to move Canada forward for all Canadians and others around the world.
    The other aspect we talk about in the throne speech relates to pharmacare and some of the health care issues. I want to quote from the throne speech, because I think it outlines the point. It states:
    Too often, Canadians who fall sick suffer twice: once from becoming ill, and again from financial hardship caused by the cost of their medications.
    The NDP leader mentioned this earlier today.
    The throne speech continues:
    Given this reality, pharmacare is the key missing piece of universal health care in this country. The Government will take steps to introduce and implement national pharmacare so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need.
    It is extremely important for us to get this done. I am sure all of us who campaigned and knocked on doors met people who could not afford the pills they needed to get well, or who had other members of their family who were suffering because they were not able to have the necessary drug care, dental care or other measures to live healthy lives for their remaining time. Therefore, we need to get that done. I know that will be a strenuous debate because, as a government, we have to look at it from the cost side. Governments also have to look at what the federal and provincial responsibilities are and how to bring those two together, and how far they can go with that pharmacare program, whether it will fill in the gaps or go all the way to a full-out system. That will be a very important debate.
    I see I am nearly out of time so l will close by saying this. In a former time, I was president of the National Farmers Union. In that capacity, I was given the opportunity to travel to every region of this country and live in farmhouses for quite a number of years, whether in Peace River, B.C., or Ontario. I spent a lot of time in Saskatchewan and Alberta, some time in Quebec and a lot of time in the Maritimes. There was one thing we always said within that movement, which was that when we see the country and understand the different resources and characters of each region, we have to be careful not to allow regionalism to set in, as that would divide us against ourselves. There is always the ability to make this country stronger than the sum of its parts and that is where we need to go.

  (1405)  

    Given the makeup of this Parliament, that nobody has a majority, if we all work together we can make this country stronger than the sum of its parts. All of us will benefit as a result and, more importantly, so will Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member opposite not only on his maiden speech in this Parliament, as he has given a fair number of maiden speeches, and also thank him for his work as the finance committee chair in the last Parliament. There was a report on money laundering that had the support of all parties, so I congratulate him on the work on that.
    However, the member told us to take the promises made by the government in the last election seriously. The current Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Finance showed up in British Columbia in June promising $68.9 million toward enforcement action on money laundering. B.C. attorney general David Eby said in September that there are things only Ottawa and federal police officers can do.
    The monies have not been forthcoming to allow the RCMP to work with the province to tackle money laundering in my province. Does he not believe that his government needs to start living up to the promises it made in the last Parliament before we start talking about promises made in the last election?
    Mr. Speaker, it was a real pleasure to work with the hon. member on the finance committee as well. We did an excellent job on the report on money laundering. I believe Attorney General Eby from the government of B.C. appeared before the committee, which is who the member speaks of at the moment.
    In response to his question, all I can say, and I would say this to those responsible within the executive council or the cabinet, is let us get the negotiations done and get the money rolling.
    Several people in the cabinet I have talked to have said that the report on money laundering was a good report. They were pleased it was an all-committee report and wanted to see it accomplished. I was told it would be a step-by-step process. Therefore, I would say to my own crowd, if I could put it that way, to let us get on with the negotiations; let us get the job done and address the money-laundering issue head-on.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this being my first speech in the House, I would like to acknowledge my constituents in La Prairie and thank them for putting their trust in me in the last election.
    My colleague from P.E.I. spoke about divisions. He pointed out that Canada is currently divided, as very different views clash with each other. For years, the government has been marked by deep contradictions and has been dragged down by that burden. This throne speech is no exception. I want to read a paragraph that really struck me:
     And while the Government takes strong action to fight climate change, it will also work just as hard to get Canadian resources to new markets, and offer unwavering support to the hardworking women and men in Canada’s natural resources sectors, many of whom have faced tough times....
    We have to make a choice: either fight climate change or export oil. We are talking about oil here. This is not hockey. We cannot play along the boards. We have to make a decision. Oil sands development releases more greenhouse gases than the entire province of Quebec does. Under the Liberals, oil production increased by more than 20%. We have to make a choice. It has to be clear.
    The question is simple. How can we meet targets as ambitious as the ones the government is proposing without making an effort to lower the greenhouse gas emissions from oil production?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite on his election. I know he comes from the province of Quebec, and many of the members opposite come from areas where agriculture is key.
     If there was a lesson learned from the CN strike, it was how important those natural resources are. We cannot shut them off tomorrow or we would shut off the economy. We have to find ways to balance the environment and the economy. Therefore, we need to continue to work with the oil and the natural resources industries in this country and use research and development to bring down, as we have done a lot, the amount of greenhouse gases produced by those industries, hopefully using new technology to do better.
    Those natural resources, whether we like it or not, are the mainstay of our economy and are going to be needed for 30 years or longer. They create a lot of jobs in this country and we use the benefits of those resources.
     Part of the plan of this government is to use the economy from those resources and those industries to work on and pay for environmental safeguards and ways of lowering greenhouses gases. It cannot be all of one and none of the other. We have to find the balance. That is the reality of the world that we live in.
    They can dream otherwise, but they are dreaming. There is an old saying: Dream, but do not let dreams be the master. We have to do both, and that is what this government is trying to accomplish under our climate action plan and our efforts to build the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, in 2017, I stood in Centre Block and I talked about suicide in my territory. I also called on leaders with power and the ability to make change. I got tired of waiting, so here I am.
    My territory has held the very unfortunate title of having the highest suicide rate in the country for years. We are looking at basic human rights. When I am talking to my constituents, that is the first conversation that comes up.
     How do we talk about opportunity and having the option to thrive and strive, as we should as Canadians, when we do not have basic human rights? When will the government step up and provide housing for my constituents to be able to live and feel safe? When will the government step up and eliminate our boil-water advisories? When will the government step up and lower living costs so that people can afford to feed themselves and their families?
    This is a conversation that has been going on for decades. I hope that by the end of this term we can talk about post-secondary opportunities and child care spaces.
    The government needs to step up. These are our Canadians. These are our constituents. This is my riding. These are my people. These are our people. We need to step up and treat them as Canadians, which we all know. We are so proud to be Canadian, but where are our basic human rights?

  (1415)  

    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member on her election and getting here. Her voice, as she just stated, is much needed in the House of Commons and to be heard in the country.
    The member mentioned boil-water orders. The government has made some substantial progress on that but there is a lot further distance to go. The Prime Minister himself has stated clearly, in the actions that were taken in the last Parliament as well as in what was outlined in the platform and the throne speech, that he has made this perhaps his most important file.
    In this file, he wants to address these difficulties and concerns and see that indigenous people right across the country gain their rightful place in this country, with a proper economy and their culture, and that they are able to prosper and share their knowledge and abilities with other Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my constituents in the riding Calgary Nose Hill for giving me a very clear mandate to do one thing: to stand up for them, fight for them and their voice here in this place.
    I received the mandate of over 70%. I went door to door. People who I know had voted Liberal or NDP in the past looked me in the eye and we had a serious conversation at the door. They told me that they had never voted Conservative before, but they were going to vote for me because it was really bad. They needed me to fight for them. My way of thanking them is not just saying it here. It is to do that, to fight for them every day.
     To the 98 new members of Parliament in this place, I want to talk about what it is like at home. I want to talk to them about what it is like to have 175,000 people who work in the primary industry of their province suddenly out of work, in a very short period of time. It is not because of commodity prices, as the Prime Minister so glibly said this morning. I will get to that. It is because of policies that were set here.
    What we do here reflects on how people live in every part of the country. What happened in the last Parliament for the people in my riding meant trauma, suicide, homes lost, jobs lost and families lost. What we do here matters. I will fight for the people in my riding.
    Right now in my province we are seeing some of the highest unemployment rates in the country sustained. It is happening and not because of commodity prices. If it were because of commodity prices, then why is the United States doing so well with its natural resource sector? It is because of instability and political decisions that have made it impossible for the energy sector to sustain employment. That is why. It is because of the decisions made here.
    In 2017, Alberta's suicide rate was 14.9 per 100,000 people, just over three points higher than the rest of Canada. That is up really high. In 2016, there was a project by the Calgary Police Service called “Operation Northern Spotlight”. It was to help sex workers in the city. Let me read a story.
    A woman who entered the sex trade in 2016, and it has gotten worse since then, said, “I never thought I would be here. I never thought I would have to hide from my family, telling them that my cleaning job runs late every night. I am here because this would have been an easy $350. I had a great job, then the jobs crisis hit and I got laid off. Two weeks later, my husband lost his job as well. The bills did not stop coming.” The problems have not stopped in my riding.
    I will be splitting my time with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
     We sit here, and yesterday's throne speech was a slap in the face. I got scrummed in the media yesterday. I heard, “It was more of a tone-setting document.” If it were a tone-setting document, it was tone-deaf for every person in my riding. It did not say anything about what the government was going to do to reverse the policies that create the instability that puts the people in my riding out of work. That needs to change.
     If we are not willing to change that, then what is happening in my province is going to continue to grow. My province is saying it does not see itself in this country, our country does not have our back, and asking why it should be part of it. It will continue to fester. It is because of the decisions that are being made to put the people in my riding out of work.
    People in this place say that it is a dirty industry and that the province should diversify its way out. Then they go fill up their car with Saudi oil, while they drink their kale smoothie with its component parts imported from California, while they promote their industry, like aerospace, with planes that create greenhouse gas emissions, or the auto sector, with cars that create greenhouse gas emissions, or while they go to Walmart and buy a cheap Chinese T-shirt that is created where there are the some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

  (1420)  

    They are hypocrites. Anybody who says that the people in my riding have dirty jobs and do not have the right to work is a hypocrite, because nobody is willing to take climate action individually in this country. They are putting the entire responsibility on the people in my riding and saying that it is good, that this is what it is going to take to get this job done, and it will not.
    The people in my province have a right to work. They have a right to prosper. I am sick and tired of this debate. Nothing on climate change is happening while my province and the people in it bear the entire cost and responsibility, and we do nothing. It has to stop.
    I am going to tell you one thing, Mr. Speaker: It is going to stop one way or another. One way or another, it is coming to a head.
    To everybody in here who thinks that what is happening in my province is just a separatist movement, just a few fringe people, I say that it is not just a fringe. People do not feel that they have a place in this country. They do not feel like they have a fair deal. Do colleagues know what they see? They see the hypocrisy that I just mentioned. They see a Prime Minister who fights for jobs with SNC-Lavalin and stands alleged of bribing Moammar Gadhafi's son with prostitutes. They see the former fisheries minister signing special deals over clam fishing that brought him ethics commission violations. They see scandal after scandal, special deal after special deal.
    Then there are the people who say that people in their riding have been out of work. In Alberta, there are 175,000 people.
    I do not know how many lobster fishers there are in this country, but when something happens to fisheries, we get angry. We all do here. We say that we have to fix this. They cannot stay out of work. When something happens in the auto sector, we do not say that cars create greenhouse gas emissions and we should just let that industry die. We do something about it.
    When has it become acceptable to let an entire province's industry die while the rest of the country looks like a hypocrite? It has to stop. Otherwise, we will face a national unity crisis. We are in one.
     I want to let the people in this House know what that looks like. The premier of my province is rightly talking about a fair deal for Alberta, and autonomy, and I support him in that.
    Here is what Alberta opting out of the CPP looks like. We are the net contributor to the CPP in the country. Having higher premiums across the country means that people will not be able to retire until later ages, and that is because the Prime Minister has put them in this position.
    We need to scrap Bill C-69. We need to scrap Bill C-48 and we need to understand the wealth that the energy sector creates. It creates receptor capacity for clean technology. It displaces energy from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and if we are talking about transition and climate change, Canadian energy and what my province does are at the heart of that equation. It should not be killed. Why would we kill the heart of what Canada can contribute to when it comes to this?
    Enough is enough. I will stand here for however long this Parliament lasts. I will stand up for the rights of my province because that is why I am here. Colleagues stand up and give their thanks for having been sent here, but I was not sent here to just collect a salary or stand up and just seal-clap and vote. Constituents sent us here to fight.
     I am going to fight for my province and the people of my riding. If that means saying we need more autonomy and we need the equalization payment formula looked at, then I will do that. If everybody here says that they will not do that, that they will not give my province a fair deal, then I am going to tell them right now that the people in my province are going to say enough is enough. The choice is for every single person in this House. It starts here and it ends here.
    I implore the people in the House to realize that what was in that throne speech was not good enough. It is not going to cut it. It is not going to fix it. It is going to take smart, tough conversations; otherwise, it is over.
    My colleague from Malpeque just made an appeal for unity, and I want to tell him this: I am not here and the people on this side of the House are not here to make life politically expedient for the Liberals in a minority situation. We are here to fight for the people of our provinces, and our provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, B.C., Ontario, and every part of this country that sees Alberta as a strong part of Confederation. We will not let this continue.

  (1425)  

    I ask people who are watching today to support me by signing petition e-2303 at e2303.ca, which would send a message to every person in the House to do just that. Let us talk about setting a tone. It is time for Alberta to have a fair deal.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member where that passion and fight was during the 10 years of Stephen Harper's government, which failed to build one inch of pipeline to our tidewaters. In fact, when Stephen Harper became the prime minister, 99-plus per cent of the oil was going via the United States. When he left office as prime minister, that same percentage was still there.
    Where was the Conservative government when it came to investing in western diversification funds? Those members failed to show up at the table. When we talk about infrastructure and working with governments to ensure that Alberta and the west got good, solid infrastructure projects and dollars, it was this government that materialized on that.
    However, there is room for us to work collaboratively for the west. I am a very proud Manitoban. I was in the military when I served in the province of Alberta. My wife is from Saskatchewan. I have many family members in Saskatchewan. All of us have some sort of a connection. I love and care for my country, and I do care deeply about the west.
    Does my colleague from the west agree that it is time to put the high political partisanship aside and start working for the Prairies and all Canadians?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, anybody who lives in my province and watched that knows what it was. I believe Joe Biden has a tour called “No Malarkey”.
    He is the parliament secretary to the House leader, and he knows that is garbage. That is tone deafness. The last government was his government. Here is a newsflash. It was not under the Harper government that we saw this downturn. We built four pipelines. We had investment coming into the energy sector. Nobody is buying that. I do not know, maybe those members want this. Maybe they are finishing the job that the Prime Minister's father started in the 1980s. It sure feels like it.
     History will hold people to account in this place and this Parliament, in a minority situation when we have the type of speech that the member just had as opposed to doing what is right, good and just for our entire country.
    We are going to have to break until Monday. The hon. member will have two minutes and 15 seconds coming to her for questions when we return and take up this debate again.
     Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 2:31 p.m.)
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