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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Traditionally, on the first Wednesday in June, the pages lead the singing of the national anthem in the chamber to start the sitting for that day. This has not been an ordinary year for anyone, including for this year's group of pages. Although the pages were not able to sing in person this year, all those who could participate have collaborated virtually from across the country to maintain this tradition.
Since this may be the last Wednesday in June when the House will sit, I would like to present to you the results of this extraordinary teamwork. The 2019-20 class of pages will lead us in the singing of the national anthem.
[Pages sang the national anthem]
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Colleagues, before we begin our proceedings, I would like to say a few words regarding the special measures in place today.
Pursuant to order made Tuesday, May 26, the application of Standing Order 17 will be suspended for the current sitting to allow members to practise physical distancing. Members desiring to speak and address the Chair may do so from any seat in the House.
Finally, I ask that all members tabling a document or moving a motion sign the document and bring it to the table themselves.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Since we are meeting today for the sole purpose of considering the business of supply for the period ending June 23, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bills. In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bills be distributed now?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I hope you will find there is unanimous support for the follow motion:
WHEREAS Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 was unlawfully shot down on January 8th, 2020 near Tehran, taking the innocent lives of all 176 people on-board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents, as well as others from Iran, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Afghanistan;
WHEREAS the government of Iran has publicly acknowledged that its military forces fired the missiles that caused these deaths, that it is legally obligated to conduct appropriate and transparent safety and criminal investigations to bring those responsible to justice and to safeguard civil aviation, and that it is obliged to make reparations to the affected States, including in the form of compensation to the families of all the victims, in accordance with international law;
Whereas the flight recorders from PS752 have been recovered by Iran, but have not yet been downloaded to allow their data to be analyzed, which should have been done “without delay”, according to international standards, immediately following January 8th (long before any limitations imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic); and
Whereas the families of the victims — in Canada, in Iran and in other countries around the world — continue to grieve the tragic and senseless loss of their loved-ones and are anxious to learn the whole truth about what happened to PS752, who was responsible, and how they are being held to account, in addition to seeking honourable treatment with respect to compensation from both the airline and Iran, and in matters related to their on-going safety and peace of mind;
NOW BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS HOUSE:
1. Express its deep condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the horrific downing of PS725, condemn the perpetrators, and stand in solidarity with the families in the pursuit of transparency, accountability and justice for those families;
2. Support steps taken thus far, including the implementation of a whole-of-government approach to addressing the needs of the families, the provision of consular services, immigration and travel supports, the identification and repatriation of remains, financial support (directly from the government in the form of emergency financial assistance and by matching private donations to the Canada Strong Campaign), mental health and counselling services, a regular on-going flow of information and replies to inquiries, investigative work, the formation of a Canada-led International Coordination and Response Group, the launch of the “Safer Skies” initiative at the Munich Security Conference, and Canada's representations to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
3. Call upon all relevant departments and agencies of the Government of Canada to exercise all necessary diligence, persistence and determination to grapple effectively with the complexities inherent in international disasters of this magnitude, as well as the additional impediments created by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the families can ultimately know the truth about what happened, notwithstanding the time and effort such pursuit of justice may require;
4. Call upon the Government of Canada in the meantime:
(a) to pursue, with the other affected States of the Coordination Group, negotiations on reparations with Iran to obtain appropriate compensation for the families of the victims from the state of Iran, in addition to the obligations of the airline industry;
(b) to resolve outstanding immigration issues in a fair, equitable and compassionate manner;
(c) to implement appropriate means of honouring and commemorating the precious lives lost; and
(d) to help protect families from foreign interference, intimidation, harassment and cyber threats.
5. Support the work of the Government of Canada, in partnership with the international community through the CG and ICAO, and otherwise, to expose as much as possible the sequence of events and the decision-making chain that resulted in deadly missiles being launched against this civilian aircraft contrary to international law, and to determine how and why civilian aircraft were allowed to be in that airspace over a dangerous conflict zone, all in an effort to avoid repetitions of this disastrous set of circumstances.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-06-17 14:42 [p.2488]
Mr. Speaker, there have also been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That the membership of the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration be amended as follows: Mr. Dhaliwal, Surrey—Newton, for Mr. Tabbara, Kitchener South—Hespeler, and that the name of Mr. Zuberi, Pierrefonds—Dollard, be added to the list of associate members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-06-17 14:43 [p.2488]
Mr. Speaker, there have also been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, during the debate today on the Business of Supply pursuant to the order adopted on May 26, 2020:
a) within each 15-minute period, each party may allocate time to one or more of its members for speeches or for questions and answers, provided that, in the case of questions and answers, the minister's answer approximately reflect the time taken by the question, and provided that, in the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allocated may speak one after the other; and
b) the Speaker may preside in committee of the whole.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-06-17 14:44 [p.2488]
Mr. Speaker, I also have a unanimous consent motion.
There have been discussions and I hope if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That, the House recognize that there is systemic racism in the RCMP as several indigenous people have died at the hands of the RCMP in recent months, and call on the government to do the following: a) review the nearly $10 million per day RCMP budget and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, increase non-police investments in non-violent intervention, de-escalation, and mental health and addictions supports; b) ensure that the RCMP is truly accountable to the public; c) release all RCMP incidents of use-of-force reports and the associated settlement costs; and d) immediately launch a full review of the use of force by the RCMP, including reviewing the tactics and the training that is given to RCMP officers in dealing with the public.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the hon. member for Burnaby South have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed
Some hon. members: No.
The Speaker: Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 26, the House will now resolve itself into committee of the whole to study all votes in the supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
We will now consider all votes in the supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. Time can be shared.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît on a point of order.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I hope you will restore order to the House because the NDP leader insulted a member of my party.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Could you please repeat what you just said? We did not understand what you said.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, we are gathered here as parliamentarians in the House of Commons. Every member has a right to their opinion. However, I do not believe a party leader is entitled to call another member of the House racist simply because that member does not agree with the motion we just discussed.
The NDP leader shamelessly called the member for La Prairie racist. That is unacceptable in the House.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I did not personally hear that comment.
We will listen to the recording and then discuss it.
Does the NDP leader wish to comment?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-06-17 14:48 [p.2489]
Madam Speaker, yes, I did call him a racist, and I do believe he is.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-06-17 14:49 [p.2489]
Madam Speaker, I will not.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, what we are seeing today is unacceptable.
You asked the member to apologize, and he needs to do so. He cannot refuse to apologize, since what he did was completely unacceptable and unparliamentary.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I have noted your comments. I asked the member to apologize. I will take this under advisement and return to the House shortly.
Does the hon. member wish to rise again?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Yes, Madam Speaker, I have one last thing to say.
I am completely shocked that this member has so openly and publicly attacked your authority as Chair. I would like him to leave the chamber immediately.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I have asked the member to apologize. Until he does, he will be unable to address the House.
The Speaker will deliberate on the question and will comment on it as soon as possible.
We will now go into committee of the whole.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
We will now resume consideration of all votes in the supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. Time can be shared.
Today's debate is a general one on all votes tabled before the House on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Pursuant to the provisions in the motion adopted on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the total length of time for debate will not exceed four hours, during which time no quorum calls or dilatory motions shall be received by the Chair.
The first round will begin with the official opposition, followed by the government, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party. After that, we will follow the agreed-upon rotation.
Each member will be allocated 15 minutes at a time. Members may split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair. This time may be used for both debate or for posing questions. Members wishing to use this time to make a speech have a maximum of 10 minutes, which leaves at least 5 minutes for questions to the minister.
When a member is recognized, he or she must indicate to the Chair how the 15-minute period will be used, meaning how much time will be spent on the speech and how much time will be used for questions and answers.
Members should also note that they will need unanimous consent if they wish to split their 15 minutes with other members. When the time is to be used for questions and comments, the minister's response should reflect approximately the time taken to pose the question, as that time counts toward the member's allotted time.
I also wish to indicate that in committee of the whole, comments should be addressed to the Chair. I ask for everyone's co-operation in upholding all established standards of decorum, parliamentary language and behaviour. In addition, please note that we will suspend the sitting every 45 minutes, if needed, for a short period to allow employees who provide support for the sitting to substitute with each other safely.
We will now begin today's session. The House is in committee of the whole, pursuant to the order made Tuesday, May 26, 2020, for consideration of all votes in the supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, I would like to indicate that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
The government would have us believe that it is doing its best during this difficult time, yet despite calling for a team Canada approach in the early days of this pandemic, the government has ignored many of the reasonable, common-sense proposals that the opposition has put forward to make the programs better and to ensure that Canadians do not fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, the government has let people down from the beginning of the health crisis, and this continues, even though the economic effects of the lockdown have caused so much hardship and misery to Canadians.
For example, when other countries were closing down their borders, the government refused to do so, which allowed more people who had the virus to enter the country, obviously leading to more Canadians acquiring it. As the pandemic continued, the government was slow to act, giving PPE away to other countries and dumping stockpiles here at home just months before the coronavirus hit Canada.
As I mentioned, we have proposed common-sense solutions to help more Canadians during this crisis, and the government has refused to act. We are now on the last sitting day of the House before the summer break.
On April 20, we first raised, with the Minister of Finance, an issue relating to companies that have acquired the assets of another company. They are unable to show a significant enough loss to qualify for the wage subsidy. As a result, thousands of Canadians across the country are losing their jobs.
We proposed a solution to the government. Actually, the Minister of Finance's officials came up with a solution: applying an existing provision under the Excise Tax Act to the wage subsidy.
I have a very simple question. Will the government make this change to allow more Canadians to keep their jobs?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 14:57 [p.2490]
Madam Chair, taking a team Canada approach is exactly what we have done in the last few weeks. We have engaged with the provinces and territories, with municipalities, with communities and with people across Canada. This has included the businesses that needed our help.
In many cases, the measures were not only debated by the opposition but supported by the opposition. There was unanimous support from the House when it came to providing the Canada emergency response benefit, which is helping and has helped millions of Canadians, and the emergency loans of $40,000 that are helping almost 700,000 small businesses.
We are grateful to opposition members for their help and support in this crisis.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, will the government make the change to the wage subsidy program to allow companies that have acquired another company to receive the subsidy so we can keep more Canadians working, yes or no?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 14:58 [p.2490]
Madam Chair, the opposition leader is again very right in insisting on the value of the wage subsidy. We are pleased to see that millions of Canadians have been supported by it. Almost 300,000 businesses have applied for it.
We look forward to continuing to support the wages of millions of Canadians.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, the Liberals still cannot answer a yes-or-no question.
The government has racked up unprecedented debt in the last few months. Before the coronavirus hit, the Bank of Canada had approximately $120 billion on its asset sheet. It now has over $500 billion. In other words, it has purchased almost 400 billion dollars' worth of additional debt.
Could the minister tell Canadians where the Bank of Canada got the money to buy that debt?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 14:59 [p.2490]
Madam Chair, the member is correct in highlighting that we have provided different types of support, including liquidity support to businesses and Canadians across Canada. Liquidity is rare in these sorts of crises, and it makes a big difference when it comes to helping Canadians make ends meet.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, the Bank of Canada is buying up to $5 billion a week in bonds. Where is the Bank of Canada getting the money to buy those bonds?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:00 [p.2490]
Madam Chair, let me take advantage of this important question to highlight the fact that we started from a very strong position, including a very strong financial institution position, in Canada before the crisis that made all sorts of institutions, including the Bank of Canada—
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, nobody believes that. This is the government that gave $50 million to Mastercard and $12 million to Loblaws, a government that racked up 80 billion dollars' worth of new deficits before the pandemic hit. Nobody is buying what the minister is selling.
However, the Bank of Canada is buying a lot of debt that other institutions are selling. It is buying government bonds and corporate bonds, at $5 billion a week. Where is the Bank of Canada getting the money to buy all of those bonds?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:01 [p.2491]
Madam Chair, I am thankful for the opportunity to add a bit more to my earlier answers.
We started with three very important strengths: an economic strength, as we were one of the countries in the world growing the fastest; a fiscal strength, as we have one of the best fiscal positions; and an institutional financial strength, which we have been glad to use in the last few weeks.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I just want to remind members that the length of the answers and questions should be about the same. I am mindful of the time.
The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, the minister talked about a balance sheet. The balance sheet of the government racked up 80 billion dollars' worth of debt before the health pandemic hit. Now the Bank of Canada's balance sheet has quadrupled. It has gone from $120 billion to $500 billion because it has bought debt; it has bought bonds.
Again, where is the Bank of Canada getting the money to buy the bonds?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:02 [p.2491]
Madam Chair, I am sure the member opposite will agree that we are fortunate in Canada to be able to count on the support of an important institution like the Bank of Canada, which in normal times does a great number of important things and in times of crisis is even more important.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, the Bank of Canada is buying all kinds of different bonds. In fact, it is doing so in a secondary market, which means the first people to get the new money the Bank of Canada is creating are bondholders, hedge fund managers and corporate institutions. The Bank of Canada is also buying record amounts of corporate bonds.
Many of these companies are facing significant hardships. Who pays if the corporations go bankrupt?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:02 [p.2491]
Madam Chair, I want to remind the member about something he knows really well. In Canada we are fortunate to have very strong financial and banking institutions, which we are all proud of in normal times and depend on very much in times of crisis.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
We will suspend the sitting for a few moments because I am having computer problems.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
I will report the matter of decorum that was raised to the Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with you a point of order that has been raised. The hon. member for Burnaby South called another hon. member a racist and did not want to apologize. I submit this point of order for your consideration.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr. Singh, I must name you for disregarding the authority of the Chair.
Pursuant to the authority granted to me by Standing Order 11, I order you to withdraw from the House for the remainder of this sitting day.
I will now leave the chair and the House will resume the work of the committee.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
We are now returning to the committee of the whole.
The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-06-17 15:19 [p.2491]
Madam Chair, today we are in the House for a relatively short amount of time since we have only four hours to talk about the government's $87 billion in spending.
Before getting into the questions I have for the government, I thought I would crunch some numbers. We are going to spend four hours discussing $87 billion. That represents $362.5 million a minute or roughly $6 million a second. That is how much time we have to talk about the Prime Minister's announcements and all the questions on the minds of Canadians, businesses, organizations and all parliamentarians across the country. I am sure the Liberals across the way get asked the same questions by constituents. Unfortunately, they are unable to provide any answers.
Earlier today, during the sitting of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, I asked the Minister of Finance some questions on the economic update, or economic snapshot, as the Prime Minister calls it. Apparently the Canadian Parliament is incapable of doing as other countries or provinces have done and present a real economic update or a budget so that we can see where we stand after all of the announcements that have been made in the past three months.
In what little time we have every day to ask questions, we cannot even get basic information, such as the amount of the deficit or the debt, or the amount associated with a government announcement. I think that this shows a lack of respect for the parliamentarians here in this House and for Canadians who work hard to earn a living and support their families. Canadians pay taxes, which are used to provide services to the public and to those who are most vulnerable or in need.
Today I am relating the comments of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Conservatives are not making any of this up. For weeks now, we have been asking for an economic update. We are going to vote supply without knowing any of the details. Actually, we just learned that we will get all the facts in a few weeks, on July 8, so we have a bit of time today to ask some questions.
Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said that the Liberals' estimates are incomplete. The Prime Minister is talking about some really big numbers, in the billions of dollars, on the steps of his cottage instead of convening Parliament so we can debate the issues and legislation or ask questions. We are being left on our own to do our work as MPs in our ridings and help our constituents. The last three weeks have been extremely frustrating. We have received little information and we cannot meet with anyone in the halls of Parliament to get some help to do our work as MPs in our ridings. We do not have the opportunity to speak with the right people who might be able to get answers for our constituents and the businesses in need.
My first question is rather simple and I hope someone will be able to answer it. A month ago, following pressure from the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of his cottage and announced that businesses that have just one employee or that pay themselves in dividends would finally have access to $40,000 in loans through the Canada emergency business account.
As much as we have gotten some answers during briefing calls, we still do not know when this information will be communicated to the financial institutions and credit unions so that businesses can receive that emergency assistance.
When will those $40,000 loans be available to businesses with just one employee or that pay themselves in dividends?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:23 [p.2492]
Madam Chair, my colleague's question was a long one, which gives me an opportunity to provide a fulsome response to his fundamental concerns.
The first point he raised, and I want to emphasize this, is that Canadians are working hard and are struggling under the very complex circumstances we have been experiencing for many weeks. The second thing he said is that MPs' work is also very demanding under the circumstances.
Because of the situation, our measures were both urgent and implemented transparently. Every two weeks, the Minister of Finance makes a complete report available to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. The Standing Committee on Finance and the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meet regularly. An open data portal is also available. It proactively makes information available to MPs. About 150 COVID-19 files have been proactively disclosed. Lastly, there is the Government of Canada's InfoBase, which provides detailed information about all the measures we have announced.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-06-17 15:25 [p.2492]
Madam Chair, unfortunately, my question was not answered.
Some businesses are trying to get the emergency loan. The Prime Minister announced it a month ago in front of his home. This information is still not available and is not found on any official site. There is not one financial institution that can provide answers to businesses that need this money today when provinces are fully reopening.
There is another question that I would like to ask the government. It is now mid-June. On April 22, there was a major announcement about helping students, and that if they wanted to volunteer to help the vulnerable dealing with COVID-19 they would receive up to $5,000 in grants. I checked the website again this morning. There is no information about this.
When will the information be available?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:25 [p.2492]
Madam Chair, indeed, I did not had time to answer the last part of the opposition member's question. The site for the Canada emergency business account will be available on Friday and will contain the updates that the member would like to see.
As for youth, I obviously do not have time to provide all the details, but we have put in place significant measures to help youth living under very difficult circumstances. I invite the member to note the statistic of 40%, as that is the unemployment rate of students who want to continue their studies in the coming weeks. Even though the member is not listening, I would add that that is why it is important to continue working hard for youth, to ensure that they can continue their studies and have everything they need to succeed.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
With only nine seconds remaining, there is not enough time for another question.
The hon. President of the Treasury Board.
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:27 [p.2493]
Madam Chair, I am delighted and honoured to address the House today in an extraordinary context.
Thank you for, Madam Chair, for this opportunity to discuss, in particular, supplementary estimates (A) for 2020-21.
As committee members know, every year, the government tables the supplementary estimates, which sets out its spending plan.
These supplementary estimates present information on spending requirements across federal organizations that were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the main estimates or have since been updated to reflect new developments.
This is the first supplementary estimates to be tabled this fiscal year. It includes a summary of the government's additional financial requirements and an overview of the main funding requests and horizontal initiatives.
The Supplementary Estimates (A), 2020-21, also shows that the government is continuing to invest in people, in workers, in the economy and in support related to COVID-19 to ensure the country's success and economic recovery.
Parliamentarians will have the opportunity to review and vote on these allocations, which seek to provide important services to indigenous communities, safe and secure transportation for travellers and support for Canada's armed forces. This is in addition to COVID-related expenditures.
Specifically, these supplementary estimates include $6 billion in operating and capital expenditures, grants and contributions to be voted on by Parliament for 42 different federal organizations. These voted measures represent a 5% increase over those included in the main estimates for 2020-21 that I tabled on February 27, including more than $1 billion for the government's response to the COVID crisis.
For the purposes of parliamentary information and transparency, the supplementary estimates also includes forecasts of statutory expenditures totalling $81.1 billion. It is important to note the key difference between voted spending and statutory spending. Voted spending requires the annual approval of Parliament through what is called a supply bill, whereas statutory spending is approved through other laws. The current estimates contains information on statutory spending to enable parliamentarians to have the most comprehensive information available on the spending planned by the government.
Canadians and the parliamentarians who represent them have the right to know how public funds are being spent and to hold the government to account. Estimates are brought forward to ensure that Parliament can review and approve the new spending needs of the Government of Canada.
The Supplementary Estimates (A) for 2020-21 include $6 billion in new funding across the government, including $1 billion in continued support for COVID-19 relief.
For maximum transparency, the estimates documents also provide information on spending authorized through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act and the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, which have already been negotiated, discussed and unanimously approved by parliamentarians.
We know that Canadians want maximum transparency from Parliament. These estimates include statutory information on spending that was first authorized through the COVID-19 emergency response acts that were presented, debated and passed in the House. This spending is now helping Canadians.
The health, security and well-being of all Canadians remain critical to our government. As a result, these supplementary estimates include a request for an additional $1.3 billion in voted expenditures to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians.
This includes $405 million for the national medical research strategy to fund tracking and testing of COVID-19, to develop vaccines and therapies, and to enhance clinical trials and biomanufacturing capacity in Canada.
There is also $302 million to support small and medium-sized businesses.
This also includes $274 million for urgent research and innovation on medical countermeasures, $87 million for the Community Futures Network, and $59 million to help the Canadian Red Cross Society support individuals, families and communities during the pandemic.
Here are some of the other key initiatives included in these estimates that support a variety of Canadians priorities: $585 million for the Department of National Defence to fund the joint support ship project to replace vessels that have reached the end of their lifespans, and $481 million for the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to fund the federal Indian day schools settlement agreement.
In addition, $468 million is allocated to the Department of Indigenous Services to support the safety and well-being of first nations children and families living on reserve.
There is also $312 million for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Department of Transport, which will fund aviation security screening services.
For my own department, called the Treasury Board Secretariat, the estimates include $396 million for the disability insurance plan; $82 million for previous requirements, in this case to cover the cost of negotiated wage adjustments; and $9 million to continue the Canadian Digital Service's operations.
The supplementary estimates enable the government to be transparent and accountable for how we plan to use public funds to provide the programs and services Canadians need. In accordance with the government's commitment to transparency, we continue to provide additional important information online regarding these supplementary estimates.
For example, we have published a detailed listing of legislated amounts reported through these estimates and a complete breakdown of planned expenditures by standard objects such as personnel, professional services and transfer payments. Our online information tools reflect our commitment to give Canadians a clear explanation of where public funds are going and how they are going to be spent.
Furthermore, the Minister of Finance committed to reporting to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance every two weeks about the key measures taken by the government to help Canadians.
Lastly, the government remains firmly committed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as these supplementary estimates show.
The new spending plans in these supplementary estimates will help support people affected by the pandemic and maintain support for the economy and Canadians.
As we advance these plans, I would like to acknowledge the crucial work of all parliamentarians as we continue to work together for the future of our country and the wellness of all Canadians. Canadians are counting on us and expect all parliamentarians to be steady in their support as we navigate through these very challenging times. Let us honour their trust.
I would now be happy to answer any questions that members of this House may have.
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karen McCrimmon Profile
2020-06-17 15:36 [p.2494]
Madam Chair, I would like to ask the hon. minister if he could tell us more about the difference between the voted amounts and the statutory or legislated amounts that are contained in these estimates and explain for Canadians exactly what are the votes that are taking place today.
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:36 [p.2494]
Madam Chair, that is a very important question. This is unfortunately confusing some members of this House.
There are indeed two types of expenditures: the voted and the legislated expenditures.
Of the $87 billion that we are currently discussing, $81 billion has already been discussed, debated and agreed upon by this House. These are called legislated expenditures.
The voted expenditures are a total of $6 billion. They come in addition to the main expenditures, and $1.3 billion of those additional expenditures are completely focused on the COVID-19 crisis.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2020-06-17 15:37 [p.2494]
Madam Chair, the minister mentioned in his speech that Canadians want maximum transparency from Parliament. I think we all agree that openness and transparency are always important, but even more so during this challenging time caused by COVID-19. How has the minister ensured transparency for Canadians and parliamentarians throughout the supply process? Can the minister explain to Canadians how they can find more information about these estimates?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:37 [p.2494]
Madam Chair, I thank the member for asking about both the urgency and the transparency of our measures in the last few weeks. We are going through a crisis that Canadians have never seen in their lives, and that is a challenge both on the health and the economic side. That is why we needed to act quickly and transparently at the same time.
As we delivered those important measures, to which I will come back in a moment, we made sure that they would be not only communicated but in many cases adjusted as we proceeded through the crisis. These measures are detailed in various ways: through the biweekly reports that the Minister of Finance provides for the House Committee on Finance; through the open portal, which provides proactive disclosure of a large number of COVID-19 measures; and, finally, through the InfoBase website, which gives, in detail, all the measures that we are discussing this afternoon.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, the supply process has looked different this year than in past years. We are voting today on a second interim supply bill in lieu of full supply, due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. How was the COVID-19 pandemic taken into account in these estimates, both through the exceptional structure of the supply process and the content of the supplementary estimates? How much of the planned spending presented in the supplementary estimates (A) is for measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:39 [p.2495]
Madam Chair, we have two types of expenditures we are discussing today.
The first type, called legislated expenditures, deal, for instance, with the Canada emergency response benefit, which has helped eight million Canadians in the last few weeks. We also have additional expenditures, called voted expenditures, to develop, for instance, vaccines, treatments and testing procedures, and also to support indigenous people and our Canadian Forces personnel. We are helping communities through important investments.
These are two types of essential expenditures that are helping both Canadians and communities.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-06-17 15:40 [p.2495]
Madam Chair, I appreciate the job and the work that the minister has been doing. Given the environment we face today, in all regions of our country there has been a great deal of concern in regard to making sure we do not leave people behind. It seems to be a very important priority for the government.
Could the minister provide his thoughts on how important it is that, as a government, we try to be there as best we can for our citizens as a whole?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-06-17 15:41 [p.2495]
Madam Chair, to be there together to help each other is absolutely essential in a crisis like this one. If we want to get through the crisis, we need to be there to support each other.
That is why we have the Canada emergency response benefit, emergency wage subsidies, and emergency loans for small businesses. That is why we have investments in personal protective equipment, in medical services, in fighting homelessness, in helping vulnerable Canadians such as seniors and helping students and families.
All of these investments not only make us stronger, but also more united as we go through the crisis.
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