The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.
Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I address the House today to pay respects to a legend of a man from Etobicoke—Lakeshore.
Natale Bozzo came to Canada from Italy when he was just 15. He was filled with dreams and a passion for baking. His career began at Sicilia Bakery in Little Italy before he opened his own bakery in Etobicoke in 1969. SanRemo Bakery is now an institution not just in Toronto but far beyond.
Natale passed away last week after a battle with COVID-19. He was incredibly hard working. His passion was being at the bakery as he loved bringing joy to people through his food and his delicious creations. He was as tough as steel and yet had a heart of gold. He was a selfless individual and taught everyone he met to value everything, no matter how big or small.
To his wife Nicoletta, his three sons, Rob, Nicholas and Edward, along with the rest of his family, I send my deepest condolences, and on behalf of many, our heartfelt thanks. May he rest in peace.
Mr. Speaker, the COVID pandemic has been a difficult time across the country, including in my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South. However, today I want to take a moment to recognize local communities, often the guiding light in these very dark times.
Castleton, a local community in my riding, has built three beautiful outdoor ice rinks. Volunteers work from morning to evening to ensure those skating rinks are kept pristine for local children, their only thanks being the smiles of children.
I can think of no greater honour than to represent the wonderful community of Northumberland—Peterborough South and all the volunteers who work so hard to keep the light in the riding.
Mr. Speaker, a farming family in Sainte-Agnès-de-Dundee is using its expertise to put the riding of Salaberry—Suroît on the map. Today, I am pleased to inform members that Estermann farm ranked first in Lactanet Canada's top 25 dairy herds.
The Estermanns are no strangers to top honours since this is the third year in a row that they have received this award. This attests to the excellent care given to their herd, the overall health of their livestock and their innovative agricultural practices.
After immigrating to Canada from Switzerland, Thomas and Rita Estermann decided to settle in our community and start a dairy farm. Today, their children, Martin and Regula, are carrying on the family tradition and helping the farm to thrive.
I also want to congratulate the Lériger farm in Hemmingford, which ranked 15th for organic dairy herds.
When I rise in the House to defend supply management, I am thinking of farms like these, which do our community proud and make a huge contribution to the vitality of our cities and our towns.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Black History Month this year with the theme “The Future is Now”, highlighting the transformative work of Black communities across Canada.
In Scarborough North, Tropicana Community Services has been at the forefront of building inclusion for the past 40 years by pioneering culturally responsive programming. The seeds for Tropicana were sown in 1980 when Jamaican-born Robert Brown saw a need to support disadvantaged youth and their families, specifically those in the Caribbean and Black communities.
Today, the multi-service agency remains focused on delivering inclusive services in such areas as counselling, education, employment, personal development and settlement. Most recently, Tropicana is helping to administer our government's supporting Black Canadian communities initiative, an investment of $25 million over five years to help organizations better serve Black Canadians.
I congratulate Tropicana on an incredible 40 years. I wish it many more decades of success.
Mr. Speaker, last week, our government tabled its plan to reform and modernize the Official Languages Act. This is the first time the federal government has acknowledged that French is in danger, and we have a duty to protect it in Quebec and across the country.
Our plan is ambitious. We will support francophone culture by modernizing broadcasting and making CBC/Radio-Canada a flagship institution; by giving workers the right to work in French in private businesses under federal jurisdiction in Quebec and in other parts of the country with a strong francophone presence; and by working with Quebec to continue supporting newcomer integration in Quebec and French classes.
I am proud of all the immigrants who have helped make the Quebec nation great, people such as Dany Laferrière, Farah Alibay, Corneille and Kim Thúy.
As a proud political refugee and a lover of the French language, I say that the time has come to modernize our Official Languages Act.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the tragic loss of Marky Ramolla. Marky was eight days shy of his 15th birthday when he was tragically taken in a snowmobile accident while riding with his father.
Marky played hockey in the Barrie Colts Minor Hockey Association. He loved his family, he loved working on engines and he loved his Bass Pro hat.
One thousand people attended Marky's celebration of life and 300 of them wore Bass Pro hats. These hats have become so popular that Bass Pro has donated almost 500 hats for a fundraiser, and Tim Viktil of Pro-Star Sports has donated the embroidery of Marky's jersey, number 96.
The fundraiser from the sale of the hats now helps kids play sports and funds a $500 tech scholarship in Marky's name at Barrie North Collegiate.
As the one year anniversary of his heartbreaking death passes, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marky Ramolla. Please take solace in knowing Marky's name and impact will live on through his scholarship.
Mr. Speaker, when we head east, nestled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, we will find Newfoundland and Labrador, where we locals lovingly refer to Labrador as the “big land”.
The big land is known for many things and many people, but on February 7, the big land lost one of its finest, Keith Rumbolt. He was a son, a father, a brother and a friend to so many; a known fisherman for 30 years; a hard-working mayor; a community leader and a volunteer for everything for his area, especially the local volunteer fire department.
Keith cherished his family and friends and made a connection to all he met. His kind ways were so infectious. He loved the outdoors, was a master navigator, a skilled hunter and his happiest moments were doing the things he loved with the people he loved. He truly was a son of Labrador.
To his wife Cheryl, children Hailey and Colin, his mother Barb and siblings Nancy, Sherry, Bradley and our own member for Labrador, I know they all have wonderful memories to cherish. I hope they get comfort in knowing Keith gave so many wonderful memories to so many people. The big land has lost one of its biggest smiles.
Mr. Speaker, in times of crisis like these, the people of Madawaska—Restigouche always give the best of themselves by helping others.
In that regard, I would like to acknowledge the work of a group of volunteers in my riding known as the “Anges bienveillants”, or the caring angels, who have made it their mission to help the community of Edmundston, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
They deliver groceries to seniors. They make phone calls to comfort people who live alone. They will even clear snow off the vehicles in parking lots at health care institutions, so that health care workers do not have to do this after an exhausting shift.
For Valentine's Day this month, they set up rows of large hearts outside of nursing homes in the area hardest hit by COVID-19 and distributed coffee and doughnuts, a demonstration of love and encouragement for the residents who really needed it. In return, they enjoyed the happy smiles they got from our seniors, people who are suffering and our caregivers.
Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to brush aside legitimate concerns from fed up Canadians and their loved ones, who are rightfully frustrated and exhausted with the spousal sponsorship process.
Here are the facts. As of November 5, 2020, the backlogs numbered more than 50,000 applications for spousal sponsorship. Last month, it was reported the average processing time went up to 17 months for overseas applications compared to 12 months prior to the pandemic.
Every day I hear heart-wrenching stories of Canadians experiencing significant mental, emotional and financial hardships from being separated from their loved ones because of IRCC backlogs and lengthy processing times, and in some cases even leading to suicide.
It is beyond overdue. The minister needs to finally clear the backlogs and bring these loved ones back together again. The government was slow to close borders, slow with the vaccine rollout, slow or non-existent to declaring Uighur genocide and slow to reunite families, all of which are costing lives.
Mr. Speaker, inclusive employment is more important now than ever. Removing barriers to employment allows people with disabilities to enter the workforce, gain new skills and contribute to businesses and their communities. Companies that actively hire people living with disabilities create a positive work environment for everyone working there and actually improve their bottom line.
In my riding, my friend Curtis, who lives with autism, has been working on the front lines of this pandemic at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The hospital's experience with Curtis has been so positive that two more people living with disabilities have now been hired, demonstrating the benefits of inclusive employment.
This Thursday, I will be the MC at a virtual open house with Community Living Oakville and Xplore Employment services, which will encourage employers to hire people with disabilities. This event will showcase the benefits of hiring people with barriers. I encourage all businesses in Oakville North—Burlington to sign up.
Mr. Speaker, today is Pink Shirt Day, a day to stand together against bullying. The pandemic has left millions of Canadians more isolated than ever, with many of us moving online to safely socialize. Unfortunately, bullying and harassment have also moved online, adding to the major mental health challenges already being faced by many Canadians, particularly children, during this difficult and unprecedented time. My heart goes out to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to bullying and the Canadians who live with the ongoing trauma of being bullied. We must do more to protect our children and eliminate bullying, both online and offline.
Pink Shirt Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness. It is also a reminder to stand up to bullies and to stand up for those who have been victims of bullying and harassment. I encourage all members of Parliament to work together to make sure that every Canadian can live free from bullying and harassment.
Mr. Speaker, my riding of Fundy Royal boasts great organizations like the Petitcodiac Sportsman's Club, the Shepody Fish and Game Association, the Hampton Rifle and Pistol Club and the Sussex Fish and Game Association. These are community hubs with engaged memberships of law-abiding New Brunswickers.
Unfortunately, it is Canadians like these that Bill C-21 will target, while violent gun crime remains largely ignored by the Liberal government. Conservatives want to target criminals, while the government would rather create them. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy legal firearms from licenced owners will not make our community safer. The Liberal government wants Canadians to think it is concerned about safety, but it has just defeated a Conservative bill that would have cracked down on smuggling and possessing illegal firearms.
I will continue to speak up for the law-abiding firearms owners of Fundy Royal, and I firmly believe that Canadians deserve to have legislation based on evidence that will actually make our communities safer.
Mr. Speaker, as society struggles to find balance during the pandemic, it is clear that women have a difficult road to travel to recover from the crisis.
Given the greater loss of jobs held by women last year and the fewer options available to them, many women were forced to choose between their work and parenting. Last February, women accounted for almost half of the labour force in Canada. Since then, almost two out of every three jobs held by women have been lost.
By July, those losses had erased three decades of gains made by women in Canadian workplaces, while unpaid work, such as caring for children, increased.
In a few short weeks, we will celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future on International Women's Day. The challenges presented by this gender-based employment gap, which is being described as a “she-cession”, make it clear that we must focus on the “she-covery” to ensure the path forward is equitable.
Mr. Speaker, another major architect of the Quiet Revolution has passed away. On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, allow me to honour the memory of Yves Martin and offer my condolences to his family and loved ones.
History will remember Mr. Martin as a founder of the Université du Québec network. Generations upon generations will continue to flourish as a result of the legacy of Mr. Martin's work to foster the intellectual enrichment of his nation. A sociologist by training, he was also central to the creation of Quebec's ministry of education and therefore the tremendous gains in education that have since enabled our young people to aspire to a future that lives up to their ambitions. Yves Martin was one of those bureaucrats who were fully devoted to public service and who laid the foundation of modern Quebec.
The Bloc Québécois also remembers his generous collaboration and, more broadly, his contribution to the sovereignist movement, alongside our greatest premiers. I thank Yves Martin for his dedication.
Mr. Speaker, on Monday this House took a powerful step forward by recognizing the Uighur genocide. I want to thank all who were involved. I particularly want to recognize the role of the research done by Adrian Zens, the relentless advocacy of Irwin Cotler, the work of the subcommittee and of IPAC, and most important, the tenacious work of the Uighur community. This will be a hollow victory if it is not followed up with concrete actions by the government. The genocide will not stop simply because of our vote to recognize it.
Notwithstanding its abstentions, the government must now do the right thing and follow the will of the elected House of Commons. In a responsible government, the cabinet must align its decisions with the perspectives and priorities of the people's representatives. If we are going to be serious about promoting human rights abroad, then we must practise democracy at home.
The Conservatives will continue to call for the relocation of the Olympics, for meaningful measures to prevent the importation of products made by Uighur slave labour, and most importantly, for targeted sanctions to hold the perpetrators of this genocide accountable.
The experts have spoken. The survivors have spoken. Now Parliament has spoken. It is time for the government to respond.
Mr. Speaker, today is Pink Shirt Day, a day when folks across Canada wear pink shirts to show others they are against bullying.
Back in 2007, Nova Scotian students Travis Price and David Shepherd noticed one of the students in their class was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Upset by what they witnessed, they purchased pink shirts and handed them out to their classmates to show their support for the student who had been bullied.
Bullying happens in many forms. Small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in someone's life. Wearing a pink shirt to show one's support is one thing, but I ask all members of this House and all Canadians to stand up against bullying each and every day. If we see someone being bullied, we should support them by speaking up or asking someone we trust to help.
On this Pink Shirt Day and every day, we should do the right thing and stand up against bullying.
Before moving on to Oral Questions, I would like to do a bit of housekeeping and remind hon. members that Standing Order 31 allows for 60 seconds. I would ask that members try to keep their statements to that, as I have noticed some going a little over. These are all good messages, and I would hate to cut them off, so try to keep them to 60 seconds.
As well, although it is nice to see both sides talking to each other across the floor, I encourage hon. members, if they want to speak to each other, to please cross over to talk and then go back, because it makes it very hard for everyone to hear the questions and answers.
Mr. Speaker, 8% is the percentage of Canadians the Prime Minister now plans to have vaccinated by April. Eighty-five percent of Israelis are already vaccinated. Americans are vaccinating two million people per day.
Why does the Prime Minister think that 8% by April is good enough for Canadians?
Mr. Speaker, I have good news to share concerning vaccine deliveries in Canada.
In the week of March 8, we are expecting over 460,000 doses of Moderna, and in the week of March 22, we are expecting over 840,000 doses of Moderna, which means we will be receiving over two million doses in the first quarter, even more than was promised. In the first two weeks of April alone, we will be receiving over 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
We will continue to work every single day to bring as many vaccines as possible to Canadians as quickly as possible.
Mr. Speaker, as of last summer, we started negotiating for vaccine contracts. We signed more contracts with more companies for more potential doses for Canadians than just about any other country.
We will be delivering, as scheduled, over six million doses by the end of the first quarter and 20 million doses into the spring. Everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to be vaccinated before the end of September.
We are on track, but we are working every single day to accelerate that even further.
Mr. Speaker, as we have said from the very beginning, we have been working with the provinces in preparation for the big lift in the coming weeks, as we go from vaccines coming in slowly because of manufacturing delays and ramp-ups, to receiving millions upon millions of vaccines coming in and getting into people's arms.
We will be working with the private sector. We will be working with provinces and territories. We will be working with family doctors and pharmacists. We are going to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets vaccinated by September.
Mr. Speaker, Canada has vaccinated less than 4% of its population. The United States has vaccinated almost 20% of their population. Canada is lagging behind. The Prime Minister promised to vaccinate all Canadians by September. To get there, we would have to vaccinate 300,000 people a day.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that we will be getting more than 460,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine the week of March 8. The week of March 22, we will get 840,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. This means that we will have received over two million doses in the first quarter.
Furthermore, in the first two weeks of April alone, we will be receiving more than 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
We are going to start receiving a large number of doses in the coming months and we will work with the provinces and territories to get vaccines into the arms of all Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, we need 300,000 doses per day, not per week.
Israel is ready to vaccinate its entire population. The Americans are vaccinating millions of people a day. Canada now ranks 53rd worldwide in terms of vaccinations. That is unacceptable for a G7 country.
Mr. Speaker, as a precursor to future linguistic policies, the government's preliminary discussion paper has two things going for it. It recognizes that the status of French is precarious, and it recognizes the need for action. This is a statement of intent.
Quebec already has Bill 101. We alone must decide how to deal with our linguistic issues.
Can the Prime Minister tell us what his minister's proposal does better than or over and above Bill 101?
Mr. Speaker, this is precisely the bone of contention between the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal Party of Canada.
We both recognize that French is in decline in Canada and Quebec, and we will take action.
However, the government recognizes that we must act to protect our beautiful language not only in Quebec, but across Canada: in Timmins, in Moncton, in Saint-Boniface, in Boninville and from coast to coast to coast.
That is what the federal government can do, and that is what we will do with our plan to modernize the Official Languages Act.
Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is not opposed to supporting French outside Quebec, not at all.
What we are saying, however, is that this document will turn into any kind of legislation until after an election, which could be this fall, or maybe in the spring or even next year, so why not act quickly to immediately implement Bill 101 in federally regulated institutions, as the Bloc has proposed in a bill?
Mr. Speaker, once again, we clearly see that the Bloc only cares about Quebec, and that is fine.
We in the Government of Canada are here as proud Quebeckers and proud Canadians to protect the French language across Canada. That is exactly what we are going to do. We will work with the Government of Quebec to protect French in that province, but we will also work with governments, municipalities, partners and institutions across the country to enhance the vitality of the beautiful language of Molière.
Mr. Speaker, no Canadian should have to choose between paying for their medication and putting food on the table.
In one generation, we have done more than any other government to lower the price of drugs. We are working with the provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians have access to affordable drugs, but we will not do what the NDP is proposing and impose a federal solution on Quebec and the other provinces. We will work in partnership and respect constitutional jurisdictions.
Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister has a choice. Will he stand on the side of people who cannot afford the medication they need and desperately need help, or will he stand on the side of big pharma, which does not want to see medication coverage for all?
The Liberal government's own report states that the Canada pharmacare act is one of the key steps in establishing medication coverage for all. That is exactly what our New Democratic bill would do.
Will the Prime Minister be voting in favour of our bill to bring in medication coverage for all Canadians, yes or no?
Mr. Speaker, no Canadian should have to choose between paying for their medication and putting food on the table. That is why this government has done more, over the past five years, than any previous government to lower the prices of prescription drugs. We know there is more to do, but unlike the NDP we will not be imposing on provincial jurisdictions rules that are not worked out with them. We respect the Constitution on this side of the House, and we will work hand in glove with the premiers to ensure that we are ensuring pharmacare universally across this country.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed on several counts. He has the highest unemployment rate in the G7. That is a failure. He has the largest deficit in the G7. That is another failure. He has the lowest vaccination rate in the G7. That is another failure.
When the Montreal Canadiens had a string of losses, they fired their coach. When the country's coach has a string of failures, is it not time to fire him?
Mr. Speaker, we made a very direct promise to Canadians at the beginning of the pandemic. We promised to be there for them, no matter how long it lasted or what it took. That is what we are doing.
We are there to support workers, families and small businesses. We will continue to support our seniors. We will continue to protect Canadians' health so we can get through this pandemic and get back to growing our economy as quickly as possible.
That is our plan. That is our approach, but the Conservatives think that we are spending too much, too quickly. That is not true.
Mr. Speaker, the first Trudeau killed jobs in the west, and now we learn intentionally in Quebec. This Prime Minister, by contrast, spreads job losses around equally: 850,000 of them in fact. It is the highest unemployment in the G7 and the worst economic growth per capita since the Great Depression.
Does the Prime Minister not understand that spreading misery around equally is not a virtue?
Mr. Speaker, Conservative politicians from the very beginning of this pandemic kept insisting that we were spending too much when investing in Canadians, and that we should have helped businesses before we helped families. The member opposite specifically said that he did not believe in the kinds of investments we were making in Canadians. He was wrong then and he is wrong now.
Indeed, as of January, Canada had recovered 71% of the jobs lost in the wake of the pandemic, compared with only 56% in the U.S. At 64.3%, Canada has a higher labour force participation rate than Germany, the U.S. and Japan. We are working right.
Mr. Speaker, the problem with that is that, on 49 different occasions in the House, the Prime Minister has said that the best measurement of jobs is the unemployment rate. By that measure, Japan has a 3% unemployment rate, Germany and the U.K. have 5% unemployment rates, the U.S. has 6% and Italy and France, two socialist countries, have 9% unemployment rates. Canada is at the top of the heap for job losses and unemployment.
Why does the Prime Minister excel at being the worst? Is it because he has so much practice?
Mr. Speaker, while the opposition plays political word games, we are going to remain focused on Canadians.
We have been, from the very beginning, there to invest in Canadians, to support small businesses through this historic pandemic, and to work with families and workers to support them as we make it through this.
We are going to continue to stay focused on what is necessary to support families across the country and bring our economy roaring back as we reopen. That is the plan and the focus this government has taken. Conservatives can well say we are doing too much, but we know that we are going to continue to do what is necessary.
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has a real genius for announcing poorly designed policies.
The Prime Minister recently announced new quarantine measures for travellers, but they are not working. People cannot come back to Canada unless they have a hotel reservation. They are trying to make reservations, but the problem is that they are spending three days on the phone and still not getting through to anyone.
What is the Prime Minister's plan for fixing this situation?
Mr. Speaker, we are here to implement some of the strictest measures in the world at our borders. We have been taking extremely strong measures since March, and we continue to work to keep all Canadians safe.
I understand that there are additional measures and that things are complicated for some people who are returning to Canada. We are working to make it easier to book a hotel room and stay safe. At the same time, we want to point out that this is not the ideal time to travel. Now is the time to stay home, stay safe and keep our neighbours safe.
Mr. Speaker, we understand that it is best not to travel, but there are Canadians who need to come back home. It is the government's job to implement suitable measures to ensure that all Canadian citizens can return in a safe and orderly manner. Unfortunately, what is happening is exactly the opposite. Every time this government comes up with a plan, it is either too late or ill conceived.
I would like to know when the Prime Minister is going to fix this situation.
Mr. Speaker, our plan for quarantining people returning to Canada is working. Yes, there were some challenges the first few days, but we are able to address them and keep travellers and all Canadians safe when they return.
I understand that this is a challenging situation for many people, but we will continue to be there to protect travellers and all Canadians through these responsible measures.
Did he say it is working, Mr. Speaker? People are spending 25 hours on hold to reserve a hotel room. That is unbelievable, although not unexpected with this government, which has not come up with a rapid testing plan, a vaccination plan or a quarantine plan.
Why is this Prime Minister always showing up late and unprepared?
Mr. Speaker, Canada has some of the strictest border and travel measures in the world. The concerning variants have forced us to adopt new measures to protect Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have made it clear from the beginning of the pandemic that no one should be travelling. Travelling puts people at risk. Our goal will always be to protect Canadians. We are addressing the glitches in the new system, but we will always ensure that Canadians are protected.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we read disturbing records of official conversations between the U.S. government and former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. We learned that, after the Parti Québécois was elected in 1976, Mr. Trudeau talked about a diplomatic and industrial strategy to undermine Quebec's economy. He asked Paul Desmarais to move his business out of Quebec, with the stated objective of doubling Quebec's unemployment rate. The Canadian prime minister was plotting to make honest people lose their jobs for political ends.
Does the Prime Minister think his predecessor's actions were worthy of the office?
Mr. Speaker, I will not get into a debate over history with the Bloc Québécois member today. What I am concerned about these days is protecting people, fighting COVID-19 and ensuring a strong economic comeback for Quebec and Canada. That is what I will continue to focus on.
Mr. Speaker, then let us talk about the present. These revelations have revived questions about federal support for Quebec's leading industries. Ottawa is abandoning our aerospace sector, since Canada is the only major country without a strategic policy for this sector. It is abandoning Davie and our shipbuilding expertise. Although Quebec is a pioneer in the electrification of transportation, the government is investing $300 million to develop batteries in Ontario. The list goes on. What looks like a definite trend today, to put it mildly, was a deliberate strategy under Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Now more than ever, the Prime Minister must explain why he has neglected our leading industries. Will he do so?
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have put Canada months behind the rest of the world in getting vaccines. It is troubling that yesterday the government said that even with mass vaccination, COVID restrictions may continue.
More public sacrifice and lockdowns were the response to the second wave, and the government's projections say that this clearly did not work. If the government is now saying vaccines will not lift all restrictions, what is the Prime Minister's plan B, or does he plan on keeping Canada under COVID restrictions forever?
Mr. Speaker, I am not entirely sure what the opposition health critic has been watching, but we have seen, over the past many weeks, the numbers decline because of the significant public health measures that Canadians have been engaged in and the sacrifices people have been making. The provinces have led the way in bringing in the right kinds of restrictions over the past number of months. We have seen this working.
As vaccines are arriving at the same time as we are seeing a danger of variants, we need to remain vigilant, get as many people vaccinated as possible and continue to keep ourselves safe from the threat of a third wave.
Mr. Speaker, I watched Theresa Tam's press conference on Friday and it had a violently high hockey stick projection of what the third wave could look like because the Prime Minister has not produced vaccines for Canadians. Virtually no one can get one, but, again, the health officials said that even with mass vaccination the government might not recommend opening up the country. People are losing their lives, their mental health and their jobs. We need certainty and a plan to move forward.
Is the government now saying that a fully vaccinated population will not end lockdowns, and if so, what will?
Mr. Speaker, every step of the way during this pandemic, we have made our decisions based on the best recommendations of science and scientists, comparing data from around the world and moving forward in ways that have kept Canadians safer than those in many countries. At the same time, we have seen too many tragedies.
We will continue to move forward in ways that minimize the spread of COVID-19 and maximize the speed with which vaccines arrive. We will work hand in hand with the provinces and territories on the public health measures that are necessary to see us through this pandemic and out the other side in the best shape possible.
Mr. Speaker, we are starting to receive hundreds of thousands of vaccines a week, and we will be receiving millions in the coming weeks.
We know that we are going to speed up the vaccination process, but we need to continue to be vigilant against the variants that are coming in from places around the world.
We will overcome this crisis thanks to the support our government is providing to small businesses and families and thanks to the health measures that people are taking and the sacrifices that everyone has unfortunately had to make this winter. We will keep going and overcome this crisis together.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the Prime Minister that Canada is still ranked 53rd in terms of the total number of doses administered. All of the other G7 countries are doing far better than us. The problem is that we need a plan.
If the Prime Minister is so confident about the vaccines, can he tell us when we will be able to end the lockdown and get back to normal life?
Mr. Speaker, our technical problems make me think of the technical problems we are having managing the vaccines, since Canada still ranks 53rd for the total number of doses administered to our citizens.
Canadians are tired and fed up with living with uncertainty, a situation that could have been avoided. They do not want to hear any more platitudes.
Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he has a plan? Can he tell Canadians when we will be able to get back to a normal life?
Mr. Speaker, we all want to know when life will get back to normal.
We all want this pandemic to be over, but in the meantime we will continue to vaccinate more and more people. We have to continue keeping certain public health measures in place and we will evaluate them at each stage.
We will reassess according to the situation, according to the variants coming in, according to local situations. We are working with the provinces and territories. We are working with public health experts and we will do everything we can to keep Canadians safe, for their own well-being and for the strong economic recovery afterward.
Mr. Speaker, during this pandemic, universal pharmacare is needed more urgently than ever. Ninety percent of Canadians support it. Millions of Canadians cannot pay for the medications their doctors prescribe, and hundreds die every year.
The Hoskins report stated that it was essential that the principles of universal health care apply to universal pharmacare.
The vote on the Canada pharmacare act is in an hour, and Canadians want to know the following. Will the Prime Minister betray today his election promise for public universal pharmacare?
Mr. Speaker, we agree that no Canadian should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for their medications.
That is why we remain committed to national universal pharmacare. Though we welcome debate on this private member's bill, any actions must be taken with provinces and territories, and not unilaterally imposed upon the provinces and territories.
Now is the time to work with provinces and territories, as we are, to provide all Canadians access to affordable medication.
Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear. The reality is that millions of Canadians today have to choose between paying their rent and getting the medications their doctors prescribe. Many are getting sicker and even dying from this lack of basic health care.
Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care that does not cover prescription drugs. The truth is that drug prices have risen every single year under the Liberal government's mandate. The truth, as well, is that the NDP bill would work exactly the way our public health care system does, allowing provinces and territories to participate if they wish.
Will the Prime Minister stop his hollow excuses and vote for pharmacare as he has promised, and finally deliver universal pharmacare to every Canadian who needs it?
Mr. Speaker, we have been working since day one as a government to reduce prescription drug prices in this country. We have done more to reduce prescription drug prices than any other government in history. Yes, we know there is more to do.
That is why we have rolled up our sleeves and are working on national universal pharmacare in partnership with the provinces and territories. The NDP are pulling a political stunt to try to demonstrate that they could do it with the wave of a magic wand.
We work in the real world here. We work with the provinces. We work within the Constitution. We will deliver national pharmacare for Canadians.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister and President Biden met to ensure a coordinated approach to our shared priorities. Our two countries have agreed on a road map for a renewed U.S.-Canada partnership, which prioritizes the fight against COVID-19, economic recovery following the pandemic strains, and the global climate threat.
Can the Prime Minister please update the House on the joint Canada-U.S. build back better together plan?
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kitchener Centre for his question and important work to strengthen Canada's most important relationship.
The Canadian and U.S. economies are deeply interconnected. Yesterday, President Biden and I discussed our shared vision for a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, which ensures that people will have good jobs and supports middle-class prosperity on both sides of the border. We agreed to build back better together in a way that addresses the disproportionate impacts on women, youth, under-represented groups and indigenous peoples, and we will continue to work together.
Mr. Speaker, the Beijing visa office is being run by a company owned by Chinese police, and the Liberal government does not seem concerned. The government and VFS Global say that people's information is protected from the entry point onward.
People are entering information into those computers physically. How can the data processed by that centre be considered secure when it is being inputted by people hired by a Beijing police-owned company?
Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that, like our allies, including the U.K., New Zealand and others, we take extremely seriously the security and privacy of people applying for visas. That is why we work very closely with the companies and the contractors involved to ensure that all privacy regulations and security protocols are being met. There is ongoing work to ensure that remains always the case.
However, Mr. Speaker, it was reported by the Globe and Mail that members of the Chinese Communist Party work in the visa office. State-owned companies with a specific number of party members have to follow rules that allow the Communist Party to influence management. This is extremely concerning.
Why is the Prime Minister willing to risk having our visa office influenced by the Chinese Communist Party?
Mr. Speaker, like I said, we take the privacy of applicants very seriously. All third party contractors undergo rigorous screening. Officials regularly carry out thorough inspections and audits to ensure compliance with Canada's privacy standards. A number of countries also use the local company, including many of our Five Eyes allies. We will continue to do everything necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of our visa application system.
Mr. Speaker, after the Liberals said Line 5 was “critical to Canada's energy and economic security”, the Prime Minister did not even raise the topic with President Biden yesterday. How are we supposed to rebuild a relationship with our most important ally when the PM cannot even raise the most pressing issue, while 50,000 jobs on both sides of the border are at risk?
How can Canadians believe the Prime Minister when he is no talk, no action?
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to correct the hon. member and point out that, yes, indeed, in our extensive bilateral conversations with the Americans yesterday, we brought up Line 5 because it continues to be an important issue for people in Ontario and Quebec and, indeed, across the country. We spoke yesterday about how Canada is a reliable source of energy contributing to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness. Ambassador Hillman and our Detroit consul general are strongly advocating for Line 5's continued operation and our government continues to engage at the highest levels.
Mr. Speaker, “Build back better together” is a nice slogan, but on day one, the Biden administration let thousands of Canadian families down with the cancellation of Keystone XL.
Yesterday 30,000 families were expecting the Prime Minister to bring up the situation personally with Line 5, because a decision has to be made in May. Michigan declared an energy emergency, and it does not seem to be urgent to this Prime Minister, despite the fact that workers, families, farms and communities across Ontario and Quebec are worried about Line 5.
Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canada and the United States agreed to an ambitious roadmap partnership. We will work together to beat COVID-19 and ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to a vaccine. We will also fight climate change and accelerate clean growth. We will create jobs, we will grow the middle class, and we will address systemic racism.
We are each other's closest allies and most important trading partners. Yes, we talked about energy security and about cross-border flows, and yes, we raised Line 5.
Mr. Speaker, the hotels designated for mandatory quarantines for returning travellers are in a state of chaos. People are spending up to 28 hours on the phone to find a room where they can self-isolate, only to then find themselves crammed into lobbies with no physical distancing and no way to get a decent meal. Worse still, the physical safety of travellers is not even assured. The Prime Minister has simply dumped the quarantine problem onto the hotel sector, without any oversight.
When will he finally show some leadership and take charge of the mess he has created?
Mr. Speaker, the safety of Canadians is always our top priority. That is why we have imposed some of the toughest measures in the world on travellers entering Canada. We will continue to keep Canadians safe by implementing those measures.
We are aware of the delays involved in accessing the reservation system. We thank Canadians for their patience as we implement these new public health measures.
We are deeply concerned about the allegations of sexual assault, and we will ensure that the proper authorities follow up appropriately.
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must take responsibility.
His government failed every step of the way with the quarantines. He was unable to ban non-essential flights at Christmas or to impose hotel quarantines when they were needed, which was during the holidays. He was unable to set up a hotline or even to ensure that the people he is responsible for are safe and receiving services. He is blaming travellers and hotel operators for all the problems with the quarantines.
He is the one responsible for the chaos. When will he fix it?
Mr. Speaker, every step of the way, we have taken measures to keep Canadians safe, and we will continue to do so.
We have some of the strictest measures for travellers of all allied countries. We will continue to examine additional measures that may be required to prevent these variants from spreading across the country. We will always do what we can to meet travellers' needs, but, at the same time, our priority must be the concerns and safety of Canadians who are not travelling and who are vulnerable to the variants. We will always do what is necessary to protect people.
Mr. Speaker, Parliament has recognized the Uighur Muslim genocide in Xinjiang. Upholding the rules-based international order means upholding treaties like the 1948 genocide convention. Article I of the convention clearly establishes Canada's obligation to prevent genocide, even if it is extraterritorial. This obligation is binding and is the norm of international law.
What action is the government taking to fulfill its obligation under the genocide convention and international law?
Mr. Speaker, we have always and we will always stand up for human rights around the world. We are deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations in China against the Uighur minority, including significant and serious reports of genocide.
We recognize that the vote in Parliament ensured that every member could make a determination based on available evidence. We welcome parliamentarians working together and debating this critical issue. As the government, we have a responsibility to work with others in the international community in ensuring that any such allegations are investigated by an independent international body of legal experts.
Mr. Speaker, 20% of the world's cotton is produced in Xinjiang, where half a million Uighurs are forced to pick cotton in a coercive state-run system.
The measures announced last month on imports from Xinjiang are not enough. Does the government realize that these measures will not work, and will it impose better measures, such as banning imports from Xinjiang?
Mr. Speaker, we have always stood up for human rights around the world, and that will not change. We are deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations in China against the Uighur minority and other ethnic minorities.
Canada is taking a comprehensive approach to defending the rights of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, including by advancing measures to address the risk of goods produced from forced labour, from any country, from entering Canadian and global supply chains, and to protect Canadian businesses from becoming unknowingly complicit. We will of course continue to work with all of our partners to adopt more measures if necessary.
Mr. Speaker, this House spoke with one voice this week: There is a genocide happening in Xinjiang.
Canada has a responsibility to act. There is a bill in the Australian Senate that will ban imports from Xinjiang because of Uighur forced labour. Legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Congress to do the same.
Will the Prime Minister commit to a law to ban the import of products made from forced labour in western China?
Mr. Speaker, Canada is adopting a comprehensive approach to defending the rights of Uighurs with measures to address the risk of forced labour from any country, including China, from entering Canadian and global supply chains and to protect Canadian businesses from becoming unknowingly complicit.
We take this extremely seriously. We have brought measures in and we will look to bring in more measures in partnership with the international community, because that is how we can have the greatest impact and protect the situation for the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
Mr. Speaker, during their first virtual bilateral meeting yesterday, our Prime Minister and President Biden talked about the work to be done in the coming years. Our two countries agreed on a roadmap for a renewed U.S.-Canada partnership that prioritizes the fight against COVID-19, economic recovery and the global climate threat.
Would our Prime Minister tell the House about the joint commitment to fighting climate change?
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle for that important question and for her work.
President Biden and I agreed to launch a high-level climate ministerial to coordinate co-operation between the United States and Canada.
We also agreed to take a coordinated approach to accelerating progress towards sustainable, resilient and clean energy infrastructure. We are committed to working with others to increase the scale and speed of the fight against climate change.
Mr. Speaker, the defence minister has repeated over and over that he informed all proper authorities about the serious allegations of sexual misconduct by the former chief of the defence staff, but the minister refuses to tell Canadians who those authorities are or even acknowledge that he received the complaint back in 2018, as reported by media.
Mr. Speaker, every person deserves a safe work environment. I first learned of allegations against General Vance in Global News reporting.
We have no tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct. When such allegations are brought to the attention of the Minister of National Defence, he has always taken them seriously and reported to appropriate authorities. We have launched an independent investigation and we have confidence it will go under way appropriately.
Mr. Speaker, allegations of sexual misconduct by our country’s top general were shared with the Privy Council Office, which advises and briefs the Prime Minister on just about everything. We know from news reports that the Privy Council Office received information regarding the allegation of sexual misconduct against General Vance back in March of 2018.
On what date did the PCO brief the Prime Minister about this allegation, and did he instruct his defence minister to launch an investigation or did he tell him to just look the other way?
Mr. Speaker, as the prime minister and as the leader of a political party, I have always taken immediate action and taken very seriously any allegations brought to my attention.
As I just said, I first learned of allegations against General Vance in the Global News reporting. We have no tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct and will ensure that all appropriate steps have always been, and will always be, taken.
Mr. Speaker, jarring testimony levelled abuse of authority and sexual misconduct allegations against Canada's former top soldier and other senior officers. More officers were implicated as complicit through their silence.
The defence minister had a duty to investigate and suspend General Vance, but he did nothing. Men and women in uniform have lost confidence that the minister will bring senior officers to justice.
Mr. Speaker, as a government and as a political party, we have always taken allegations extremely seriously and always followed necessary procedures. When such allegations are brought to the attention of the Minister of National Defence, he has always taken them seriously and reported them, as appropriate, to the appropriate authorities. The steps need to be taken and have been taken. We will continue to ensure that everyone in this country, whether in the military, the public service or anywhere, works in a safe work environment.
Mr. Speaker, last fall the opposition leader claimed that Canada was at the back of the line for vaccines and that 2.5 billion people would get vaccinated before Canadians. This was on top of the claim by his health critic that we would not get vaccines until 2030.
The leader of the Conservative Party has been deliberately misleading Canadians at a time of a national health emergency solely to advance his political aims. He is questioning a plan that is clearly working. Starting this past Sunday, over half a million doses of vaccines began arriving.
Can the Prime Minister update us on how this sound procurement plan has ensured we are on our way to delivering six million doses to Canadians by the end of March?
There are 643,000 doses of vaccines arriving in Canada this week, with another 400,000 doses arriving next week. By the end of this week, 2.5 million doses will have been delivered, with another 3.5 million arriving in the month of March.
That is our plan and has been our plan for months. We will make sure that all Canadians who wish to be vaccinated are vaccinated by September.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is the only high-income country with a universal health care system that does not include the universal coverage of prescription drugs. We also pay the third-highest prices in the world for prescription medications. All MPs have a chance to change that by supporting the NDP's universal public pharmacare bill. We need to put partisanship aside and work together for Canadians across the country.
Will the Prime Minister put people before politics, end the Liberals' 24 years of empty rhetoric on universal public pharmacare and follow expert advice so that millions of Canadians can finally get the medications they need?
Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite wanted to put aside politics, she would recognize that no government in a generation has done as much as this government to reduce prescription drug prices.
We will continue to work with the provinces and territories. We will continue to move toward national universal pharmacare. We will not impose some solution on paper that will not work practically for Canadians or the provinces. We will work with them to actually deliver.
It is one thing for political rhetoric to ring out in the House and another for the actions the government has taken, and will continue to take, to actually impact the lives of Canadians for the better.
That is all the time we have today for question period.
We have a couple of points of order, but before we go to them, sometimes this chamber gets emotional and the language gets very strong. I just want to remind hon. members that using unparliamentary language, or bordering on unparliamentary language, is not acceptable. Please be more careful with what is said.
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I would like to ask unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move: That, notwithstanding any Standing Orders, special order or usual practice of the House that (a) after the deferred recorded divisions scheduled later today and the completion of introduction of government bills during Routine Proceedings, the House shall proceed to Government Orders and continue to sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of considering a motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying); (b) when no member rises to speak or at 12 a.m., whichever is earlier, the debate will be deemed adjourned and the House deemed adjourned until the next sitting day; (c) during the debate tonight no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair; (d) Private Members' Business hour shall be suspended later today; and (e) the Private Members' Business item currently number one in the order of precedence shall remain for the next sitting day and not be rescheduled.
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
That, in relation to Motion No. 35 standing in the name of the member for Sydney—Victoria, the order for the deferred recorded division on the amendment of the member for Willowdale to Motion No. 35 be discharged and the amendment be deemed withdrawn; that Motion No. 35 be amended by replacing subparagraph (b)(3) and (b)(4) with the words “report its findings and recommendation to the House”, and that the question on Motion No. 35, as amended, be deemed put and recorded division be deemed requested and deferred until later today at the time originally scheduled for the recorded division on the amendment on Motion No. 35.
Mr. Speaker, our practice in this virtual Parliament has been to permit members of Parliament to either redo their statements or redo their questions when there are technical problems. I am convinced, given that it has been the practice and the courtesy extended to members of all parties, that if you seek it you should get unanimous consent for the member for Vancouver Kingsway whose video feed was not functioning, to have the opportunity to ask his question.
I am going to have to consult the Table officer for that one.
I am going to make a statement on it. The point of order was exactly the same as the one that was just previously brought up. Unless the hon. member can bring up some kind of proof that there have been some discussions that would lead me to a different point, I would have great difficulty in taking it again.
I want to point out to all members that, if there is a malfunction, it is up to the individual members to turn their cameras on. If there is a malfunction that is stated right away, we can take care of it right away, but if it goes through and no one brings it up, then I am afraid the time has passed unless we had unanimous consent.
The hon. member for Banff—Airdrie will speak, and then we will go to the member for Timmins—James Bay.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe you may have been referring to this in your comments following question period, but the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country used what would certainly be considered unparliamentary language in referring to the Leader of the Opposition. I am sure he would want to withdraw those comments and apologize, because they were clearly inappropriate.
Mr. Speaker, it is incredibly disappointing that the member has chosen not to rise, apologize and withdraw comments that were very clearly unparliamentary and inappropriate. I would certainly hope that he will reconsider and make the right choice, which is to stand, apologize and withdraw those comments.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was not sure if it sounded like I said nay, because of the buttons, on the NDP motion. I wonder if it was my screen that may have showed it. I may have inadvertently said something which I did not mean to say. If that was the case, I do want the NDP member to say what the he wanted to say.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. One of the really impressive feats that you have done in the House, with this virtual hybrid Parliament, is try to ensure we are all working as collegially as possible. There is not a single member in the House who has not had a technical issue. It would have been very inappropriate during question period for the member for Vancouver Kingsway to have interrupted the House.
I want to put on the record, and I respect your ruling, Mr. Speaker, that it was the member for Ottawa West—Nepean who seemed very adamant that our member was not going to be allowed to speak. It has to be understood that what goes around comes around. The member for Ottawa West—Nepean has decided to deny a member of the House the right to speak because of technical issues—
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I did have my hand up to speak to the original point of order by the member for Vancouver Kingsway. Maybe I am echoing what has been said, but it seems to me that there has been a tremendous openness and magnanimity in the House toward ensuring that people get a chance to redo their S.O. 31 statements. I do not know whether there has been a question that has had this same response.
I do understand, Mr. Speaker, that you have made a ruling. However, I would like a chance to see if you would consider retesting the House to see whether there is unanimous consent. I am not sure the House was aware of what you were asking at that time. I would ask if you would possibly reconsider that.
Mr. Speaker, in respect to the same point, I ask that you might give us a little more guidance in respect of your ruling.
One of the things that is true of question period is that members cannot raise points of order during that time. Particularly in respect of a technical issue where the camera is not on, it may not be obvious to the member who is speaking that his or her camera is not on and other members are not able to raise points of order.
In the event that a member does not notice that a technical difficulty has occurred, the nature of which he or she cannot be aware of while delivering his or her question, how are we supposed to deal with it in the moment, if we cannot raise the problem in the moment?
We need some clear guidance from you, Mr. Speaker. This may well be a problem again. It will not be conducive to peace in the House if technical problems continue to interrupt members' ability to ask questions in the appropriate way.
That is a very good point. I will take that under advisement, and I will inform the other chair occupants that should the camera not be on when someone is asking a question, we will stop the member right there and see if we can get the technical difficulty resolved. We will take that as a responsibility of the Chair, and I will speak for all the chair occupants on that one.
I want to thank the member for bringing that up. It is a concern.
I will be honest with members that it was going so smoothly that I did not want to interrupt the him. The question was very well put.
Mr. Speaker, if I could perhaps enhance the discussion that we have just had about this point of order, since you are going to take this back and get back to us on exactly how these kinds of situations will be dealt with going forward, I would also ask you to take into account whether it is the House's discretion and decision as to whether a technical glitch will be remedied by allowing a member to speak again or whether that falls exclusively within your discretion. It being a technical glitch is completely out of the control of the member who is speaking.
I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, as part of your deliberations, to return to us and rule on that as well.
The member did ask his question, and it did get across quite clearly. It is the camera that was not on. As I mentioned earlier, as chair occupants, we will take on the responsibility to bring it up when happens. Again, it was a case that the Chair did not want to interrupt, because it was going so smoothly, but in future we will look out for any cameras that are dysfunctional and we will stop it then and resolve the technical issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I will appeal this as well, on behalf of the member who wanted to be seen.
You do not recognize members, Mr. Speaker, whom you cannot see when they are voting, so this does seem to be a bit of a disconnect. You also rule when our microphones are not in the right place so we can be heard for interpretation. Therefore, this does seem to be a bit of an outlier about how you are interpreting this. It would have been right to interrupt the member at that point in time.
Seeing as how he was not interrupted so his question was properly posed and we could see him properly posing his question, I would like us to reconsider providing him the ability to do that now, please.
Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank all my hon. colleagues for their support in this.
I am going to also raise a question of privilege, because I have a right not only to be heard but to be seen. There has been a totally inconsistent application of this. Just in the course of the last half hour, Mr. Speaker, you interrupted a member and advised her to bring her microphone down. You did not interrupt me to let me know I was not on the screen.
Also, to emphasize other points that have been made, Mr. Speaker, you have not sought unanimous consent when you have allowed other members to restate whatever their intervention has been, and I see no difference in principle between an S. O. 31 and a question in question period. The truth is that, during question period, we are not allowed to raise points of order. I was not aware that I was not on the visual screen until almost the end of question period. At that point, I did not raise it as a point of order because I thought I could not. I also was in the bottom third of question period.
For all those reasons, Mr. Speaker, and with great respect, I think you have the authority just to allow me to ask my question again when this is a technical problem. We are in uncharted territory here. This never happens when we are in a normal sitting of the House.
As my colleague said, Mr. Speaker, if you are going to ask for unanimous consent every time members have a technical problem and their computer malfunctions or they are not seen and if the hon. colleagues in the House are not going to give unanimous consent consistently, then we are never going to give unanimous consent, and that just violates the privileges of every person in the House.
Frankly, to allow me to have asked a 35-second question when my screen was not on and I was not aware of it is a violation of my privilege to ask a question and to be heard and seen. I do not see any reason why you, Mr. Speaker, cannot retest the House. I believe you would get the unanimous consent of my colleagues, but I am not sure you need it. You could have just allowed me to ask that question, just like you allow people to redo their S. O. 31s when there is a technical problem interrupting that intervention.
We are getting to a point where there is a challenge to the Chair.
I just want to refresh the hon. member's memory. When normally there is a technical issue, we do allow points of orders during question period. That is something we have allowed since the beginning, because technically we want to make sure that everything works. The point of order was not raised until after question period was over, and that is where the difference lies. That is why I had to go back to the House to see if we had unanimous consent. That is a clarification.
I will take the hon. member's point under advisement and see where it lands and come back if I deem it necessary
Mr. Speaker, if you are going to take that under advisement, I think there is something worthy of noting. Before I say that, I do want to congratulate you and, indeed, all three other Chair occupants who have done an exceptional job given the circumstances. I doubt that when you were elected to do this, over a year ago, that you ever imagined you would be doing it this way. All four of you have done an incredible job.
To add to this point of order, for your consideration when you come back with some form of ruling, is the fact that on all occasions you have always asked for unanimous consent to redo a statement. I have sat in the House. I see the House leader from the opposition nodding his head in agreement. Indeed, this issue occurred after question period was over.
I believe that you have done a very fair job in executing this to date and I thank you for that.
Mr. Speaker, this is a technical point of order. We have had discussions at the official languages committee on how interpreters are not able to interpret when they cannot hear the member. It is difficult for them to provide translation.
An hon. member: The member is not wearing his headset.
Mr. Speaker, I am speaking into a PCO-approved microphone that I was assured is fine to use. It is in my office here on the Hill.
My original point of order was that you made a ruling that you could not rule twice on the same point of order that you had already ruled on, unless you believed that something had materially changed in the likely outcome of the unanimous consent motion. I strongly believe that if you ask the House for unanimous consent on the motion by the member for Vancouver Kingsway to be able to repeat his question on video for the record, you will find that no one from the Liberal Party or the government side will oppose that unanimous consent motion.
Mr. Speaker, with all the respect I have for the Right Hon. Prime Minister, unfortunately his comments should not be taken into consideration.
He did not follow the rules. I do not care if he was using a microphone that came from NASA. He needs to use the microphone provided by the House. The House gave us all the equipment we need to do our work wherever we are, be it in the House, in our offices a few feet away from here, in our riding offices or at home.
With all due respect to the Prime Minister, no matter what microphone he has, he needs to use the one provided by the House of Commons.
I have no way of knowing what microphone the Prime Minister used, so I cannot rule one way or another for now. However, the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent makes a good point. I will have to look into that.
Mr. Speaker, first, I will thank the Prime Minister for his graciousness.
The facts are clear: Millions of Canadians cannot afford the medicines their doctors prescribe. Many get sicker and even die from this lack of basic health care. The reality is that drug prices have increased every year of the government's mandate and the NDP pharmacare bill would work exactly like our public health care system does by allowing provinces to participate if they wish.
The Prime Minister says he supports pharmacare and will deliver it. Will he vote for our bill today to make universal public pharmacare a reality for every Canadian?
Mr. Speaker, no Canadian should have to make a choice between buying medication and putting food on their table. Therefore, we will continue to work toward national universal pharmacare. We will do so in respect of the Constitution and in partnership with the provinces and not impose a political decision from Ottawa. We believe in partnership as a path forward, and that is how we will deliver on national universal pharmacare.
Mr. Speaker, not to belabour the issue, but my understanding is that the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country did not withdraw his comments from the record and his apology was not unconditional. I would ask for clarification on that.
For some clarification for my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway that might help in the future is that I think the rule and the principle is that the camera must be on to determine authenticity and ensure that it is the actual MP who is actually voting, speaking or, in this particular case, asking a question. Without the presence of the camera, the authenticity cannot be determined. We need to ensure that, and I think it will be a helpful guiding rule in the future to make sure that we can ensure that authenticity.
As I mentioned earlier, starting now, we will make sure that the Speaker, the person in the chair, will make sure that the camera does work.
On the other matter, I will take it under advisement and return to the House if necessary.
It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona, Canadian Heritage; the hon. member for Calgary Centre, International Trade; and the hon. member for Bow River, Small Business.
It being 3:38 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Monday, January 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-213 under Private Members' Business.
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 of Bill C-223, under Private Members' Business.
Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 35, as amended, under Private Members' Business in the name of the member for Sydney—Victoria.
Madam Speaker, by all that is good and merciful, I believe that if you seek it, you will find consent for the House to now suspend and then reconvene in 15 minutes for the taking of the remaining votes.
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-206 under Private Members' Business.
Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-225 under Private Members' Business.
I 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.
Furthermore, I wish to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no Private Members' Business hour today, pursuant to Standing Orders 30(7) and 30(4)(b). The order has been rescheduled to the next sitting of the House.
Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaties entitled: “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Concerning Cooperation on the Civil Lunar Gateway”, done at Saint-Hubert and at Kennedy Space Center on November 12 and 15, 2020; “Amendments to Annex I of the International Convention Against Doping in Sport”, notified on October 1, 2020; “Amendments to Annex II of the International Convention Against Doping in Sport”, notified on October 1, 2020; and “Agreement Between Canada and the Italian Republic Concerning Youth Mobility”, done at Ottawa and Rome on December 11, 2020; at Rome on January 20, 2021; and at Toronto on February 3, 2021.
It being 7:42 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(4)(b) the motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).