The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.
Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 18, Cameron Fraser Damoff made his much-anticipated entry to the world. Loved to the moon and back by his mom Taylor and dad Fraser, my first grandchild could not have been born to better parents.
His Auntie Jill, Uncle Rob and cousin Bayley cannot wait to meet him, and his great-grandmother Betty is excited to hold the wee bairn in her arms.
Taylor's strength and huge heart will make her an incredible mom.
I am so proud of the man Fraser has become and the father he will be.
Cameron will always be surrounded by so much love and affection.
As John Lennon said:
Before you cross the street Take my hand Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Beautiful boy
Congratulations, Fraser and Taylor. May God bless them and wee Cameron. I know Bunka is smiling down on them.
Mr. Speaker, community leaders throughout my riding are alarmed by the lack of genuine consultation around caribou and other closures.
The recent release of the province’s draft winter motorized recreation management plan in South Peace is a direct result of the caribou partnership agreement signed by the current Liberal government in 2020.
The B.C. Snowmobile Federation, the Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery, and the municipality of Chetwynd have come out strongly against this proposed plan. It became clear that their recommendations to maintain public access to vitally important areas while conserving caribou habitat were flatly ignored. What did the Liberals do with all this sound advice from outdoor experts? They threw it out the window.
It is time for the government to recognize its failings with arbitrary land and marine closures. It must ensure decisions made are based on science and sound advice from our communities. These decisions will have a direct impact on the local economy and the way of life. It looks like more closures are on the way with 30 by 30 and other initiatives supported blindly by the government.
It is time for the government to stop ramming through its agenda and start listening.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize outstanding members from my community of Pickering—Uxbridge. Despite the pandemic, these individuals share an unwavering commitment to supporting their communities.
Dr. Carlye Jensen and Dr. Jennifer Wilson were recently selected by the Dalla Lana School of Public Health as Pillars of the Pandemic. The pandemic has required exceptional leadership, and Dr. Jensen and Dr. Wilson consistently went the extra mile.
Mahnoor Hussain was recently selected as one of only three Parks Canada Youth Ambassadors. Mahnoor will spend the summer engaging with youth across Canada, advocating for the protection and conservation of our national parks.
Paul Yang was recently awarded The Globe and Mail's Changemakers award. As acting director of innovation and sustainability, Paul has worked hard to phase out the use of plastic straws at all Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada.
I want to thank these members of our community for their commitment and for reminding us of the lasting impact individuals can have in our communities and across Canada.
Mr. Speaker, there are some news reports that are very discouraging for our planet.
In my region, people are upset about the Goldboro project. People in the Montérégie region and the Eastern Townships recently learned that the Alberta natural gas company Pieridae is currently lobbying the federal government and MPs to obtain public money for the construction of a port and a natural gas liquefaction plant near Halifax. The objective is to supply a German energy corporation. The company is looking for nearly $1 billion in public money.
According to a December 2020 presentation, the natural gas would transit through pipelines located in Quebec. The problem is that the pipelines seem to be at full capacity already. We fear that if the company obtains the federal government's financial support, other pipelines will have to be built in Quebec.
This is project is dangerous for the environment and would not generate any economic returns for Quebec, because the natural gas only transits through our province. This is the ghost of energy east. The green economic recovery that we want cannot happen with this type of project.
Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour of being elected to Parliament three times. My commitment to the city I represent has been to stand here at every opportunity and advocate for Toronto and to do what I can to make the country better by doing better for people.
It will surprise no one when I say that the fundamental, just way to do this is to fight to ensure every Canadian has a safe, affordable place to call home. Nothing in politics is done alone. I acknowledge the ministers, the members from all parties and people from the housing sector who have worked together to create the national housing strategy. Together, we have legislated the right to housing, we are investing in new homes, we are repairing existing ones and we are delivering direct support to those in need. This country can end homelessness. We must end homelessness.
Yesterday was a tough day in Toronto. The city I love can do better. Our government can do better. We must all do better. The way forward is to find higher ground. It is not through the battleground, we need to build on common ground. That is our duty. That is what we will do.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the life of Robert Alexander, a Canadian hero and a lifelong Owen Sound resident who recently passed away at 91 years of age.
Bob loved his community and country. In 1949, he joined the Canadian Army. In 1950, he deployed for a year-long deployment to Korea with the 25th Infantry Brigade, where he served with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After his return from Korea, Bob was a Master Warrant Officer, MWO, with the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Bob worked for the Department of Public Highways of Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation for nearly 35 years. He volunteered with the Grey Roots Museum and received the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016.
Bob has been a cornerstone in the community, specifically in the antique vehicle, military and museum circles. Many will remember him from Remembrance Day parades in his 1953 army Jeep.
I would like to commend Bob for his service to Canada and his community. I offer my deepest condolences to the Alexander family. Bob will certainly be missed by many. Pro patria. Lest we forget.
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this time to thank the outstanding doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other allied health professionals and support staff at Markham Stouffville Hospital for their heroic and tireless dedication in fighting COVID-19 and for providing the vital care to Markham—Stouffville residents when they needed it most.
In total, the hospital has admitted and treated over 600 COVID-19 patients. The very first patient to be intubated was Dr. Larry Pancer, a much loved and respected pediatrician, who has cared for patients at the hospital for over 30 years. Dr. Pancer's fight with COVID-19 was not easy, but thanks to the expert care he received at Markham Stouffville Hospital, he is home with his family.
I am sure that for the entire team at Markham Stouffville hospital, this has been the most challenging time of their careers. On behalf of the residents of our community, I want to thank them for their skill and incredibly demanding work during this difficult time. We are proud of them.
Mr. Speaker, Summer is off to a fast start in Etobicoke—Lakeshore. To be clear, I am talking about Summer McIntosh, the 14-year-old swimming dynamo.
At the 2021 Canadian Olympic swimming trials this past weekend, she made history, winning the women's 200-metre freestyle. Not only did she secure herself a spot to represent Canada this summer in Tokyo, Summer now holds the fastest 200-metre freestyle time in history by a female swimmer aged 15 and under. She also ranks as the second-fastest Canadian woman of all time in the event.
Summer slammed it again in the 800-metre race. Her time of eight minutes and 29.49 seconds was almost four seconds under the Olympic standard needed for Tokyo. All eyes will be on her today as she takes on the 1,500 metres.
Summer comes to swimming naturally. The daughter of Jill Horstead, who swam for Canada in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games at age 17, Summer has followed in her mother's footsteps and will make our country, and our community in Etobicoke—Lakeshore, proud as part of the Canadian team.
Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise to address the Chair, my colleagues and all Canadians who are watching at home.
My deepest sympathies are with the grieving families, friends and colleagues of Jérôme, Vincent, Yannick and Benjamin.
I learned earlier this week that a third young man in the Montmagny region took his own life. He was the fourth member of the same group of friends who committed suicide in just two months. Now that the lockdown is finally over and students and graduates are getting ready for summer, these young men in their early 20s took their own lives.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. I want to tell all those who are hurting inside, those who are in the dark and who feel alone, to call someone, talk to someone and open their hearts so they can get help.
We do not know what people are hiding behind their smiles, but we are there for them. There is hope and they are loved. Sometimes we might be awkward, but we are there. Until an emergency line is set up, the best thing to do in Quebec is to call the telephone help line at 1-866-APPELLE in times of need.
Mr. Speaker, 400 years ago, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, was celebrated in Quebec on June 24 with bonfires along the St. Lawrence River. Now a national holiday for Quebeckers of all origins, this holiday celebrates our profound attachment to the nation we are today.
For me, Quebec's national holiday has always been an important day because it celebrates the nation I chose and that welcomed me 40 years ago, when I emigrated from Chili with my mother.
This year's theme is “Vivre le Québec tissé serré”, because we are close-knit and we have witnessed the great solidarity shown by the people of Hochelaga and everywhere in Quebec. To all the organizations in my riding that delivered thousands of meals and spread goodwill among our citizens, my deepest thanks.
I enthusiastically invite you to promote this Quebec nation which, generation after generation, expresses its pride, its solidarity, and its attachment to its language and its culture, always open to the world.
I wish Quebeckers a happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and, of course, “Go, Habs, go!”
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the many struggling businesses, particularly those in the tourism sector, that have been impacted by the lack of communication and non-existent border opening strategy in this country.
Trix Star Productions, one of 133 tourism and hospitality businesses in my riding, is heavily reliant on cross-border revenue to operate and will not see a light at the end of the tunnel until this government implements a concrete plan with benchmarks and measurables to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border safely and effectively.
This government has refused to listen to recommendations of its own public health advisers, who argued that maintenance of supply chains and services was one of the reasons against a rapid border closure. The tourism and travel industry accounts for $43 billion of our GDP. U.S. visitors contribute $1.9 billion. We cannot deploy a full economic recovery until we safely and strategically execute a plan on a border reopening.
We need a plan and we need it now, or our economy and the people of the country will continue to suffer the consequences.
National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism
Mr. Speaker, on this day 36 years ago, June 23, 1985, a bomb exploded on Air India Flight 182 connecting Toronto to New Delhi. The mid-air explosion killed all 329 passengers. The majority of the victims were Canadians, including 82 children under the age of 13. Two of the victims, Kulbir Kaur Minhas and Balwinder Kaur Minhas, were my relatives.
The bombing was the single worst terrorist act in the history of Canada. A judicial inquiry determined that the bombing was a Canadian tragedy and the largest mass murder in Canadian history. To acknowledge the tragedy, June 23 was declared a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
Sadly, every year the list of victims grows larger. Terrorists continue to target innocent people to further their causes. The recent attack in London was a horrific reminder that Canada must continue to stamp out terrorism in all its forms.
Mr. Speaker, congratulations to all the high school graduates from the many high schools in Edmonton Strathcona.
We are always proud of high school graduates, but to the class of 2021, I want to give a particular shout-out. They are all incredible for working so hard and accomplishing so much this year. In the midst of a global pandemic, they have demonstrated their determination and completed their high school diplomas.
An example of our phenomenal graduates is Nimra Hooda: the 2021 Strathcona leadership award recipient. Nimra, like so many students in Edmonton Strathcona, represents the very best of our youth. She empowers youth in our community, she works with residents in long-term care and she contributes so much to Old Scona Academic High School and to the broader Edmonton community.
Congratulations to Nimra and to all the amazing graduates in Edmonton Strathcona. They have overcome so many challenges this year, and these lessons will guide them in whatever future they choose. They should take a moment to appreciate this accomplishment. They have earned it and they deserve it.
Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has been the dominant theme of three successive sessions, which will come to an end this afternoon.
This will be Quebec's second national holiday under the threat—which is finally subsiding—of a virus of diverse and formidable forms and effects, but a celebration is definitely in order. Our nation comes together in the face of adversity.
As we can begin to feel hopeful and as our efforts and discipline seem to be paying off, the holiday will feel particularly liberating, although our national holiday always feels liberating.
On behalf of all members of the Bloc Québécois, along with our staff, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Quebec national holiday.
I wish a happy Quebec national holiday to all Quebeckers, to our indigenous friends and to everyone who loves Quebec with the passion of our dreams for building a future together.
This June 24, all of Quebec will move into the blue zone.
Mr. Speaker, 25 new Liberal MPs were elected in October 2019, and I do not think they quite knew what they were getting into. In the last 20 months, they have stood right alongside the corruption of a tired Prime Minister plagued by scandal, with no plan to secure the future of Canada. They said nothing as their Prime Minister ignored four parliamentary orders to hand over documents related to the level 4 lab in Winnipeg. They seemed unconcerned that their government was found in contempt of Parliament. They said nothing when their government tried to give half a billion dollars to the WE charity, which paid the Trudeau family half a million dollars. They stood by a defence minister who has absolutely failed to send a clear message to the most powerful men in our military that the status quo is no longer acceptable. That is the record of the new Liberal MPs.
Conservatives will do whatever we can to replace the corrupt government with one that will put the needs of Canadian families first and secure our future.
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to recognize a true hero in my riding. Duane Antle is the current fire chief in the town of Come By Chance, which has a volunteer fire department. He was the 2020 recipient of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association's lifetime achievement award.
Duane has served as a firefighter for the past 27 years. He is the current president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services. Duane truly exemplifies what community service means, and I cannot think of a better person to be recognized with the award. He is also the first Newfoundlander and Labradorian to receive it. I was honoured to present Chief Antle with his national award earlier this month at a dinner hosted by his hometown.
Congratulations again to Duane. We all celebrate him and his accomplishments, and thank him for all he does for our communities and towns.
Mr. Speaker, for five years the Canadian Armed Forces has struggled with Operation Honour, trying to address sexual misconduct and a culture of covering it up. Two chiefs of defence staff have been terminated. There has been a cover-up in the Prime Minister's office that we have asked questions about. Now I have a troubling question for the Prime Minister.
Can he confirm to the House that the Minister of National Defence has never hired someone who was previously dismissed from an employer for sexual misconduct?
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has spent a lifetime serving his country, first as a police officer, then as a decorated soldier who served three tours in Afghanistan, and now as a member of Parliament. He, along with the rest of our government, has been working hard to push back against sexual harassment and sexual intimidation to work to change the culture of the Canadian Armed Forces and, indeed, the culture of systemic discrimination in all of our institutions.
We all have much more work to do, but we will continue to stay focused on making sure that everyone has a safe workplace.
Mr. Speaker, if one is going to change the culture of a workplace with respect to sexual harassment, one has to show zero tolerance. I will ask the Prime Minister again, because he avoided answering my question.
Did the Minister of National Defence hire someone who had been previously dismissed from an employer for sexual misconduct? It is a simple question. The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces deserve a response from the Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, the men and women of the armed forces deserve to work in an environment free from misogyny, intimidation and unacceptable actions. That is something we all have long known but, as we know, there is still much more work to do.
Over the past years we have taken significant steps to change the culture in the armed forces, and just this year we have done even more. Whether it was appointing Lieutenant-General Jennie Carignan to head up the centre for professional conduct and culture, appointing Louise Arbour for an independent review of the treatment of sexual misconduct or committing over $236 million to transform the culture, we will continue to do the work necessary.
Mr. Speaker, we have been working together for years to transform the culture not only of our armed forces but of all our institutions in Canada.
We have taken significant steps to provide more support to anyone experiencing intimidation, harassment or assault. That is what we will continue to do.
In recent months, we have taken specific concrete measures with respect to the armed forces. Justice Arbour, Lieutenant-General Carignan and the implementation of Justice Fish's recommendations are examples of that.
Mr. Speaker, it is sad to see that the cover-up of sexual misconduct, investigations and allegations continues with the Prime Minister's response today. The other cover-up of the Prime Minister goes to helping his friends and making sure Liberal insiders get ahead at the expense of everyday Canadians. Recently the Liberal Party had to confirm that the Prime Minister's Office had given contracts of at least $100,000 to his close friend, Mr. Tom Pitfield. This is from a Prime Minister who promised sunny ways and transparency.
Let me ask the Prime Minister another simple question and see if I can get a response. Has the government ever given any additional taxpayer money to his friend Tom Pitfield?
Mr. Speaker, as everyone in the House knows, MPs have important work to do on behalf of their constituents. They need to keep track of concerns, as well as of issues that need to be addressed. As we have stated clearly, the system used by our MPs is for constituency casework management only, with a complete separation between political and parliamentary work. We have always ensured that all rules are followed.
While this is an inconvenient fact for the Conservative Party members, that will not prevent them from making unfounded attacks.
Mr. Speaker, he says unfounded attacks, but I have two additional contracts from the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Indigenous Services, who are close friends with Tom Pitfield themselves. All were in the Prime Minister's wedding party. There is only one rule with the Prime Minister: advancing the interests of lobbyists and friends connected to the Prime Minister and having another lineup for everyone else.
The Conservatives are proposing transparency and anti-corruption laws, which are needed after countless scandals by the government.
My question to the Prime Minister is simple. Will he commit to Canadians that he and his cabinet will never break another law?
Mr. Speaker, while Conservative politicians are focused on baseless personal attacks, our steadfast focus has been on delivering for Canadians by getting progressive bills passed. We have been focused on getting supports out in the budget to Canadians, reaching net-zero by 2050, banning conversion therapy, making web giants pay their fair share for our artists and more. These are the things we are focused on. We are focused on Canadians while Conservatives are focused on me.
Mr. Speaker, on this last day of the session, I would like to wish all my colleagues in the House, and you in particular, a wonderful summer.
Summer is an opportunity to meet with constituents and listen to their concerns. Summer is also a time to rest, step back and reflect. I am therefore asking the Prime Minister to take the next few days, weeks and months to reflect on this.
Does he think that creating two classes of seniors is a good idea? Instead, why not increase old age security for all seniors 65 and up?
Mr. Speaker, since we took office in 2015, we have always put seniors' concerns at the forefront of our agenda. We increased the guaranteed income supplement by 10% the moment we formed government, made concrete investments in the health and dignity of seniors, and increased old age security by 10% for seniors 75 and up. We we will continue to support our seniors and be there for them.
We know that this past year has been difficult for everyone, especially our seniors. This summer, and every day, I will be there for seniors, and I look forward to engaging with them directly.
Thanks to him, concerns have increased, Mr. Speaker, but the cheques have not.
Here is something else for the Prime Minister to think about. As members can see, we are trying to work constructively. We are trying to help the Prime Minister. After a terrible pandemic that had a direct impact on thousands of Quebeckers and Canadians, as well as on the health care system and health care professionals to whom we owe a great debt, will the Prime Minister take the summer to seriously consider increasing health care transfers to 35% as Quebec and all the provinces are asking?
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I want to point out that he and I, along with all other members of the House, did indeed work together so that we could send billions of dollars to the provinces for their health care systems.
We were there, and $8 out of every $10 spent to help Canadians during the pandemic came directly from the federal government. That was done with the collaboration of all parties in the House. We were there in the short term during the crisis to help health care systems across the country and we will continue to be there in the long term.
As I said, we will enter into discussions to increase health transfers in the coming years.
Mr. Speaker, in a couple of weeks, the Prime Minister is going to cut the help that families need by $800 while we are still going through this pandemic. On the other hand, the Prime Minister has not prosecuted a single case of fiscal evasion of the ultrarich. It is clear who the Prime Minister is defending.
The Prime Minister has often said he has got the backs of Canadians. It is not having their backs to cut the help they need while we are still in this pandemic.
Will the Prime Minister reverse this callous cut to the help people need while we are still in the pandemic?
Mr. Speaker, despite the rhetoric of the NDP, we had a very simple and straightforward focus for Canadians from the beginning of this pandemic that we would have their backs. That is exactly what we have done, with billions upon billions of dollars of supports for workers, for families, for seniors and for young people.
To help Canadians get through this pandemic, budget 2021 proposes to extend the Canada recovery benefit to up to 50 weeks and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit to up to 42 weeks. That is why we thank the parties in the House that are working with us to pass budget 2021 so we can continue to support Canadians, as long as is necessary, into the fall and beyond.
Mr. Speaker, it is not just people who rely on the CRB that the Prime Minister is failing. The Prime Minister has failed indigenous people time and time again, and one of the most glaring examples is clean drinking water for indigenous people. The promise was first made in 2015, and six years later that promise was broken. Now the Prime Minister promises another five years. Does it take 11 years to get indigenous people clean drinking water in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, in the 21st century? It is outrageous and it is wrong.
Will the Prime Minister admit that the only reason indigenous people do not have access to clean drinking water is that it is not a priority for him and his government?
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately we see a perfect example of the kind of rhetoric that the NDP engages in. The reality is that we all recognize, as this government recognizes, that there is much more to do. However, the member asks a question about clean drinking water without recognizing that when we came into office, there were about 100 long-term boil water advisories in this country and we have since lifted 108 long-term boil water advisories. Some had been in place for years and years.
Yes, there is more to do, but to pretend nothing has been done is simply disingenuous and cynical politics at its worst.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is supposed to be a prosperous country.
However, according to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute's recently updated COVID misery index, Canada is suffering far more than comparable countries from self-inflicted and disproportionate economic damage due to the pandemic. Retail sales plunged by 5.7% from March to April, which is the sharpest month-over-month drop.
When will the government admit that it caused these economic woes?
Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives do not understand a thing about how Canada got through the pandemic.
We said from the start that we would be there to support Canadians. We were there for more than eight million workers with the Canada emergency response benefit. We were there for small business with the Canada emergency wage subsidy. We were there for seniors and youth. Our actions brought jobs and prosperity back faster than in other similar countries.
When the pandemic hit, we were in a better financial place than other countries, and we are emerging in a better financial place too. We got through the pandemic by being there for Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear this question coming from a Conservative.
For months, the Conservative Party has been complaining about how we invest too much in Canadians and spend too much to help small businesses.
If, like us, the Conservative member takes the time this summer to meet with the small business owners in his riding, he will see that, thanks to the direct support of the federal government, the situation has been much better than it could have been. Many businesses even managed to make it through the pandemic in decent shape.
Yes, there have been a lot of losses and too many problems, but, at the same time, we have been there for one another. That is how Canadians get through the pandemic.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the Conservatives recognize that something must be done. What they can do this afternoon is vote in favour of the budget we presented.
Canadians need the extension of the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the Canada emergency rent subsidy and income support until the end of September, but the Conservatives could not care less. They continue to play their partisan games rather than choosing to help Canadians.
I really hope that they will change their minds and support the budget bill. They would be supporting Canadians, for once, at the end of the pandemic.
Mr. Speaker, the inflation rate in Canada is at a 10-year high, which means the cost of everything is going up, like food, groceries, gas and services. However, Canadian paycheques are stagnant and, worse yet, unemployment is still climbing, despite the government's massive deficit spending. Over three million Canadians are collecting unemployment benefits from the government, with young people, women and new Canadians facing the worst of it.
This is the Prime Minister's economic record, and he has presented no real plan to get Canadians back to work. Why is there no real plan?
Mr. Speaker, the plan has been very simple from the beginning: to have Canadians' backs, as much as it takes and as long as it takes, to get through this pandemic. That is exactly what we have done, despite the non-support from the Conservatives, which we will unfortunately see yet again this afternoon when they vote against extending the supports to Canadians through this summer and into the fall. They completely misunderstand that it is through supporting Canadians and small businesses with government investments that we actually come back stronger and faster. It has always been our approach to support Canadians and raise taxes on the wealthy and lower them for the middle class, which the Conservatives have voted against every day.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's budget promised to create one million jobs by the end of this month. How is that going? Has he followed through on that commitment? No. In fact, we are losing jobs, and all employment gains made by women in my lifetime have been completely wiped out. That really is the Prime Minister's record on women and employment in this country.
It is clear the government cannot be trusted to fix this economy no matter how much money it spends, so I will ask him this again. Where is the plan to secure the future for Canadians?
Mr. Speaker, the plan is in budget 2021, which is a plan to create jobs, grow the middle class and ensure long-term growth, including by extending supports to Canadians through the summer and into the fall. Unfortunately, the Conservatives will be voting against extending those benefits. That is their vision of a strong recovery.
In terms of job numbers, let us look at the stats. As of May, 81% of COVID‑19 job losses were recovered, compared with 66% in the U.S. As of May, 2.4 million jobs of the three million jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic have now been recouped.
We have more to do and more people to help, and we will do just that, despite the Conservatives' blockage.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has still failed on his commitment to create a million jobs by this month, and it is important that he remember that. Really, after a year of absolute devastation in our economy, our personal freedoms and of course in the health of Canadians, Canadians are falling further and further behind. However, again, we have seen no real plan to get our country back to work in all sectors of our economy and all demographics. Rather, the Prime Minister seems busy with scandals, corruption and picking winners and losers. He has no real plan to secure the future of Canadians, and they deserve to know this.
Why is the Prime Minister bungling our economy and its recovery so badly and leaving so many Canadians behind?
Mr. Speaker, as the Conservatives continue to resort to personal and partisan attacks, we are going to stay focused on helping Canadians. The plan we laid out to build back a stronger Canada is budget 2021, which includes investments in child care and investments in supporting workers. Right now, the budget implementation act that we will vote on this afternoon extends the supports for small businesses, workers and Canadians through the months of the summer and into the fall.
The Conservatives say they want to help Canadians, but they will be voting against extending those benefits to Canadians. They are busy attacking on a personal level and not busy taking care of Canadians. Fortunately, this government—
Mr. Speaker, throughout the session, Quebec has mobilized to demand that the Charter of the French Language apply to federally regulated businesses.
The Quebec government has introduced its Bill 96. As a reflection of the majority of Quebeckers, the National Assembly unanimously supported Bill 101 in federal workplaces. Even the House of Commons joined the consensus. This is unprecedented. The only one not on board is the Prime Minister.
Tomorrow is our national holiday. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to support our bill, which makes French the only language of work in Quebec?
Mr. Speaker, as a proud Quebecker, I look forward to celebrating the national holiday tomorrow.
I would like to wish a happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all francophones across the country who are celebrating tomorrow, especially since we all have high hopes for our Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night at the Bell Centre. We look forward to a great celebration for all of us.
Regarding the French language, we recognized in the Speech from the Throne and in our official languages bill that French must be protected across the country, including in Quebec, while protecting official language minorities across the country.
Mr. Speaker, Bill 101 is what is able to protect French in Quebec. It is the only legislation that makes French the language of work throughout Quebec. The federal Official Languages Act does not protect French—it protects bilingualism. It makes French less of an imperative in Quebec.
However, last November, the Prime Minister said that “in order for Canada to be bilingual, Quebec must first and foremost be francophone. That is why we support Bill 101 in what it does for Quebec”.
My question for the Prime Minister is simple. What has changed since November? Why does he suddenly not support Bill 101 anymore?
Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. We recognize how important it is to protect the French language in Quebec and for all francophone minority communities across the country if we want Canada to remain a bilingual country.
That is why we have brought forward an official languages reform that protects French and official language minorities across the country. That has always been our concern.
I commend the work that the Government of Quebec is doing to protect French. For our part, the Government of Canada must protect French, not just in Quebec, but across the country. That is what we are doing.
Mr. Speaker, when a significant Ebola outbreak happened in Africa, a Conservative government took decisive action and closed Canada's borders to keep us safe, in spite of protests from the Liberals. We did not send vital PPE away when we needed it, say that border measures do not work or have a WE Charity scandal.
When the Prime Minister said this morning that Canada would have reacted very differently if a Conservative government had been in charge during the pandemic, he was probably right. Instead of deflecting blame in this way, would the Prime Minister take a little accountability for some of the major policy errors that he has made over the last 18 months?
Mr. Speaker, as I have said from the beginning, in this unprecedented global crisis, in this unprecedented pandemic, we moved quickly and as best we possibly could to support Canadians. However, there were plenty of things we needed to learn from and plenty of things we could have done differently. Hopefully governments will learn and do things differently in the future.
Every step of the way, we were guided by one straightforward principle, which was that we would have Canadians' backs and that we would listen to science as we did it. That was the approach the Liberal Party took. The last Conservative government slashed science and cut supports for the most vulnerable Canadians. It would have been a very different pandemic had they been in power this time.
Mr. Speaker, he is right. We would not have let vaccine manufacturing capacity atrophy. We would not have raided vaccines from the COVAX fund. We would not have sent PPE abroad, putting our doctors and nurses at risk. We would not have given contracts to cronies while Canadians suffered.
Now, while our tourism and airline industries suffer, the Prime Minister is still pretending like everything is okay. He is subjecting Canadians to the unsafe quarantine hotel program, and he has not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions. Why?
Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but I am happy to inform the member of the opposition that in fact we have moved forward on easing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers. This is an important step in reopening our economy safely and securely and in being able to start travelling again.
I think everyone is excited to see vaccination rates rise across the country. I hope the hon. member will join with me in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, to get two doses of the vaccine, so that we can continue to progress, reopen and monitor carefully how we can keep Canadians safe through the tail end of this pandemic, while at the same time—
Mr. Speaker, to inform the Prime Minister, on behalf of the tourism industry, the airline industry, and families who are separated across borders, the hotel quarantine program, which is unsafe and unscientific, still remains.
Instead of staying at one of them, the Prime Minister went to his own special place. It is this sort of double standard and lack of accountability that is putting Canadian businesses at risk, and it is costing Canadians their mental health.
No, the Liberals have not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions, and it is their responsibility to do so. They have recommendations from an expert panel. When will the Prime Minister—
Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite looks forward to travelling again, perhaps to Oklahoma. The reality is that we have made steps, every step of the way, to both keep Canadians safe and ensure that we support our tourism industry and our travel industry, which have been so hard hit.
That is why there have been billions of dollars in support to small businesses, airlines and Canadians across the country who faced job losses because of this pandemic. We have had Canadians' backs and we will continue to, while at the same time progressing in a smart, thoughtful way to keep Canadians safe.
Mr. Speaker, it is easy for the Prime Minister to take personal shots at people. It is a lot harder for him to have empathy for Canadians who need jobs that are dependent on the tourism sector or for families who are separated across the border.
He kind of flaunted that lack of empathy when he was taking pictures with Stella McCartney. We need benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, not snarky comments from the Prime Minister.
In the best interests of Canadians, when will he be providing benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions within federal jurisdictions including border measures?
Mr. Speaker, it might be easier for people to believe the Conservatives when they talk about empathy if they had not spent much of the pandemic criticizing this government for having spent too much too quickly to support Canadians, and saying things like we should not have been supporting individual Canadians and we should have just been supporting businesses.
Every step of the way we have had Canadians' backs. We have kept people safe and we have ensured that the reopening goes as smoothly and as quickly as is safe. We will continue to monitor case numbers and vaccination levels in this country and the situation of variants of concern both here and around the world, and we will work closely with our partners as we move forward responsibly.
Mr. Speaker, the housing crisis is hitting Canada hard. Right now, only one-third of Canadians can buy a house in Canada and 20% of the houses that are being bought here are purchased by real estate companies. Why is the Prime Minister not doing something about the housing crisis by taking the necessary measures to really help people?
Mr. Speaker, since we took office in 2015, we have been addressing the issue of housing because the previous Conservative government refused to make any investments in that area.
The reality is that becoming a home owner is still out of reach for far too many people. We are moving forward and working with all levels of government to make housing more affordable. We are building new affordable housing units under programs such as the rapid housing initiative. We are expanding the first-time home buyer incentive, introducing Canada's first national tax on vacant residential properties owned by foreign non-residents and doing many other things as well.
Mr. Speaker, under the Prime Minister, the housing prices have increased more in Canada than pretty much anywhere else in the world. He also failed when it came to pharmacare. He campaigned on pharmacare in 2019 and even included it in the throne speech. When New Democrats gave him an opportunity to actually vote on it, he voted against it, siding with large, wealthy big pharma companies.
The only people that benefited were big pharma, so can the Prime Minister explain to Canadians, who are desperate to afford their medication, why he keeps siding with big pharma and hurting people?
Mr. Speaker, once again I have to remind the NDP that, on this side of the House, we side with the Constitution of Canada, which recognizes the provincial responsibility for delivering health care, but that did not stop us throughout this pandemic from being there with billions of dollars of supports for the provinces so they could give Canadians the health care support they needed.
Indeed, over the years, we have worked with the provinces to drive down the cost of drugs while at the same time moving forward on a rare disease high-cost drug strategy. We will continue to work with the provinces to make sure that nobody ever has to choose between medications and paying their rent—
Mr. Speaker, as we come to the end of this parliamentary session as well as out of the third wave, it is time to reflect on what we have accomplished this past session.
Despite the challenges, I am proud of this government and everything we did to protect Canadian families, jobs and businesses at the height of the pandemic. This government created historic programs to help Canada weather the storm, although we are not through it yet.
Could the Prime Minister please share with us how these programs have helped Canadians and what we are doing to ensure that we keep supporting businesses, the workers they employ, and the communities they serve?
Mr. Speaker, allow me to begin by thanking the member for Whitby for his extraordinary hard work on behalf of his community. Crucial programs like the emergency wage subsidy, the rent subsidy and lockdown support have helped to protect millions of jobs, and supported Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, so they can serve their communities and position Canada for a strong recovery.
Our plan to extend business supports and introduce the new Canada recovery hiring program will continue to help Canadian businesses, workers and families. We have always been there for Canadians and we will always be there for them throughout and beyond this pandemic.
Mr. Speaker, six years ago when these Liberals formed government, the Prime Minister promised sunny ways and ethical governance. Instead, Canadians got cover-ups and the most corrupt government in our country's history. What is worse is that the Prime Minister is so arrogant that he thinks he can fool Canadians. His record speaks for itself, but let us give the Prime Minister a chance here.
Can he look Canadians straight in the eye and tell them he has been the Prime Minister of good, ethical governance?
Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservatives continue to focus on partisan attacks, while we remain focused on Canadians. Today we are going to be voting on emergency supports for Canadians to help Canadian businesses and our economy recover. We know the Conservative Party opposes the budget and will be voting against those supports. Yesterday we saw over half of its caucus vote against a bill to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and late last night we saw that party vote against historic legislation in the fight against climate change.
While the Conservative Party focuses on me, we are going to stay focused on what Canadians need, and that is the support of a strong, progressive government.
Mr. Speaker, what Canadians need is an ethical Prime Minister, and they do not have one right now. He has been the Prime Minister of corruption and cover-ups twice found guilty of breaking ethics laws. He took illegal vacations to billionaire island. He interfered in the criminal prosecution of his friends at SNC-Lavalin and did everything he could to give money to his friends at the WE organization, all for his own political gain.
Under the government there have been two sets of rules: one for the Liberals and Liberal insiders; and one for the rest of Canadians. Will the Prime Minister admit that his corruption has failed Canadians and disgraced the office of Prime Minister?
Mr. Speaker, once again, it is unfortunate to see the Conservative Party spewing baseless misinformation and twisting the facts. The fact is that Canadians have had a really difficult year because of this pandemic, but this government and other orders of government have worked together to support them. I am proud of the work we have done with provinces right across the country, regardless of partisan allegiance, to deliver for Canadians.
We have stayed focused on supporting people through this pandemic, and are now focused on building back better. While Conservatives make personal attacks, we will stay focused on Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians could do with the Prime Minister spewing something. Facts would be a good place to start. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become a backdrop to his ethical breaches. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become an ATM for Liberal insiders. While Canadians are struggling and being left behind, the circle of insiders close to the Prime Minister line their pockets and are laughing all the way to the bank.
These Liberals will always help their friends to jump the queue and to get the inside track. When will the Prime Minister put the needs of Canadians first, instead of the needs of Liberal insiders?
Mr. Speaker, very few Canadians actually listen much to the Conservative Party of Canada, but it is interesting to hear Conservatives themselves not listen to the Conservative Party of Canada, because it spends half its time explaining to Canadians how this government is spending far too much in supports for workers, small businesses and Canadians to recover this economy, and the rest of the time they are saying we are not doing nearly enough to support Canadians through this pandemic.
It is no wonder Canadians wonder what the Conservative Party stands for. They know what our government stands for and it is having Canadians' backs every step of the way. That is what we have done for this pandemic, and that is what we will do through this recovery.
Mr. Speaker, I note how far he has fallen. In 2015 he said Conservatives were his neighbours and friends. In 2019 more Canadians voted for the Conservative Party than anyone else, but of course nobody is listening to the Conservatives. It sounds like the Prime Minister is not listening to Canadians, but if there is an ethics law that has been broken, the Prime Minister probably had his hand in it, and if there was a contract to be had, he gave it to a Liberal. If Liberal insiders need a bailout, members had better believe they are going to get it from the Prime Minister.
Conservatives are ready to clean up Ottawa and bring back good, ethical governance. Will the Prime Minister get out of the way and let Conservatives finally secure accountability in Ottawa?
Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for him to say “drain the swamp,” but I know that would have been in the next sentence, if we had only had a few more seconds.
While Conservative politicians opt for baseless partisan attacks, our steadfast focus is on delivering for Canadians by getting progressive bills passed. We are getting supports in the budget for Canadians. We are reaching net-zero by 2050. We are banning conversion therapy, which half the Conservative caucus voted against banning, and we are making sure web giants pay their fair share and support Canadian creators. Unfortunately, the Conservative Party is more interested in partisan attacks and misinformation than on getting the job done for Canadians.
I would just like to remind hon. members in the chamber that I would like to hear the responses and the questions. It is getting a little noisy and I am having a hard time hearing. Out of respect for everyone who does want to hear, I just ask everyone to maybe talk more quietly among themselves.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister appealed to opposition parties to be progressive and pass his bills. The opposition has enabled the passage of nine bills since June 1, including Bill C‑10, which would have died without the Bloc Québécois. Now it is the government's turn.
Sick people often need up to 50 weeks of special EI benefits. That is what our Bill C‑265 provides for. In order for it to pass, the Prime Minister has to give it a royal recommendation. Now I am appealing to his progressive nature as well as to his sense of compassion.
Will the Prime Minister grant a royal recommendation?
Mr. Speaker, we know that many Canadians suffering from a prolonged illness need more support than the 15 weeks they currently have access to through EI. That is why we made a promise during the campaign and in the throne speech to extend that support for struggling Canadians.
In budget 2021, we announced that we would extend that support for Canadians from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. We are proud to be there for people who are struggling, and we will keep working to give them all the help they need.
Mr. Speaker, it was an honour for me to be able to sit down with Émilie Sansfaçon to listen to her plea and understand the extent to which she was passionate not only about helping people like herself, but also about getting more help for people all across Canada.
That is why we introduced a bill to extend EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks for the people who need it. I know there is still more to do and we will continue to work on it, but this is a big step forward, which was important for me and for all Canadians who suffer from various illnesses.
Mr. Speaker, there is another major development in the Winnipeg lab story, once again about the individual who was fired and escorted out by the RCMP.
This morning, the National Post reported that this person had collaborated with the Chinese government on two inventions, noting that her name was listed as an inventor on two patents. Canadian law states that an individual collaborating with a foreign country must directly inform the government and seek authorization.
My question for the Prime Minister is very simple. Did his government authorize this researcher to collaborate with China, yes or no?
Mr. Speaker, I will be a good sport and acknowledge that the government finally did the right thing.
Does the Prime Minister not realize that, in doing so, he is clearly acknowledging that what happened in Winnipeg is outrageous and that Canadians who, like him, read the National Post this morning found this whole thing unacceptable? Appropriately enough, 38 million Canadians think what happened is unacceptable.
The best way to get to the bottom of things is for the government to produce the documents that the House of Commons ordered it to produce.
Why did he violate the order from the House of Commons?
Mr. Speaker, all of those unredacted documents have been provided to parliamentarians through the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, and we are currently working with the other parties to find a way to ensure both the protection of national security as well as access to information and answers to these questions.
We are very open to continuing to work with the other parties to ensure that they can do their important work.
Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to this being resolved.
The problem is that the government is not listening. The Prime Minister struck that committee, and he is the one who has the final say on what is and is not made public. That is not what I would call real parliamentary work.
Real parliamentary work involves respecting the orders that are issued here in the House, which the Prime Minister has failed to do four times.
Why should Canadians obey the laws passed in this House when the Prime Minister ignores the orders issued in this House? Has the Prime Minister thought of that?
Mr. Speaker, I know very well that the hon. member opposite takes the responsibility to protect our national security very seriously. I also know that this member would never want to see our national security systems or the people working to protect Canada in high-risk jobs, sometimes around the world, put at risk.
That is why we must always ensure, by sharing and allowing parliamentarians to do their job, that we protect national security at the same time. We proposed several ways of doing these two things while ensuring transparency for parliamentarians and protecting national security.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Marc‑Aurèle‑Fortin for that excellent question. I also want to wish all Quebeckers a very happy national holiday.
Our Bill C‑32 would ensure real equality between our two official languages. Whether we are talking about strengthening French in our federal institutions, helping francophones receive services in French or ensuring that Supreme Court justices are bilingual, we are doing our part to promote French across the country, including in Quebec, while protecting language minority communities across Canada.
Mr. Speaker, an illegal trip to a billionaire's island, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, a million dollars to friends at the WE charity, a three-year cover-up of sexual misconduct allegations in the Canadian Armed Forces, and now stories about hundreds of thousands of dollars of contracts to one of the Prime Minister's closest personal friends. Under his leadership, ethics investigations have to be numbered. The day the Prime Minister's third judgment came out, Bill Morneau's second came out.
Leadership starts at the top so I want to ask, leader to leader: Does the Prime Minister feel that his personal ethical conduct sets a bad example for the members of Parliament on his team?
Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that in the midst of a global pandemic, in the midst of challenges Canadians are facing, whether it is climate change, which the Conservative Party continues to deny; whether it is systemic racism, which the Conservative Party continues to deny, or supports for Canadians, which I think the Conservatives are going to be voting against in the upcoming budget vote, they have been focused more on political partisan attacks and personal attacks than they have on supporting Canadians.
Leadership is about being there for Canadians and that is something that we have done from the very beginning. We said that we would have Canadians' backs through this pandemic. That is exactly what we have had. We will have their backs as we move forward and beyond this pandemic to build back better.
Mr. Speaker, personal attacks? All I am asking is for the Prime Minister of Canada to follow the law. Is it too much now, after six years, that I ask the leader of this country to simply obey the laws of this country? The only backs he has had consistently as Prime Minister are those of friends of his family, close insiders and connected lobbyists. There is one lineup for the friends of the Prime Minister on the Liberalist and there is another lineup for everyday Canadians who are struggling.
It is time to restore accountability. Will the Prime Minister commit to never again break the law?
Mr. Speaker, once again, we see what Conservatives are focused on. We see they are focused on personal attacks, on partisan attacks, on spreading mud as broadly as they can to try to see what sticks, while we, on this side of the House, stay focused on supports for Canadians, on delivering the necessary supports for students, for seniors, for workers, on being there for small businesses with the CEBA, the wage subsidy and on making sure Canadians are properly supported through this pandemic and into the recovery. At the same time, Conservatives kept screaming at us every step of the way that we were spending too—
Mr. Speaker, it is sad when the Prime Minister refers to three reports, investigations issued by the Ethics Commissioner of this country, as throwing mud. Those were investigations into the conduct of the Prime Minister. He has failed time after time on an ethical standard. Canadians want leadership; they want accountability. He is now forcing his MPs to pay his friend's company. He is now putting his unethical conduct at the core of the Liberal government. Canadians deserve accountability, transparency and ethics. That is what they will get from a Conservative government.
Mr. Speaker, Canadians want politicians to be focused on them, on their needs, and that is what we have done every step of the way. The Conservative Party never looks further than an opportunity to attack, to break down, to undermine and to spread baseless allegations.
We instead will do as we have always done, which is to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of being there for Canadians, of getting through this historic pandemic and building back better so everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. Let him continue to focus on me. I will continue to focus on Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I am so proud. In this Parliament alone, we have brought forward legislation to end the harmful practice of anti-LGBTQ2 conversion therapy, reach net-zero emissions by 2050, support Canadian content creators, address systemic racism in our justice system and provide Canadians record supports during the pandemic.
Time and time again, the Conservative Party has shown its true colours and chosen partisan delay tactics over progress for Canadians.
Can the Prime Minister please provide an update on the important legislation passed in this House?
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Davenport for her tremendously strong work in her community.
The member is absolutely correct. We have been moving forward progressive legislation to support Canadians and build a greener, more inclusive Canada. Just yesterday, this House passed legislation to ban conversion therapy. Unfortunately, over half the Conservative caucus refused to support the LGBT community and voted against it. Late last night, we passed historic legislation in the fight against climate change and all of the Conservative Party members voted against that.
On this side of the House, we will keep fighting for Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, the fact that seniors and our loved ones in long-term care bore the brunt of this pandemic is a national shame. People are outraged at the conditions in long-term care, but not surprised because these conditions were there long before the pandemic. The pandemic simply exposed those horrible conditions. The Prime Minister said that this is an important issue, but has not done anything to make people's lives better.
Why has the Prime Minister not acted on this vital issue to protect seniors by removing profit from long-term care, by establishing national standards of best practices? Why has he not acted?
Mr. Speaker, again the NDP promotes a dangerous sort of cynicism to believe that absolutely nothing has been done. I recognize there is more to do, but we have delivered on our promise to increase old age security for Canadians aged 75 plus. We will issue seniors a one-time, $500 payment in August and increase their OAS by 10% in July of 2022.
We will also create a new “age well at home” initiative to fund senior-led community groups that help seniors age at home, and we will invest $3 billion to support provinces and territories to ensure that the standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made. We will continue on this side of the House to support seniors.
While I have members' attention, I think members will agree that this has been a most unusual time for us all. For more than a year, we and our fellow Canadians have faced a number of challenges, and I know there will be more to come.
As we prepare to focus on our families and our constituents, I want to take a moment to thank all those who have made it possible for us to continue our work during this pandemic.
On behalf of all members, I want to sincerely thank the employees of the House of Commons administration, without whom we would not have been able to continue our work. They include the interpreters, the technical support team, maintenance staff, the clerks and pages, members of the Parliamentary Protective Service and the broadcasting team. They made it possible for us to do our jobs safely and confidently.
All of us, members and those who support them, have earned a pause. I wish everyone a safe and restful summer and time to connect with their loved ones.
Mr. Speaker, as we are approaching the end of our session for the summer, I note that there are four outstanding questions of privilege.
There is a question of privilege from the member for Timmins—James Bay, in relation to the government ignoring a House order regarding taking indigenous children to court.
There is a question of privilege from the member for Carleton, regarding the government's inflation tax; and from the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, regarding the ethics committee and the fact that the government has ordered staff there to disobey the order to appear.
Then, of course, there was a question of privilege from our opposition House leader as well, related to the documents related to the Winnipeg lab, after the appearance at the bar by the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada on Monday.
While I appreciate that obviously you, Mr. Speaker, have to have some deliberations on some of them, and that is understandable, in particular the one from the opposition House leader, I would note, first of all, that there is some new information that has come to light, which is that the government has now filed an order in Federal Court with you as the defendant, Mr. Speaker, where the government is seeking to have those records and those documents sealed so that they can be hidden from Canadians. That obviously adds a very significant element of timeliness to this. When we have that being done by the government and the government has gone to that length to actually go to the Federal Court against you, Mr. Speaker, to try to see those documents sealed so that they cannot be seen by Canadians, that would add a very important element of timeliness to this.
I do believe that, on that question of privilege in particular, it does seem like there is a pretty clear set of facts there. You brought the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada to the bar and you admonished him. The documents were supposed to come with him. They did not. That is very clear. That is a very clear set of facts and very well established. We now have the government going to court to try to seal those documents, and that is shameful. I would think that there is very clear evidence there that we do have a prima facie case, so I would have expected us to see a ruling from you prior to the summer adjournment of Parliament.
Therefore, I just want to ask a three-part question so that we can get some clarity on where things are at with these questions of privilege.
Will you, Mr. Speaker, be delivering a ruling now, particularly on that question of privilege, given the timeliness of that matter, and on the other questions of privilege as well that I have raised here? If not, can you tell the House why not? In addition, what would happen with those questions of privilege should the government, as has been very widely speculated, go ahead and dissolve Parliament for an election? What would happen then to those questions of privilege?
I certainly hope, given that the government has now gone to Federal Court against you as the defendant, Mr. Speaker, trying to seal documents, that you will deliver a ruling prior to the summer. Could you answer those questions, please?
I want to thank the hon. member for his question, and it certainly is a fair question.
Unfortunately, over the last week, the amount of resources required from the clerks and me has limited the resources that we have to put to the points of order and the questions of privilege.
One of the things I have prided myself on in being here is putting out a well-thought-out response that merits the position that I am in. One of the things that I did not want to do is to rush through that with limited resources and give a ruling that was not up to the level that is expected by members and that members have been used to.
Therefore, should Parliament dissolve today, I will not be able to do it right away. It will be done at the next sitting of the House, whenever that does happen, and we will have something that is very robust, something that makes sense and something that all members can have confidence in.
Mr. Speaker, in relation to the last question I had, I have more of a point of clarification than anything.
First, what would happen with those points of privilege should the government choose to dissolve this Parliament and go to an election? Would those points of privilege carry forward into the next Parliament?
Second, what bearing does the fact that the government has applied to the Federal Court to have those documents sealed have on this? Does that change anything about this point of privilege and about your ruling? Are you concerned about the fact that the government has applied to have those documents sealed and the effect that would have on this place and its ability to follow through on its orders?
It is a very serious matter when a government is taking the Speaker of the House of Commons to Federal Court in order to try to seal documents so that it can avoid being held accountable to Canadians. That is something that we all must take incredibly seriously in this place, because the very heart of democracy is at stake.
I want to thank the member for Banff—Airdrie. I just want to make sure that we got everything the way it should be and that the answer is correct.
The points of privilege and the points of order will be carried over, and it will be up to the Speaker at the time to look at it and take all the information as it evolves and make a decision at that time. I would not want to take that away from whoever the next Speaker is.
On the second point, we were told by the government House leader. He announced it in the chamber, and it is in the process. We will be taking that under consideration as we proceed.
Mr. Speaker, to be honest, I could not believe it when I learned a few minutes ago that the government is preventing the House of Commons from enforcing an order that it itself gave. That is what is happening here.
We can understand that people have different views on some things, which is all part of public debate. However, an order of the House always remains an order of the House. It boggles the mind that the Government of Canada is challenging an order in court.
Mr. Speaker, you are a member of Parliament and our representative in this court case the government has filed against the House of Commons. Can you tell us what your position will be?
I thank the hon. member for adding his comments, which I will take into consideration before I respond. As I said earlier, I am not prepared to make a ruling that is not well-thought-out and official. If the hon. member consults my previous rulings, I think he will agree with me that they are well-thought-out, fact-based and good-faith rulings. That is something I will continue to do.
I will therefore come back to the House if something happens. However, since I cannot predict the future, I will, for now, go ahead with scheduled business.
The hon. member for Louis‑Saint‑Laurent on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, we sometimes agree with your rulings and we sometimes disagree. That is perfectly fine. We have full confidence in your rulings, which are based on the facts, on jurisprudence and on past events.
However, my question was not about the Chair's ruling on our request. My question was about the legal proceedings filed by the Liberal government. The Speaker is named in the court order and is to testify on Monday about a matter involving the Government of Canada versus the House of Commons. As far as I know, this is the first time this has ever happened. On a side note, I must say that this is reminiscent of what happened in the United States in 1974 at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
We could even go so far as to say that this is a conflict of interest because, to my knowledge, the government is also part of the House of Commons and yet it is applying to the court to have the documents sealed when an order of the House requires that they be made public and tabled in the House.
I clearly believe that the House of Commons must defend this institution. The House of Commons must respect the work of parliamentarians. The House of Commons must act in accordance with the orders that it voted on. As a result, I would ask the Chair to clearly defend the rights of parliamentarians and the House of Commons in the case involving the government versus the House of Commons. To my knowledge, this is the first time this has happened. As a parliamentarian, I think it is very strange and dangerous that the government would dare to seek a court remedy against an order of the House of Commons. It is completely unacceptable.
The question remains the same: If the government does not obey the orders of the House of Commons, why would Canadians obey the laws passed by the House of Commons?
I would like to remind the member that the Chair considers the rights of the House to be very important and will continue to defend them. That is something that I take very seriously.
The facts are now in the hands of the law clerk, and we will continue to proceed in that manner. The member is right in saying that the rights of the House of Commons are very important. We will continue to protect them.
Mr. Speaker, I have a very short intervention on this point. I believe that the issue in front of us regarding privilege and regarding your ruling earlier this week in finding a prima facie case of privilege with respect to the government's failure to obey the June 2 order of the House as well as the new information that has come to light today that the federal government has gone to court to seal the documents ordered by the House on June 2 and last week is a matter of public interest.
This is a matter of serious public interest and a matter of consequential public interest. This matter concerns the rights and privileges of the House guaranteed under our Constitution. As we move forward to adjournment today, as per the House schedule, and we go into the summer, I ask that you would keep that in mind, Mr. Speaker, as this situation unfolds, that this is a matter of urgent and serious public interest.
Mr. Speaker, as the defender of all our rights and privileges here, I know it is not an easy task. However, part of the way this institution works is that if members experience where their privileges have been violated, it is incumbent upon those members to immediately raise it with the Speaker at the earliest opportunity.
Obviously with the clock being what it is, it is a principle that the Speaker should prioritize, that by the order being defied by the government by not bringing those documents, immediately all our rights and privileges have been violated. I believe it is up to you, as Speaker, to immediately respond.
The fact that the government has now moved to an outside court rather than dealing with us here indicates to me that the government is attempting to stall by going to another tactic.
I would ask sincerely that you, Mr. Speaker, please defend the House, please defend the order that has been given by the House, and please report back to the House as soon as possible. In the same way that you would encourage us to bring it to your attention, we are asking you to bring your ruling to us, not at just some indeterminate time in the future. I would appreciate it if you would bring it today.
I want to thank the hon. member for his intervention. Unfortunately, these things do not happen instantaneously. The papers were delivered. We do have to take some steps. There is some time. I want him to know that we will do it as soon as possible. As soon as we have an answer and we can come back to the chamber, there will be an answer.
Mr. Speaker, what has been presented today, particularly with the government taking the action of bringing the matter before the Federal Court of Canada, I would like, and perhaps you have said this, to see it fully on the record that you will be taking the position on behalf of the Parliament of Canada, as Speaker of the House and defender of the rights and privileges of members of the House, to vigorously represent those interests in the Federal Court of Canada against those of the government seeking to thwart the will of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, I want to make a comment about this whole issue that has been before the House. I was so pleased with your actions on it, as were my constituents. I know this is a great blow to the sense, again, of credibility of the place in which I am so proud to sit. I would ask that you, please, do everything you can to expedite this response that we need for the people of Canada to know this place has the authority with which it has been invested, and that your response would be coming forward very quickly to them to let them know that what we do in this place actually matters.
Once again, I want to remind all the members that the process is very important. We want to ensure that the right steps are taken and the right decisions are taken. Rushing into something just to get an answer is not something that I intend to do. I want to ensure we have the right answer that fits the situation and of which all members could be proud, including myself.
The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House: (a) in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, when the House adjourns on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, it shall stand adjourned until Friday, October 1, 2021, provided that, for the purposes of any standing order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Thursday, September 30, 2021; (b) documents deposited pursuant to Standing Order 32(1) on July 21, 2021 and August 18, 2021 shall be deposited with the Clerk of the House electronically; and (c) following Routine Proceedings later this day, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 20, 2021, pursuant to Standing Order 28.
Mr. Speaker, we are still reeling from the shock of the recent announcement about how the government is going to court against the House of Commons. As such, we would like some time to consider the motion the government leader just moved, which we agreed upon initially. However, that was before the events that just transpired. We will get back to you shortly.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations among the parties and, given concerns around the delta variant, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, the provisions in paragraph (q) of the order adopted on Monday, January 25, concerning the proceedings of standing, standing joint, special and legislative committees, delays on committees as well as any of their subcommittees, shall remain in effect: (i) between Friday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 29; (ii) between Friday, July 16 and Friday, August 20; and (iii) between Monday, September 13 and Sunday, September 19, provided that any requests made under the provisions of Standing Order 106(4) shall be signed by any four members of the committee who together represent at least two recognized parties.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. For the last sitting of this session, it is most fitting for this Parliament to adopt a motion on the PS752 tragedy. There have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That (a), the House: (i) express its unwavering support and continue its efforts to demonstrate full solidarity with the families and loved ones of the victims of flight PS752; (ii) express its profound disappointment that Iran's final report into flight PS752 made no effort to provide facts about the sequence of events on the day this tragedy transpired and deem the report fundamentally incomplete as it contains glaring omissions and completely fails to adhere to the prescribed standards and recommended practices set out in annex 13 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation; (iii) reiterate that the families and loved ones of the victims are entitled to full and comprehensive answers from Iran about all material facts concerning flight PS752; and (iv) request that the chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada table an independent assessment of Iran's draft final report; and (b) in the opinion of the House, the government must continue to: (i) hold Iran to account by insisting that it assume full responsibility and make full reparations for the harm it has caused the families and loved ones of the victims of flight PS752; (ii) demand that Iran produce a comprehensive and transparent investigation in accordance with international standards; and (iii) uphold our solemn obligation to exhaust all available options in bilateral and multilateral fora to ensure that Iran fully discharges its obligations to permit the families and loved ones of the victims of flight PS752 to obtain transparency, accountability and justice.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents have great concern about the ruling you have made, or have not made, as far as disclosure events. I would like you to consider more clarity as far as what we tell our constituents back home, which is that the House is under-resourced to respond to the government's actions against it so we cannot respond properly. This is something that we are going to have to bear for some time going forward.
I urge you to take urgent action to respond to this as quickly as possible, no matter what it takes from a resource perspective. This is something that demands the House, i.e., you as the House's representative, take care of what the government has put in front of you with all the resources you can muster immediately.
That is in process, I want to assure hon. members.
I wanted to consult with our legal team and I had the clerk check. I want to confirm that the argument is that the legal system does not have any jurisdiction over the operations of the House. We are our own jurisdiction. That is something we will fight tooth and nail to protect, and we will continue to do that.
It being 3:45 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-269 under Private Members' Business.
The House resumed from June 16 consideration of the motion to concur in the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development regarding sanctions imposed by the People's Republic of China.
Pursuant to the order adopted on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
Mr. Speaker, I was having technical problems, not with the vote we just had, but with the previous vote on the motion moved by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. I would like to change my vote and vote in favour of the motion.
There have been consultations, and if you seek it, I hope you will find consent for the following motion: That the House call on the government to take all necessary action, including recalling the House during the summer adjournment, in order to pass new emergency legislation to reverse the $800 cut to the monthly Canada recovery benefit which is set to begin on July 17, 2021.
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.
Mr. Speaker, I want to rise to humbly thank all of the House of Commons staff.
As everyone knows, the pandemic forced us to change our way of doing things and to reinvent everything. The House services demonstrated a great deal of resourcefulness and flexibility when putting in place the hybrid version of the House of Commons.
For that to happen, the rules of the House of Commons had to be rewritten, and a completely virtual Parliament had to be set up in both official languages. That was a massive undertaking. Thanks to everyone's efforts, we were able to participate in debates in the House, hold regular committee and caucus meetings and vote remotely. In my opinion, this is a model for everyone.
I would like to give special thanks to our interpreters. The process of setting up the virtual part of the House and committee proceedings was particularly difficult for them. The interpreters have had to deal with some serious challenges since the virtual and hybrid sittings began, including technical issues, sound quality issues and, of course, long hours. On behalf of myself, the entire government team and the entire Liberal team, I thank them for the absolutely outstanding work they have been doing since September. They can now take a well-deserved rest.
I also want to thank the Speaker and his team, as well as all House employees and staff working in ministers' offices and in the offices of MPs from all parties.
Lastly, I want to give special thanks to my fellow House leaders from the other parties. We do not always see eye to eye, but we have managed to build a relationship of trust. We have found ways to work collaboratively, of course, in a respectful and sometimes jovial manner. I wish each and every one of them a wonderful summer. I hope everyone is able to rest and spend quality time with their families.
I hope everyone will return to the House in good health.
Mr. Speaker, it has truly been one heck of a crazy year. To all the people who have worked here, I know we have felt every ounce of it some days.
I would like to carry on with the words of the the House leader.
I very much want to thank all the people who have made the job of the House of Commons work. I especially thank the clerks, the women and gentlemen, at the table who have helped us through so many different things.
To you, Mr. Speaker, and to all the Deputy Speakers in the House, thank you very much for your commitment to the House and to the democracy we hold in this place.
Of course, this job includes pages. For the many pages here today and throughout this session, it has been a very difficult time for them.
With respect to the interpreters, we have heard a lot of things from our interpreters. Whether it is “move your boom down” so they can understand what we are saying or whatever it may be, I thank the many interpreters who have helped not only in the chamber but in our committees as well to ensure the work we do is done as well.
To all the IT staff, we have probably learned a lot more about Zoom than we ever thought we would have to know, including knowing when to turn the audio off and on. I thank everybody who has been so patient with so many of the members as we have been learning about this.
Of course, this place is safe because of the people whom we have here for public safety. Therefore, a special thanks to the PPS. I know I definitely have my favourites, and Norma is in the lobby today. We have some great people working here.
With respect to the food services, many of us would not enjoy this job as much if food services were not here. I thank them so much for helping us out and keeping us nourished.
To all the staff in the administration and the staff who work in each of our offices on the Hill and in our constituency offices, this is one big place to work in, and I very much thank everybody who makes it work so well.
Mr. Speaker, the session is coming to a close and, if we are to believe the rumours, Parliament may be about to end.
No matter what happens, I would like to remind everyone, all parties and all nations, that we work for the common good. It may be that some have doubts about the good faith of the players, as if they were setting the stage for something to come. Whatever the case and with a positive outlook, I will be bringing my plants home, just in case I am away for a long while.
From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Bloc Québécois's elected members and teams, I thank the House of Commons staff—the officers, cafeteria staff, pages, the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers—for their care and outstanding work. I have a special thought for the interpreters, who were dealt a difficult hand by the pandemic and all the malfunctions we have had.
Let us make the most of it and let us all come back this fall. The Bloc Québécois is ready to contribute and to return in even greater numbers to the House.
Finally, I would like to wish our first nations brothers and sisters a summer of reconciliation, and hope that francophones everywhere will have a great Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Above all, I want to wish a happy national holiday to the nation that will be recognized in the next Constitution.
To my fellow leaders and to everyone else, whether or not our summer recess is cut short, I hope it is most enjoyable. Also, let us hope that Montreal wins the Stanley Cup.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to express appreciation on behalf of the NDP caucus and the member for Burnaby South for all those who have made a difference, and are making a difference, throughout this pandemic Parliament.
Fifteen months and 10 days ago, I rose in the House of Commons, on March 13, 2020, as you will recall, Mr. Speaker, to speak, as we suspended for what we thought would be a few weeks due to the COVID pandemic. Those few weeks have turned into over 15 months as we struggle through this unprecedented health crisis.
Fifteen months later, we mourn the loss of over 26,000 Canadians who have lost their lives through this terrible pandemic. Through it all, Canadians have rightfully paid tribute to the incredible courage and determination of health care workers across Canada, of doctors, of nurses, some of whom sacrificed their lives. We pay tribute to first responders and front-line workers, because we acknowledge they are helping all Canadians as we endeavour to get through this terrible pandemic.
Today we express our gratitude to all the people who made Parliament work during the pandemic. The technical support team proved that it is possible to have more than 300 MPs in a hybrid Parliament. Democracy carried on despite the pandemic.
We also extend sincere thanks to the clerks, including André Gagnon, who is retiring today.
We are very grateful to the administrators, analysts, drivers, pages, technicians, security guards, cleaning and maintenance staff and restaurant staff for their dedication during the crisis.
We cannot thank the interpreters and translators enough. In an officially bilingual Parliament, their work is essential. We know their working conditions were extremely difficult, even hazardous to their health, and their dedication is greatly appreciated. We also wish interpretation manager Sylvie Scott a happy retirement.
While we are thanking those who have made a difference through this pandemic, we must, of course, include MP staff from all parties, ministerial staff and public servants across Canada. I thank them for the sacrifices they have made during this pandemic.
Despite political spin, and I ask where Ottawa would be without political spin, the reality is that this pandemic has shown that 338 MPs have worked well together. We have met that high bar Canadians set to ensure their elected representatives work together in times of crisis. We have so much still to do to build a society where no one is left behind. The NDP caucus hopes to be back at work in Ottawa as soon as possible to continue that essential work in Parliament.
In the meantime, we wish the Speaker, all members of Parliament, their staff and their families health and safety in the coming weeks, as we continue to do the work on behalf of Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Elder Abuse: Identifying the Issue and Combatting All Types of Abuse”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee is requesting the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I will take this moment to thank all of the members of the justice committee for working so tirelessly on the great work they have done. I thank the analysts, the clerk and the tech teams for all of their hard work to keep us going.
I am rising virtually to ask for unanimous consent to make a few short remarks in tabling an NDP supplemental report to the justice committee's report on elder abuse just tabled by our very able chair, the member for Mississauga—Erin Mills.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on the report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, of which I am a member.
I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to make a few remarks. I have tabled a supplementary report, and I would like to outline the basis for it, if my colleagues in the House do not object.
He said: Mr. Speaker, today I am formally introducing my private member's bill to establish a national strategy on brain injuries. Brain injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere, and they can permanently alter people's lives in a split second.
June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada, a time when national, provincial and local associations run campaigns to increase awareness about brain injury, the obstacles that exist and the need for more services and support during recovery.
The bill I am introducing today would require the Minister of Health, in consultation with provincial governments, indigenous groups and other relevant stakeholders, to develop a national strategy to support brain injury prevention and treatment. The strategy would include measures to promote preventative measures, identify training, promote research and data collection, and create national guidelines on the prevention, diagnosis and management of brain injuries.
There are more Canadians living with an acquired brain injury than those living with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries and breast cancer combined. It is my hope that a national strategy will coordinate efforts of our dedicated health care workers and help Canadians who are living with brain injuries.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
He said: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce Bill S-211, an act to establish international mother language day throughout Canada on February 21 each year.
Our country is blessed with great diversity. Protecting, preserving and celebrating the cultural importance of mother languages enriches that diversity, especially the more than 60 aboriginal languages spoken in Canada.
I would like to recognize Mr. Aminul Islam of Surrey, a tireless advocate to establish this day in Canada; Senator Mobina Jaffer of British Columbia, who sponsored the bill in the other place; and my colleague, the hon. member for Surrey Centre, who graciously seconded this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
He said: Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today on behalf of Bill S-222, an act to amend the Income Tax Act.
What this bill would do is fix a problem due to the archaic legislation in the Income Tax Act that restricts the ability of Canadian charities to do good work around the world. By reducing bureaucracy and redundancy, this bill will seek to provide greater accountability while also giving charities in Canada the ability to do greater work, unfettered by excessive regulation and bureaucracy.
Once again, it gives me great pleasure to introduce this bill, and I hope all members will support it.
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should designate the month of September, every year, as national recovery awareness month to recognize and support Canadians recovering from addiction and to demonstrate that recovery from addiction is possible, attainable and sustainable.
Mr. Speaker, first let me say that it is always a pleasure to rise in this august chamber on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. I wish it was under different circumstances.
To all of the parties that supported the creation of the Canada-China special committee, I thank them. It has opened a door into a world that we often have failed to see. There are a number of things the Communist Chinese government has for its own goals. I am reminded of a phrase that I heard recently: We do not understand a system until it has been exploited. Many systems within this great country have been undermined in many cases by the Communist Chinese government, whether through cyber-espionage or in other fashions. There has also been the unlawful detainment of our citizens in a process that could only be explained as lawful by a dictatorship.
I am particularly concerned that as we point a finger at these authoritarian countries, we should always be aware of how we run our own ship of state here at home. I am going to speak briefly about the importance of responsible government.
When we talk about the rule of law, it is important that as a rule-of-law country we support it, but responsible government actually predates Canada as a Confederation. In responsible government the executive, fused in the legislative body of the people, must ultimately carry the support of the members of the chamber. When this chamber passed a motion in response to the Public Health Agency of Canada denying information that was requested and passed by the Canada-China relations committee, it violated an order of that committee given a particular purview of the House.
The members of that committee, even Liberal members, asked for some accountability from the Public Health Agency and from the minister responsible, and they received none. They brought those concerns to this chamber and, after multiple efforts to bring that agency into alignment, a motion was passed in this chamber requiring a public servant to come to the bar, as we well know, to be admonished.
In my mind, there is still the troubling matter of the other half of the order, which was to have those documents submitted to the House. As I rose earlier today, I indicated my displeasure with the government going to the Federal Court. If we are to have responsible government in this country, the government, which is fused at the hip to Parliament and to this House, must recognize that when a lawful order is given, requiring it cannot be circumvented. It cannot be misaligned, and it cannot be diverted away by appealing to another court of law. Parliament, in its own matters, remains supreme.
I am sure there will be many arguments made by the government saying all sorts of things, whether in the public space, in Federal Court or in the House, but let me remind the government that responsible government requires it to be subject to something greater than its own authority. It is not the authority outside this chamber that it should ultimately recognize, but the authority granted by the Canadian people to the House. I hope the Speaker will protect those things. I know he said he would and he will do it with due diligence, but I have to again publicly admonish the government for its approach to treating this chamber, the voice of the people, with such contempt.
I know there are many things on the minds of many of us as we start to think of the summer and have heard rumours of an election. We need to preserve the underpinnings of our great system, responsible government and the rule of law. We need to always stand up for those things, and we should always bear in mind that we must first emulate those principles.
Last, I would also encourage the Prime Minister to listen to the Leader of the Opposition when he asks questions about ethical government. Those are things that the government would be well served to consider more often.