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44th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 020

CONTENTS

Monday, January 31, 2022




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 151
No. 020
1st SESSION
44th PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, January 31, 2022

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer


  (1100)  

[English]

Order Paper

    I wish to inform the House that, in accordance with the representation made by the government, pursuant to Standing Order 55(1), I have caused to be published a special Order Paper giving notice to a government bill.

[Translation]

    I therefore lay the relevant document upon the table.

[English]

Ukraine

    There have been some discussions among the parties, and if you seek it I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
    That a take-note debate on the situation in Ukraine be held later today, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, and that, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice of the House: (a) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member; (b) the time provided for the debate be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 12 periods of 20 minutes each; and (c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing no dissent, it is agreed.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Hearing no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

Speech from the Throne

[The Address]

  (1105)  

[English]

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply

    The House resumed from December 13, 2021, consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.
    Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a privilege to address the House today from my hometown of Halifax. I will be splitting my time today with the member for Vancouver Granville.
    As this is the first opportunity I have had to offer extended remarks in the 44th Parliament, I wish to extend my most sincere thanks to the many who supported me in returning to this place.
     All members in this chamber know that, while it is our names on the lawn signs, brochures and ballots, it is in fact a team of dedicated volunteers who share in and are behind our victories. This extraordinary honour is in thanks to them. I certainly would not be here were it not for the hundreds of volunteers who poured countless hours into my campaign, knocking on doors, making phone calls, putting up lawn signs, stuffing envelopes, making a contribution in support of a better Canada.
     I believe political progress is made not behind a keyboard or through an avatar but on the doorstep through meaningful conversations between neighbours. It is an act of courage to climb the steps of a stranger's home, as my many volunteers did, and to engage them in our democracy at a time when, frankly, the heat of our national discourse has risen steadily. These millions of person-to-person interactions across the country are a welcome reminder that our disagreements do not need to divide us. Rather these connections reveal just how much we have in common: first and foremost, an earnest desire to make life better for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
    I also want to thank my family and, most importantly, my daughter Daisy. Our loved ones make tremendous sacrifices so that we can serve our communities, and it is never easy to share one's parent or spouse with some 100,000 constituents. The best we can hope to do is to make them proud.
    Of course, I must thank the people of Halifax who have now placed their trust in me for a third consecutive term. In my first campaign, I ran on a promise of being a champion for Halifax, to stand up for my city and help us reach the potential we always knew was possible. That is as true today as it was when I began. It is a promise kept.
    It is an astonishing privilege to represent this riding, and I know that privilege was also felt by my predecessors. I want to recognize one member in particular, the late Alexa McDonough who held this seat from 1997 to 2008. News of her passing earlier this month brought forward thousands of moving tributes from across the nation and across the political spectrum, a testament to her remarkable life and career. Alexa broke through barriers and led a generation of women into politics. She will be remembered forever for her fearless and compassionate leadership. I invite all members to join me in extending our sincere condolences to her family, her loved ones and the millions that she inspired.
    When I sat down to write my remarks for today, I took a moment to review my January 2016 maiden speech in this place in reply to the Speech from the Throne at the outset of the 42nd Parliament. I was pleased to see that, for many of the priorities I listed at that time, we have since made remarkable progress.
    I came to the House as the first city planner elected to Parliament, following a decades-long career in the public, private and academic sectors. I made the jump into politics because I believed the federal government had left our cities behind. Years of chronic underinvestment eroded our municipal infrastructure. On housing, transit and climate, our cities were in desperate need of investment. My on-the-ground experience in community showed me the opportunity before us, the potential of our cities to power Canada's growth and prosperity, if only we could find the confidence to invest in our own future. That is exactly what we have done.
    Our infrastructure plan, the banner policy of our 2015 platform, has invested $100 billion into 75,000 projects in communities across Canada. Personally, I am very proud of the recent launch of Canada's first-ever national active transportation strategy and fund, the creation of which I had the honour of leading during my time as parliamentary secretary to the minister of infrastructure. This $400 million fund launched on Friday will provide support for planning and capital for bike lanes, pathways and other active transportation infrastructure. This is the latest indication that our national urban agenda, the focus on my maiden speech and indeed my life in politics, is well under way. I am pleased to see it continue with the Speech from the Throne at the outset of this 44th Parliament.
     This is an urban agenda to build a connected Canada with world-class local and regional public transit systems and bikeways that get us not just to work and back on time but dependably across the province. It offers an inclusive Canada with secure and affordable housing options for middle- and low-income Canadians, with quick and direct access to the places where we live, work and play; a resilient and sustainable Canada that is well prepared for the challenges that come with a changing climate and rising sea levels; cities that are cleaner and less reliant on sources of energy that pollute our air and water and harm our health; and cities that are less resource- and energy-intensive, doing more with less. It offers a vibrant and inclusive Canada strengthened by cities and communities that feel like home to everyone, supporting our happiness and prosperity with community centres, libraries, museums, theatres and parks.

  (1110)  

    The Speech from the Throne underscores the government’s priorities in these areas, reflecting the plan our party put forward in the 2021 election. The plan includes bold action on housing, providing 1.4 million new homes and introducing a suite of new measures, including a rent-to-own program, a new tax-free first home savings account, a more flexible first-time homebuyer incentive and a homebuyers’ bill of rights, among many others. This builds on our national housing strategy, our 10-year, $70-billion plan to build affordable housing across Canada. That plan is rolling out right now.
     Homelessness is an urgent issue in Canada. In 2017, we pledged to reduce chronic homelessness by 50%. We launched over 12,000 projects and helped a million people find a place to call home. In 2020, we increased our commitment: to end and entirely eliminate homelessness in our country. It is a bold promise, backed by the necessary investment to get the job done. Here in Halifax, the rapid housing initiative is supporting hundreds of new units in partnership with our partners, including the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre, Adsum house, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, the North End Community Health Centre and others.
    Our government will continue our work to provide smart, urgent and lasting solutions for Canadians in housing need.
    As the moment requires, the Speech from the Throne also focuses heavily on the climate crisis. There is no question that our time is running short. We must go further and faster in the fight against climate change. Included in the throne speech are measures to cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions, increase the price on pollution, mandate the sale of zero-emission vehicles, develop and implement Canada’s first-ever national adaptation strategy, and continue to protect our lands and oceans in greater quantity.
     Here in Halifax, I am working to protect the Northwest Arm from infilling that would have a dire environmental and ecological impact. Climate floods in B.C. and Atlantic Canada show us this is no time to be taking risks with key waterways like the Northwest Arm.
    Of course, the throne speech also commits to finishing the fight against COVID-19, which continues to disrupt our way of life and challenge our economy. The government made a simple promise at the outset of the pandemic: to be there for Canadians as long as necessary. We have kept that promise, providing income support to workers, financial aid to small businesses and transfers to provinces to ensure our public health response is robust. We have shown ourselves to be flexible to the needs of Canadians and the small businesses they work at and rely upon.
     As I speak to the House today, I know there are groups just outside its walls who protest the necessary public health measures we have enacted to keep Canadians safe. They have come to Ottawa with demands that the government lift all pandemic restrictions or resign. As members of Parliament, we must all condemn the hate groups that have attached themselves to the convoy and whose actions over the weekend have been deeply disturbing. Their contemptible behaviour and symbols of hate will not deter the government from protecting Canadians.
     We know Canadians are exhausted by this pandemic, and no one more than our essential workers such as health care workers, grocery store clerks and, yes, truckers. However, I believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Science and compassion will lead the way. When we come out the other side, I choose to believe we will be stronger and more united, knowing that our freedom comes from our commitment to democracy and from our commitment to each other.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question.
    Health transfers are needed to meet critical needs. Given that inflation has risen to an unprecedented rate of 4.8% and that supply problems will continue to grow, should we not hold the debate on health transfers now so that we can take action to deal with the pandemic?

  (1115)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as our government has stated from the outset of the pandemic, we will be there for Canadians for whatever they need, for as long as they need. Included in that is the necessity of transfers to the provinces. Health care transfers have increased to provide PPE and other services. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The transfers go into other things like supporting municipalities. The list is long, and we will be at it until we do not need to be anymore.
    Mr. Speaker, I noted in the member's speech that he spoke about an action plan for housing. I am wondering if he can tell me what makes him think that what is in this throne speech is going to be an actual action plan.
    There have been a lot of promises, but the housing crisis in Parry Sound—Muskoka is worse than it was when Liberals took office, so what is different this time around? Could he elaborate on that, please?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka for his passion around the issue. I share that passion with him. Unfortunately, the strain that he is feeling in his riding is shared in my riding and across the country.
    This national housing strategy that we began some years ago is building momentum monthly. As I mentioned in my speech, we are hundreds of units ahead just in the past year in my riding of Halifax alone, but the additional supports that the minister and cabinet are providing will be rolling out new homes at a very quick pace to support Canadians in need.
    Mr. Speaker, I first want to acknowledge my former leader, Alexa McDonough, who I ran with in 2002. On behalf of New Democratic staff, myself and our families, we reach out to extend condolences to all and are thankful for the gift to our country that we had in Alexa. It is important for us to recognize her work.
    My question for the member is with regard to temporary foreign workers. We are waiting in Windsor-Essex County for the renewal of funding for a centre for temporary foreign workers who get sick with COVID. Over the break, there was the death of another migrant worker.
    Will the member's government immediately fund the City of Windsor to continue that centre? There have been discussions, but there has not been a decision.
    How does he feel about the fact that we are still waiting? People are still getting sick. Coming to Canada and dying is really not acceptable, especially when we know people can be safe when they arrive in our country.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his kind words and remembrance of Alexa McDonough. She truly was a pioneer and remarkable leader in Canada.
    It is tragedy whenever anybody gets sick, temporary foreign workers included. Temporary foreign workers are an important part of our seasonal economy and although I do not know the specifics of the case that the member is talking about, I do know that the ministers involved with this file are working hard to make sure that temporary foreign workers continue to be a healthy and important part of our economy.
    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is a big proponent of an urban national park in Halifax. I wonder if he could speak to the government's commitment and its plan to protect Canada's lands.
    Mr. Speaker, I always love an opportunity to talk about building communities and making them stronger, including parks. Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes is the future national urban park in Halifax. We look forward to working with the government and the community to get it right. This is an urban lung that is going to make sure our city remains healthy as the population grows and our remarkable urban renaissance continues.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating the government on November's Speech from the Throne. Given what we have seen this weekend, and of course with the challenges posed by omicron, this may be a world away but it is in fact very real. The Speech from the Throne is all about moving forward from this pandemic and building a stronger economy and a better country for all.
    The Speech from the Throne is about a few things. It is about making sure Canadians can get vaccinated, stay healthy and keep people safe. It is about building an inclusive society and a strong economy. The Speech from the Throne references a Canada where people do not fear living their full lives because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. It notes Canadians understand that equity, justice and diversity are the means and the ends to living together.
    That is why it is so important, in light of the events of this weekend, to reflect on that statement perhaps more than ever and the context of the hate-filled symbols, rhetoric and vitriol many of us saw being spewed by the crowds gathered outside the House of Commons.
    I want to congratulate and thank many members of the government side, but also from the NDP and others, who spoke out against the hate they saw being spewed, particularly my friend the member for Timmins—James Bay, who stood up to those who threatened him online for trying to come to the House to do his job.
    Many of us have seen the rise of this type of hate online and now in person. This hate is something many racialized Canadians experience online every day, as well as in person. This is why, through the commitments in the throne speech, we will continue to fight systemic racism, sexism, discrimination and misconduct and abuse, including in our core institutions. This will be a priority.
    This is an important moment to rebuild for everyone. We are going to continue to invest in the empowerment of Black and racialized Canadians and indigenous peoples. We are going to continue to fight harmful content online and stand up for those who may not have voices for themselves.
    The Speech from the Throne makes sure the business of taking care of Canadians will not stop. It cannot stop despite those who seek to obstruct it. Canadians want us to build an economy that truly works for everyone, from making historic investments in child care and climate action to tackling the rising cost of living. The Speech from the Throne lays out a bold plan that keeps Canada moving forward.
    I would like to talk for a minute about what I have seen in my riding of Vancouver Granville. Our community is diverse, but we have a lot in common. On the doorsteps and in meetings, I hear the same concerns and see first-hand how investing in Canadians is making an immediate and positive impact.
    Let us look first at housing. Since we introduced Canada's first national housing strategy, over $6 billion has been invested in British Columbia alone. For families in B.C., this has meant building over 26,000 new housing units, repairing 9,300 homes and providing direct housing support to 92,000 B.C. families.
    Home is where we continue the traditions of our past and plan our futures, and everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why the housing accelerator fund, innovative programs such as rent-to-own, and a more flexible first-time homebuyer incentive will put home ownership in reach and make life more affordable for Canadian families.
    Affordability is about more than just housing. It is also about making sure everyone can participate fully in the economy.

  (1120)  

[Translation]

    The next step is $10-a-day early learning and child care services.
    Parents in British Columbia will see a 50% reduction in average fees for children under the age of six who are in regulated child care. Imagine what it will mean to families to know that their children are safe and cared for in an affordable early learning and care program.
     The global COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that parents, and especially women, cannot fully participate in the economy without access to child care. By creating a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, the Government of Canada will make life more affordable for Canadian families and increase women's participation in the workforce, while creating new jobs and stimulating strong economic growth.

[English]

     We entered this crisis in a strong fiscal position that allowed us to provide unprecedented support to Canadians during the pandemic. As noted by the OECD, Canada’s recovery is expected to be the second fastest among the G7, and our net debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to decline and remain the lowest in the G7.
    As of October, Canada had recovered more than one million jobs. In other words, there are more jobs for Canadians now than when the pandemic started, and the trend line continues up. November’s job numbers show a gain of 154,000 jobs, which is almost five times higher than originally forecast.
    However, while Canadians are back to work and we continue to see recovery well beyond our target of one million jobs, there is still more work to do.
    We know that climate change is real and is a real threat. I have heard from many people in my riding that they are deeply concerned about climate change and protecting the environment, and I am too. That is why I am so proud that our Canadian climate action plan is ambitious and bold. It is not just a plan; it is action. Our plan moves forward to cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions, invest in public transit and mandate the sale of zero-emission vehicles.
    However, we will not leave anyone behind. Our government will continue to invest in our workers and industry to help bring us into the economy of the future, while also taking action to clean the air that we breathe and protect Canadians from extreme weather events, like those that B.C. and many other provinces have experienced in recent months.
    Part of the economy of the future means that every Canadian should feel safe and have a fair shot at getting ahead no matter what. As I said earlier, we will continue to stand up against systemic racism, sexism and discrimination in all its forms. We must acknowledge our responsibility to undo the colonial systems that have wronged and continue to affect first nation, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada. Every resident of Vancouver Granville has the honour to live, work and play on the traditional, unceded ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, who have called this land home since time immemorial. We need to confront the legacy of residential schools, continue our work to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action. We must take action to confront systemic racism against indigenous people, especially in the justice system and in health care.
    Finally, I want to speak about health care. My riding, as I have said many times, is the heart of B.C.'s health care infrastructure. It has a diverse, talented and proud group of health care workers who keep us healthy and safe every day. This is why we have invested $5 billion in mental health care, which has been a major concern during the pandemic and beyond it. We need to ensure that mental health care is treated as a full and equal part of Canada’s universal health care system.
    I am excited to roll up my sleeves and work with all members of the House to ensure that we build back better and move Canada forward for everyone.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Vancouver Granville for raising the issue of affordability. We know that it is absolutely critical, especially in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh.
    I want to ask my colleague about child care and the fact that we signed agreements with 12 provinces and territories regarding affordable child care, save for Ontario at the moment. How will the affordable child care plan help supercharge our economy and boost our COVID recovery?
    Mr. Speaker, from many constituents in my riding of Vancouver Granville, I have heard first-hand the impact that $10-a-day child care will have on families who have had to decide whether one parent was going to stay home or both parents were going to return to work. This is the type of situation we see across the country, save for in Ontario. People are now seeing the real impact of having two parents in the workforce, where there is that option. They do not have to decide between taking care of their children at home and putting their kids into a healthy learning environment. This helps reward the economy because it gives everybody the opportunity to get back to normal and live to their full potential.
    I am super excited about what this means, and it makes a tremendous difference in ensuring that we are able to access the workforce we need and that people are able to work in the professions they have chosen.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the new member to the House and thank him for his politeness.
    I have a question with respect to inflation. Unfortunately, the Speech from the Throne did not address it, and the people in my riding are in very difficult positions. Some of them cannot afford housing. Some of them cannot afford food. With the cost of everything going up by multiple digits, and in some cases 10%, 15% and 20%, they are in an even more difficult position.
    The member's leader was saying that monetary policy does not matter. Does the member feel the same way or does he care for his constituents like I do?
    Mr. Speaker, like the hon. member, I care very much about the constituents in my riding, many of whom are feeling some of the same issues. The reality is that Canada has done much better vis-à-vis inflation than most other countries, the United States being the perfect example.
    We continue to do the right things. We continue to invest in the right infrastructure and supports to bring goods to Canadians in a more affordable way than perhaps some of our allies and other friendly nations, including the United States. We are going to continue to work hard, and this Speech from the Throne makes sure that those steps are taken and that we do our best for Canadians.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his intervention.
    As we know, the Speech from the Throne is meant to express a general intention and is one of the most significant moments in a new mandate and at the beginning of a new Parliament.
    Here we have my colleague talking about child care centres and the importance of encouraging women to work. I am glad to see that Quebec has been a source of inspiration. They are welcome to do that, ideas are free for the taking. If Quebec can inspire other people, including our Canadian neighbours, we are thrilled. However, Ottawa's decisions must also be made with the utmost respect for Quebeckers.
    Why, then, will the government not increase health transfers, with no strings attached?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there are historic commitments being made by this government to support health care in partnership with the provinces. We have seen investments in mental health, which is a big concern. We know that some provinces, like the Province of Quebec, have expressed their concerns and a desire for increased investments in mental health.
    We will continue to work with the provinces. We will continue to have active conversations and make the right investments in partnership to make sure that Canadians are kept healthy and safe.
    Mr. Speaker, I note that the member talked about fairness and equity for indigenous people living in Canada. My colleague has put forward something that was called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: a guaranteed livable basic income. Would the member, in support of ensuring there is equality and fairness, support the member for Winnipeg Centre's bill, Bill C-223?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, on a personal level it is very important for us to examine and explore all options that increase affordability. I think it is incumbent upon any reasonable-minded person to do that. We have seen that when we support and take care of Canadians and take care of one another, everyone gets ahead, so I would be open, as I have been and I think as many of my colleagues are, to examining and thinking about all proposals that increase affordability and improve the quality of life of all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to let you know that I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle.
    I have not yet thanked my constituents for the last election, so I would like to do that now. I thank them with all my heart. This is the third time they have given me their support and renewed their trust in me. I am honoured. It is always a privilege to work for the people of the North Shore and the people of Manicouagan. I really do put all my energy into working tirelessly for them 24–7. From the bottom of my heart, I am immensely grateful to them.
    We do not work alone. We have a team and a party, but there are also the people who work very closely with us. My North Shore team members are Jeff, John-James, Antoni, Marjorie, Jessie and Rita, as well as Josh, who sometimes joins the team as a North Shore man. I thank them from the bottom of my heart because I would be nowhere without them. It is important to be humble.
    Obviously, an MP's job is to represent their constituents, all of their constituents. We each have a unique riding, but, as I like to point out, my riding is roughly 350,000 square kilometres in area, with 1,300 kilometres of coastline. It is truly a coastal region bordering the sea, the river, the estuary, and the gulf. My riding even has two different time zones. I am here to represent all the files and priorities that are important to my constituents. I would like to name a few of the priorities to show how diverse they are.
    I teach at the post‑secondary level, and I have to say that my own students would not dare hand in any papers with such wide margins and large font to hide their lack of ideas. To me, that is what we find in the Speech from the Throne. I would like to talk about things that could have been addressed. Even though some issues are very specific, there are still broader guidelines and ideas that can inspire the government. In my opinion, this document is short in length and short on substance.
    Rural and remote areas have needs, but often we are not heard and in fact we are forgotten. There should be some practical instruction about how things work in the regions, how people live and what needs they have.
    I mentioned that my riding covers approximately 350,000 square kilometres, but we have a 400‑kilometre area that does not even have any roads. In the summer, people get around by boat. In the winter, it is a little more complicated. People travel by snowmobile on what is known as the White Trail. However, this is no longer viable as a result of climate change. It is almost as if these people were living on islands. They need medications and Canada Post services. We are talking about food security and physical safety and security. They need certain goods every day. Canada Post has a monopoly, but it does not provide door-to-door delivery for parcels. I want to point out that people back home are currently very worried about the medications issue.
    Wanda Beaudoin, a proud Coaster and mayor from the Lower North Shore, in my riding, passed away last year. She was not getting her cancer medications, which were coming in late. We made all kinds of suggestions to Canada Post. Anything is possible. I always say that if we can land on the moon then we can get medications delivered to the Lower North Shore. This is one of the major issues for the entire North Shore. We rely on these postal services, which are gradually eroding.
    I have so much to say about my riding that I could talk for days, but I do want to say that the remoteness of the North Shore—that is not quite true: the big cities are far from the North Shore but we are not far from the big cities—causes a lot of concerns with respect to maintaining seasonal access. I drive at least 2,000 kilometres every week, and sometimes more when I travel throughout my riding, because air transportation, in particular, can be difficult.

  (1135)  

    It is very difficult for us to travel to visit family or attend doctor's appointments. We just cannot do it.
    Some of my colleagues from the Maritimes are here today. It is much cheaper, almost half the cost, to travel from Moncton to Montreal than to travel from my home to Montreal. People simply cannot manage it, but everyone has the right to choose where they want to live and use the land.
    I am talking about air transportation, but the same goes for roads, bridges and tunnels. In fact, there should be a tunnel connecting Quebec and Newfoundland. These issues are very important to me and they must be taken into account. Climate change is of course an issue, but it is just as important to think about those who still do not have road access.
    I would also like to talk about other places in my riding, because it is very diverse. Let us talk about Anticosti, that massive island of ours that is bigger than Montreal and Prince Edward Island. People live on the island, and prices are outrageous on the North Shore. Municipalities in the region are remote and do not have year-round access to the mainland, to the continent, as we say back home. They need money, a tax credit so they can buy high-quality, affordable food. Michel Charlebois, a resident I spoke to in my office a while back, said that they are not even entitled to that tax credit.
    On the island, no boats can dock for five months of the year. The residents are forced to stock up on food and it is extremely expensive. In fact, if my colleagues come to my riding, they will notice that a can of Maxwell House costs $55 in the north. It is not necessarily what one would call premium coffee. We have huge problems with food, and we need to think about these folks who live in the area and contribute to economic development in our regions. They provide a presence and we must support them. In the Throne Speech, there is nothing for the remote areas. The intent is not even there, so what is going to happen when we get to the actual spending?
    I would also like to talk about employment insurance because I think what is happening now is unacceptable. I am not talking about workers in the seasonal industry, but rather about workers suspected of EI fraud. They have not had any money since November. They are being told that they will have to wait for their file to be reviewed, yet there is already a backlog of nearly 93,000 files and not enough staff to process them. Last week, the minister announced a staffing increase, but they are only investigating fraud.
    These people have had no money since November. They are being told to go to food banks and to prove that they are not fraudsters. They are being asked to call the Quebec government to apply for social assistance, which is unacceptable. We really need to support them. There is talk of reform, but there is already something that could be done. We do not always need reform before we can take action. The minister could have simply listened to the Bloc Québécois' proposal, which is to first provide benefits to people and then deal with the issue of fraud. These two elements must be separated. We were able to do that with CERB, and we can do it now with EI.
    We also need to talk about first nations. The Innu and Naskapi make up 15% of the North Shore's population. That is very important to me as the indigenous affairs critic. We need to take action on the ground. The big issues are economic development and ending violence. The pandemic has hit first nations harder than most. What they need is housing. That is what all the chiefs are asking for. Ghislain Picard, whom I congratulate on his recent re-election as chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, has been asking for housing for years. People need housing.
    Demographically, things are booming. We are seeing more and more kids and big families. People need homes to keep first nations children and families safe and whole. Then they can look at development opportunities. Actually, we can tackle both at the same time.
    I know I do not have much more time. Anyone can see what I am passionate about. I swear to my constituents, from Tadoussac to Blanc-Sablon and Kawawachikamach to Anticosti Island, that I will continue to stand up for what matters to them.

  (1140)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member made reference to the issue of health care. I truly believe that Canadians as a whole, no matter what region of the country they are from, appreciate and value our health care system. One of the things we have learned from the coronavirus is that there is a high level of interest in the federal government playing a role in looking at long-term health care standards.
    I wonder if the member would recognize that, no matter where in Canada, there seems to be a need for long-term health care standards for our seniors. I wonder if she would support that idea.

[Translation]

    Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. If we were to ask the Government of Quebec or the Quebec National Assembly whether Quebec needs Canada to tell us how to run our health care system, an area that does not fall under federal jurisdiction at all, we would be told that Quebec is happy with its own standards. Quebec is able to work with what it currently has. All we need is for the money to come back to Quebec and to the provinces because all of the premiers have been calling for health transfers. This is not magic.
    The federal government is, of course, free to look after its own affairs. For example, it can manage the pandemic within its own areas of responsibility while simply transferring money to the provinces and Quebec, who know very well what to do with that money, which has been lacking for a long time.
    Mr. Speaker, since this is the first time that we are speaking in the House since this weekend's events, I, too, would like to condemn the hateful protests that are still ongoing in our capital.
    I stand in solidarity with all those in Ottawa and across the country who are taking action against hate in our communities and across Canada. I also join those, including our leader, who are calling on these protesters to leave Ottawa and free up the streets so we can get around again and get back to our lives.
    I would like to ask my colleague a question. She has spoken before about the housing crisis in indigenous communities in her region. That crisis exists in my region too.
    Does she agree that the current housing crisis is no accident, but rather the result of a lack of funding—

  (1145)  

    The hon. member for Manicouagan.
    Mr. Speaker, I will answer my colleague's question, which she did not get to finish, but yes, it is due to a lack of funding, a lack of foresight, and a failure to listen to first nations, who have been talking about it for the past 20 years.
    Quebec alone is short more than 10,000 homes. Those 10,000 homes represent the shortfall that needs to be made up in just the next five years, and that number does not even include additional needs.
    It is quite obvious that nothing was planned or invested, and the government now has a problem it does not seem to know how to solve.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member could further expand on this from the Bloc's perspective. Canadians from coast to coast to coast, even people in Quebec, understand and appreciate that the federal government can and should play a role in ensuring that the health care system supports things such as the Canada Health Act.
    Why is the Bloc going against what, I would suggest, many citizens of Quebec want to see?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, the National Assembly unanimously supports health transfers. Granted, it is somewhat of a shared jurisdiction, but Quebec is the one with all the expertise.
    I believe the member talked about playing a role in the health care system, which I always find interesting. The money is in Ottawa, but the needs are in the provinces. There is a fiscal imbalance, and we do not talk about it often enough.
    The needs are there. The Quebec and provincial governments are asking for this. I will say it again: The federal government needs to transfer the money and stay within its own jurisdiction.
    Mr. Speaker, this is my opportunity to talk about the throne speech.
    As my colleague mentioned earlier, a throne speech should reflect the broad strokes of the government's plans for the mandate it received in the last election.
    I understand that this government is disappointed to be in a minority situation. However, since its only objective was to win a majority at taxpayers' expense, it could have made more of an effort.
    The mandate it has been given clearly includes more than this road map, and its ideas and intentions remain unclear. There is nothing about health transfers, which my colleague called for earlier, as did the Premier of Quebec and Canada as a whole. There is nothing on the energy transition or a green finance plan. There is nothing on the employment insurance reform that is needed and has been requested for decades to provide 50 weeks of benefits for serious illnesses, which we could have voted on this fall. There is nothing about seniors' purchasing power, nothing to support our agriculture. What are people supposed to do for the next four years?
    I repeat, the Bloc Québécois defends and will continue to defend health transfers because there is a consensus on this issue, not just in Quebec, but in all the provinces of Canada. An increase from 22% to 35% is not too much to ask when we consider that it was 50% a few decades ago. Therefore, the Bloc Québécois will continue to talk about it. I would also like to commend my colleague from Montcalm for his efforts on the issues of health and pandemic management.
    In my question earlier, I mentioned that inflation is also causing supply problems throughout our health care system. I think there is a need to act, and to act now.
    I would like to remind the House that on December 2, 2020, the Parliament of Canada adopted a Bloc Québécois motion calling on the government to significantly and sustainably increase Canada health transfers before the end of 2020 in order to support the efforts of Quebec and the provinces, health care workers and the public. Members will recall that all parties were in favour of this motion, with the exception of the Liberal Party, which voted against it.
    On March 1, 2021, the leaders of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, the Centrale des syndicats du Québec and the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques stressed the importance of increasing these transfers to address the crisis in public services stemming from the pandemic.
    Let us talk about climate change, a topic of major concern when I talk to my constituents in Laurentides—Labelle. Unfortunately, the government is content to repeatedly say that we have to put our words into action. This has been an urgent issue since 2015, but as we know, they do not walk the talk. That needs to stop.
    We have invited the government to implement a real energy transition and to stop subsidizing the Canadian oil and gas industry. We have to change Canada's energy trajectory to help keep the increase in temperature below 1.5 degrees. The situation is critical.
    The other thing we keep saying and will continue saying is that we must stop increasing oil sands production and gradually reduce crude oil production entirely by 2030, which is fast approaching. Even though the government now claims to want to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, subsidies the Minister of Finance has refused to define, I fear these subsidies might end up being disguised as assistance in helping to reduce the carbon intensity of oil and gas.
    People need to know. Let us be clear. We are calling for the immediate end of any type of subsidy for fossil fuels.

  (1150)  

    On behalf of future generations, our children, our constituents, our regions and our resources, we are calling for an ambitious green recovery. We must shift to a green economy. The Bloc Québécois has come up with a road map for realizing the potential of Quebec's forestry sector, which is a major segment of the economy in my riding.
    As I mentioned earlier, Quebeckers are rightfully very worried about the cost of living. Food, clothing and housing prices are major concerns. The increase in the cost of gas, rent and groceries has caused inflation to rise to 4.8%. The consumer price index, or CPI, has had its largest spike since 2003. One way to protect the public from the effects of inflation and to stabilize the economy is to ensure that people have decent buying power.
    Another major challenge is the labour shortage, which is also leading workers to try to find better jobs or to renegotiate their wages. I myself am an entrepreneur, and I can assure my colleagues that things are extremely tough right now.
    What should we do? Here are a few Bloc Québécois suggestions.
    Wages obviously do need to increase, but it will take money and a concrete plan to address the labour shortage. We also need to increase health transfers.
    We suggested seven measures, including assistance to help businesses with automation and tax incentives for our seniors. Seniors have a great deal of experience, and they want to give back to society and share their knowledge. However, when the government keeps making changes that change nothing, it is not hard to see why they do not want to enter the job market.
    I have met with many organizations and businesses in Laurentides—Labelle in recent weeks to talk about foreign workers in agriculture. These issues are key parts of the economy back home. I want to acknowledge my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé and my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean, who have been raising the issue of the unwarranted processing delays for applications to bring in temporary workers. I am sure members recall hearing the famous number 13.
    I now want to talk about our municipalities, which are telling us that housing will be the main issue in 2022. As my hon. colleague from Longueuil—Saint‑Hubert would say, we cannot talk about housing without talking about access to housing. Prices are rising everywhere and, as my colleague from Manicouagan pointed out just now, there is a significant shortfall. I want to share something that a mayor had to say on this, as follows:
    The pandemic turned the long-standing housing shortage into an actual crisis. The shortage no longer affects only urban areas; it has expanded into all regions of Quebec. This has far-reaching consequences for even the smallest municipalities. We must take decisive and practical action now based on the three fundamental principles of affordability, accessibility and equity.
    In conclusion, my constituents are disappointed, and I truly hope that the government will do something meaningful soon.

  (1155)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech the member just presented; however, there is one aspect that all Canadians should be thinking about, and that is how best to help the entire globe, and that is certainly not to take a run at Alberta's oil sands, because if we look at the way our oil sands are developed and the ecological aspect of them, they are world class.
    The key component I would ask the hon. member about is this: Where else in the world would her constituents want to have their oil and gas come from, if not from our great Canadian sources?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague.
    I am hearing a heartfelt plea regarding the fragility of the economy in connection with fossil fuels. I understand that. When we talk about a move toward green energy, we know that we need to support businesses in that transition so that it is not disastrous for them. However, for now, there is nothing to indicate that the use of oil is good for the health of the planet.
    Obviously, all of the suggestions that we are making, such as the electrification of transportation, seek to reduce emissions in order to meet the 2030 target, while helping businesses. We need to meet that target because 1.5 degrees of warming is already too much.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, one of the announcements that we have gone over with a number of provinces now is the child care plan. It is a true national child care plan that would help so many people from coast to coast to coast. It is somewhat modelled after the Quebec child care plan, and I am wondering if the member can provide her thoughts in terms of the positive impact that $10 child care had in the province of Quebec and the potential benefits all Canadians are going to be able to see with programs such as the one that has been brought in by this government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Once again, I am pleased to explain that there are examples to follow, such as the child care centres that have had a major impact on Quebec's economy over the past 25 years. We have already shown that our approach works, and I hope that it will be adopted as quickly as possible by the other provinces in order to help their economies.
    When we make suggestions, we are not trying to get our own way or gain power. We are here to represent the interests of our constituents, so the more our colleagues listen to our suggestions, the better off we will be during this never-ending pandemic.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, the throne speech is ultimately a reflection of the last election, which was useless. Maybe the Liberal government could have taken this opportunity to connect with the people of Quebec, especially seniors.
    Why does my colleague think the Liberal government insists on creating two classes of seniors, even as inflation surges?
    Mr. Speaker, I salute my colleague from Montcalm.
    What a good question. Why do that when all this is going on? The provinces, Quebec, the institutions and the economists studying inflation tell us that enough is enough. It is time to take action on health transfers.
    I do not know the answer to my colleague's question, but we are going to keep asking, because the government is the only one that does not realize that time is of the essence. It is not just because of the pandemic, but that should be reason enough to transfer the money now.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me say up front that I will be splitting my time with my colleague, neighbour and friend, the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk.
    It is an incredible honour to rise today to deliver my first full speech in this House. I would like to congratulate all members on their successful elections. I look forward to working together collaboratively in this Parliament to make the lives of all Canadians more affordable, more prosperous and more free.
     Before I begin, I would like to give my sincere thanks to all those who helped to get me to where I am today. I would like to thank the people of Flamborough—Glanbrook for placing their trust in me and bestowing on me the privilege and duty to be their voice. It is an honour that I will never forget.
    There are many people to thank, and of course it is impossible to name them all in a short period of time.
     First and foremost, I would like to thank my amazing wife, Tracy. She is here in the gallery with us today. Her unwavering love and support has meant so much to me for so many years. I am nothing without her.
     I would also like to thank everybody who played a large or small role on my campaign. Without their hard work, dedication and belief in me, I would not be here today.
     I would also like to recognize my predecessor, David Sweet, for his 15 years of service in this House and to our communities. I am grateful for his friendship of 18 years and I wish him and Almut all the best in their new adventures in New Brunswick.
    Each and every member in this House has a unique path that brought them here today. As a Canadian of Dutch heritage, mine began with my grandparents. It was from them, my parents and the adversities that they had to overcome that I draw inspiration and purpose.
    My omas and opas chose Canada to build a better life for their children and grandchildren. They lived through wartime Holland and the brutal Hongerwinter of 1944 and 1945 when the Dutch were almost starved to death. In fact, my Opa Muys played a role in the Dutch resistance and, in his quiet way, did what he could to fight against the atrocities being inflicted on Holland by Nazi Germany.
     I am mindful of them today as I wear this lapel pin in honour of the liberation of Holland by Canadian troops. The Kingdom of the Netherlands produced this pin in 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation. It is an artful combination of the torch of freedom and the dove of peace. I think those are lessons we can draw from and learn here today.
    Like so many from every corner of the world throughout the history of our nation, my grandparents came to Canada because it was the land of opportunity and hope. I am ever so grateful that Canada welcomed them with open arms. It is this Canada, the beacon of opportunity, freedom, democracy and hope that is the greatest country on earth, and we should never be ashamed to say so.
     My own story begins in a small hamlet outside Hamilton, Ontario, called Copetown. It is where I grew up, went to school, attended church and worked my first student job, and it has made me who I am today. Years ago, the local Lions Club dubbed Copetown “the hub of the universe”. While I think that slogan was first conceived in jest, it is fitting in many ways, because it is the kind of place where you can dream big. While I had no idea that my journey would take me here, I am proud to represent Copetown in Parliament and bring with me its values of hard work, honesty, respect and helping your neighbour. That is why I am here. It is because a middle-class kid from Copetown can be here.
    My brothers and I were very fortunate to have that middle-class upbringing. My mom was a nurse, my dad a bricklayer, and together they had a small farm with chickens and hogs and some beef cattle. It was an idyllic setting and a great place for kids to grow up, but like all parents, they had to make sacrifices from time to time to ensure their kids could get all they needed. Sometimes those choices were tough, but we always got by.
     I worry today that the middle-class dream, that opportunity, is slipping away because of the direction of the government. That is why I am here to help change it.

  (1205)  

    Tracy and I do not live far from Copetown today. We are truly blessed to live in some of the most beautiful countryside of God’s creation. Flamborough—Glanbrook is surrounded by the Niagara Escarpment, the northern reaches of the Carolinian forest and Cootes Paradise, all designated a world biosphere reserve.
    I have also had the privilege to live and work in Alberta and Quebec. What an amazing country. Whether driving the Icefields Parkway through the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, hiking to the top of Cap Trinité in the Saguenays for the breathtaking view at the top, or whale watching in Tadoussac, it is spectacular. All of these experiences beat in my heart.
    Canadians are amazing people. They are kind and generous. They have integrity, and they work hard. It is why people come to and are drawn to Canada, just as my omas and opas from war-torn Europe did.
    In a country as divided as ours today, I choose to stand for hope. I choose to seek the things that unite us and not divide us. I choose to bring people together and build up Canada because the division in this country hurts my soul.
    That is why I am disappointed in the government’s throne speech. In the interests of time, I will focus on three things that impact the people of Flamborough—Glanbrook very personally and directly: the cost of living crisis; the lack of a comprehensive plan for the recovery; and ensuring all Canadians have access to reliable Internet.
    Because of the cost of living crisis, I worry greatly that the middle-class life in Canada is increasingly unattainable. Sixty per cent of Canadians are worried about paying for their groceries. In the past week alone, we saw the highest gas prices ever in Hamilton and the GTA. Seniors in my riding living on fixed incomes are squeezed, and they are worried. That is why my colleagues and I were so disappointed to hear the word “inflation” mentioned just once in the government's throne speech.
    Moreover, housing prices are out of reach for an entire generation of Canadians. For the first time in history, young people in Canada today do not believe that their lives will be better than their parents' lives were. This is sad to me.
    Where is the plan for the recovery to help small businesses get back on their feet, fix disrupted supply chains and drive innovation? This recovery includes rural Canadians and the need for them to have access to reliable Internet because, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that access to reliable high-speed Internet is no longer a privilege for some, but a necessity for all. Unfortunately, this is an issue for many people in the rural parts of my riding and across Canada, and they know it too well.
    Our words and actions in the House matter. They matter to the families struggling to put food on their tables. They matter to the farmer who gets up before the crack of dawn to ensure that food gets to market. Canada is a country made up of wonderful people, from every walk of life, race, religion, creed and sexual orientation. It is that tremendous strength that makes me hopeful for the future of this country, despite the encumbrances we currently face.
    Yes, there are many issues facing Canada, and I talked about only a few today. Canadians want hope and Canadians want light. Canadians want to be heard, so let us listen to them. We can disagree yet still respect each other's point of view.
    Let us put more emphasis on what unites us than on what divides us. Let us build Canada to be the land of hope and opportunity once again. We are Canadians. This is a fight worth fighting.

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, I speak today with a very heavy heart as the member for Ottawa Centre. Many of us are here on Parliament Hill. Within a block in all three directions of this beautiful Parliament there are residents. They are the people who reside here and who have built their lives here.
    My community is under siege right now. For three days in a row, residents have been unable to sleep. They feel they have been harassed and intimidated, and they have been yelled at. The front of their homes have been defecated on and urinated on.
    We all believe in peaceful protest, which is the hallmark of our democracy, but there is also the right to live peacefully. I, as the member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, ask all members, including the member who just spoke about listening to the other side, to please ask the protesters to leave the residential areas of my community alone. They can make their point on Parliament Hill, but let us make sure the residents who live here can live peacefully and not have to accept any hate.
    The Jewish members of community are rattled. They are really rattled by the symbols of hate they have seen. We ask the protesters to please stop and to respect the community I represent.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Ottawa Centre for his question and offer him best wishes for the new year. It is a very serious question with respect to what we have seen this past weekend and what we are seeing very much today outside of this chamber.
    I stand in support of the farmers and the vegetable producers in Flamborough and Glanbrook I have talked to who need trucks to get their product to market. I respect the right of the thousands of people out there on Parliament Hill, and I agree with the member that they should leave the residential neighbourhoods alone, to express their frustration with the government, because that is what they are feeling. They feel that they are not being heard or listened to, as I spoke to earlier.
    I put a statement on Facebook yesterday, as well as mentioned in my speech, that the hate symbols, the swastikas and the desecration of the National War Memorial, which is where Corporal Nathan Cirillo from my hometown of Hamilton gave his life in service to the country, are unacceptable. My grandfather worked as part of the resistance to fight the Nazis in Europe. We wholeheartedly condemn those acts of violence, but we do respect the right of peaceful protest within—
    Continuing with questions and comments, the hon. member for Nunavut has the floor.

  (1215)  

    Qujannamiik, Uqaqtittiji. I was glad to hear the member talk about the middle class. Unfortunately, within many first nation, Métis and Inuit communities, there are too many who are still living in poverty. I would like to give a brief example of my home community of Igloolik, where the temperature right now is -34°C. Its population is 1,700 people. Out of the 472 cases in Nunavut, 108 are in Igloolik.
    The overcrowded housing situation in Igloolik is deplorable. I was recently informed that Buffy lives in a unit with nine people and three families. Dorcas lives with 11 people and three families. Elisapi lives with nine people in a three-bedroom unit. Shannon lives with eight people in a two-bedroom unit. Paniapik lives with 17 people in a four-bedroom unit with four families. Brenda lives in a three-bedroom unit with two families and five people in one bedroom. Joyce lives with 14 people in a three-bedroom unit.
    Will the member support the need to increase housing commitments toward northern and indigenous communities?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Nunavut for the question and offer best wishes for the new year.
    I certainly support the need for housing in all parts of this country. We know there is a housing crisis and that it is unaffordable for the many young and new Canadians who are seeking housing. The hon. member for Nunavut gave many examples in her community as well.
    It is something that every party in this House should be concerned about, and we certainly await the long-promised strategy from the government, which has yet to be delivered.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a representative of the riding of Haldimand—Norfolk. Before I begin my thoughts on the Speech from the Throne, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Haldimand—Norfolk for electing me. I am here today, and every day of Parliament, to speak on their behalf and look out for their interests. It is my sincerest hope that they will see and hear in me a strong voice that represents their interests.
    I want to thank my staff, volunteers and supporters who helped me to get here. Specifically, I would like to thank my mentor, Diane Finley, for the time she invested in me over the past year. I would also like to thank my family and friends for the love and support they have shown me.
    My thoughts in response to the Speech from the Throne begin with the need for unity in the House and in the country.
    It may seem rather cliché to talk about unity, especially from the benches of the opposition, but I remind those in the House that we are in fact referred to as “Her Majesty's loyal opposition”. We may act in opposition to the government, but only out of loyalty to our country. We oppose only because we are attempting to provide a check upon government when it drifts from the mandate of working on behalf of all Canadians. I believe that in the House we should be united in our zeal to work for the betterment of all Canadians.
    I am deeply concerned that we Canadians are in peril of a house divided, not just in this House, but across our entire nation. This is a vast country with many regional differences that make us unique. Those differences can make us stronger when we are united. However, when we are divided, those differences will tear us apart. Sadly, the actions of the government over the past several years have only furthered the divisions in this country.
     We have paid Canadians to stay home while local restaurants and businesses close due to shortages of staff. Canadian family businesses are dying. Many small business owners are living off of their credit cards. So many Canadians cannot afford food or a decent place to live.
     We, to this day, push legal refugees to the back of the line while opening the gates to illegal border crossers at Roxham Road. We are letting people who are safe in a country such as the United States jump the line ahead of those facing real persecution and death in their homelands. People who could be killed just for being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in their country, for their faith, or for simply criticizing government or media are now pushed to the back of the line.
    We make grand speeches condemning atrocities like slavery and racism against indigenous people, and we then tell thousands of indigenous women sold into sex trafficking that it is called “sex work” and that it is empowering.
    We say we honour veterans, but force veterans who were injured while serving our country to requalify for disability once they return home. Instead of providing decent housing and pensions for our veterans, we have the nerve to tell them that they are asking for too much.
    We praise our seniors for building this country, but leave them with less money than we are paying a 20-year-old student to not go to work. We also condemn Canadian oil and gas and fossil fuels, but import endless crude oil from nations with poor human rights and disastrous environmental records.

  (1220)  

    We say we are for women's choice, but then threaten to defund centres that care for pregnant women in crisis if those women do not make a choice that we agree with.
     We recognize the need to prevent protesters from interrupting and blocking critical care facilities like hospitals, but not railroads. We show up at protests and take a knee, but hide from 100,000 truckers and citizens who are rallying for democracy.
     We call for reconciliation with indigenous communities and an end to protesting, but fail to realize that we too can extend the simple olive branch of providing clean water on reserves. Perhaps this good-faith gesture may be the first step toward resolving some of the discontent and inequality felt by people living on reserves. In the end, everybody suffers when we fail to take steps to resolve critical disputes, like the blockades on the Six Nations reserve in Caledonia.
    Our House in Canada is not just divided; it is becoming fractured. Wedge political issues have resulted in pitting Canadians against each other. Environmental protection is pitted against economic sustainability. Vaccinated Canadians are pitted against unvaccinated Canadians. Urban Canadians are pitted against rural Canadians, including farmers and law-abiding firearms owners. These are some of the divisions that serve to further divide our national House.
    This divided House of Commons is in danger of losing the confidence and support of the Canadian people, one-third of whom chose not to vote in the last federal election. I am very concerned that one of the biggest challenges facing our future will be the restoration of public confidence in institutions such as the media and government. A divided Canada, divided among racial, regional and generational lines, is in danger of losing its purpose. It is in danger of losing its capacity to deal with national issues, from economic growth to environmental protection to health care and the protection of basic human rights.
    This may all sound bleak, but I did not get into politics because I lacked faith in Canadians. In fact, I have a great deal of hope in the future of our nation. I believe that we can make great strides to regain national unity if we put Canadians first.
    The past few years have seen our regions being torn apart, set against each other, with the end result being regional discontent. This is what happens when politicians see distinct regions of our country as political opportunities. Only by recognizing what makes each region of Canada unique and special will we begin to unite this country once again. Outside of Parliament today, we see hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people across this nation united to rally for democracy and end discriminatory mandates.
    A House divided cannot stand, so today I call upon our friends in the House from all parties to unite in fighting issues that go beyond partisanship, because together and united we can truly be a nation strong and free.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I disagree wholeheartedly with the member's comments, given programs such as the CPP, the health care accords and the more recent child care plan. This is not to mention the pandemic itself, during which we have seen Canadians of all political stripes from all regions of the country, stakeholders and non-profit groups working together as one team to take on the pandemic. In comparison with the rest of the world, Canada is doing exceptionally well. The division that the member makes reference to is a division within her Conservative caucus. Her speech might have been more appropriate at a Conservative caucus meeting, I would suggest.
    Does the member recognize that the greatest division within Canada regarding COVID, from a political point of view, is within her own caucus? Will she deliver her speech to her caucus colleagues?
    Mr. Speaker, division does not only exist within our nation. We aspire for unity of all regions. Division does not only exist within my party. It exists within the Liberal Party too. I remind the member opposite of what happened to the hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould and the hon. Dr. Philpott, and how the Liberals treated those members of Parliament.
    Division is not something that happens within just one party. We could also highlight the last leadership race and the last election for the Green Party's leader, and the way the Green Party leader was treated. This is not based in just one party or one aspect of the country. The antidote of unity is something we must all aspire to.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke at length about issues dividing Canadians.
    The best example of that is health transfers. In the 1970s, health transfers covered 50% of health spending in Quebec and the Canadian provinces. Now they cover just 22% of health care costs. The pressure on our health care systems is intense, but the Liberal government is using that money to interfere in areas under provincial jurisdiction and impose national standards.
    What are my colleague's thoughts on that?

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to transfer payments in provincial-federal jurisdiction, the health care system is something every Canadian deserves equal access to. It is very important that the federal government maintains basic standards and maintains the standards that all provinces must adhere to.
    Just last year, we witnessed the deplorable standards in long-term health care facilities and the conditions that our most precious seniors had to endure. We need national standards to make sure that every province has a minimum level to adhere to and that all Canadians are treated with equal dignity within a health care system that meets their health care needs.
    Mr. Speaker, I am trying to sort through a great deal of rhetoric that I heard in the member's speech, as I am sure many of my colleagues are trying to do as well.
    The member spoke about equality and about people being torn apart. I can agree with that, absolutely. However, one of the roles of Her Majesty's loyal opposition is proposition. There are things the New Democrats have been fighting for to ensure equality, and one of those pieces is income inequality. We put forward ideas such as pharmacare, tax fairness, the elimination of tax loopholes and a guaranteed livable income.
    Would the hon. member support fighting income inequality so we can be more united and stop fighting each other because we are desperate for equality?
    Mr. Speaker, income inequality is something we should all aspire to eliminate, but the best way to eliminate income inequality is to cut red tape and get businesses back to work. There are so many businesses that have been devastated by this pandemic. If we had policies that would incentivize and assist these small businesses, which employ over 80% of Canadians, we would get people back to work. That would assist in reducing income inequality.
     Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the hon. member for Scarborough Centre.
    It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in support of the throne speech. I would like to begin by thanking the people of Don Valley North for placing their renewed trust in me to be their voice in Ottawa. I am incredibly humbled by this great responsibility. As I said in my first speech in 2019, I will strive every day to ensure that the perspectives, concerns and diverse opinions and beliefs of my community are thoughtfully and comprehensively represented in the House. I would also like to thank my family, friends, staff and incredible volunteers, without whom I would not be here. I am thankful for their generosity and support every day.
    In preparing for today's speech, I took some time to reflect on 2019, when I first rose in the House to give a speech. I remember my feeling of excitement and eagerness as we stared down the tremendous opportunities we faced. Little could I have imagined that within six months the world would change so drastically. Reflecting back, it was not the way I imagined I would serve my first term in Parliament. We replaced handshakes with elbow bumps, I learned a lot about Zoom, and Facebook Live took the place of in-person events.
    However, after nearly two years of battling a worldwide pandemic and the devastation it brought, I can say that I am proud of the way Canadians have come together and persevered.
    After enduring the long, lonely days of the pandemic last winter, none of us would have imagined we would be up against the same this winter. Canadians have made great strides in the fight against COVID-19, but the emergence of the omicron variant is a stark reminder that the battle is not over.
    While the fight is not finished, Canadians have a lot to be proud of. Nearly 90% of Ontario residents 12 years and older are fully vaccinated and more than 40% have received their booster dose, and over 50% of children aged five to 11 have received their first dose, including my son.
    We also know that to finish the fight against COVID-19 here at home, we need to fight it around the world. No one is safe until everyone is safe. That is why Canada is doing its part to end the pandemic by donating vaccines through the COVAX facility. Canada has already made almost 100 million doses available through donations and monetary contributions, and by the end of this year, we will donate at least 200 million doses, making Canada one of the most generous donors to COVAX.
    Our country is doing its part to end the pandemic, and that is exactly what our Liberal government will continue to do. However, the job is not done yet. We need to encourage Canadians who have not yet done so to get their shots. We need to support and strengthen long-term care and improve access to mental health and addictions treatment, which many consider to be the pandemic within the pandemic.
    The environment was also on the minds of many this past year. My heart goes out to those in B.C. who have been devastated by flooding and wildfires. There is no denying the impacts of climate change anymore. People in Don Valley North want to see big emitters pay the price for pollution, and I am glad to see the government is increasing the price on pollution while putting more money back into the pockets of Canadians.
    I am also happy to see we are protecting our lands, waters, green spaces and ravines. We know that to create a strong economy and jobs, Canada must take bold climate action. Canada has the raw materials and skilled workforce to produce the clean products the world will need to cut pollution and transition to a green economy. It is more obvious today than ever that this is not the time to debate whether climate change is real. It is time to act. I am glad to see our Liberal government doing exactly that.
    It is no surprise to residents of Toronto and Don Valley North that life has been getting more expensive over the past couple of decades, especially for anyone who is trying to buy a home. Time and again people have told me that the cost of living and housing affordability are top-of-mind issues for them. That is why I am glad to see the government will help put home ownership back in reach by introducing a series of supports for homebuyers, including a new rent-to-own program, reducing closing costs for first-time buyers and banning blind bidding. These measures will make a big difference in the lives of residents in my riding.

  (1235)  

    Citizens’ fears about violence are some of the most heartbreaking conversations to have in my neighbourhood. All Canadians deserve to feel safe in their community, but gun violence is on the rise in Toronto. The residents I talked to during the election were shocked that there was even a debate or conversation in other parties about repealing or reviewing the assault weapons ban and making our communities less safe.
    However, it is not just guns that had residents concerned. Don Valley North is home to a large and proud Chinese Canadian community. These past two years have been tough as we have seen a rise in anti-Asian racism as a result of the pandemic.
    As I mentioned earlier, in preparing this speech, I reviewed my remarks from 2019. In that speech, I told a story of a young mother I met while campaigning who was concerned about access to high-quality, affordable child care. It is with mixed emotions that I reflect on that encounter.
    On one hand, I am so proud of what our government has accomplished to address her concerns. In just the past six months, we have signed 12 child care agreements with provinces and territories that will cut fees in half in the next year and build hundreds of thousands of new child care spaces. However, I am disappointed to see the Government of Ontario is still denying Ontario families that same opportunity. In fact, Ontario is the only jurisdiction that has not yet signed on to our plan. Families in Don Valley North, in Toronto and in all of Ontario deserve the same opportunities as families in the rest of the country.
    Investing in early learning and child care is not just good for kids and for parents. It is also essential to our economic recovery. We all know that, yet with each passing day Ontario families are paying the price for Doug Ford’s inaction.
    As I near the end of my allotted time, I would be remiss if I did not highlight some of the outstanding organizations in my riding that work tirelessly to support residents and contribute so much to building a strong, inclusive, supportive Canada. That could not be truer of their efforts these past two years.
    In my riding of Don Valley North, organizations like the Afghan Women’s Organization, Iranian Women's Organization of Ontario, Armenian Community Centre, the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services, Working Women Community Centre, Toronto North Local Immigration Partnership and Flemingdon Health Centre are offering crucial services to new Canadians.
    ACCES Employment, the Centre for Education and Training, and Springboard employment services are providing help to Canadians in search of employment and new skills.
    Willowdale Community Legal Services, Adventure Place, Community Information Fairview, North York Harvest Food Bank, and religious and cultural organizations like Abu Huraira Center, Don Valley Bible Chapel and so many more are providing a space for everyone in our community to know they belong and are supported.
    I am so proud of the work these organizations and so many more in Don Valley North are doing. It has been an honour to work alongside these groups these past two years, and I look forward to building on that relationship to ensure that all members of the community can succeed.
    Here in Parliament, we know that Canadians are expecting us to work together and achieve results. It is a privilege to be in this place and it is something that I never take for granted. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues from all parties, in whatever form that may take, in this 44th Parliament. I am proud to support the Speech from the Throne, and I look forward to questions and comments.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and for his work at committee. My question is about our current policies regarding migrant farm workers asked to come and assist with the supply chain issues we have. In Windsor-Essex county, we have some of the largest in the world. We actually have had migrant workers come here, contract COVID and die alone in a hotel room.
     Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero was 31 years old. He died alone in a hotel room. Rogelio Munoz Santos was 24 years old. He died alone in a hotel room. Juan Lopez Chaparro in the Hamilton area also passed away. Most recently, we have had a Jamaican worker, who has not been identified yet, die alone in a hotel room.
    We are waiting, despite ministers' meetings and others, for renewal funding for a migrant farm worker and isolation centre. Until we actually get that funding, the City of Windsor and this region has vulnerable populations. We see bunkhouses with outbreaks.
    Where is the status of this situation? If we are asking and inviting people to come fill the holes in our economy and work alongside fellow Canadians, they should not die alone and thousands of kilometres away from their families.
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to wholeheartedly thank the NDP member for bringing up this issue. Due to the pandemic, the federal government was responsible for 80% of the funding going toward fighting the pandemic, including support for temporary foreign workers. There is more to do. I said in my speech that we have to make vaccines available to everyone in this country, as well as beyond our borders.
    Like the hon. member, I work closely with the organizations in my riding and recognize the challenges for both newcomers and temporary foreign workers. I want to commit myself to working with him, not just on the committee but in Parliament, to bring this issue to the surface and flag this for ministers and government to better provide supports for these workers.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I noted in my colleague's presentation today that he was talking about the inflationary value of housing over the last two decades, when Canadians are most concerned about it happening in the last three years. I just read a report this morning that it has even gone up 26.6% in the last year in many areas of Canada. There were references to these sorts of things in the throne speech last fall, but I am wondering if the government can give us a more specific explanation as to how it is going to deal with this, given that the Bank of Canada and others are considering holding the interest rates where they are.
    Mr. Speaker, as a former member of the Ontario legislature, I have seen the trend of the increasing cost of housing affordability, not just within Canada and Toronto but within the entire country over the last two decades. That is why different provincial governments, including the B.C. government, and the federal government over the last several years have introduced multiple policies and regulations to try to help make owning a first home easier for many first-time homebuyers.
    I am actually quite hopeful to see the regulations and policies proposed in the most recent Liberal platform enforced, including the blind bidding—

[Translation]

    Order.
    The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.
    Mr. Speaker, my comment is along the same lines as my Conservative colleague's question.
    Canada and Quebec are in the midst of a severe housing crisis. I do not think that comes as news to anyone. Last week, a study revealed that Canada has fewer housing units per 1,000 inhabitants than any other G7 country. We have around 424; the G7 average is 471. Canada is 1.8 million housing units short of the average number. This study was not done by some left-wing housing advocacy group; it was done by Scotiabank.
    I think that means it is time to take action. Housing affordability is an issue, but so is accessibility, because we are 1.8 million units short. It is time to take the bull by the horns and deal with this crisis, just like the government is dealing with the pandemic. That means taking decisive, impactful action.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I just want to remind my colleagues that, since 2015, the government has provided affordable and safe homes for over a million Canadians. In the throne speech, we see various programs planned for this session. I look forward to working with all members to see those through.
    I also want to point out the most recent announcement to work with the not-for-profit sector. It is very hopeful, including the rent-to-own program. I think we have to try something new and something different, rather than just throwing money at it. We have to—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Scarborough Centre.
    Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to note that this past Saturday, January 29, was the fifth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting. It was also the national day of remembrance of the Quebec City mosque attack and action against Islamophobia. Unfortunately, it was not safe for the in-person vigil that was planned here in Ottawa to go ahead, so here today, in the centre of Canada's democracy, I want the names of the victims of this senseless act of hate and Islamophobia to be heard and to be remembered: Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane.
    May Allah give them the highest place in Jannah. May they rest in peace.
    The people of Scarborough Centre sent me to Ottawa with a strengthened mandate and clear expectations, including affordable early learning and child care, housing affordability and good middle-class jobs as part of an inclusive recovery. I am pleased to see these priorities reflected in the Speech from the Throne. However, before we can look to the recovery, we need to finish the fight against COVID-19.
    Thanks to the hard work of Canadians and governments, amazing strides have been made on vaccination. We are nearly a decade ahead of the estimates made by some colleagues across the way. With vaccinations now open to those aged five and up, vaccination rates are rising ever higher.
    I have heard clearly from my constituents that they support vaccine mandates to end this pandemic. They want this pandemic to be over, and that means getting the job done on vaccines. Therefore, I say to Canadians to please, if they have not yet gotten their vaccines, when they are eligible, get the vaccine and get the booster. This is not just for themselves but for their neighbours and families, because in Canada we look out for one another.
    We have heard a lot of talk lately about inflation. While economists agree this is a global and, hopefully, temporary phenomenon largely attributable to pandemic and climate-related supply chain issues, we have to acknowledge this is a real phenomenon that is impacting Canadians' wallets. I have noticed this in my weekly shopping trip with staples like milk, fruit and meat getting more expensive. While families like mine can absorb the temporary increases, for many in my riding this will mean difficult choices at the grocery store. Often it is the healthier choices that become more expensive, so we need to look at ways to allow families to be able to make healthier choices, and we need to find ways to put more money into their pockets.
    The Canada child benefit put more money into the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families, and it is time to build on that with a national system of early learning and child care. This would be so impactful for the families in my riding of Scarborough Centre. Under the Liberal plan, an average Toronto family would save $11,197. That is a 50% reduction in fees, with even more savings coming by 2026 as we work toward $10-a-day child care. Over $11,000 staying in the pockets of families would be a real and immediate savings of almost $1,000 every month. For families in my riding, this would be life changing.
    Every province and territory in Canada has now signed on except Ontario, and families in some jurisdictions are already seeing significant savings. Unfortunately for families in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative government continue to stall and play political games. If my colleagues from Ontario across the aisle are serious about helping families deal with the cost of living, I would encourage them to urge their provincial cousins to get on board. They should be on board, because this is not just a social issue; it is an economic issue.

  (1250)  

    Women have been slower to return to the workforce as the economy has opened back up because so often they need to stay home to take care of their children. There can be no recovery without a "she" recovery. Affordable early learning and child care is how we address the labour shortage and get the economy firing again.
    If there is one issue that vies with affordable child care in importance with my constituents, it is housing affordability. Prices are out of control, and people who are renting are afraid to move as they cannot afford the increased prices. It is harder than ever for renters to become buyers, with prices for new homes out of reach. This is an issue with no easy answers and it is not an issue that any one level of government can solve alone. From the federal government bringing people together, to provincial governments making smart regulations and laws to protect tenants and buyers, to municipalities making smart zoning decisions, to the provision of funding from all governments, it will take a collaborative team Canada effort.
     There will be no single silver bullet program, but the throne speech does put a number of federal initiatives forward. They include a more flexible first-time home buyer incentive, a new rent-to-own program and measures to reduce closing costs for first-time homebuyers. I am also optimistic because we now have a minister dedicated to the housing file. I wish him well in this important task.
    We need strong federal leadership to bring all these stakeholders together to deliver real results for Canadians. Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home and everyone deserves to feel safe and at home in Canada. Incidents of hate based on race and faith have made too many feel uncomfortable and unsafe in their communities. We cannot shy away from this painful reality. We need to work hard to ensure that everyone in Canada is safe and has the opportunity to get ahead, regardless of their gender, whom they love, where they come from, what language they speak, who they pray to or the colour of their skin. Incidents of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism leave real and lasting scars in our communities, and the systemic anti-Black racism in many of our institutions must be grappled with. We must ensure that Canada's anti-racism strategy is aligned with the lived experiences of racialized Canadians.
    As well, we cannot ignore the rising gun violence experienced in many communities. I have heard strong support in Scarborough for a ban against assault weapons and for mandatory buyback. My constituents want us to follow through on these commitments and go further. We need to look at why youth turn to guns and gangs and provide more opportunities for our youth.
    Finally, my constituents want to see stronger action on the environment and climate change. We have seen first-hand the impact of a changing climate. We must ensure there is a just transition so that Canadians can find good, well-paying jobs in the new green economy. We must also vote to ensure zero-emission and electric vehicles are affordable and available to the average Canadian family, while also making significant investments in public transit.
     The people of my community sent me here to work for these issues that impact their daily lives. They do not want political cheap shots and partisan games. They want members from all sides to co-operate, get things done and deliver results to make their lives better. I am ready to support good ideas wherever they come from.
    Let us get to work.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, it has also been recognized by economists throughout the world and throughout time that monetary policy has a huge impact on inflation
    Could the member please describe to me what quantitative easing is and why it will not impact inflation in Canada, as it has for every other country at every other time in the world?
    Mr. Speaker, I agree that inflation is on the rise. Inflation is a global phenomenon, and we are seeing the impacts of inflation not just here in Canada but across the world. That is why it is really very important that we implement $10-a-day child care. That will put $1,000 per month into the hands of families, helping them to make life more affordable.
    I hope the member will encourage members of the provincial government in Ontario to sign the child care agreement with the federal government. Every other province and territory has already signed it. I encourage Ontario to be on board so that Ontario families do not have to miss this opportunity.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by condemning the hateful protests we saw this week. We saw disturbing images of swastikas and Confederate flags and we heard of abuse hurled at people across Ottawa. This hate is unacceptable. I stand in solidarity with those calling on these people to leave and for us as parliamentarians to show leadership in calling out this hate and putting a stop to aiding and abetting it, as some have, and work to build healthier and safer communities all across our country.
    Speaking of inequality and the challenges we are facing, nowhere is that inequality more evident than in first nations across our country, yet this Liberal throne speech makes no mention of the crisis when it comes to indigenous housing.
    When is the Liberal government going to put its commitment to reconciliation into action by ending the third world housing conditions that exist in first nations across Canada, housing conditions that have led to numerous breakouts of COVID-19 and have rendered so many communities across our country unsafe for people? First nations need housing action now and need federal leadership now.
    Mr. Speaker, we have committed over $1.7 billion in funding in budgets 2017 and 2018 for distinctions-based housing strategies, including $600 million over three years for first nations housing, $500 million over 10 years for Métis nation housing and $400 million over 10 years for Inuit-led housing.
    We have committed more than one billion dollars in the national first nations housing strategy, resulting in 1,429 homes being built, renovated or retrofitted and benefiting approximately 467,000 people in over 600 communities. I know more work has to be done, so I look forward to working with all the members of this House to make sure that every indigenous person has a place to call home.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, people from organizations that fight homelessness, that care for the elderly or that deal with mental health problems tell us that the social fallout from the pandemic will last five to 10 years.
    One of the things I hear about most is mental health. Last week, we celebrated Bell Let's Talk Day. We posted on social media and were flooded with comments. Mental health is a major problem.
    How do we address this mental health issue? We do it by investing in health. The federal government has once again refused to increase health transfers. Despite the fact that Quebec and all the provinces have collectively been calling for this for years, the federal government continues to avoid investing in health. However, if we want to solve this problem as quickly as possible and enable adults, children and teenagers across the country who have mental health issues to have access to a psychologist, the federal government must contribute. The money is in Ottawa.
    Does my colleague agree that it is time to invest in putting an end to mental health issues and issues associated with the pandemic?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, health care is very important, and I want to emphasize that from day one of the pandemic we have made significant investments to make sure that Canadians have the best health care system.
    Of all the money spent, $8 out of every $10 has been spent by the federal government to make sure that we have access to vaccines and to make sure that our front-line workers have appropriate PPE.
    We will continue working with the provinces and territories to ensure that health care systems are properly funded and that we can quickly get through the backlog of surgeries and procedures that has built up during this pandemic.
    Mr. Speaker, has the government forgotten who we work for? Let me remind everyone: We work for the people.
    No one can deny that Canadians are frustrated. The events that have transpired over the last week prove this. Unfortunately, what started out as a respectful and peaceful protest turned into acts that do not reflect true Canadians. I agree with all members in the House and those watching that the use of symbols of hate and defacing a public monument are criminal offences, and these individuals should be charged. There is no room for hate.
    This is a quote taken directly from the Speech from the Throne:
    Canada’s prosperity – and middle class jobs – depend on preserving and expanding open, rules-based trade and ensuring our supply chains are strong and resilient.
     Canadians can take no comfort from empty promises. It has been two years now since the start of the pandemic, and Canadians want things to open up for our jobs, for the supply chain, for our mental health and for honest dialogue between government and the people. This we can see from this week's events, when thousands of Canadians have come to the nation's capital to be heard, but our Prime Minister has still not addressed their concerns.
    Listen to the diverse voices who speak a multitude of languages and who shape this country.
    These are the words of our Governor General, which are beautiful words. However, Canadians are sick of words that our government has failed to act on. They want honesty and transparency and they want leadership.
     Since the throne speech, I have heard the same stories throughout my riding, with the main one being that over 29 million Canadians have done what they were asked in order to live their lives, myself included, but every time Canadians do what is asked of them, the promise of what they will get in return is changed. The goalposts constantly move.
     Olivia is a 19-year-old hard-working student who struggles with the division that has ballooned in the past couple of years. The pent-up feelings of isolation have had a profound effect on her.
    This pandemic has magnified many lingering issues in our country, the biggest one being our mental health crisis. We need each other to move forward. We need a leader to acknowledge that each voice is important.
    Health care workers have exhausted their resources and mental health during this pandemic, because the root cause of this issue still has not been addressed. Where in the Speech from the Throne does it acknowledge our lack of resources for our health care system? The reality is that it all comes from the top, and until our government recognizes that we need to increase health transfers to our provinces and territories to give them the resources necessary to protect Canadians, we will keep having Groundhog Day.
    I have voice mails and emails from exhausted health care workers who feel like they have not been heard or acknowledged. The fact that they still do not have adequate forms of PPE and testing two years in is a disgraceful treatment of the people we call heroes. The reality is that until we have a health care system that can manage the patient load from the variants and still provide life-saving surgeries and tests, we will never get out of this.
    I want to address this quote from the throne speech: “As we move forward on the economy of the future, no worker or region will be left behind.”
    Since being named shadow minister for tourism, I have been meeting with key stakeholders in the industry, who have all said the same thing: “Lift the travel restrictions and open up Canada for business.” Why has the government left the tourism industry behind when it contributes a significant portion of our economy?
    First-time homebuyers are also being left behind by this government. Peter and Julie are a young couple from my riding. They are 26 and 24. They both have well-paying jobs, one in engineering and one in the trades. Peter and Julie want to buy a home. They have been searching for months. One house came on the market listed at $499,000, but within eight days, there were 53 offers and the house sold for $802,000.
    If our next generation cannot afford housing, that is a serious issue, and it certainly does not feel like no worker will be left behind. Our government is leaving a whole generation behind.

  (1305)  

    From the time we are born, we are taught to listen to the people in charge. We are taught to follow rules. What happens when the person in charge does not listen to the people? One thing many constituents have said to me is, “Do not just criticize. Offer solutions.” I am imploring our Prime Minister to acknowledge all Canadians, and I am imploring Canadians to listen, even if they disagree, and to be respectful and tolerant of each other. That is the solution to build trust. A reputation is not built on saying what one will do, it is built on what one actually does.
    Here is another quote from the Speech from the Throne: “We will always stand up for a brighter future for all.” Who is “all”? The government has left too many behind. We need a new government. We need to act on our words. I have been a voter for a lot longer than I have been a politician, and I know how people feel. I hear the words, and I believe our members all feel the same way. We all want out of this, but we have to address what is going on.
    We have to have honest dialogue. We have to acknowledge a question, and we have to look at this question. How did we get to a point where thousands of people drove thousands of miles to have their voices heard? We need to ask how we got here.
    The conclusion of the Speech from the Throne states,
    This decade is still young. With compassion, courage, and determination, we have the power to make it better than how it started.
    But that can only happen by standing together.
    What is “standing together”? Standing together should be truly having the backs of Canadians. It should be working together and listening to each other. It should be opening up our economy so we can get back to work. This economic crisis is a mental health crisis. The government has failed Canadians throughout the pandemic because it has forgotten that we work for the people.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, the federal government has indicated it is a feminist government. However, it made no mention in the throne speech, for example, of sexual health.
     We known that reproductive justice is critical for gender equality. This includes the right for individuals to freely make choices about their reproductive health and to have access to reproductive services, yet in Nova Scotia sexual health centres are having to close their doors between April and September due to limited funding. Nine provinces have in fact declared outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases. The Halifax Sexual Health Centre has been unable to access STI testing due to being stretched thin to meet the needs during COVID testing.
    Does my hon. colleague agree that we need the federal government to immediately invest in sexual health services?
    Mr. Speaker, gender equality and investing in proper education are always critical. Our party will continue to stand up for these rights. I welcome that dialogue with the member.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, further to my earlier question to the member's colleague, I would like to know if a Conservative government will impose federal standards in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to look at all of the protesters who have driven across the country when so many of the issues they are protesting are in fact under provincial jurisdiction. Why? It is because it comes from the top down.
    I will go back to my point and what I was saying. Until we address health care transfers, we are not going to move forward. The Liberal government had promised 7,500 health care workers. Where are they?
     Mr. Speaker, it is great to be back after spending time in our constituencies. The member spoke at length about the problems being faced in the country right now and then said something very interesting. She said that part of leadership is offering solutions, yet she did not seem to present a single solution in her 10-minute speech. As a matter of fact, she talked at length about one of the big problems we have in the country right now, and that is specifically as it relates to housing.
    What is the Conservatives' solution to housing? If she does not know what that is, can she give us some idea of what her own personal suggestions would be toward offering solutions, considering that she is so interested in offering those solutions?

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I do not think the member heard, so I am not sure if his earpiece is working. The solution proposed was to listen to the people. Unfortunately, because he works for the government, he was not able to listen to me as well.
    I am listening now, Mr. Speaker. Can the member give us some actual suggested solutions to the housing crisis? I am all ears.
    Mr. Speaker, what is interesting is that I sent the member an email asking him to help me and my riding get affordable housing and he has yet—
    I responded to you.
    I have not received that email, but I look forward to working with him because we need to get inflation under control to help people pay for housing. I look forward to working with the member because I think he does have solutions, but most importantly what we want to do on this side is get inflation and the cost of living down and let people like Peter and Julie be able to afford a house that should be $499,000, not $802,000.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here representing the constituents of King—Vaughan in the House of Commons. I thank my constituents for putting their trust in me and allowing me the privilege of standing here today.
    I would like to thank my family, my husband Peter, children Elizabeth, John and Michael, daughter-in-law Christina, daughter Mindy and son-in-law Danny, grandchildren Abigail, Isabelle, Caleb and Noah, and my incredible team for their encouragement, dedication and support throughout this journey. Our success was made possible by their contributions.
    I would also like to personally recognize and thank my executive campaign team, starting with my amazing campaign manager Joe, followed by Michael, Julius, Elmer, Dasha, Giffin, Alessia, Alex, Elizabeth, Elvira, Theresa, Linda and Dona, and my team captains Rose, Andrew, Nakita, Arion, Valerie, Richard, Andy and Denille.
     I would also like to thank my current staff for all their hard work.
    Public service is a privilege, and it is an honour for me to take my seat in the House of Commons alongside my fellow parliamentarians who have chosen to dedicate themselves to the service of our country.
    It is also important to recognize the many hard-working Canadians who work in the mental health sector and put their well-being above their personal safety.
    On behalf of my constituents, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to those who lost their loved ones during this pandemic. If the pandemic has taught us anything, let it be that it has demonstrated the importance of mental health and the spirit of civic duty that allows us to support one another when in need and to provide a helping hand to those who are struggling.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
     [English]
    For over 20 years, I have been honoured and privileged to work, volunteer and live in the community of King—Vaughan, just north of Toronto. It is a diverse community and home to many immigrants from Italy, China, Pakistan and many other countries. The many personal collaborations with members of my community have provided me with a deep understanding of the concerns and issues facing the constituents I now represent. Seniors in King—Vaughan, like many in Canada, are still struggling with the rising cost of living, and parents with special needs children cannot afford to pay for long-term care.
    Mental health problems are escalating, and small businesses continue to struggle to find employees as “help wanted” signs are popping up across my riding. In many cases, businesses have reduced their hours due to staffing shortages. Inflationary pressures are mounting and food prices are soaring. Families are not only psychologically stressed due to the pandemic and concerns for public safety, but they are additionally burdened by the increasing cost of living and the psychological stress that comes from worrying about how to put healthy food on the table, which we know offers physical and mental health benefits.
    Rising house prices are placing a burden on our young people and additional stress on families. Across our land, many young people are forced to stay at home longer, living in their parents' basements as rents and housing costs are out of control. My riding has seen the most significant increases in housing prices, and there is no sign of that slowing down.
    I join my colleagues on this side of the House to express my concerns about the lack of focus on inflation in the throne speech. It is the main problem facing people today. Also, both alarming and telling is the lack of focus on small business and tourism, which have both been absolutely decimated by the government's response to the pandemic. As a new member of the House of Commons, I say we need to stop perpetuating fear. Rather, we need to demonstrate strength and competency to our citizens and be the solution, not part of the problem.

  (1320)  

    This starts with showing up here in the House of Commons, demonstrating that we are not afraid and that we are willing to tackle the serious business of Parliament, and restoring trust in our institutions by respecting those institutions, especially Parliament and the parliamentary procedures of one of the scariest cornerstones of democracy. We must not fearmonger and hide. We must be authentic and inspiring. We need to come together and help Canadians dream of a better tomorrow, a better future for children and grandchildren, and a better future for our country.
    We must attract immigrants to this country who are hard-working and want to provide a better life for themselves and their families, just as the millions of immigrants before them have done. I am a proud person of immigrant parents. I was raised by my grandparents, my nonno and nonna. My grandfather always told me the story of his experience coming to Canada, the way he was able to use his trade skills to land employment in Toronto. His skills allowed him to work hard and earn the funds to sponsor his family, so that they too could participate in the promise of a great country. This process took him over five years.
    Many families who immigrated to Canada were provided this opportunity to flourish. Supported by their expertise and work ethic, they were directed to areas of Canada where they could take their skills and, depending on Canada's opportunities, create a life. We want to support immigrants who want to be independent and contribute to our vibrant social fabric. We need to inspire and help create a resilient and healthy population, ready for the many challenges of tomorrow.
    We face many crises that need to be tackled head on: an economic crisis, a public health crisis, a social crisis, a national unity crisis, an education crisis, an international crisis and an institutional crisis. These problems are not trivial, but I am confident members of this House can come together and meet these challenges head on. We must show leadership, strength and competency, so that we can improve the lives of our citizens.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative caucus actually voted against supports going to small businesses, but the member says that we should be supporting them. I would suggest that the Conservative Party needs to be more supportive of small businesses during this difficult time.
    When we talk about leadership, we had the Progressive Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister, talk about the importance of public health issues like masks and suggest that members of Parliament in his caucus would be given an option to leave or to get on board with the issue.
    Would the member contrast the leadership of Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservatives to today's reformed, far-right Conservative element within the Conservative Party under the current leadership? Does she believe her leader would be better off following some of the instructions coming from former prime minister Brian Mulroney?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think what the member has to understand is that our leader is working for the people of Canada, all of Canada, and not just specific sectors of Canada. We need to work together to ensure that we get over this pandemic and provide the health services that our colleagues and constituents need. We need to do it now. We cannot wait any longer. Fearmongering is no way to get things going.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for my colleague.
    I have been hearing a lot about the lack of funding for the various crises, including the housing, health and inflation crises. My question for my colleague is this.
    With everything that is happening right now, what more does the government need when everyone knows that health transfers are crucial? What does my colleague think? Why does the government refuse to act?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, if I understand the question correctly, I think what we need to understand is that the sooner we get inflation under control, the sooner people will be able to live their lives. We need affordable housing. We need to ensure that people waiting for surgeries are dealt with. There are people in my riding who cannot get those services.
    When is the government going to step up and ensure that our constituents are healthy and well taken care of? Until we do that, they cannot get back to work.
    Qujannamiik, Uqaqtittiji. I appreciate the member's advocacy to provide relief for Canadians struggling amidst the rising cost of living.
    Nunavummiut experience this crisis disproportionately. In 2016, Nunavut food costs were three times the national average. In 2018, 62% of Nunavut's households with children were food insecure. High cost of living affects Nunavummiut's access to their most basic human rights, including food, water, housing, health and mental health. We have felt these challenges for far too long, despite government programs and subsidies aimed at providing relief.
    Does the member agree that the government's current response is insufficient for northern communities and that they deserve more equitable cost-of-living supports? Will the member push for the 44th Parliament to achieve this equitable outcome for northern communities and indigenous communities?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe we need to support all Canadians, including our indigenous. We need to ensure that there are rules and opportunities, regardless of where we live in this country. We need to ensure all Canadians are treated equally, especially our indigenous population as well as the rest of the country.
    Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for King—Vaughan on her maiden speech.
    I know she is very well aware of the government's disregard for the skyrocketing cost of living. I am interested to hear the member's thoughts on the issue of the huge costs that are happening to our seniors, in particular on the CPP escalation that is happening and the fact that none of this money is actually going out to these seniors.
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting the member asked that question.
    During the snowstorm a few weeks ago, one of my seniors called me. Unfortunately his driveway was plowed over, and he could not get his car out to take his wife for medical treatment. We went over, out of the goodness of my team's hearts, and shovelled his driveway. One might say that is kind of a waste of our time.. However, it is not a waste of our time, and I am going to tell members why. This senior had to get a line of credit on his property to ensure he can provide medication for his wife. How despicable is that?

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to congratulate the hon. member on her maiden speech.
    I would just like to remind the member, who was using terms like “our indigenous”, that indigenous people are not owned. I give a friendly reminder not to use possessive terms when referring to indigenous people.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Speech from the Throne.

[English]

    In response to the throne speech, many of the key elements shared reflect the vision of my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook in Nova Scotia. Let us get through COVID and let us build back better. Let us ensure our health care system is in the 21st century. Let us ensure we continue to improve our health care system and ensure our economy is building back better. Of course, climate change and veterans are also key issues.
    I would like to start off by saying that Canadians elected a minority government and as such it is the responsibility of each one of us in the House, all parliamentarians, to work together closely to ensure we make life better for all Canadians.
    When we talk about COVID, there is no question that this is the number one priority. It has now been almost two years that we have been fighting through COVID, and we have been working closely with Canadians right across Canada to ensure we are going to be in a much better position very soon.
    Let us not forget that Canadians want to be vaccinated. Over 86% of all Canadians have been double vaccinated. The booster shots are now available, and we are moving forward. Many people have their booster shots. I do. It is age-related in Nova Scotia, but I did make the cut so I was happy about that. Now we are moving to the next generation, with the vaccine for younger Canadians who are five to 11 years old.
    Through this extremely difficult challenge, the government has been there for Canadians. The Prime Minister has stated on a number of occasions that we will be there for as long as it takes and that is exactly what we have done.
    Through COVID we have noticed some of the gaps out there and some of the things we could do better in the future to ensure we are in a much better place as we move forward to new challenges. With that, I would like to share a project I was able to announce a few weeks ago in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, which is a wonderful project I believe many here would be interested in. It is hydroponic gardens.
     In Nova Scotia, with these hydroponic gardens, farmers will be able to plant vegetables and different spices, even edible flowers, year-round, which does not usually happen in Nova Scotia. This is one way to achieve food security. This is a way of ensuring we will be prepared for any challenges as we move forward. This is what I call innovation.
    I want to thank our government for investing $76,000 toward the project. I also want to welcome and thank the local Akoma Family Centre properties for following through on that project. Now we are going to build on that. Maybe it will be a great pilot for the rest of the nation.
    I talked about health care. Of course, in Atlantic Canada we know we have the oldest Canadians. On average, they are much older than in Alberta, for example. We also have the most rural communities. That is a double barrier in the sense of the needs for health care. That is why we need to do more pilots in Nova Scotia and invest right across the country in health care.
    Some of the key areas we talked about in the throne speech were strengthening the health care system and public health supports for all Canadians. What does that actually mean? It means more accessibility; rural care; transportation, making sure seniors can get to their health care supports, hospitals, doctors, etc.; mental health; long-term care; and data collection for improvement. These are all very important investments as we move forward. In our platform, we also talked about 7,500 more doctors and nurses to help limit wait times, and the new Canada mental health transfers to the provinces.

  (1335)  

    The economy was very strong before we entered the pandemic and is showing clear signs of strength as we move out of this COVID challenge. Let us keep in mind that, as the Prime Minister said, we will have Canadians' backs as long as we need to.
    Let us not forget that eight out of 10 dollars spent to support Canadians through COVID has come from the federal government. We are in much better shape, because of the economy prior to COVID, to be able to support Canadians. Let us also remind ourselves that 108% of the pre-COVID jobs have returned today. That is outstanding.
    We have seen fewer bankruptcies in the last two years than we have seen in the past, because our government has been there to support Canadians. We have seen an increase of 13% in international trade, again showing our economy can handle challenges.
    The opposition talks about inflation. Inflation is a global challenge. Let us look at inflation in the G7. We have inflation of 4.5%, while other countries have inflation of 5.3% and 5.4% and the United States has inflation of 7%. Because of our government's good investments, we have seen our debt interest payments drop last year by $4 billion.
    I will finish off by saying that we still have our AAA credit rating, which is pretty impressive.
    On the investment front, how do we ensure we continue to prosper as we move forward? There are two main areas: child care and housing. When it comes to child care, we have committed to a Canada-wide early learning and child care plan, and that is exactly what we are delivering.
    We are being asked for promises and about what we are actually doing. Nine provinces and three territories have signed on, which is very impressive. The main objective of this program is to lower the cost for families, ensure a high-quality program, ensure educators are receiving a salary that is acceptable and, which is extremely important, get more Canadians working. More women will be able to join the workforce, and that is a key economic driver. Let us not forget about that.
    On the housing front, we talked in the throne speech about more flexibility for first-time homebuyers and about the rent-to-own program. Some of these strategies, such as co-op housing, existed in the past. These are key programs that can be successful in lowering costs for first-time homebuyers.
    Let me talk about our national housing strategy and our rapid housing funding. I made two announcements lately in my riding. One was in the Eastern Shore region, where we are investing over $3 million for 12 units in women's shelters. We also announced eight units in the Preston region of my riding for African Nova Scotians, with another $3-million investment from the federal government. Those are important investments.
    This is not just happening in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook; it is happening right across the country. As MPs, it is our job to articulate to our constituents the areas where we can support them and then of course advocate on their behalf.
    On the climate file, during the election it was clear our government had the strongest environmental plan to deliver for Canadians. It is not just about protecting our environment, it is also about growing our economy with renewable energy, green energy, investing in retrofits and a net-zero electricity future. Those are key components.
    I want to finish off by talking about veterans. We made some announcements for veterans. We continue to support veterans, as we have done since 2015. One announcement made in my riding was about the well-being fund receiving $1 million through the Strongest Family Institute to help veterans with mental health e-services in order to help those living with anxiety and depression, etc. There is also investment in housing for rent supplements and wraparound services for veterans, as well as rapid housing.
    Our government is focused on Canadians.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely right that COVID is the most important issue that Canadians are facing right now. We have been in this pandemic for nearly two years. Canada does have among the highest vaccination rates in the world, which is excellent to see. However, as we are seeing, Canadians are growing more and more tired and they do not see any hope of a pathway out of this.
    I am asking that the hon. member illuminate for Canadians the metrics and the timeline that the government will use to begin relaxing federal restrictions in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, there is no question that all Canadians are tired and feeling the challenge through COVID, but we have to stay with the science and our data.
    I know that we are close to moving to the next step, which is very important, but let us keep one thing in mind. People are saying “the Liberal government”, but 90% of the restrictions are under provincial jurisdiction. It is the premiers of each province who are actually placing the restrictions and let me remind the House that most of those are Conservative premiers.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the latest Speech from the Throne continues to commit to the equality of both official languages, French and English. However, since the coming into force of the Official Languages Act, we know the opposite has been achieved, namely, there has been a growing assimilation of francophone and Acadian communities. In Quebec, there is a decline in French.
    The action the federal government is taking in Quebec under the Official Languages Act primarily seeks to strengthen English, but this cannot go on, as we have seen in recent examples involving CN and Air Canada. The Official Languages Act does not ensure that French is respected in Quebec and does not ensure that it is the common language. What is more, we see that the official languages modernization legislation will prevent Quebec from applying Bill 101 to all federally regulated businesses.
    Does my colleague not think it is time to overhaul the Official Languages Act and allow Quebec to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses?
    Madam Speaker, I am very happy that my colleague asked that question because it is very important. I thank him.
    I agree with him that the Official Languages Act assented to in 1988 has improved the situation but that it did not really go as far as it should have.
    I can assure the member that the new legislation we will be introducing in the coming weeks will respond to the expectations of Canadians, whether they are Quebeckers, Acadian francophones or francophiles across the country. I can assure the member that this legislation will bring about major improvement, that it will have teeth and that we will be able to advance the cause of both official languages in Canada by ensuring their equality, as it should.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, in his role as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, I would like to ask the member about a piece of legislation that my predecessor in London—Fanshawe, but also my colleague the hon. member for North Island—Powell River, introduced as Bill C-221, which would ultimately eliminate the archaic and sexist gold-digger clause for spouses of veterans who marry after the age of 60. This is something that we have been working on for a very long time.
    I would like to know the member's position on that and whether his government and he as parliamentary secretary would be in support of that bill.

  (1345)  

    Madam Speaker, I know it has been mentioned on several occasions by the NDP, and I agree that we need to do some research around that. We have done quite a bit of work. We have invested over $100 million to try to identify how many survivors of veterans there are. Also, we have to keep in mind that it does not just include veterans, but the public service and others that also have that same clause, so the conversation is a little bigger than that. We are on task and working toward finding a solution to support our veterans.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am rising on the traditional unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.
    I would also like to thank the voters of Lac-Saint-Louis for sending me back to the nation's capital to be their voice and represent them once again and also help them in their dealings with the federal government. I would like to acknowledge that my staff play a very important role in that regard. They do a magnificent job that reflects well on my office and me as a parliamentarian and a candidate in the election.
    I am particularly pleased to be standing here today, January 31, on the Hill in person.
    I remember that around 2002 or 2003 I was on the Hill not as an elected representative, but in another capacity. One of the central debates at the time was whether we should ratify the Kyoto protocol. At the time, there was concern about global warming, but there was an even greater debate on whether climate change existed. Fortunately, more and more voices acknowledged that climate change is real, but at the time we were focusing a lot on global warming and not so much on climate change and unstable climate. We were not focusing so much on the impacts of unstable climate, flood and drought. Dr. Jim Bruce, an expert in water policy in this country, who was already honing in on one of the truths about climate change, which has become a self-evident truth: the link between climate change and water, between climate change and drought and flooding.
    To quote Dr. Jim Bruce, “If climate change is a shark, water is its teeth. Like a fish that doesn’t notice the shark until it feels its sharp bite, humans will first feel the effects of climate change through water.” In other words, a climate crisis is a water crisis. Dr. Jim Bruce was the first director of Environment Canada's Centre for Inland Waters and he, along with a handful of other renowned Canadian water experts at Environment Canada at the time, were very much pioneers in this area. I speak of people like Frank Quinn and Ralph Pentland. Ralph Pentland was a director in water planning and management at Environment Canada for 13 years and helped negotiate many of the Canada-U.S. agreements and federal-provincial agreements around water. He was the primary author of the 1987 federal water policy.
    If ever we need proof of a causal link between climate change and water security, recent history has obliged. In the last decade, Alberta has seen massive flooding in places like Calgary, while the Fort McMurray wildfires were themselves a manifestation of drought. In B.C. this past summer, a heat dome killed more than 600 people and caused mass evacuations. Excess heat melted mountain snow and ice, causing record flooding, the melting of permafrost and the collapsing of roads in the north. In the south, water evaporated too quickly as mountain glaciers melted, leading to insufficient water supplies and rising food prices as livestock herds were culled due to lack of water and feed, an example of non-money supply-related inflation.
    Of course, we saw the disastrous results of excessive rain in British Columbia, which brings me to the topic of atmospheric rivers. An atmospheric river is a large narrow stream of water vapour that travels through the sky, can stretch 1,600 kilometres long and more than 640 kilometres wide and, on average, carries an amount of water equivalent to 25 Mississippi rivers. According to a 2013 report co-produced by B.C.'s environment ministry, atmospheric rivers typically form in eight oceanic regions around the world, some closer to continental coasts than others. One of those regions is just off North America's western coast and can produce between one dozen to two dozen such rivers in the sky per year. As the rivers cross from ocean to land, particularly into mountainous regions like the B.C. coast, the water vapour condenses into precipitation, sometimes dumping a month's worth of rain or snow in a matter of days.

  (1350)  

    This brings me to Dr. John Pomeroy from the University of Saskatchewan, a hydrologist, Canada research chair in water resources and climate change, and associate director of the Global Water Futures program, the largest university-led water research program in the world. It is right here in Canada, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Dr. Pomeroy has been dedicated to developing better flood forecasting computer models and bringing these models into disaster warning systems. He is convinced that we need to “build state-of-the art water prediction and management systems” and that doing so requires federal leadership. More specifically, we need a national system of flood prediction inspired by, but not necessarily identical to, what exists in the U.S. I say not identical to because we are a different kind of federation with different jurisdictional realities and considerations.
    I agree with Dr. Pomeroy. We need to develop federally managed models in collaboration with the provinces and universities that focus on river basins for use by the provinces, cities, first nations and industrial users like hydroelectric utilities.
    In 2013, according to Dr. Pomeroy, there were already test models in Europe able to suggest a large flood would hit Calgary on the precise day it did. This prediction was made two weeks before the flood happened. Much like in Alberta, B.C. was unable to correctly forecast that this year’s floods would be major ones until roads were already washed out and casualties had occurred. The Americans apparently did much better with their system. Global Water Futures will be working on improving the U.S. system in a major collaboration now being developed. Global Water Futures has the science and technical capability to build a national flood forecasting system here in Canada, with the help of the provinces, municipalities and indigenous communities.
    This bring me to the throne speech. As I said at the very beginning, the climate crisis is a water crisis. We will need infrastructure to adapt to the impacts of climate change on water, infrastructure like dams and reservoirs that can hold water when it arrives too early in the spring until the agricultural season starts, when the water is actually needed for irrigation. The throne speech commits the government to creating Canada’s first-ever national climate adaptation strategy and to establishing the Canada water agency as a locus of freshwater expertise and policy coordination.
     The throne speech needs to be seen in juxtaposition with water-related Liberal platform commitments. The platform committed that a re-elected Liberal government would “complete our work with provinces and territories to develop flood maps for higher-risk areas in the next three years.” It is vital that this work be done by governments rather than by private sector insurance companies, which obviously have a different interest. The platform also committed our re-elected Liberal government to create a “nation-wide flood ready portal so that Canadians have the information they need to make decisions on where and how to build their homes and communities, and how they can protect their homes and communities from flood risk.”
     In the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private companies like ClimateCheck have flood-risk maps, where a user plugs in an address and gets a flood-risk assessment. We will need flood and drought protection infrastructure, but also insurance. CBC’s Marketplace says, “six to 10 per cent of Canadian homes are currently uninsurable due to flooding and that estimate could go up as more insurance companies update their risk assessments to account for the rising threat of climate change.” That is why the Liberal platform committed a re-elected Liberal government to creating a “low-cost national flood insurance program to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and don’t have adequate insurance protection.”
    In conclusion, our government is committed not only to combatting climate change, but also to preparing for and protecting against the impacts of climate change, which, as Dr. Bruce said, are manifested in the water cycle.

  (1355)  

    Madam Speaker, in my riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South, we are, of course, on Lake Ontario. In 2019 and 2017 we had severe flooding issues.
    What investment has the government made to protect those people? Spoiler alert: It is none.
    Madam Speaker, that is precisely why we needed a national climate adaptation strategy. However, I will mention that billions of dollars have been invested in infrastructure, and that work obviously has to occur with the provinces to identify where the work needs to be done.
    Our government is there to invest in infrastructure. We have been there to invest in infrastructure for a number of years, and we will continue to do so as per the throne speech.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising such an important topic. Along the Detroit River is a piece of property owned by the port of Windsor called Ojibway Shores. It has 130 endangered species and is part of the ecosystem that is crucial for fighting climate change. It also has water, and the clean water aspect along the Great Lakes is significant.
    The government's policy over the last six years has been for the city of Windsor taxpayers and residents to pay for this property, which costs up to $4 million to $6 million. We had to fight to stop it from being bulldozed, and the Liberals have put in place a CEO with friendly Liberal connections and a board of directors with friendly Liberal connections. Still to this day, we cannot get that transferred to Environment Canada to be protected. Part of the shoreline is eroding and going away. It is very important for flood mitigation, and the member has noted the importance of a water strategy, as the intake systems for the Great Lakes and many cities are along this tributary system.
    Why do the city of Windsor residents have to pay millions of dollars for land they already own, and why, at the same time, are we preventing a national urban park from coming to fruition? Why is it the Liberal policy to pay for land the city residents already own?
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the granular nature of the question, which is focused on the member's riding. My riding is also on a water body, on the St. Lawrence River. Actually, it is located where the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa River and the Rivière des Prairies converge. Of course, I know about projects in my area.
    I believe that in Windsor, work is being done with Transport Canada and Environment Canada. However, I would also draw attention to the fact that in the last budget, we committed to invest not only in physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and so on, but also in natural infrastructure. I am hoping that this money will help communities like the member's to withstand the effects of flooding caused by climate change.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    In the spring, in response to the Quebec government's Bill 96, the Bloc Québécois moved a motion calling on the House to recognize that French is the only official language of the Quebec nation.
    My hon. colleague abstained from the vote that day. I imagine he had something else to do. Today, I would like to give him the opportunity to tell all of Canada whether he believes that Quebec is a nation.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for his question.
    I would like to point out that I was in the House in 2006 or 2007 when we voted on the motion that Quebec is a nation. I voted in favour of that motion because it stated that Quebec is a nation within Canada.
    Unfortunately, that is not how the motion moved by the Bloc Québécois was worded. I do not know why, but that wording was not used.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1400)  

[English]

Fred Arsenault

    Madam Speaker, last week my friend and World War II veteran Mr. Fred Arsenault passed away in Toronto at the age of 101. A member of the Cape Breton Highlanders, Fred fought in campaigns across Europe, including in the battles of Ortona and Monte Cassino in Italy and in the liberation of the Netherlands. In one battle, Fred was buried alive by a shell blast but soldiered on with his comrades. For Fred's 100th birthday, his son took to social media to ask for 100 birthday cards for his dad. Fred received over 120,000 from across the globe, and the family continues to receive more. Fred would make the annual pilgrimage to Ottawa for the national Remembrance Day ceremony for as long as he could.
    Fred's family asked me to pass on a message that we, as a nation, never forget the sacrifice of their father and of Canada's greatest generation, that we cherish the time we have left with those who wore the uniform of our nation with pride and honour, and that we visit them and listen to their stories, lest we ever forget what they endured for Canada and all Canadians.
    I thank Fred. He can stand easy; his watch has ended.

Lunar New Year

    Madam Speaker, tomorrow, Canadians of East Asian descent will gather with family and friends to celebrate the lunar new year and welcome the year of the tiger. Symbolizing energy, enthusiasm, passion and positivity, the tiger will bring important virtues to support Canada's pandemic recovery. Over the past year, Canadians of East Asian descent have worked on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. In Scarborough North, organizations like the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto have hosted vaccine clinics, held forums to combat anti-Asian hate and handed out PPE and meals to those in need.
    Allow me this opportunity to recognize the CCC's founding chairman, Dr. Ming-Tat Cheung, who was recently awarded the Chinese Peace Prize for his humanitarian service. As Canadians, let us all continue to show care and compassion for one another in the months ahead.

[Translation]

    I wish everyone a very happy lunar new year.
    [Member spoke in Cantonese]

[English]

Canadian Oil and Gas Industry

    Mr. Speaker, $500 billion is the amount the oil and gas industry has contributed to Canadian governments in tax revenue over the past 20 years. Canadians have spent the same amount of money, half a trillion dollars, importing oil at world prices from foreign suppliers over the past 30 years without any meaningful contribution to Canadian tax revenues.
    When I hear the word “subsidized” being applied to Canada's oil and gas industry, it makes me wonder. “Subsidized” and half a trillion dollars in contributions do not reconcile. Surely, no informed Canadian would repeat such a nonsensical narrative. When false narratives marginalize this contribution, we need to ask, “How do we replace $500 billion?”
    Canadians enjoy a great standard of living. Our environmental protection and our social programs are the envy of the world. What makes that possible? It is $500 billion from our responsible Canadian oil and gas sector.

Desmond Tutu

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour the extraordinary life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
    Archbishop Tutu was a shining light for hope and justice around the world. He risked his life to champion human rights and advocate for peace and racial equality in his beloved South Africa, and was instrumental in the fight to end apartheid. As chair of the truth and reconciliation commission in a post-apartheid South Africa, he compassionately led the healing process after the traumatic set of events that tore his country apart. He laughed, cried, loved and led his people to a better place. He taught us to forgive but never to forget. Among his many awards was the Nobel Prize for peace in 1984.
    On a personal note, as we mark the end of Tamil Heritage Month in Canada, I want to recognize and thank Archbishop Tutu for his unwavering support of Tamils' right to self-determination and his solidarity toward all oppressed peoples around the world. I thank Archbishop Tutu.

[Translation]

Quebec's National Suicide Prevention Week

    Mr. Speaker, it is Suicide Prevention Week, and it is more important than ever to talk about suicide.
    We are going through a difficult time together, and talking about suicide saves lives. We are all at our wits' end: isolated seniors, people living alone, our children who are making so many sacrifices, our caregivers. However, we must remember that we are in this together, that we are not alone. Lockdown measures will begin to ease this week. We will get through yet another winter.
    However, if people do not know how they are going make it, if they see no end to this, then they need to speak up, talk to their loved ones and ask for help. They will be surprised at how much of a difference it makes, how much they are loved and just how much support is available to those who need it. If they talk about it, they will be heard.

  (1405)  

Wishes for the New Year

    Mr. Speaker, today is our first day of the year in the House of Commons.
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my colleagues in the House and all Canadians a happy 2022, in which we are able to work together and make progress. I hope that this year will mark the end of the pandemic.
    I also want to welcome all the newcomers for whom settling in Canada is a dream come true. I want to thank them for bringing their talents here and for participating in the development of our society.
    Finally, I would be remiss if I did not announce that a very special little Acadian girl was born in this new year. She is already making her first-time grandparents, my wife and me, very proud.
    I want to congratulate her parents, Marie‑Claude and Dominik, on the birth of their first child. I hope that little Maëve Savoie‑Arseneault, and all the children in Canada, will have a bright future in this great country. They, too, will one day have the opportunity to create the Canada of their dreams.

[English]

Kids on Track

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the outstanding community service of my friend, Linda Roussel. In 1992, Linda founded Kids on Track, a community organization in Edmonton West that provides hope, direction and ongoing support for children and their parents.
     Starting with just three families and 17 children at their first meeting, the program has grown to serve over 25,000 children over the years. They mentor at-risk children, host summer camps for the less privileged, serve gala holiday dinners for their families and host Mother's Day teas for single moms.
    Linda recently retired from being the executive director after three decades of service to families. Thanks to her service, thousands and thousands of stronger children and stronger families, who were once at risk, are now thriving.
    I send my thanks to Linda for her service to so many thousands of families. I hope she enjoys her retirement.

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, it has been nearly two years since we entered a global pandemic, and Covid has affected Canadians in countless ways. It has affected our economy, and it has completely changed the way that we socialize. It has affected our well-being, our health and, of course, our mental health.

[Translation]

    Now, more than ever, Canadians feel as if they are overwhelmed and can barely cope. That is completely normal given the circumstances.
    I want Canadians to know that they are not alone. Sometimes it is hard to admit that we need help, but it is important to realize that everyone goes through tough times.

[English]

    If someone is currently experiencing a low and is struggling with their mental health, they need to keep in mind that these feelings are temporary. Better days are coming. Warmer, more enjoyable days are coming. I ask them to please reach out to a trusted person and ask for help.
    If they do not feel ready to open up to someone they know, I ask them to please make use of the new PocketWell app, which was launched just a couple of weeks ago. Through this app, people can regularly check in with themselves to see how they are doing and gain access to free counselling.
    Together we will get through this.

[Translation]

Lunar New Year

    Mr. Speaker, xin nian kuai le. Sun nien fai lok. Happy New Year.
    On February 1, Canadians of Chinese and Asian origin will celebrate the lunar new year.

[English]

    In Asian tradition, we are now entering the Year of the Tiger. The tiger is known for its raw power and impressive bravery. This is meant to inspire energy and positivity, qualities we can all embrace as we enter this new year.

  (1410)  

    Since the beginning of Canada's history, Canadians of Asian origin have been instrumental in building the Canada we know and love today. These contributions continue today in so many ways in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Quebec and Moose Jaw. Let us highlight the important legacy of over a dozen Chinatowns across Canada. Let us do everything we can to make sure these vibrant neighbourhoods and symbols of multiculturalism are preserved and strongly supported.
    On the eve of the year of the tiger, as families gather together, I wish everyone positivity and prosperity.

Heroism

    Mr. Speaker, it was January 19. The sun was shining, but the temperature was a chilly -18°C in the community of Springhill in my great riding of Cumberland—Colchester. Someone saw a little black cat outside in their backyard and went out to greet their furry little friend.
     What started as an innocent encounter turned into a heroic event when 13-year-old Nolan Smith and his 19-year-old brother Nicholas acted quickly to save an elderly neighbour who had fallen outside in her backyard. Nolan was the first to notice the distressed woman lying next door.
    He alerted his brother, and they both went to her aid. They helped her into her home and proceeded to warm her up. They called 911, and she was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that she had broken her pelvis. She is currently recovering in the hospital, and we wish her a speedy recovery.
    If it were not for the efforts of these brave young men, who knows what may have transpired. Their decisive actions saved her life. Please join me in thanking these heroes. They represent the spirit of Cumberland—Colchester.

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all MP constituent staff across the country, including my team in Nickel Belt, for helping older adults. There are many benefits in support of the financial well-being of people who are aging. That is why the MP for Sudbury and I hosted an online information session last week for local older adults. I want to thank Barb, Sherri and Bob, as well as the entire Greater Sudbury advisory panel, representing over 110 organizations, and the hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

[Translation]

    I want to thank the many community volunteers who help the elderly, including the senior citizen clubs of Azilda, Chelmsford, Hanmer, Onaping Falls, Kearney, Gogama, St. Charles and West Nipissing, the Lions and Richelieu clubs, and the legion branches that support veterans. I would also like to thank the three Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Wahnapitae and Mattagami first nations.
    It is important to reach out to isolated seniors. I ask all Canadians to seek out and support a senior, and I say thank you, merci, meegwetch.

[English]

First Nations Housing

    Mr. Speaker, last week a report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal linked substandard housing in remote first nation to health problems in children. Overcrowding, poor ventilation, structural damage and mould are far too common in housing on first nations in northwestern Ontario. Children living in these homes were found to have high rates of respiratory illnesses and hospitalizations.
    This is something indigenous leaders and community residents have been saying for years. It is why Canada's Conservatives have been advocating for immediate action to end this housing crisis. Today, I want to echo the reports and calls to increase the housing stock and improve existing homes in first nations, as well as the calls for action on food insecurity, unsafe drinking water and the need to create economic opportunities on reserve.
    Indigenous communities have been neglected and underfunded for far too long. The government must take action now.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

    Mr. Speaker, I watched with horror on Saturday when a very few protestors disrespected and desecrated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I condemn these actions unequivocally. The people who did this missed a clear point, which is that the unknown soldier, and all of those who served this country, served so we could have the very freedoms we enjoy today, such as the right to peaceful assembly and the right to free speech.
    That is why the use of Nazi and other racialized symbolism is so repugnant. Our soldiers fought against those things, both literally and metaphorically, so we as Canadians could be free, and that freedom was abused by the actions of a few.
     I visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier this morning, not just to remember, and not just to give thanks, but also to beg for forgiveness for any time that we as Canadians have forgotten that freedom was not free. I thank those who laid flowers at the tomb and at the Terry Fox statue, and I say shame on those who desecrated sacred places this weekend.

  (1415)  

Ukraine

    Mr. Speaker, the situation on Ukraine's eastern border is simply unacceptable. Let us be clear. Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is the aggressor here. It is Russia that invaded Crimea and illegally annexed it in 2014. It is Russia that invaded the Donbass and has been waging war against Ukraine for the past eight years. It is Russia that is engaging in cyber warfare and has unilaterally amassed over 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border. This Russian troop buildup must stop.
     Canada will remain steadfast in its support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. This means protecting Ukraine's unfettered right to seek access to NATO, defend its own borders and build its economy. This is why two of our cabinet ministers have been to Kyiv in the past 14 days. This is why we have delivered over $120 million in sovereign loans to Ukraine, and why we have not only renewed but also expanded Operation Unifier. Any further Russian invasion into Ukrainian territory will be met with economic sanctions. We will not waver in our defence of Ukraine.
     Slava Ukraini.

Jamie Burgess

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to an extraordinary individual who left us suddenly on January 10th while working from home. Jamie Burgess was my legislative assistant and the first employee I hired when I was elected to the House in 2008.
    Jamie was a mainstay on Parliament Hill for over 20 years, having worked for the likes of former NDP MPs Iain Angus, Rod Murphy and Bill Blaikie. His aptitude and experience always left us in awe. Jamie was opinionated, generous and eager to share his knowledge and talent. His colleagues, friends and family appreciated his openness, dedication, quirky sense of humour and his passion for life.
    We are all devastated by his passing, and our hearts go out to his family, whom he cherished so much. On behalf of my team and NDP colleagues, I extend our deepest condolences to the love of his life, Kim, and his sons Owen and Darcy, whom he was so proud of.
    Being the political junkie he was, there is no doubt he is watching from above while sitting in a boat fishing and playing his guitar.
    Rest in peace, my friend. We sure do miss you. Tight lines.

[Translation]

Michel Allard

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to honour a great historian and educator who has made it his lifelong mission to teach us the history of the Laurentians.
    Michel Allard was born in Montreal, just across from La Fontaine Park. Today he is 80 years old and still very active. He has lived in my riding, Laurentides—Labelle, for 44 years. He has written more than 30 books on history, and he also taught for 37 years.
    Since his retirement, he has continued to tell our history through numerous television programs broadcast on NousTV, Cogeco's community television station. In his most recent series, La mémoire du passé, he told the history of 32 municipalities, including Val‑David, La Minerve, Saint‑Sauveur, Saint‑Adèle and Mont‑Tremblant. These programs are great at bringing history to life for today's audiences.
    Mr. Allard, I thank you for your work and wish you a long life.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, under this Liberal Prime Minister, the price of everything has gone up. The cost of basic necessities for life in Canada, such as home heating, groceries and gas, have all skyrocketed at rates we have not seen in 30 years.
    While the Liberals have been blaming everything under the sun for soaring prices, they only have to look in the mirror to find the culprit. When the Liberals formed government, the average price of a home was $434,500. Now it is $811,700, which is over 85% inflation in just six years under this Liberal Prime Minister. Now we have the second-most inflated housing bubble in the world.
    People in my community are feeling the pinch. Young people, working-class Canadians and the poor have all had their dreams of home ownership stripped away by a silver-spoon-fed and out-of-touch Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has made life unaffordable, so when one empties their bank account buying groceries or gas, remember that it is just inflation.

  (1420)  

National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia

    Mr. Speaker, five years ago, an act of hate took the lives of Ibrahima, Mamadou, Khaled, Aboubaker, Abdelkrim and Azzeddine in Quebec City. Seven months ago, another act of hate took the lives of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario.
    On Saturday, the first National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia, we recognize that prejudice is the link between these attacks and more. When everyday Islamophobia is normalized, it builds and eventually spills over into violence. Our government continues to take action in combatting discrimination, including by bringing governments and communities together for a national summit on Islamophobia and committing to the important work ahead.
    Hate and prejudice are poisons that threaten the fabric of our society. Every one of us must stand against hate wherever and however it may appear without hesitation, because we know the consequences if we do not.

[Translation]

    I remember.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

COVID-19 Protest

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by sending best wishes to the Prime Minister and his children, who are dealing with COVID-19. As someone with a family that had COVID in the home, I wish them a speedy recovery.
    Canadian manufacturers, the Federation of Independent Business, the Chamber of Commerce, the Conservative opposition and thousands of truckers for over a month have proposed solutions to the trucking shortage in Canada and the supply chain crisis. The Prime Minister has ignored this crisis, and, even worse, he calls people names who are raising these very issues.
    My question is simple: Will the Prime Minister move past the division and agree to meet with some of the truckers impacted by his federal regulations?
    Mr. Speaker, the science is very clear: The best way through this pandemic is to get people vaccinated. That is how we end the disruptions to our supply chains that are caused by this global pandemic. That is how we get back to the things we love to do. That is why we have been unequivocal on the need to get vaccinated and, great news, Canadians across the country stepped up. Almost 90% of Canadians are vaccinated, including almost 90% of truckers, because we know that the biggest disruption to our supply chains happens when people catch COVID. That is why vaccinations are the way through it, and we are going to continue to be unequivocal about that.
    Mr. Speaker, when they ignore and divide a country when it needs to be united, that is not leadership.
    The Prime Minister knows that the voices of a few do not represent the millions of Canadians who are worried. Millions of Canadians, over two years, have seen their lives upended, their children's mental health impacted, businesses fail and the nation stretched in our social fabric. Vaccines are critically important, but as the Prime Minister's own COVID diagnosis demonstrates after three vaccinations, we have to use all tools to get our life back to normal. When is life getting back to normal?
    Mr. Speaker, I know and all Canadians know how frustrating it is to have to deal with this pandemic for two years now and ongoing. However, Canadians also have never been so united in stepping up. Almost 90% of Canadians have been vaccinated, and that means they are protecting our front-line health workers and they are making sure that we are getting through this the best we possibly can. It is that unity of Canadians, that nature that we have of being there for each other, that has been on such display through this pandemic.
    Yes, there are people who are still hesitant, and yes, there are people—

  (1425)  

    The Leader of the Opposition.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, for over a month now, Canadian manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the Conservative opposition and thousands of Canadians have been calling for fairer policies to address the trucker shortage and supply chain issues. The pandemic has changed after two years with the vaccines, rapid tests and other tools.
    When will the Prime Minister finally use every available tool to ensure we can return to a normal life?
    Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees that we want to be done with COVID-19. We are all tired of COVID-19.
    That is why we are using the best tool we have, which is vaccination. That is why we have been absolutely clear that people need to get vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect health care workers, and to get the economy and supply chains back where they need to be.
    We are also using other tools, but the best tool is vaccination. That is what we are focusing on, unlike the Conservative Party.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine is an important friend and ally to Canada. Our friends in Ukraine are facing the risk of a Russian invasion as Russian troops gather at their border. Ukrainians have seen this story before in Crimea. Other NATO allies are delivering the military aid that Ukraine is requesting to help defend themselves. Why will the Liberal government not answer the call from our friends in Ukraine?
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have done in standing up for Ukraine unequivocally, and not just right now. We have been doing so for the past many years. In my numerous conversations with President Zelenskyy and in the engagements that our ministers have had in the region, we have been listening to Ukraine in terms of what it most needs. Obviously, we need to continue the extraordinary trading mission that Canadians have been part of for many years, and even increase it. Also, we continue to deliver the aid, whether it is monetary or military, that Ukrainians need.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine is an important friend and ally to Canada. Our friends in Ukraine are facing the risk of a Russian invasion at their border. Other NATO allies are delivering the military aid that Ukraine is requesting. We must help Ukraine to avoid a repeat of what happened in Crimea.
    Why will the Liberal government not answer the call from Ukraine?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we are answering the call of our Ukrainian friends. We will always stand with them against Russian aggression.
    That is why we have extended and expanded the united mission to train Ukrainian troops. That is why we sent $120 million in aid and economic support. That is why we are helping in many different ways, as per the requests of President Zelenskyy and others in our frequent exchanges.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, you would have to be wilfully blind to not see that the situation is deteriorating. Ottawa's downtown is paralyzed, bridges are closed, members who have been elected by millions of people are having trouble getting to Parliament.
    Thousands of people, mainly truckers, but also others with other concerns, are protesting against these measures. There is one problem: They are protesting against the measures that will end this pandemic.
    This is an impasse, and we cannot afford this kind of impasse in these times. What will the government do to deal with this crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, of course we will always support the freedom to protest and to disagree with government policies, but we will also take a very firm stand against violence, hatred and intolerance, which, unfortunately, we also saw in this protest.
    The police are there to protect people to the extent possible. However, what we need is for the protesters to go home. Their message has been heard. We will continue to use vaccines to help people.

COVID-19 Protest

    Mr. Speaker, protesters are not the only ones who are fed up. People, in general, have had it. Health care workers are exhausted. People who spent yet another holiday season alone are fed up. The economic sectors that see no end in sight are fed up.
    People are at the end of their rope, and the anger and frustration we are seeing is understandable. Everyone acknowledges that hate is not the solution, but none of this is getting us anywhere. How, exactly, is the government going to get us out of this crisis?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, we will continue to do what we have been doing all along. We will do whatever it takes to support Canadians for as long as we need to. We will secure vaccines, provide rapid tests, send billions of dollars to the provinces for their health care systems, and support the workers, seniors and families who need it.
    Our government has been there and has provided $8 out of every $10 of pandemic spending. We will continue to offer solutions, primarily in the form of vaccines, to get us through the pandemic.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, we saw some really hateful and disturbing images coming out of the convoy in Ottawa this past weekend.
    We saw the Nazi flag being flown, the Confederate flag being flown, and instead of denouncing and making it clear that this type of hate has no place in Canada, the Leader of the Opposition and his Conservative MPs left the door open to this type of hate in Canada.
    What is the Prime Minister going to do to tackle the rise of online hate so we can build a better future for our kids?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the NDP for bringing up this important issue. Obviously, like him, we vigorously condemn the hatred and the intolerance that we have seen in the streets of Ottawa over the past number of days.
    We know all Canadians are frustrated, all Canadians are tired of this pandemic, but the vast majority of Canadians know that listening to science, getting vaccinated and continuing to be there for each other with respect and openness is the best and really only way through this pandemic. That is what we will stay focused on.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we saw some hateful images from the convoy this weekend. Instead of denouncing them, the leader of the official opposition and his Conservative MPs left the door open for this kind of hate.
    What would the Prime Minister do to address the rise of hate on social media and build a better future for our children?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is going to stand in solidarity with the vast majority of Canadians who have made sacrifices and are fed up with COVID-19, but who continue to respect and be there for each other, for health care workers and for those who provide essential services. These individuals are showing us the way through this pandemic, and they are the ones we will focus on.
    The Conservative Party has some thinking to do about the irresponsible leadership it is showing these days.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Ukraine has requested lethal defensive weapons from the government. Many of our allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic, have granted this request and have supplied lethal defensive weapons.
    The Prime Minister has refused this request. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, when I was in Ukraine a week ago, President Zelenskyy had one ask. It was to make sure that we would help by offering a sovereign loan to the Ukraine government to deal with economic instability. Three days later, we provided $120-million in sovereign loans.
    What I heard from the national guard on site in Ukraine was that they needed more support in terms of military training. A week later, we extended and expanded Operation Unifier.
    Mr. Speaker, diplomacy not backed by credible threats of the use of military force is nothing more than empty talk and rhetoric. Canada should be joining our other democratic allies and working in a multilateral fashion with our NATO partners to grant Ukraine's request and provide lethal defensive weapons.
    When will the government quit being so naive about its foreign policy and ensure that it counters the threats coming from authoritarian regimes such as Russia?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are steadfast in supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Let me quote NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. He said, “Canada is one of the lead countries in NATO when it comes to providing support for Ukraine.” He also said, “There are not many other countries at the equal level of efforts, doing as much as Canada.”
    We will continue to work with our NATO allies and make sure the situation de-escalates.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the events taking place right now at the Russia-Ukraine border are disturbing to all Canadians who care about world peace.
    Unfortunately, Canada's reputation has been tarnished. In today's edition of La Presse, a diplomat posted abroad was extremely critical of the Canadian government's actions. She described its approach as amateurish, bordering on complacent, and said it is not taking this seriously.
    When will the Canadian government and the Prime Minister take the current tragic situation in Ukraine seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives. On the contrary, we hope to have the support of all members of the House regarding what is happening right now in Ukraine.
    We need to send Russia a strong message. Russia is currently the aggressor, and we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
    That is why we are putting an enormous amount of energy into the various diplomatic channels, whether through the United States, NATO or the Normandy format, which also includes Germany and France.
    Mr. Speaker, that is just more talk. What Ukrainians want is real, concrete action.
    According to La Presse, the diplomat who is currently working abroad for Canada said that the government is relying more on its illusory soft power, an approach based almost exclusively on image and communications rather than real action. The diplomat said that Canada continues to lecture everyone by boasting about our Canadian values ad nauseam and falling back on diplomacy by press release.
    Ukrainians want more than press releases. Ukrainians want real, concrete, effective action from Canada.
    When will the Prime Minister take the crisis seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservative Party, especially since it made massive cuts to all missions abroad when it was in power.
    In the circumstances, we are showing leadership on this issue. I went to Ukraine just this week, my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, is there now, and we are working with the Ukrainian government. We are also there to tell the Russian government that if it invades Ukraine again, there will be severe consequences.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Russians are ready for war with Ukraine. They have moved over 100,000 troops surrounding Ukraine's borders. The Russians have moved blood supplies to their field hospitals. The Liberals have pulled back our Operation Unifier trainers west of the Dnipro River.
    Could the minister tell Parliament if that means the government considers a diplomatic solution unlikely, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine is now imminent?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously we take the threat of a further Russian invasion very seriously. That is why there are two tacks to stop Russia from further invading Ukraine. The first is the diplomatic one. That is why we are working with NATO and the U.S., and with France and Germany in the Normandy format. Also, we are working on deterrence. That is why we extended and expanded Operation Unifier. We have also prepared an array of economic sanctions against Russia should it further invade.
    Mr. Speaker, Ukraine will likely be the scene of a large conventional ground war. We have watched the Russian military buildup in Belarus, Russia, the Donbass and Crimea since the Russian Zapad exercises last September. The government had months to prepare a robust military aid package to Ukraine.
    When will the Minister of National Defence provide the lethal weapons that Ukraine needs now?
    Mr. Speaker, as mentioned before, we have already answered the call on the part of the Ukrainian government by expanding and extending Operation Unifier. I was there a week ago and met with the Canadian Armed Forces members on site, who right now come from Valcartier, in Quebec City. I saw on the ground how thankful the national guard is to Canadians for making sure that we are providing the right supports to the military and the national guard. We have trained more than 30,000 national guard members and armed forces in Ukraine since 2014.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, people are worn out by COVID‑19. We are all fed up with omicron, but we cannot give up yet. What we need now is one big push to end the pandemic once and for all. What omicron showed us is that the pandemic will not be over and done with until the whole world is vaccinated. Global vaccination is the only way out of this crisis.
    What is the government doing to speed up vaccination in other countries so that we never have to spend another winter in lockdown?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising that important question.
    He is absolutely right. COVID‑19 will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere. That is why, from day one of the COVID‑19 crisis, Canada was one of the leading instigators behind COVAX, which enabled us early on to make rapid investments not only in vaccine development, but also in delivering and supporting the delivery of tens of millions of vaccine doses. That was the right thing to do.
    Mr. Speaker, people are going out and getting their third doses. They are doing their part.
    What people want to hear is not that there are enough vaccines for a possible fourth dose. What they want to hear is that the pandemic is over. For that to happen, everyone around the world needs to be vaccinated. Two weeks ago, I heard the government celebrate the fact that there were one billion doses in the COVAX program, but there are more than three billion people in the world who still have not had their first dose.
    Does the government understand that half measures no longer cut it?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic does not recognize borders and will only be overcome through coordinated global action. This is why Canada stepped up. We are committed to donating the equivalent of at least 200 million COVID-19 vaccines. We are committed to supporting equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. This includes therapeutics and diagnostics as well.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is pretty clear that time is running out.
    If 70% of the world's population is not vaccinated within the next six months, there could be a new wave. We could end up in another crisis. Time is of the essence. Last month, the vice president of human development at the World Bank said: “At this stage, it is not obvious that this objective will be achieved”.
    Global vaccination is headed for failure. What is Canada doing right now to right the ship and ensure that we end this pandemic for good?
    I would like the answer to that, please.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as we stated, Canada is stepping up to provide vaccines for the global community. That is why our government committed $2.6 billion to the COVID-19 response, which includes $1.3 billion for the ACT-Accelerator, of which $545 million is for COVAX. Over $740 million is for humanitarian and development assistance. I could not agree more with the member that all of us in the world need to be vaccinated for all of us to be safe.

COVID-19 Protest

    Mr. Speaker, all Canadians want to see a leader who will work to heal rifts, not further divide. They want to see a leader who will listen, even to those voices he might not agree with. They want to see a leader who will work to understand, not dismiss, name-call and gaslight. Contrary to some, there are thousands of passionate, patriotic and peaceful Canadians on the Hill right now who just want to be heard.
    Will the Prime Minister extend an olive branch and will he listen?
    Mr. Speaker, I think we all support free speech in the House, but there's a big difference between free speech and inciting hatred, inciting violence and desecrating war memorials, and I would hope my hon. colleague would denounce that in the clearest terms. Those radical leaders are not really interested in free speech because they want to pretend as though vaccines do not work. On this side of the House, we know vaccines work. That is the gateway to freedom, and this government will do everything that we can to get there.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, of course we all condemn hateful and destructive acts by a few at any protest. Whether it is beheading the statue of Queen Victoria in Manitoba, tearing down the statue of Sir John A. in Montreal or putting flags on Terry Fox, whether it is burning churches or wearing blackface, whether it is Hezbollah flags or Nazi flags, we all condemn it, but I am not talking about that.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, let us be abundantly clear that those individuals who have called for the incitement of violence to overthrow this government, who have caused significant disruption by flagrantly ignoring public health care measures that have forced shops and businesses to close, and who have desecrated war memorials are not interested in free speech. They are not interested in discourse, and they are certainly not interested in advancing our way out of this pandemic.
    This government will always listen to those who want to have a robust debate about public health care measures, but we have to draw a bright line between those who are interested in that debate and those who are not.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister is not telling the truth and it is shameful to see what he is doing, accusing Canadians of being—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, order. I think both sides are very truthful in saying what they say. Whether they agree with it or not is another story, but calling someone a name or accusing them of something is not permitted in the House.
    I will let the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar start from the top, and I am sure she will ask the question correctly.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize. The minister is misleading Canadians. I do get very defensive of Canadians who are outside today: patriotic, peace-loving Canadians who are called misogynists and racists by the Prime Minister.
    Again I will ask the Prime Minister, who, may I remind the House, wore blackface more times than he can remember, to apologize to the peace-loving, patriotic Canadians who are outside right now just asking to be heard. Will he speak to them?
    Mr. Speaker, I think this is a moment when we have to acknowledge that the protests that have occurred have made their point. I would ask the member opposite to encourage the people who are outside to continue in a way that is peaceful, that moves beyond what we have seen. Ottawa is being paralyzed right now. We are seeing imagery that is not appropriate—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I am going to ask the hon. government House leader to hold on for a second. I am sure the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar wants to hear an answer to the question she asked.
    I will let the hon. government House leader continue from where he left off.
    I will just say this, Mr. Speaker. I was in opposition for about seven years and there were times when I was overheated in my rhetoric. There were moments when I got too carried away with what I believed passionately at the time. There is a moment where we need to de-escalate. There is a moment where we need to bring it down and I am asking the members opposite, instead of going outside with these protests, to—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. member for North Island—Powell River.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are struggling. The cost of groceries is going up. Gas and heating are getting more and more expensive, and the price of housing is soaring. In a recent poll, 60% of Canadians said they were having difficulty feeding their families. Liberals are not making it better for Canadians, especially vulnerable seniors, who are being told they must wait months longer for their GIS payment.
    When will the government help hard-working Canadians who are struggling every day just to get by?
    Mr. Speaker, we absolutely appreciate that there are many Canadians, particularly vulnerable seniors, facing affordability challenges. In the fall economic update, we presented our government's plan to support those seniors with a one-time payment. We will be there for those seniors who need our support.
    I want to thank and congratulate all the Canadians who are behind Canada's very robust economic recovery from the COVID recession.

  (1450)  

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, the problem with that answer, just like the problem with the minister's announcement in the fall economic statement, is that it does not in any way do justice to the urgency of those seniors. They have lost their home now because the government decided to claw back their guaranteed income supplement, and they are not getting any relief.
    They are out on the street and they are freezing in the cold. We have heard reports of people who have already lost their lives. The fact of the matter is that waiting until May is not good enough. It is why we joined with Campaign 2000 to call for an emergency payment for those people, and also to make sure there is a fund to get them housed right away, not in May, so when—
    The hon. Minister of Seniors.
    Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree how challenging this pandemic has been for seniors, particularly the most vulnerable.
    That is why we are working extremely hard to strengthen income security for seniors, including through the increases to the GIS, which have helped over 900,000 low-income seniors. We also know that seniors who access income supports did so because they needed it during this crisis. They should not be penalized for it now, and that is why we are making a major investment through a one-time payment for those seniors affected. We have always been there for seniors, and we will always continue to have their backs.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Mississauga—Malton are worried about the rising cost of housing. They want to see federal leadership to create more affordable housing. Unfortunately, while our government delivers that leadership through the national housing strategy, Conservative Party members continued to repeat disinformation about a non-existent home equity tax in right-wing media last week.
    Can the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion please set the record straight again in the House on the Conservative disinformation about a home equity tax?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga—Malton for his advocacy on affordable housing. I want to welcome the opportunity to remind those spreading misinformation that our government is not considering charging capital gains or surtaxes on primary residences. Any suggestion otherwise, including from the Conservative Party, is absolutely false.
    While they continue to make up claims, we will focus on making sure each and every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, just because the Prime Minister dressed up in racist costumes so many times he cannot remember them all does not mean every single Liberal is a racist. Just because the Prime Minister tried to help a corporation avoid prosecution after it stole from some of Africa's poorest people does not mean all Liberals are racist. Just because about a half-dozen Liberal MPs who are racial minorities have complained about his treatment of them does not mean all Liberals are racist. That is guilt by association.
    Why does the Prime Minister not opt instead for personal responsibility?
    Mr. Speaker, I hope I have been clear in all of my comments that I respect the hon. colleagues on the other side, just as I believe they respect the colleagues that are on this side, the work we do and the people we are. There are times in our political discourse where we see things that are abhorrent, and all I would ask is that we call it out equally.
    When I saw swastikas on the street and when I saw what had happened, I felt it was time to move on. What I would ask is this: Instead of trying to inflame the situation, let us de-escalate the situation and work together to find a way to stop the lockdown of this city, so that citizens can move forward with their lives and any legitimate grievances can be fairly heard.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, I agree. We should always call out evil symbols and the individuals who are individually responsible for putting them up. I remember a January 2018 event at which the Prime Minister stared straight at a swastika and, instead of condemning it, said, “Thank you for coming, sir.” We on this side condemn evil symbols whenever they are used.
    I respect the member. I just wish his government would respect the thousands of people who are fighting for their livelihoods right now and trying to do their best to get this country back on track.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are in a time of global crisis, a time when so many are being adversely affected by this pandemic, and our hearts go out to every one of them. The way in which we have discourse for each other will define this moment for all of us.
    Those who are peacefully protesting have made their point. It is time to go home and do it a different way than continuing to lock down this city and continuing to do what is happening. It is deeply disturbing for Canadians to see the way this city and our symbols are being treated.
    I would ask the Conservatives to also join with us to ask that they go home. Let us do this responsibly. Let us have responsible dialogue. I respect the member opposite. Let us do this the right way.
    Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Liberals have shown no respect for the people. This country right now is like a raw nerve, and the Prime Minister is jumping up and down on it again and again with his inflammatory rhetoric. We are talking about people who have 14-year-old kids who are suicidal after two years of lockdowns.
    I just spoke to a waitress whose business was wiped out by lockdowns. I am talking to truckers, who have been delivering foods to our plates throughout this. These are the very people, honest, hard-working and shirt off their backs types of people, that the Prime Minister keeps attacking.
    Mr. Speaker, again, I encourage the member to just think, as he is talking about de-escalating and having civil discourse, about his tone and how he is approaching this issue.
    This is a time that is incredibly delicate. We are in a moment in which a raw nerve is being touched. How we talk to each other and how we deal with one another—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    I am going to interrupt the hon. government House leader and just wait until everything calms down.
    I will let him start from the top, because I did not have a chance to hear it all. I am sure the hon. member for Carleton, who asked a question, wants to hear the answer. We are just not hearing anything because of the noise.
    The hon. government House leader, please proceed.
    Mr. Speaker, I have an instinct, and that instinct is that Canadians expect us today, when they are seeing what has happened over this weekend, to watch the dialogue in this chamber. They expect us to be as respectful as possible, to dial down our rhetoric and our language, to engage with one another and to find an off-ramp from the escalation that has occurred. This is not healthy.
    In a healthy democracy, we have respectful debates that do not involve some of the things we have seen. All I am asking for is for us to engage in a constructive way. If we could attempt in this place and at this hour to be equal to that, I hope we can move forward on that basis.
    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more. I was at an overpass as the truckers went by, and what I saw were cheerful, patriotic and optimistic Canadians who want their freedom back and want their livelihoods back. They are standing up for their fellow Canadians: the 60% of families who fear they cannot feed themselves, the 28-year-old kid living in mom's basement because he cannot afford a home and the small businessman wiped out by endless lockdowns by incompetent politicians.
    These are the people who are standing up and fighting for their livelihoods and their freedom. Why will the government not finally stand with them?
    Mr. Speaker, I have a fundamental difference, and that is that I do not believe my enemy is across the aisle. I believe that our enemy is this pandemic and that we need to end this pandemic, get everybody vaccinated, and move forward in such a way that the concerns he is talking about, being affected by a global crisis, mean that they are supported.
    This is a time of collective trauma. It requires us to be compassionate, to work with one another and to understand that our common enemy is the virus and not one another.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Beijing is this Friday. The entire world will be celebrating the glory of China, even as the country commits genocide against Uighurs, its own people.
    We cannot blame the athletes. It was this government, not them, that decided the games could go ahead in China.
    Will this government at least muster the courage to finally acknowledge that what is happening in China is real and that the Uighur people are being subjected to genocide?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. This is my first time rising in the House, and I appreciate the opportunity to greet my constituents in Brome—Missisquoi.
    The Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are responsible for deciding whether we will participate in the Olympic Games. Our athletes, the two committees and other countries decided to send athletes to the Olympics in China.
    Our government has been clear and consistent. We have always maintained that we support democracy and human rights. That is why, in co-operation with our allies, we will not be sending an official delegation—

  (1500)  

    Order. The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
    Mr. Speaker, it is strange that Canada is participating in a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, yet this government is unable to tell us why. It does not have the courage to tell us that it is because China is committing genocide against the Uighur people. It does not want any investigations into it. It did not want the games to be delayed or moved. It has agreed to a diplomatic boycott, but it refuses to tell us why.
    Is this Canada's diplomatic role?
    Is this what the Prime Minister had in mind when he told the world that “Canada is back”?
    Mr. Speaker, we take the allegations of genocide against the Uighur people in China very seriously. That is why we have always expressed these concerns, that is why we are not sending political representatives to the Beijing Olympics, which begin on Friday, and that is also why we have asked the UN human rights committee to investigate the matter.
    I would therefore like to correct my colleague, who says that we are not showing leadership and are not investigating the issue. On the contrary, we want to get to the bottom of this extremely concerning issue.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, last month the Associate Minister of Finance said, when it came to payroll tax hikes, that businesses “can afford this”.
    How completely out of touch is this comment with small businesses? Considering the government went ahead with these tax hikes despite 30-year, record-high inflation rates, we have to assume the government believes that businesses can afford these as well.
    Could the minister tell us how historically high inflation rates have to be before the government stops increasing taxes on small businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to supporting small businesses, it is a bit rich of the Conservatives to presume to offer our government any advice at all. After all, before Christmas, when the omicron wave was rising, it was the Conservatives who opposed Bill C-2, a bill that included a lockdown insurance policy for small businesses and Canadians.
     The Conservatives voted against it. Thank goodness they failed. Otherwise, our small businesses would have no support today.

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, record inflation, coupled with the government's brutal GIS clawback, has financially crippled many of Canada's hard-working seniors, forced to spend their golden years in the labour market just to make ends meet.
    Our vulnerable seniors need to know that Ottawa is listening. That is why the Conservative opposition called on the government to reverse the CPP tax hike.
     When will the government stand up, rise up, lean in to Canada's hard-working seniors and help them meet their basic—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, seniors have worked all their lives, and they deserve to feel safe and financially secure later in their life.
    That is why the government is delivering on its promise to increase the OAS by 10% for those 75 and older, strengthening the support for all Canadians later in life. Since 2015, we have restored the age of eligibility for OAS to 65. We have increased the GIS for single seniors and strengthened the CPP. During the pandemic we provided direct and immediate support for seniors. As always, we will be there for them.
    Mr. Speaker, with inflation reaching a 30-year high, the government continues to hurt Canadians with its poor economic policies.
    Nearly 60% of people are finding it difficult to feed their families. If that is not bad enough, the government raised its CPP tax on Canadians, an extra $700 coming out of families' paycheques. This may mean nothing to this Prime Minister, but it matters to everybody else.
    When will the government reverse its CPP tax and stop penalizing hard-working families?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to irresponsibly perpetuate a false economic narrative and talk down the Canadian economy. The reality is that Canada is resilient and our economy is robustly recovering from the COVID recession. In Q3 our GDP grew by 5.4%. That was beating the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and Australia. We have recovered 108% of jobs lost to the pandemic, compared to just 84% in the U.S., and we had in November a trade surplus at a 13-year high.

[Translation]

Climate Change

    Mr. Speaker, in December, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced a consultation process on our new climate commitments. The minister also confirmed that he would table Canada's 2030 emissions reduction plan by the end of March 2022.
    Can the minister tell the House how our government will build a strong foundation for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Kings—Hants on his continuing efforts to speak French in the House.
    I would like to remind him that over the past few years, our government has implemented more than 100 measures and invested $100 billion in the fight against climate change.
    As he mentioned, I will be tabling a plan in the House that will include many new commitments in the fight against climate change, including a net-zero emitting electricity grid by 2035, a zero-emissions act also by 2035, and a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector.

[English]

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, many in Canada's labour force are senior citizens struggling to get by. Many seniors are forced to work beyond the retirement age through no fault of their own. The CPP tax hike has added insult to injury to our seniors who have worked hard their whole lives. The out-of-control inflation has many working seniors feeling like retirement is a dream they will never have the ability to experience.
    When will the government reverse the CPP hikes for our seniors?
    Mr. Speaker, since 2015 our government has been strengthening retirement support for seniors today and for future retirees. We have built a strong social net and pension system that all Canadians can be proud of. We have enhanced the CPP and the OAS and raised GIS for single seniors. That has helped 900,000 low-income single seniors. We are helping by investing in services, such as $70 million for the New Horizons for Seniors program and billions for home care.
    We are going to make sure that seniors, now and into the future, have all the supports they need.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, CMHC is a federal agency funded by the housing minister using taxpayer dollars. Recently, CMHC funded a study that determined the best course of action was to tax Canadian homeowners more. Why should Canadians be concerned about this? It is because the government continues to float the idea of adding more taxes on Canadian homeowners. On this side of the House, we are 100% against this tax.
    Why does the minister continue to support the idea of adding more taxes on Canadian homeowners?
    Mr. Speaker, this gives me another opportunity to once again state categorically that our government is not considering charging capital gains or surtaxes on primary residences. We have said this time and time again in the House of Commons and in the public sphere. While the party opposite continues to engage in misinformation, we are busy being focused on the work of ensuring that each and every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home.

[Translation]

COVID‑19 Economic Measures

    Mr. Speaker, we want our businesses to believe in the future of our country. We want entrepreneurs to invest and keep running their businesses.
    Programs were created to help them during the crisis, but some entrepreneurs do not have access to that financial assistance because they started their businesses in 2020. They are part of the economic recovery, but there is no help for them.
    What will the Minister of Finance do to support entrepreneurs and save their businesses?

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I must once again point out that the Conservative Party has been very hypocritical about Canada's small and medium-sized businesses.
    Before Christmas, as the omicron wave was ramping up, our government implemented measures to help and support small and medium-sized businesses should new lockdowns become necessary. The Conservatives were against that.
    I am very pleased to be able to tell small and medium-sized businesses that our government succeeded. We supported them despite—
    Order. The member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, we know the vaccine is the best way to put an end to the pandemic and keep our communities safe.

[English]

    Can the Minister of Transport please share with the House the steps our government is taking to safeguard the health of Canadians and Canada's air transportation system?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the public health of our citizens. Leadership requires belief in science. Leadership also requires resolve, and we are resolute to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of Canadians. That is why we have implemented measures, including requiring travellers to be fully vaccinated. Any allegations of violations of our public health measures will be investigated fully by Transport Canada.

COVID-19 Economic Measures

    Mr. Speaker, like many other frontline workers, grocery store workers have put their health at risk to make sure Canadians have been able to get the essentials they need. With COVID-19 cases high, it is absolutely essential that they are treated and compensated fairly for the work that they do.
     Big grocery store chains will not do the right thing on their own and restore the hero pay they had promised. They even take government handouts to pay their rich CEOs. If the Liberals will not stand up for these workers, will they at least guarantee that these fat cats will not continue to get taxpayer-subsidized money, especially when they promised to make this happen? What will the minister do?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for reminding us yet again that COVID has really shown us who the truly essential workers in our economy are, and that very much includes frontline workers in places like grocery stores. Our government is very pleased to have been able to put measures in place throughout COVID to support these workers, including measures like paid sick leave, including government support for people who need to take time off if a loved one is sick and, of course, including the increase to the Canada workers benefit.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, over 400 climate scientists and scholars co-signed a letter calling on the federal government to step back from its plan to introduce another fossil fuel subsidy, a new tax credit for carbon capture and storage. As stated in their letter, despite decades of research, carbon capture is neither economically sound nor proven at scale. This proposal would only divert resources away from proven and cost-effective solutions like renewable energy and electrification.
    Can the minister confirm the government will listen to scientists and scrap this proposed new subsidy?
    Mr. Speaker, we have to look at every possible technology that will help us reduce greenhouse gases. In fact, when it comes to carbon capture and storage, the IPCC itself produced a report a few years ago looking at this very technology, saying that we might have to do it because we will not be able to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to prevent 1.5°C of global warming.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

Health Care Workers

    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been consultations among the parties, and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
    That this House salute the dedication of the health care workers who have been tirelessly on the front lines for 22 months administering vaccines and caring for the patients of COVID-19.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    I hear none. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

    (Motion agreed to)


Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Chief Electoral Officer of Canada

    It is my duty pursuant to section 536 of the Canada Elections Act to table the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada's “Report on the 44th General Election of September 20, 2021”.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a), this report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 115 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

[Translation]

Act Respecting Certain Measures Related to COVID-19

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

[English]

Alexa McDonough

[Tributes]
    Mr. Speaker, I join today from the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit as we gather in the House of Commons of Canada to celebrate the life of our trail-blazing, courageous and compassionate former colleague, Alexa McDonough. Our hearts are with her family and friends and a grateful country.

[Translation]

    Alexa was a true pioneer for women, and held leadership positions in politics by leading the New Democratic Party at the provincial and federal levels for decades. She showed that it was possible to do things differently and still succeed in politics.

[English]

    Yesterday, I talked to my friend Robin Sears, who was the national director of the NDP from 1974 to 1981. He suggested, “It is perhaps important to recall how different was the world that Alexa grew up in than the one we live in today. Alexa's achievements began in community work in the 1970s. They were times of open misogyny in Canada. Women who sought to offer political opinions publicly were subject to broad public disapproval and often attack. There were very few women in any roles in politics.”
     Robin described Alexa as having a personal magic that was based upon empathy and patience. She always had time to reach out and spend time with someone who was hurting. She sensed when someone needed an uplift and a call.
    Halifax Senator Stan Kutcher remembered Alexa as “a whirlwind with a purpose”. He said, “At one overly navel-gazing, endless-debating gathering at the university where I work, on the issues of if and if so, how much and how should the university interact with the community in which it was sited, she crashed the discussion, took the floor and demanded that the institution be active, welcoming and even more reflective in race, sexual orientation and other dimensions of the population of Canada and our province. I was delighted; others, much less so.”
    Alexa and I were both elected to the House of Commons in 1997. I remember fondly how we tried to reconstitute the all-party women's caucus, Alexa gamely trying to work with Deb Grey, in spite of great policy differences, to find issues that we could work on together, including supporting women parliamentarians around the world.
    Last year, Stephen Kimber released his powerful and beautifully written biography, called Alexa!: Changing the Face of Canadian Politics. The book should be compulsory reading for young women across Canada as they could come to know this truly remarkable and inspiring woman.
    I particularly loved the description of Rosemary Brown's advice to Alexa when she had been asked to run for office. Two words: “You should.” I think “you should” would be Alexa's advice to all young women in Canada, whether it is to run or to get involved in politics and making change for the better.
    Alexa McDonough believed and exemplified that if you add women, politics changes for the better. Today we honour the legacy of this tremendous politician, who demonstrated how important it is to our democracy that good and great people run for public office. Alexa will continue to inspire us all.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour and admiration that I rise in this chamber today to highlight the memory, the commitment and the brilliant political career of the late Alexa McDonough, who passed away on January 15.
    First, on behalf of my colleagues and the Conservative Party of Canada, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to her two sons, Justin and Travis, and to Alexa's family and loved ones, as well as to all federal NDP members and those from Nova Scotia's provincial NDP.
    She was known simply as “Alexa” across Canada. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to sit with her in the Nova Scotia legislature while I was an MLA, but I certainly had the great pleasure of getting to know her better through meetings and of course through former colleagues and her great legacy in Nova Scotia. Although we were not of the same political party and possibly would have disagreed on many issues, we would have definitely agreed on important matters for the benefit of all Nova Scotians, as we both cared deeply about the well-being of our fellow citizens, our communities and the needs of our beautiful province.
    When I reflect on Alexa's career, I always remember her deep commitment towards her constituents and her determination, and I will always value an important point that we have in common: The respect for all our fellow MLAs and MPs from all parties while valuing collaborative work for the common good.
    Alexa was very close to people and a visionary all at the same time. Elected leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980, she became the first woman elected to lead a political party in the provincial legislature, which was at a time when there were no washrooms for female MLAs. She became the first woman to lead a major, recognized political party in Canada. After leading Nova Scotia's NDP for 14 years, she led the federal NDP from 1995 to 2003 and then continued to serve in this House of Commons until her retirement in 2008.
    To this day, Alexa remains the only woman in Canadian history to have led both a provincial and a federal party. She has been a pioneer, a distinguished leader and a great source of admiration for women who want to make the great leap into provincial or federal politics. In fact, her strong leadership, dedication and efforts over the years have helped Nova Scotia and all other Atlantic regions shine from coast to coast to coast.
    With the magnitude of Alexa's many accomplishments during her career, it is impossible to summarize her legacy in just one short statement, but here are a couple.
    Although many of us know her through her political work, she has been a force for change since her teens, when she led a youth group to fight the deplorable conditions in Africville, a small urban Black community that was located on the south coast of the Bedford Basin near Halifax. She was a social worker, reporter, teacher and brilliant politician. She fought for health care workers and safety improvements, human rights protections and pay equity. She was also a champion for international development and peace advocacy.
    It is still difficult for many women to enter politics. Alexa's strong advocacy for women's contributions in politics over her entire career, her personal involvement in the social community and her determination in all of her commitments will certainly be remembered and recognized forever as an important gift and a source of inspiration to many women for generations to come.
    In addition to her career as a politician, Alexa also contributed much to the field of social work, her other profession. She worked in community development in Nova Scotia in social services; in social planning with the City of Halifax; as a policy researcher with the Institute of Public Affairs; and as a teacher at the Maritime School of Social Work, now the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University. She will always be remembered as a politician with a tremendous work ethic and as someone who deeply cared about our social workers.
    When I left the Nova Scotia legislature in 2019, there were only 19 women on all sides of the floor, compared to the six that were there when I was first elected back in 2003. Consider that when Alexa was elected, she was the only one.
    Again, regardless of one's political stripe, Alexa's contribution to the political landscape is immeasurable and provided a solid foundation for the involvement of women in politics and for recognition of their contribution.
    I thank Alexa for her contribution and her public service. They have greatly improved the lives of many. She will be deeply missed.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the passing of Alexa McDonough at the age of 77 on January 15 is a great loss for Nova Scotia and Canada. It is an especially great loss for all women who go into politics to improve the conditions of the most vulnerable in our communities.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer my condolences to Alexa McDonough’s family, friends and community. I also send my regards to her political family, the NDP. She was the NDP House leader from 1995 to 2003.
    A social worker by trade and at heart, Alexa McDonough led some major battles, notably to improve access to employment insurance and to fight the temptation to balance public finances on the backs of the most vulnerable workers. This battle is still ongoing today, especially for people making their living from the sea in both our regions and in eastern Quebec.
    She fought against federal cuts to health care under Jean Chrétien’s Liberals. This is yet another fierce battle that is still ongoing for all Quebeckers and Canadians.
    She will be best remembered for fighting for women in politics. Ms. McDonough became the second woman, after Thérèse Casgrain, to be elected leader of a party when she took the reins of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980. The following year, she became the very first female party leader to win an election and sit in the Parliament of Canada. She stood as the only woman and the only member of her party against a political culture hostile to female leadership. That, I will repeat, was in a legislature that did not, I repeat, did not, have women’s washrooms. That says a lot. We have come a long way.
    In 1995, Alexa McDonough entered federal politics, took the reins of a weakened NDP and breathed new life into it, particularly in the Maritimes. In the House of Commons, as in the Nova Scotia legislature, she once again had to stand with determination in a world of men. She had to put up with the usual taunts from her political opponents, the classic ones. They accused her of being too emotional or too soft, and told her to go back to her knitting. As women in politics, we still hear the same idiotic nonsense. However, we hear them less often precisely because of pioneers like Alexa McDonough, who proved not only that we are welcome in politics and that we have a place here in the House, but also that we can speak with a strong and proud voice, the voice of a leader, when defending the interests of the people in our communities.
    Therefore, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to thank Alexa McDonough for her political commitment on behalf of her constituents in the House of Commons. This is how it should be, not the other way round. Also, on behalf of the 103 women elected to the House, I thank her for her caring tenacity in the fight against prejudice.

  (1530)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all New Democrats, we express our condolences to the family and loved ones of Alexa McDonough. This is a loss not just for the New Democrats and her family but for all Canadians.
    As we have heard from so many people, Alexa, as she was known across Canada, was someone who fought her whole life for social justice. She championed women in politics and never backed down from a challenge. She was not afraid to make people uncomfortable. She was not afraid to make clear that for women to have a place in politics they had to fight, and she fought hard. She became the leader of the Nova Scotia NDP 41 years ago today, and in doing so she became the first woman to lead a major political party in Canada. To really understand the impact of that, we need to know that she not only broke barriers for people in a profound way; she broke barriers so that other people could dream big and do the same.
    I think about all the people who have been touched by her leadership and pioneering. I think about the fact that I would not be here today if it were not for people like Alexa McDonough and the fact that she broke barriers. I think not only of the impact she has had on me, but also that which she has had on the lives of so many women.
     I had the honour of meeting Alexa a number of times, particularly when I visited Nova Scotia. The last time was in 2019, when she walked into the room during a campaign event. Although she had already given so much of her life to politics and social justice, she was not done; she still showed up to provide her support, and I saw the people in the room light up when she walked in. The cheer for her was deafening. All of the women who looked up to Alexa saw someone who made them feel like they belonged. That is what Alexa did. She made so many people realize they belonged.
    She was a trailblazer in so many ways. She was ahead of her time in fighting for the inclusion of all people, regardless of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. She was someone who believed fundamentally in the principle that everyone belongs.

[Translation]

    Alexa McDonough dedicated her life to social justice, championed women in politics and never shied away from a challenge. She became the first woman to lead a major political party in Canada. She overcame obstacles so that others could do the same.

[English]

    I want to acknowledge the specific ways and some of the contributions. There are so many and people have laid out some of those contributions already, but I want to talk about some of the specific things that Alexa contributed to Canadians and Nova Scotians. She brought specific awareness to the challenges faced by the Black community in Africville, a community in Nova Scotia, she fought hard to overhaul Halifax's welfare system, she negotiated the first maternity leave in the history of Halifax and she played a pivotal role in advancing women's rightful place in Canadian politics.
    Alexa had the growing determination to build a better Canada and make it more fair for all Canadians. Her story is truly one of dedication, determination and decency. She was a remarkable trailblazer, an activist, a social worker, an educator, a feminist, a politician and, perhaps most significantly, a leader fighting to make life better for people.

[Translation]

    Rest in peace, Alexa. You will be sadly missed.

  (1535)  

[English]

    Rest in power, Alexa. We will miss you.
    Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of being Alexa's friend for four decades. I request unanimous consent to allow me to speak and pay tribute to her legacy.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    An hon. member: Nay.
    The Speaker: I understand there is agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of our former colleague, Alexa McDonough. I now invite hon. members to rise.
    [A moment of silence observed]

Committees of the House

Public Safety and National Security 

[Routine Proceedings]
    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    The first report is in relation to the motion adopted on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, regarding the request for government response to the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security entitled “Systemic Racism in Policing in Canada”, which was presented to the House of Commons on Thursday, June 17, 2021, during the second session of the 43rd Parliament. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    The second report is in relation to the motion adopted on Thursday, December 16, 2021, regarding the proposed regulations amending certain regulations made under the Firearms Act. This is the latest version of the second report.

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the second report later this day.

  (1540)  

National Framework on Cancers Linked to Firefighting Act

    She said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce my bill to Parliament, and thank the member for Kingston and the Islands for seconding it. This legislation would establish a national framework for the prevention and treatment of cancers linked to firefighting and would designate the month of January each year as firefighter cancer awareness month throughout Canada.
    Every day, firefighters put their lives on the line to keep Canadians and our communities safe, but did members know that over 85% of all line-of-duty deaths among firefighters in Canada are caused by occupational cancers or that a firefighter's cancer may or may not be recognized as job-related, depending on where he or she lives?

[Translation]

    Awareness, education and information sharing are critical to the prevention and early detection of cancers linked to firefighting.

[English]

    This bill is about saving lives, and I hope all members of the House will support it.

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

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the second report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in.
    All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
    Okay. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.

[English]

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, it is a bit lengthy today, but I will get through it.
    The following questions will be answered today: Nos. 3, 5 to 7, 10, 15, 19, 23, 28, 30, 33, 39, 41, 42, 57, 60 to 62, 64 to 67, 74, 77, 78, 82, 85, 88 to 90, 93, 94, 96, 102, 114, 116, 117, 119, 135, 138, 141, 150, 155, 157 to 159, 163, 166, 168, 171, 177 to 179, 183, 185, 194, 197, 210, 212, 214, 220, 225, 232, 239, 240, 250, 255, and 261 to 263.

[Text]

Question No. 3—
Mr. Mario Beaulieu:
    With regard to the Department of Canadian Heritage’s official languages funding programs over the past 10 years, broken down by year: (a) what amounts were allocated, broken down by province, by program and by component; and (b) what is the breakdown of the amounts allocated in (a) to the various institutions across the country, broken down by province, by level of education (primary, secondary, post-secondary) and by the institution’s main language of operation (anglophone institutions and francophone institutions)?
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the information can be found using the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/official-languages-bilingualism/publications.html.
    In response to (b), the requested information is not tracked in Canadian Heritage’s financial systems.
Question No. 5—
Ms. Lianne Rood:
    With regard to the government payments made to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): has the government done a value-for-money analysis on its payments to the AIIB, and, if so, what are the details of the analysis, including (i) the date the analysis was completed, (ii) who conducted the analysis, (iii) the findings?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, officials from the Department of Finance actively analyze AIIB activities and represent Canada’s interests through their participation in the institution’s board of directors. This includes reviewing proposals and operations going to the board for approval to ensure that they align with Canadian priorities, such as promoting strong, inclusive economic growth, ensuring environmental protection, tackling climate change, preventing forced labor, supporting gender equality and promoting transparent information disclosure.
Question No. 6—
Ms. Lianne Rood:
    With regard to the government's investments in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): does the government know how many Canadians are employed on projects funded by the AIIB, and, if so, what is the breakdown by project?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, as of November 26, 2021, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, has funded 153 sovereign and non-sovereign projects since its creation. The nationality of the individuals employed by its clients in these projects is not a metric that is tracked by the AIIB.
    The Government of Canada is aware of five Canadian firms having signed contracts as part of the AIIB’s corporate procurement since Canada officially joined the AIIB in March 2018: In 2018, the LEA Consulting Group provided consulting services on an AIIB-financed project; in 2018, the Hatch consultancy firm provided services on an AIIB-financed project; in 2019, the Edmonton-based Insignia Software Corporation provided library management system services to the AIIB; in 2020, EQ Consulting Inc. was awarded two separate contracts by the AIIB for the implementation of market risk tools and order management systems support; in 2021, a joint venture company involving the Canadian company ISW Consulting Limited provided consultancy services on an AIIB-financed project.
    The AIIB’s treasury department has also procured the services of Canadian financial institutions, such as TD, BMO, RBC and Scotiabank, as part of its funding program.
Question No. 7—
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
    With regard to the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by the government: what is the amount per dose that the government paid for the vaccines, broken down by manufacturer (Pfizer, Moderna, etc.)?
Mr. Anthony Housefather (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has committed over $9 billion to procure vaccines and therapeutics and to provide international support.
    As part of our commitment to transparency, Public Services and Procurement Canada has worked with its vaccine suppliers to secure their agreement on publicly releasable versions of Canada’s vaccine contracts. These documents, which were provided to the Standing Committee on Health, fully respect the Access to Information Act, so information that is commercially confidential, such as details on price, or that could impact Canada’s ability to negotiate future contracts, has been protected. This approach allows us to release as much information as possible without compromising our existing agreements or our ability to keep Canadians safe.
    For more information on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-services-procurement/services/procuring-vaccines-covid19.html.
Question No. 10—
Mrs. Karen Vecchio:
    With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and proposed projects in the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London that have been received by the government from the Province of Ontario, but have not been announced: (a) what are the details of all such projects, including the (i) name of the project, (ii) date the application was received, (iii) funding stream the project qualifies for, (iv) current status (approved, rejected, awaiting decision, etc.); (b) for each application that has been approved but not announced, what are the plans related to the announcement, if an announcement is planned; (c) for each application that was rejected, why was it rejected; and (d) for each application where a decision is still pending, what is the anticipated timeframe for when a decision will be made?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the investing in Canada infrastructure program and proposed projects in the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, Infrastructure Canada’s program information management system does not contain information by federal riding. Therefore, information is provided based on the localities within the federal electoral district as defined by Elections Canada.
    Infrastructure Canada does not have any pending applications for infrastructure projects in localities within the electoral district of Elgin—Middlesex—London from the government of the Province of Ontario with regard to the investing in Canada infrastructure program.
    Under the investing in Canada infrastructure program, provinces and territories are responsible for the planning, prioritization, design, financing and administration of infrastructure projects that are cost-shared with Infrastructure Canada, which is a funding partner. Municipalities submit their proposed projects to a province or territory, which prioritizes and forwards eligible projects to Infrastructure Canada for federal due diligence and funding consideration.
    For more information on projects funded under Infrastructure Canada’s contribution programs, please visit http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map-carte/index-eng.html.
Question No. 15—
Mr. Greg McLean:
    With regard to the Clean Fuel Standard and Clean Fuel Regulations: (a) has the government identified the expected sources of renewable fuel expected to be used in transportation fuels under the Clean Fuel Standard; (b) what is the expected carbon intensity of the renewable fuels to be used in transportation fuels; (c) what is the expected net impact on carbon intensity of transportation fuels; and (d) what is the expected net impact on total greenhouse gas emissions?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to (a), the proposed clean fuel regulations, referred hereafter as the proposed regulations, will result in an increased demand for lower carbon intensity, CI, fuels in Canada, which could be met by increased imports and/or increased domestic production. The government has established a $1.5 billion clean fuels fund to support the domestic production of lower CI fuels to help regulated parties come into compliance under the proposed regulations at lower cost and to incent domestic investment. The regulatory impact analysis statement that will accompany the final regulations will include quantitative estimates of the volumes of renewable fuels that will be used to comply with the regulations. These estimates will be based on the final design of the regulations, which are expected to be published in spring 2022.
    With respect to ethanol in gasoline, current levels of domestically produced ethanol are insufficient to meet E15, where gasoline is blended with 15% ethanol at a national level, in Canada in 2030. It is expected that domestic production will increase. It is also possible that Canada could import the additional volumes of ethanol needed.
    With respect to biodiesel and hydrogenation derived renewable diesel, HDRD, in diesel, it is possible that domestic production of biodiesel could meet the additional volumes of lower CI diesel needed. Canada currently produces enough biodiesel domestically to meet domestic demand; however, Canadian producers export a significant portion of domestically produced biodiesel to the United States.
    With respect to (b), the regulatory impact analysis statement that accompanied the proposed regulations used interim national average life-cycle assessment carbon intensity values in the calculation of credits. These life-cycle assessment carbon intensity values were determined based on Canadian data and other life-cycle assessment tools, and were compared to fuel pathways submitted to the regulators in British Columbia and California. The regulatory impact analysis statement that will accompany the final regulations will include quantitative estimates based on the final design of the regulations. The final regulations are expected to be published in spring 2022.
    With respect to (c), the proposed regulations would require liquid fossil fuel primary suppliers, i.e., producers and importers, to reduce the carbon intensity of the liquid fossil fuels they produce and import for use in Canada from 2016 CI levels by 2.4 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule of energy, gCO2e/MJ, in 2022, increasing to 12 gCO2e/MJ in 2030.
    With respect to (d), the clean fuel standard is expected to have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The regulatory impact analysis statement that will accompany the final regulations will include quantitative estimates of GHG emission impacts based on the final design of the regulations. The final regulations are expected to be published in spring 2022.
Question No. 19—
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
    With regard to the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program in the riding of Calgary Shepard: (a) how many applications were received in the riding of Calgary Shepard; (b) of the applications in (a), how many were (i) successful, (ii) denied or rejected; (c) what is the breakdown of the number of successful applicants by type of business (hotel, restaurant, tour operator, etc.); and (d) what is the breakdown of the number of denied or rejected applicants by type of business?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the above noted question, what follows is the response from the CRA. As of the date of the inquiry, that is November 23, 2021, the tourism and hospitality recovery program being referred to in the question had not yet opened for applications. As such, the CRA cannot answer in the manner requested as there are no data available at this time.
Question No. 23—
Mr. Jeremy Patzer:
    With regard to information collected from the former long-gun registry that was abolished in 2012: does the government, including the RCMP, currently have access to any of the information collected from the former registry, and, if so, what specific information and how is it being used?
Ms. Pam Damoff (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Bill C-19, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, all registration records for non-restricted firearms were destroyed in the Canadian firearms information system, CFIS, in 2012, with the exception of Quebec records deleted in 2015.
    However, prior to the destruction of the Quebec records, pursuant to a court order, the RCMP was ordered by the Federal Court to retain a copy of the Quebec non-restricted firearm registration records outside of the Canadian firearms information system, CFIS, in an independent unconnected repository due to litigation with the Office of the Information Commissioner.
    In accordance with the provisions in Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms, a copy was provided to the Quebec Ministry of Public Security. The records need to be retained until no longer required for access to information and privacy, ATIP, purposes. These records are not accessible for any other purpose, and remain offline.
    The Office of the Information Commissioner is currently confirming that there are no outstanding provisions that require the copy to be retained. Once confirmation is received, the copy of the Quebec non-restricted firearm registration records can be destroyed.
Question No. 28—
Ms. Melissa Lantsman:
    With regard to considerations or analysis made by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to move the Embassy of Canada to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, since January 1, 2016: (a) what specific actions were taken by GAC in relation to any considerations or analysis made related to the location of the embassy; (b) what was the specific timeline for each action in (a); (c) what was the final decision regarding whether to move the embassy or not; (d) how many officials were assigned to analyze or give consideration to options related to a possible relocation of the embassy; and (e) have GAC officials conducted any site visits to potential locations in Jerusalem which may be used in the future by GAC, and, if so, what are the details including, the (i) location, (ii) date of the visit, (iii) potential future uses by GAC?
Mr. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers. Global Affairs Canada has not taken any actions related to moving the Embassy of Canada to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On December 6, 2017, the United States announced it would formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. On December 7, 2017, the Prime Minister stated publicly that Canada would not be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv.
Question No. 30—
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
    With regard to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): (a) how many individuals who received CERB had a mailing address outside of Canada; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by the number of individuals in each country; and (c) what is the total value of CERB payments made to individuals with a mailing address outside of Canada?
Mr. Irek Kusmierczyk (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Canada emergency response benefit, CERB, in response to (a), a total of 1,610 individuals who received CERB had a mailing address outside of Canada.
    In response to (b), the breakdown of individuals who received CERB is 60 in Australia, 20 in China, 80 in France, 20 in Germany, 80 in India, 50 in Ireland, 20 in Japan, 20 in New Zealand, 20 in the Philippines, 90 in the United Kingdom, 720 in the United States, and 420 in all other countries.
    Countries with fewer than 20 beneficiaries have been grouped into a single category to ensure confidentiality. All counts are rounded to the nearest 10.
    In response to (c), the total value of CERB payments is $11,906,000. Dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest 1000.
    While CERB required individuals to reside inside Canada to qualify, some individuals may have been out of the country on a temporary basis, or working in Canada on a temporary basis: for example, a student who is temporarily abroad, someone temporarily working abroad, someone who could not make it back into the country due to the pandemic, or a temporary worker who has fallen ill but their home address is in another country.
    This response is derived using data as of late November 2021. These data are updated daily to reflect new beneficiaries, additional or completed benefits, changes in rules, etc. While daily changes typically have a small impact on global counts and payment amounts, it should be noted that this table may not match previously published information. There are a few reasons to explain these differences: For example, cases now have a more recent address in our data holding; cases cover a situation where the CERB benefit was changed to another benefit type; cases where the CERB benefits were reclaimed.
Question No. 33—
Mr. Eric Duncan:
    With regard to executives at the Canadian Infrastructure Bank receiving bonuses during the COVID-19 pandemic: for the 2020-21 fiscal year, how many executives received bonuses in excess of (i) $100,000, (ii) $250,000?
Ms. Jennifer O’Connell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, during the 2020-21 fiscal year, the members of the executive committee of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, CIB, consisted of the following individuals: chief executive officer, who is responsible for strategic business leadership and overall performance of the organization; chief investment officer, who is responsible for advisory and investment strategy and activities, capital deployment and asset management; chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, who is responsible for corporate finance, ERM, legal and compliance, human resources, information technology and administration; group head, corporate affairs, policy and communications, who is responsible for federal government relations, corporate planning, communications, media and stakeholder relations, knowledge and policy research.
    Details of the CIB’s compensation to executives, including the principles and the criteria used in reaching executive compensation decisions for the 2020-21 fiscal year, are disclosed in the CIB’s 2020-21 annual report submitted to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the President of the Treasury Board, pursuant to the Financial Administration Act. Compensation paid for each fiscal year to key management personnel, which includes executives and members of the board of directors, is disclosed in the notes to the annual audited financial statements in the CIB’s annual report. Page 86 of the 2020-21 annual report describes key management personnel compensation for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Salaries and short-term employee benefits were $3,075 million.
    With regard to bonuses received by executives as it pertains to the members of the executive committee listed above, the information constitutes “personal information” as defined in the Privacy Act, and the CIB applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act to withhold information that constitutes personal information.
    The CIB requires individuals with commercial experience and professional skills from the investment and finance industries to develop and execute complex infrastructure projects in partnership with proponents and private sector investors to deliver the best value for public resources. Consistent with these objectives, the CIB’s compensation framework reflects best practices of Crown corporations and other comparable organizations in the financial services and insurance sectors to ensure the compensation rates are fair and appropriate. The CIB does not disclose individual compensation received by the chief executive officer and other executives, due to competitive and privacy considerations. This disclosure complies with the requirements for Crown corporations in the Financial Administration Act and is aligned with the policies, guidelines and directives established by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, including guidance with respect to the preparation of corporate plans and annual reports.
    On June 30, 2021, the CIB provided a response to a motion passed at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities requesting that the CIB file all documents detailing the bonus policies and payment of bonuses to executives and the board of directors since the CIB’s inception.
Question No. 39—
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With respect to the government’s energy policy and its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: (a) how does the government define the term “fossil fuel subsidy” in the context of its commitments in this respect; (b) what level of carbon tax does the government consider necessary for Canada to meet all of its greenhouse gas reduction commitments; and (c) what is the estimated cost to the Canadian economy associated with each of the measures announced by the government at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), while there is no commonly held definition, there has been a general understanding that fossil fuel subsidies encompass price controls, cash subsidies and tax preferences—i.e., concessions from a particular country’s “normal” level of taxation—whether aimed at producers or consumers of fossil fuel. The term “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies also lacks a commonly accepted definition and was not defined in any of the four pairs of G20 peer reviews completed to date. Environment and Climate Change Canada and Finance Canada are working to finalize an assessment framework that will define these terms in the Canadian context.
    In response to (b), there is a clear cost from a changing climate, so it cannot be free to pollute. That is why the Government of Canada introduced a price on carbon pollution across Canada in 2019. Putting a price on carbon pollution reduces emissions and encourages innovation, allowing Canada to meet its economic needs and its environmental goals at the same time. The price on carbon pollution is currently $40 per tonne. It will increase annually until it reaches $170 per tonne in 2030. The increasing price will make cleaner options more affordable and discourage pollution-intensive investments.
    As the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed, the Government of Canada’s carbon pricing system is not a tax.
    Carbon pricing is a key part of the government’s approach to reducing emissions while supporting the transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy. It is not the only measure being used, however, and the government has therefore not projected what carbon price would be needed in the absence of other measures to achieve either its 2030 national determined commitment of 40% to 45% reduction below 2005 levels or its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
    In response to (c), the actions taken by this government to address climate change, including through the strengthened climate plan and the important announcements made at COP26, are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to the harmful effects of climate change while growing our economy. The environment and the economy go hand in hand.
Question No. 41—
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With regard to the AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced in September 2021: (a) on what date did the government become aware of conversations surrounding the creation of AUKUS; (b) was Canada invited to join AUKUS, and, if so, why did it decline the invitation; (c) is the government interested in having Canada join AUKUS; and (d) has the government conducted any assessments on whether the creation of AUKUS had a positive or negative impact on Canada’s national interest, and, if so, what were the findings of the assessment?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers. With respect to parts (a) to (d), a changing world requires adapting and expanding diplomatic engagement. Canada will continue working with key allies and partners, while making deliberate efforts to deepen partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. AUKUS is a partnership that responds to the security needs of Australia, including that country’s decision to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to maximize the range and capabilities of Australia’s submarines. Canada currently has no plans to acquire nuclear submarines, the centerpiece of the arrangement announced on September 15, 2021. As such, Canada has not and does not seek to be directly involved in the nuclear-powered submarine aspects of this trilateral arrangement, nor would the Government of Canada expect to have been consulted on such an arrangement.
    Prior to the announcement of AUKUS, our Australian, United Kingdom and United States counterparts ensured that Canada was briefed on the announcement. Although the announcement occurred prior to the newly appointed ministers, both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence continue to remain in close contact, as always, with all three countries on matters of defence cooperation and with respect to our shared strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
    Security in the Indo-Pacific is a priority that requires close collaboration with a wide range of partners and Canada remains committed to working with our partners and allies on security and stability in the region.
    Canada has expanded its defence and security engagement in the Indo-Pacific region through an enhanced naval presence, growing multilateral contributions and increased bilateral engagement with key partners.
Question No. 42—
Mr. Garnett Genuis:
    With regard to government meetings and representations since January 1, 2020, concerning the situation of Mr. Huseyin Celil: (a) which ministers, Liberal members of Parliament acting on behalf of a minister, political staff, or senior officials have met with Kamila Talendibaeva, and what are the details of each meeting, including (i) the date, (ii) the individuals in attendance, (iii) whether the meeting was virtual or in person; (b) which ministers, Liberal members of Parliament acting on behalf of a minister, political staff, or senior officials have met with any other representatives of Mr. Celil, and what are the details of each meeting, including (i) the date, (ii) the individuals in attendance, (iii) whether the meeting was virtual or in person; (c) has the government highlighted Mr. Celil’s case in conversations or meetings with representatives of the US government or the government of any other allied country and, if so, what are the details of each such instance, including the (i) country, (ii) title of the Canadian representative; (iii) title of the foreign official, (iii) date; and (d) what are the details of all representations which have been made to the Chinese government regarding Mr. Celil’s case by representatives of the Canadian government, including (i) who made these representations, (ii) who were they made to, (iii) the date?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers. While privacy considerations prevent the sharing of details, the Government of Canada has been clear from the beginning that the case of Mr. Huseyincan Celil is of utmost importance and has been actively engaged on his case. Canadian officials in Ottawa and Beijing are in regular contact with Mr. Celil’s family in Canada, as well as their representatives, to provide support.
    Canada has repeatedly raised Mr. Celil’s case with Chinese counterparts at the highest levels. Since his initial detention, Canadian government representatives have made over 170 representations to Chinese officials on Mr. Celil’s behalf and will continue to do so.
Question No. 57—
Mr. Blaine Calkins:
    With regard to the changes outlined in Transport Canada’s Advisory Circular No. 301-001 issue no. 3 respecting the rules regarding Instrument Approach Procedures at non-certified aerodromes: (a) what is the policy objective for this change; (b) how many additional days a year on average, broken down by province, will non-certified aerodromes be inaccessible due to the new instrument approach procedures; (c) what exceptions are being made to ensure that medical evacuation flights will not be impacted by this change; and (d) when is the change expected to come into force?
Hon. Omar Alghabra (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to part (a), aviation safety is a key priority for Transport Canada. The objective of the amendments to Transport Canada’s advisory circular No. 301-001, issue no. 3, respecting the rules regarding instrument approach procedures at non-certified aerodromes is to improve the level of safety offered by instrument approaches in Canada and bring it to par with that of the international community, the Federal Aviation Administration and what is currently offered at certified aerodromes, namely airports, in Canada.
    With respect to part (b), Transport Canada does not track aerodrome accessibility. Rather, it is the responsibility of non-certified aerodrome operators to select the level of service that meets the needs of their communities and, subsequently, it is also their responsibility to meet the aviation safety regulatory requirements associated with the level of service they determine is the best for their community.
    With respect to part (c), the department does not anticipate the need for deviation or exemption for the great majority of aerodromes with the introduction of the new specifications, which will be scalable to individual aerodromes. However, if there is a need for a deviation or exemption, the aerodrome operator, through the sponsor of the instrument approach procedure, may submit an exemption request, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This includes the need for the requesting party to make the demonstration that the exemption is in the public interest and that the proposed mitigations provide an equivalent level of safety to the Canadian aviation regulations it seeks to be exempted from. In this instance, no exemptions are being considered, and this is not the issue at play for the reason noted below.
    The vast majority of airports, namely certified aerodromes, are suitable for most medical evacuations or medevac operations. It is non-certified registered aerodromes, that we are discussing in the context of advisory circular No. 301-001, and not all aerodromes, registered or not, are suitable for every type of operation. In fact, some aerodromes, for example, short and/or obstacles rich runway environment, may not be suitable for fixed wing medevacs or most commercial operations. As mentioned above, it is ultimately the pilot’s responsibility to ensure that the aerodrome they intend to operate at is suitable for the type of aircraft they intend to use and the type of operation they intend to conduct.
    With respect to part (d), Transport Canada’s advisory circular No. 301-001, issue no. 3, was due to come into force on December 31, 2021. However, as noted above, a new version is being developed and is expected to be available before the end of the current fiscal year. Transport Canada will continue to work with key stakeholders, including Nav Canada, on the implementation of the revised advisory circular.
Question No. 60—
Mr. Marty Morantz:
    With regard to the Advisory Panel on Systemic racism, discrimination with a focus on anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, LGBTQ2+ prejudice, gender bias and white supremacy announced by the Minister of National Defence in December 2020: (a) why was focusing on antisemitism and Islamophobia not part of the panel’s mandate; (b) was the decision to exclude antisemitism or Islamophobia intentional or was it a mistake; and (c) if these exclusions were a mistake, what specific action, if any, has the Minister of National Defence taken to correct these errors, and on what date was the action taken?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, there is no room in the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence for sexism, misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, discrimination, harassment or any other conduct that prevents the institution from being a truly welcoming and inclusive organization.
    National Defence understands that culture change within the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence is required to remove toxic behaviours and to create an environment where everyone is respected, valued, and can feel safe to contribute to the best of their ability.
    This is why on December 17, 2020, the Minister of National Defence created an advisory panel as part of National Defence’s efforts to support Indigenous, Black and people of colour, along with the LGBTQ2+ community, and women.
    With respect to parts (a), (b) and (c), the minister’s advisory panel is mandated to identify and address systemic racism and discrimination within the Defence team. Additionally, the advisory panel is tasked with providing advice and recommendations on how to eliminate systemic racism and discrimination, which impacts the recruitment, retention and equality of opportunity for all marginalized and racialized members of the Defence team.
    The panel’s mandate was purposely made broad to ensure that the panel’s scope could be as far-reaching as required. While the panel is designed to focus on anti-indigenous and anti-Black racism, LGBTQ2+ prejudice, gender bias and white supremacy, the panel is not restricted from exploring all forms of racism.
    The exploration of white supremacy allows the panel to address anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as Jewish and Muslim people are common targets of white supremacy and white supremacists. For example, as part of its engagements with internal and external defence stakeholders, panel members have explored the concept of anti-hate, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia within National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. This included holding separate meetings with members of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at the Ontario Tech University, to discuss issues related to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
    The advisory panel has regularly met with the minister’s office to update and brief it on their progress. Due to challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the panel requested and received a short extension to provide its report. The panel delivered its final report and recommendations to address the policies, processes and practices that enable discriminatory behaviours within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to the minister on January 7, 2022.
    The Minister of National Defence is currently reviewing the panel’s report and recommendations and will meet with departmental officials to discuss potential next steps.
    The panel’s report and recommendations will contribute to eliminating harmful attitudes and beliefs that have enabled racism and discrimination, and will create an environment where all feel welcome in the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces.
Question No. 61—
Mr. Marty Morantz:
    With regard to the appointment of the Honourable Irwin Cotler as Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism: (a) what specific government resources have been allocated to the Envoy to ensure he can fulfill his mandate; (b) since his appointment on November 25, 2020, what specific measurable outcomes have been achieved; (c) will there be regular reports tabled by or on behalf of the Envoy outlining his progress and, if so, what are the details; and (d) has office space been allocated to the envoy and, if so, where are the offices located (i.e. city and address)?
Mr. Paul Chiang (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Diversity and Inclusion), Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to (a), Global Affairs Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage have supported the special envoy during the first year through existing departmental resources. The Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion within Global Affairs has dedicated the equivalent of 1.5 full-time equivalents, FTEs, to support the special envoy as he fulfills his international mandate. The multiculturalism and anti-racism branch within the Department of Canadian Heritage has also dedicated the equivalent of 1.5 FTEs to support the special envoy as he fulfills his domestic mandate.
    With respect to (b), key international accomplishments include leading Canada’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and supporting Canada’s delegation to the Malmö International Forum. Key domestic accomplishments to date include co-convening the July 2021 federal summit on anti-Semitism; developing Canada’s pledges on Holocaust remembrance and combatting anti-Semitism, announced by Prime Minister Trudeau at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism, October 2021; the promotion of Holocaust Education Month, November 2021; and domestic outreach. The special envoy’s extensive bilateral efforts included individual meetings with international counterparts and virtual events hosted by Canadian missions. Multilaterally, he worked with partners at the United Nations, European Union and Organization of American States to build awareness and support, including as a panelist at an event co-organized by Canada at the UN Human Rights Council on combatting anti-Semitism.
    With respect to (c), a public report by the special envoy to the government is in the process of being prepared and will be made public once finalized.
    With respect to (d), no office space has been assigned to the Honourable Irwin Cotler, as the government continues to work remotely due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Question No. 62—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to government projections on the impact of inflation: (a) what is the projected impact that inflation will have on the (i) real, (ii) nominal value of income to seniors who receive payments from the Canadian Pension Plan, Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Old Age Security; (b) has the government conducted any analysis on the impact that inflation will have on seniors living on fixed incomes and, if so, what are the details, including the findings of the analysis; (c) what are the government’s projections related to the projected buying power of seniors with (i) current, (ii) projected levels of inflation annually over the duration of the next 10 years; and (d) what inflation levels did the government use in its projections related to (c)?
Hon. Kamal Khera (Minister of Seniors, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to government projections on the impact of inflation, in response to (a), old age security, OAS, and Canada pension plan, CPP, benefits are indexed to inflation. To retain their value over time and to protect the purchasing power of beneficiaries, OAS and CPP benefits are adjusted in accordance with changes in the consumer price index, CPI. The Old Age Security Act and the Canada pension plan also each contain a guarantee ensuring that benefits can never be reduced, even in the event of a decline in the CPI.
    OAS rate increases apply to all benefits under the OAS program. This includes the OAS pension, as well as the income-tested guaranteed income supplement, GIS, and the allowances. Rate increases are calculated four times per year, in January, April, July and October, using the all-items index from the CPI. Quarterly indexation allows for faster adjustment of OAS benefit amounts following cost-of-living increases.
    CPP rate increases are calculated once a year using the CPI all-items index and come into effect each January. Therefore, the value of benefits in pay is fully protected and takes into account year-over-year increases in prices as measured by Statistics Canada.
    OAS and CPP benefit adjustments in accordance with changes in the CPI ensure that the value of benefits seniors receive is fully protected. As a result, seniors can rest assured that there will be no loss in spending power as a result of the higher inflation experienced in late 2021.
    In response to (b), the vast majority of seniors in Canada receive the OAS pension. Low-income OAS pensioners are eligible to receive the GIS. Both of these benefits are adjusted four times a year based on changes in the CPI. Indexation on a quarterly basis allows for faster adjustments to OAS benefits following increases in inflation.
    The Office of the Chief Actuary, OCA, is responsible for providing appropriate checks and balances on the future costs of the different pension plans and social programs that fall under its responsibility, including for the OAS program and the CPP. Every three years, the OCA prepares actuarial reports for both the OAS program and the CPP, which includes analyses of OAS and CPP benefits.
    In response to (c), the OCA provides short- and long-term projections of inflation levels. Their projections are based on Bank of Canada inflation targets, as well as other economic forecasts. In the OCA’s most recent actuarial reports of the OAS program and the CPP, released in 2020 and 2019 respectively, inflation was projected at 2% per year.
    A new actuarial report on the CPP will be tabled in Parliament in fall 2022, which will include new inflation projections.
Question No. 64—
Mr. Tako Van Popta:
    With regard to the Order in Council SOR/2020-96 published on May 1, 2020 whereas it states that “the newly prescribed firearms are primarily designed for military or paramilitary purposes” and as the former Minister of Public Safety has re-stated this in the House of Commons of the over 1,500 newly prohibited firearms on numerous occasions: (a) which specific models that were prohibited on May 1, 2020 or since have been or are still in use by the Canadian Armed Forces; and (b) which specific models prohibited on May 1, 2020 or since are in use by any national military in the world?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, firearms are critical to allowing Canadian Armed Forces members to conduct its operations. All Canadian Armed Forces members operating firearms undergo rigorous training on the safe use of firearms and undergo routine assessments to ensure operational safety measures and protocol are always followed.
    In response to (a), information on prohibited firearms with regard to the Order in Council SOR/2020-96, published on May 1, 2020, in use by the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force can be found listed below.
    Prohibited firearms in use by the Canadian Armed Forces broken down by model are as follows: C7A2, C20, C15.
    For reasons of operational security, information on firearms used by the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command cannot be disclosed.
    In response to (b), National Defence does not keep a centralized record of firearms used by foreign militaries and cannot provide details on the specific firearms used by other militaries.
Question No. 65—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to the rate of inflation in 2021 exceeding the Bank of Canada's annual target, according to the Department of Finance's projections, and Statistics Canada's census metropolitan areas: (a) how high must the benchmark interest rate rise to restore inflation to the Bank of Canada's target for each year between 2022 and 2027 inclusively; (b) by how much will the interest rate increases in (a) directly or indirectly increase the cost of servicing Canada's national debt; (c) for each of Statistics Canada's census metropolitan area, how many potential first time homebuyers will the increase in (a) exclude from Canada's real estate markets between 2022 and 2027 inclusively; and (d) for each of Statistics Canada's census metropolitan area, how much will the increase in (a) increase consumer debt?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, maintaining a stable environment for the prices Canadians pay is the paramount objective in Canada’s monetary policy. The Bank of Canada’s renewed framework will keep it focused on delivering low, stable and predictable inflation in Canada.
    To do so, the Bank raises or lowers its key policy rate to bring economic activity in line with the productive capacity of the economy and to achieve its inflation target. Upon reaching the inflation target and the balance between aggregate demand and the economy’s productive capacity, the interest rate usually eventually settles around what central bankers call the “neutral rate of interest”. This neutral rate is changing over time and has declined over the past 2 decades as a result of low inflation. For Canada, the Bank of Canada estimates currently that this neutral rate lies between 1.75 and 2.75 percent, with a midpoint of 2.25 per cent.
    The Department of Finance surveys private sector economists for their views on the outlook for the Canadian economy when preparing its economic and fiscal projections. The average of private sector economic forecasts has been used as the basis for fiscal planning since budget 1994. This practice introduces an element of independence into the fiscal forecast, and has been supported by international organizations such as the IMF.
    According to the latest average economic forecast presented in the December 2021 “Economic and Fiscal Update”, inflation is expected to return within the 1 to 3 percent inflation control range of the Bank of Canada by 2023 and to have essentially returned to the 2 percent inflation target by 2024. The interest rate on 3-month treasury bills is also expected to return to 2 percent, a level consistent with the Bank of Canada’s policy interest rate having returned to the neutral interest rate. As a result, our public debt charges are projected to increase from about 1 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2021-22 to 1.3 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2026-27. This remains a historically low level, and well below the pre-financial crisis level of 2.1 per cent in 2007-08, despite extraordinary spending due to the pandemic.
Question No. 66—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to the rate of inflation in 2021 exceeding the Bank of Canada's annual target, according to the Department of Finance's projections, and to Statistics Canada's census metropolitan areas: (a) how high must the benchmark interest rate rise to bring annual inflation rates below the Bank of Canada's target to achieve an annual average rate of the Bank of Canada's target over the next five years; (b) by how much will the interest rate increase in (a) directly or indirectly increase the cost of servicing Canada's national debt; (c) for each of Statistics Canada's census metropolitan area, how many potential first time homebuyers will the increase in (a) exclude from Canada's real estate markets over the next five years; and (d) for each of Statistics Canada's census metropolitan area, how much will the increase in (a) increase consumer debt?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, maintaining a stable environment for the prices Canadians pay is the paramount objective in Canada’s monetary policy. The Bank of Canada’s renewed framework will keep it focused on delivering low, stable, and predictable inflation in Canada.
    To do so, the bank raises or lowers its key policy rate to bring economic activity in line with the productive capacity of the economy and achieve its inflation target. Upon reaching the inflation target and the balance between aggregate demand and the economy’s productive capacity, the interest rate usually settles around what central bankers call the “neutral rate of interest”. This neutral rate is changing over time and has declined over the past two decades as a result of low inflation. For Canada, the Bank of Canada estimates currently that this neutral rate lies between 1.75% and 2.75%, with a midpoint of 2.25%.
    The Department of Finance surveys private sector economists on their views on the outlook for the Canadian economy when preparing economic and fiscal projections. The average of private sector economic forecasts has been used as the basis for fiscal planning since budget 1994. This practice introduces an element of independence into the fiscal forecast and has been supported by international organizations such as the IMF.
    According to the latest average economic forecast presented in the December 2021 economic and fiscal update, inflation is expected to return within the 1% to 3% inflation control range of the Bank of Canada by 2023 and to have essentially returned to the 2% inflation target by 2024. The interest rate on the three-month treasury bill is also expected to return to 2%, a level consistent with the Bank of Canada’s policy interest rate having returned to the neutral interest rate. As a result, our public debt charges are projected to increase from about 1% of GDP, in financial year 2021-22, to 1.3% of GDP in financial year 2026-27. This remains a historically low level, and well below the pre-financial crisis level of 2.1% in 2007-08, despite extraordinary spending due to the pandemic.
Question No. 67—
Mr. Pat Kelly:
    With regard to the hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions produced by operations in Canada's oilsands which the Prime Minister announced at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow: (a) how many jobs does the government forecast will be lost or not created for each year between 2021 and 2050, inclusively, due to (i) planned investments in the oil sands which will be cancelled as a result of the announcement, (ii) capital flight as existing producers in the oil sands relocate to other jurisdictions, (iii) reduction in production and investment by existing producers; (b) if the government doesn't have projections or forecasts for (a), why has it not studied these factors; (c) by how much will economic activity decline for each year between 2021 and 2050 in oil and gas producing provinces, as measured by dollar value and percentage of gross domestic product, further to the announcement; and (d) how high of a border adjustment levy must be imposed on imports of foreign-produced energy sources to match the standards to be imposed on Canadian producers further to the announcement?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada recognized that climate change is one of the great challenges of our times and that to thrive in a net-zero world, Canada must do its part to reduce emissions and ensure that the transition to clean growth is just and equitable.
    As these are still early days, the government is seeking the input of the net-zero advisory body on key principles for implementing the emissions targets for oil and gas, and is engaging key stakeholders, including provinces and territories, representatives from the oil and gas industry, non-governmental organizations and our indigenous partners.
    The recently published Alberta Energy Transition study, conducted for Calgary Economic Development and Global Edmonton, notes that the global energy transition could create 170,000 jobs in Alberta alone and contribute $61 billion to the province's gross domestic product, GDP, by 2050.
    The government is also aware of studies such as the one released by TD Economics, including their conclusion that the transition to net zero will create new job opportunities, and their recommended framework for transitioning to clean energy employment.
    The Clean Resource Innovation Network commissioned the Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc. to conduct a study on the level of research and development expenditures in the industry. The study found that the domestic oil patch is the largest spender on clean technology in Canada, accounting for 75 per cent of the $1.4 billion spent annually. The Government of Canada believes that there is enormous opportunity for the industry to help lead Canada’s clean-tech transformation, and will be mindful of that as it works to develop the way forward.
    The government has every expectation that its discussions with key partners such as provinces and territories and other stakeholders will allow it to forge a path to decarbonization in the oil and gas sector to meet Canada’s net-zero-by-2050 target, and not only protect Canadian jobs but grow them in a new era of sustainable prosperity.
Question No. 74—
Mr. Doug Shipley:
    With regard to government analysis on the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the Ontario economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on Ontario's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on Ontario's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government re-iterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low-inflation regime would be detrimental to the economy of Ontario, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of all Canadian provinces and territories.
    Partly as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than the roughly 2% average that has prevailed in recent decades. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world expect that the factors keeping inflation elevated will dissipate after a period of time. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The Bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and the 2% inflation target.
Question No. 77—
Mr. Larry Maguire:
    With regard to government analysis on the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the Manitoba economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on Manitoba's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on Manitoba's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government reiterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low inflation regime would be detrimental to the economy of Manitoba, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of any other Canadian province or territory.
    Admittedly, as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than what we were accustomed to over the last decade. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world view the factors keeping inflation elevated to be temporary. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and are taking actions to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.
Question No. 78—
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
    With regard to government analysis on the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the Alberta economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on Alberta's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on Alberta's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government reiterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low-inflation regime would be detrimental to the Alberta economy, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of any other Canadian province or territory.
    Admittedly, as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than what we were accustomed to over the last decade. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world view the factors keeping inflation elevated to be temporary. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and are taking actions to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.
Question No. 82—
Mrs. Tracy Gray:
    With regard to the government's commitments on the completion of the Okanagan Rail Trail project and the federal Addition to Reserve (ATR) process for the Duck Lake Indian Reserve No. 7 (IR#7): (a) what is the status of the ATR to Duck Lake IR#7 of former CN Rail land; (b) what are the exact areas of negotiation which have and have not been resolved to complete the ATR; (c) how many meetings or briefings has the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations or the Minister of Indigenous Services had regarding the Okanagan Rail Trail project or the ATR to Duck Lake IR#7 since November 20, 2019, and what are the details of each meeting or briefing, including dates; (d) when was the last communication by the government to Duck Lake IR#7 or the Okanagan Indian Band regarding the ATR; and (e) what is the estimated timeline for the completion of the ATR?
Mr. Vance Badawey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, insofar as Indigenous Services Canada, ISC, and its Special Operating Agency of Indian Oil and Gas Canada are concerned, the response is as follows. With regard to part (a), ISC continues to support the Okanagan Indian Band with the addition to the reserve of the former CN Rail corridor lands bisecting Duck Lake Indian Reserve 7. CN Rail is currently the registered owner of the lands in fee simple, and Canada has provided CN with a draft agreement of purchase and sale to support the transfer of lands to Canada for the use and benefit of the band.
    With regard to part (b), the Okanagan Indian Band continues to work to resolve third party interests, including property rights required by telecommunications providers, electrical transmission and distribution services, sewer utility interests and access agreements for on-reserve developments. Canada has offered to support the band with their negotiations; however, assistance has not been requested. The band has the support of legal and technical experts working to satisfy addition-to-reserve, or ATR, requirements.
    With regard to part (c), government officials engage with the Okanagan Indian Band on a biweekly basis in an effort to satisfy remaining ATR requirements for resolution of third-party interests. There have been no meetings or briefings on this project with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations or the Minister of ISC.
    ISC does not attend meetings and does not receive briefings of the Okanagan Indian Band’s participation on the Okanagan rail trail project. Once the ATR is completed, it will be up to the band to determine the intended use of the lands.
    With regard to part (d), the last communication between ISC and the Okanagan Indian Band regarding the ATR was November 19, 2021.
    With regard to part (e), it is difficult to estimate timelines for completion, as completion of the ATR is subject to the readiness and willingness of third party interest holders to negotiate federal replacement interests.
Question No. 85—
Mr. Marc Dalton:
    With regard to government analysis of the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the British Columbia economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on British Columbia's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on British Columbia's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government reiterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low inflation regime would be detrimental to the economy of British Columbia, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of any other Canadian province or territory.
    Admittedly, as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than what we were accustomed to over the last decade. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world view the factors keeping inflation elevated to be temporary. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and are taking actions to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.
Question No. 88—
Mr. Michael Kram:
    With regard to the “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy" plan from Environment and Climate Change Canada, specifically where it states that “the government will also set a national emission reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels from fertilizers”: how was the 30% target decided upon, and when did the department make its final decision?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the target was developed based on scientific literature and internal analysis that points to the potential for optimizing nitrogen fertilizer use with an accompanying reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining or increasing yield. The reduction percentage of 30% was the result of an iterative process weighing various factors and characteristics, such as whether it was ambitious in considering climate goals and international efforts, whether it was technically achievable because technologies and know-how largely exist, whether it was economically feasible as a result of potential cost savings and increased yield through efficiency gains and better management, and whether it was scientifically defensible as supported by research findings relevant to Canadian context.
    The target was finalized in fall 2020 ahead of the release of the “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy" plan.
Question No. 89—
Mr. Michael Kram:
    With regard to the “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” plan from Environment and Climate Change Canada, specifically where it states that “the government will also set a national emission reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels from fertilizers”: has any government department, agency, Crown corporation or government entity conducted a study on how this policy will affect either (i) Canada’s agricultural production, (ii) the food supply in Canada, (iii) Canada’s contribution to the global food supply via exports, and, if so, what were the findings of the studies?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the fertilizer target was developed based on scientific literature and internal analysis that points to the potential for optimizing nitrogen fertilizer use with an accompanying reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining or increasing yield. The reduction percentage of 30% was the result of an iterative process weighing various factors and characteristics, such as whether it was ambitious in considering climate goals and international efforts, whether it was technically achievable because technologies and know-how largely exist, whether it was economically feasible as a result of potential cost savings and increased yield through efficiency gains and better management, and whether it was scientifically defensible as supported by research findings relevant to Canadian context.
Question No. 90—
Mr. Michael Kram:
    With regard to the “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” plan from Environment and Climate Change Canada, specifically where it states that “the government will also set a national emission reduction target of 30% below 2020 levels from fertilizers”: has any government department, agency, Crown corporation or government entity conducted a study on how this policy will affect the Saskatchewan economy regarding (i) reduced crop yields, (ii) fewer jobs in agriculture, including agri-retail, canola crushing plants, farms, and, if so, what were the findings of the studies?
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has not conducted a study regarding the impact of the target on Saskatchewan’s economy.
Question No. 93—
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
    With regard to the Prime Minister’s pledge to lower oil and gas emissions: what is the projected loss of (i) jobs, (ii) federal tax revenue from the province of Alberta and the federal government for the year 2022 as a result of the pledge?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada have initiated engagements with provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, industry, and other Canadians. These discussions will take place over winter and spring 2022 and will help inform the design of the approach to implementing the Prime Minister’s commitment to cap and reduce total emissions from the oil and gas sector to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
    Until the measure has been designed, it is premature to estimate economic impacts.
    Assuming that the measure will include regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, a regulatory impact analysis statement will be prepared and published in the Canada Gazette. A regulatory impact analysis statement provides information regarding the costs and benefits of the regulations as well as other information, such as who will be affected, who was consulted in developing the regulations, and how the government will evaluate and measure the performance of the regulations against objectives.
Question No. 94—
Mr. Kelly McCauley:
    With regard to the 4.7% rise in the Consumer Price Index over the last year and future inflation: (a) what are the government’s estimates on the added increase the rise has had on trucking costs; and (b) what are the government’s estimates and projections for the next 12 months on the increase in food prices as a result of the added trucking costs?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in Canada, consumer price inflation is calculated using the consumer price index, or CPI, which measures the price level for a representative basket of goods and services purchased at the consumer level. This basket of goods and services includes consumer prices for items ranging from groceries to operating a vehicle and taking public transportation. Increases in total inflation means a higher cost of living for consumers. This, in turn, reduces the purchasing power of households, which can lead to reduced real consumer spending and ultimately lower economic activity more broadly.
    The Government of Canada does not estimate the effects of CPI inflation on trucking costs, nor are there CPI data specifically on trucking costs. Moreover, trucking costs are more likely to be linked to commercial or producer prices, as opposed to retail or consumer prices, on which the CPI data are based.
    With regard to (b), the Government of Canada does not have estimates of the impact of trucking costs on projections of consumer prices. As noted above, CPI data on trucking costs are not available. Of note, many other costs influence food prices, including agriculture prices, manufacturing and processing costs, and distribution costs for modes of transportation beyond trucking.
    According to the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, which was released by the Department of Finance Canada on December 14, 2021, private sector economists expect total CPI inflation to be 3.3% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022. By 2023, inflation is expected to return to within the 1% to 3% inflation control range of the Bank of Canada and to have essentially returned to the 2% inflation target by 2024.
Question No. 96—
Mr. Jake Stewart:
    With regard to government analysis on the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the New Brunswick economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on New Brunswick's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on New Brunswick's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government reiterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low inflation regime would be detrimental to the economy of New Brunswick, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of any other Canadian province or territory.
    Admittedly, as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than what we were accustomed to over the last decade. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world view the factors keeping inflation elevated to be temporary. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and are taking actions to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.
Question No. 102—
Mr. Jeremy Patzer:
    With regard to government analysis on the impact of the Bank of Canada's low inflation target on the Saskatchewan economy: (a) has the government done any projections on the impact of maintaining the low inflation target on Saskatchewan's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator; and (b) has the government done any projections on the impact of abandoning the low inflation target on Saskatchewan's economy, and, if so, what are the results of such projections, broken down by economic indicator?
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, policy-makers and the general public readily acknowledge that the best contribution of the Bank of Canada to the well-being of the country is to achieve a low and stable rate of inflation. The government reiterated the importance of price stability in its recent renewal of the monetary policy framework with the Bank of Canada, as it is clear that abandoning the low-inflation regime would be detrimental to the economy of Saskatchewan, just as it would be detrimental to the economy of any other Canadian province or yerritory.
    Admittedly, as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions, inflation is currently higher than what we were accustomed to over the last decade. This is true in Canada and in many other countries around the globe. This is a matter of concern to the Bank of Canada and the government. However, most market observers around the world view the factors keeping inflation elevated to be temporary. As a result, the Bank of Canada expects inflation to ease back and to reach its 2% target by late 2022. The bank and the government remain committed to low and stable inflation and are taking actions to ensure that the temporary forces pushing up prices do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.
Question No. 114—
Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus:
    With regard to government litigation related to non-compliance of contractual obligations, which has been commenced or has been ongoing since January 1, 2020, related to contracts signed by the government: (a) how many contracts are the subject of litigation; and (b) what are the details of each contract involved in the litigation, including the (i) date, (ii) description of the goods or services, including the volume, (iii) final amount, (iv) vendor, (v) country of the vendor, (vi) litigation court?
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Department of Justice undertook an extensive preliminary search in order to determine the number of litigation files and quantity of information that could fall within the scope of the question, as well as the amount of time that would be required to prepare a comprehensive response. It was concluded that producing and validating a comprehensive response to this question would require that hundreds of files be reviewed manually and that relevant information, if any, be extracted on a case-by-case basis, which is not possible in the time allotted and could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
Question No. 116—
Mr. Rick Perkins:
    With regard to the Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement: (a) have any environmental assessments been done on how this agreement has impacted BC salmon stocks since the agreement became effective in July 2019, and, if so, what are the details, including the date the assessments were conducted and the findings; (b) what negative impacts have been found by government studies or assessments related to the agreement and what specific actions has the government taken to reduce or reverse these negative impacts, if any; and (c) does the agreement usurp any Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulations related to the salmon stock and, if so, which regulations?
Mr. Mike Kelloway (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Fraser Salmon Collaborative Management Agreement, the “agreement”, was signed in July 2019 by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, DFO, and the president of the Fraser Salmon Management Council, FSMC, on behalf of 76 signatory first nations from the Fraser River watershed. The agreement was the result of over three years of negotiations and over a decade of foundational work by DFO and first nations, and provides a framework for the co-management of Fraser River salmon between DFO and the FSMC.
    The agreement creates, promotes and supports government-to-government, nation-to-nation structures for collaboration, governance, management and conservation of Fraser River salmon. The agreement provides a framework for tier-2 decision-making by DFO and the FSMC via the Fraser Salmon Management Board, FSMB.
    The FSMB has been meeting monthly since January 2020 to develop the FSMB’s annual work plan, which is the key document that guides the work of the parties and implementation of the agreement in an incremental manner. The FSMB’s inaugural annual work plan for the 2021-22 fiscal year was approved in March 2021, and the parties have been working to advance shared priorities identified in the annual work plan since then.
    Since DFO and the FSMC entered into the agreement, there have been no environmental assessments on British Columbia, B.C., salmon stocks with the specific goal of assessing any impacts of the agreement on B.C. salmon stocks. While there have been no assessments specific to the potential impacts of the agreement, DFO does carry out a wide variety of scientific activities to monitor and assess B.C. salmon stocks on an ongoing basis. These activities include monitoring abundance, harvest rates, ocean survival and other aspects of these salmon populations.
    The agreement is clear that existing authorities of the minister and first nations are not fettered. Sub-section 2.1(b) of the agreement states that the agreement is intended to “support the collaborative exercise by DFO and the Member Nations of their respective decision making authorities, responsibilities, laws and jurisdictions as they relate to Fraser Salmon.” Further, sub-section 2.2(a), item (v), states that the parties agree that the agreement “does not oblige the Parties, including the Minister, the FSMC and the Member Nations, to act in a manner inconsistent with their legislative or regulatory jurisdictions or authorities, or their laws, customs and traditions.” Therefore, no DFO regulations related to salmon stocks are usurped.
Question No. 117—
Ms. Marilyn Gladu:
    With regard to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline and the government’s invocation of the 1977 treaty: (a) what timeline has been conveyed by the United States to Canada regarding when (i) the federal case will be heard, (ii) a final decision is expected; and (b) what is the timeline for any parallel action that the government is taking with regards to negotiations with the United States to ensure that Michigan’s attempt to shut down the pipeline is unsuccessful?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers. With respect to part (a), there are currently two “federal cases” in the U.S. federal District Court for Western Michigan in relation to Line 5. The litigants in both cases are Enbridge and the State of Michigan, not the United States Government, nor the Government of Canada. Therefore, Canada is not in a position to comment on timelines regarding when these cases will be heard or when final decisions are expected to be handed down by the presiding judge.
    With respect to part (b), on October 4, 2021, in response to the State of Michigan’s November 2020 order to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, Canada invoked article IX(1), the negotiation clause of the dispute settlement mechanism of the 1977 Canada-U.S. Transit Pipelines treaty. Invoking dispute settlement triggers formal negotiations under the treaty with the U.S. We have consistently supported the continued, safe operation of Line 5, and raised it with the U.S. government at every level. Line 5 represents a critical part of Canada’s energy infrastructure and economy.
Question No. 119—
Ms. Niki Ashton:
    With regard to requests from First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities for the identification of undocumented and unmarked burial sites, mass graves, cemeteries, or individual remains at former Indian Residential Schools since November 1, 2015, broken down by year and category of request: (a) how many requests for funding have been made; (b) how many requests in (a) were provided for the funding requested; (c) how many requests in (a) were partially funded; (d) how many requests in (a) were denied funding; (e) what is the total amount of funds dedicated to these requests that have not yet been met; (f) what is the average number of days for processing applications in (a); and (g) broken down by date and attendees, with which Nations, communities, or their representatives, have the ministers of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Indigenous Services consulted?
Mr. Jaime Battiste (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, insofar as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada is concerned, the response is as follows: Thousands of children were sent to residential schools and never returned home to their families and communities. The families were often provided with little to no information on the circumstances of their loved ones who had gone missing or had died, or the location of their burial. The loss of children who attended residential schools is unthinkable and we must ensure that all Canadians know how this terrible policy is affecting families and communities today.
    Canada remains committed to supporting survivors, their families and communities through their healing journeys and is supporting communities by providing funding to create a historic record of children who died at residential schools, locate their final resting places, and commemorate and memorialize these lost loved ones.
    On August 10, 2021, the Government of Canada announced additional funding to enhance support for indigenous peoples and communities as they continue to respond to and heal from the intergenerational trauma of residential schools. Approximately $320 million in additional support was dedicated to indigenous-led, survivor-centric and culturally informed initiatives and investments to help indigenous communities respond to and heal from the ongoing impacts of residential schools.
    Of this funding, $83 million supplements existing investments for community-led processes to research and locate burial sites as well as to commemorate and memorialize the children who died at residential schools. These resources are in addition to the funding provided in budget 2019, bringing the Government of Canada's commitment to support this important work to $116.8 million.
    Within the time frame selected, 73 funding requests were received to conduct work at 99 Indian residential school locations. To date, 21 requests have been approved, valued at just over $36 million, which cover work at 19 Indian residential school locations. Seven applications are close to final funding decisions, while 43 applications are still undergoing review or refinements in collaboration with indigenous communities and organizations.
    In August 2021, the program initiated service standards for acknowledging new applications, at 24 hours; for application triage, at 24 hours; and for establishing an initial contact, at 48 hours after acknowledgement. These service standards are being consistently achieved. However, the average timeline to refine and finalize an application can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the proposal. Some projects cover a single site, while others target an entire province or territory. In addition, currently 25 applications have overlapping field investigation requests.
    Indigenous communities wishing to accomplish work at an Indian residential school site or engagement within their community will be supported by Canada. Through their funding resource requests, communities outline their anticipated financial needs and priorities. Departmental officials review activities and expenses to ensure they are eligible under the existing authorities. Departmental officials, working with their colleagues from other departments, provide a whole-of-government approach to supporting communities in advancing this work and to leveraging the programs and funding authorities at our disposal. The applicants’ identified readiness to undertake this important work also determines when funds are to be dispensed.
    To avoid duplication in funding for any given site, communities are encouraged to take an inclusive approach with other communities impacted by the Indian residential school location. Requests may include funding to support these collaborative approaches, coordination and participation from multiple communities. Canada continues to work with indigenous communities and organizations to provide the necessary support as quickly as possible.
    Both the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Indigenous Services as well as their offices work closely with indigenous communities or their representatives on this delicate matter. As events are unfolding at a rapid pace, any reporting of possible meetings or of the topics discussed risks providing incomplete or misleading information. However, ministerial meeting notes are made publicly available on open.canada.ca.
Question No. 135—
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
    With regard to pharmaceutical drugs, treatments and therapies authorized by Health Canada since January 1, 2020: (a) how many pharmaceutical drugs (or new drug submissions) were granted authorization; (b) what are the details of each drug in (a), including the (i) name of the drug, (ii) date of the approval, (iii) purpose of the drug, including the disease or condition treated by drug; and (c) of the pharmaceutical drugs listed in (b), how many and which ones were for treatments or therapies for rare diseases, known as orphan drugs?
Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, Health Canada is committed to openness and transparency. Information related to approved drugs, their date of approval, their approved indication, including how many and which ones were for rare diseases, is available both in annual highlights reports, available at https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/highlights-reports.html, and in databases that are updated in real time: the notice of compliance database, https://health-products.canada.ca/noc-ac/index-eng.jsp, and the drug product database, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/drug-products/drug-product-database.html. These databases are an important part of Health Canada’s open data assets, and are listed accordingly on the Government of Canada’s open data portal, https://open.canada.ca/en/open-data.
Question No. 138—
Mr. Gary Vidal:
    With regard to payments made to individuals through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Recover Benefit (CRB), and broken down by each program: (a) how many individuals received their payments via (i) direct deposit, (ii) a paper cheque; (b) of the individuals who received their payments via a paper cheque, how many were mailed to an address outside of Canada; (c) how many of the paper cheques were counter-signed or cashed by a third party; (d) what specific action was taken by the government to ensure that money in the cheques cashed in (c) went to the intended individuals; (e) approximately how many cases of CERB or CRB fraud is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) aware of involving paper cheques; (f) what specific action is CRA taking to investigate the cases in (e) and recover the money; and (g) how much money has been recovered to date, as a result of the efforts outlined in (f)?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), please note that this part of the response refers to applications processed and payments issued for the Canada emergency response benefit, CERB, and the Canada recovery benefit, CRB. These numbers represent CRA CERB and CRB information.
    The CERB was open to application between March 15 and September 26, 2020, and applicants could retroactively apply until December 2, 2020. As of May 2, 2021, there were 22,653,848 applications processed.
    The CRB was open to application between September 27, 2020 and November 20, 2021, and applicants could retroactively apply until December 22, 2021. As of December 4, 2021, there were 29,824,974 applications processed
    With regard to part (a)(i), 84% of the CERB payments were issued by direct deposit i.e., 19,029,232, and 90% of the CRB payments were issued by direct deposit, i.e., 26,842,476.
    With regard to part (a)(ii), 16% of the CERB payments were issued by cheque, i.e., 3,624,615, and 10% of the CRB payments were issued by cheque, i.e., 2,982,498.
    Please note that the distribution by payment method is based upon the payments issued and not unique applicants.
    With regard to parts (b), (c) and (d), the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested.
    With regard to part (e), the CRA is committed to ensuring that individuals receive only the benefits to which they are entitled, while protecting the integrity of the COVID-19 support program. In terms of the verification of suspicious activity, the analysis and review work is ongoing.
    At this time, the CRA is continuing its work to determine the number of suspicious claims of CERB or CRB that have occurred, regardless of the method of payment used, cheques or direct deposit. Due to the sensitive and evolving nature of the work, the CRA cannot disclose the number of cases currently under investigation nor details about the different payment methods used for these benefits.
    With regard to part (f), several measures have been put in place to prevent identity theft, and the CRA continues to closely monitor any activity that may be suspicious.
    The CRA takes the protection of taxpayer information very seriously. In this regard, measures are in place to identify suspicious activities related to taxpayer accounts and to identify and prevent high-risk or potentially suspicious claims related to COVID-19 support programs. As soon as the CRA detects a suspicious transaction, or when it is notified of an alleged incident of identity theft, it conducts an in-depth review, and contacts the potential victims to inform them of the incident and to restore the information in their files. Where appropriate, the CRA works with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, financial institutions and local police to investigate the incident.
    The CRA is committed to ensuring that individuals receive only the benefits to which they are entitled, while protecting the integrity of the CERB and CRB programs. As with other benefits administered by the CRA, it will take steps at a later time to verify that claimants were eligible to receive payments for any of the new COVID-related economic measures. The purpose of these reviews is to confirm that individuals are authenticated and eligible for the benefits they receive. However, the CRA does not release specific information related to its review strategies, as releasing this information could jeopardize its compliance activities and the integrity of Canada’s tax system.
    With regard to part (g), the CRA’s analysis and review work in terms suspicious, eligible and ineligible benefit claims, and the amounts that must be returned to the CRA, is still ongoing.
    Dealing with complex cases may require several months of review and verification. The CRA combines advanced data analytics and business intelligence gathered from many sources, including law enforcement agencies and financial institutions, to support these efforts. In some cases, the CRA asks taxpayers to provide documents and information that will need to be authenticated before they can continue with their applications. In other cases, the CRA will identify suspicious transactions and take other preventative measures before lifting account restrictions and releasing any payments.
    Therefore, the CRA is unable at this time to provide the number of suspicious claims related to the COVID-19 support programs nor the amounts associated with them.
Question No. 141—
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
    With regard to the government's purchase of supplemental F-18 aircrafts from Australia: (a) what is the total number of such aircrafts that have been purchased to date; (b) of the aircrafts in (a), how many were (i) flyable, (ii) unflyable; (c) how many of the flyable aircrafts are still currently operational; and (d) what is the total amount that has been spent to date on purchasing the aircrafts?
Mr. Bryan May (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, National Defence is taking concrete steps to ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force can protect North American airspace and continue to fulfill Canada’s NORAD and NATO commitments.
    That is why the Government of Canada launched the interim fighter capability project to procure 18 F-18 Hornet fighter aircraft from Australia with the option to acquire up to seven additional non-flyable aircraft that can be used for testing, training aids or spare parts.
    This project will ensure Canadian fighter jet capability is maintained as National Defence moves toward acquiring 88 advanced fighter aircraft to replace its current fleet of CF-18 Hornet aircraft.
    Transfer of the Australian F-18s to Canada began with the delivery of the first aircraft on February 21, 2019, and was completed by May 2021.
    Once delivered to Canada, National Defence conducts a detailed inspection of each aircraft and proceeds with the modifications and upgrades necessary to integrate the aircraft to Canada’s existing fleet of CF-18s. This work ensures that these aircraft will be available to supplement the current fleet of CF-18s until the advanced future fighter aircraft is procured.
    With regard to parts (a) and (b) (i) and (ii), Canada has purchased a total of 20 F-18 Hornet aircraft. Eighteen aircraft are deemed flyable and will be integrated into service. Two aircraft are deemed non-flyable and were purchased for spare parts to ensure the long-term capability of the fleet until a permanent fleet is fully operational.
    With regard to part (c), six aircraft are currently operational. The remaining 12 are undergoing inspections and modifications in preparation to be released into service.
    National Defence will continue to integrate the Australian F-18 Hornet aircraft into Royal Canadian Air Force service at regular intervals, until the final aircraft is integrated by December 2022.
    With regard to part (d), the total direct cost that has been spent to date on purchasing the 20 aircraft is $127.4 million.
Question No. 150—
Mr. Dan Mazier:
    With regard to government statistics on labour shortages: how many unfilled jobs are there currently in each of the job sectors identified in the North American Industry Classification System, broken down by province or territory and by region?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the job vacancy and wage survey, JVWS, provides comprehensive data on job vacancies by industrial sector for Canada and the provinces, territories and economic regions.
    Data for Canada, the provinces and territories are released quarterly in the following publicly available table: Statistics Canada, Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, Table 14-10-0326-01, job vacancies, payroll employees, job vacancy rate by industry sector, Canada, provinces and territories, quarterly, unadjusted for seasonality.
    Note that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, data collection for the job vacancy and wage survey was suspended for the second and third quarters of 2020.
    Detailed information is available in The Daily, job vacancies, third quarter 2021, released on December 20, 2021. Data on job vacancies from the job vacancy and wage survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 will be released on March 22, 2022.
    More information about the concepts and use of data from the job vacancy and wage survey is available online in the Guide to the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, catalogue number 75-514-G.
Question No. 155—
Mr. Martin Shields:
    With regard to the carbon emissions related to the Canadian delegation's, led by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, travel to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow: (a) what is the government's estimate on the amount of carbon emissions or carbon footprint related to the delegation's (i) flights to and from the event, (ii) other emissions; (b) did the government purchase any carbon offsets related to the trip, and if so, what was the total amount spent on carbon offsets; and (c) what are the details of any carbon offset purchases related to the trip, including (i) date of purchase, (ii) amount spent, (iii) amount of carbon emissions the purchase was intended to offset, (iv) vendor?
Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, departments and agencies that generate greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions in excess of one kilotonne per year from air travel have been required since 2019-20 to contribute annually to the greening government fund, GGF, www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/greening-government/greening-gov-fund.html. They have been charged a TBS-set fee based on the average total annual air travel emissions of that organization over the previous three years.
Question No. 157—
Ms. Leah Gazan:
    With regard to individuals who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and were later deemed ineligible and have been ordered by the government to repay the benefit: (a) how many individuals are at or below the low-income after tax threshold, and of those individuals, (i) how many live in deep poverty as defined as below 40% of adjusted median income, (ii) how many will have other income benefits reduced this year based on an increased 2020 income due to receipt of the CERB; (b) what are the demographics, including the (i) family type, (ii) province or territory of residence, (iii) gender, (iv) disability, if any, (v) any other available demographic data in relation to these individuals; and (c) which federal benefits will be reduced based on increased 2020 income due to receipt of the CERB?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the CRA has not required any individuals to repay any of the emergency or recovery benefits, and no repayment deadline has been established. Therefore, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested.
    In cases where the CRA, through its review activities, has determined that an applicant is ineligible, the CRA contacts the applicant to advise of the decision and the eligibility criteria that were not met. The CRA also informs the applicant that if they have received a benefit payment to which they were not eligible, they will eventually need to repay the amount.
Question No. 158—
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
    With regard to the Veterans Bill of Rights: (a) is it covered in employee training at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC); (b) are violations tracked by VAC and, if so, if there is a violation, are VAC employees required or authorized to (i) inform the client, (ii) direct the client to the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, (iii) conduct a follow-up with the client to ensure the issue has been resolved; and (c) if the response in (a) or (b) is negative, what is the rationale for leaving it out?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, the Veterans Bill of Rights is an expression of the rights veterans have long identified as important. It is a comprehensive declaration of rights for all war-service veterans, veterans and serving members of the Canadian Forces, both regular and reserve, members and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, spouses, common-law partners, survivors and primary caregivers, other eligible dependants and family members, and other eligible clients.
    The Veterans Bill of Rights was developed in consultation with veterans' organizations to strengthen Veterans Affairs Canada’s ability to respond quickly and fairly to the concerns of veterans. It sets out the rights of veterans and clients in accessing Veterans Affairs Canada’s programs and services. It is a clear and concise statement that Veterans Affairs Canada will continue to make sure every one of its clients is treated with respect, dignity and fairness.
    The rights are as follows: be treated with respect, dignity, fairness and courtesy; take part in discussions that involve you and your family; have someone with you for support when you deal with Veterans Affairs; receive clear, easy-to-understand information about our programs and services, in English or French, as set out in the Official Languages Act; have your privacy protected as set out in the Privacy Act; and receive benefits and services as set out in Veterans Affairs Canada’s published service standards and know your appeal rights.
    Veterans Affairs Canada provides mandatory training for all its staff on the Values and Ethics of the Public Service, which addresses the Government of Canada’s approach to respect for people and dignity.
    The national orientation and training program for frontline field operations staff, while not specific to the Veterans Bill of Rights, provides core training elements for Veterans Affairs Canada employees who work directly with veterans, and promotes care, compassion and respect.
    All employees complete a Canadian Forces for civilians course that addresses key components of serving veterans with integrity and respect.
    All employees are required to take security training, which covers topics that include privacy protection set out in the Privacy Act. As part of Veterans Affairs Canada’s onboarding process for new employees, employees receive “Privacy 101” training, which provides an overview of privacy principles required to work within privacy compliance. This includes the handling of personal information; the “need to know principle” of accessing only the personal information needed to fulfill the duties of an employee’s role; and what constitutes a privacy breach, and how to avoid privacy breaches.
Question No. 159—
Ms. Rachel Blaney:
    With regard to the Minister of Seniors meetings related to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) since October 26, 2021: (a) broken down by date, what consultations and meetings has the Minister of Seniors attended or planned to attend to discuss GIS clawbacks; and (b) of the consultations in (a), which organizations, ministers, corporations, or individuals attended those meetings?
Mr. Darren Fisher (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, in the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, the Government of Canada announced that it proposes to provide up to $742.4 million for one-time payments to alleviate the financial hardship of the guaranteed income supplement, GIS, and allowance recipients who received the Canada emergency response benefit, CERB, or the Canada recovery benefit, CRB, in 2020. The government will continue to investigate ways to limit potential benefit reductions for vulnerable seniors who received emergency and recovery benefits.
    The Minister of Seniors was appointed on October 26, 2021. Between October 26, 2021 and December 17, 2021, there were no formal consultation processes launched regarding this matter.
    The Minister of Seniors has met with stakeholders, constituents, ministers and members of Parliament on a range of topics of interest to seniors, gathering a broad range of feedback on the views and issues of importance to them.
Question No. 163—
Mr. Bob Zimmer:
    With regard to the impact of border closure and border restrictions related to COVID-19 on the hunting and outfitter tourism industry: (a) what are the government's estimates on the loss of revenue for the hunting and outfitter tourism industry during the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) what specific measures will Destination Canada take to promote hunting and outfitter tourism to an international audience as part of tourism recovery; (c) how much has been budgeted by Destination Canada to promote hunting and outfitter tourism as part of tourism recovery; and (d) what are the details related to how the promotional money in (c) will be spent, including a breakdown by type of advertising and which international markets the advertisement will target?
Hon. Randy Boissonnault (Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, estimates or projections as to the impact of a specific public health measure on this specific portion of the industry are not measured. While Destination Canada continues to promote Canada as a safe destination of choice for visitors with a variety of interests, it has not set aside funds solely for hunting and outfitter tourism promotion.
Question No. 166—
Mr. Frank Caputo:
    With regard to complaints from veterans that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) area and regional offices have been closed to in person visits, assistance, and assessments since the COVID-19 pandemic began: (a) which VAC regional offices are currently open to in person visits from veterans; (b) what is the timeline for when each VAC regional office currently not open to in person visits will reopen to veterans for in person visits; (c) broken down by regional office, and as of December 6, 2021, what percentage of staff who work directly with veterans are working (i) remotely, (ii) from the regional office; and (d) what is the timeline for when the staff who normally work directly with veterans from the regional office, but have been working remotely during the pandemic, will return to work in the regional office, broken down by office?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), Veterans Affairs Canada continues to serve veterans and their families by phone, online and face to face using Microsoft Teams. In addition to regular services, Veterans Affairs Canada has reached out to 18,835 vulnerable clients since the beginning of the pandemic.
    With regard to part (b), the health, safety and well-being of veterans and their families, as well as Veterans Affairs Canada employees, is the priority of Veterans Affairs Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Essentially, all Veterans Affairs Canada employees are equipped to work remotely, enabling Veterans Affairs Canada to continue to provide services to veterans and their families in the midst of this global pandemic.
    Veterans Affairs Canada will continue to take guidance from public health officials and work with its partners across government to support easing restrictions in a gradual, phased and controlled manner that prioritizes the health and safety of employees and those accessing services at departmental buildings. Veterans and their families are still accessing Veterans Affairs Canada programs and services. Veterans Affairs Canada staff are available, working remotely and prioritizing getting benefits to veterans in greatest need.
    With regard to part (c), due to the ongoing pandemic situation across the country, all staff who work directly with veterans are working remotely.
    With regard to part (d), Veterans Affairs Canada continuously monitors local health situations with a view to returning to offices when and where it is safe to do so. In the meantime, Veterans Affairs Canada continues to provide services virtually. Its priority remains the health, safety and well-being of clients and employees.
Question No. 168—
Mrs. Shelby Kramp-Neuman:
    With regard to seniors having their Guaranteed Income Supplements (GIS) reduced or cut after receiving payments under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): (a) how many seniors have had their GIS payments cut or reduced, or received notice of a GIS cut or reduction, as a result of receiving income associated with CERB or CRB; (b) what is the average amount that the seniors in (a) had their GIS payments reduced by; and (c) does the government accept the assessment from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that 88,222 low-income seniors will see GIS reductions because of pandemic benefits, and, if not, what is the government's assessment of the number of low-income seniors?
Mr. Darren Fisher (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the number of guaranteed income supplement, GIS, recipients who received payments from the Canada emergency response benefit, CERB and/or the Canada recovery benefit, CRB, in 2020, and who experienced a reduction or loss in GIS benefits in July 2021 when their entitlement to the GIS was reassessed, is 183,420.
    Letters to all GIS recipients outlining their entitlement for the July 2021 to June 2022 payment period were sent starting on July 14, 2021.
    With regard to part (b), the average reduction in GIS benefits experienced in July 2021, by the 183,420 GIS recipients in (a) above, is $294.15 per month or $3,529.85 per year.
    With regard to part (c), Employment and Social Development Canada is not able to comment on the assessment undertaken by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
    The number of GIS recipients who received payments from the CERB and/or the CRB in 2020, and who experienced a reduction in GIS benefits in July 2021 is estimated to be 100,710. This number does not include those GIS recipients who received payments from the CERB and/or the CRB in 2020, and who lost entitlement to the GIS in July 2021.
Question No. 171—
Mrs. Cheryl Gallant:
    With regard to the Department of Industry and the March 22, 2020, agreement to spend $200,451,621 for the purchase of ventilators from Thornhill Medical: (a) did the ventilators meet the Public Health Agency of Canada’s technical requirements, and, if not, who gave the authorization to proceed with the purchase and what was their reason; (b) how many ventilators were (i) ordered, (ii) delivered; (c) for each delivered ventilators in (b), (i) what day was it delivered, (ii) has the ventilator been used; and (d) for each time the ventilators in (c) have been used, (i) when were they used, (ii) where were they used, (iii) was it used to treat a patient with COVID-19, (iv) are they still in use today?
Mr. Adam van Koeverden (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the ventilator model MOVES SLC, produced by Thornhill Medical, met the Public Health Agency of Canada’s technical and regulatory requirements.
    With regard to part (b)(i), since March 22, 2020, 1,020 units were ordered. With regard to part (b)(ii), since March 22, 2020, 857 units were delivered.
    With regard to part (c)(i), 731 units were delivered between April 27, 2020 and January 29, 2021, and an additional 126 units between August 19 and August 24, 2021. With regard to part (c)(ii), as of December 7, 2021, 59 units have been deployed to various jurisdictions across Canada.
    With regard to part (d), Thornhill devices were sent across Canada to support COVID-19 response efforts. However, the Public Health Agency of Canada does not have specific details on the use of the deployed items following their allocation to jurisdictions.
Question No. 177—
Mrs. Laila Goodridge:
    With regard to the appointment of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate): (a) what are his mandate, roles and responsibilities; (b) to whom does he report; (c) what is his reporting relationship to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (styled the Government Representative in the Senate); (d) how does the parliamentary secretary's appointment support the government's commitment to support a more independent and non-partisan chamber; (e) in order to promote an independent and non-partisan chamber, is the parliamentary secretary expected to act in a non-partisan manner, including on his social media pages, such as Twitter, and, if not, why not; (f) was the Senate consulted on this appointment or the creation of this position, and, if so, what are the details, including the dates and person involved; (g) from what budget is his compensation as a parliam