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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 027

CONTENTS

Thursday, November 5, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 027
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Veterans' Week

    Mr. Speaker, on February 18, 1943, squadron leader Alfred Brenner of Toronto was flying off the coast of the Netherlands when he and his crew spotted an enemy convoy consisting of five destroyers. Rather than peeling away and calling for reinforcements, squadron leader Brenner attacked low over the waves, dropping a torpedo that successfully hit a 5,000-tonne enemy vessel. Facing heavy fire, their plane was shot down, but not before they sent an SOS. Alone in dangerous waters with a life raft and few resources, Alfred and his crew sent another call for rescue by sending a messenger pigeon that they had taken from their aircraft. After two long days at sea, Allied forces picked them up in a daring rescue mission. For his bravery, squadron leader Brenner received Britain's Distinguished Flying Cross.
    In the face of danger, Alfred and his crew chose to be brave. They chose to put their own lives on the line for the greater good. It is no wonder his citation reads, “this officer has displayed the greatest keenness and devotion to duty.”

[Translation]

    At the beginning of this Veterans' Week, we remember heroes like Squadron Leader Brenner whose actions reflect the courage of so many men and women in uniform. We pay tribute to all those who risked their lives for our freedom, including the eight brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces who lost their lives in the line of duty this year. We honour their memory and we will always remember them.
    This year, on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we recognize how lucky we are to live in a county like ours because of the sacrifice, service and perseverance of those who lived through this terrible war. They endured the loss of brothers, sisters and friends but, even so, they found hope and compassion for one another.
    Over the decades, they continued to pave the way for building a better world and serving the common good. It is that same sense of duty and sacrifice that led our armed forces to participate in multiple peacekeeping missions, particularly in Korea and Afghanistan.
    When we need them, our men and women in uniform are always ready to come to the rescue. Recently, they showed their selflessness by protecting and helping our most vulnerable citizens, seniors living in long-term care facilities.
    Their action and their commitment to Canadian values are a reflection of the best of our country.

[English]

    Our veterans served Canada with honour and valour right across this country and all around the world. They stepped up for us, and now it is time for us to do the same for them.
    We do not need to wonder how we will rise to the moment, because we need only look around Canada to see the answer. We see it in young people getting groceries for older veterans to keep them safe. We see it in front-line workers, who, after hours of standing on tired feet, never give up as they care for our parents and grandparents, the last members of the greatest generation. We have seen it in the crew of the HMCS Fredericton and the members of the Snowbirds, brave women and men who, even after tragedy, continue to show us what service and sacrifice mean.

[Translation]

    As we mark Veterans’ Week, we will be thinking of those who have served with honour and courage. May we be inspired by the ideals they held dear, and let us all work together, alongside our veterans, to build a better world.

[English]

     Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today as both a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and a parliamentarian to speak for a moment about Veterans' Week and our collective duty to remember the service and sacrifice of our fellow citizens. It is an honour because Canada's Parliament is both literally and figuratively built upon the sacrifice of the generations who came before us.
    Many Canadians recognize the iconic tower of Parliament as the Peace Tower, but its full name is the Tower of Victory and Peace. It was rebuilt following a fire during the Great War, and it was built to honour our fallen. Now, being Canadians, over the years we modestly omitted the “victory” part, but let us never forget that the peace symbolized in this building came as a result of tremendous Canadian sacrifice, achieving victories far from our shores.
    The Tower of Victory and Peace is the physical body of our parliamentary democracy, but Canada's soul can be found inside the tower, in the Memorial Chamber.
    The Memorial Chamber contains stones from all of the major battlefields of Europe. It has brass plaques and markings forged from battlefield artillery casings. It also contains our most hallowed library: the Books of Remembrance. Each day, pages of the Books of Remembrance are gently and respectfully turned in a ceremony that honours our fallen. These are pages with thousands of names of Canadians who most of us will have never met but to whom all of us owe so much.
    If it seems as though I am giving a guided virtual tour of Parliament Hill on some of the ways that Parliament commemorates the service and sacrifice of Canada's veterans, it is because I am giving a virtual tour in a year that we are living virtually.

  (1010)  

[Translation]

     Our commemorations will be different this year. They will show greater solidarity, while being more personal. The places we normally gather to remember will be closed, and we will be far from our brothers in arms and their military family. We shall remember the courage shown by these men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure we could live in a country at peace.

[English]

    Across the nation, for the first time in a century, there will be no parades of remembrance. Many cenotaphs will not have ceremonies, and others may only have 10 participants where we once saw hundreds or thousands. From the National War Memorial in Ottawa to the smallest cenotaphs in the towns and hamlets of this country, services of remembrance will not look or feel the same this year.
    Therefore, I am challenging Canadians to show their commitment to remembering our veterans and those who serve in new ways: memory, remembrance and respect. These are not physical actions anyway; they are emotional acts that we can dedicate ourselves to upholding during a year when Canadians have dedicated themselves to adapting and persevering through very challenging times
     Canadians can remember a fallen relative or Canadian hero in their prayers, reflections or on social media. They can respect the sacrifice of those who came before us by wearing a poppy, even if they are the only people who see it. They can learn about our history, our military heritage and the incredible stories of bravery of our men and women in uniform. They should think about the thousands of Canadians serving in uniform today at home and abroad. They are serving for the same reasons Canadians have served for more than a century: They believe in this country and what it represents.
    I will use my remaining time to remember and honour one name in the Memorial Chamber that I think of each November 11 and some other Canadians whose names will soon be inscribed on Canada's soul, our Books of Remembrance, when it reopens after the pandemic.
     On page 214 of the book In the Service of Canada is the name of a woman from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, who I met on my first full day in the military at boot camp in Chilliwack in 1991. Juli-Ann MacKenzie was an exceptional Canadian and was loved by all who met her. She was a piper, a patriot. As a kid, Juli-Ann dreamed of becoming a pilot and that is exactly what she did. She became a great pilot. She served on Sea King helicopters before being posted to fly in the Griffon out of Goose Bay, Labrador.
    She was on a search-and-rescue mission on July 18, 2002, when her Griffon crashed. The crew in the back survived because of the dedicated actions of the pilot, Juli-Ann. While I cannot physically view her name in the Books of Remembrance this week because of the pandemic, I can tell her story and make sure more Canadians learn the story of service and sacrifice of my friend Juli-Ann MacKenzie. Memory is an emotion; it is not an action.
     We have lost Canadians to service during this pandemic, and while their names are not yet in the Memorial Chamber, I can honour them in this chamber.
    Canadians remember, as the Prime Minister said, those who died in the tragic Cyclone helicopter crash in the Mediterranean: Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, from Trois-Rivières, Quebec; Captain Kevin Hagen, from Nanaimo, British Columbia; Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia; Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, from Toronto, Ontario; Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, from Guelph, Ontario; and Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, from Truro, Nova Scotia.
    Tragedy struck when Canada's iconic Snowbirds were performing Operation Inspiration across our country to lift our spirits. An accident led to the loss of Captain Jennifer Casey, from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    Just last week, Canadians mourned the loss of Corporal James Choi from Vancouver, British Columbia.
    

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

    As a veteran, I always felt that the next verse of this poem personalized the loss of our fallen so much more. They are the sons and daughters of Canada, and for those in the military they are the friends we trust our lives with, the comrades we laugh loudest with, the brothers and sisters we love and hope desperately to return home safe with. The next verse evokes those feelings:
    

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

    I know there are veterans across Canada who may be struggling with the invisible wounds of service during this unique remembrance week. I know they may feel alone when thinking of their laughing comrades. This pandemic has put a pause to the traditions that bind us. It has robbed us of our capacity to see our friends who suffer from operational stress injuries. I know that families feel hollow looking at the empty seats at their dinner tables.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    I know there are veterans across Canada who are suffering from service-related invisible injuries.
    I know many of you might feel as though you are alone, but you are never alone. We are with you. Your country is with you.

[English]

    I want veterans to know that they are not alone. They have a grateful nation with them. They have friends and comrades that want them to reach out. They have supports. They are loved and we are all here for them. They are going to get through this week, just as our country is going to get through this pandemic.
    They should know that on Remembrance Day and on every day, the country will never forget our veterans' service and sacrifice. Lest we forget.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my thoughts go out to the people in my riding, Beloeil—Chambly, my home region of Mauricie and throughout Quebec and Canada who will be experiencing commemorations and moments of remembrance in a very different context. Although we cannot physically be together, we can certainly spare a thought for each other.
    This morning, I was interviewed in Mauricie. In Mauricie, Shawinigan and Trois-Rivières, there are monuments dedicated to war heroes who never came home. Their spouses, children or fiancées remained hopeful, but they never saw them again. Without giving it much thought, I said that I missed my wife. Shortly after, I realized that that was nothing compared to all these people who left and never came back. These people went through war, many of them in the trenches, living in despair, without even the slightest prospect of seeing those they loved more than anything in the world ever again.
    History holds a special place for those whose decisions may have saved our values and upheld a certain vision of the world. Next to my desk in Gatineau, I have a quote from Churchill that reads, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” However, very few people win such historical recognition and glorification, next to the many men and women who went to war and never came back. That is why Remembrance Day is necessary and essential. People are still on the front lines today, and often, albeit in different ways, they take up arms and go into battle. Sometimes, they do not return.
    Civilians are also among the victims of the new forms of violence shaping our world. They are people who have done nothing but express their values and share knowledge, but they pay with their lives. We should also remember them. The men and women who went to war did not necessarily go to uphold the lofty values we extol here in Parliament. Often, the only value motivating them was protecting their families and loved ones. Today, there are battles being waged for our freedoms, in all their forms.
    Mr. Speaker, dear friends, I want to say to all those people from every era, “Lest we forget”.

  (1020)  

    Mr. Speaker, this year has been incredibly difficult for so many Canadians. COVID-19 has devastated so many communities across Canada. In many regions, Canadians are going to spend what is likely to be their first Remembrance Day at home instead of at their local cenotaphs with their neighbours.

[English]

    These ceremonies are an important part of life. They are an important part of our community's civic life. They bring us together and remind us that in the end what brings Canadians together is far more powerful than what divides us.
    This year we will be observing our moments of silence from home. That is going to be especially hard, not just because we are eager to reunite and connect with friends, family and neighbours but because this day requires us to come together to remember people. It is hard to do that alone.

[Translation]

    This year is going to be especially hard, since we will be observing our moments of silence from home.

[English]

    This year, Canadians are observing a significant milestone: the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Canadians from coast to coast to coast did their duty to fight fascism in Europe and brought us to victory in 1945. We all owe our veterans an incredible debt of gratitude for what they did and what they continue to do for Canada, and for peace and stability around the world.
    They left a mark on the world. Canada's relationship with the Netherlands, which was liberated by Canadian troops 75 years ago, is still defined by what those brave Canadians did during their push to free that country from the Nazis.

  (1025)  

[Translation]

    We all owe our veterans an incredible debt of gratitude for what they did and what they continue to do for Canada, and for peace and stability around the world.

[English]

    Closer to home, we enjoy our democratic freedoms and our civil liberties thanks to the veterans who fought to defend Canada. This year, soldiers kept our seniors and loved ones safe, and gave a much-needed hand to the overwhelmed workers in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec in Operation LASER. They deployed into an incredibly difficult situation that no one could have prepared for. They saved lives, and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.
    They were there for Canadians when we needed them. We also tragically saw the loss of brave young men and women in the Mediterranean, who were there to protect peace in a fragile region. We remember them too.

[Translation]

    This year, soldiers kept our seniors safe and gave a much-needed hand to the overwhelmed workers in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec.
    This year is not like other years, but it is on us, as Canadians, to observe Remembrance Day in spirit from home how we always do, with an enormous sense of appreciation for everything our active-duty service members and veterans do and have done for us.

[English]

    I also want to mark the passage of National Aboriginal Veterans Day, which was just three days ago. Between 7,000 and 12,000 indigenous people fought for Canada in the world wars and in the Korean War. Canada has not always done right by indigenous veterans. They fought courageously for this country and returned to face discrimination, racism and indifference to their service. That was wrong. They made the same sacrifice as the veterans who returned to the hero's welcome they deserved. We still have a long road to walk with indigenous people to make it right. To them, I say thanks. From these traditional lands, I say meegwetch for their sacrifices and service. Canada can and will do better for their children and their grandchildren.
    On Remembrance Day, we mark the sacrifices made by veterans in serving their country in war. This year, we are able to thank them for their service in peace time, as well. I want to highlight the importance of our role as parliamentarians to ensure that when Canadians soldiers deploy to fight a war, it is for a just cause. They deploy to protect lives and freedom, and to ensure that as often as possible we push for peaceful resolution of a problem on the global stage before we put them in harm's way. This is our sacred obligation to the men and women who fight for Canada. We owe them that.

[Translation]

    Too often Canada is not doing right by veterans. Both nationally or internationally, the Canadian Forces stand up for us. We must as parliamentarians stand up for them.

[English]

    Too often Canada is not doing right by veterans. They experience long wait times, denials and other barriers to the services and supports they need. This is not or should not be a partisan issue. We can always improve and we will continue to ensure we do. Veterans need to know that Canadians have their backs. Both nationally or internationally, the Canadian Forces stand up for us. We must as parliamentarians stand up for them.
    Lest we forget.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask for unanimous consent to be allowed to say a few words on behalf of the Green Party of Canada.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the request for unanimous consent to express their disagreement.
     There being no dissenting voice, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues.
    It is a great honour for me to say a few words in tribute to our veterans.

[English]

     As other hon. colleagues have said, this year Remembrance Day will not be as others have been. Our most vulnerable citizens are those we honour the most.
     In my own community, if we did not have COVID, I would be standing by the cenotaph in Sidney with extraordinary Canadians, like retired Commander Peter Chance, who will turn 100, I think in a couple of days or weeks. We were planning a big celebration. Peter Chance is a war hero of our Canadian navy. He served with distinction throughout the Battle of the Atlantic, and still has a devilish twinkle in his eye and a zest for life, as he tells us the stories of the enormous bravery and courage of those with whom he served.
    Another friend in Sidney, Charles “Chic” Goodman, was one of those who liberated prisoner of war camps in the Netherlands. He also served at the Normandy invasion and came home to live a full life.
    More recently, we must not forget those veterans of other places of conflict, throughout the Second World War of course, but also in Korea and Afghanistan. I think, particularly today, of the extraordinary courage of Lieutenant Trevor Greene. I think all colleagues will remember the attack on a young Canadian soldier in Kandahar. He had taken his helmet off to show respect toward village leaders and was attacked from behind by a young man with an axe. Extraordinarily and miraculously Trevor Greene survived. He works every day in physiotherapy to walk again. He has turned his considerable genuis and talents to becoming an activist, fighting for real action on the climate crisis.
    Veterans come in all shapes and sizes and we all owe them our thanks every single day. Remembrance Day gives us the opportunity to to honour our veterans and to not forget their sacrifice and why they sacrificed. The hon. Leader of the Opposition reminded us so beautifully of the Book of Remembrance and of our Peace Tower, which is fully called, he is quite right, the Tower of Victory and Peace.
    There were thoughts back in the day, when that tower was being completed, that it would be called the “War Tower”. It is significant that Canadians at that time thought, no, that this tower so symbolized our parliamentary democracy, in the centre of our Parliament, Centre Block, the Peace Tower, with its extraordinary carillon bells that still ring out. They rang out 75 times on the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That tower was determined to be called the Peace Tower.
    The veterans I have mentioned by name this morning have all called for peace. We all must dedicate ourselves in the memory of all we lost and the memory that so many of us have. My dad and uncle who survived. A whole generation served and so many people were lost: first, in the First World War; then the Second World War; and on and on. We commit ourselves to war no more.
    “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

  (1035)  

    To mark the start of Veterans' Week, I invite the House to rise and observe a moment of silence.
    [A moment of silence observed]

Committees of the House

International Trade 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on International Trade entitled “Main Estimates 2020-21: Vote 1 under Invest in Canada Hub” in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, and reports the same.

Justice and Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights about the main estimates, 2020-21, and its third report about the supplementary estimates (B), 2020-21.
     Our committee has considered the estimates referred by the House and reports the same.

VIA Rail Canada Act

     She said: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time I have risen at first reading to present this private member's bill, and I will continue to try. I would be so grateful if government members would see fit to make this a government bill.
     Unlike the United States, our national public rail system has no statutory foundation. To explain how significant that is, in the United States, Amtrak has its own legislation that requires it to provide passenger rail service to Americans. VIA Rail exists as a Crown corporation, but it has no statutory mandate that requires it to provide transportation services by rail, passenger rail service to Canadians.
     It is particularly important that we do so at a time when so many private sector bus companies have withdrawn service from remote areas of Canada. The legislation lists, in a schedule, all the existing routes that VIA Rail services and ensure that they not be suspended or abandoned.
    We need passenger rail service. We need to know that it extends from coast to coast. Ideally, we need to invest to ensure it continues to do so for all Canadians now and into the future.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

  (1040)  

Petitions

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I have one petition to present today. The petition is in respect of the human rights situation of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China. Petitioners highlight an Associated Press report from July that, in particular, provided evidence of a systemic effort to repress births within the Uighur community. Recent evidence has come out as well about systemic sexual violence, trying effectively to wipe out the Uighur community through repressed births.
     In response to these and other horrific abuses of human rights, petitioners call upon the government to use the Magnitsky act to impose sanctions against the individuals who are responsible for these gross violations of human rights.
    Mr. Speaker, I also rise to present a petition on behalf of constituents across Canada who are concerned about the human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim people in China. The petitioners are calling on the government to use the Magnitsky act provisions to punish those who are involved in these systemic human rights violations.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to present two petitions today.
    The first petition draws attention to what is happening in China by the Communist government against the Uighur population. The human rights violations by the Communist government, as reported by the Canadian press, need to be dealt with. The Magnitsky act is one way to do this. This needs to be brought to the government's attention so that we can deal with those human rights violations.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, the second petition is in regard to illegal trade in human organs from people who do not understand what is happening. That illegal trade in organs that is going on in the world needs to be stopped. Therefore, the petitioners are petitioning against the trade and illegal transport of organs and donations.

Climate Change  

    Madam Speaker, I am introducing petition e-2712 on behalf of 2,500 residents of Canada who are members of Canadian faith communities, who have come together united under the banner “For the Love of Creation”.
     The petitioners call on the government to commit to reducing GHG emissions by 60% below 2005 levels by 2030; to honour the rights of indigenous people through free, prior and informed consent; to commit equal support to international climate action to provide a fair share of $4 billion per year; and, last, to respond to the pandemic in the global south through multilateral debt cancellation and increased grants to international NGOs.

Human Rights  

    Madam Speaker, today I rise to present a petition regarding the ongoing human rights abuses in China toward the Uighur Muslims. The petitioners call on the government to use provisions in the Magnitsky act to stop these human rights abuses.

Foreign Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, I am proud to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of residents from Don Valley North and across Toronto.
    The petitioners are concerned about the amendments made to the citizenship act by the Government of India that makes religion a criterion of nationality and discriminates against religious minorities, such as Muslims. The petitioners are also concerned that the criteria of the national register of citizenship may make marginalized minorities stateless, as they are more likely to be unable to prove their identity and status.
    The petitioners call upon the House to condemn these measures, to demand their withdrawal and to condemn the excessive use of force by the police against the peaceful citizens of India.

  (1045)  

Ethiopia  

    Madam Speaker, I am happy to present a petition today from residents of Oromo descent in my riding. They are warning of a potential civil war in Ethiopia and drawing the attention of the House of Commons to the current political violence targeting Oromos in Ethiopia.
    Specifically, the petitioners are calling on the Canadian government to stand up for human rights and press Ethiopia to stop its brutal crimes against humanity, to examine Canada's foreign aid to Ethiopia, to press Ethiopia to hold the elections that it postponed and to press Ethiopia to stop torture, free political prisoners and bring perpetrators to justice.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

    I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 31 minutes.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Tax Measures to Support Canadians  

    That, given that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian billionaires are $37 billion richer while the most vulnerable are struggling, the House call upon the government to put in place a new one percent tax on wealth over $20 million and an excess profit tax on big corporations that have been profiteering from the pandemic, and to re-invest the billions of dollars recouped from these measures to: (a) expand income security programs to ensure all individuals residing in Canada have a guaranteed livable basic income; (b) expand health care, including by putting in place a national dental care program and a universal, single-payer, public pharmacare program; and (c) meaningfully implement the right to housing with the full plan set out in the Recovery for All campaign and immediately fund a "For Indigenous, By Indigenous" urban, rural and Northern housing strategy delivered by Indigenous housing providers.
     He said: Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the very eloquent member of Parliament for Burnaby South.
    It is really an honour at this time in our nation's history to lead off on the NDP's action plan to ensure no one is left behind in our country. The context at this period of time is so important. We have just paid tribute to Remembrance Day in the House of Commons. In a few days' time in cities and towns and villages right across this country, we will remember on November 11.
    It is clear that it will not be like previous years' ceremonies. Normally in New Westminster, just a few blocks from my home, over 5,000 people gather in front of the cenotaph and thousands more watch on local community television to ensure we remember and pay tribute.
    There was, during the Second World War, a real notion of shared sacrifice and that we were all in this together. My family, like so many others, paid the ultimate sacrifice. The names of my uncle and my grandfather are inscribed on the cenotaph before the city hall.
    My elderly parents are just a few homes away from mine, where I am speaking from. They are now 97 and 98 years old. They tell us about that period of time during the Second World War and that notion of shared sacrifice and that we are all in this together. At that time, as the House well knows, there was rationing in place to ensure everybody received what was essential. There were strict laws against excess profits and profiteering to ensure the resources of our nation were marshalled to fight against the threat and to ensure we made it through that period with no one left behind.
    I raise all of these points because we can learn lessons from how we responded as a nation to that crisis and how, as a result of that, following the Second World War, because we had marshalled those resources together and ensured no one was left behind, we were able to put into place the famous peace dividend.
    Following the Second World War, we were able to build 300,000 homes across this country for returning men and women in the service to ensure their right to housing. The home I speaking from, 109 Glover Avenue in New Westminster, is one of those 300,000 homes built by the federal government following the Second World War.
    With the peace dividend, we were able to build schools as well and expand our health care system. It is during this time in the post-war period that Tommy Douglas, judged by Canadians from coast to coast to coast as the greatest Canadian in our history, was able to undertake the fight to ensure we put in place a universal medicare system.
    At that same time, we started to put into place some income supports as well. They were full of holes, but there was a sense that we were all in this together and that in the post-war period we could make those investments to ensure nobody was left behind. I raise that because it is very illustrative of the direction we need to take as a country. I know the national leader of the NDP, who will follow me, will outline the importance of putting into place in a very real sense a society where nobody is left behind and where we are all in this together.
    That is why the NDP is bringing forward this action plan to ensure no one is left behind today. We have seen, in this pandemic, no laws against excess profits and no discouragement of profiteering. In fact, we have seen quite the opposite. What we have seen is an unbelievable concentration of wealth, with Canada's billionaires adding $37 billion to their profits, and the banking sector, with incredible federal government largesse, being able to increase their profits as well. Unlike other countries, prosperous countries like Norway and Switzerland, we have not put in place a simple wealth tax that would allow the resources of the nation to be marshalled to ensure nobody is left behind.

  (1050)  

    The stories that have emerged through this pandemic are very compelling. We pay tribute to our front-line workers and first responders. It is vitally important to pay tribute to them so that we make the investments, so that no one is left behind.
    I mentioned the banking sector earlier. It is important to note that the federal government stepped up within days to ensure an unbelievable amount of liquidity support: $750 billion. Three-quarters of a trillion dollars, within days, was put in place to ensure that the profits of the banking sector were maintained and enhanced. At the same time, we have seen people with disabilities in our country struggle over the course of seven months before even some Canadians with disabilities received some modicum of support from the federal government.
    Imagine, people with disabilities who often barely have the wherewithal to put food on the table or keep a roof over their head, because of the paucity of income supports, are now struggling to pay for additional expenses, such as masks, gloves and cleaning supplies that are needed to get through this pandemic and to keep themselves safe and healthy. Yet, the federal government waited over seven months, after many months of struggle by the NDP caucus, to finally put into place a basic emergency support of a one-time payment, which does not go to everybody with a disability. This is why we need to see put into place a guaranteed livable basic income to ensure that poor Canadians no longer have to struggle all the time just to make sure they can make ends meet.
    If nothing else through this pandemic, we have seen the importance of having a robust health care system in place. I mentioned earlier Tommy Douglas, and his fight in the post-war period with the peace dividend to put in place universal medicare. Tommy Douglas always envisioned that health care would not just be hospital stays and doctor visits, but would also include the medication that doctors prescribed, a universal pharmacare system, and dental care.
    Finally, during this pandemic we are seeing that Canadians are often struggling for affordable housing. That right to housing that we certainly saw after the Second World War with the peace dividend is something that now must be extended to all Canadians. Particularly, indigenous communities have seen the crisis that exists with the shortage of affordable housing. Indigenous housing providers need to be provided that support so that they can start building the housing that will make a difference in indigenous communities. As we build housing right across this country, we ensure that the right to housing is entrenched in this country.
    The message of the pandemic is that we are all in this together, that we must work together. The plan to leave no one behind allows us to ensure that there is an effective approach, both through the pandemic and in the aftermath. We can rebuild better and ensure that the gaping holes we have seen in our safety net as we go through this pandemic are addressed, and that the net is repaired and fully restored.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    The Second World War showed us how important it was to set up a system that left nobody behind. During Remembrance Day week, we must remember lessons learned from previous crises Canadians lived through. We should take this opportunity to institute a national guaranteed income, implement the right to housing, and expand our health care system.
    All these things can be done if we tax wealth and excess profits.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I very much appreciate the motion in a number of respects. I think we have to tackle wealth inequality. Of course I would like to see a social safety net, akin to a basic income that leaves nobody behind. The math does not work directly, so the money generated from an excess profits tax and wealth tax together would not even address the first issue of a minimum income, let alone the other noble objectives.
    I want to narrow in specifically on the excess profits tax. I see specificity when it comes to the wealth tax; I do not see the same specificity when it comes to the excess profits tax. I wonder what the specific thresholds are and how much the member thinks it might generate.
    Madam Speaker, I would disagree with the member. The math does add up. The Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us that we would save $4 billion as Canadians by putting in place universal pharmacare. The issue of homelessness that has been growing under the current government, as it did under the previous government, can be addressed by making those investments. We have to remember that when people live on the streets it costs $50,000 on annual basis in emergency and other supports that need to be brought to bear. It is far more expensive to us as a society to leave people homeless rather than providing that right to housing.
    As the Parliamentary Budget Officer has pointed out, the price of the patchwork of income supports and the army of public servants designed to keep people from getting that universal basic livable income is far more than the costs of putting in place a universal program. This is the reality. When the member for Burnaby South talked about an emergency benefit that went to all, as the PBO pointed out, it would be more cost-effective and help more people than what the Prime Minister put in place in the end.

  (1100)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the points about the need for solidarity and sacrifice during this time at a level of principle. One of the things people have been asking for is to see politicians and leaders in the public sector be willing to express solidarity and make sacrifices as well. I put that in parenthetically.
    The question I want to ask the member is about technological change in the midst of this pandemic. I think we are seeing a lot of it. We see businesses trying to adapt and do business in different ways. Those who are behind technological changes will no doubt profit from driving some of those changes. If people owned stock in Zoom, for example, a year ago, they are probably benefiting as a result of the increasing use of Zoom.
    Of course we want to emphasize community solidarity, but we also want to have the maximum incentives to encourage the development and deployment of new technology. Is the member concerned that a punitive profits tax could really undermine the kind of innovation that we especially need now, in the midst of the rapidly evolving situation this pandemic puts us in?
    Madam Speaker, let us take each of these elements individually. Some of the most innovative countries in the world have a wealth tax. If we look at Norway and Switzerland, no one would object to painting both countries as some of the most innovative on the planet, yet they have in place a wealth tax.
    As far as excess profits is concerned, this is a lesson we learned from the Second World War. There were strict laws against profiteering and excess profits. Instead, what we have seen as a government is policies that welcome this, and $37 billion in wealth growth among Canada's billionaires while people with disabilities have been struggling even to have the wherewithal to put food on the table.
    I think Canadians are saying it is time now that we put into place a real recognition that when we rebuild society coming out of the pandemic, it needs to be built better and on a basis where no one is left behind.
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to follow the powerful words of the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
    We always have choices and those choices say a lot about what our priorities are. Right now, we are faced with a pandemic. It has been incredibly difficult. It has caused a lot of pain. People have lost their jobs. We know small businesses, mom-and-pop shops, and stores on main streets across Canada, are worried that they might have to shut their doors forever.
    People have felt pain in this time. Parents have struggled with finding child care for their kids. Parents have worried about their kids going to school and whether they are safe or not. Seniors have had to bear the brunt of COVID-19 with massive outbreaks in long-term care homes that could have been avoided.
    While all those people have felt pain, in this pandemic the wealthiest have increased their wealth. They have not felt the pain. In fact, they have made profits. Since March 2020, Canadian billionaires, the richest Canadians, are $37 billion richer.
    We are talking about choices today. The Liberal government and the Conservatives are going to put a choice to Canadians. They are going to raise concerns about debt and deficit. While these are very legitimate concerns, the next step is problematic. They are going to use concern about debt and deficit and then ask everyday people, who have already sacrificed so much, to sacrifice even more.
    On October 28, the Minister of Finance tweeted, “Our fiscally expansive approach to fighting the coronavirus cannot and will not be infinite. It is limited and temporary.” Let me translate what the Minister of Finance is saying: Cuts are coming. She also cited Paul Martin, who orchestrated some of the most devastating cuts to health care and social programs in Canada's history. She lauded Paul Martin.
    I want to put to all members and Canadians that whenever there are difficult times, people are struggling and our economy is struggling, it seems that Liberals and Conservatives have one response. It is always the same response: Let us cut the help that people get, cut health care and cut the supports to people. However, they never say, let us ask those who are the wealthiest to contribute more.
    Why is it so natural and easy that when people are hurting and times are tough, the first thing that jumps to the minds of Liberals and Conservatives is, let us cut the help that people who are struggling need? Let us make it harder for them, cut health care and cut the things people need. Why is it that Liberals and Conservatives jump to that? Why is it so hard to imagine another way?
    Absolutely, someone is going to have to pay. Times are tough and we are spending a lot to support people in a pandemic and someone is going to have to pay. There is no question about it. If someone is going to pay, should it not be the people who can afford to pay, the wealthiest and those who have made massive profits?
    I am not just talking about normal profits. There are companies that make billions of dollars in profits every year. There are corporations that do that on a regular basis. Then we have companies like Amazon, Walmart, Netflix and Facebook that have made record profits during this pandemic off the pandemic and off the backs of the same people who have sacrificed and are struggling.
    If we are going to make a choice, should it not be to choose to help people who need help and ask those who have the ability to contribute more, to contribute more? That is what we are asking to do.
    There are always choices we have to make and those choices are difficult, but this choice is not difficult. This is a very straightforward, easy choice. How are the Liberals and Conservatives going to look into the eyes of people who are struggling and cut the help they need now? How can they justify that?

  (1105)  

    How much better would it be if we said, just as we did during the First and Second World Wars, that when companies are making massive and record profits because they are in the right place at the right time, they are in a good position to contribute more? That is really the choice we are setting up.

[Translation]

    We are proposing a choice. To me, it is an easy choice to make, but the Liberals and Conservatives still have a hard time understanding it. During hard times, such as what we are going through right now with COVID-19, many people make huge sacrifices. We have observed the negative impact that has had on workers who have lost their jobs and on small businesses that have had to close their doors.
    These are indeed tough times, but should we be telling people who have already made sacrifices that they need to make more?
    Instead, we could tell people who have made enormous profits, excessive, record profits, that they need to pay their fair share. The New Democrats and I believe that we need to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share. The rich are the ones who should foot the bill for the economic recovery. That should not fall to ordinary people. That is the choice we are proposing today.

[English]

    We are saying to let us invest in what people need. People need health care. They need to know, if they or their loved ones are sick, they can get the help they need. They need to know they can get the medication they need. They need to know they can get the dental care they need, so they can take care of their teeth.
    We need to make sure that when people are struggling and cannot work, there is income support for them, and there is a livable guaranteed income, like what we fought for with the CERB. Again, to point out the differences here, it seems as though every couple months throughout this pandemic the Liberal government was threatening to cut help to people. We had to fight back and say, “No. Why are you cutting help to people?”
    It seems a bit bizarre that the government would propose this, but every single time the choice came up to side with the people or to side with the wealthy, it continued to say to cut help to people, cut CERB and cut income supports, while letting the wealthiest get away with using massive tax loopholes, making record profits and paying no money into Canada.
     There are so many companies that make profits off of Canadians here in Canada and then take those profits and put them in a bank in another jurisdiction in another country, and they pay no tax in Canada. They make money off of Canadians, but pay no taxes here. Liberals and Conservatives have allowed this to happen. They have been in government in this country, and they have allowed this to happen.
    The CRA has even taken companies to court. Judges found that profits were entirely made in Canada off of Canadians, and those profits were taken to another bank in another country. However, that is legal. They are allowed to do that, and the CRA was not able to recover the taxes that were owed to this country.
    There is a cost to doing that. That is a choice that the government is making, and that is a choice that Conservatives have made, to allow the wealthiest to continue to exploit our system. That hurts Canadians. Everyday people pay their fair share. We are asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share as well and fund the programs we need.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

     We are suggesting that the wealthiest pay their fair share so that we can fund the social programs people need. We could also better fund health care. We could support people who cannot work. We could create a fairer society, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do.

[English]

    I want to point out the choice here, and there are going to be difficult choices to be made. In my last moments I want to say to Canadians that they are going to hear the Liberal government talking about having to cut the help that they need, and they are going to hear the Conservatives try to talk about being their allies. None of that is true, unless they are willing to make sure that the richest in this country, who are enjoying massive loopholes, pay their fair share to afford the programs we need.
    We are going to do that. We have always had Canadians' back during this pandemic. We will continue to fight for them, and they can trust us to make sure that we build a Canada where no one is left behind, the richest pay their share and Canadians can live their brightest lives.
    Madam Speaker, since day one back in 2015, as a government we have been focused on looking at discrepancies and taking actions against income inequalities. I will get into that when it comes time for me to provide comments.
    From day one of the pandemic, the government has moved forward with a whole suite of different types of programs to ensure that, no matter what region we are talking about, the Government of Canada was there, working with others, to be there for Canadians. The Prime Minister and the government have also been very clear that through this process we do believe that we can build back better.
    One of the issues is the national pharmacare program, which is what my question is in regard to. The leader of the New Democratic Party was a provincial legislator. He understands the important role of health care under the provinces. Does he not agree that to get the best pharmacare program for Canadians, we need to get support from and work with the provinces in order to make that happen?
    Madam Speaker, of course we have to work with the provinces, but let us talk about building back better. If nothing is done right now, what we will continue to see is a K-shaped recovery, meaning that for a lot of people things are getting worse. It is hard for them to find work. They have lost their jobs. Small businesses are shutting down. For a lot of people, times are getting worse and worse.
    For a select group of people, things have gotten better. They are making more money. They are becoming wealthier and wealthier, so the gap is broadening. The only way to address that broadening gap is with a concrete measure to tax excess wealth and excess profits, and to ask those who have the means to pay their fair share.
    That is what we are asking for, and that is what the Liberals and the Conservatives have been afraid to either propose or support.

  (1115)  

    Madam Speaker, I live close to the member for Burnaby South's riding. A big problem that his constituents face in Burnaby relates to the role of foreign buyers in the real estate sector. In the member's speech today he talked a lot about taxing Canadians, but what about taxing foreign purchasers of real estate who have exploited Canadian laws? This has led to a situation where the labour market is detached from the housing market and Canadian workers cannot purchase a home.
    Would the member for Burnaby South support taxing foreign buyers of real estate?
    Madam Speaker, that is something we proposed in our last campaign. We absolutely believe that a tax, such as that put in place by the B.C. NDP on foreign ownership of real estate property, is an important measure to control the cost of housing.
    To be very clear, I am not asking for everyday Canadians to pay more. In fact, I am saying that they should not have to pay more. People worry about the deficit because they think governments are going to tell them that they will have to pay more. I am saying that the wealthiest, those at the very top, those who have made record profits, those who have fortunes of over $20 million, should pay their fair share.
    Madam Speaker, we have heard from the government time and time again the ways in which it wishes to support the middle class or those working hard to join it. That is a line we have heard over and over again. Instead, Canada has some of the highest unemployment rates in the G7. We know that there is lots of concern. People are still continuing to struggle.
    How might this bill actually help people join the middle class and end up better financially? I would like to hear the member's comments on that.
    Madam Speaker, we need to give people the supports they need with some of the biggest costs in their lives. Some people do not go to see a dentist because it costs too much. People cannot get the health care they need, and that has an extra cost.
    We know that if we do not invest in the programs that people need, people will not be able to live their best lives. People are stuck in jobs where they cannot improve or go further because they are stuck to those benefits.
    We are saying that people should not be tied to their job for their benefits. They should be able to have all the health care they need as a part of our universal health care system. That would allow people to pursue what they want and have the supports they need to then live a better life. That is the basis of our proposal to make the wealthiest pay their fair share, so we can invest in people in a meaningful way.
    Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and speak in the House. Today is a very special day. I appreciated the opening remarks by the Prime Minister, the leader of the official opposition, the leader of the NDP and the leader of the Green Party recognizing the importance of our veterans.
    Having had the opportunity to serve in our Canadian Armed Forces, there are a couple of things I am reflecting on. One is the honour and privilege of having the opportunity to march alongside World War II veterans in parades and having the further opportunity to have some discussions with them. What a privilege that was.
    A number of years later I was a member of the Manitoba legislature, and one of the most touching moments I can recall was when we had war veterans sitting right behind the members of the legislature. I was in the back row of members, and I could literally turn my chair and have a face-to-face discussion with a war vet. I reflect on that because of the significant contributions our men and women make to our forces, both in the past and today. To echo many of the comments made previously by the leaders, on behalf of Winnipeg North, I wish to recognize and wish the very best to those who are serving today.
    Having said all that, I want to get right into the discussion we are having today with respect to the NDP motion. There are a few things that come to mind, and I would like to share with members a number of those thoughts.
    I posed this in the preamble to my question for the leader of the New Democratic Party. When we look at what has taken place over the last eight months, virtually from day one the Government of Canada under the Prime Minister has taken a very proactive approach to ensuring we could be there to support Canadians in all areas of our wonderful nation.
    We have seen a team Canada approach, which was joined by other levels of government, whether provincial or municipal, of different political stripes. We have seen individuals, businesses, the non-profit sector and everyone in society come together and recognize how important it was that we unify and work collaboratively in order to deal with the pandemic.
    We have had very successful moments. What we learned in the first three to four months of the pandemic has assisted us to be able to minimize the negatives of the second wave. It is through those experiences that we were able to prevent lives from being lost, not to mention the thousands of lives that have been saved because we worked collaboratively across this nation to make a difference in fighting the pandemic.
    When we look at the national government here in Ottawa, what we have been able to achieve is very significant. I will get into that, but I want to pick up on something that was made reference to already in some of the discussions. I know there are 156 Liberal MPs who genuinely believe that not only was it important that we be there in real and tangible ways for Canadians through this pandemic, but also that we can build back better. If we want to get a sense of that, take a look at the document that was brought forward in the form of a throne speech not that long ago in September.

  (1120)  

    It gives a very clear vision to Canadians of how we as a government will build back better. That is a message that we need to continue to say, going forward. Yes, there are still going to be some difficult times. People in my province of Manitoba are having a very difficult time in this second wave, but we will overcome it.
    As an elected official, I believe in and will work on building back better. That is the reason I posed my question to the leader of the New Democratic Party. Within this motion, the New Democrats talk about the pharmacare program. I have worked with my daughter, Cindy, for the last few years, and even prior to that, on the importance of pharmacare and medications. I worked on it even before the standing committee in the House four or five years ago went to study the issue, and before there was a commission to look at how we could implement it. The government has invested considerable resources to look at ways to incorporate a pharmacare program. That is why I was encouraged when the leader of the New Democratic Party said that we need to work with provincial governments.
    In the throne speech is an ongoing commitment that states that we need to work with provincial governments in order to achieve better on the pharmacare file. I believe that a good majority of Canadians would like to see us move forward on that file. It is an excellent example of building back better. In the last number of years, this government, and particularly ministers of health, have worked with other jurisdictions and stakeholders to drastically reduce the costs of medications, literally saving hundreds of millions of dollars for consumers over the years. However, we can still do better.
    When we talk about the pandemic, I often make reference to why the government needs to engage. I have said on many occasions that close to nine million people have been assisted through the CERB program. That program came from absolutely nowhere. It did not exist prior to the pandemic, yet it has assisted millions of Canadians in a very real, tangible way by allowing them to have the disposable income that is essential for a basic standard of living, to buy groceries and do other necessary things.
    We helped Canadians through the wage subsidy program. An estimated three and a half million-plus jobs were saved by the wage subsidy program. These jobs would have been at risk had the government not engaged and provided that program.
    It goes well beyond that. We identified certain sectors or areas in our communities and our society that needed to get extra financial resources.

  (1125)  

    That is why I was happy to see the support given to our seniors in the form of one-time payments. Through support for the GIS and OAS, well over six million seniors received a direct benefit, and the poorest seniors received even more.
    Recently there was a disability payout. I am very grateful for it, especially with the second wave hitting, which, in my province, has been more severe than the first wave by far. There are those who have criticized why it took as long as it did, but we need to look at what had to take place to get it distributed. It is not the like the federal government had a data bank that told us who we could send money to. It is not like the GIS or the OAS. We had to work with the civil service and different stakeholders to come up with a mechanism to deliver finances to people with disabilities who needed support.
    When we read the resolution, the government has taken significant action, and not just during the pandemic. In 2015 with the change in government, some immediate policy decisions were made by the Prime Minister and the government to deal with income inequality. One was the tax break to Canada's middle class, putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians in all regions of our country.
    The resolution talks about a tax on the wealthiest. It is interesting to see that now. When the NDP had a chance to support the Liberal government's initiative of putting an extra tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%, the NDP voted against it. It had the opportunity to support the tax break for the middle class and the tax increase on Canada's wealthiest 1% and chose to vote against it.
    We often hear the phrase referenced earlier, that as a government, since 2015 we have had a strong focus on building Canada's middle class, making the middle class a priority and assisting individuals in whatever way we can to get them into the middle class. That is the reason we developed the Canada child benefit program. There were major changes, with an influx, a term I have used several times already in my speech, of hundreds of millions of dollars into that program. We also prevented cheques being mailed out to millionaires under that program. These are the types of initiatives that have had a very positive impact on Canadians as a whole.
    The resolution says we should be doing more on housing and health care and we should be putting a higher tax on the wealthiest.

  (1130)  

    I have always wondered why the NDP seems to have a different approach when it is in a different position. Let me give an example. For many of the years when I was serving in the Manitoba Legislature, the NDP was in government. I think most colleagues in the House would be surprised to know that between 2003 and 2009, I believe, the provincial NDP government reduced corporate taxes seven times. I remember standing up in the Manitoba Legislature and challenging that issue.
    Here is something a little more relevant to the House of Commons. How many of us remember Thomas Mulcair? It was not that long ago. When he was leader of the New Democratic Party the NDP was the official opposition, and at the time the NDP was pretty confident it was going to be the government, replacing Stephen Harper. One of the NDP's most significant policy announcements, and some of my colleagues could probably guess what I am about to say, was on a balanced budget.
    My colleague from Spadina—Fort York is one of the most ably minded individuals in this country when it comes to housing, and is a very powerful and strong advocate.
    The NDP, in this resolution, is saying that we need to do more. We came up with a multi-billion dollar housing strategy in 2015 that would profoundly, positively affect literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians in all the different regions of the country, and the NDP was critical that we were not doing enough.
    I have learned a lot from my colleague. Thomas Mulcair made a commitment for a fraction of what we committed to do in that national housing strategy. As I have said in the past, really, truly, politically, there is no pleasing the New Democrats. For example, as a national government, if we said we were going to build 1,000 homes in Manitoba, the NDP would say, “No, build 10,000 homes.” If we said we were going to build 10,000 homes, the NDP would say, “No, give everyone a home.”
     I look at the resolution that my New Democratic friends have brought forward today and I hear them talking about income redistribution, but where were they when it came time to actually vote on the issue? They were on the opposite side of what they are challenging us on today.
    I would like to think that going forward we could do better. We have a lot to lose if we, as a government, do not recognize how important it is for us to not only work with Canada's civil servants and other stakeholders to develop programs, but to always monitor and look at them for ways we could improve them.
    We have made modifications to programs. I made reference to the wage subsidy program. It has been hugely successful, saving many jobs in all regions of our country. That program is now being extended into 2021.
    My time has expired, but hopefully I will get a question and be able to expand a little more.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's comments were quite shocking. One would think the hon. colleague would be fighting for these programs considering he represents a riding with one of the highest child apprehension rates in the country. He spoke about a tax cut to the middle class that would benefit people earning over $100,000 a year and nothing for people earning less than $47,000, which is certainly reflective of the gross level of poverty in his riding.
    Is my hon. colleague willing to uphold his obligations as a member of Parliament to uphold the charter and the Constitution and ensure everybody has what they need to live in dignity and with human rights, as is offered through our motion, or is he going to continue fighting that?
    Madam Speaker, the member is so wrong. I made reference to the Canada child benefit, which has taken hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. In my own riding of Winnipeg North, close to $10 million comes in every month, and it is helping and assisting. The increases to the GIS have taken hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty, some of the poorest seniors in the country.
    The NDP can talk the lines. As a government, we have acted. We have a plan that is being implemented and it is making a positive difference. That is the reality on the ground.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member relating to the tax side of the motion to increase not only a wealth tax but also a tax on wealthy corporations. Under our current progressive tax method, the more one makes the more one pays; the higher one's tax rate goes. At some point, the reverse happens. If people are taxed too much, then government revenues decrease. That is probably what the NDP in the Manitoba legislature were thinking. I would like the member's comments on that.
    Madam Speaker, it is important to look in defence of the NDP's when it decreased corporate taxes. There was concern and it felt the best way to ensure businesses continued to invest and create jobs was to decrease corporate taxes. The only reason I brought it up as an example earlier was to point out that sometimes when the NDP is in different positions of responsibility, its attitude toward policy seems to be somewhat different.
    It is easy and wonderful to say to people that we are going to tax the wealthiest and we are going to do this, do that and take all that money and give it to the poor. At the end of the day, we need to spend time focusing on Canada's middle class and, yes, those striving to become a part of it. We have to look at ways we can best have taxation policy that would be to their benefit.
    Madam Speaker, I am not sure the member has actually read the motion yet. He is very busy speaking in the House and may not have had the time to do that yet.
    The government has had five years to deal with tax evasion and tax havens and has done almost nothing during that time. Will the member finally support our plan for real, concrete steps to ensure the rich pay their fair share, not middle-class Canadians but the ultra-rich, rich Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, over those years we implemented financial resources to the tune of close to $1 billion so the CRA would be in a much better position to go after people trying to avoid paying taxes, which the NDP voted against.
    Yes, I did read the entire resolution. One of the nice things about it is that it looks at the dental aspect of health care. I was really pleased to hear that the Standing Committee on Health would be conducting a study on that very issue.
    Madam Speaker, one of the components of the motion is a contemplation of the tax on the equity or the assets of the super wealthy. If that were to come about, what impact would that have on capital flows coming into Canada and, more important, potentially leaving Canada? In his opinion, would that require legislation to stem that?
    Madam Speaker, not being a financial actuary, it is difficult for me to say exactly what the impact would be.
    I have full confidence in our Minister of Finance and feel very comfortable knowing that the taxation policies that the government does present have been well thought out. If history has anything to do with what we will be doing tomorrow, I am sure one can take a look at how government has been there to support Canadians in a very real and tangible way—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Don Valley North.
    Madam Speaker, I was listening to the questions and answers. My NDP colleagues have talked a lot about their big plans to change the world and solutions for everything, but without any details or substance. If they are the party for fighting, we are the party for delivering results and solutions.
    Could the member for Winnipeg North give some details about some of our achievements in the last five years?

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, the problem is that you will not allow me the opportunity to speak very long in answering the question, so I will highlight a few things that have made a profoundly positive difference.
    In particular, as I have referenced, is the Canada child benefit, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. I can talk about the increases to the OAS and the GIS. Something that I did not reference, but is really important, is the investment in Canada's infrastructure. Record amounts of money have been invested in Canada's infrastructure, and that goes a long way. I could also talk about the investment in student programs, particularly during the pandemic.
     A number of policy announcements have been made by the government over the years that have really contributed to the number of jobs that have been created. During the pandemic, a number of people have been able to return to work, or about 75% to pre-pandemic levels. By the government working with the stakeholders we have been able to get it right.
    Madam Speaker, the salaries of those who earn over $450,000 has increase tenfold over the average Canadian. Does my colleague not agree that the tax rate on the super wealthy is clearly not adequate? These earners are increasing their wealth at a skyrocketing rate. Surely those who have over $20 million or $30 million worth of wealth can afford to pay $100,000 in taxes to help support those in need, to build affordable housing, to support treatment centres, to build a healthier Canada as we move forward and build back better.
    Madam Speaker, when the NDP had the opportunity to vote in favour of having a tax increase for Canada's 1% wealthiest, and the proof is in the pudding, they voted no.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
    Before I begin, I want to acknowledge a big change in your life. Since the last time I spoke to you, you have taken on $10,000 in personal debt. That is your share of the national debt incurred by the government since March. Every Canadian is another $10,000 in debt, including you, Madam Speaker.
    Our deficit this year will be $380 billion. Since there are around 38 million Canadians, that means every Canadian is another $10,000 in debt, or $40,000 for a family of four. Sure, the government sent a bunch of cheques to a lot of families and businesses, but I have yet to meet a family that got $40,000 in benefits from the government.
    We certainly support the benefits for people who lost their jobs and the wage subsidies and loans for small businesses. The total spent on these programs that directly support families and businesses is around $180 billion. The deficit is $380 billion, though. We are missing $200 billion. How is it possible to lose $200 billion? Perhaps we will find out later on in the debate.
    Each family of four has this new debt of $40,000. If these families are listening to my speech, they can look at the benefits they have received from the government to see whether or not they add up to $40,000. In fact, most of the spending is being lost in bureaucracy and in payments to interest groups with government ties, seeing as wealthy people can afford to hire lobbyists to cash in on this massive spending.
    Where does that leave us as a country? We now have a country that is much deeper in debt, where ordinary people have not been able to take advantage of most of the available programs.
    Let us look at the numbers. Right now, our national debt is equal to 50% of the value of our economy. In March, it was 30%. In 1996, we had a debt crisis when Canada was almost unable to borrow money on the markets. This forced the federal government to cut tens of millions of dollars from health care and other programs.
    In 1996, during this crisis, our debt represented 66.6% of our GDP. In March 2020, that percentage was 30%. Six months later, we have lost half of our breathing room, because our debt now represents 50% of our GDP. This means that in six months, we wiped out more than half of our margin of safety compared to our situation during the historic crisis we went through. This is one of the subjects that the member for Kootenay—Columbia will address in his speech.

  (1150)  

    True, the current crisis does not quite rise to the level of the one in the 1970s, but we are heading straight for that. This is just government debt. Canada has other debts in the private sector. To that must be added the debt of families, which is now greater than our total GDP, not to mention corporate debt. If we combine these three sources, our debt amounts to 384% of the GDP. This is by far a record for Canada.
    Among G7 countries, this is by far the highest percentage, apart from Japan. With a debt equivalent to almost 400% of our economy, that means that an increase in effective interest rates on our economy of 1% would equal 4% of our cost savings.
    Consider this. We are talking about $80 billion. Each year, for every 1% increase in the interest rate, the additional cost would be $2,000 per year for every person living in Canada—man, woman or child—or $4,000 for a family of four people.
    I know a lot of families in this middle class we keep hearing about, and I do not know many in that group who would be able to pay $8,000 more in interest on their family or government debt, if interest rates went up by 1%. That is the vulnerability that threatens our families and our economy.
    The government claims that personal and government borrowing can continue because interest rates are low. Will all these debts be paid off before interest rates rise? I suspect not.
    Now we are presented with a plan for recovery. According to the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Canada, it is the credit card strategy. The idea is for individuals and taxpayers to go into debt to finance the recovery. It is not realistic to rebuild an economy on debt, especially when the debt level is already the highest in our history. The only way to restart our economy is through wealth production, and the only sector capable of producing that wealth is our workers.
    We need a plan to help our workers generate income to pay for their personal and family needs, but also to provide revenue to the government, to protect our social programs. That means that the governments have to approve private sector projects to build pipelines, natural gas centres, mines and other projects that would generate billions of dollars in personal and public revenue. We also need to get rid of penalties on benefits and income tax to allow people to get ahead by working. It is by working and being productive that we can pay our bills and contribute to our country, not by accumulating debt. We have to start right away. We have work to do.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague with a lot of interest. He mentioned he has never met a constituent in Carleton who has received $40,000 in benefits. My cousin lives in California and does not have access to the kind of universal health care that Tommy Douglas brought into Canada. A week in hospital cost him $100,000. It almost ruined him financially.
    Is the member for Carleton saying he has never met anybody in Carleton who has spent one week in the hospital and, in other words, has saved the $100,000 it would have cost without the universal health care system we have in Canada?
    My second question is also very specific, and I would like a clear answer to it. In the First World War and Second World War, the Conservatives took a very clear stand against profiteering and excess profits. I did not hear the member respond to the issue of putting in place measures that countermine the excess profits and profiteering we have seen during this pandemic.
    Is he suggesting the Conservatives have changed their orientation from the way they were in the First World War and Second World War, when they took clear stands against profiteering and excess profits?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.
    Let me first respond to his question about health care.
    Despite the increased government spending this year—dozens and dozens of billions of dollars, a 70% increase in spending—not a single penny more has been spent on health care. All that money has been spent on other things. The member is therefore wrong to suggest that the additional spending has contributed to advancing our health care system. The fact is, the percentage of the federal budget earmarked for health care has been declining since this government came to power.
    Second, the other thing my colleague should know is that we are currently accumulating so much debt that we will wind up paying more for the interest on our debt than we spend on health transfers. If he is truly in favour of public health, he should be in favour of careful and transparent spending.
    As for his other question, we are indeed against excessive profits associated with government procurement. That is why government procurement should be subject to a competitive process. That would allow all marketplace participants to reduce their prices to get contracts, rather than contracts automatically being awarded to friends of the Liberals.

  (1200)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I must say, the member is very good at manipulating stats and numbers. The reality is that since 2015, not only has this government been successful at negotiating something Stephen Harper could not do, which is health care agreements in all the provinces and territories, but we have seen an annual increase, dollar for dollar, in health care ever since, as per the agreements. Plus, there has been a tremendous top-up during the pandemic to deal with expanding needs, whether for personal protective items, for issues related to mental health or for home care.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, during the Harper years, health care expenditures increased by 6% a year. Now they are increasing by about 3% or 4%. Increased spending under the Liberal government is not related to health care but other things.
    In the future, in three, four or five years, when interest rates get back to normal, the biggest spending increases will go toward paying the interest on the debt that the government is racking up. The biggest threat to our health is this government's out-of-control spending and debt.
    We know what the Liberals do when they are short of money. They did it in the 1990s. They made budget cuts in health care because they were in an unsustainable financial situation. That is why the Conservatives want to protect the financial books. We want to get the finances in order to protect our health. Our party is the only one that is capable of doing that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise virtually, as we say.
    I would like to start off by thanking my colleague from Carleton, on behalf of the constituents of Kootenay—Columbia, for his continued work to ensure there is accountability with the government. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this issue of the proposed wealth tax and believe it will ultimately yield a negative impact on hard-working, middle-class Canadians.
    Our Prime Minister thinks of successful middle-class business owners as tax cheats. The Conservatives understand there is no Canadian economy without business and a hard-working middle class. It is really as simple as that. In fact, 45.1% of the GDP is what these hard-working, middle-class businesses provide to the Canadian economy every year.
    Under the official opposition leader, we will continue to stand up for these entrepreneurs, and the workers they employ across Canada, to ensure they get the support they need to weather this health crisis.
    As a condition of their ongoing support for the Liberals, the New Democrats have now demanded a super wealth tax of 1% annually on the net worth of Canadians worth more than $20 million. Why am I talking about the middle class? Let us review recent history.
    In the 1990s, for instance, 12 of the 14 members of the European Union had wealth taxes. Now all but three have abandoned the idea. Why have they abandoned the idea of a wealth tax? They abandoned the idea because wealth taxes almost always fail, and when they do, governments turn to the middle class to solve their fiscal problems. Besides being ineffective, wealth taxes have proven to dampen savings and investments, which slows economic recovery and long-term growth. This impacts the middle class directly. This is the wrong move at a time when Canada is struggling as a result of the health crisis.
    There are several reasons wealth taxes prove ineffective in raising tax revenues. The wealth tax is challenging to define and measure, which makes it difficult and expensive to administer. In fact, other countries have proven that at least half the money collected is used to administer the program. That is 50%, or up to $3 billion annually, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office, that will be used not to help Canadians who need it, but to allow the Prime Minister to pay for bigger government. Wealth taxes almost never raise the amount of money they are estimated to earn, and we know they are expensive to run, so I ask this question: What has more value to Canadian charities, the dollar provided by the philanthropist or 50¢ provided by the Prime Minister?
    A wealth tax would be punitive to Canadian success stories and would only serve to restrict the flow of donated money to the very charities that are in need of the support. The fact is that people in need, who these charities serve, are already not getting the same level of service because of the health crisis. This tax would make the problem worse.
    Charities across the country are suffering, and that is surely the case in my riding. Donations are down and many charities do not know where they will find the funds to continue. These organizations and businesses are passionate about the charity organizations they support, especially in their communities.
    What this government is proposing is that somehow it knows better than philanthropists when it comes to how to redistribute wealth. I respectfully submit that the government does not. There are not too many examples where the government does a better job of running a business than the business itself.
    On the surface, a wealth tax appears ideal and almost has a “Robin Hood” ring to it. Unfortunately, the examples that history has for us show otherwise and produce unintended consequences. Rather than putting money into creating jobs here in Canada, and thereby risking an increase in Canadian taxes, it is common for those impacted by a wealth tax to move their assets outside the country. The idea that a single wealth tax will provide the government with a silver-bullet solution to expand and pay for its spending is not rational.
    A wealth tax is similar to a property tax, but instead of taxing real estate, it covers wealth in all forms: stocks, jewellery, artwork, cars, houses, boats, retirement savings, antique collectible guns, horses and hockey cards. The list goes on. It includes any asset of monetary value that could be appraised, which in itself raises questions.
    The reality is a wealth tax will drive investment out of the country. How can we possibly expect to bring investment into Canada when the government is working through a wealth tax to chase away investors we already have?

  (1205)  

    Let us look at the numbers. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the NDP wealth tax could raise $5.6 billion a year. The Liberals have pledged to add another $150 billion in deficit spending to the $350 billion already assigned. Even if the wealth tax did generate $5.6 billion in revenues every year, which other examples show it would not, it still leaves $490 billion that has to be raised elsewhere. Where will that come from? I am sure Canadians across the country would like to know how the government intends to cover the difference of $490 billion. The reality is that the differential, in one way or another, will be placed squarely in the hard-working hands of the middle class.
    Middle-class Canadians cannot afford the current government. They cannot afford a financial decision-making Prime Minister who has never had to wonder how to pay a $300 utility bill with only $20 remaining in their account. Canadians are already struggling to get by. We need to start delivering meaningful solutions that will move our country forward, and the Conservatives are here to assist in that effort.
    The current government and its approach to taxation transparency with Canadians reminds me of that story of the taxpayer who fell into the pot of hot Liberal taxation water. The government turned up the taxes slowly, starting with the wealthiest so as not to alarm the masses. In the end, what they were left with were soaring deficits, failed taxation policies and no option but to turn up the taxation temperature on the middle class.
    There are times when we need to face a situation head-on and take the appropriate action when we have the ability to do so before it is too late. A fundamental difference of opinion exists in this House. The Liberals and the NDP want to tax our way out of the economic crisis, where the Conservatives want to harness Canada's most powerful economic tool: the Canadian worker. Winston Churchill, a British statesman, said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Well, here we are again. We know wealth taxes have failed across the pond, and yet despite all the evidence that history would have us learn from, the current government, with the support of the NDP, is working to allow history to repeat itself.
    My Conservative colleagues and I have been providing solutions to the government since the onset of this crisis. This week, with the passage of our motion in the House of Commons, Conservatives have secured more help for Canadians harmed by a health crisis. As a result of our efforts, the Liberals will have to pause their punishing audits on small and medium-sized businesses until June 2021 and provide additional flexibility in the Canada emergency rent subsidy, the Canada emergency wage subsidy and other programs that support Canadian families and workers.
    This builds on a Conservative track record of standing up for the working class and making the government's emergency programs better for all Canadians. This includes increasing the wage subsidy from 10% to 75%, advocating for changes to the Liberals' failed rent subsidy program and, now, postponing Liberal audits on small and medium-sized businesses.
    It is shameful the Liberals failed to support our motion and instead voted for punitive audits on hard-working Canadians. While the Liberals think small business owners are tax cheats, Conservatives know they are the backbone of our economy. Conservatives understand that there is no Canadian economy without our middle class, many of whom are business owners and employers. It is as simple as that. Punishing success does not encourage investment.
     We are at a fork in the road. We could choose to tax more and punish successful businesses or we could encourage economic investment, which would result in a safe economic recovery. Conservative leadership will stand up for the workers and the middle class across Canada and ensure they get the support they need to weather this health crisis. Let me be very clear: Conservatives will continue to stand in this House for the working family who needs help. We have been here for them since the onset of this health and economic crisis. We will continue to work on their behalf to refine and improve the current government's programs.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, we know the Conservatives have, forever, stood up for protecting CEO stock option loopholes and for helping create more tax havens to help the wealthy not pay their fair share of taxes in this country. We have seen the median income grow to $2.7 million for the 0.01%, according to Statistics Canada. That is a 27% increase, versus that for the average Canadian, whose income grew at 2.5%. When the member talks about the middle class, who does he actually believe this tax system is working for?
    We know that the Conservatives, when they were in power for 10 years, reduced taxes for Canada's largest corporations by 6%, and taxes for the super wealthy. Small business owners got a tax break of only 1%. If the tax system is working and these tax cuts are working, why are they not working for the middle class? Does the member not think that somebody in the 0.01%, earning tenfold the wage increase over the average Canadian, cannot afford to pay more, especially at a time like this?
    Madam Speaker, right now we are at a fork in the road where we have to look forward at how to stimulate our economy and get it going. I do not believe taxing the 1% a super rich tax is going to stimulate our economy. I think we have to start looking forward to paying back the debt we have right now.
    Madam Speaker, what are the member's comments on how important it is for a modern economy to have profitable companies, a vibrant stock market and a place for pension funds, like the Canada pension fund, to invest in profitable companies?
    Madam Speaker, we have to start encouraging economic growth and to encourage economic growth we need to show profits. Economic growth will supply jobs for our middle class, get people back to work and pay back the debt. It will also secure income for people who are investing in programs, such as pension plans.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, I am utterly astonished by the fact that the member would say that asking the ultra-wealthy to pay a bit more is going to hurt charities. I have worked in the charitable sector for over 20 years and that is an absurd statement to make.
    Throughout the pandemic, Jeff Bezos became the first man to amass over $200 billion. Jim Pattison's grocery chains cut pandemic pay while his wealth increased by $1.7 billion. Galen Weston's wealth went up by $1.6 billion. We are talking about the ultra-wealthy; we are not talking about the middle class. We should be supporting our charities and our middle class so they do not need to depend on the charities that the member so incorrectly said this will hurt.
    Madam Speaker, I respectfully totally disagree with my colleague's comments. There are a lot of people I talked to who are now donating to charities, and they would leave Canada. We are at a point where charities are assisting our different programs, such as health care and hospitals, for example, one charity donation of $27 million was made in Vancouver. I can go on about the different companies that have donated. Right now we need those donations and we also need economic growth. We cannot do it without the economy growing.

[Translation]

    Madame Speaker, I take some comfort in your presence because I was feeling very lonely in my corner and I want you to know that you are my favourite speaker.
    As I was reading my colleagues' motion yesterday, I wondered what the intention behind it was. When you look at it, there is more form than substance, but what are they trying to prove and what are they trying to accomplish with these measures?
     During the pandemic, as the government responded extensively with the Canada emergency response benefit or CERB, and the Canada emergency wage subsidy or CEWS, it seems to me that this contrasts with the narrative that the NDP wants to develop as a progressive party in this assembly. To reinforce this image of a progressive party, the NDP moved a rushed, flashy motion.
    I do not know whether my NDP colleagues truly stand behind the motion that they have moved, but judging by their high turnout, I figure that their conviction must not be as strong as it should be. I am simply putting that out there.
    The motion contains references such as “the wealthiest one per cent” and social measures. When we talk about that, generally speaking, we are talking about progressivism.
    Since I am talking about progressivism, I would like to try to define what it means to be progressive. We often hear these words. For me, one of the most obvious examples of progressivism is certainly feminism, the struggle of women to define by themselves, for themselves, what their future will be. Women have succeeded in doing this. It is not up to men to define female identity. This is a clear example of what progressivism is over the course of history.
    Another essential example is the struggle of labour movements. Workers managed to change the course of society so that attention is paid to their particular status. It is somewhat similar. I see a progressive as someone who says that someone's social standing should not be set in advance. There should not be pre-assigned positions that people cannot get out of. That is the case for people from modest backgrounds. If education and health care were not universally accessible, these people could be stuck in advance in a position.
    I see a progressive as someone who is aware of this situation. Not having much capital usually makes it harder to thrive.
    Earlier, I was listening to my colleague from Carleton, who is a staunch defender of wealth creation. However, that wealth must be distributed. Personally, I do not believe in trickle-down economics—the theory that when wealth is created, it is passed along to others. I do not believe in meritocracy either. Progressives do not buy into the idea that working hard necessarily means we will thrive or succeed in this business world. We know full well that Bill Gates's son probably has it much easier than the son of a single mom. Progressives know that being “the son of” helps a lot. I say this sincerely; I am not talking about the Prime Minister. I am not that mischievous.
    Another essential example to help define what it means to be a progressive is the Quiet Revolution. That marked the moment when Quebeckers realized that religion had too big a role in our society because it limited our horizons and defined for us what we should be. There was a broad push for secularism, which gave rise to a new society. In short, being a progressive means struggling to decide your own future and striving to empower each and every individual to do the same, according to what makes them unique.
    I remember, last week, we were talking about the War Measures Act. There is a wonderful poem by Miron called La route que nous suivons, or the road we take, in which he writes, “And through our efforts, our hatred of all forms of servitude, we will have become ferocious beasts of hope.” For me, progressives are ferocious beasts of hope.

  (1220)  

    I think my friend from Timmins—James Bay did not quite understand, since he abstained from voting on our motion regarding the War Measures Act, but that is okay.
    In my view, a progressive is someone who understands that there are groups of people who may have difficulties in society, and that they need to be given opportunities that will help them overcome those difficulties.
    I think one group the NDP often overlooks is national minorities. There are several in Canada, including indigenous peoples, but there is one that is constantly written off by the NDP in its proposals, namely the Quebec national minority.
    In my view, it is clear that the Quebec national minority is constantly seeking greater political autonomy. The New Democrats seem to think “nationalism” is a bad word. However, Quebec nationalism is not combative; it merely seeks to allow Quebec society to thrive.
    I would like to come back to an essential notion of federalism, which is respect for areas of jurisdiction. Under the principles of the Canadian federation, if an issue directly affects people and the way they organize themselves in society, it is under provincial jurisdiction. We are familiar with this division and immediately think of social programs, health care, the organization of society in general and cultural issues.
    Conversely, if an issue does not directly affect people, but the internal organization of society, it may fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Examples include monetary policy, international trade and the regulation of industry in general. This division is specified under the Constitution.
    I would like to come back to the Sherbrooke declaration that my NDP colleagues adopted in 2005. They presented themselves as people who wanted to respect Quebec's jurisdiction to the letter. I do not know what has happened since then, but the motion the NDP is proposing today is very far from respecting Quebec's jurisdiction to the letter. Is that because the NDP has only one member left in Quebec?
    This motion infringes on provincial jurisdiction. For example, the implementation of a dental care system is not at all within federal jurisdiction. None of the measures set out in today's motion fall primarily under federal jurisdiction.
    What does that mean for me as a person who would describe himself as progressive? It means that there are valid concerns for left-wingers. I completely agree that we need to stand up for the less fortunate. However, there are other subjects that my NDP friends will not speak out about that surprisingly still affect the national minority in Quebec.
    We know very well why this distinction was made in the Constitution. It was to ensure that the francophone minority was not swallowed up by the anglophone majority because we are a francophone minority in a sea of anglophones. We need these types of safeguards. If a society is not defined by its social programs, then I do not know what defines it.
    When I was a teacher, a major study was conducted that asked Canadians what differences they saw between Canadian and American identity. The first things francophones said were culture and language, which goes without saying, and the fact that Canada favours multiculturalism while the United States takes more of a melting pot approach. However, the answer that English Canadians gave was very different. Most of them said that the health care system is what makes Canada different from the United States.
    What does this tell us? It is true that a social measure shapes the identity of individuals. However, I sometimes get the feeling that the NDP takes issue with Quebec's identity since it is proposing federal social measures that do not respect provincial jurisdictions.
    Quebec is a progressive society and it has demonstrated that on many occasions. What was the first level of government to implement a child care system? It was the Government of Quebec. The Government of Quebec also grants much more generous parental leave than what is offered under the employment insurance program.

  (1225)  

    Who instituted the pharmacare our NDP colleagues are talking about? Wait for it: the Government of Quebec.
    Over time, Quebec has proven itself to be a progressive society. We have shown that we are a progressive society. Let me share a classic example of how the federal government's actions can create imbalances in social policy and how this has happened in the past. Some progressives, even some in Quebec, promptly condemned Lucien Bouchard. Why? Because, in their view, the birth of neo-liberalism in Quebec happened when Lucien Bouchard made the shift to ambulatory care.
    We need to put things into perspective. Why did Lucien Bouchard initiate that shift to ambulatory care? Because at that time in the House, in 1996-97 and 1997-98, Paul Martin repeatedly cut $2.5 billion from health transfers. The Government of Quebec therefore had no choice but to cut costs. What did Lucien Bouchard do during those years? He created $7-a-day child care.
    The federal government has created an imbalance. We do not have adequate health care funding, but we are making choices that are consistent with Quebec's identity. We can develop our own programs that will enable us to emancipate ourselves. Earlier I talked about what I believe a progressive is. What bothers me is that our NDP colleagues do not seem to understand it.
    Getting back to the motion now, it mentions a guaranteed livable basic income. I said in my introduction that this is more form than substance. It is something we need to think about, but the issue is figuring out how to implement it.
    The devil is in the details, as they say. How will this be implemented? What does that entail? Quebec already has livable basic income programs. For example, social assistance is a livable basic income. The support provided by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail is a livable basic income. The Quebec pension plan is a livable basic income. Parents of children with disabilities have access to other types of livable basic income programs. What happens to those? Do they all get thrown out? How would that work?
    I am not trying to be mean, but I think the NDP presented this motion because they see the Liberals swerving to the left and looking a bit more progressive than them. This is what we would call a dog and pony show. The NDP figured they would put on a show and move a motion. That way, they could say that the Liberals and the Bloc voted against it and that the NDP is the only leftist party.
    They make unrealistic proposals and claim to be the only ones on the left. Not only are these proposals unrealistic, they do not respect the constitutional rights of one of the core minorities in Quebec, the Quebec minority. This falls under the jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec.
    To me it goes without saying that on the issue of a guaranteed livable basic income, the motion is a bit irresponsible. How can they move such a motion in the middle of a pandemic? Do they think that everyone is going to vote in favour of this in the middle of a pandemic when there are a tonne of issues to resolve? They want to shuffle the deck and completely change the social support system without conducting a comprehensive study or asking Quebeckers what they think. I often hear my friends in the NDP claim to be champions of the national indigenous minority, but they did not ask the first nations what they thought about this. That shows that this is just a charade.
    Let's be honest: It will take years to get a basic livable income up and running. It will certainly take a lot more than moving a simple flashy motion.
    The other element is the national dental care and pharmacare programs. That is the epitome of a centralist vision. It is the epitome of the NDP's centralist vision. It is up to the Government of Quebec to decide if it will establish a dental care plan, not the federal government. Those who are progressive and left-leaning—that is how I view myself—prefer a top-down, or bottom-up, approach.

  (1230)  

    It must come from the bottom, the social movements and the people. Therefore, a measure such as a national dental care program must come from Quebec. If it decides to have one, it will. It must come from the bottom and not the top. A centralist, “Ottawa knows best” approach will not define how services will be provided by the Government of Quebec to society. That also applies to pharmacare. The Quebec government already has its own system.
    I was getting somewhere earlier when I said that we must see how people define their identity. Some Canadians say their identity is defined by the fact that they have a public health care system. We know very well that that is powerful and that we have something powerful when we talk about it. When we talk about something that affects individuals politically, it is easier to talk with them and define their identity.
    I think that this practice is not unrelated to the fact that the NDP is trying to be more closely connected to the issue of health care; they may be trying to get more votes. If that is what they want to do, let them run for a provincial legislature, because here is not the right place. If they are truly concerned about health care, let them focus on the fundamental issue of health care funding. Funding is a disaster. In 2018-19, if I remember correctly, 44% of the Quebec government's budget went to health care. The federal government's share was barely 20%. That is what needs to be addressed. When money is transferred to the provinces, then that will yield results. Funding is indexed at 3% when we know that the cost of delivering health care is growing by 5%. Once again, this is not in Quebec's interest and is a bit of window dressing.
    On housing, the motion calls for the government to “immediately fund a ‘For Indigenous, By Indigenous’ urban, rural and Northern housing strategy delivered by Indigenous housing providers.”
    It is a proposal, but nowhere is it stated how it will be done. If an indigenous housing strategy is to be developed and funded, perhaps they should be consulted beforehand. Were consultations mentioned at all? We have not heard anything about consultations. Have they mentioned the issue before? Do they want to implement it? This is more of the rhetoric I was talking about earlier regarding some of the flashy measures. I do not think that a national initiative involving first nations can be proposed without talking to them first.
    Another part refers to taxing the most wealthy. I tend to agree with that. Adding “one per cent” tends to be a flashy move. The “wealthiest one per cent” is a well-understood figure of speech. It is a good communication pitch. Maybe I am for it. We should look into this, but is there not some work to be done first on tax avoidance and tax havens?
    With this measure, the NDP is hoping to bring in some $5 billion, when we know that, in Canada, tax avoidance and tax havens costs us collectively between $9 billion and $48 billion. If we want to revive the Canadian economy after the crisis, adjusting public finances and ensuring robust health care funding are perhaps things that we should look into.
    Lastly, one thing in this motion bothered me greatly and clearly shows that the NDP is not thinking of Quebec. The motion mentions the recovery for all campaign, which is only in English. That clearly shows that they are not thinking of Quebec. I was even wondering if it was admissible here but, since I am not a petty person, I did not mention it.
    To conclude, I am a great admirer of Albert Camus. The NDP will say that the Bloc Québécois is not a progressive party, which makes me think of the quarrel between Camus and Sartre in the 1950s. Camus responded beautifully in the book The Fall with the “judge-penitent” character. He is the one who sometimes confounds others with his inability to intervene.

  (1235)  

    In this case, the “judge-penitent” is the NDP, who will say that the Bloc Québécois is not a progressive party because it is not voting in favour of the motion.
    Madam Speaker, I have a lot of sympathy for my colleague. Clearly, he did not read the motion and did not have time to prepare his speech.
    He believes that the NDP would say that the Bloc is not a progressive party. What I would actually say is that the Bloc is not prepared for today's debate, which is too bad.
    I feel no need to defend the NDP's history or our positions on bilingualism in Canada, Quebec's right to self-determination and the War Measures Act. In every province where the NDP has been elected, we have advanced francophone rights. These principles are well known.
    What worries me is that the Bloc is undermining every opportunity Quebeckers may have for progress. It says that health care, a provincial jurisdiction, is underfunded, and it is right. However, it is opposing the possibility of access to dental care and a pharmacare program that is not as badly flawed as the one in Quebec currently is.
    I travel all over Quebec and speak with Quebeckers. The need for dental care and a universal pharmacare program comes up again and again. Why does my colleague want to attack programs funded by the federal government but administered by the provinces that could benefit Quebeckers who are struggling when it comes to dental care—
    The hon. member for Jonquière.
    Madam Speaker, I come from an academic background, and it is facile to tell someone that they have not read what was written just because they do not agree with our comments. That is the most facile response I have ever heard.
    If I did not read the NDP motion and am not prepared, I apologize. However, if I am not prepared, my colleague clearly did not listen to me. I stated that the majority of NDP proposals are about things that are not the jurisdiction of the House, but are the realm of the provinces. It is not up to the House of Commons to dictate to the National Assembly of Quebec how to establish the social safety net it is responsible for. That is all I have to say to him.

  (1240)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I take it the member is concerned about a number of the priority areas for spending identified in the motion, but I take the principal thrust of the motion to be a revenue tool, a new wealth tax. The member suggested that we could look to other areas first and that this is symbolic, but if we look at the PBO's work, it is certainly more than symbolic. There would be billions of new dollars. Now the PBO's work has changed and the estimates have changed significantly, in some cases, over time, but even the most modest estimates I have seen were over $5 billion a year.
     I wonder, specifically on the question of a wealth tax, given the problematic wealth inequality we see, what the member would say about a wealth tax.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, this is certainly something worth studying. I added that tax avoidance is one hell of a problem. I fully understand that the House is responsible for tax issues, and this is fine with me.
    However, I am not a tax expert. I often criticize some of my colleagues in the House who pretend to be experts on everything. I am not a tax expert, but as a self-described progressive politician, I do believe that the wealthiest could be playing a bigger role. I could support this proposal.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's speech. He spoke about what it is to be a progressive.
    I did find his description of Quebec society, though, to be very conservative. I see Quebec society as representing this kind of conservative preservative nationalism, a desire to preserve language, preserve identity, preserve culture. That is a Burkean vision of society that conservatives are very enthusiastic about: the desire to preserve the goods of history and pass them on untainted to the next generation. I would submit that to my colleague for his consideration, that conservative principles are very much aligned with Quebec's emphasis on culture and tradition.
    I want to ask him about this idea of subsidiarity that he alluded to in his speech, the importance of bottom up instead of top down when it comes to social change and programs and these sorts of things. One of the challenges I have with the Bloc Québécois is that they quite rightly emphasize subsidiarity in the sense of respect for provincial jurisdiction, but we do not see the same respect for minorities within minorities, the recognition that, yes, the federal government must leave appropriate space to the provinces but provinces must also respect the proper space of minorities within those provinces in terms of the practice of their own traditions and so forth. I am curious to hear his comments on that.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the last part of my colleague's speech, where he talked about minorities. If he wants to talk about conservatism, I would be glad to speak with him afterward.
    One of the best-off minorities in the world is the anglophone minority in Quebec. Although the anglophone minority accounts for 8% of Quebec's population, it receives 30% of the education budget. If francophones ever receive the same treatment in other provinces, we can revisit this issue. Until then, I have nothing else to add.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I really liked that he mentioned the social movements, the women's movement and the labour movement. I especially appreciate his ability to tie in Camus, Sartre, Miron, no matter what he is talking about.
    What really stood out to me in his argument is the way the NDP motion overlooks the Quebec national minority. What is more, the motion does not respect Quebec's jurisdiction.
    I would like to know why the hon. member thinks the NDP, which claims to be a great defender of minorities, is unable to recognize the Quebec national minority in its motion.
    Madam Speaker, the perennial problem with the Canadian federation is that the Quebec national minority is often viewed as contrasting with ethnic minorities and first nations minorities. However, they all have one thing in common, a minority identity. I get the impression that the NPD is happy to erase the Quebec minority identity at times.
    We have to make the NDP members aware of what the Quebec identity entails, because I think there is quite a bit of misunderstanding.

  (1245)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's comments. He stated that the “recovery for all” campaign is actually not bilingual. In fact, I have a House of Commons petition that is bilingual, if the member cares to check into that.
    The other issue that the member raised was on the indigenous housing side. The call for a “for indigenous, by indigenous” national housing strategy is in fact something that the indigenous community is calling for.
    I wonder if the member knows that, in the indigenous community, people are more likely to be homeless, 11 times more than non-indigenous peoples. In the national housing strategy that was introduced back in 2017, the Liberal government did not actually put forward a measure to address the indigenous housing crisis. In fact, in the throne speech, there is nothing, no strategy, no specific plan, to address this crisis. Is it not time that we get on with it in this new nation-to-nation relationship?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, with respect to the recovery for all campaign, I do not know if there is a French petition. If yes, all the better. What I saw was in English only. In my opinion, when someone drafts a document in English only, they are not addressing Quebeckers. That goes without saying.
    With regard to indigenous nations, it is obvious that they are facing challenges. We must be honest. It is true that housing is a very serious problem among indigenous nations. They will deal with it. It will not be up to just the federal government. It will not happen as a result of a motion that was scribbled on the back of a napkin and that we are required to decide on today, because they want to appear to be a little more to the left than the Liberal Party is at present.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for St. John's East.
    I am very honoured to join in the debate today in support of the NDP motion that calls on the Liberals to put in place a new 1% tax on wealth over $20 million and an excess profit tax on big corporations that have been profiteering from the pandemic, so that we can reinvest billions of dollars to support Canadians.
    The pandemic has exposed deep inequities and massive failures in our economic system, leaving 1.8 million people out of work. The people hardest hit are low-income workers in the service industries, the agricultural workers and the migrant workers. Too often they are women, they are young and they are a visible minority. Even before the pandemic, more than half of Canadians were living from paycheque to paycheque, and 10 million workers had no workplace retirement plans.
    The median retirement savings for households close to retirement without a pension is $3,000, and nearly four out of 10 Canadians have no retirement savings at all. Meanwhile, over 10,000 families have a net worth of over $30 million with their total wealth valued at over $1 trillion. Worse still, the income gap is continuing to grow exponentially.
    Successive governments know the system is rigged to benefit the ultra-rich and they have done nothing about it. Budget 2019 continues with a blanket tax break for the richest corporations. Tax havens are still in place and will continue to take over $16 billion every year from much-needed programs for all Canadians. As workers struggle to get by, Canada's top 20 richest people profited $40 billion from the pandemic, yet despite earning record profits, some of these families who own the largest grocery chains in Canada decided to end their “hero pay” programs for their workers. It is as though they are blind to the second wave and that the lives of their workers are not continually at risk. This is just obscene.
    The time has come to bring in strong measures to restore some balance to such inequities. In the last election, the NDP campaigned on a wealth tax. In this minority government, the NDP is calling on the Liberals to put in place a new 1% tax on wealth over $20 million and an excess profit tax on big corporations that have been profiteering from the pandemic. This is so that we can reinvest billions of dollars in a guaranteed livable basic income, a universal single-payer pharmacare and a national dental care program, and then truly treat adequate housing as a basic human right.
    The Parliamentary Budget Officer reports that applying a 1% annual wealth tax to families with fortunes over $20 million would generate $5.6 billion in 2020-21. Over the course of 10 years, it would generate $70 billion in revenue. This wealth tax would apply to only 13,800 Canadians. There is no good reason why web giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook should not pay their fair share of taxes, as has been done by other countries.
    Without a doubt, we should also crack down on tax havens and close tax loopholes. We need to pair these programs with tough enforcement against tax evasion and penalties for millionaires and big corporations who try to avoid paying their fair share.
    By introducing a COVID-19 excess profit tax, we could at least double the tax rate on excess profits. We need to prepare these programs so that we can make sure that people do what is right by Canadians. It is time that we prioritize the needs of everyday Canadians over billionaires. By bringing in a guaranteed livable income, we can eradicate poverty and ensure the respect, dignity and security of all persons in Canada now and for future generations.

  (1250)  

    Nearly five million people in Canada, one out of every seven, live in poverty. In most urban centres, a family of four would need to have a total income in excess of $60,000 to escape poverty. In my own riding of Vancouver East, Downtown Eastside, is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. The median income there is under $18,000, while across the country, the bottom 90% have an average income of $28,000. Vancouver has the highest rate of poverty at 20.4%, followed by Toronto at 20%.
    Who are the faces of poverty? These are not just numbers. They represent real people. They are people living with disabilities. They are children. They are single moms. They are indigenous peoples, who are overrepresented among the homeless population in virtually all urban centres in Canada. They are racialized peoples. They are the elderly. They are veterans. They are our friends and our neighbours.
     I am a parent, and I love my children to the moon and back. There is nothing that I would not do for them. However, in Canada, one in five children live in poverty. That is 1.3 million children. In the indigenous community, one in two children live in poverty. Indigenous peoples are 11 times more likely to be homeless. Just take that in for a minute.
    What do these numbers mean? They mean that people cannot afford to fill their medical prescriptions. It means they cannot have food on the table. It means they cannot put a roof over their heads. It means that children are being ripped away from their families and put into the child welfare system. It means people are forced to break the law to try and survive. It means that their life expectancy is much shorter than those who do not live in poverty. The cost of poverty to our overall economy is staggering and to our humanity it is immeasurable.
    It does not have to be this way. We can choose better. We can allow ourselves to realize a better Canada; a Canada where children are not going hungry; a Canada where seniors and people living with a disability live in dignity; a Canada where veterans are treated with the respect that they deserve; a Canada where people do not have to worry about how they will pay for their medicine; a Canada where adequate housing is not just a dream but a reality; a Canada without homeless encampments such as the one we have right now in my community.
    A guaranteed basic livable income can help build a better Canada. A universal single-payer pharmacare program and a national dental care can help build a better Canada. A true national housing strategy, as outlined in recovery for all’s six-point plan, is a good start to end homelessness.
     Homelessness is a policy choice fuelled by both the Liberals and Conservatives. A commitment of immediately building 3,000 new permanent affordable and supportive housing is a good start. We can limit the ability of large capital funds to purchase distressed rental housing assets. We can develop a “for indigenous, by indigenous” national housing centre and immediately construct 73,000 units of affordable housing, led by indigenous housing providers for urban, rural and northern communities.
    Those are the kinds of initiatives that will create jobs and help the people who need it the most. A better Canada is possible. To quote greatest Canadian, Tommy Douglas, “Courage my friends, it is not too late to build a better world”.
    Let us get on with it. I call on all members of this House to support this motion. This is the path for the future, this is a just recovery and this is telling the world that Canada will not leave people behind. This is saying that we stand with people in a tangible way and not just in words. This is a test of all of us, where we stand and the value that we bring to the House.
     I hope all members will support this motion.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, many people know that my father and I were journalists at Queen's Park at the same time. He once said to me, “You want to know how to make a New Democrat angry? Agree with them.” I have to tell members that as someone who has now run against the New Democrats, I think about three to six times, nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing in the motion that someone can disagree with on principle. The question is how do we get it done practically and how do we sequence it, pay for it and structured it.
    The member opposite listed pharmacare and now added dental care, which is not in the NDP platform or its costing. She has gone from universal income to basic income, but has not explained what that would look like. She talked about and indigenous urban and northern housing strategy. She knows that we are working on it and are very close to delivering it. We have accommodated it within the new national housing strategy. Now she has added a couple of other things, but I will not go into the long list.
    The NDP is proposing one tax to solve this problem. The dollars attached to that tax address one part of that list, but not all of it. Where are the additional tax dollars coming from and where is the program structure on how to accomplish these? Why is that not a part of the NDP proposal? Why is it just a bunch of slogans and a simplistic solution, with no practical process to actually address the issues that have been raised?
    Madam Speaker, my question for the Liberals and the parliamentary secretary is this. Why is it always the Liberals who make promises and never deliver?
     Does the member realize that the promise for universal pharmacare has been in the Liberal red book for decades now, and still we do not have it? The excuse has always been that the government cannot afford for it. We have outlined some measures on how we can pay for it. If the member looked at some of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's reports, the universal pharmacare program would save Canadians money, and so, too, would a national housing strategy.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate and share the genuine passion of the member for social justice and for helping vulnerable people. However, on this side of the House, we would particularly emphasize the need to produce it before we can redistribute it. If we want to help people in vulnerable situations, we have to pay significant attention to economic development, to growing opportunity to create wealth, so we can then help vulnerable people.
    We are in a situation right now where many businesses are not able to operate the way they normally would. We have significant government spending, well beyond the taxes we take in, and the NDP has no plan to address that enormous deficit.
    Would the member agree, in principle, that if we want to help vulnerable people, we need to focus on allowing people to get back to work, creating the conditions for the creation of jobs and opportunity and opening up innovation and new industries, which is a critical piece if we are to achieve the objectives about which the member has talked?

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, what the pandemic has shown us is that we have a huge inequality in our economic system. We have a situation where people are in fact left behind. We all talk about it, say that we are going to build back better, that we need to come out of the pandemic better, why not start with a wealth tax? One per cent on wealth over $20 million is not out of this universe. How about saying to the people who profited from the pandemic that they could pay a bit more to support Canadians through this rough patch?
    For both the Liberals and Conservatives, there never is a good time to do what is right, there is never a good time to support the people who are the most vulnerable.
    Madam Speaker, as it is my first opportunity to enter the debate on the opposition day motion, I want to put on the record that I absolutely support a wealth tax of 1% on wealth over $20 million. In fact, it was in my party's platform in 2019.
    One of the most interesting comments in the Parliamentary Budget Office's report was how this tax would work. It put what it called a “band of uncertainty” around it, which some people took to mean the people in the Green Party of the NDP could not add because the PBO had said there was a band of uncertainty. However, it meant that the Parliamentary Budget Office thought, as we approached taxing the wealthiest in the country, that they would figure out ways not to pay the tax. That is the band of uncertainty. The money is there, tax is applied and we should have the amount of money the PBO has estimated.
    I wonder if the NDP has turned its mind, or whether the hon. member for Vancouver East has, to how we account for the tax—
    A very short answer from the member for Vancouver East.
    Madam Speaker, we can begin by closing the tax loopholes, closing the tax havens and ending the subsidies for big oil.
    Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to join the debate on the motion by the member for New Westminster—Burnaby on tax measures to support vulnerable Canadians.
    We have been going through the most horrific health crisis in our country over the last eight or nine months. There has been the terrible, sad loss of over 10,000 Canadians, and we are still enduring the health consequences in the second wave in our most populous areas. We also know it has been a great burden to a lot of people whose vulnerability in our society has been greatly exposed by the loss of income, employment and opportunities during this pandemic because of the response to the necessary lockdowns.
    More than a million more Canadians are unemployed today than were at the beginning of the pandemic. We are concerned about the consequences of the inequality that has been exposed by that. We knew about it. The New Democrats have been talking about it for many years, but now it is time for the rest of the country to realize that something must be done about the fundamental inequality in our country. The consequences for people are too great for us not to act now.
    This is an opportunity to recognize that some of this inequality can be addressed by looking at where the significant money is and where it is not being shared equally. We do not want to see big corporations profiteer from a pandemic. We have seen responses to that in the past.
    As the member for New Westminster—Burnaby pointed out in his most excellent speech, an excess profit tax was imposed during the Second World War. It was believed by all parties that companies making an excess amount of money, profiteering during the war, should have that excess profit taxed. The regular profit was not taxed. That is what we are calling for in this situation. Big corporations that have received excess profits during the pandemic should pay an excess tax on that.
    The second thing we talked about in our platform, which was costed, was a wealth tax on the super wealthy, not an income tax. A lot of people have mussed over that. I know the Prime Minister has in response to questions. This would be a tax on people's wealth in excess of $20 million, not on the first $20 million but a tax of 1% on anything in excess of that.
    These huge fortunes keep growing more than 1% every year and are not properly taxed. Those individuals do not pay their fair contribution to the rest of society. We want to use that tax to deal with some of the serious inequalities we have regarding income, health care and housing. Those are the three main issues that would be dealt with in the proposal we have to expand income security programs to ensure all individuals residing in Canada have a guaranteed liveable basic income.
    We want to see health care expanded to include a national dental care program and a universal pharmacare program, which has been promised by the Liberals for more than 27 years. They still have not delivered on that. We want to see a meaningful implementation of the right to housing, with a significant plan known as “recovery for all", as well as a special indigenous, urban and rural and northern strategy delivered by indigenous people.
    These items make up the essence of the motion. We are looking for support from the other parties in the House for that.
     I am going to speak specifically to one aspect of our plan, which is the dental care plan. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the member for Spadina—Fort York, talked about the NDP not having it in our platform or having costed it. He is wrong on both counts. It was in our platform last year and it was costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It was a very doable and important measure that would make a significant change in the lives of millions of Canadians.

  (1305)  

    In fact, we also had it costed again this year in February and gave members of Parliament an opportunity to actually implement it by a change in the so-called middle-class tax cut, by taking the benefit of about $300 from the top of that of people earning over $90,000 and directing that money to provide a national dental care program, which would provide free dental care for families with an income of less than $70,000 per year.
    That program is very important. Anyone who reflects on the situation of people in this country who do not have access to dental care knows that it is a major area of inequality in health care, in lifestyle and in getting a job. It comes with a stigma and affects their overall health. It is a shocking gap in the health care system.
    We have a situation where if one has a bone broken, a fall or an illness, they go to the hospital or doctor and that is covered by medicare. However, if someone has an oral health problem, a toothache, a cavity or a lost tooth, it is not covered in most cases by our health care system.
    We have people living all their lives, in many cases, from birth to death without adequate health care or with a patchwork of government programs here and there to help along the way. It is a significant inequality for rural and indigenous communities throughout the country in terms of lack of access to health care. It causes significant problems.
    We are talking about a program that would cost $1.4 billion per year. It has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It would benefit over six million Canadians. The cost is actually up from last year's analysis because of the increase in the number of people who do not have access to health and dental care programs because they are no longer working in places that have a program for employees.
    It affects the most vulnerable Canadians. It affects part-time workers who do not have access to programs. It affects young people who age out of existing programs when they turn 21 or, for students, when they turn 25. It is a situation that cries out for action by government. This calls out for redress.
    I spoke about the opportunity we gave to all hon. members on February 25 of this year on an opposition day motion to make a change in the tax regime that would give every single person in Canada without a dental care plan an opportunity to have a basic plan available to them. Every single Conservative in the House and every single Liberal in the House voted against that plan. Of course, they all benefit from the same plan I do, which is a plan for dental care as part of the regime of benefits for members of Parliament.
    This plan would guarantee that all Canadians would have access to a dental care plan. It is something that is doable and that can be done for the kind of money that the Parliamentary Budget Officer talks about. It ought to be put in place in the interest of all Canadians and in the interests of equality.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, the nice thing about having an iPad on my desk is I can read the NDP platform from the last election. I just went through the three chapters that cover health care and dental care is not mentioned once. We know the program was not costed, and dental care was never mentioned. It is not that we should not provide it or look for ways to provide it, but members should not make up facts on the floor of the House of Commons, even if doing it remotely.
    I want to talk about the right to housing. An NDP candidate stood on my sister's porch in Victoria and claimed Liberals had not legislated it and furthermore, that we have never made an investment in Victoria. My sister said, “Yes, they have. My brother is the parliamentary secretary and every time he comes to Victoria, he stays at my house.”
    We have made those investments. We did legislate the right to housing. We are in the process of constructing the advisory council. Does the NDP want us to move faster or is it that they do not understand what we have done?
    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is repeating something that is incorrect. It is mentioned in our platform as published and was costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Those numbers were released by the NDP on September 18 during the election campaign, so he cannot have his own facts. He can repeat something that is incorrect as long as he wants, but it does not change the fact that it was costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer and was part of our campaign. The people who came up to me in the streets during the campaign talked about our platform and the importance of dental care to them—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask my friend from the NDP a few questions regarding his speech.
    My first is with respect to something he talked about often in his speech, which is taxing those who are wealthy and ensuring they continue to pay even more during this pandemic, as well as taxing corporations.
     I have a couple of comments first. Sooner or later, this is not great policy because, at some point, it pushes people over the edge, whether it is an individual or a corporation. Individuals will not stick around to be bled to death. I am no defender of those who are rich, at times they are their own worst enemy, however, we as Canadians want them to keep their money here. We want them to put their money in the banks to allow them to lend money out so someone can get a student loan, buy a house or a car, or continue the progression up the economic ladder, to give those opportunities, but we also want the businesses to be here as well.
     My question is this. If we continue to raise taxes, the products or services will stop because those businesses have hit a certain level and decided it is not worth producing or selling here. When we run the manufacturers out, the oil and gas companies out, and the energy producers out, and the gravitational pull of the economy goes elsewhere, who pays for all the programs that have been promised?

  (1315)  

    Madam Speaker, as one of my colleagues pointed out earlier, there was a time when the Conservative Party was very concerned about profiteering in times of crisis during and after the Second World War. The Conservatives were some of the biggest supporters of an extra tax on those who profited excessively from the war. We are not talking about ordinary profits or that kind of thing. In the case of the wealthy, we are not talking about everybody who has money, we are talking about people who have probably benefited from all kinds of tax loopholes along the way, but someone who has in excess of $20 million in wealth should be taxed 1% on anything in excess of that. That would be over some 13,000 people. There would be significant revenue from that to help us solve some of these inequality problems that are extremely important to Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Spadina—Fort York.
    The NDP motion to tax 1% on wealth over $20 million is so fundamentally wrong, I do not even know how to describe it. There is a basic misunderstanding of the concept of wealth with the NDP.
    The New Democrats think $20 million in wealth is something that is cash hidden in the closet that they can tax every single year. They forget that this wealth is actually deployed in creating economic activity. It is deployed to create employment that, in turn, pays tax. It is deployed in enterprises that pay sales tax and corporate tax. The wealth the New Democrats are trying to tax is actually deployed in creating economic activity that continues to provide income so that all Canadians can be supported in terms of their needs.
    I am new to politics. I entered politics only in 2014. I stood for election in 2015, and am a member of this august House. I came with three objectives.
     The first objective was that we need affordable housing for all. That is not a left-leaning progressive objective. It is not a right-leaning conservative objective. It is an objective shared by almost all Canadians. We, as a society, should provide affordable housing for all. I am proud to say that we have invested quite large amounts into ensuring that we meet this objective.
    My second objective was to ensure we have adequate retirement income for 11 million working Canadians who do not have workplace pension plans. There are 11 million working Canadians with no workplace pension plan and, when they retire, it is possible that most of them will retire into poverty. We need to take action and I am proud that we have actually taken action on that front. We have reformed the Canada pension plan. We still need to take much more action so that the seniors who retire have adequate income to have a decent living in their retirement.
    The third objective was to ensure that the Canadian society and economy would continue to be robust and prosperous even in the new knowledge-based economy, so that prosperity could continue to be available to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this objective, we need successful entrepreneurs to invest in the knowledge-based economy. Any government can only facilitate. We can pass legislation and we can promote policies to promote the knowledge-based economy, but at the end of the day the knowledge-based economy can only come from entrepreneurs who take risks and invest in new capital enterprises in the knowledge-based economy. The new economy we are talking of means the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, genomics and the new 5G technologies. In all of these areas, the government cannot create employment on its own, so we need successful entrepreneurs to do that and we need them to invest their wealth, which the NDP proposes to tax. We need that investment.
    I am a person who would never be affected by this motion, never in my life. Forget $20 million, Madam Speaker. I do not think I will go into six or seven digits in wealth. However, I happen to know the people whom the NDP is targeting with this wealth tax.

  (1320)  

    Let me give an example of a couple who, a long time back, graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa and set up their own businesses. The first business failed. The second business failed, as did the third business. At the time they were investing, with no money in their pockets, whatever little amount they could get. When they were investing and developing the businesses, they lived by eating tomato sandwiches. They worked hard, month after month, year after year. For 15, 20 and then 25 years they worked, creating a company. Finally, they were able to sell it to a big multi-national company for about $50 million, which the NDP wants to tax.
    What did the couple do with the $50 million they gained? They took a risk and reinvested in new technologies, creating high-paying jobs. They knew very well the money they were investing in these new capital enterprises might be lost entirely. They took that risk. They deployed the wealth back into a technology business creating high-paying jobs, which provided income tax for us to provide support to all Canadians. They created an enterprise that paid corporate tax. They created an enterprise that paid sales tax. They rented premises that paid sales tax on the rent they paid. They reinvested. If they had lost money on that investment, nobody would have compensated them.
    The very idea that we have to tax this wealth is creating a disincentive for entrepreneurs to reinvest. It is very wrong.
    Let me give another example of a great Canadian: a South African national who is also a Canadian citizen and now a U.S. citizen. Elon Musk has singlehandedly done more to fight climate change than all of us sitting here. He is a great entrepreneur who invested his wealth into electric vehicles through battery technology with the goal of having a sustainable world and fighting climate change, and actually delivering it in the process of making wealth.
    This person, 10 years ago, was weeks away from bankruptcy. He did not have money to pay rent. The company he founded was almost on the doorstep of closure. However, he persevered. He continued to work hard. Today he has created wealth, not only for himself but for his tens of thousands of employees across the world. That is the kind of wealth the NDP is proposing to tax.
    It is easy for us to sit here and say, let the wealthy pay tax and let us spend it on things we feel are noble. Under the noble objectives, I think we are losing our focus.
    Our focus should be on things that can create economic activity, economic development and employment, and can increase the income with which people pay personal income tax. We can focus on economic development that pays more sales tax, and we can focus on economic development that pays more corporate tax, instead of focusing on taxing the wealthy.
    I know time is limited. I would like to answer any questions.

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, 87 Canadian families have the same amount of wealth as 12 million Canadians. On average, they have $3 billion in wealth. In fact, nine of the top 20 wealth carriers in that classification are CEOs. There are 4.8 million Canadians living in absolute poverty, and 25 per cent of them are children.
    Why do the Liberals continue to protect CEO stock option loopholes and tax havens for the wealthy? This is an opportunity to give everybody a guaranteed livable income so they can put food on the table, provide child care for their children and have a roof over their heads.
     Why are the Liberals opposed to doing the right thing, and taxing those who could afford to pay for it and who benefited the most during this pandemic? I hope the member can explain.
    Madam Speaker, what the hon. member did not mention is the portion of tax revenue collected from the wealthy individuals he talked about. That is one of the things he has to answer.
    He talked about helping Canadians. We have taken measures to go after the tax havens that the member mentioned. We have created special cells within the CRA and we have invested more. We know that when we go after tax havens, the returns we get are much more than we get from normal audits.
    Madam Speaker, if Open Parliament serves me correctly, I would like to congratulate the member on his first speech in this Parliament. I really liked the real-world examples he gave of entrepreneurs creating wealth and good jobs in Canada. I hope in the future he stands and shares those types of stories more often instead of us hearing all the time from the member for Winnipeg North.
    What can we do in Canada to create more competitiveness in the technology sector, since that was an example he gave, to create jobs and see people flourish with small businesses?
    Madam Speaker, you may have noticed that I do not speak much. In fact, as the member pointed out, this is the first time. Usually I leave the speaking to the people who have more knowledge, better expertise and better communication skills than me. I am happy to sit back, listen and try to understand.
    On the question of investing in the new economy, new technologies and competitiveness, one of the key things I hear from entrepreneurs in Ottawa, where there are 1,700 knowledge-based companies, and as a former board member of Invest Ottawa, is that the talent is missing. We need to increase the immigration of skilled entrepreneurs from across the world so that we can get the best brains in the world to come to work in our new economy.
    Madam Speaker, what the member is getting at is we can all agree that it is a good thing to try to support individuals by having those with the most resources distribute their wealth, but as I read the motion, it is full of ambiguity. I want to point some things out and see if maybe he can find out about them.
    What is the definition of a big corporation? Does that include businesses in my riding of Kings—Hants such as Apple Valley Foods, which employs about 500 people? Would that be defined as a big corporation or are we thinking bigger? The Parliamentary Budget Officer has mentioned that this proposed motion would garner $5.6 billion a year. All the measures on the table are much more than that.
    Can he comment on whether he thinks this is a reasonable motion? It is certainly good in principle, but in practice, how would it play out?

  (1330)  

    Madam Speaker, as the member pointed out, the motion is quite ambiguous. It talks about national housing, pharmacare and supporting indigenous people. These are good and noble objectives, with which we all agree, but what the NDP is proposing is not acceptable.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to stand and speak in the House, especially when the motion in front of us involves housing, in particular the proposal to try to get us to do the work we need to do, which is actually work the Liberal government is already engaged in doing.
    I referenced my father in an earlier comment. I will reference my mother now, who once told me that if people want to make a point, they vote NDP; if people want to make a difference, they vote Liberal; and if people want to make a mistake, they vote Conservative. I raise that issue because, while the theory behind what the NDP is proposing is good as it reflects our throne speech, our campaign commitments and the record of this Liberal government, it is the practicality of it that I do not understand.
    I asked members a question earlier. During a campaign debate with my opponent, I said that they had referenced one tax seven different ways, and it was all spent on pharmacare, but it also promised to deal with different housing programs. Dental care was added into the program, and other things, but the same dollar kept getting spent over and over again, even though it was only one dollar. The Conservatives like to say there is only one taxpayer, but I think the NDP needs to be reminded that its tax increase is only one tax increase. It has layered several different programs on top of this, claiming that there are savings that will flow from these investments. Those savings, I would remind the NDP, are downstream. There are upfront costs to all of the NDP's proposals, which the Parliamentary Budget Office identified. There are also unintended risks to what the New Democrats are proposing, and if there is no plan to put their theory into place, then they are just words.
    The NDP is great on slogans. All of these slogans are good. All of these ideas have value, but what is not there is the practical plan to achieve them, and without a practical plan to achieve them, they are just empty words. I will give the House a couple of examples. Finally the NDP has talked about the issue of urban, rural and northern housing. Finally the New Democrats are beginning to address one of the most critical housing issues in the country, and they say we have done nothing to address it.
    That is just wrong. We identified it in the national housing strategy as the chapter that we are currently working on, and we are about to deliver on that. The throne speech makes that commitment, and the work is already under way, but in the interim we created an indigenous stream and increased funding in the indigenous stream in reaching home. We made all of the programs eligible to northern, rural and urban communities for indigenous-led housing providers. Additionally, we put carve-outs into the northern housing strategy, specifically for northern housing accomplishments, because we knew that previous programs had a gap there. On top of all of that, we also made sure that our investments into things like the rapid housing initiative are focused on, and eligible to, indigenous housing providers.
    In the interim we have actually invested in those programs while we pull together and work with urban indigenous, rural indigenous and northern indigenous leadership to make sure we set up a by- and for-indigenous housing program. That work is under way. Those investments are coming. When I ask the member for Vancouver East to give me a dollar amount, a housing target or strategy, or to say who she is working with, and we have asked these questions repeatedly, the NDP just says, “Do it now and do more.”
    I appreciate doing more. It is a great political slogan. I have no problem with trying to do more, working to accomplish more and actually delivering more, which this government has done. However, just jumping up and down and saying, “Do more!” is not governing. It is a chant in a protest, and as my mother said, if one wants to protest, one has a party. If one wants to get things done, one has a government.
    On the issue of recovery for all, I invite the members of the NDP to look at that campaign and see which member of Parliament appears in the campaign. They should check the video for it. They can tell me whether they see my face there, or their leader's face there. They should check the video, because that campaign is being put forth by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness: an organization we work with day in and day out to get better strategies in place to support homeless individuals. This is not just during COVID. We have been doing this since we first got elected.
    The rapid housing initiative, the reprofiling of reaching home and the advancement of the legislation to achieve the right to housing were all done with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. If members read all six points of the recovery for all program, they will see our government has already started to respond to those six calls to action with investments such as the billion-dollar rapid housing initiative, and the almost half-billion dollars invested into reaching home to protect people during COVID and to build a stronger network of organizations to fight homelessness across the country.
    When members talk about the urban, rural and northern housing strategy, they can talk to the member for Winnipeg Centre. We have been working very closely together, not only to get a study done in Parliament, but also simultaneously with urban indigenous housing providers, and their allies in rural and northern communities, to formulate what the receiving side of that program would look like and how we would work with housing providers across the country to achieve what we need to. All of this is being worked on.
    When it comes to the right to housing, I recall a story I heard from my sister in Victoria. The NDP candidate came to her house, knocked on the door and said the government had done nothing about the right to housing. They laid into the national housing strategy as if it did not exist and said there had not been a penny invested in Victoria. This simply is not true.

  (1335)  

    Mayor Helps and I have met dozens of times, formally and informally, to talk about Victoria's progress in getting to functional zero. Without COVID, we are pretty sure we would have gotten there this year. Why? It is because we steered a $3 million block-funding initiative right into the greater Victoria area, with the provincial government and the regional housing authority. When they ran into a wall, we topped it up by $10 million.
    I have opened programs and buildings in Victoria, yet the candidate went to my sister's house, stood on her porch and said the government had not even been there. My sister's response was, “Every time he comes to Victoria he stays with me. I know he comes to Victoria to make those announcements.”
    Can we do more? Absolutely. We are working hard on that. Are we delivering more dollars in real time in a real way? Of course we are.
    I invite the NDP to stop screaming “more” and start talking about “how”, because that is the way results will end up landing in people's lives. It is not by protesting in front of Parliament Hill. It is by working on Parliament Hill. It is not by talking about more money for housing. It is by building, subsidizing and repairing more housing.
    I remind the House leader of the NDP that last term he said repairing housing is not part of a national housing strategy. What a ridiculous claim to make. The next week I was in Burnaby giving money to a co-op to fix housing so that people did not have to move out. Good housing systems will repair housing, subsidize housing and build housing. That is how we build a national housing strategy. We do not just chant “do more”; we actually get more done.
    I have no problem supporting the concept of the motion before us. In our throne speech, we talked about exploring ways to make the tax system more fair by looking at the way wealthy Canadians may be able to pay more of their fair share, because the system has changed over time and is no longer as fair as it could be. On page 19 and 20, we said we would end chronic homelessness, that there would be a northern and indigenous housing strategy and that we were going to invest in social and co-op housing. Those programs are currently being constructed and will be in front of the House in short order.
    As for the right to housing, we are halfway through the appointments process. We have moved the legislation through the House and we are moments away from signing off on the advisory council. The housing advocate will be constructed with the housing advisory panel, which will include people with lived experience. All of these things are part of what the UN rapporteur for housing, who helped us draft the legislation, told us we needed for achieving on those files.
    I am not going to stand here and be told by the NDP to get back to work when I am doing the work. I will tell the NDP to stop chanting “more” and start showing us how, because the lack of practical application of their ideas is why they are in fourth place. It is why they fail to take government. The chants, protests and slogans remind me of somebody: the Premier of Ontario. They can govern with slogans if they want, but they do not deliver results. We have to be practical, we have to be real, we have to achieve concrete budgetary items and then we have to work with partners to deliver.
    As for housing, things are getting better and better. Is there more work to do? Yes. Do I push our government to do better? Absolutely. Do my constituents demand it of me? They do, every day I am in the riding.
    I cannot get past this proclivity to chant slogans and chant “more”. I see this motion as a chance for the NDP to say there are five things the government has said it is going to deliver and then demand the government does this now. Then, when it does, they can try to take credit.
     The number of times NDP members referenced Tommy Douglas is quite interesting, and I will tell members something about Tommy Douglas that I really respect. He built the health care system before he came to Ottawa and then scaled it across the country. He did not land in Ottawa with an idea and just screamed, “Do it, do it, do it.” He got it done first and then shared it with the rest of the Canada.
    That is the practicality I look for in the NDP, but I never see it in that party anymore. It disappoints me, and it is why I ran for the Liberals. It is why I beat the NDP in my riding. It is why we will continue to do the good work we are doing. We are getting it done, not just talking about it.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to respond to a few things the member said.
    He mentioned a conversation I had with his sister on her doorstep. What I said in the conversation is that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report on the Liberals' national housing strategy said that it left people in core housing need worse off. This is what we have seen from the Liberal government again and again. Yes, there are great promises in its throne speech, but when it comes to follow-through and delivery, people in my riding are still struggling.
    There is a housing crisis. People are struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills. This is an opportunity for us to invest in a guaranteed liveable income, which would make a huge difference for millions of people across the country.
    Does the member not think the families, workers and small business owners who are struggling should not have to pay for these investments, and that they should be paid by the people who have profited off this pandemic? It should be the ultrawealthy, who can—
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Madam Speaker, as I said, I do not disagree with the theory. It is the practice and application that I am concerned about.
    The member referenced the Parliamentary Budget Office. The Parliamentary Budget Office only looked at a very, very narrow component of the national housing strategy. It did not include provincial transfers, which we doubled. It did not include the Canada housing benefit, a $4-billion program. It also did not include the money we advanced in financing to non-profit parties to build housing, saying it did not understand this.
    If we discount almost $15 billion in spending, the Parliamentary Budget Office says we are not spending enough money. However, when we add the $15 billion in spending, which is real spending on real housing for real people, we suddenly start to see results. If someone asks the wrong question or studies the wrong part of the national housing strategy, they come up with an incomplete answer.
    The truth of the matter is that the national housing strategy is delivering new housing every single day, repairing housing, subsidizing housing and supporting homelessness activists right across the country.
    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary was somewhat critical in his view of chanting slogans, but I think we just listened to 10 minutes of slogans and more hollow ideas from the Liberals.
    He raised the topic of the rapid housing initiative. Saskatoon is, in our view, a major city, but apparently it does not rank in the major city category in the rapid housing initiative. I was with community leaders on the day it was announced and they were quite excited, but I had to tell them that unfortunately Saskatoon did not rate in that announcement. We were left in the second stream, trying to fight for the rest of the money like everybody else.
    Does the parliamentary secretary think Saskatoon is a major market for this? Why did we not get any money from the rapid housing initiative?
    Madam Speaker, Charlie Clark, the mayor of Saskatoon, has been a great ally in building this program. I have talked to Robert Byers of Namerind Housing Corporation too, one of the organizations that will hopefully access this money through one of the other streams.
     There are two streams to this initiative. There is block funding for the 15 cities with the fiscal capacity, structural capacity, and population and data to support block funding. They can move very quickly in different ways simultaneously without having to do things project by project. Then there is the other half of the stream, which is open to all communities across this country. It targets the smaller projects in smaller communities, which can access it more than once for more than one project.
    As I said, Namerind in particular has a really good project on the docket, and if the member has a project he is interested in pursuing, I would be more than happy to sit down and work through it. I would be happy to talk to Mayor Charlie Clark as well.
    Solving homelessness everywhere requires us to invest everywhere. We will do it differently in differently sized cities because of their fiscal capacity, but no city, no community and no project will go unreviewed by this government. There is a 30-day turnaround. I am happy to work with the member opposite to realize this. It is not a slogan. It is a real policy with real money for real people to end the housing crisis.
    Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary, in his rant about slogans and the NDP, said we never talk about the “how”. However, he did not see page 58 of our platform. He apparently also did not see the costing by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last September and again in February, when he was given an opportunity to vote in favour of how to implement a national dental care plan for people who did not have one.
    Why did the minister not support the practical plan for a national dental care program? Why does he not support this practical way of getting money—

  (1345)  

    The hon. parliamentary secretary has 10 seconds to respond.
    Madam Speaker, I acknowledge that while there was a press release from the NDP platform, the platform that is online does not include it. That is my mistake, not theirs. I take responsibility for that.
    As for why we voted against it, we cannot just move into areas of provincial jurisdiction unilaterally without consequence. We do not do this on the fly in the House. It has to be negotiated, and it has to be done carefully. That is why medicare took the time it did back in 1965 with Tommy Douglas.
    I acknowledge my mistake with—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to speak in support of our motion.
    Today we have heard that we are all in this together. However, prior to the pandemic many groups were already left behind, and their situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We know that our current social security programs are a patchwork and are insufficient. People are being left behind. These are disabled persons, people with complex mental health issues and trauma, people who are unhoused and living rough, unpaid workers, care workers, seniors, veterans and students.
    Today we have talked a lot about taxes and saving Canadians money. Some have said we cannot afford this. However, it costs a lot of money to keep people poor, so let us talk about how much money it takes.
    The World Health Organization has declared poverty to be the single largest determinant of health, and there is a direct link between poverty and high rates of incarceration. In fact, the John Howard Society noted that according to federal data, the annual cost per incarcerated person is $115,000. This is the high cost of poverty. The Parliamentary Budget Officer did a study between 2011 and 2012, and it showed that each Canadian pays $550 in taxes per year on criminal justice spending. This is the high cost of poverty.
    I therefore find it peculiar that we are talking about the high cost of ensuring people are afforded human rights and dignity, something we are obliged to uphold according to our oaths of office and our charter obligations, rather than talking about the high cost of poverty. We need to create lasting and meaningful plans that use a human rights framework to address poverty. It would not be as costly as what we are doing now. There is a high cost to poverty.
    This is about how we choose to spend money when we are in the worst global pandemic since the Spanish flu. We are in an economic, human rights and health crisis. According to an International Monetary Fund report—
    There is a point of order from the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, I have been listening extremely closely to what my colleague has said. I am not quite sure if I heard it at the beginning, but I thought she said she was splitting her time with the member for Elmwood—Transcona. I would like her to clarify that.
    Madam Speaker, yes, I will be splitting my time. I thank my hon. colleague.
    I will continue speaking about how we choose to spend money. The International Monetary Fund reported that Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015, which is approximately $1,650 per Canadian. I have heard a lot of rhetoric from my Liberal and Conservative colleagues on trying to save money for Canadians. I think many Canadians would agree with me. They would rather see that $1,650 invested in a guaranteed liveable basic income, a dental care program, an aggressive housing strategy, an indigenous-led housing strategy or a pharmacare program. It is unacceptable.
    In fact, we know keeping women poorer keeps them in violence. It is not surprising that call to justice 4.5 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls for a guaranteed basic income for all Canadians and indigenous peoples as a way to protect women from violence. Women have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. We have seen an increase in the rate of domestic violence go up 400% in some areas.
    It is also not acceptable that the ultrawealthy in this country have made $37 billion in profits since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis while families and individuals across the country have been forced deeper into poverty. There are more people than ever who are experiencing homelessness for the first time, yet we hear Conservatives and Liberals aggressively trying to protect their wealthy friends and their interests in big corporations.
    We need to legislate a long-term and permanent plan that prioritizes people over corporations. It is time the ultrawealthy pay their fair share and that everybody living in Canada has access to housing, health care and a guaranteed liveable basic income. We are obliged as members of Parliament to ensure everybody is afforded human rights and dignity. That includes the right to a house, the right to safety and the right to security, yet I hear Liberals and Conservatives aggressively fight against that.
    A guaranteed liveable basic income is not a new concept. We actually have guaranteed income programs in Canada. The OAS is an example of a guaranteed income security program. The CCB is another example. However, these are not liveable and they need to be extended. People are being left behind. Disabled persons, students, veterans and seniors living in poverty are being left behind, to name a few. Some people are living with severe mental health and trauma issues. We know programs have been successful as a lot of research has been done.
    In 1970, the Dauphin mincome study was put forward by an NDP government. It was one of the most ambitious social science experiments ever in Canada. What it found was a decrease in hospitalizations and savings in health care. If we want to save taxes, we need improvements in mental health.
    If we want to save taxes, we need to look after people and increase the number of children completing high school. We know there is a direct correlation between high school completion rates and levels of income. If we want to save taxes, we need to look after people. Participants in the Ontario basic income pilot project were happier, healthier and even continued working.
    On the notion that when we look after people they will not work, I have to go with the research, which shows that is a totally false and erroneous statement. Looking after people is a cost-saving, tax-saving measure, and it is wildly popular. It has cross-party support. I put up a petition that garnered over 43,000 signatures. As well, Angus Reid noted this summer that the majority of Canadians, 59%, supports a guaranteed liveable basic income and 60% of Albertans support a guaranteed income.

  (1350)  

    We need to look after the people who have been most impacted. Through research, we know that has been women, disabled persons, Black people, indigenous people and people of colour. We must, and we are obliged to, uphold our oath of office, which means upholding our charter and the Canadian Constitution, ensuring that all people can live with human rights and dignity.
    Madam Speaker, as I said, I do not disagree with the theory, and I do not disagree with the ideas contained in the motion. It is the practicality and the details that concern me because I want the system to deliver on the very goals that the member for Winnipeg Centre spoke to.
    We have a dilemma when we start talking about indigenous housing and indigenous housing programs, insofar as representatives of the three national indigenous organizations have spoken to us about their concerns about creating a fourth stream that they do not run. I would be curious to hear from the member opposite whether she would support letting, for example, the AFN run the program in Winnipeg, or if indigenous leadership in Winnipeg should run the program by and for themselves.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, as we know, indigenous people have some of the highest rates of homelessness across the country. Housing initiatives need to be indigenous led, as put forward in our motion. Indigenous peoples need to decide how they want to facilitate that program. As members know, we have signed agreements and treaties nation to nation. It needs to happen on a nation-to-nation basis and at a nation-to-nation level.
    Madam Speaker, reflecting back on the comments from an earlier speaker, the member for Spadina—Fort York stated what I would say is an obvious statement. The government cannot spend one additional dollar of tax revenue in seven different ways. I would take it a step further as the New Democrats have done in this motion.
    It looks like the motion is drafted as if it were a one-time COVID-related profiteering tax. Is this a permanent new tax, or just a COVID-related tax?
    Madam Speaker, it is time that we adjust our tax system so that people are paying their fair share. There is the fact that the ultrarich are getting wealthier and the fact that we have had consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments willfully choose not to go after offshore tax havens. We need to see a permanent shift.
    We see a growing divide between the poor and the ultrawealthy in this country. We see a huge investment into what I call “corporate welfare” in this country. We need to change that. We need to ensure that people making the most are paying more and it is not put on the backs of the people who are struggling to even stay alive during COVID-19.
    Madam Speaker, I would agree with the parliamentary secretary. The principles and the theory behind the motion are not the problem. The problem is the practicality. Looking at the motion, I am going to ask the member two or three questions quickly, and maybe she can decide which ones she wants to answer.
    What is the definition of a big corporation? Does that include businesses such as Apple Valley Foods in my riding of Kings—Hants?
    The definition of “profiteering” in front of me is the practice of making or seeking to make an excessive or unfair profit, especially illegally or in a black market. Can the member give examples of companies that have done that during the pandemic?
    Regarding the social spending the member is talking about, the PBO has said that this would cost $5.6 billion. How do we pay for all the spending that she is talking about?
    Madam Speaker, I find it quite peculiar that the Liberals will talk about how complicated it is to uphold human rights in this country, which is what this motion provides, yet it was not complicated to pull $14 million out of a hat to subsidize the pipeline companies. It was not complicated to find $50 million to give to credit card companies or $12 million to Loblaws, and it was not complicated that the first bailout when COVID hit was not for people, but for big oil.
    If we want to talk about complicated, I will question why we find it so complicated to uphold our charter in this country and ensure that everybody lives with human rights and dignity.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Tourism in Kootenay—Columbia

    Madam Speaker, four national parks, four mountain ranges and two time zones span 64,000 square kilometres of the Kootenay and Columbia valley regions. Golfing, hiking and whitewater rafting drive the summer tourism, and a powder highway consisting of ski hills, heli-skiing operations and snowmobile tours sustain our tourism sector in the winter.
    Unfortunately, the health crisis continues to have a negative impact on our workers as these tourism businesses depend on income from international visitors. Further, without these visitors, sales at our duty-free stores like Kingsgate, Osoyoos and Tobacco Plains remain near zero.
     However, there is good news. Countries around the world have begun to utilize rapid tests to secure safe passage for healthy tourists. Health Canada-approved rapid testing technologies will provide a safe way forward. There are healthy visitors looking to support our tourism businesses and the workers they employ. It is time for a safe economic recovery.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Madam Speaker, there is an increasing number of extensive studies from Quebec that show that French is losing more and more ground in the greater Montreal area, whereas English is gaining ground, and that this decline will accelerate and impact the whole of Quebec.
    Until now, the federal government's language policy for Quebec has solely focused on strengthening the use of English, financing English-language organizations and lobby groups, and weakening Bill 101. However, for the first time since the adoption of the Official Languages Act 51 years ago, the Canadian government has admitted in its Speech from the Throne that it is also responsible for protecting and promoting French in Quebec.
    The coming months will show us whether this government, which represents the Canadian English-speaking majority, truly wants to move toward a—

[English]

Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

    Madam Speaker, nurse practitioners began in northern Canada over 100 years ago as outpost nurses. In 1967, education programs in Canada began training midwives and outpost nurses at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    Today, there are nurse practitioner programs across Canada, with over 7,100 nurse practitioners providing exceptional care to Canadians. There are advanced practice nurses who integrate clinical skills associated with nursing and medicine to assess, diagnose and manage patients.
    MPs value our publicly funded health care system and support the ongoing commitment of our government to uphold this. In these extraordinary times, in a world pandemic, we must recognize them and the WHO designation of 2020 as the international Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Poppy Campaign

    Madam Speaker, as Remembrance Day draws near, members of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges join Canadians from coast to coast to coast in proudly wearing a poppy in recognition of the millions who have served and continue to serve our country.
    As we do so, we not only acknowledge their sacrifices but also support the invaluable work carried out by our local Legion branches, for whom the poppy campaign serves as a primary fundraiser.
    This holds true for my local branch, Local 115, Hudson, which works tirelessly to provide support and a place to gather for service men and women in my community. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not see our veterans selling them and we will not have the privilege of having them pin the poppies on us.
    However, they need our support now more than ever. I invite all members of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges to buy a poppy at one of the many grocery stores and retail stores across our community until Remembrance Day.

[Translation]

    On behalf of the community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I wish to express my sincere gratitude for all those who have served and continue to serve our country. Lest we forget.

[English]

Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas

    Mr. Speaker, today I wish everyone celebrating in Etobicoke North and across Canada a very happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.
    During this joyous holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, families celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, of right over wrong, and the power of hope and knowledge. Normally loved ones gather to enjoy food together, exchange gifts, light their homes with candles and pray. We usually visit BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Sringeri Foundation, Sikh Spiritual Centre Toronto and Nanaksar Gurdwara.
    These celebrations are a reminder of the diversity and inclusion that make our Etobicoke North community a very special place to live. They are also an opportunity to recognize the important contributions that Canadians of Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths make to our country every day.
    I wish our wonderful families a happy and safe Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.

  (1405)  

Anita Stewart

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has lost one of the greats, Anita Stewart. A member of the Order of Canada and University of Guelph food laureate, she was an incredible advocate for Canadian food and farmers.
     Carrie and I first met Anita 18 years ago in Elora. While planning our wedding dinner, Carrie was inspired by a cookbook on her grandmother's coffee table, Great Canadian Cuisine by Anita Stewart. One thing led to another and Anita's son, Paul Stewart, prepared the most amazing wedding meal.
    Anita produced over a dozen Canadian cookbooks and was a tireless champion of Canadian food and Canadian farmers, always looking for new cuisine and connecting that to the farmers who produced it.
    To her sons, Jeff, Brad, Mark and Paul, while your mother left us far too early, her contribution to Canadian cuisine and Canadian agriculture will live on. Rest in peace, Anita Stewart.

Graduating Class of 2020

    Mr. Speaker, last week I was proud to attend St. Mother Teresa Catholic Academy's graduation ceremony, virtually, in my riding of Scarborough—Rouge Park.
    From facing the greatest health pandemic in our generation to systemic racism against Black and indigenous people and the growing effects of climate change, the graduates persevered through so many obstacles to finish their high school year. Although the world they graduated into may not be perfect, this special cohort of students hold the key to shaping our world for the better. I am certain this graduating class will step up to the challenge.
    I want to take a moment to thank all those who supported these graduates: the proud parents and siblings, the teachers, the support staff and principal Jose Flores for his leadership. I give a special shout-out to the keynote speaker, Jason Bogle, for his inspiring words.
    We know that better days are ahead and I encourage all of our grads to live up to their dreams and to reach their highest mountains. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020.

Indigenous Veterans Day

    Mr. Speaker, as part of Veterans' Week, Indigenous Veterans Day is celebrated on November 8.
    It is a day for us to reflect on the enormous sacrifices made by the indigenous people who have contributed to Canadian military efforts over the years. As many as 12,000 served in the First World War, Second World War and in Korea. Many others supported these war efforts on the home front. All of them are owed an enormous debt of gratitude for what they did for us, as are first nations, Inuit and Métis people who still today continue to build on the long tradition of indigenous military service as proud members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Today, I ask that Canadians join me in thanking indigenous veterans for their service and remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget.

Government Priorities

    Mr. Speaker, everything in Canada is not okay. Our Conservative leader recently outlined a clear vision for Canada's future that builds a stronger, smarter and more inclusive Canada, a future that will provide certainty and stability for Canadians.
    Children and youth of today need hope and opportunity, but this can only be achieved by Canada changing direction with a new government. Current policies put stock prices ahead of our country's long-term prosperity, our national interests and our economic security. It puts Bay Street ahead of Main Street.
    Instead of the current economic experiment, we propose policies that drive economic growth across all sectors and re-establish investment in Canada, while still reducing emissions, policies that build solidarity, not just wealth and division. Families and community are core units of our society and must be strengthened. The well-being of Canadian families is a critical driver of a strong and prosperous country. The new goal of Canada must be the common good of all Canadians.

[Translation]

Remembrance Day

    Mr. Speaker, November 11 is Remembrance Day.

[English]

    On Remembrance Day, we honour those who served Canada in uniform. Often we think about those who served during World War I and World War II. It is a day to reflect upon the sacrifices made by so many Canadians for the freedoms we enjoy today.
     This year, I want to honour the role of those who continue to serve here domestically. In Pierrefonds—Dollard, in 2017 and 2019, and in our long-term care homes, we had soldiers serve here locally.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Freedom of Expression

    Mr. Speaker, La Presse and Le Figaro both quoted the Prime Minister saying that freedom of expression is not without limits. I am not trying to mislead the House. History shows that, unfortunately, limits to freedom of expression lead down a slippery slope to other things, such as sanctions, control and censorship.
    Our democracy is a product of the Enlightenment, and freedom of expression was at the core of this movement. The French, with philosophers like Voltaire, were among the pioneers.
    When I hear the Prime Minister say that freedom of expression is not without limits, I cannot help but think of those, all around the world, who fought and risked their lives for this freedom. Lest we forget.
    I urge my colleagues and all Canadians to vigorously defend their ideas, in the name of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. A society needs these freedoms if it is to move forward and have meaningful and democratic debates.

[English]

Airline Industry

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Prime Minister a question about the challenges facing the airline industry. Not only did he ignore my question, but he chose to mansplain the issue to me.
    Since I was appointed shadow minister for transport, I have met with over 70 stakeholders and I continue to hear from countless affected workers that the government has not been there for them. They feel abandoned and hopeless. In the throne speech, the Liberals promised to help by addressing suspended regional air routes, but we have yet to see any significant progress.
    It is my job to ask tough questions and hold the Prime Minister to account for his inaction. The Prime Minister has never liked being challenged by strong women. When we ask him tough questions in this House, it is not because we are difficult to work with, it is because we are advocating for real people with real problems.
    In the future, I ask the Prime Minister to put aside his condescending partisanship and treat women in this House with the respect that they deserve.

Opioids

    Mr. Speaker, once again I rise in this House to confront the silence of this Parliament about the killers that are on our streets. Those killers are fentanyl, carfentanil, purple H, crystal meth and, of course, that demon pharmaceutical OxyContin that seeded this pandemic of heartbreak and addiction across this country.
    The city of Timmins now has a death rate from opioids that, per capita, is five times higher than the city of Toronto. I talk to communities across this country that are dealing with overdoses on the main street, rising crime rates and overworked staff. They look to the federal government for help and it is not there. Parliament needs to get serious about this pandemic that is ripping the heart out of our communities.
    We need support for harm reduction, supports for mental health and addiction services and a willingness to go hard after the fentanyl labs. How many deaths will it take before the government starts to act?

[Translation]

Veterans Week

    Mr. Speaker, today we mark the start of Veterans Week, which will culminate on Remembrance Day. This year's theme is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We must never forget that 150,000 Quebeckers served in that conflict.
    Today, my thoughts turn especially to my uncle, Private George Desilets, who was killed in action during the Korean War. He was a 21-year-old man in the prime of life, a man who would never know the joys of being a father or a husband. He answered his nation's call and went to fight in lands he knew nothing about. This was the epitome of courage, the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our democracy.
    It is our duty to remember. On behalf of all Quebeckers, all those who live in our Quebec, and the Bloc Québécois, I thank all veterans, men and women alike, for their service. They deserve our homage and our respect.

[English]

Remembrance Day

    Mr. Speaker, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we honour those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we reflect on “why”. Why did these young Canadians leave their homes, their families and their country to fight overseas?
    They did so for a greater cause. They did so for people like David Kilberg, a young Polish man sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he survived by hiding between walls and among dead bodies. His mother, father, sister and brother were all murdered at Auschwitz.
    When he was liberated, he found his way to Canada where he built a successful business and would later serve as the mayor of Listowel. Only in Canada could a young Jewish man, found emaciated between the walls of a Nazi death camp, go on to find such success in his adopted country.
    On Remembrance Day and always, we remember.

  (1415)  

Ferruccio “Fred“ Fazzolari

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege for me to pay tribute to Ferruccio “Fred” Fazzolari, owner of Fred's Bar and Grill. Fred tragically passed away with COVID this past week. He always strove to be the best he could be: family man, entrepreneur, brother, friend and champion to others.
    Arriving in Canada in 1956 from Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, Italy, he was always an entrepreneur at heart and he saw opportunity and made the most of it. He wanted to see his name in lights, which is what led him to open the very successful Fred's Bar and Grill in Mississauga. Over the past 50 years, Fred's hard work, long hours, devotion and sacrifice were key to his success. He always went above and beyond to treat his customers, staff and our community like family.
    Some of his best qualities were storytelling, engaging conversation and great sense of humour, which will forever be cherished by not only his family, but everyone he met. Fred leaves an amazing legacy behind. To his loving wife, Susanne and children, Richard, Lisa, Juliana and his six grandchildren, Fred has passed away, but he leaves our community and world a better place. My thanks to Fred.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister repeated that there had been no funding or staffing changes to Canada's pandemic early warning system. However, officials at the Public Health Agency say that is not correct. Staff were redirected to other departments. The system went silent for 440 days without any alerts after having operated seven days a week for 20 years.
    Why is the Prime Minister misleading Canadians on the decision to close Canada's early pandemic warning system?
    Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, our response to the pandemic has been guided by science, evidence and public health advice. In fact, in early January when Dr. Tam first understood the risk that COVID-19 placed on Canada, she convened the group of other public health officials from across the country. What I understood is that scientists in the Public Health Agency of Canada did not feel we were using the global public health information network to its best purpose. I have ordered an external review and I will have more to say about that in days to come.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister said that every step of the way they were seeking advice from experts, but these public health professionals say the government was too slow to respond. The government waited weeks after news of a virus out of China before it asked the pandemic health care professionals for advice.
    In the meantime, Canadians were given the wrong advice on the border, on human-to-human transmission and on mask usage, including by that minister. Can the government now admit that shutting down Canada's early pandemic warning system has left us playing catch-up on COVID-19?
    Mr. Speaker, in fact, every step of the way we have responded to science and evolved our advice to Canadians as the science has evolved. As all members in this House know, COVID-19 is a new pathogen and so much about the pathogen is still to be discovered. As we have learned through research, science and the development of evidence across the country, we have revised our advice to Canadians because we know that Canadians understand that science does evolve and that we will provide them information as soon as it becomes available.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister said they evolved their advice throughout the pandemic. Their answers are evolving to tough questions, as well. The pandemic warning system was shut down by what health officials describe as shifting government priorities. That is political-speak for “it was a political decision”. Professionals dedicated to protecting Canadians from the pandemic were told to instead focus on vaping. The government has said that a review is going to be under way, but it has never said who is doing it. The minister has the chance to say that to the House today.
    Who is examining the decision to close the pandemic warning system and will the investigation be made public?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that as soon as I heard concerns from scientists within the Public Health Agency of Canada, I ordered an external review. That external review is being planned as we speak. This House will know as soon as I do the names of the people we will appoint to conduct that external review. Of course, Canadians will have full access to the information uncovered by that review.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried. Day in, day out, the Liberal government keeps telling them that everything is fine and that the Minister of Health has the situation under control. Some control. The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced that it can only do one-third of the tests it promised.
    Can the Minister of Health admit that she does not have the situation under control?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, over 9.7 million Canadians have been tested for COVID-19 to date. That is with, in great part, the contribution by the federal government of $4.2 billion toward testing in provinces and territories so they can deliver on their responsibilities and health care systems. We are also supporting with direct lab assistance. Four federal labs are up and running to support provincial capacity, especially in case of a surge.
     We will be there for Canadians on testing and all other aspects of responding to COVID—19.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is a lot of money, but no action.
    The Prime Minister promised rapid testing, but it took months and pressure from the Conservatives for him to finally act. Now the Prime Minister has promised more tests, but he has only delivered 30% of them. This delay is making the second wave worse day after day.
    Can the government admit that it is all talk and no action?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, since October 21, over 2.4 million rapid tests have been delivered to provinces and territories: 890,000 to Ontario; 577,000 to Quebec; 345,000 to B.C.; and 303,000 to Alberta. We will continue to approve tests as they are proven safe and accurate. We will ensure the provinces and territories have access to the most current technology.

[Translation]

Terrorism

    Mr. Speaker, I hope the Prime Minister took advantage of his conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron to offer his condolences, albeit a few weeks late, for the attack on Samuel Paty and the attack in Lyon.
    Members will recall that the National Assembly of Quebec and the Premier of Quebec strongly defended freedom of expression. The Prime Minister was the only one who tried to put this horrific tragedy into perspective and partly blamed the victim by saying, and I quote, “We must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions”.
    Did the Prime Minister use his call with the French President this morning as an opportunity to apologize for his unfortunate remarks?
    Mr. Speaker, it is really our colleague who should apologize for comments that seem to be presenting a different truth to Canadians.
    The reality is that all of us in Canada and in the House were appalled by the attacks in France. We have said that we stand in solidarity with our French friends, and we do.
    Today, the Prime Minister of Canada had a very good discussion with President Macron. Of course, we offered our condolences to the families of the victims. Let's not forget that Canada is one of the great defenders of freedom of expression around the world.
    Mr. Speaker, two weeks to the day after the savage attack on Samuel Paty, the Prime Minister had this to say about freedom of expression, and I quote: “I think there is always an extremely important, extremely sensitive debate to be had on possible exceptions”.
    As we saw with his position on academic freedom, the Prime Minister supports a limited, naive and inoffensive form of free speech. When exactly does the Prime Minister intend to launch the great debate that he wholeheartedly called for last week on exceptions to freedom of expression?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that it was not 11 days. It was just one day.
    That is exactly how long it took for Canada to react, to express its solidarity with the people of France. That is what I did the next day by expressing, on behalf of all Canadians, the horror that we felt towards the attacks and by stating that we would work together to fight terror and intolerance.
    The Prime Minister of Canada made it clear that Canada will always be one of the great defenders of freedom of expression around the world.

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with workers in Quebec. They have told me about their challenges and the fact that they are struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, web giants are making record profits.
    On one side, web giants are making record profits, and on the other, workers are struggling to make ends meet.
    I am fighting for people. Why is the Prime Minister working for the web giants?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    As recently as Tuesday, our government, the first in the country's history, decided to take on the web giants and have them contribute to the same degree as Canadian companies in the area of culture, audiovisual production and music.
    The web giants will invest over $800 million more in Canadian culture each year.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Jennifer and Kane, Dominion grocery store workers who barely earn a minimum wage. They are front-line workers who are fighting for a living wage, all while the owner of Dominion grocers and others have increased their wealth, like Galen Weston who increased his wealth by $1.6 billion during the pandemic.
    On one hand, we have billionaires making record profits. On the other hand, workers are struggling to get by. Why does the Liberal government want people like Kane and Jennifer to pay for the cost of the pandemic and not people like Galen Weston?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that the front-line workers in retail and groceries have been heroes over the course of this pandemic. We will be there to support ordinary middle-class workers and do whatever it takes to be there for them.
    We have not come lately to the debate around supporting middle-class Canadians. The very first thing we did when we came into office in 2015 was to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and cut them for the middle class. The NDP voted against that motion.
    Over the course of this pandemic, we have extended record supports that have landed on the kitchen tables of nine million Canadian households.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in 2015, the Prime Minister said, “Canada is back”.
    Note that Canada did not get a seat on the Security Council. The Prime Minister does not inspire confidence on the international stage. After showing poor judgment on the issue of freedom of expression, the Prime Minister now has to grovel before the President of France to clean up the mess.
    Why does the Prime Minister have to call the President of France, and not the other way around, as we saw with the Premier of Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform my hon. colleague, for whom I have a great deal of respect, that, in matters of international relations, it is perfectly normal for one to call the other. This morning in fact, I was in contact with my German counterpart.
    The transatlantic relationship has never been stronger than it is today. At every opportunity, the Prime Minister and myself speak with our European counterparts and coordinate our positions with them. We will continue to do so, because in the world we live in today, we need to work with countries that share the same values and principles. That is exactly what we are doing and what we will continue to do.
    Mr. Speaker, we know the Prime Minister will be calling the French President today. That is called playing catch-up, like when a team is bringing up the rear. The Liberal Party likes talking about “Team Canada”. Team Canada is bringing up the rear internationally.
    Will the Prime Minister explain to the French President why his defence of free speech was so limp, or will he tell him what he really thinks, which is that free speech is not without limits?

  (1430)  

     Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for giving me an opportunity to tell Canadians how Canada has been playing a leadership role around the world.
    We stepped up for Nagorno-Karabakh, we stepped up in Belarus, we stepped up for the Uighurs. We have stepped up for human rights and freedom of expression.
    I challenge parliamentarians to look at Canada's record on working with its partners to advance human rights and the values and principles that matter to Canadians across the country.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the government has blamed COVID-19 for its failure to deliver on an action plan for murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. Do those members not realize that domestic violence is increasing during this pandemic and lives are at risk every day?
     Chief Constance Big Eagle has asked “How many more women need to die until Canada recognizes that something needs to be done and this can’t be put on the backburner any longer?”
    Will the minister answer her poignant question?
    Mr. Speaker, our hearts are with the families and survivors of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, two-spirited and gender-diverse people every day. We know that women, girls and two-spirited people are still dying and that we need a national action plan.
    I was pleased to speak with Chief Big Eagle yesterday. I think she is feeling that the working of the core working group and the ways that we will deliver a regionally relevant and distinctions-based approach and will—
    The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
    Mr. Speaker, a parliamentary committee of all parties called for an action plan way back in 2015.
     Charlotte Gliddy-Murray, a family member who testified during the national inquiry hearing three years ago, stated, “After the inquiry was done, I feel that the government just dropped us. By us, I mean my family members. There was no follow-up whatsoever after we gave our testimonies, and that is not right.”
    It has been three years with no follow up, no plan. Enough talk, when will Charlotte see action?
    Mr. Speaker, I do find it a bit rich that a member of a government that fought against having a national inquiry, and that the prime minister of the day said that it was not even on his radar, is now finally listening to the families.
    For the families, Hilda Anderson-Pyrz is organizing with the families, the Manitoba coalition and the family liaison units. We are working very hard to deliver a national action plan that will stop this tragedy—
    An hon. member: When?
    I will remind hon. members that heckling via video is not a good thing. We know who you are, we just do not want to point it out right away.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, we learned yesterday that a prospective buyer has been found for the Come By Chance refinery in Newfoundland and Labrador. We know that the steelworkers union has been working hard to make sure that the refinery and its workers have a future, definitely a lot harder than this government has been.
    Will the minister commit to an expedited regulatory approval if a sale is finalized?
    Mr. Speaker, we are thinking about the Come By Chance workers who are facing uncertainty and worried about their jobs and their future.
    The Competition Bureau is looking at the situation and monitoring it closely. Certainly, the acquisition will go through the process it has to go through. We are monitoring this acquisition closely. We are looking at whatever ways we can support, and we will do so.
    Mr. Speaker, while this government is monitoring, the union is working hard to secure staffing and capacity numbers at the site so that if the sale is finalized, jobs will be protected in eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. However, we have seen that this government drags its heels on regulatory approvals, especially when it comes to energy projects.
    Come By Chance is more than 500 jobs at the refinery and 1,400 jobs in the province. Will the minister, today, commit to expediting all approvals so that workers in Newfoundland and Labrador will have their jobs protected?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member very well knows, this is an independent transaction by independent parties. We are certainly there to support, and whatever actions we can take to support that transaction, we will be there.
    Our focus is to support the workers of Come By Chance and to make sure that there is a future for them in all the projects that they are involved in.

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[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals tell us that they do not interfere in judicial appointments, but we are seeing some curious coincidences. For example, in 2019, the Minister of Justice appointed Robert M. Dysart and Arthur T. Doyle to the bench in New Brunswick. Both are donors in the riding of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. They also helped that same minister to repay a $31,000 debt that he incurred in a Liberal leadership race.
    Did the Minister of Justice have any discussions with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs before recommending his friends and generous donors for appointment?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the process we have put in place for judicial appointments. We are currently appointing competent judges who reflect Canada's diversity.
    The judicial advisory committees operate in a non-partisan way and make their decisions based on merit. We conduct checks afterwards, but I am the one who makes the recommendations to cabinet.
    I am very proud of the results. We have appointed people of every political stripe.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask the question because the coincidences are very odd.
    The Minister of Justice also appointed Charles LeBlond and Jacques Pinet to the bench in 2019, again in New Brunswick. Curiously, they too helped the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to repay his $31,000 debt. We then have four people from the same province who helped the same minister repay the same debt and are appointed to the bench in the same year.
    Does one have to know the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in order to be appointed to the bench in New Brunswick?
     Mr. Speaker, as I just said, our appointments are made based on merit after they are studied by an independent judicial advisory committee. In their work, JACs follow a transparent process based on the quality of the candidates and diversity. I am very proud of the results. We have appointed judges of all political stripes.
    Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to the day that the Minister of Justice appoints a Bloc judge, but we will get back to that.
    Speaking of coincidence, the neighbour of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was appointed as a judge in 2019. The year before, it was his brother-in-law's wife. There comes a point where this all becomes too much of a stretch.
    It reminds me of the time when Jean Charest was appointing judges in Quebec based on whether or not they were Liberals. He would be given a list of candidates with a Post-it note beside each name indicating how the candidate voted. Is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs the federal government's new Mr. Post-it?
    Mr. Speaker, we have introduced a transparent process that aims for quality and diversity. We have a process that enables us to appoint competent judges who reflect Canadian diversity. All appointments are based on merit. I am very proud of the results. We have appointed very high-quality judges everywhere in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, with regard to immigration, work permits are backlogged for immigrants who are already in the country. There are spousal and family sponsorship cases that date back to long before the pandemic. Sometimes it takes more than two years. Red tape is causing labour shortages in my riding and across Canada.
    Instead of talking about 2023, could the government focus and prioritize the applications we already have?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, we acted quickly to bring in a family reunification process for several families in June, families still navigating the immigration system.
    I am pleased to have announced new measures to process applications more quickly. These efforts will contribute to reducing wait times and processing 6,000 spousal applications a month, leading to roughly 49,000 decisions by the end of the year.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, in the Prime Minister's new judicial appointment process, the list of recommended and highly recommended candidates is shortened by the Prime Minister's Office prior to final selection.
    Does the office of the Minister of Justice provide the initial long list, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the process we have put in place to appoint competent judges who reflect Canada's diversity.
    All appointments are merit based. Recommendations are made by advisory committees. Yes, we do due diligence, which is carried out to ensure the integrity, credibility and reputation of candidates in the legal community, but I am the one who makes recommendations to cabinet.
    Mr. Speaker, once the list of appointments has been shortened by the Prime Minister's Office, it continues through the process and is returned to the Minister of Justice for the appointments.
    Can the Minister of Justice tell us if there are any recommended candidates who have replaced highly recommended candidates from the initial list of potential appointments? If so, why?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is describing a process that does not exist. We have a clear and transparent process that focuses on quality. The judicial advisory committee does the work and recommends individuals. We do checks on candidates, and I alone make the recommendations to cabinet.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the government has been told again by the Canadian Human Rights Commission that it is discriminating against indigenous children. Every time indigenous people are faced with injustice in this country, a Liberal stands up in this House and claims that they care, but when the Liberals are given a direct order to fix systemic racism, they fight indigenous kids in court instead. When will the government do not only the legal thing but the right thing, and start funding indigenous child and family services fairly?
    Mr. Speaker, the overrepresentation of indigenous children in care is a fact, and a dark part of our shared history that we must address.
    This government has been crystal clear: We intend to compensate first nations children harmed by the discriminatory child and family services policies. Throughout this process, our focus remains on advancing a plan that prioritizes the best interest of the individual child and puts the safety, well-being and security of that child at the forefront. We worked closely with all the parties involved, and found consensus on a number of key areas and a safe compensation process as part of, in particular, the joint framework for the payment of compensation. We will continue with that good work.
    Mr. Speaker, the survivors of the St. Anne's residential school won yet another huge victory in court this week. The court threw out the arguments of the Liberal government lawyers who had done everything to try to deny the survivors justice. Even the attorney general in Doug Ford's Ontario was standing with the survivors.
    The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations' lawyers suppressed the evidence of horrific crimes. She has spent millions in a mean-spirited legal war. When will the minister end this toxic campaign, and agree to sit down with Edmund Metatawabin and the survivors, and negotiate a just solution?
     Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, to ensure the expeditious and efficient administration of the IRSSA, two administrative judges, one from the west and one from the east, were designated to hear all the requests.
    As he knows, Ms. Brunning appealed to the administrative judge's decision to have the St. Anne's request for direction to be heard by the western administrator. The court decided to have the matter heard by another Ontario superior court because of the eastern administrative judge's decision to recuse himself.
     We are absolutely committed to reconciliation, healing and justice for all former students of St. Anne's and all residential schools.

  (1445)  

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, we know COVID-19 has affected all aspects of Canadians' lives, from their health to their livelihoods.
    This month is the 10th annual Financial Literacy Month, and it is notably different than years past. Financial literacy can help Canadians navigate these uncertain times and access the resources that are available to them.

[Translation]

    Can the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance speak to the House about the importance of financial literacy in these unprecedented times?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Orléans for her question and for all the hard work she does on behalf of her constituents in Orléans.
    As we continue to implement our emergency support measures and look toward the recovery, it is important that every Canadian has the information they need to make decisions about their future.

[English]

    Financial literacy also offers the important skills for well-being, from learning to protect against fraud to planning for one's future. Whether one is a young student setting financial plans in motion or a senior planning for a safe and dignified retirement, financial literacy tools can help ensure everyone has the support they need. Together we can continue—
    The hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, nearly two million Canadians are employed in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors. As we all know, almost all of these organizations have been impacted by the pandemic and are hurting. In many cases donations have dried up, but yet their staff workload is increasing. We have all seen examples in our communities of how they have stepped up in unprecedented ways at a time of national crisis.
    When can critical front-line charities and not-for-profits expect to receive support to help them bridge through the pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the record that we have achieved with respect to being there for the organizations that are serving Canada's most vulnerable people. They are facing tremendous challenges. That is why we moved ahead with the emergency community support fund, with $350 million provided to the Canadian Red Cross, the United Way Centraide Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada to act as agents to disperse that money to all the community-based organizations that are serving the most vulnerable people in this pandemic.
    Mr. Speaker, there must be a better plan in place as we begin the post-COVID recovery process.
     Charities and not-for-profits will be integral in this process, yet as the service sector charities reopen, financial hardships will still be significant. However, major organizations that I am meeting with tell me that proposals before the government now are being ignored.
    Will the minister tell us how he will ensure that these charities, which are right now providing child care, housing, food and clothing to Canadians, will be there in the months and years to come?
    Mr. Speaker, providing $350 million so organizations can continue to do their important work is certainly not ignoring them, as the hon. member suggests. In fact, we have been there from the beginning to ensure that the organizations we rely on to serve the most vulnerable in our communities continue to do that and increase that. That is why not only have we provided the emergency community support, we provided assistance to food banks and community food programs.
    We will continue to be there for the charitable sector. We know they are stepping up even more than they usually do at a time when Canadians need them the most.

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, the Alaska to Alberta railway will create 28,000 jobs, provide another route out of landlocked Saskatchewan and Alberta for our exports and lower the cost of groceries in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
    Will the government join the Conservatives in supporting this $17-billion private sector infrastructure project or will the Prime Minister let the application sit on his desk for six months, as he did with Teck Frontier?
    Mr. Speaker, as a government, we are fully committed to ensuring that good, sustainable projects get built in Canada and that they are assessed in a timely, fair and rigorous way.
    With respect to this project, as I said a couple of weeks ago, when this question was posed by the opposition, we had not received an initial project description. However, like with all projects, if we receive it and when we receive it, we will certainly assess it and do so in an expeditious manner.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the cancellation of pipelines has been felt across Alberta and Canada. With major capacity backlogs, railways cannot ship both Canada's oil and food production. Mismanagement and Liberal ideology imposed on infrastructure will hurt us for generations.
     With ports clogged, railway backlogs and pipelines cancelled, the government needs to act or finally admit it is dividing our country by crushing Alberta's resource economy.
    Will the government commit to a fulsome and expedited review of the Alaska to Alberta railway and not just more red tape and dithering excuses?
    Mr. Speaker, that is essentially exactly the same question as was posed a minute ago.
    As I said, we are certainly committed to ensuring that projects, as they come forward, irrespective of where they come forward, are assessed through a rigorous, timely and fair process. That is exactly what we put into place through the Impact Assessment Act, which is important improvement on the way we actually assess projects in the country.
    With respect to this project, we have not yet received an initial project description, but if and when that is actually provided by the proponent, we will certainly assess it through the process in a fair, rigorous and timely way.

[Translation]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, more than 60,000 seniors are in danger of having their guaranteed income supplements cut off if their federal tax returns are not received by November 29. We are talking about 60,000 low-income seniors whose life has been hugely complicated by the pandemic. Let us recall that, today still, those over 70 are being told to limit their outings to the bare minimum. For months, all in-person services have been closed and it is almost impossible to get any help from the Canada Revenue Agency.
    Can the government reassure us that no seniors in need will have their guaranteed income supplements cut off in the middle of the pandemic?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for raising this issue. I really appreciate her bringing it forward.
    Right now our focus is on supporting seniors during this pandemic. We are focused on providing the direct financial supports that seniors need to help cope with added costs and work closely with our community support organizations.
     The direct financial support, as the member knows, provides more than $1,500 for low-income couples. We will continue to work to ensure seniors have the supports they need and to be there for seniors.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am being told about direct support for seniors, but I am going to talk about other cuts in assistance to seniors.
    All over Quebec, messages are being received from new GIS beneficiaries who, in the spring, applied for the $200 COVID-19 payment. They applied in time, but, since then, the silence has been deafening. The Canada Revenue Agency takes months to process files. The result is that, two months later, seniors have been denied the $200 they were promised with the excuse that they missed the deadline. The government is cutting money from the most disadvantaged seniors because of pure incompetence.
    What is it going to do to correct the situation?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, providing supports to seniors during this difficult time has been a priority for this government. We provided a special one-time payment to seniors on old age security of $300 and an additional amount of $200 for seniors on the guaranteed income supplement. That went to all seniors who were already receiving the guaranteed income supplement.
    I appreciate the member raising this issue. I will look into it further and will have more to say soon.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, we have been hearing testimony at committee from sectors that have had little to no engagement with the minister over the ongoing fisheries crisis in Nova Scotia. No peaceful resolution will come if the minister continues to refuse meaningful engagement with all stakeholders by shifting responsibility to a third party. The minister needs to take the lead on this. It is her responsibility.
     When will the minister be meeting with all stakeholders to come to a peaceful resolution?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been meeting with all stakeholders since the very start of this issue. I meet with commercial harvesters on a regular basis as well as with first nation communities.
     We know the first nations have the right to fish for a moderate livelihood. We will continue to work with them to ensure we implement this right.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the community of Saulnierville has been ground zero for the fisheries crisis in Nova Scotia and the wharf is still being occupied by indigenous fishers. The district 34 lobster season will be under way in a few weeks and the fishers who pay DFO to dock at the Saulnierville wharf are wondering when they will finally be able to get back into preparation mode.
     Could the minister explain how the port authority can get the wharf back so fishers can prepare for and start their season on time?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that these ongoing tensions have been very difficult for everybody involved. We are working diligently to make sure that we have a solution. We are working with first nations communities to make sure they are able to implement their moderate livelihood right. We are also listening to commercial harvesters with regard to the concerns they have, and making sure we are doing everything we can to address those. We will continue to have those conversations and we will continue to move forward to find a peaceful resolution to this ongoing challenge.
    Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister has been MIA when indigenous and commercial fishers are relying on her for answers. The motion passed unanimously at the fisheries committee gives the minister until November 20 to appear and explain herself to fishing communities and all Canadians. Nearly every witness we heard from has said the minister dropped the ball. She has been hiding for far too long when Canadians deserve answers.
    Committee members want to meet with the Minister of Fisheries. When will she be ready to meet with the committee and fulfill her duties? Will she respect the November 20 deadline?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe I am scheduled to appear before the committee in November. I am happy to do that. I have been engaged in this file since day one. I have met with the commercial harvesters, as well as with indigenous communities. We know how important it is to find a peaceful resolution to this ongoing issue. I will continue to work with all parties involved to make sure we get to that point.

Veterans

    Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, it is an honour to stand and remind Canadians that from November 5 to November 11, Canada will be marking Veterans Week across the country. The pandemic has certainly changed things, but through virtual ceremonies, social media and more, Canadians will still have the opportunity to pay their respects to our veterans.
    Can the minister speak more on the importance of Veterans Week?
    Mr. Speaker, Veterans Week is vitally important as it provides us with the opportunity to remember and honour all those who have worn the uniform. From the battlefields of Ypres to the mountains of Afghanistan and beyond, the service and sacrifice of our veterans will never be forgotten. This year, things look a bit different, but all Canadians are encouraged to wear the poppy, take part in virtual ceremonies and make sure we remember our veterans. To all veterans, we say thanks. Lest we forget.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake has experienced many challenges over the past five years, including the collapse of oil prices, cancellation of Energy East and Northern Gateway, the horrific fire of 2016, the pandemic and floods of 2020, and now the upcoming clean fuel standard which may add up to 11¢ per litre.
     Does the Prime Minister think it is wise to levy this new tax scheme in the middle of a pandemic in a failing economy?
    Mr. Speaker, using cleaner fuels in our buildings, vehicles and industries is one of the biggest steps we can take to reduce emissions.
    The clean fuel standard will cut pollution by up to 30 million tonnes in 2030, which is the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road. It will concurrently create enormous opportunities for farmers and for companies producing renewable fuels. It will encourage investments in energy efficiency that will help Canadians save money, and it will promote the faster deployment of electric vehicles. It is an important enabler for economic opportunity and an important part of fighting climate change.

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, last week, a white paper entitled “Incentivizing Large-Scale CCS in Canada” was released, indicating ways to encourage investment. Construction of three projects could see $2.7 billion in GDP across Canada and support over 6,100 jobs. These three large-scale CCS projects, such as Boundary Dam in my riding, could see over five million tonnes of CO2 being captured annually.
    The minister says nice things about CCS, but does nothing to encourage investment. When will he put his words into action?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly, CCS is an important part of technologies addressing climate change, and the Boundary Dam is a very good example of taking action to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.
    Carbon capture and storage, as well as a range of other technologies, including hydrogen technologies, are going to be a critical part of ensuring that Canada can exceed its 2030 targets and can move to achieving net-zero by 2050. It will be part of the plan that we will be bringing forward to discuss with Canadians as to how we enhance our ambition, with respect to climate change.
    Certainly, I look forward to talking to the—

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, there is no one in the world more committed to clean energy production than Canadians working in the oil and gas sector, yet because the Liberal government has made it impossible for the private sector to build a pipeline in this country, we continue to import hundreds of thousands of barrels a day. After the U.S., the top source countries in recent years are Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Algeria.
    Could the minister tell us if oil imported to Canada from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Algeria is subject to the same rigorous regulation on upstream and downstream emissions as oil coming from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been there since day one. We approved the Line 3 pipeline with 7,000 jobs created. We approved, as well, support to Keystone XL unwaveringly, with 1,500 jobs created right now. We are building LNG Canada and creating thousands of jobs. TMX was approved. We are getting it built and 5,600 jobs have been created so far. NGTL 2021 was approved, with thousands of jobs created. Orphaned and inactive wells received $1.7 billion, with thousands of jobs created, and the wage subsidy went to more than 16,000 resource workers and their jobs in a pandemic in Alberta alone. We will be there for workers. We will continue to be there for workers.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all the importance of supporting workers and businesses in communities across Canada. Ensuring safe workplaces for all, from coast to coast to coast, is vital as we rebuild our economy. In my community of Brampton Centre, businesses like Tandoori Flame and Taro Pharmaceutical Industries are focal points for our recovery and my constituents want to know what steps are being taken. Could the Minister of Labour update the House on how the government is—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend all partners, labour, industry, and my provincial and territorial counterparts for working collaboratively to keep workers safe. In addition, I wish to extend my gratitude to the hard-working team at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. They have worked tirelessly and quickly to help employers have the health and safety resources they need. These resources have helped guide employers as they live up to their responsibility to provide safe and healthy workplaces. Our government has invested $2.5 million to assist CCOHS in this very important work.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, due to massive cuts and total disregard by Jason Kenney's government, the Campus Saint-Jean, the only francophone campus in western Canada, is at risk of shutting down. The campus prepares many of western Canada's French immersion teachers. Without it, kids like my daughter, Keltie, might lose the opportunity to learn French in school. Knowing that the Alberta government is refusing to support our vital francophone community, will the minister step in to make sure that people in western Canada, people like my daughter and others, have the ability to learn French?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her advocacy on the issue. Of course I want her daughter to have the chance to study at Campus Saint-Jean. We, as a government, want to make sure that we work across party lines to support Campus Saint-Jean, make sure that Franco-Albertans have access to post-secondary education in French and ensure all western Canadians have access to post-secondary education in French.
    We really hope that the Conservatives will join us in making sure that Jason Kenney and the Conservatives in Alberta live up to their end of the deal and save Campus Saint-Jean.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, I raised this issue on October 2, and again I ask the Prime Minister this: Will Canada stand up to protect our whales?
    Recently, on the coast of Scotland, whales were stranded and found dead. It was connected to a NATO training exercise offshore. Exactly the same kind of U.S. naval training of bombs and torpedoes is planned for the coast off the Pacific northwest. The U.S. government plans to go ahead. The State of Washington has done more to protest this than our own government.
    When will we stand up and say we do not accept incidental takings of southern resident killer whales?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands knows, our government is committed to the protection and the recovery of the southern resident killer whales.
    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is leading the review of the U.S. Navy proposal. DFO is engaging with NOAA on this matter to ensure a common understanding of the proposed activities and the need to mitigate any potential impacts to whales and whale habitats. We will continue to work closely with our U.S. partners on actions we can take to protect this species.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    During question period we had both the member for North Island—Powell River and the member for Edmonton Strathcona interrupted in their questions by members speaking out virtually. Could the Speaker remind members and take serious action, so that heckling during question period is curbed?
    I want to thank the hon. member. He does have a good point. I did bring it up, and I just want to remind the hon. members that when they heckle online it cuts everything else out and their picture comes on the screen. We know who they are. We do not want to name hon. members and embarrass them, but we may have to resort to that if this continues. I remind everyone to please mind their mute.

[Translation]

    It is very important.

[English]

Statements by Members  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I was informed following my member's statement that half of my statement was unheard. There was a technical difficulty. It is an important member's statement honouring veterans, and I am hopeful the House will provide me with an opportunity to restate my 60-second member's statement.
    Do we have unanimous consent in the chamber and online?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, as Remembrance Day draws near, members of my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges join Canadians from coast to coast in proudly wearing a poppy in recognition of the millions who have served, and continue to serve, our country.
    As we do so, we not only acknowledge their sacrifices but we also support the invaluable work carried out by our local Legion branches, for which the poppy campaign serves as primary fundraiser.
    This holds true for my local branch, Local 115, Hudson, which works tirelessly to support our veterans and provide a place to gather for service men and women in my community. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not see our veterans offering them, and we will not have the privilege of having them pin the poppies on us.
    However, they need our support now more than ever, and I invite all members of our community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges to buy a poppy at one of the many grocery stores and retail stores across our community until Remembrance Day.

[Translation]

    On behalf of our community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, I would like to express my profound gratitude to those who have served, and who continue to serve, our country. Lest we forget.

  (1510)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I am in the same boat as my friend and colleague, and I would ask the House if I, too, might be able to deliver my statement to the House.
    Do we have unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Mr. Speaker, today I wish everyone celebrating in Etobicoke North and across Canada a very happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.
    During this joyous holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, families celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, of right over wrong, and the power of hope and knowledge. Normally loved ones gather to enjoy food together, exchange gifts, light their homes with candles and pray. We usually visit BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Sringeri Foundation, Sikh Spiritual Centre Toronto and Nanaksar Gurdwara.
    These celebrations are a reminder of the diversity and inclusion that make our Etobicoke North community a very special place to live. They are also an important opportunity to recognize the contributions that Canadians of Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths make to our country every day.
    I wish our wonderful families a happy and safe Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    As we have had the opportunity for second takes, I would like to refer you back to the original point of order, which was that our members were also interrupted through the online heckling. I am wondering if, through you, we could find unanimous consent to allow them to do a retake of their statements.