That the bill standing on the Order Paper, entitled An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19, be disposed of as follows:
(a) the bill be ordered for consideration at second reading later this day;
(b) when the House begins debate on the motion for second reading of the bill, two members of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party may speak to the said motion for not more than 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions and comments, provided that members may be permitted to split their time with another member; and, at the conclusion of the time provided for the debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, all questions necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill shall be put without further debate or amendment, provided that, if a recorded division is requested, it shall not be deferred;
(c) if the bill is adopted at second reading, it shall be referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed;
(d) until the said bill is disposed of at second reading or read a third time, whichever is later, the House shall not adjourn except pursuant to a motion proposed by a minister of the Crown; and
(e) no motion to adjourn the debate may be proposed except by a minister of the Crown.
He said: Mr. Speaker, this a momentous time in our history, and we must all act accordingly.
We are gathered here today at a momentous time in our history. Indeed, the last six months have changed our country. More than 9,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19. Many thousands more have contracted the virus. Millions of Canadians have seen their jobs disappear in the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. So many people are still worried about how much longer their jobs will last, and we all know so many of these people.
As the days grow shorter and the autumn leaves begin to appear, we are at a crossroads. We can ignore the challenges that remain before us and blindly walk down a dark path with dangerous consequences, or we can walk together on a second path with our eyes wide open, and prepare our families and our country for the twists and turns that lie ahead.
Our government is committed to responsibly leading Canadians down that second path.
We must continue to be honest with Canadians, as we always have been.
The second wave poses serious risks. We must not take it lightly, on the contrary. Over the coming weeks and months, we must do everything we can to protect Canadians. That is what is most important to us. In fact, as elected members, it is our greatest responsibility; it is the greatest responsibility. Canadians know it, all my colleagues in the House know it and we know it: We are facing the gravest of threats. It continues to weigh on all of us, our families, our friends, our neighbours and our colleagues. We are all at risk, with no exceptions.
Canadians know how to do their part by staying home, washing their hands, wearing a mask and following public health guidance.
As a government and as parliamentarians, we also have a duty to do our part. First, we need to help the most vulnerable Canadians, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet. There are many of them. This crisis is affecting all Canadians. Many people have lost their jobs, and others worry they are next. Some people are starting to pull through, while others now need to stay home to care for a sick father, mother, son or daughter. Some need to stay home because they themselves are sick.
Canadians are worried, as are we all. They have valid questions. How are they going to pay the bills? How are they going to feed and clothe their families? How are they going to pay the mortgage or rent?
From the beginning of this crisis, our government has been working day and night to meet the needs of Canadians. We do not want to leave anyone behind. We want to be there for everyone. At times like these, we need to assure all Canadians that we will be there for them, that we will never let them down, that we will keep helping them, that we will get through this crisis together, and that, together, we will come out even stronger on the other side. The key word is “together”. We have to do this “together”.
This is a message that I hope all parliamentarians will reflect on as we discuss the motion before the House today. It is a simple message. It is time for action. It is a time of urgency. It is not a time for members to slow walk their way toward inaction. It is definitely not a time to play political games.
Canadians need our help now and this is exactly what the motion is meant to accomplish: quick action. Canadians need members of the House to recognize the urgency of the situation and to work together. They are watching us. Can we work together for the benefit of all Canadians?
I hope that all members from all parties will leave politics aside and work with us. We must move forward to provide millions of Canadians with the financial support they need and we must do it now.
The government presented a Speech from the Throne last week in which we clearly stated our plan for the coming weeks and months. We are going to show some leadership; guide the government through this crisis; guide the government and the country to economic recovery; and rebuild the foundations of our society to make it stronger, more just and more humane.
In its throne speech, the government promised to help each and every Canadian, and Canada is in a sound financial position to do so, compared to other countries. That is why we did not hesitate to use our financial resources to help Canadians, through programs such as the Canada emergency response benefit and the Canada emergency wage subsidy. We did not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal or to create new ones in order to help Canadians. Canadian workers and employers must have the support they need to weather this fierce storm.
Madam Speaker, if I may, I would like to quote a passage from the Speech from the Throne: “Canadians should not have to choose between health and their job, just like Canadians should not have to take on debt that their government can better shoulder.”
Every member of the government is working as a team to support Canadians. I commend the thousands of public servants and thank them from the bottom of my heart for their dedication and the extraordinary work they have done. They continue to work to make a positive difference in the lives of all Canadians. Members of cabinet, like all members of the Liberal caucus, have never lost sight of the fact that the most important thing to do is to help the people we serve.
Canadians elected us. We are here because they made that choice. They are the reason were are here in the House. They are the reason we are standing up and working together to develop policies that will make a difference for the men and women of this country, for the young and not-so-young, for our seniors and our businesses.
Among those who have worked the hardest is my colleague and friend, the . For months now, right through recent days, I would say all the time that she has adopted an open and collaborative approach. She has listened to Canadians and has collaborated with her fellow parliamentarians. I would say her door is always open. She is always ready to discuss and accept ideas from all others. Sometimes good ideas or better ideas come from the other side. She is totally open to that.
She and her team have worked hard and have come forward with a proposal to create three new benefits.
First, there is the Canada recovery benefit. This would help Canadians who have stopped working because of COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI, and Canadians who are employed but have seen their income reduced.
Second, there is the Canada recovery sickness benefit. This would assist Canadians who are unable to work because they must stay at home.
Third, there is the Canada recovery caregiving benefit. This would support workers who need to take unpaid leave to care for family members as a result of COVID-19.
When my colleague announced those benefits in August, she said she would monitor the development of the pandemic closely, and that is what she is doing. She has been keeping a close eye on the situation since schools reopened. She is also monitoring the number of jobs created in the country. She is keeping tabs on what is happening in every province and in every region of the country. She made it very clear that she would be flexible with respect to details of the benefits and that she is open to collaboration. She always works collaboratively.
Everyone is aware of the urgency of the current situation. Canadian workers and their families are counting on us to provide the help they need to pay their bills and buy groceries. They need our help to get through this crisis. Objectively speaking, this motion puts forward a reasonable way for the government to fulfill its responsibilities and help Canadians. Crucially, in our opinion, the motion gives all parties an opportunity to speak to the motion. It enables the House to do what needs to be done to study the proposed legislation without delay.
I ask members to join us in support of the motion. This is not a time for delay. It is time for action, and Canadians are counting on us. We must not let them down.
Madam Speaker, all Canadians want Parliament to function properly. All Canadians care about what is going on with health care. All Canadians, particularly folks in Quebec and Ontario, are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. We need measured, worthwhile, relevant action, but we believe that must happen through healthy democratic debate. What we are seeing now is anything but.
The government is about to introduce legislation that will result in $57 billion in spending, and it is reducing the time parliamentarians have to speak on the bill to barely four and a half hours.
This is anything but parliamentary democracy. As elected officials, we have a duty to hold the government accountable. We were elected to ask the government what it is doing, how it is doing it and why. With four and a half hours of debate, we cannot hope to understand where the $57 billion is going. Unfortunately, that is what the government is forcing us to do, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
Why are we here today? We are here because we are concerned about the health situation of Canadians. We are concerned about the survival of Canadian businesses. We are concerned about Canadian workers who are out of jobs because of the pandemic. We are concerned because the Liberal government tabled some ideas, proposals and policies that created a lack of manpower and businesses were forced to close.
In my riding, many restaurants and other businesses closed their doors because they needed workers but instead people preferred not to work and to use what we call in French the PCU.
The debate is serious, which is why we must take the necessary time to study the measures the government is proposing.
All of us on this side want to help Canadians. All of us on this side want to help the business community. All of us on this side are concerned about the health of Canadians and want to help everybody on that issue. All of us on this side want to work hand in hand with the provinces. On this side, we are not going to say what is good for the provinces but rather ask how we can help them. That is the Conservative view, not the Liberal one.
What we have today in front of us is a government that acted at the last minute. The government decided to have just four and a half hours of debate for $50 billion in taxpayers' money. This is unparliamentary, and we strongly disagree with the approach of the government.
We are here today because the government has acted in an unfortunate way in recent weeks. We should remember that when the pandemic broke out, we had urgent action to take. We worked with the government, but we also took the government to task on a number of occasions. I will come back to that later. We wanted to work together. That is why we agreed to have the hybrid Parliament and why we agreed to have committees. We were doing our job, which is really relevant.
Some senior members in our party, including the hon. member for , the hon. member for and the hon. member for , just to name a few, asked questions that were very relevant to the WE scandal, but awkward for the government. The government had decided to give $900 million to friends of the regime without a call for tenders. Once it started really feeling the heat, the Liberal government decided to kill parliamentary democracy by proroguing the session.
Let's keep in mind that, in 2015, these paragons of virtue said that they would never use prorogation and that they would never prevent parliamentarians from expressing themselves, but they did at the first opportunity.
We would not be where we are today had the government allowed parliamentarians to continue doing their job, yet that is exactly what the government is encouraging us to do. For six weeks, we were unable to do our job as parliamentarians, a necessary job.
The government recalled the House with a throne speech last week. The very next day, it introduced Bill , which includes budgetary measures to help Canadians.
We understand that time is running out because of the sunset clauses on government measures. Because of these sunset clauses, the House has to vote on certain issues before October 1, but the government is the one in charge of the calendar. It is the government that decided to shut down committees and close Parliament six weeks ago. It is the government that decided to recall the House last week when it could have easily done so earlier. The government could have easily allowed Parliament to do its work in committee, but no.
These people who really enjoy controlling Parliament and the situation have made it so that we have just a few hours before the sunset clauses take effect. They bear all the responsibility for that.
It is very funny to hear the saying that Liberals want to walk together and work together and that there is no time for political games. This is exactly what they are doing. We are not working together. They want to work all by themselves. They say they do not want to play political games. That is exactly what they are doing right now. We have $50 billion in front of us that we have to debate and they are letting parliamentarians talk about it for only four and a half hours. This is a big joke. This is everything but parliamentary democracy. We need to work together, obviously, but we need the tools to do that and what the government is tabling today does everything but give parliamentarians the right tools to do the work.
Conservatives are here for Canadians. I can assure everyone that we will stand by our guns in this situation because we need to work correctly, and that is exactly what we intend to do.
Last week the government introduced Bill C-2. We saw millions of dollars' worth of spending on the horizon. After question period last Thursday, the government House leader told us that Monday and Tuesday, so today and tomorrow, would be dedicated to Bill C-2, which was fine.
Even then we realized that we might not have enough time to really get to the bottom of things. Acting in good faith and to avoid partisan games, we proposed something that we thought was entirely fair and appropriate and that, above all, would mean that we could get the work done. We proposed meeting on Sunday in committee of the whole for over six hours to allow four ministers to appear before us and answer questions from the opposition and the government, in order to get to the bottom of the matter in relation to Bill C-2. That is our job as parliamentarians.
That is the way Conservatives are working. We have to hold the government to account. We are here to ask questions and the ministers are here to answer questions.
Being in cabinet is a privilege. If the gods and my leader are willing, maybe one day I myself will be in cabinet. Who knows? At any rate, being a minister is certainly something.
The ministers we hoped would answer questions before this committee were serious ministers, senior ministers who are responsible for billions of dollars. We wanted to hear from the . We wanted to hear from the , as well as the and the . These four ministers played a central part in the discussions surrounding Bill , which represents more than $50 billion in spending. They could have answered the committee's questions. However, our proposal was declined. We were fine with that, because it is part of the democratic process.
A few hours later, however, we found out that the government and the NDP had hammered out an agreement on Bill C-2. That agreement was negotiated in a proper democratic fashion. We are not going to raise a fuss over it.
We will see how the debates go. What points will people raise about the bill that is about to be introduced? What are members going to be able to say in a mere four and a half hours about $57 billion in proposed spending?
This is the key element of this debate today. The government is asking taxpayers to spend $57 billion and we, the representatives of Canadians, will only have four and a half hours of discussion and debate. That is absolutely not enough, and there is no partisanship in that. Those are the facts. Technically speaking, we need to go deeply into this bill. We need to know exactly what the intention of the government is. We have a job to do, but the government, which killed the parliamentary process this summer and dodged the responsibility it had to work with other parties, decided to kill our responsibility to go deeply into the bill.
When the Liberals are attacking us on that, they are not attacking us; they are attacking Canadians. Canadians deserve answers. Canadians have elected us to ask tough questions. I know them. I know they are ready to answer that. Let us do our jobs. The government is not doing that right now.
It might come as a surprise to some of us that the government would treat parliamentary procedure so grievously.
I have had the privilege of representing the people of Louis-Saint-Laurent for almost five years now. I cannot thank them enough for electing me twice. This is not the first time in the past five years that this government's approach to the rights, privileges and responsibilities of all parliamentarians, including those in opposition, has been a little too authoritarian.
Members will recall the infamous Motion No. 6 tabled in May 2016. It gave the government extraordinary powers to ram through bills that should have been given more serious attention.
Sadly, we all remember how that led to a deeply unfortunate and disgraceful incident: the left his seat, grabbed an opposition member—our party whip—by the arm and marched him across the chamber like a crook.
This was called “elbowgate”. The crossed the floor, grabbing a political adversary and using it just like that. That was everything but good. That was a shame. I have never seen an act so disgraceful, and it was coming from the top, the Prime Minister. Why? Because we were asking to have a friendly debate, and Motion No. 6 was anything but that. The Prime Minister was not happy with our position and he did something very wrong. Obviously, he excused himself the day after. He did what he had to do.
We were then able to proceed. However, the government's main intention with Motion No. 6 was to hinder the work of parliamentarians, especially opposition members.
A year later in May 2017, the government did exactly the same thing. It once again proposed measures aimed at limiting parliamentary work, especially that of the opposition and particularly in committee. Thanks to a vigilant opposition and our tireless work at committee trying to block this measure, the government realized that it made no sense.
A number of bills were introduced in May 2019. The government wanted them to pass after just minutes, never mind hours, of debate. It was unacceptable.
Hon. members will also recall that in the winter of 2019, when another Liberal scandal, the SNC-Lavalin one, had just erupted, the government decided to put an end to the parliamentary committee's work. That was also unacceptable.
This Liberal government's first Parliament ended with 63 time allocation motions. Yes, the current government imposed 63 gag orders. That was also unacceptable.
As I said earlier, during the campaign, the Liberals said that they would be very frank and very honest with all parliamentarians, that they would make Parliament work, that they would not prorogue the House. However, that is what they did. They also adopted 63 time allocation motions. This is anything but parliamentary freedom and this is everything but good parliamentary attitude.
We ended up with this new Parliament following the election. When the COVID-19 crisis began, all members from all parties worked in good faith for the good of Canadians. Obviously we had to give the government certain powers, as the situation was unforeseen. Nevertheless, the Liberals gave themselves powers that were excessive, to say the least.
Let's not forget that the first version of Bill would have allowed the government to take measures and write cheques at will until the end of 2021. They were very ambitious, not to mention greedy. That was not what needed to be done. Our vigilance, and that of the other parties, ensured that the government backed down.
That was a good indication that the government was very ambitious. When it came time to say that this was an extraordinary situation and that Parliament could not sit in its usual fashion, the government decided to give itself all sorts of powers until December 2021.
How could we accept the fact that the government was ready to have full power for more than a year and a half? That is not parliamentary democracy. Canada deserves better. We understand and recognize that we to address some situations if some emergency arises, but we shall respect the responsibility of parliamentarians. Again, this morning the government is so happy to shut down the parliamentary system and this is unacceptable to us.
We are very sad to see that the government wants to muzzle parliamentarians once again. The Conservatives are well aware that we need proper measures for Canadians and that these measures have to correspond to the needs of Canadian families, that we must take into account Canadian businesses that are facing tough challenges, that we must take into account Canadian workers who lost their jobs, and that we must take into account the men and women with children who are worried.
Indeed, we have measures to bring in. Indeed, we must work together. Indeed, we must put partisanship aside in order to act for the good of Canadians. However, we have a job to do, and when the government is getting ready to spend $57 billion, we think parliamentarians should do their job. Four and a half hours does not leave enough time for us to do our job properly.
Therefore, I move the following amendment:
That the motion be amended:
(a) in paragraph (b), by replacing the words “not be deferred”, with the words “be deferred until the expiry of time provided for Oral Questions at the next sitting day which is not a Friday”; and
(b) by replacing paragraphs (c) to (e) with the following:
“(c) if the bill is adopted at second reading, it shall be referred to a committee of the whole and the House shall, when the orders of the day are next called after the bill has been read the second time, resolve itself into a committee of the whole on the said bill, provided that:
(i) the committee be subject to the provisions relating to virtual sittings of the House,
(ii) the Speaker may preside,
(iii) the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair,
(iv) the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Minister of Labour be invited to appear,
(v) each minister shall be questioned for 95 minutes, provided that:
(A) the chair shall call members from all recognized parties and one member who does not belong to a recognized party in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during Oral Questions, following the rotation used for question by the former Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic;
(B) no member shall be recognized for more than five minutes at a time which may be used for posing questions;
(C) members may be permitted to spilt their time with one or more members by so indicating to the chair, and
(D) questions shall be answered by the minister or another minister acting on her or his behalf,
(vi) notices of amendments to the bill to be considered in committee of the whole may be deposited with the Clerk of the House at any time following the adoption of this order until the conclusion of the second hour of debate in committee of the whole,
(vii) at the conclusion of time provided for questioning ministers, or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the Chair shall put forthwith and successively every question necessary to dispose of the committee stage of the bill, including each amendment deposited with the Clerk of the House pursuant to subparagraph (vi);
(d) once the bill has been reported from the committee of the whole, the Speaker shall put forthwith and successively every question necessary to dispose of the report and third reading stages of the bill, provided that no recorded division shall be deferred; and
(e) the Standing Orders relating to the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be suspended while the bill is being considered under the provisions of this order”.
Madam Speaker, naturally, I rise to speak to Bill .
Sometimes the saying “better late than never” applies, but not here since it is too late for the bill before us. In fact, the three economic support benefits in this bill, which affect thousands of workers and were announced by the government on August 20, are still not in place, while the CERB ended yesterday. Why is that?
The reason is that this government, which was involved in another major scandal, the WE Charity scandal, deliberately chose to prorogue the House for petty political considerations. If that is not partisanship, I do not know what is. It has left thousands of people in the lurch, in a state of distress and uncertainty. It is scandalous.
Long before now, long before the crisis started, we knew that the EI social safety net was torn and needed a complete overhaul so that it could fulfill its purpose. The eligibility criteria, coverage, duration, benefit amount and funding arrangements all needed to be reviewed.
Without going into details on the regular EI program, I want to remind all members that only about 40% of workers are currently covered. Among women, youth and seasonal workers, that figure is even lower. Self-employed, part-time and contract workers are not eligible at all. That is why action is needed, and we knew that long ago.
At the height of the crisis, nearly nine million workers became unemployed. It became glaringly obvious that our EI regime was unable to do what it was designed to do and insure and protect workers in the event of unemployment. That is why the government implemented the CERB.
On April 11, the current said the government knew that the EI safety net had a few too many holes in it and did not provide sufficient coverage. However, the government did not move forward with its reform quickly enough, even though in 2016, during the previous Parliament, the Liberal government had promised to conduct a broad review of the EI system and modernize our income support system for unemployed workers, since this social safety net was failing too many of them.
It is even more troubling, and indeed downright outrageous, to see in the throne speech just how quick the was to interfere more and more in areas of provincial jurisdiction while being so agonizingly slow, so lax, in taking care of the federal government's own social programs for workers and seniors. We therefore join the consensus among politicians in Quebec and call on the federal government to mind its own business and look after its own affairs.
As we know, strong measures to help workers and support employment must be the cornerstones of the economic recovery. In fact, it was the Bloc Québécois that proposed that the Canada emergency response benefit and the Canada emergency student benefit include employment incentives. Our hope was that these benefits would support two objectives, namely to provide support while creating jobs. Despite the government's firm commitment to the House on April 29 to attain both objectives, nothing has been done.
Furthermore, the government knew that many workers who had lost their jobs because of the crisis would not qualify for EI when the CERB ended. For that reason, the government decided to relax the EI rules and make the program more accessible.
We welcome these adjustments. However, there is more work to be done, because even with less stringent rules, not all workers in need qualify. Today, more than 900,000 workers are wondering whether they will qualify for EI and, if not, whether they will be eligible for the measures we will be voting on.
Today, self-employed workers, workers in non-standard jobs and seasonal workers need help more than ever before.
This state of uncertainty—
Madam Speaker, I will try not to do it again.
The Liberal government made headlines for mishandling the Canada student service grant program by asking WE Charity to manage it. The government did everything it could to keep this quiet, and it put protecting its image ahead of helping workers and managing the crisis.
Why did the government prorogue Parliament for five weeks when it could have taken action in July? We sat during the summer, and the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities could easily have been called upon, because it was sitting to discuss these matters. The government could have prorogued Parliament for just 24 hours.
We believe that the prorogation of Parliament was just another Liberal tactic to draw a red herring across the trail. It is another example of the government's ineptitude. The Liberals were more concerned about protecting their image than giving priority to workers in need. What is more, this approach is a blatant example of this government's lack of respect for the work of Parliament.
We could have taken the time to study the bill properly and hear from witnesses in order to fix any problems, but now we are being forced to adopt it right away. That is unacceptable.
We are in favour of using a more flexible EI program to transition away from CERB. That is what we asked for. We are also happy with the three economic benefits in the bill we are debating even though we condemn the government's way of doing things.
However, we must remind the House and the government that this new flexibility and Bill are only the first step toward true employment insurance reform.
I would also like to point out that these new measures will be in effect for just one year. What happens 12 months from now? As we said, employment insurance needs real reform and has for quite some time. I think this is the time to decide what the future looks like.
A number of unions and groups advocating for the unemployed have already expressed their enthusiasm for the measures that are going to be adopted. However, all these groups have also insisted that the new measures lay the groundwork for a future overhaul. We stand with Quebec workers in calling for these changes.
I would also point out that the adjustments made and the measures introduced today do not solve all the problems with EI; far from it. Let me remind hon. members that I myself presented a motion to the House that was unanimously adopted, to increase the special EI sickness benefits from the current 15 weeks to 50 weeks. The situation is critical for these individuals, too. We do not have a minute to waste. Why did the government not use this as an opportunity to address the matter of sickness benefits and extend them immediately?
In closing, I would like to reiterate that we want this bill to pass. We owe it to Quebec's workers and to everyone whose CERB ended yesterday. We cannot leave anyone in the uncertainty and anguish they are feeling today.
Our hope today is that this government will finally decide to take a serious look at the EI reforms that are needed and not let any future scandals distract it from this crucial objective.
I ask today, is the government prepared to go ahead with a long-term reform of the EI system?
Madam Speaker, what an honour it has been to have the opportunity to represent the people of Elmwood—Transcona throughout the course of a very challenging time in our history.
I was elected not quite a year ago with the general mandate to defend the interests of working people here in Ottawa and to try to make Parliament work for people. That has been foremost in my mind and in the work of the NDP throughout the course of this pandemic, which could not have been foreseen at the time of the last election. Nevertheless it is our responsibility as public office holders to deal with it, in the best way we possibly can.
Many things have been called into question about the way we did things before the pandemic. There are many urgent questions about how we deal with the particularities of the pandemic and the challenges it presents.
We have heard a lot from other opposition parties today about the challenge to parliamentary process. Is that the main thing that the people we represent are concerned about? It is certainly something that is important. It matters how things work here. It matters that we are able to hold the government to account, but is it the main thing that ought to preoccupy us on a day when the income support program that has been sustaining Canadian households throughout this pandemic expired yesterday at midnight? I think not.
I think it is incumbent upon us to be a little flexible in our understanding of parliamentary process at this time. We can continue to talk about the role that the government played in creating this situation, where Parliament has not had more time. Nevertheless, we find ourselves here and have to respond to that situation. I hope Canadians will have been paying attention to the way that the government manufactured this sense of urgency and judge its members appropriately at election time.
We can talk about the economic crisis. It was severe. There is a lot that Parliament and the government need to do to avoid the economic threats that the pandemic presents. Of course, the CERB has been a very important part of heading off those threats to the economy. It has helped the economy continue as best it can in very difficult circumstances by ensuring that people have money to pay their landlords to stay housed, by ensuring that people have some money to put food on the table, and by ensuring that people have some money to spend in their local economy to help businesses that are struggling.
Those are all things that are very important, but first and foremost what we are called to respond to is the very real story of human tragedy that the pandemic has given rise to. We know that what people are struggling with, and what is top of mind for them, is a sense of fear because they have lost their jobs. In some cases people have gone back to work, which is great.
For other people, their entire industry has been called into question, with the future of their industry being on the ropes. Not only are they not back to work, but they are not sure if there will ever be work to go back to, in the industry that they worked in before, in the way that they knew it prior to the pandemic.
We know people have been overtaken with grief at the loss of loved ones, particularly in personal care homes. They were not able to go to visit someone at the height of the first wave. We are concerned as we enter into a second wave that families will find themselves in that position again, or that families will be limited to one visitor or none at all for a relative in a hospital. It may not be that someone is sick with COVID-19, but because they have another issue that has landed them in the hospital, concerned family members are challenged by not being able to see them.
We can think of people living in indigenous communities who have been abused for far too long. They worry about systemic problems that have led to overcrowded housing and a lack of clean drinking water, and what it will mean for their communities, families and loved ones if the virus enters their community. There have been travel bans put in place. It has made life hard for people.
These are the things that people are really worried about and they have been foremost in the minds of the NDP members and our work.
What can Parliament and government do to support Canadians as they deal with all of those consequences of the pandemic, on top of the challenges that they already had in their lives? As they try to manage that stress and they try to show compassion and care for the people around them, what can we do to ensure that we do not pile additional unneeded stress, particularly financial stress, on top of all those many concerns?
That is what the Canada emergency response benefit was meant to do. It was something that we had to fight for, initially. I remember sitting here, in this very place, prior to the initial lockdown, listening to the question the about what they were going to do to support families as we headed toward lockdown. I remember, very distinctly, the Prime Minister talking about tinkering with the employment insurance system, a system that has long been broken and not serving Canadians well who have paid into that insurance program to support them when they are out of work. We knew that was not going to be enough. We knew that playing at the edges of that broken employment insurance system was not going to support Canadians through it.
New Democrats pushed for a basic income for all Canadians during this time that would be taxed back from those who did not need it at the end of the fiscal year, as a way to get help out as quickly as possible to as many Canadians as possible. We negotiated with a government that was determined to have an exclusionary approach to income, to decide who was deserving and who was not deserving. That is how the CERB was born.
Then, in the subsequent months, we spent a lot of work championing the cause of many different groups of Canadians who were left out by that exclusionary approach. I am thinking especially of persons living with disabilities, because we did, through multiple rounds of negotiations, finally convince the government to make some income support available for persons living with disabilities. It was not the kind of support we wanted to see. It was to be a one-time payment. It is shameful that that money has not yet been delivered. It was meant to be an emergency support payment, and people living with disabilities in Canada are still waiting.
Seniors were left out. It could be that the income of some seniors who have the good fortune of having a defined benefit plan did not change, but their circumstances changed. The support networks that they knew, the friends and family who would come and help them to do laundry and get groceries, were now being asked not to go to their parents' place or their grandparents' place. That meant that in order for seniors to replace the work that was done in that support network, money was required for laundry services, for grocery delivery, for whatever it may be.
We fought hard to try to get support for seniors as well. That payment was made, but it was only a one-time payment. We know that this pandemic is going to last a long time. That is why we need better solutions that build towards a better Canada that supports its seniors and that supports its people living with disabilities.
We fought for students who were left completely out of the CERB, notwithstanding the fact that we all knew that their summer employment prospects were not going to be the same as they had been before and that finding a job that could support them in paying their tuition in the fall was going to be impossible. Also, not every student is a kid living in their parents' basement. That is the impression we got from the government, while negotiating for the student benefit. That is simply not true. A lot of students are supporting themselves and supporting families as they go to school. They have to pay rent and put food on the table, and they were not able to get employment.
The government finally, after New Democrats pushing for students to be on the CERB, set up an entirely separate benefit that paid less. One of the reasons the government said it was justified in paying students less and having a whole separate administration, bureaucracy and program for students was because they were going to have an excellent summer work program that was going to top up students' benefits. That came to be known as the WE Charity scandal. That money has not flowed to students in any way, shape or form. That employment was never created. In fact, we found out that that money really was a targeted benefit for certain wealthy and well-connected friends of the Liberal Party, including their own family members, to the great shame of the government.
Part of the reason why we are in the urgent scenario that we are in is because they did such a terrible job of that. It was so obscene that the felt he had to prorogue Parliament just to escape scrutiny from it. That meant that Parliament did not have the time it ought to have had, and could have had, if Parliament had not been prorogued.
The economic challenges of the pandemic are not going away. They are not going to go away until we get back to normal, and that is going to take a significant amount of time. As I said earlier, the CERB expired yesterday at midnight, so we now find ourselves in a position where a significant portion of the over four million people who were still on CERB now do not have anything in place. We heard some discussion of this earlier in the House, and I think everybody is quite right to feel a great sense of frustration at the government that it came to this point. The NDP had negotiated a series of summer sittings, once every two weeks, partly to check in and make sure that the government was not misappropriating funds or spending them on its friends in inappropriate ways. It is a good thing we had those summer sittings, because we learned a lot about what the government was doing behind closed doors.
However, we did not get to have the last one, during which we could have done one of two things.
First, we could have considered legislation for the government's new program. We know that they knew the details, because they announced all of the details of the program the day after the prorogued Parliament. The idea that this was not ready to go or that we could not have had that discussion in August is simply false. We know they were ready to have that conversation, but they decided not to for reasons that had to do with their own political interests and nothing to do with the public interest. I submit that in that moment the government lost sight of the real stories of human tragedy that the pandemic has engendered and the importance of the role of government in supporting Canadians through this time. Had that been foremost in their minds, they would not have prorogued Parliament. They would have brought this legislation to us then.
Second, the NDP called for Parliament to resume earlier, for an earlier Speech from the Throne. Anybody familiar with Liberal election platforms for the last 30 years could have mocked up that Speech from the Throne on the back of a napkin in about half an hour. There was nothing special in that Speech from the Throne; there was nothing new. There was nothing even particularly eloquent about it. There was no good reason to wait on this important work for that Speech from the Throne, so we could have gotten that done. They could have done that a lot sooner. It was a canned speech as far as I am concerned. We could have been dealing with this and subjected it to more and appropriate scrutiny.
However, there is no doubt that there is an urgent need for this help, because we find ourselves where we find ourselves. We can play the blame game, but I think Canadians want us to move beyond that. Assigning political blame should not be a recipe for paralysis in a crisis.
We do need to move forward. We do need to have something to replace the CERB. Finally, after weeks of no communication, the Liberals got serious about talking to opposition parties, and we were able to push them to stop the cut that they announced in August to the CERB benefit, from $2,000 a month to $1,600 a month, and get them to maintain that benefit level for Canadians who needed it. That was a real, productive outcome of those negotiations, even if they happened late.
Likewise, we were able to secure improvements to the government's sick leave plan, a sick leave plan that, incidentally, the government was opposed to for a long time. The NDP had to make it a real priority in our negotiations with the government to get a commitment to paid sick days for Canadians in the context of the pandemic. Then it took months for the Liberals to announce a plan, and when they finally announced it, they prorogued Parliament. There has been delay after delay after delay, but I think we have shown that when the government is finally ready to work, we are there ready to get to work right away. We are ready to make improvements to these measures on behalf of Canadians.
I will say once again that when it comes to laying blame for the situation that we find ourselves in, although this is not a recipe for us to not ensure there is something in place for Canadians, in a democracy the ultimate mechanism for accountability is an election. Even though we are going to do our job and make sure there is a program for Canadians in their time of need, I do hope that Canadians remember at election time, whether it is in a month from now, a year from now or three years from now, that the Liberal government was prepared to play political games with their futures and, if nothing else, even if this legislation passes expeditiously, to rob them of the time to plan for what the replacement would look like.
We know in this minority Parliament that it takes negotiation among the parties to get something passed. Canadians know that. They are not fools. Notwithstanding whatever the government announced in August, Canadians did not know what they could rely on until this moment, until there had been negotiations, and they will not know until the legislation is passed. That makes it very hard for them to plan for their futures.
That has been a theme of the government: It has been ragging the puck and making it hard for Canadians to plan month to month. We saw it with a couple of eleventh-hour extensions of the CERB. The government wasted that time instead of using it to come up with something that could have either replaced the CERB or extended the CERB for a longer period. We saw month-to-month extensions and then an extension over the summer, but that time was not properly used to develop an alternative that Canadians could rely on.
Despite the fact that we are prepared to support these measures as a matter of urgency, the paid sick leave provisions are not what Canadians deserve. Canadians, like workers in many other jurisdictions internationally, should have the right to 10 paid sick days from their employer on a permanent basis, regardless of what the illness is. In the bill the Liberals presented before, Bill , we saw a very restrictive approach to these sick days and know they are only temporary. When the new bill is tabled, I am hoping and expecting very much to see expanded eligibility that makes it easier for Canadians to avail themselves of this sick leave, which is not quite COVID-specific. I hope it is just a stepping stone to get to the point where Canadians have permanent sick leave.
It is also relevant to the pandemic. What we want to do is take as many barriers off the table for Canadians that would cause them to question whether they are eligible for this benefit or not, because we saw this in the story of CERB and the attestation, as well as with the concern over the fraud provisions in Bill . Canadians are honest, by and large, and they are deeply concerned about applying for benefits that they are unsure they qualify for. What was really important when it came to sick leave was to ensure that Canadians had the maximum level of comfort to be able to avail themselves of those provisions. Let us remember why these sick days are such an important tool for the pandemic. It is so that when Canadians wake up and are feeling sick, whether they are sneezing, coughing, have a headache or feel sick to their stomach, they can make the call to not go into work to protect their colleagues and their communities from the spread of a virus that we know is spreading rapidly. This is what we are asking people to do to prevent the spread of the virus, and they need the tools to be able to do that. Paid sick leave is an important tool.
We have pushed to try to make this as easy to access as possible in the context of a government that does not want to see 10 permanent sick days allocated to Canadians as a matter of right. That is unfortunate, but it is a battle we will continue to fight, notwithstanding supporting this legislation today. What we are doing today is getting something in place that can serve Canadians now. It is not building back better. It is not what we would like to see when it comes to having immediate solutions that build toward a brighter future. It is a band-aid solution, but one that is badly needed in the circumstances.
I hope one day Canadians will have a government that is willing to respond to a crisis in a way that sets us up to have a better future beyond the crisis, rather than just limping through. That is something Canadians can count on the NDP to continue fighting for here in this chamber.
Madam Speaker, it is really good to be back in the House representing the residents of Windsor—Tecumseh and also good to be back in the House with all my colleagues across the aisle.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for .
I am pleased to rise today to participate in today's motion, but before I begin I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has put Canadians first and provided the support they need to continue to make ends meet while staying safe. As long as the pandemic continues, our number one job will continue to be supporting Canadians. That is what our Speech from the Throne was all about on September 23. The pandemic crisis exposed many gaps in Canada's social safety net. As a result, the government committed to addressing these gaps in ways that both keep Canadians afloat and boost the economy for an eventual recovery. The measures our government has put forward are part of that commitment. If passed, the measures will help Canadians weather the next phase of the pandemic while at the same time helping keep people connected to the labour force. Let me provide some context.
In August, the government extended the Canada emergency response benefit, also known as the CERB, for another month: from 24 to 28 weeks. We also made changes to the EI program to enable more people to access benefits. On September 27, Canadians began transitioning from the CERB to this more flexible and more accessible EI program, but not everyone who is currently receiving the CERB will be eligible for EI even with the new temporary measures in place.
Our message to Canadians is that if they cannot work for reasons related to COVID-19, there will be support available to them. Specifically, our government has proposed a suite of three temporary benefits: the Canada recovery benefit, the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit.
I will spend my time today on the Canada recovery benefit. This new benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who have stopped working due to COVID-19, or who are working but have experienced an income drop of at least 50% due to COVID-19. This new benefit will be available to them if they are available and looking for work, and are willing to accept work when it is reasonable to do so. This makes the CRB different from the CERB. It aligns more with how EI benefits function and will reintroduce measures that help keep people connected to jobs and the labour market. Let me provide a real-life illustration.
Ibrahim is a self-employed bookkeeper in Toronto. He earned $34,000 in 2019, but his business has slowed to a trickle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Ibrahim applied for and received the CERB, but like many Canadians, his benefits ran out on September 27. While his business has begun to rebound, it is still not business as usual. He is back to working at only 50% capacity, but he is available for work and is actively seeking new clients. Ibrahim would not qualify for EI, but he would qualify for the Canada recovery benefit. As I mentioned, he could receive $500 per week for up to 26 weeks between the period of September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
If his annual net income ended up being above $38,000, not including the CRB payments, he would need to repay 50¢ on every dollar over that net income through his annual income tax return. Thanks to this benefit, Ibrahim would be able to maintain his business, help support his family and continue to be an active participant in the economy.
This new benefit also differs from the CERB in terms of the integrity measures we have put in place. The government is committed to setting up safeguards to protect Canadians from fraud and to prevent non-compliance.
To prevent misuse of the CRB and the other benefits in this proposed legislation, the following measures would be part of the package: The Canada Revenue Agency would collect the social insurance numbers of applicants, CRB applicants would need to provide documentation to prove their eligibility for the benefit and individuals would have to repay any benefit amounts they were not entitled to.
In other words, we would have stronger integrity measures in place for the new recovery benefits. Unlike with the CERB, which had integrity measures built into the back end, the new recovery benefits would have robust verification measures up front. Applicants would experience different up-front and downstream validation checkpoints to ensure they only receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Applicants should prepare for a potentially longer gap between the submission of their application and their payment than they experienced with the CERB or the Canada emergency student benefit, the CESB. As well, unlike the CERB, the benefit would be paid in arrears and taxable at the source.
Our government has been there for Canadians. Since March 15, we have paid more than $76 billion in CERB benefits to almost nine million individuals. In my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, thousands of Canadian families and workers took advantage of, and benefited from, the support the government provided during these incredibly difficult and challenging times.
While millions of Canadians have returned to the workforce and are no longer actively receiving the CERB, many Canadians are still facing the reality that they do not have a job to go back to. That is why we introduced measures that are delivering a more flexible and more accessible EI, and the Canada recovery benefit would work in parallel with it to ensure all working Canadians are supported as we work together to build back better and stronger.
The recovery plan our government has laid out would help us span the gap between the emergency support of the spring and summer and the new measures that will help us get through the next phase of this crisis, and that is why I encourage hon. members to support this motion.
Madam Speaker, on behalf of the community of Orleans, I am truly proud to be able to speak to these measures, and especially to the three new recovery benefits that will help Canadians who are unable to work because of COVID-19.
No one should be left behind as we enter the recovery phase. The Canada Revenue Agency is now ready and remains ready to implement these new recovery measures once they are approved by Parliament. I want to acknowledge the Canada Revenue Agency and the tremendous work it did to implement the government's previous emergency measures.
First, I want to remind members that the CRA is responsible in large part for administering and delivering the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB. It is fully responsible for administering and delivering the Canada emergency student benefit, or CESB, the Canada emergency wage subsidy, or CEWS, and the 10% temporary wage subsidy for employers, or TWS. The latter two benefits were intended for Canadian businesses.
We must heartily salute the employees of the Canada Revenue Agency for their hard work. CRA has dedicated, highly qualified staff who are committed to serving Canadians in times of need. It has proven this to us beyond all doubt from the beginning of the pandemic. The mobilization has been very impressive. I must say that in my riding, Orléans, people really appreciate the professionalism shown by CRA staff in getting out the money allocated through these new programs quickly to those in need.
I will relate the sequence of events that led to the successful implementation of the emergency measures, namely, the CERB, the CESB, the CEWS and the TWS. In March, the agency immediately realigned all of its activities to improve efficiency during this crisis. It then worked to quickly implement the government's various economic measures. On March 18, it announced that it was extending the deadline for filing personal, corporate and trust income tax returns, thereby lightening the burden on the people of Orléans and Canadians. On March 20, the agency began publishing information about the TWS on its website. On April 6, the agency's CERB portal registered its first applications. On April 27, the agency rolled out the CEWS and offered the subsidy calculator to businesses and their representatives. On May 15, it launched the CESB.
The results so far are impressive. Since April 6, nearly 22.1 million CERB applications have been received and processed by the agency, providing support to close to 5.3 million unique individuals. In regard to the CEWS, as of September 20, the agency had received over 1.14 million wage subsidy applications, with a total of nearly $37.5 billion being paid out to support more than 317,000 Canadian businesses. Where the CESB is concerned, as of September 24, the CRA had approved over 2.13 million CESB applications to help support more than 706,300 Canadian students.
Now let us talk about some of the agency's accomplishments throughout the rollout of the emergency measures. First, we saw a significant increase in the technology deployed to serve Canadians day to day in an even more accessible, efficient and timely manner. The agency managed to deliver online services within only a few weeks. The Canadian media qualified the technological aspect of the CERB rollout as miraculous. When the CERB launched, the agency's system received 30,000 applications in 12 minutes.
It is also important to point out that it was quick and easy for Canadians to apply for emergency benefits, regardless of type. What is more, the money was paid out promptly. Most individuals and businesses received their benefits via direct deposit within three business days.
The CRA was also able to mobilize its human resources by moving many of its employees to its call centres. For example, 7,500 CRA employees responded to the call to help the call centres.
The agency received over two million calls from businesses and their representatives. Over 120,000 of those callers received an answer about COVID-19 tax relief measures and 150,000 of them were given general information on the Canada emergency wage subsidy.
As we prepare to implement three new stimulus measures, it is important to recognize that the CRA is perfectly positioned for this task, not to mention the fact that it has highly qualified staff who work hard to serve Canadians. This is even more impressive when we consider that the agency did all of that at a moment's notice. The CRA had no idea that it was going to be implementing critical programs to support Canadians during this crisis.
Among the key elements of the agency's success is its service model, which is undeniably based on its people-first philosophy. Since the current took office in 2015, redesigning the agency's service model has been at the heart of all its commitments. More than ever, the agency is a fair and trusted organization whose service delivery is focused on the needs and expectations of Canadians. This is a top priority.
Add to this the fact that all this work was obviously done while ensuring that appropriate compliance measures were put in place for all these applications for emergency financial assistance. Compliance is an essential factor in the agency's mission. The agency has therefore developed electronic and manual verification measures for the eligibility of applicants, and the terms and conditions of repayment.
In short, the extensive implementation of the CERB, CESB, CEWS and TWS emergency measures by the Canada Revenue Agency is a guarantee for the future. The administration and roll-out of the Canada recovery benefit, the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit will be in good hands with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
Canada is facing a critical moment in the continuing COVID crisis. Millions of Canadians are still in need of emergency funding of one sort or another. Although the early soaring numbers with tragic loss of life in seniors homes and beyond were brought down by the first lockdown with a range of precautions and restrictions, as imperfect as it might have been, we are concerned now about the sharp resurgence of infection in some urban areas and among certain groups whose compliance with the advice of public health officials and government at all levels relaxed far too soon.
The COVID crisis is not just a health crisis. COVID has taken a terrible toll on our Canadian economy, as it has on economies around the world. Canada today has the highest unemployment rate in the G7, despite having almost the highest spending in the G7. With the amendment to Bill , now before us today, Canada's deficit and debt would soar to historic record new levels.
The government must recognize that a significant number of businesses and industries, despite COVID restrictions and precautions, have gradually been able to safely reactivate their workplaces to bring back workers safely and fire up their respective corners of the economy. Over the past month, I visited large industrial manufacturers and small businesses, and I have been impressed at how they are safely, defiantly, coping with the challenging new realities of their workplaces. However, I have also heard from a range of small, medium and large employers and members of chambers of commerce and boards of trade who say that government needs to balance essential emergency financial support with meaningful incentives to return to work where it is safe to do so.
When we first saw Bill last week, after six weeks of prorogation with the Liberals in hiding from scandalous revelations in committee, the estimated costs of the post-CERB expanded benefits were enormous: $37 billion in one year. The estimated costs are now in the mid-$40 billion range with another $17 billion in ongoing COVID program spending attached to this bill. We are debating almost $60 billion in new spending in two days. The deficit for 2021 is now certain to be well past $400 billion.
There is no question that the three principal elements of Bill , the Canada recovery benefits act, would provide a lifeline to millions of workers and folks left out of earlier support. The government's decision to effectively embrace our Conservative back-to-work bonus proposed in June is an overdue step forward, a work incentive that would allow workers to earn beyond the benefit payments with a 50¢ on the dollar repayment of earnings if they exceed $38,000 in annual income. However, the original expectation of a minimum taxable payment of $400 a week expired when the Liberals caved in to NDP demands that $400 a week was not enough.
The Liberals caved in again on Friday when the NDP demanded more, a two-week paid sick leave demand, without any consideration by the House or Parliament of its possible negative impact on Canada's struggling economy. One must consider the continuing disincentives discouraging many healthy workers from safely returning to workplaces that can provide assurance of strict adherence to public health guidelines.
In my province of Ontario, under the new legislation an individual who works full time for just over three weeks will be able to access EI for six months at $500 a week. An Ontarian working full time at minimum wage, $14 an hour, receives $525 a week.
That said, the three pillars of the Canada recovery benefits act are needed: first, the CRB, the Canada recovery benefit for workers who are self-employed or not eligible for EI; second, the CRCB, the Canada recovery caregiving benefit for eligible Canadian households where a parent cannot work because they must care for children or a high-risk dependent; and third, the CRSB, the Canada recovery sickness benefit for workers who are sick or must self-isolate because of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the time wasted in prorogation and the closure vote tomorrow, a most offensive application of the legislative guillotine, prevents the due diligence these benefits deserve.
The last-minute amendment to the sickness benefit that the Liberals caved into Friday, which provides for what the act calls a “leave of absence”, lacks answers to abundant questions on how it may be used or abused.
The amendment says that “every employee is entitled to and shall be granted the leave of absence” from work of “up to two weeks—or, if another number of weeks is fixed by regulation” if the employee is unable to work because, one, “they contracted or might have contracted COVID-19”; two, they have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority would make them more susceptible to COVID-19; or three, “they have isolated themselves on the advice of their employer, a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19”.
There are huge legitimate, logical questions in these provisions. Pre-existing underlying conditions like asthma, diabetes, weakened immune systems, etc., don't go away in two weeks, and the provision for cabinet to extend coverage weeks is unlimited. There are some very big questions here.
As well, employment lawyers and experts have long raised red flags about this intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction, because most workers are governed provincially. One noted Ontario employment lawyer, Lior Samfiru, says that new incentives may be required to provinces and to employers in the form of tax cuts to get the buy-in in those jurisdictions. There have been, as well, fears expressed by economists and employers that 10 paid sick days could have a serious negative impact on productivity, that said with an eye to some public service unions' exploitation of already-contracted sick days. Then there is the unanswered question of monitoring and enforcement of a violation of the program criteria.
All of these issues should have and could have been explored during the six weeks of the WE scandal turtling by the Liberal government, rather than the clumsy presentation of Bill , followed by the Liberals' second desperate concession to the NDP, and this debate and tomorrow's taking place in the shadow of the legislative guillotine of closure.
As I said at the top, millions of Canadians need emergency funding and many of them are caught now between the ending of CERB and when they will be able to access the new programs. They are caught in dire circumstances again because of the latest self-inflicted stumble by the Liberal government.
Conservatives believe extraordinary emergency funding has been needed and continues to be needed to support Canadian workers, employers and all those in need of support from the start of this COVID crisis, but we lament the lack of transparency and accountability of the Liberal government, the unacceptable neutering of Parliament, the time lost during the unnecessary prorogation for all-party consideration, debate and more reasonable outcomes, and the rush now to confect legislation on the run in the interest of self-serving partisan survival.
Even as we all struggle to do our part to deal with the resurgence of infection spread in certain areas, Conservatives lament the lack of a meaningful recovery plan with the investments, the tax cuts and regulatory improvements that will build competitiveness, incentivize workers and employers, and make Canada a better place to invest, to rebuild and to safely live.