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Results: 1 - 15 of 1623
View Peter Julian Profile
Madam Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I would also like to thank the member for Saint-Laurent and the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes for their initiative in bringing this important legislation before the House today and for the discussions that will follow.
This also shows how important it is for all members to come together to have these conversations and get this bill passed.
I would also like to thank Rabbi Reuven Bulka and everyone at the Kind Canada Généreux organization.
Our thoughts are with Rabbi Bulka. We hope that his health improves and wish him a full recovery. Our thoughts are with him today.
We are talking about kindness. Putting in place a kindness week is an important symbol of where we want our society to go, how we want our society to interact and how we want people to work together. I believe we all want to build a society of kindness. Of that there is no doubt.
We have seen particular examples of the imperative of kindness through the course of this pandemic. I will mention just a few cases of how we have seen Canadians and people around the world come together in an unprecedented way during the pandemic, and one might argue because of the pandemic.
In my community, we have seen people taking care of each other's neighbours, making sure shut-ins seniors are getting what they need, whether it is groceries or medication. People are taking care of each other, showing acts of kindness in a very deliberate, organized and focused way.
We have also seen the countless acts of kindness that come from our health care workers and first responders. They are on the front lines. They are vulnerable to COVID and its variants, yet we have seen countless cases of nurses, health care workers and first responders such as firefighters stepping up despite the danger and showing ongoing acts of kindness and its importance.
The stories of health care workers who share the final moments of people passing away from COVID despite the risk to themselves, knowing nobody else can come in and spend those final hours with those COVID patients, have been repeated across Canada, but we have also seen them around the world. There have been countless cases of courage and kindness coming together at critical, dangerous times.
I have seen organizations in my community come together to put into effect the importance of kindness. Two community organizations that have come together during COVID are Caring During COVID in Burnaby and Helping Hands in New Westminster. These are groups of local residents: volunteers who have come together to perpetuate, amplify, repeat and multiply acts of kindness throughout the community.
These are all examples of the strength kindness can bring to a community, a region, a country and indeed to the entire world.
We see these very acts of kindness repeated across the country. Look at the nurses, doctors and health care workers who often risk their own lives to perform acts of kindness.
This shows that courage and kindness can work together, even during a pandemic, and even when people's lives are at stake.
I am not sharing information that we do not know when I also say we have seen a disturbing rise in the opposition to acts of kindness, the toxic opposition which is acts and incidents of hate. It is something that we need to call out. We have seen increased cases of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia. All of those hatreds have also increased during this pandemic.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of Canadians know the importance of ensuring that acts of hate and incidents of hate are eliminated, but it does show that the idea of a kindness week and perpetrating acts of kindness is not a passive work. It is an active work and it also makes it a part of all our responsibilities, the importance of stepping up against any act of hate, any hate speech and any incidents of hate that occur in our community.
Kindness also means fighting hatred. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, there has been an increase in hateful acts and hate speech. If we, as Canadians, want to promote kindness, we must do everything possible to put and end to these hateful acts.
How can we go beyond the acts of kindness in a kindness week? How can we ensure that we are truly a kind society? It really starts at the top. What that means is that when we talk about kindness and a kindness week, it is not only the relationship of Canadians with each other; it is also the relationship of our institutions with Canadians.
When we see the rising number of homelessness in our country, that is very clearly an abandoning of leadership around perpetrating acts of kindness. When we see people who are crying out for medication and public universal pharmacare and do not have the wherewithal to pay for their medication at this critical time, that is also a call for acts of kindness that come from our institutions and ensure that kindness is at every level of our society. We see people, as I do in my community, who do not have access to basic dental work. I have seen first-hand the critical impact of not having dental care in our country when a person's teeth start to fall out. That also is a call to action for kindness at every level.
When we are talking about acts of kindness and when we are talking about our institutions reflecting acts of kindness, we are also talking about our institutions reflecting and responding to the needs of Canadians. What that means is that we, as parliamentarians and the government, should constantly keep in mind that if we adopt this legislation, our institutions as well must be wedded to the vision of a society of kindness.
We must work on all fronts to ensure that our institutions also reflect the importance of kindness throughout society.
I will end with two quotes.
The first is from Rabbi Reuven Bulka who said, “Being kind is nothing more than being truly human. The kinder we are, the better all humanity will be.”
The second quote is from former official opposition leader, Jack Layton, who many believe to be the greatest prime minister Canada never had. Just before he passed he said, “Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.”
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in today's discussion on the Bloc Québécois's opposition motion.
It gives me an opportunity to comment on something that New Democrats care a lot about, and that is the ability to stay the course and be consistent. Not every political party has that ability, and I find myself in a rather unusual position in that I support the motion but am struggling to understand the Bloc Québécois's approach.
I would like to reread the motion:
(a) the House remind the government that a general election was held in October 2019 and sadly note that more than 1.3 million Canadians, including almost 360,000 Quebecers, have been infected with COVID-19 and that nearly 25,000 people have died as a result; and
(b) in the opinion of the House, holding an election during a pandemic would be irresponsible, and that it is the responsibility of the government to make every effort to ensure that voters are not called to the polls as long as this pandemic continues.
That is good. That is what the NDP has been saying for months, but is it what the Bloc Québécois and the member for Beloeil—Chambly have been saying for months?
I have here a Radio-Canada article from about six or seven months ago. I will read the end of the article, which shows that things have changed dramatically.
The article says, “As for whether a second COVID-19 wave could interfere with his plan, [the Bloc Québécois leader] says there are ways to keep people safe at the polls. He thinks COVID-19 itself is not enough of a reason to avoid triggering an election. ‘If we follow that reasoning to its logical conclusion, that would mean that as long as we are in a pandemic, we live in a dictatorship.’” That was the Bloc Québécois leader's conclusion then.
I wonder what happened. The only explanation I can think of is that the Bloc Québécois caucus and members did a little soul-searching and thought about whether holding an election during a pandemic would be the safe, sensible and responsible thing to do, given the presence of the virus and its variants. I am happy that the Bloc Québécois has come on side with the NDP and its leader, who have been arguing for months that it would be unwise.
An election could put people at risk. Hundreds of cases are being diagnosed every day. Not long ago, Quebec, Ontario and other provinces were reporting thousands of cases. The Bloc Québécois's change of heart is hard to comprehend.
A short while ago, the Bloc Québécois was boasting that it would hold to its convictions, that the NDP would save the Liberals and that it would be all right if there were an election because the Bloc was standing tall. Today, the Bloc is presenting a motion saying it would be a bad idea to hold an election. What happened?
I get the impression that the member for Beloeil—Chambly had a road to Damascus moment. He saw the light and fell off his horse. Something must have happened to him for him to say that he would avoid an election out of respect for Canadians. I find it extremely interesting to see the Bloc Québécois finally come around to the NDP's sensible, reasonable and responsible arguments. We have been saying over and over for months now that we will not risk our constituents' health and safety by holding an election no one wants.
None of my constituents in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie are telling me that it is time to hold an election and that it is really a priority. No one is telling me they would be happy about it, that it would be a good thing, that it would be easy and fun. We saw quite clearly what happened with the election in Newfoundland and Labrador.
For months now, the Bloc Québécois has been threatening to trigger an election. They did it during the first, second and third waves. Today, they came around to the NDP's arguments, and that is just fine. I will take it, but I am having trouble following the Bloc's reasoning. That is why I said how important it is to stay the course and be consistent.
This week is National Nursing Week, a time to recognize the work of nurses, who are doing a fantastic job. For over a year now, nurses have been on the front lines in our health care facilities, saving lives, often at the risk of their own. Let us not forget the other health care professionals either, like physicians, orderlies and technicians.
I think that, out of respect for these people, the work they do and the risks they take, the Bloc should have said from the outset, as the NDP did, that it would not increase the risk of spreading the virus by triggering an election, which involves door-knocking, rallies and line-ups to vote. That would have been the right thing to do from the beginning.
In the article I quoted from a few months ago, did the leader of the Bloc Québécois forget to respect the work of these professionals? I am not accusing anyone. I am simply asking valid questions. It seems to me that this is something that can be done, since I have already heard it somewhere.
If we want to avoid putting the people who work in our health care system at risk, people who have had it tough for months, who are dropping like flies and whose working conditions are challenging, the right thing to do is to say that there should not be an election as long as the pandemic continues.
I sincerely wish the Bloc Québécois had said so much sooner and shown consistency out of respect for health care professionals and the health and safety of all Canadians. It is good that it got there in the end.
Going back to health care professionals and National Nursing Week, I think we obviously need to talk about the federal government's responsibility to provide the best possible working conditions for these professionals. They are working extremely hard to care for our seniors and our sick. They are saving lives and caring for patients who have been suffering intensely for weeks, if not months.
I must draw my colleagues' attention to the Liberal government's failures with regard to provincial health transfers. We unanimously agree that the federal government needs to do more and increase its share of funding for the public health care system to cover 35% of the total. Right now, federal funding is hovering around 20%, which is woefully inadequate and puts tremendous pressure on the provinces, including Quebec. Austerity measures have been introduced in recent years, and they have had an impact on working conditions, particularly orderlies' wages and nurses' schedules, making their job all the more challenging and difficult.
The pandemic revealed the extent of the crisis and exposed just how badly our health care system needs more funding and a better structure, and how the people who work in it deserve more respect and recognition. The federal government needs to contribute to this effort, but it is not doing so, preferring to inject funds on an ad hoc and temporary basis so as to avoid responsibility. Injecting billions of dollars here and there is all well and good, but it all comes to an end eventually. Then the provinces, the hospitals and the health care professionals are left with the same problems.
What we are asking for is stable and permanent transfers from the federal government to the provinces in order to improve our capacity and our health care and to ensure proper care for our seniors, so that the carnage we saw in long-term care centres never happens again.
Working together is the least we can do. We have a shared responsibility, as representatives of our constituents, to work hard to ensure a modicum of decency for our seniors, so they can live out their lives in dignity, without their rent becoming someone else's profits.
As the NDP leader keeps saying over and over, profit and the private sector have no place in long-term care facilities. That is what we need to fix to help our seniors. We must prevent the problems we saw in Dorval, where some people were pocketing thousands of dollars in profits every year on the backs of these seniors, only to abandon them when the crisis came. These seniors ended up alone, dehydrated, lying on the floor, with rotten food and no one to take care of them. We have to work together to prevent this from ever happening again.
A day will come when there will be an election and people will have choices to make. This government's preferences for billionaires, big business and web giants are bad choices that do not serve the public interest, public services or the common good. Until that day comes, however, let us be responsible and avoid having an election. I am pleased that the majority of parties have come around to the arguments that the NDP has been making for months now.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that this is an important week, National Nursing Week. I want to take this opportunity to thank not only the amazing nurses of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford but those who work across Vancouver Island, the province of B.C. and our great country for the hard work they do every day.
For people who doubt how severe an illness COVID-19 really is, they need only speak to a nurse who works incredibly long hours in an ICU, who helps patients in respiratory distress and who is often the only one there when a patient meets his or her end. I want to acknowledge our amazing nurses and thank them for their service. They do an amazing job on behalf of our communities.
We are at a point now where we have been battered quite hard by COVID-19, and this third wave has certainly been the worst of them all. I know people are exhausted everywhere. Some members before me have referenced the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that we all feel at this moment. We are all looking for some light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel.
However, we are at the stage now where there is a noticeable uptake in vaccinations. We are certainly at a point in British Columbia right now where people in my age group are starting to book their vaccination appointments. In fact, I just booked mine today. I am looking forward to getting that first shot and joining the growing list of my fellow citizens who have received theirs.
Today, we are here to discuss Bill C-30, the government's budget implementation act, which followed its April budget. It proposes several legislative changes to bring those measures into force. However, I do not think that all the measures that were announced in the budget are contained in the bill. I have heard reference that a second implementation act will follow in the fall of this year.
I have been listening to the speeches on Bill C-30 today and to some of the concerns about the spending that is going on in this budget and the eye-watering deficit in which we find ourselves. We would not be at this stage if it had not been for the pandemic. We have had to open up the federal taps to help struggling small businesses and individuals weather this storm, and to ensure those small businesses are still in operation when we finally are clear of the pandemic.
However, in all the concerns I have heard about the spending, I have not really heard much discussion from either the Liberals or Conservatives on how we address the revenue shortfall, how we ensure that when we get back on the road of recovery, when we try to get the books back to a balanced status, that we do not unfairly place the burden on working families. We need only look at the example in the 1990s when the Liberal government, with finance minister Paul Martin, had a very large axe, and they swung it everywhere. There were incredible slashes made to health care transfers and housing, and that left a lot of working families in extreme pain.
How do we move forward in a way that saves working families from continuing to bear the brunt of the costs from this pandemic? The answer is simple. It is a wealth tax, which is a simple 1% on fortunes of over $20 million. We have proposed that because we are in a state now where over the last year we have seen Canada's billionaires increase their wealth by an exponential amount.
I am still scratching my head when I hear my Conservative colleagues say that this is not time to impose a tax. Clearly, Canadians of all political persuasion have indicated strong favour for imposing a wealth tax, for ensuring that the wealthy and well-connected are paying their fair share. A 1% tax on fortunes of over $20 million is not targeting our normal constituents. In fact, I do not think I know anyone personally with a fortune of over $20 million. This is a smart economic policy to ensure that the burden does not fall on most of our constituents. It is about finding that way forward.
I would have liked to have seen Bill C-30 and, indeed, the budget speech from April 19 contain some specific references to targeting very wealthy individuals, maybe putting in a profiteering tax, similar to what the Canadian government did during World War II, as well as harsher measures to crack down on tax evasion. So much revenue is slipping through the fingers of the CRA right now. People who can afford to pay that money, who have the means to pay the tax, are not paying their fair share and are using existing loopholes to escape notice. It is shameful behaviour and it is morally wrong. It means that the rest of our constituents have to shoulder that unfair burden.
I am also very interested in the part of the budget implementation legislation that deals with child care. I am a very strong believer and supporter of child care. I ran very strongly on this platform in 2015. I remember the Liberals criticizing the NDP plan back then, so it is nice to see they have now adopted it, almost six years later, and that it is finally in the budget.
However, I compare the rationale behind child care versus what the Liberals have said on pharmacare. Under division 34 of of the bill, we see a legislative framework to set up child care, yet when the NDP proposed a legislative framework that was based on the Canada Health Act to bring in a pharmacare system, the Liberals voted against that.
Child care is great, and I really hope this time around it does succeed, but when it comes to pharmacare, we have been waiting since 1997, when the Liberals last promised it. Every month, families right across the country are having to make those difficult decisions when there are unexpected medical costs. It can really break the family budget. Those investments can have a tangible impact on the budgets of working families and help them make it from month to month.
The member for St. John's East, my great colleague, has introduced a motion in the House of Commons to expand our health care system to include dental care. That is also a key missing element. For the life of me, I cannot understand why health care coverage ends at one's tonsils and does not include strong oral care. We know that poor oral health is a very strong indicator of more serious medical conditions. It is ultimately a class issue. People who have the means and the wealth can afford good dental care. Often people are lucky enough to have good dental coverage through their work. However, a lot of people have lost those benefits in this pandemic. They have had their hours reduced or they have lost their jobs altogether. We need to make those very important and specific investments in health care.
It is great that the budget implementation bill addressed EI sickness benefits, unfortunately raising it only to 26 weeks. The House of Commons has repeatedly indicated support for the full 52 weeks or even 50 weeks, which I have heard in some iterations. This is important because Canada pension plan disability benefits do not often kick in unless someone has a demonstrated illness or injury that will make them incapable of work for over a year. Often people are falling in the gap between what the Liberals are now proposing, the 26 weeks, and a full year, which is 52 weeks. That could have been done quite easily.
The Liberals do enjoy their half-measures, so if 26 weeks is what we will get this time, I will accept, but I want it to be known that it is not good enough. Definite improvements need to be made to that.
I know I am within my last minute, so I will end on a positive note. The budget is certainly a mixed bag, but as the NDP critic for agriculture, it is nice to see some investments coming to that sector, really trying to concentrate on the area of environmental sustainability. Our farmers are on the front lines of climate change, but they also have the tools to be one of our greatest weapons in fighting climate change. In the future, I would love to see more investments come their way, investments that concentrate on the sector's ability to sequester carbon.
View Charlie Angus Profile
View Charlie Angus Profile
2021-05-11 13:43 [p.7050]
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my hon. colleague about the need to establish a national dental care plan. I talk to people all the time who are unable to get their teeth fixed and the huge impact that has on families, workers and people's health.
We know the Liberals have promised many things like pharmacare and failed to deliver, but on the issue of dental care, we have been told that it is doable, that is not overly costly. Could my hon. colleague explain how practical it is to establish a national dental care plan that would have such an impact for so many people?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely huge. I put a post on my Facebook page and it was filled with comments from constituents about the costs they personally had to bear for fixing their teeth.
I think the member will join me in recognizing our colleague from St. John's East, who has put forward this motion. Unfortunately, the Liberals have indicated they will not support it. Even though the motion is non-binding, the Liberals still cannot bring themselves to support at the least the intent or recognize the importance of dental care.
It is inconceivable that our health care coverage ends at our tonsils when poor oral health has been linked to so many serious medical conditions. I am proud to be a member of a party that will fight tooth and nail for both dental care and pharmacare.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2021-05-10 18:40 [p.6992]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present this petition initiated by seniors advocates in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to: include long-term care in the public health care system under the Canada Health Act; work with provinces to develop national standards for person-centred relational care, which includes the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's basic care staffing guarantee formula; eliminate profit-making by government-funded, corporate for-profit chains by ensuring funds provided are spent as allocated and by banning subcontracting; provide standardized, equitable living wages and benefits and implement single-site employment for all staff; ensure government oversight and initiate strong penalties and clawbacks for facilities not complying with standards and regulations; and require independent family councils with protected rights.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-05-10 21:07 [p.7015]
Mr. Speaker, on January 29, I asked the Minister of Health about directly funding community organizations providing mental health services and removing taxes on counselling as direct action we, as parliamentarians, can take for improving access to mental health services.
Before the pandemic, many Canadians were facing the reality of living with a mental illness. Now survey after survey finds Canadians' mental health eroding as the pandemic continues. This is a crisis that will have a lasting impact on the lives of Canadians. In the last year, every time I asked a question of the minister regarding mental health, I was invited to check out the wellnesstogether.ca portal as an example of the work being done to help Canadians. I am very familiar with this resource and I know it can be valuable for some people, but we also need to acknowledge that we cannot fix everything with a virtual band-aid. These issues are complex and nuanced and an overreliance on websites in the digital format is not enough.
Mental health is not a luxury. It is a necessity. The mental health care system in Canada is not meeting people's needs. Long wait-lists, inequity and underfunding are the root causes of the problem. Lengthy wait times are a barrier in part because there has been a chronic underfunding of community-based mental health services and a reliance on intensive high-cost services, like hospitals and acute care, and the consequences are life and death. Once patients finally make it onto a list to receive care, they can wait anywhere from six months to two years to see a counsellor. If they can afford it, they go to the private sector. It is a two-tier system that accentuates social inequalities and it clearly shows that lack of access to mental health is most pronounced in those with lower incomes or with disability. In Canada, only 7% of the health care budget is dedicated to mental health and behavioural health, while experts recommend it should be higher. My home province spends even less.
As members of the all-party mental health caucus, myself and other MPs are in search of solutions. We listen to organizations, stakeholders and people working on the ground to try to provide services the best they can. One of the ongoing challenges is always a lack of consistent funding. We need to ensure direct funding for organizations and communities across this country that have the solutions ready to deploy. Funding community-level interventions to alleviate pressure on our acute care system will get people the help they need as fast as possible. This is the very least we can do for the family of 16-year-old Lexi Daken, who was not helped after having waited for hours in the emergency room.
I want to take this moment to also honour Monique Paul from St. Mary's First Nation. She was Wolastoqiyik, she was loved, she is still loved and missed every day. The impacts of suicide and mental illness are particularly hard hitting in indigenous communities. Intergenerational trauma and systemic racism have left a painful legacy. Every time someone is lost, especially a child or youth, the frustration and hurt are heavy, like a storm cloud hovering over the community.
Individuals cannot carry this burden alone. Communities cannot carry this burden alone. We need help, more help than a virtual portal can provide. It is time to lead, to build a better system that will truly be there for Canadians when they need it.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her advocacy of mental health supports. We agree that the need to give support to Canadians for mental health is substantial, and I want to thank her for this opportunity to speak more about the programs we have in place.
The member is absolutely right that prior to COVID-19 mental health was a significant concern, with one in three Canadians experiencing mental illness or problematic substance use during their lifetime. Our government recognizes the seriousness of this problem and has taken a comprehensive approach to mental health.
When COVID-19 struck, our government took action to address the mental health needs of Canadians and alleviate some of the burden on the provinces and territories. Five hundred million dollars in additional support was provided to the provinces and territories for immediate mental health and substance-use service needs as part of the $19-billion safe restart agreement. We also provided $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with mental health support.
We launched Wellness Together Canada, which the member mentioned, on April 15, 2020. It offers a range of free mental health and substance-use supports to individuals across Canada on a 24-7 basis, in both official languages and with interpretation available during phone sessions in over 200 languages and dialects. Supports include access to peer-support networks and confidential text and phone sessions with mental health professionals, and a dedicated text line for health care workers and front-line personnel. Since its launch, over 1.2 million individuals in all provinces and territories have accessed Wellness Together Canada in over 3.6 million web sessions. Our support of this initiative continues through budget 2021, which provides $62 million to Wellness Together Canada so that it can continue to provide Canadians with tools and services to support mental health and well-being.
So that Canadians can access timely evidence-based care, treatment and support, budget 2021 has also committed $45 million over two years to help develop national mental health service standards in collaboration with provinces, territories and key stakeholders because, as the member opposite points out, we need a multi-faceted approach to providing supports to Canadians for mental health.
I also want to point out that in recognition of the intersections between mental health, gender, race and occupation, budget 2021 will provide $100 million over three years for mental health projects and $50 million over two years for mental health programming to support populations at high risk of experiencing trauma brought on by the pandemic.
To conclude, we know that investments in mental health were needed prior to COVID, and that significant investments in it have been needed throughout COVID. When we get through the pandemic, support for the mental health and well-being of Canadians will continue, and we will be there for them.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-05-10 21:15 [p.7016]
Mr. Speaker, there are tangible solutions, some of which are under way, and I recognize that. There is not only earmarked dedicated funding in the health transfers for mental health, but the recent commitment for the government to define and implement national standards for mental health care. I am grateful.
We also need to put mental health in the Canada Health Act and provide the provinces and territories with the help they need to do it well. Best practices can be shared, but ultimately Canadians need to be able to receive quality care regardless of where they live in this country. Mental illness is linked to many challenges we are facing collectively, and the longer an illness persists the more difficult it is to treat. Early intervention leads to better outcomes.
We know that every one dollar invested in mental health saves the health system two dollars. Beyond the monetary argument, our quality of life, safety and well-being can be greatly improved. We need access when and where people need it. I want all Canadians to know that if they are facing mental illness they are not alone. We will continue to advocate for better mental health services for all, every month of the year.
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, again, I thank the member opposite for her advocacy for high-quality mental health services. It is something we are committed to as well, as I mentioned in the investments outlined above.
With that, the member opposite spoke about the need for national standards. We are working collaboratively with provinces, territories and stakeholders. I will continue to work with the member opposite for additional ideas because we know that even after this pandemic, the supports and the mental health needs of Canadians are going to continue. We will continue to improve services and access to make sure that no Canadian is left to suffer in silence.
We continue to work with all members of the House and community providers who can provide these services. We are committed to working with them because we want to make sure all Canadians receive the help they need.
View Don Davies Profile
View Don Davies Profile
2021-05-06 11:14 [p.6767]
Mr. Speaker, we know this budget will do nothing to end fossil fuel subsidies. We see the federal government giving billions of dollars every year to companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Imperial Oil.
We know that Canada's richest Canadians increased their wealth by $78 billion this year, yet there is no meaningful action on a wealth tax.
I think my hon. colleague and the Liberals will vote against the NDP motion to provide dental care to six and a half million Canadians who do not have any coverage today, which would cost $1.5 billion per year as estimated by the parliamentary budget officer. Why does the member not support allocating $1.5 billion so Canadians can have access to this basic health need, when there are tens of billions of dollars of available funds that his government refuses to tax?
View Jack Harris Profile
View Jack Harris Profile
2021-05-06 12:14 [p.6776]
Madam Speaker, one thing that has come to everyone's attention during the pandemic is the significant inequality that remains in Canada. We have seen a greater impact from the disease itself and from its economic impact on seniors, young people and working people on front lines and in factories. However, we are not seeing the Liberals respond to calls for greater fairness going forward, such as with a dental care plan to help seven million Canadians get access to oral health care they cannot afford, for a fraction of 1% of current health care costs. As well, they refuse to tax the super wealthy, even while billionaires in Canada have increased their wealth by $78 billion during this pandemic. The token luxury tax we have seen on airplanes and yachts is not even in the budget implementation act.
Why are the Liberals doing nothing to ensure that those who have done so well by Canada's economy are paying their fair share?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am borderline offended by the fact the member does not recall that I spoke in favour of the private member's bill he brought forward about dental care. I did not indicate whether I was going to support it or not. I actually thought it was good that he was bringing forward the bill to have a discussion about a national dental care strategy. I strongly believe dental care, like pharmacare, needs to be part of our health care package in Canada.
The member should not sell out the fact that he does not have the support of all Liberals on his private member's bill. I am sure there are a handful out there who genuinely appreciate what the member brought forward. I certainly appreciate it. Whether the devil is in the details and I can support it at the end of the day, I look forward to continuing my speech when the second hour of his debate comes up.
View Don Davies Profile
View Don Davies Profile
2021-05-06 12:29 [p.6778]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke of the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent in the last two years during these extraordinary times. He also spoke quite passionately about the need to support Canadians with mental health.
It is well-known that the one in three Canadians who have no dental care suffer not only physical pain and serious medical issues, but also serious mental health issues due to shame, social exclusion and, frankly, lack of employment opportunities.
The member spoke of a lack of spending in this budget on small business, sending a message to Canadians that the government did not care. Is his and the Conservative Party's vote against the NDP dental care plan a sign that Conservatives do not care about the 13 million Canadians who do not have access to fundamental basic oral dental health?
View Kyle Seeback Profile
View Kyle Seeback Profile
2021-05-06 12:30 [p.6778]
Madam Speaker, I disagree with much of what the member said.
As I said in response about child care, when we look at specific pieces of legislation, the devil is often in the details. It could be said that it is about X, but it includes many other things. No one should go without dental care. However, the way that motion was put forward, the devil was in the details, therefore I was not able to support it. However, I believe everyone has a right to dental care.
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