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View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2020-04-29 17:28 [p.2268]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for La Prairie.
I want to once again salute the people in my riding. Earlier my colleague spoke about the resilience of our constituents. I want to acknowledge their courage and shows of solidarity during these difficult times. Something positive during this pandemic is how people are banding together.
Today we are debating a motion to pass a bill that would create the Canada emergency student benefit. The Bloc Québécois is obviously in favour of financial support for students. This measure is necessary and essential, which is why we asked for it.
Make no mistake: students are also being hit hard by this crisis. Some colleagues in other political parties have raised concerns about this benefit. They think that students will not want to work because they will figure out they can make more money staying home. The Bloc Québécois could not disagree more.
We recognize that students need financial support because, from the outset, students who had completed their education or who will be going back to school made the effort to come to our riding offices and tell us that they did not know if or when they would find a job. We had to find a solution and identify the measures needed, and that is just what we did. This crisis will be deemed to be historic, but no one must be left behind or fall through the cracks.
I would also like to remind members that the motion asks for measures to be implemented without delay to provide additional support for seniors. We called for these measures and we are still waiting for them because they are necessary.
I spoke about fairness and about those falling through the cracks. I would like us to think about that. The current crisis has taught us that we must respond, sometimes on a case-by-case basis, to situations that require urgent support.
Furthermore, as parliamentarians, we must ask ourselves whether our social safety net and our social programs, such as employment insurance, have failed us. The Bloc Québécois has already called for a major overhaul of the system. To date, more than eight million workers have lost their jobs, and we must ask ourselves whether they should have been eligible for employment insurance. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us. We have to face the facts and completely overhaul the system.
The purpose of the bill is twofold, namely to provide financial support to students and to do so in a way that encourages them to find a job. With respect to the latter, we can say that the bill is less than perfect, considering certain obstacles.
The first obstacle has to do with the language around jobs, job creation and job opportunities. The minister talked about a program that will create more than 60,000 additional jobs, but we do not know what sector they will be in, what kind of jobs they will be, or under what conditions. It would have been better to do more to coordinate and align efforts with the provinces.
Secondly, and this is very important, the situation has changed. There was a crisis six weeks ago and we may now be starting to reopen. People are wondering whether there will be any jobs. With the Canada emergency student benefit, as with the Canada emergency response benefit, it is all or nothing. Those who earn $1,000 or less will be entitled to a benefit of $1,250 or $1,750. Those who earn $1,001 will lose the $1,250 monthly benefit. In the current context, that causes an imbalance, which is why it is important to support the motion before us to determine as quickly as possible how this will be handled. The CERB and the CESB have to be provided in such a way as to meet the objective of supporting students while providing an incentive at all times. We proposed some measures. We still have other proposals to make and we think they should be implemented.
No student wants to sit around doing nothing. Having a summer job is a valuable experience. Summer jobs give students a chance to hone their skills in their chosen trade or profession. They also get to earn money that they can live on during the school year. Accordingly, I think we need to move forward without losing sight of the fact that we absolutely need to work on measures that will incentivize work. I would add that the jobs need to be quality jobs. These measures will be a major basic support for students.
People have mentioned the changing context. In 48 hours, it will be May 1, which is International Workers' Day. During this crisis, we have saluted many essential workers, the heroes who work in many different sectors, including food, transportation, student jobs, health care and community social services. We just happened to become aware of what they do. We realized the value of their work. We recognized essential workers who are the most vulnerable workers and who have the most precarious working conditions and wage conditions. When we talk about incentivizing employment, we need to remember that the jobs we want to fill must be well paid for anyone who wants them, including students. We have some work to do on that score as well.
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