The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.
I invite the House to take note that today we are using the wooden mace.
It serves as a reminder of the fire that took the lives of seven people and destroyed the original Parliament Buildings the night of February 3, 1916.
Among the items destroyed in that fire was the old mace. The wooden copy that members see today was subsequently made and used temporarily until the current one was given to us by the United Kingdom in 1917.
Mr. Speaker, 100 years ago, the most celebrated medical discovery of the 20th century was made by Canadian researchers. Sadly, as we approach the centennial for the discovery of insulin, diabetes is an epidemic in Canada. It directly affects 11 million Canadians and costs our health care system $30 billion each year. Every day, 620 Canadians are diagnosed with this devastating disease, and more than 20 Canadians die from diabetes complications every 24 hours.
Indigenous people living in Canada are among the highest-risk populations for contracting diabetes. In many ways, colonialism has ushered in this reality. If Canada commits to adopting a national strategy, we are also responding to a critical call to action under the TRC.
COVID-19 has only heightened the urgency to act. Adults living with diabetes are more likely to have a severe infection and about three times more likely to succumb to it. Eighty-seven per cent of Canadians support the Diabetes 360° national strategy. It must be in the budget. We cannot wait another 100 years to end diabetes.
Mr. Speaker, next week, Canadians of Asian descent will leave this difficult year behind and begin celebrations for the lunar new year. For Chinese communities, it marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox, an animal that represents strength, hard work and unwavering determination. In the coming weeks and months, I hope these important virtues will remain with all Canadians from coast to coast to coast as we charge forward like an ox to tackle any challenges ahead. May the Year of the Ox bring good health, protection and security, especially for our seniors and most vulnerable.
Although festivities are different this year, I know that families will find new virtual ways to be together while staying safe and physically distanced.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the mayor of Brock township, Debbie Bath-Hadden, who, on January 24, lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 61.
Debbie was a champion for the community she served with such devotion. Her political career began in 1997, with her election as the ward 4 councillor. In 2018, she made history as the first woman elected as mayor for the township. During her years on council, Debbie was successful in bringing Brock its first Zamboni, a summer day camp program and an annual charity golf tournament. One of her biggest achievements was securing funding from the federal government for a community centre in Brock.
Debbie was a strong community advocate, volunteer and friend, working alongside community organizations, ball and hockey associations, agricultural groups and the Girl Guides of Canada, and serving as the chair of the North Durham Relay for Life.
I wish to send my deepest condolences to her family, her colleagues and the residents of Brock township.
Mr. Speaker, it is Black History Month and we have so much to celebrate in Etobicoke North, with leaders like Safia Ahmed, Amikley Fontaine, Farhia Warsame, Heba Jibril, Hodan Mohamud, Julie Lutete, Marcia Brown, Mohammed Gilao, Richardo Harvey, Charmaine Roye and Osman Ali.
I wish I could recognize all our leaders, many of whom are on the front lines of the pandemic. Organizations like the Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke, the Sylvenie Lindor Foundation, the Somali Women's and Children's Support Network and Trust 15 make a real difference every day. Heba runs my Ottawa office, Hodan works in my constituency office, and both have been on the virtual front lines helping our community daily through COVID-19.
This month and always, we recognize Black Canadians who make tremendous contributions, we combat anti-Black racism and systemic inequalities and we dedicate ourselves to inclusion, equality and justice for all.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw members' attention to Regions Week, an initiative of Place aux jeunes en région.
Regions week is an opportunity to showcase our regions, all of the good things about them and the quality of life there, including my region of Abitibi—Témiscamingue.
Now more than ever, we need skilled workers, business succession and young people to contribute to the development and survival of our regions. For over 30 years, the Place aux jeunes en région teams have been working hard to ensure that people build ties to the regions. These teams create mutually supporting communities to facilitate the settlement of newcomers and the professional integration of young people in the regions so they can take full advantage of their experience and stay in the region for a long time. Through its exploratory visits program, the organization helps people discover the riches the regions have to offer, including nature, the great outdoors and the warmth of their residents. Place aux jeunes en région helps people to fall in love with the regions.
I therefore invite everyone to explore the many activities organized throughout Quebec as part of Regions Week.
I want to congratulate the organizers for the work they have done all year to promote the vitality of the most beautiful regions of our country, including my region of Abitibi—Témiscamingue.
Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has certainly helped drive consumers toward online shopping, which means more parcels are being shipped.
I would therefore like to take a moment to talk about the difficult and important work that Canada Post employees all across our country have been doing. They deliver the goods as well as letters and cards, playing an essential role every day as they help our communities [Technical difficulty—Editor] feel connected during this new stay-at-home normal.
Mr. Speaker, the travel industry continues to suffer as a result of COVID-19. With few new bookings and mass cancellations, independent travel advisers are struggling. They are also facing the added challenge of recalled commissions.
Most independent travel advisers are women. Julia is an agent in Port Moody. She has had no income for 10 months, but owes an airline $7,000, which is money she does not have. Sandra is an adviser in Coquitlam. If clawbacks continue, she will have to find $20,000 to pay back the airlines. This is income already declared in her taxes. Most travel agents, like my constituent Monica, continue to spend hours on the phone with insurance, credit card and airline companies to complete cancellations for clients. Many go into debt paying back commissions for hard-earned bookings they continue to service. This is not a legitimate bailout plan for the aviation sector.
Will the government help these women by simply prohibiting the airlines from clawing back on their commissions?
Mr. Speaker, last month, as the incoming Minister of Foreign Affairs assumed his new responsibilities, he declared that no bilateral relationship is more important than that of Canada and the U.S.
As a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence MP with the Welland Canal in my riding, I agree with and applaud the minister’s statement. In fact, it is exactly the kind of approach most Great Lakes advocates are seeking.
The Great Lakes are a binational economic and ecological treasure that need to be given greater attention and prominence by Canada’s local, provincial and federal legislators. Canada must be a willing and engaged partner if our shoreline communities are to reap the advantages of the Great Lakes. These cross-lake relationships are critical in dealing with climate change, lakes-based job creation, environmental solutions and additional binational issues.
I thank the minister for suggesting this priority approach. I look forward to the Great Lakes emerging as a priority issue for the minister and I stand ready to assist in strengthening our binational relationship.
Mr. Speaker, across the country we are all feeling the impact of the pandemic on our mental health. Staying home and experiencing the disruption of daily routines has not been easy for many Canadians, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness and to increased stress on families.
Small actions, from recognizing stressors to simple acts of kindness and being there for a loved one, can help support mental health for us and for them and can strengthen our communities and families during this very difficult time.
I encourage Vaughan—Woodbridge residents and all Canadians to access the support they need through platforms such as Wellness Together, Kids Help Phone and Good2Talk.
It is okay to talk about how one is feeling with family, friends and colleagues and to use support to help strike a balance in all aspects of life socially, physically, economically and mentally. Reaching a balance for each one of us is a learning process. Mental health is a journey, not a destination. Let us continue to end the stigma around mental health once and for all.
Mr. Speaker, over the past several months farmers in India have been protesting their government. There are reports of allegations of increased violence and suppression tactics, including electricity, Internet and water supplies being cut off and various human rights violations.
Farmers are the backbone of the country; without them our cities do not have food. I and constituents of Calgary Skyview are deeply troubled and concerned about these reports of violence and suppression of law-abiding protesters.
As Canadians, we believe a fundamental right in a democracy is the right to protest one's government. When I rose on November 30, the government said it was deeply concerned and had raised the issue to the Indian government.
As the tensions have risen, Canadians in my riding are calling on their government to stand up for the farmers' basic right to protest without fear of persecution based on race, religion or ethnicity.
Mr. Speaker, entrepreneurial innovation is in full swing in Quebec. As an MP, I do whatever I can to help innovative Sherbrooke businesses and make sure they have what they need to grow.
In my riding last week, I had an opportunity to announce $920,000 in funding for Productique Québec, a college centre for technology transfer affiliated with the Sherbrooke CEGEP. Productique Québec specializes in transitioning businesses to Industry 4.0. This funding will help Productique Québec acquire digital manufacturing facilities, state-of-the-art measuring equipment and an automated additive manufacturing machine, which will enable it to keep stimulating innovation as well as offer several Sherbrooke CEGEP students high-quality practical internships directly related to their studies.
I am extremely proud of this technology transfer centre in my riding, and I wish it every success going forward.
Mr. Speaker, last year, Crime Stoppers in Metro Vancouver received over 500 calls related to gangs and illegal weapons. Of the 510 calls, 401 were tips regarding illegal guns. Since the end of December, six shootings associated with gang activity have occurred here, five of which were fatal and two of which happened within the past week in my riding of Cloverdale—Langley City.
Despite the clear evidence of illegal guns fuelling gang violence, last week's Conservative private member's bill designed to curb violence through tougher sentences on possession of smuggled firearms was voted down by the Liberal government. That is unbelievable. Liberals are failing with their misguided approach to gun violence, and it is costing people their lives.
Rather than punishing law-abiding gun owners, Conservatives have a plan to tackle smuggled and illegal firearms and to focus on criminals whose gun violence is a threat to the safety and security of our communities.
Mr. Speaker, on the Liberal Party's website it says, “Parliament works best when its members are free to do what they have been elected to do: be the voice for their communities, and hold the government to account.”
That is interesting. Last week during question period, the Prime Minister accused opposition members of trying to “score cheap political points” when they asked questions. This is an affront to democracy. These members were fulfilling their constitutional obligation to hold the Prime Minister to account and defend Canadians. To disagree, to seek clarity, to ask questions or to point out misconduct is not wrong. These things are at the very heart of democracy: this place.
The Prime Minister has replaced Parliament with a committee. He has prorogued it to cover up his unethical behaviour. He has refused to answer questions that he does not like. However, Canadians are watching, and they are catching on.
Despite all the rhetoric of openness and transparency, the Liberal administration is proving to be one of the most undemocratic and dictatorial this country has ever seen. Canadians deserve a leader who will fight for true diversity, including diversity of thought.
Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sharing the exciting news that I am expecting my first child, and it gave me the opportunity to connect with many new and expecting parents. While welcoming a new baby is an exciting time, many parents are facing serious financial challenges.
I have heard from parents who work in the gig economy who are not eligible for EI and who are therefore also not eligible for any paid parental leave. I have spoken to countless women who shared their stories of wanting to return to work but being unable to find or afford child care. These stresses have been exacerbated by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Over the course of the pandemic, women's participation has dropped to its lowest in 30 years, reversing decades of progress. We must continue to call for a future in which women are not the assumed sole caregivers, forced to choose between having a family and having a career. We need to do better for new parents and we need a universal national child care program now.
Mr. Speaker, we are in the middle of Teacher Appreciation Week. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, and as a former teacher myself, I want to thank them more than ever.
This year's theme is “Thank you for shaping the future of Québec!”. I would add, thank you for shaping the future of Quebec in the unprecedented, complex circumstances of a pandemic. Thank you for being there for our young people with learning disabilities. Thank you for being there for our young people whose mental health is more fragile. Thank you for finding new ways to continue your work in an unfamiliar context. Thank you for being there despite the risks to your health, because our children and grandchildren need you.
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have expressed a desire to reimagine themselves with catchy slogans like “build back better”. Given their track record over the past five years, we need to be extremely skeptical about what this would mean for our country. Even before the pandemic, we had a failed infrastructure bank, capital fleeing the country and a unity crisis, all led by a scandal-ridden Prime Minister who continues to swamp the Ethics Commissioner with new cases and files.
From day one, a Conservative government will work tirelessly to support every sector of our economy. We know that every job added to our country is another family fed. We recognize that to pay off our debt, we need to get our whole country back to work. We will secure jobs, secure our economy and secure our future.
For more than 417 years, Black people have lived in this land that we now call Canada.
For nearly 187 years, Black people have been free from slavery on this same land.
For 66 years, Black immigrants have not been discouraged from settling in Canada.
For 38 years there have been no racially segregated schools in Canada, and for 25 years we have been celebrating Black History Month.
Now there are 1.2 million Black Canadians. Now there are eight Black Canadians in our Houses of Parliament. Now there are Black elected representatives in almost every provincial legislature. Now there are Black mayors, councillors, professors, doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, nurses, faith leaders and community organizers. The future is now.
Following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence in honour of Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol police officer killed in the line of duty on January 6, 2021.
I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we got news that Imperial Oil is making plans for how to move product if Line 5 is shut down. That will mean more oil moved by train and more oil moved by tankers on the Great Lakes.
Line 5 is the safest option for meeting the energy needs on both sides of the border. Why does the Prime Minister not have a plan to make sure Line 5 keeps operating?
Mr. Speaker, from the beginning, we have worked closely with our American counterparts on important issues facing Canadians and people on both sides of the border.
That is why we continue to advocate for Line 5. We recognize how important it is to ensure energy security to both Canadians and Americans. Our ambassador in Washington, along with officials on both sides of the border, remain engaged on this important issue. We are very hopeful we are going to be able to solve this issue.
Mr. Speaker, Line 5 is a vital source of fuel for homes and businesses on both sides of the border. That is something we have argued strongly, and will continue to argue strongly, with members of the U.S. administration.
Our ongoing engagement with the Biden administration and with partners in the United States on this and many issues continues to be on the front burner.
Mr. Speaker, Canada's vaccination rate is the lowest in the G7. The Globe and Mail pointed out this morning that Canada will need to vaccinate 300,000 people per day, or 2.1 million people per week, to meet the September deadline the Prime Minister keeps promising.
So far, only 124,000 Canadians have been completely vaccinated. Where is the Prime Minister's plan to vaccinate 2.1 million Canadians per week?
Mr. Speaker, we have had a strong plan on procuring vaccines since last spring. We have signed more deals with more potential vaccine manufacturers for more doses per capita than any other country. That is paying off.
We are getting shipments of vaccines into Canada. We are delivering them across the provinces and territories, and they are getting them into arms. We continue to be on track to receiving the six million doses promised by the end of March, and 20 million doses in the spring. We will have all Canadians vaccinated by September, if they want to be.
Mr. Speaker, in fact, this morning we learned that last March, the CEO of PnuVax, a pharmaceutical company in Montreal, offered to manufacture vaccines in Montreal. Unfortunately, his proposal was totally ignored by this government. The Prime Minister must tell Canadians why he did not negotiate last March the possibility of manufacturing vaccines here at home.
From the outset of the pandemic, we knew that we had to expand our domestic biomanufacturing capacity in the short and the long term. That is why we immediately made investments to support projects like Medicago, VIDO-InterNac, the National Research Council Canada and AbCellera.
We acted quickly to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity across the country, and we did so by listening to and following the advice of our scientists and experts every step of the way.
Information about vaccine deliveries is trickling in. No vaccines were delivered this past week. We have heard nothing. There continue to be delays. The Liberal government is asking Canadians to be patient, but Canadians want the truth.
How many Moderna vaccine doses will arrive on February 22?
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to confirm, once again, that we will be receiving all the doses promised by Moderna and Pfizer by the end of March, as agreed, with doses arriving weekly.
There are weekly fluctuations in vaccine deliveries, but we are still on track to meet our objectives for the upcoming months. In addition, we continue to have the capacity to give the vaccine to everyone who wants it by September.
Mr. Speaker, we knew that Canada does not manufacture vaccines. We knew that Canada is happy with a vague verbal promise from Europe. We knew that Canada had not negotiated delivery guarantees into its procurement contracts.
The Prime Minister told us that everything is fine because Canada is now going to manufacture its own vaccines. However, he has been corrected by his own minister. We will not see that vaccine until 2022, or six months after the date by which he says everyone will be vaccinated.
If this is the Prime Minister's contingency plan for the shortages, can we at least see the contracts?
Mr. Speaker, we signed contracts with more vaccine manufacturers than many of our allies, ensuring more potential doses for Canadians than for the people of any other country.
We did this because we knew that there would be potential delays in the delivery of these new vaccines. This is why we are still confident that we will meet our end-of-March targets. Furthermore, we will be able to meet our targets to get everyone vaccinated by September.
We will continue to work with our partners around the world, such as the European Union, to ensure that Canada continues to receive vaccine deliveries. People are—
Europe is making a vague promise that even its own members do not condone. The United States is placing restrictions on its vaccine exports. The United Kingdom plans to do the same thing, and Canada will not produce any vaccines before 2022.
Yesterday, 590 doses were administered in Quebec, but there were over 1,000 new cases. We will never get anywhere at that rate. We will never see the end of this.
During his discussion with the American Vice-President yesterday, did the Prime Minister at least ask that the restrictions on Pfizer vaccine exports from Kalamazoo be lifted?
Mr. Speaker, while the leader of the Bloc Québécois continues to fearmonger, I want to reassure Quebeckers and all Canadians. As expected, the European Union has not imposed any restrictions on the delivery of the vaccine to Canada.
Mr. Speaker, vaccine delays mean more people will get sick and more people will lose their lives.
The government's lack of clarity around vaccine production in Canada will erode public trust. The Prime Minister said we would be able to produce vaccines here by September, but his minister says by the end of the year.
The NDP has always said we need local production. Why did the Prime Minister not start planning this a year ago?
Mr. Speaker, we knew from the start that we needed to boost our domestic manufacturing capacity, and that is exactly what we did.
We immediately invested in organizations such as Medicago, VIDO-InterVac, the National Research Council Canada and AbCellera. We have worked to generate production capacity here in Canada while securing supply around the world. That is why we signed more contracts with more companies for more doses per Canadian than any other country.
That is the plan we are putting into action, and it is working because we will be able to vaccinate everyone who wants a vaccine by September.
Mr. Speaker, delays in the vaccine mean more people will fall sick and more people will lose their lives. On top of that, the mixed and confusing messages from the government on the ability to produce the vaccine in Canada will erode public trust. The Prime Minister said that we would be able to have the production capacity by September. His minister said it would by the end of the year, and the NRC says by 2022.
New Democrats have long called for local production of the vaccine. Why did the Prime Minister not start to plan a year ago to have this capacity here in Canada, so we could make the vaccine here in our country?
Mr. Speaker, we did start working on creating biomanufacturing capacity a year ago, which is why we immediately made investments in Medicago, VIDO-InterVac, the NRC and AbCellera to develop domestic vaccine capacity. However, at the same time, we also signed contracts with companies around the world to ensure that we would be able to get Canadians vaccinated.
Despite the fears being peddled by members of the opposition parties, I can reassure Canadians we are very much on track to getting the six million doses planned for the end of Q1, or more, and having everyone who wants a vaccine to be vaccinated by September. That is the plan we are working with, and that is what we are delivering.
Mr. Speaker, the pandemic has highlighted how underfunded Canada's provincial health care systems are. All of the provinces have asked for an increase in health transfers.
The leader of the official opposition has pledged to hold a summit on this issue within the first 100 days of a Conservative government. The Prime Minister could do this immediately, but he just wants to talk about the national standards imposed on the provinces. When will he finally act and increase health transfers to the provinces?
Mr. Speaker, I would not want my hon. colleague to mislead the House.
We had a meeting with the provinces and territories to talk about health transfers, and we all agreed that health transfers to the provinces would be increased. There is no question about that. As evidence, we have already transferred billions of dollars more during this pandemic to support the provinces and seniors in our long-term care centres.
We will continue to be there to invest in health care systems across the country. We will continue to be there as a long-term partner to increase transfers.
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals claim they are going to provide additional funding for long-term care, but this funding comes with ridiculous conditions that once again add to the burden on the provinces.
The leader of the official opposition has promised a clear, predictable and unconditional increase to transfers. Why does the Prime Minister not trust the provinces to administer their own health care systems?
Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed that my colleague thinks it is ridiculous for seniors in Canada to be concerned and wish to be treated as well as anyone else in the country.
What the federal government is proposing is to work with many provinces and territories to share best practices so that no senior anywhere feels they would get better treatment if they lived in another province. It is the responsibility of every one of us to ensure that all our seniors have quality services.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that vaccine production in Canada would begin in September. His Minister of Industry contradicted him, saying that he thought it would be more toward the end of 2021. Later, on the evening news, he was even talking about mid-2022.
At the beginning of this crisis, the Prime Minister signed a vaccine production agreement with China instead of Canadian companies. Clearly, the vaccine could have been produced in Canada. Could the Prime Minister explain to Canadians why he chose Chinese companies over Canadian ones?
Mr. Speaker, several times now, I have heard hon. members from the opposition say things that are not quite true. What I said at my press conference is that construction of the vaccine manufacturing facility would be done in the summer. The Minister of Industry confirmed that production would begin by the end of the year.
We will continue to work on speeding up the arrival of vaccines in Canada with our domestic production, but especially by working with our partners around the world so that we can get everyone vaccinated as planned by September.
Mr. Speaker, people need to understand that this new building will not be ready until 2022. There will be no vaccines for this pandemic.
However, companies like PnuVax in Montreal raised their hand last year and said that they could quickly get facilities up and running and produce vaccines if asked to do so. They did not even get a call back. There are also other companies, such as Providence Therapeutics in Toronto.
Could the Prime Minister explain why he is not prepared and why he did not negotiate with these companies earlier?
Mr. Speaker, since last spring, we have invested in various vaccine producers in Canada and we have created partnerships.
We have invested millions of dollars based on the best recommendations of vaccination, immunization, and public health experts. We have always followed the recommendations of our experts, and we are constantly investing in science and research. Above all, we will always be there to protect Canadians, and we will ensure that everyone can be vaccinated by September 2021.
Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period, the Prime Minister said there would be “fluctuations”, that is his word, in vaccine delivery in coming weeks. That is a big problem, because if there are unexpected “fluctuations”, it makes it very difficult for the provinces to properly time the two doses of the top candidate, so “fluctuations” are a problem.
Can the Prime Minister tell Canadians if he is expecting a reduced or zero shipment from Moderna in the week of February 22?
Mr. Speaker, we knew that vaccine production was going to be a massive challenge for companies around the world, to develop and produce a vaccine that did not yet exist when we were signing these contracts last summer. That is why we signed so many different contracts for so many potential doses for Canadians to ensure that we would be able to get Canadians vaccinated regardless of the challenges or, yes, fluctuations in the week-to-week delivery program. That is why we can continue to guarantee that we will receive those six million doses we promised by the end of Q1. We will have everyone who wants it vaccinated by September of 2021.
Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is admitting that he knew there would be problems with delivery, because he depended entirely on signing contracts with other countries for production, maybe he should have had a plan to develop domestic capacity before the end of this year.
I think it is really important for the Prime Minister to be clear on this for the provinces and every public health person who is trying to deliver vaccines. Is he expecting limited or no doses from Moderna to be delivered in the week of February 22?
Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to expect shipments from Moderna this week and in the weeks to come. We will continue to advise the provinces as soon as we get concrete numbers on different deliveries, but, yes, they will continue to deliver hundreds of thousands of vaccines across the country.
We are on track to receive all of the vaccines that we were promised by the end of March, which is six million doses from Pfizer and Moderna. We are very much on track to getting 20 million doses in the spring, and everyone who wants it to be vaccinated by September.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised that he would receive 26 million doses by the end of June. I hope he will succeed, but we are worried. To achieve that goal, Ottawa is going to have to deliver an average of 1.4 million doses a week. We are nowhere near that. Yesterday, only 590 people were vaccinated in Quebec. That is not very many.
Can the Prime Minister be transparent and tell the public the true state of affairs? The public is making sacrifices, and they deserve to know.
Mr. Speaker, I think I have already said this 15 times in question period today, but I am happy to continue reassuring Canadians.
We will receive the six million doses promised by the end of March. We are on track to receiving 20 million doses in the spring and we will ensure that every Canadian who wants it can be vaccinated by the end of September 2021.
We have worked very hard to sign enough contracts with different potential vaccine manufacturers so that we can assure Canadians that we are still on track to get the necessary vaccines.
Mr. Speaker, I truly want to believe the Prime Minister when he says that the vaccines promised will arrive on schedule. Everyone wants him to succeed and everyone wants to emerge from this pandemic, but he has not been very successful so far. He failed to ensure that we could rapidly manufacture Canadian vaccines. He fails every week in getting the doses ordered.
Can the Prime Minister be transparent with Quebeckers and Canadians?
We want to believe him, but what guarantees does he have for Quebeckers and Canadians that, at the very least, their first dose will be delivered by the end of June?
Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are on track to getting the six million doses promised by the end of the first quarter of 2021. In the next two months, we will have received at least 20 million doses in the spring, and we will have everyone who wants it vaccinated by the end of September 2021. That is our promise and guarantee for Canadians.
We are working extremely hard on this, and I assure my hon. colleague that we will meet this target.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's plan to phase out the energy sector and move away from manufacturing is looking worse than ever. These naturally physically distanced goods-producing sectors would have thrived even throughout the pandemic, but now, as a result of their absence, we have higher unemployment here in Canada than the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, the G7 average, and the European Union have, even though all of those jurisdictions are struggling with COVID as well.
Why is it that workers abroad get paycheques while Canadians just get credit card debts?
Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite had his way, the credit card debts of Canadians would be monstrous. Instead, we did not listen to him. We chose to invest in Canadians right away. We took on debt at the federal level so that provinces and Canadian families and businesses would not have to. We invested to help Canadians through this pandemic with record amounts of supports for families, seniors and workers. The members opposite have consistently said that we are doing too much too fast. No, we are doing what is necessary for Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, I hate to break it to the Prime Minister, but Canadians' credit card debts are monstrous. Under the current Prime Minister, household debt, for the first time ever, has exceeded the size of our entire GDP. His own top economic adviser said that his plan would add a trillion dollars without improving our economy at all. The Prime Minister has among the highest unemployment in the G7 and among the lowest vaccination rates, and at the highest cost.
Why is it that the Prime Minister can only judge his success by how much he adds to household and national credit card debts, rather than how many paycheques he can create?
Mr. Speaker, through the first four years of our government, we created over one million jobs for Canadians at the same time as we lifted one million Canadians out of poverty. That is how our legacy contrasts with that of the previous Conservative government.
However, the Conservative MP for Carleton said consistently at the beginning of the pandemic that we were doing too much for people, we needed to help businesses quicker and we should not be so generous with Canadians. He was wrong on that.
He is also wrong in his approach that we should be hunkering down and tightening our belts right now through this pandemic. This is a time for the federal government to be there to support Canadians, not just so they can make it through this pandemic, but so our economy will come roaring back stronger and faster afterwards. That is the approach the world is recommending. Everyone understands that except for—
Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government said Huawei is an espionage arm of the Chinese military and urged Canada not to use its 5G technology. In November, Parliament called on the government to make a decision blocking Huawei's involvement in 5G. Today, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced 14 NSERC projects for $4.7 million in partnership with Huawei.
Why does the government continue to give Canadian tax dollars and intellectual property to Huawei?
Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve a secure and competitive 5G network. We need to make sure that we are making the right decisions for Canadians and for businesses to both protect them and keep them playing on the global field. That is why we base our decisions on expert recommendations from our top security analysts. That is the work we have always been doing and we will continue to do that.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he is making the right decisions. He promised a decision on Huawei two years ago. The House expressed its concerns about Huawei back in November and still the government is announcing partnerships with Huawei, this one for almost $5 million.
Canadian telecommunications companies across the country are literally pulling Huawei equipment out of their walls. When will the Prime Minister pull them out of taxpayers' wallets?
Mr. Speaker, no government has invested more in making broadband available for rural Canadians across the country, improving cell service and making those investments that are making a huge difference for Canadians, particularly during time of the pandemic. We will continue to make the right decisions for Canadians for security and their access to telecommunications based on the best recommendations of our experts.
Mr. Speaker, the government asked Canadian airlines to cancel flights to vacation spots, but American airlines can still fly to the same destinations. While other countries acted swiftly to help their air sectors, we are now a year into the pandemic and the Liberals continue to leave Canadian workers behind. What is the result? Thousands have lost their jobs and more layoffs are on the way.
For months we have been calling for targeted support tied to keeping workers employed and restarting regional routes like Prince Rupert. We keep hearing talks are happening.
Will the Prime Minister act before it is too late and there are no jobs left for workers to return to?
Mr. Speaker, we have sent over $1.5 billion to the airline sector to support workers with the wage subsidy through this COVID pandemic. We recognize how difficult this is for the airline sector and the travel and tourism sector, and that is why we were there to support them and why we continue to work with them.
We were very pleased that airlines stepped up to cancel flights to sun destinations at this particular point. We will continue to work with them to ensure that we have a vibrant and competitive air sector after this pandemic, because boy oh boy are Canadians looking forward to travelling once this is done.
Mr. Speaker, last week, President Biden followed the EU by issuing an executive order to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, saying, “I don't think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil”. However, that is exactly what the Liberal government keeps doing: giving handouts to big oil and gas companies.
Not only are the Liberals not protecting workers, they are falling behind governments like the U.S. and the EU and failing on climate action.
When will the Prime Minister stop dragging his feet? We need to end all fossil fuel subsidies now.
Mr. Speaker, we were pleased to see the U.S. follow our lead on banning fossil fuel subsidies. We are very much on track for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies in partnership with allies around the world, as scheduled. We know the future needs to be greener and less carbon-intensive.
At the same time, our commitment to workers across this country is to support them and make sure they are vibrant solutions in our energy sector and for workers to be able to continue to contribute and put food on the table. We need workers in our energy sector to make net zero by 2050, and we are going to work with them as partners on building a better future.
Mr. Speaker, as we mark the 25th celebration of Black History Month in Canada, we honour the legacy and contributions that Black Canadians have made to our country. We know anti-Black racism still exists in Canada, and many continue to face discrimination, hate and a lack of opportunity and resources.
Can the Prime Minister please update the House on the steps being taken to address systemic inequalities in Canada?
Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the member for Toronto Centre for her tremendous work and advocacy on behalf of the community.
In the last year, we have taken concrete action to invest in and empower Black communities. This includes launching Canada's first-ever Black entrepreneurship program, an action plan around diversity in the public service and moving forward with our anti-racism strategy.
We know there is much more work to do, including working to address the systemic inequalities in our criminal justice system and fighting systemic discrimination wherever it is in Canada. We will continue to do that work.
Mr. Speaker, a new BBC report shares the stories of numerous Uighur women who have been victims of systemic sexual violence in Chinese state-run concentration camps, sexual violence sometimes paired with electrocution.
We know no UN investigators are going to be given access to these torture facilities. The testimony of these women provides more clear evidence of crimes against humanity and genocide.
Mr. Speaker, for years now we have been advocating directly with Chinese leadership for transparency and better treatment of the Uighurs in western China. We will always advocate and stand up for human rights around the world. We are extremely concerned with recent reports of human rights violations in China against members of the Uighur ethnic minority and other minorities.
We need access to Xinjiang for UN investigators and international bodies—
Mr. Speaker, we need greater transparency. We need to have international investigators, including from the UN, accessing the Xinjiang province to be able to keep people safe there and everywhere around the world. We will continue our advocacy and protection of these individuals.
Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is going to wait until the Government of China allows independent investigators in to investigate its crimes, these investigations are never going to happen.
The government has a responsibility to listen to this testimony. We have heard that testimony. I submit to the Prime Minister that if he has not, he should please read the BBC report on this. These women are speaking out about the systemic sexual violence they have experienced in contemporary concentration camps.
If we do not call that genocide, then what name would the Prime Minister apply to these crimes?
Mr. Speaker, we have been speaking directly to China's leadership for many years now on our concern of the treatment of women and ethnic minorities in western China and throughout China. We will continue to stand up for human rights everywhere around the world. We will continue to call for better transparency and an understanding of what has happened.
We acknowledge that the U.S. has made the determination that these acts constitute a genocide. We will continue our work with them and with other allies to move forward and protect these people.
Mr. Speaker, brave Serena Fleites told MPs she was 13 when explicit videos got on Pornhub. She pleaded to take them down, but one had 400,000 views before it was pulled. With 3.5 billion site views monthly, Serena could not escape. Desperate, she even tried suicide.
More than 96 million child exploitation pieces are online. The private sector finally acted on MindGeek and got results, but why have the Liberals still done nothing to protect privacy and the ownership of individuals over their own images?
Mr. Speaker, the ethics committee heard gut-wrenching testimony this week from survivors of online sexual exploitation that the company MindGeek made money off of. So far, all we have from the government is a promise that it will crack down eventually. Once again, there are no details and there is no real plan. The whole House wants to see this end.
When is the Prime Minister going to give Canadians a clear plan to protect our most vulnerable online?
Mr. Speaker, cracking down on illegal online content is something we are taking very, very seriously. Whether it is hate speech, terrorism, child exploitation or any other illegal acts, we will ensure that Canada has the tools to go after companies and individuals for perpetuating these items, these images or this content online.
We are working with partners around the world on the elimination of hate speech and violent extremist content, as well as exploitation of minors and children.
Mr. Speaker, 90% of Quebeckers want the government to ban travel until there is a significant drop in COVID-19 cases. In spite of everything, the Prime Minister is claiming that he has banned travel when we know that is not true.
It is not true because people can still travel down south by buying a ticket from an American airline instead of a Canadian one. Ninety per cent of Quebeckers are fed up with having their loved ones' health compromised by this government's half measures.
When will the Prime Minister ban all non-essential flights?
Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of this pandemic, we have implemented some of the strongest measures in the world to prevent the overseas transmission of this virus. We implemented a mandatory quarantine as of March. We have prevented non-essential travel abroad.
We also imposed a requirement that people be screened before returning to Canada. We have now banned travel down south and we have added screening measures upon arrival in Canada with a mandatory hotel stay. We have taken action to prevent the 2% of cases resulting from those who have travelled abroad. Together, we need to focus our efforts on the 98% of cases resulting from community transmission.
Mr. Speaker, I know that the Prime Minister is telling people not to travel. Everyone has heard him say it. I know that the Prime Minister says that he has put restrictions in place. Everyone has heard that too.
The problem is that the restrictions are not stopping people from travelling. The other problem is that people continue to leave on vacation. Again today, I confirmed that I can leave from Montreal and spend break week in Cancun. The Prime Minister would be shocked at the price.
When will his government ban all non-essential flights?
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague might be disappointed to hear that we are currently working with international companies such as Aeroméxico to have them suspend flights from Canada to southern destinations. We take our responsibility very seriously to protect Canadians from importing this virus, especially its new variants.
So no, my hon. colleague cannot travel south for break week. The hon. member, like all Canadians, should stay here in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said that he knows Canadians are looking forward to travelling again, but at this rate there will not even be an airline sector.
Yesterday, the Minister of Transport stated that airlines voluntarily gave up their routes to sun destinations when they have been suffering for months without any assistance from the government. Airline workers and unions have been good partners. They repatriated Canadians, and they continue to deliver medicine, food and supplies all across the country.
Why does the Prime Minister not just admit that he continues to make the airline sector pay for his government's incompetence rather than helping it?
Mr. Speaker, $1.5 billion, that is how much we have sent to the airline sector since the beginning of this pandemic to support workers who are affected by this pandemic. We know the airline industry has been hit hard. We have been working closely with it for months.
We will continue to ensure we are doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe and to ensure that we have a competitive, prosperous and successful airline industry in Canada once this pandemic is through. The work with the airline industry continues. It is ongoing. We need to ensure that we get through this all together.
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the Prime Minister, and here are the facts. Our Prime Minister or one of his ministers said they would help the airline industry on March 10, April 14, May 4, September 23, October 18, October 23 and November 8. Ultimately, however, nothing happened. Our Prime Minister is still just reacting and is incapable of making good decisions quickly.
When will he fix his mistakes, protect our people and support the airline industry?
Mr. Speaker, the member does not know what he is talking about. We injected $1.5 billion to help the airline industry and support workers who were hit hard by the pandemic.
We are stepping up to help the airline sector, and we will continue to do so because I know our airline and aerospace industries will be extremely important in the years to come. We will be there to make sure we have a competitive, successful airline industry once the pandemic is over.
Mr. Speaker, know what would help the tourism sector, small businesses and family-owned enterprises in crisis? A national rollout of rapid testing and vaccination, two things that the Prime Minister's leadership is making Canada six months behind other countries. It is leadership that is required, not his talking points that we have heard today.
His general today could not say how many Moderna doses were coming on February 22. The provinces need numbers for their plans. Could the Prime Minister tell us how many Moderna doses will be delivered on February 22?
Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear on our continuing confidence in receiving all six million Pfizer and Moderna doses by the end of March and by our ability to vaccinate everyone by the end of September.
At the same time, let me pick up on something the Leader of the Opposition said. He talks about rapid testing and when will we roll out rapid testing. As of last October, we rolled out millions of rapid tests to provinces across the country. There are a number of provinces that put those rapid tests to good use, indeed, testing in businesses and in long-term care homes. However, there are still millions of those rapid tests not being used by the provinces and territories. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition could encourage some of his Conservative friends—
Mr. Speaker, we have taken action to protect and support Canadians from the very beginning of this crisis. We have secured the most COVID-19 vaccines per capita and the most diverse portfolio of any country in the world. Vaccines have arrived in Canada, and additional deliveries have been confirmed for February and March.
Could the Prime Minister update the House on our efforts to ensure vaccine deliveries?
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Laval—Les Îles for his question and for his hard work.
More than 1.1 million vaccine doses have already been delivered to the provinces and territories. The most vulnerable in our society, front-line workers and residents of long-term care centres are currently being vaccinated. We are on track to take delivery of all the vaccines we contracted to receive from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March. Millions of Canadians will have received their doses by then, and millions more will be vaccinated in the spring.
Mr. Speaker, Dominic Barton was in charge of McKinsey consulting firm, which has been accused of unethical business dealings in China and stoking the opioid crisis.
McKinsey is now settling dozens of lawsuits over advice it gave opioid makers on ways to boost sales of OxyContin, yet the Prime Minister saw fit to appoint Mr. Barton as ambassador to China despite the unprecedented opioid crisis in our country.
Before naming him to key positions in the Liberal government, did the Prime Minister know of Mr. Barton's role at McKinsey and the firm’s involvement in the opioid crisis?
My apology, Mr. Speaker. As I have said in the past, Ambassador Barton has demonstrated leadership in advancing Canada's interests, from working hard to bring home Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to continued engagement on creating opportunities and growth for Canadians.
In regard to the opioid epidemic, we are working with the provinces and territories, and front-line workers are moving forward on approval of safe consumption sites. We know that even as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, our work on addressing other health issues like the opioid epidemic continues as well.
Over the last four years, more than 16,000 Canadians have died from opioid overdoses. During that time, Dominic Barton was a global partner at McKinsey, a company that pleaded guilty to criminal charges, including bribing doctors and paying rebates for drug overdoses just to boost the sales of OxyContin.
Again, before the Prime Minister appointed him ambassador to China, was he informed of Mr. Barton’s knowledge of McKinsey’s role in advising Purdue Pharma?
Mr. Speaker, over the past five years, we have taken extraordinary steps to fight this opioid epidemic across the country.
We have worked with provinces and territories. We have worked with municipalities. We have supported front-line workers. We have even done what the Conservatives continue to resist doing, and that is establish safe consumption sites across the country to help people through this opioid epidemic.
We are going to continue to put science first and ensure that we are treating addiction as a public health issue and not a criminal issue, unlike what the Conservatives continue to push.
Mr. Speaker, troubling allegations have surfaced regarding the former chief of the defence staff.
The women and men in our Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world, and they should never be subjected to sexual misconduct of any kind. Canadians, especially those in uniform, expect the highest standards from those in the chain of command.
Mr. Speaker, every person deserves a safe work environment.
Our government has no tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct. When such allegations are brought to the Minister of National Defence's attention, he has always taken them seriously. He has also always ensured that they are reported to the appropriate authorities to begin relevant investigations that might be warranted, regardless of rank or position.
This is something this government has always taken seriously, and we always will.
Mr. Speaker, constituents of Don Valley North would agree that increasing Canada's bio-manufacturing capacity is an important part of our recovery plan. That is why we moved quickly to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity across the country.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our objectives have always been very clear: to provide Canadians with safe and effective vaccine and treatments and to return our economy and society back to normal.
Could the Prime Minister provide us with an update on what we have done to enable domestic vaccine production?
Mr. Speaker, two companies, Precision Nanosystems and Novavax, are now on track to manufacture vaccines right here in Canada. This is a major step forward to get vaccines made in Canada for Canadians. Pending Health Canada approval, tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses could be made right here at home.
We will continue working around the clock to get as many vaccines as we can to Canadians as fast as we can, whether they are domestically sourced or brought in from reliable partners around the world.
Mr. Speaker, housing co-ops whose operating agreements expired prior to April 2016 were left to fend for themselves by the Liberals. Meanwhile, those after the cut-off could receive funding until 2028.
After ignoring their cries for help for five years, the government finally announced that they have one month to apply for up to one year of funding. This is not good enough. Using year-end budget slippage to address this critical issue is patchwork, not a strategy.
Will the Prime Minister ensure predictable and long-term stable funding for 7,500 low-income families, yes or no?
Mr. Speaker, after years of a federal government that pulled back from being involved in housing, we stepped up, five years ago, with a national housing plan worth over $40 billion, which has secured housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We will continue to do the work necessary to ensure housing investments in all provinces and territories and all communities continue to move forward. The federal government will continue to be there as a partner to this fundamental need for so many Canadians.
The pandemic has definitely contributed to the larger number of consumers shopping online, which in turn has fuelled growth in parcel delivery. I would like to take a moment today to highlight the important work and tireless efforts of Canada Post employees across the country. They are delivering goods as well as letters and cards. They play an essential role every day by helping our communities feel connected at a time when self-isolation has become the norm.
I want to give a shout-out to Alban Malaisé and Richard Marques, two remarkable and hard-working postal workers in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
The first is that during question period, on at least two occasions, the Prime Minister was muted. Now, I have to hope that it was inadvertent, but the problem is that even though, Mr. Speaker, you stepped up and asked the Prime Minister to unmute himself, his response was then disconnected from the question that had been asked by the leader of the official opposition. It is my view that when that occurs, both the question and the answer should be repeated so that Canadians fully understand what we are dealing with.
My second point of order is that on one occasion during question period, and I did not want to interrupt about it then, when the leader of the official opposition was asking a question, he was not visible on our screens for most of that time. We could hear him, but he was not visible. I would ask, in future, Mr. Speaker, that you allow him to repeat his question so that he is in full view of Canadians to watch and listen to him as he asks the question.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I wait for your response.
The actual videotaping with the cameras are outside of our control. I know that the people who are operating them do the best they can to get to the person who is speaking right away. We will talk to them and see what they can do about making sure that the delay between the start of the question and the camera getting to that person is minimized. That is something we will take under advisement.
As far as the question being started over again, I will have to consult with the table officers to see exactly how that works. I mean, these are uncharted territories, and I will have to give it some consideration.
I want to thank the hon. member for bringing both of those points up.
It being 3:20, pursuant to an order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 34 as amended under Private Members' Business in the name of the member for Lac-Saint-Louis.
Pursuant to an order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-204, under Private Members' Business.
The list of members voting by video conference has now been established for use by the table.
I want to remind hon. members that when voting, we want to know if they are voting yes or no, yea or nay, and not the editorial that goes with it. It is a long voting period, and members' co-operation would certainly be appreciated.
Before proceeding to the next vote, we will pause the sitting briefly in order to allow employees who provide support for the sittings to substitute each other safely.
Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-229 under Private Members' Business.
The list of members voting by video conference has now been established for use by the table.
Madam Speaker, the voting process is long. The least members who are voting by Zoom can do is keep their cameras on. There are two members, one from the government side and another from the Conservative side, who have their cameras off. Could you remind everyone?
Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I would just remind members that we generally do extend this courtesy to each other in this House. Earlier tonight, a member of another party was extended this courtesy. We did not say no. I certainly hope that if the member were to try again, he would—
That is a point of debate and not a technical issue. I will certainly ensure that those comments are reflected to the Speaker himself, and at this point the rules before the House are that the app is not in order yet. Therefore, the question was asked and the answer was posed.
The hon. member for Regina—Lewvan has a point of order. Is it on a technical piece?
Yes, Madam Speaker. I would ask for unanimous consent, because I did say “pour, for” and I meant to say “no, contre. I was working on my speech, so I would ask my colleagues to please understand what happened.
I wish to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no Private Members' Business hour today. Accordingly, the order will be rescheduled for another sitting.
I also wish to inform the House that pursuant to Standing Order 30(4)(b), the House shall continue to sit to complete the ordinary daily routine of business up to and including “Introduction of Government Bills”, whereupon the House shall adjourn.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Additional Fiscal Equalization Offset Payments Act