Madam Speaker, I will say at the outset that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I am very happy to do so because I think he has a significant contribution to make to the debate, as has been noticed in the past.
I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak in this debate because I think it is an important one. It is an opportunity to add three more opposition debate days to the calendar. That may be technical and require a change to the statutory rules, the instruments of the House, the Standing Orders. However, it is an addition that is very valid and welcome in this minority Parliament.
There is a special reason for that. I will not go into the reasons why the Conservatives were prompted to do this in this particular instance, but I will say that we are dealing with a government that is acting in a manner that is not in keeping with the expectations of Canadians to co-operate with other parties to deliver a good government. There are many examples of that.
I will go over some of the valid and excellent motions that were brought forward by our party on opposition days over the last number of years. These motions were extremely important to the future of the country and to the people of Canada. I hope that those listening will agree that in the last election no party was given a majority. We had had four years of a Liberal majority, and people said they did not want that. They wanted the parties to work together to deliver good government.
What we are getting from the government is that its agenda is the only agenda that matters. That is all it wants to do. The government wants to run the House as if it had a majority, and it is not really prepared to listen to what the opposition has to say.
Here is an opportunity for the Liberals to agree that we need to hear more from the opposition. We might ask the opposition to be more constructive sometimes, but the opposition is here to provide an alternative and to hold the government to account. We have tried over many years, including in this Parliament, to provide constructive opposition day motions.
The first example is the most recent, which occurred on February 26. It was a motion calling on the government to change its proposed tax cuts by targeting benefits to those families earning less than $90,000 a year. The savings could then be used to add a dental care program for those who do not have a dental program. That was an important debate. The government did not listen to it, but that is its prerogative.
Canadians were able to listen to the proposal to use part of the $6.85 billion per year that the government proposes to spend on a so-called middle-class tax cut, of which at least $1.6 billion is going to those who are making in excess of $90,000 a year, to create a dental plan.
The tax cut will give those who are making in excess of $90,000 a year a $340 break on their taxes, while people who make less than $15,000 will save $1. That is the middle-class tax cut for them.
We said take the top part of that, the $1.6 billion from those making more than $90,000 a year, and use a portion of it, not even all of it, to ensure that those who do not have dental care plans, like every member in the House has, would get an opportunity to have access to dental care.
That is a very important motion, a very important provision and a very important proposal to compromise with the government's stated aim to have what it calls a middle-class tax cut.
That is only one example, and examples are repeated time and again in a review of NDP motions in the past. In May 2019, there was a motion by our leader, the member for Burnaby South, for a declaration of an environment and climate emergency. We have had considerable motions over the last number of years on the importance of the climate and concerns about climate change.
We had a motion in February of last year addressing Canada's housing crisis, which is still a significant issue and one that the government is struggling to have credibility on. This keeps the issue on the table and it gives an opportunity to the government to see where to go if it wants co-operation in the House, which is what Canadians want.
In November of the previous year we had a motion on service standards for Canadian veterans. We have still not seen the results of that, but it was brought to the House by an opposition day motion. Members had a full day to debate the importance of veterans getting the services they need, getting the attention they need, and getting beyond this continuous and long-standing wait-list, which is depriving them of the services they need and are entitled to. It is still going on, regardless of the fact that this was brought in during a majority government. Maybe in a minority government with more opposition days these issues would actually get dealt with, because the government will be told by parliamentarians elected by all Canadians what the priorities are.
This is certainly a big priority for me, for our party and for the people of my province. Indeed, it is a big priority for the whole country, which has the important issue of support for veterans on their minds.
We have discussed other issues that are of world importance, such as our debate in June 2017 on nuclear disarmament. What could be more important, in terms of making the world a safer place for our children and the future, than moving forward on the motion of nuclear disarmament in a world that is getting a bit more uncertain as time goes on?
We introduced a bill on a universal pharmacare program. That was debated in the House in October 2017, thanks to the New Democratic Party, and we now have legislation before the House. It is a matter that at least has the attention of the Liberals, but I have not seen any sign that we are going to have a public system that Canadians want, similar to what is contained in the Canada Health Act.
Issues that keep coming back again and again were sometimes brought to the House by New Democrats, not necessarily for the first time, but in a forceful and positive way looking for solutions.
A motion on care for first nations children was brought forward by the member for Timmins—James Bay in November 2016.
I could go on but I will go back to one issue that comes up again and again, and I am talking about the motions brought forward by the New Democratic Party on climate change. We can go as far back as February 2007, with a motion on the Kyoto protocol, which the previous government got rid of.
In 2007, a climate change action plan was brought forward by former leader Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party. That was more than 12 years ago. Climate change action has been on the NDP agenda for more than a decade. Climate change has now reached a crisis point. We recognized that crisis many years ago. The government is now at least listening, but where are we in terms of enforceable standards? Where is the plan? Where are the timetables? Where is the reporting back to the House?
These issues are still there, but they were brought to the House in important opposition day motions.
I have one minute left and I am happy to devote it to a motion brought forward by my former colleague Romeo Saganash on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also known as UNDRIP. This is an extremely important resolution from the United Nations supported by the Government of Canada but not yet brought into force. It was adopted by the Government of British Columbia. It is extremely important in terms of what we are dealing with these days with the Wet'suwet'en in British Columbia.
Opposition day motions are so important for Canadians and for this House of Parliament. We should have more of them.