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Results: 1 - 30 of 16197
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-01-26 10:03 [p.3501]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
Yesterday, the government failed to move a unanimous motion concerning a bill that must be passed immediately. The government claimed to be outraged about this situation. I am certain you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, a bill standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, entitled An Act to amend the Canada Recovery Benefits Act and the Customs Act, be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2021-01-26 10:04 [p.3501]
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This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
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View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
View Brad Vis Profile
2021-01-26 10:06 [p.3501]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table my second petition as a Conservative member of Parliament. It is for concerned Canadians regarding the safety of farmers from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana who are protesting domestic legislative changes affecting their livelihoods.
Legislative independence of sovereign nations must be respected, but Canada will always stand for the protection of fundamental freedoms, both at home and around the world. Indeed, every day is a great day to be a Canadian when we can raise our voices and fight for what we believe in through peaceful protests.
That is why I stand with the farmers in India who are peacefully protesting. I also stand with my constituents peacefully protesting in Canada, who are making their voices heard through tractor rallies, car rallies, car decals and daily protests in my riding.
They are being heard. Their voices are elevated today. Without farmers, we do not have food and we do not have a future.
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View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2021-01-26 10:06 [p.3501]
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Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting petition e-2868, with 3,710 signatures. It is petitioning the Minister of Health regarding a rare disease, spinal muscular atrophy. Health Canada has just approved a gene therapy called Zolgensma that can be close to a cure if administered before the age of two, but it costs $2.8 million per dose. The petitioners are asking the federal government to work with the provinces to help families with the high cost of these treatments and with other rare diseases so that we can save these children.
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View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2021-01-26 10:07 [p.3501]
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Mr. Speaker, I would also like to present petition e-2378. This petition has over 1,000 signatures. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to amend legislation on medical assistance in dying to allow for advance requests if individuals have lost cognizance or cannot provide consent prior to the MAID process.
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View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-01-26 10:08 [p.3501]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to support the individuals who put forward a petition on behalf of the Uighur community in China. The Chinese Communist Party is impacting them through forced sterilization, abortions, anti-religious indoctrination, arbitrary detention, the separation of children from their families, invasive surveillance, destruction of cultural sites, forced labour and forced organ harvesting. Up to three million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained in what can only be described as concentration camps.
The petitioners are calling on our government to stand up for these people who are being abused in this way by formally recognizing that Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide, and to use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Magnitsky act, to sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against this community.
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View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
2021-01-26 10:09 [p.3502]
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Mr. Speaker, during the summer, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights conducted an investigation into the genocide of Uighur Muslims. All members of Parliament from all parties who sat through those hearings and heard the evidence and survivor testimony agreed that Uighur Muslims are being subject to an ongoing genocide at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
The petitioners call on the Government of Canada and all of Parliament to recognize this genocide and our commitment and responsibility to protect those who are subject to genocide, impose Magnitsky sanctions against those involved in perpetrating this genocide to hold them accountable and end the global culture of impunity regarding gross human rights violations.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-01-26 10:09 [p.3502]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present petitions from constituents in Saanich—Gulf Islands. The petitioners want to underline to the federal government that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would ensure rising greenhouse gas emissions from increased production in the oil sands. They note this is incompatible with the government's commitments on climate change, a point confirmed recently by a report form the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The petitioners call on Parliament not to allow the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, nor the expenditure of public funds while the Government of Canada owns this pipeline.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2021-01-26 10:10 [p.3502]
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Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today that highlights the treatment of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities by the Chinese government.
The petitioners believe Canada cannot remain silent in the face of this ongoing atrocity. They are calling upon the Government of Canada to formally recognize that the Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide, and to use the Magnitsky act to sanction those responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against the Uighur people.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-01-26 10:11 [p.3502]
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Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with Canada's favourite grandfather: the member for Cariboo—Prince George. I would remind him of the Speaker's stern warnings not to show any pictures or props of grandchildren. That would be completely inappropriate.
It is my honour to rise again virtually to speak to Bill C-14. The Liberal government's failure to protect Canadians and the Canadian economy, by approving and acquiring rapid tests and by securing vaccine doses on time, has put us at risk. Of course, the impact on the health of Canadians is the most significant impact, but the issues for the Canadian economy are very serious. Our unemployment rate is among the worst in the G7. Our GDP is continuing to lag behind most other industrialized economies'.
If Canadians can return safely to work, they will. They will re-energize our economy and bring energy and jobs flooding back to our economy, but the question is whether there will be jobs for them to return to by the time the vaccine rollout is completed, without a plan for the economy. A plan is more than just a willingness, a desire or dream to spend $100 billion. It is an actual plan. Without that plan, the answer to that question may be no, which would be tragic.
The fiscal update did not provide any concrete answers on how we can recover from the millions of jobs we lost in the pandemic or how we can emerge as one of the world's economic leaders as we did so famously after the great recession. We led the global economy out of that most terrible recession. We need a plan that builds on Canada's proven areas of economic strength, such as energy, manufacturing and information technology. Now is not the time for grand experiments or radical transformations. We need to rely on the reliable, relentless power of our workers, business owners and free-market enterprise.
The fiscal update and Bill C-14 do nothing to put in the conditions required to empower our workers and job creators to bring prosperity back to our wonderful land. While the fiscal update has little direction, it does have a lot of spending. What the Liberal government is ostensibly asking for is a $500 billion blank cheque. That is a tremendous amount of money. What has the Liberal government done to deserve a rise in the debt threshold to $1.8 trillion? I will repeat that: $1.8 trillion.
During the pandemic, Liberals have spent the most and gotten the least. We are outpacing all of our G7 counterparts with respect to deficit spending; however, our GDP growth and unemployment rates are among the worst in our peer group. What have the Liberals done to develop and build this trust, to raise the debt ceiling to $1.8 trillion? We have seen repeated violations of Canadians' trust. From the WE scandal to the SNC-Lavalin affair, we have seen breach after breach of Canadians' trust.
In fact, unbelievably, at the beginning of the pandemic the Liberals exploited the crisis to attempt to obtain an unlimited and unfettered ability to tax and spend. What is more, the finance minister, who said she does not believe in projections, says she will not limit the Liberal government's spending with a fiscal anchor. The fiscal anchor is of course meant to protect the government's finances and protect future generations from an excessive burden of debt.
The finance minister does say she is putting up guardrails. With respect, Canada's national debt is now over $1 trillion. Our deficit in 2019-20 is going to be over $400 billion. We do not need guardrails. The car is already in the ditch. We need a plan to get out of the ditch. The audacity of asking for $500 billion of additional borrowing authority, given the government's pathetic record of reckless spending and financial mismanagement, is nothing short of shocking.
Before Canadians can be asked to assume more debt, the government must create a credible economic recovery plan: a path back to fiscal sustainability. To give the government a $500 billion blank cheque would not just be reckless. It would be negligent. Our Conservative Party believes that Canadians, including those not yet born, deserve the opportunity to be prosperous. The government is putting this aspiration at risk.
We need to see legislation from the government that offers stability, confidence and compassion. Unfortunately, Bill C-14 offers a lot of spending and a lot of debt, without building the framework for security and prosperity.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-01-26 10:17 [p.3503]
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Madam Speaker, my colleague and friend makes reference extensively to the issue of the deficit and the amount of money the government has borrowed. The Government of Canada has recognized the importance of that by investing in Canadians through programs such as the wage loss subsidy for small businesses and, for eight million to nine million Canadians, the CERB program. All are meant to be there to support Canadians through this pandemic.
Is my friend and colleague trying to suggest that the federal government should not have been supporting Canadians through this pandemic? Following that, would he recognize that the Conservative Party did not do a good job of managing debt while it was in government? Why should we take advice from the Conservatives on deficits?
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, Conservatives have been clear that we have supported programs like the wage subsidy and CERB. In fact, if the hon. member checks the voting records he will see that.
The reality is that the Liberal government has bungled some of these plans, such as the wage subsidy. Because the Liberals bungled them and miscommunicated them, they were slow out of the gate, such as with the rent subsidy which, eight months later, the government had to redo. Canadians have felt the brunt of this, and our economics are lagging because of that. Small businesses are lost that will never come back. Employment is lost.
With respect to the great recession, we led the global community out of it, leading in growth rates, GDP and unemployment numbers. We led back to a balanced budget. Five years after the great recession, we had a balanced budget. I doubt that, under the current Liberal government, we will be anywhere near a balanced budget. In fact, the Liberals' own forecasts say so.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-01-26 10:19 [p.3503]
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Madam Speaker, I was talking to Jackie Ryan, who owns Jacqueline's Aesthetics in Port Alberni. She is a constituent of mine. She is self-employed, and her home-based business has struggled immensely since the beginning of the pandemic. First she closed her doors to protect public health. Now she is down 50% because people are afraid to get out into the community.
Jackie, like many other Canadians, turned to CERB to help pay back the bills and support her family. She would not have been able to buy food or support her children and deal with her prescription medications. Now the Liberals are telling Jackie she needs to pay back the CERB, which she cannot do. She, like many others, is angry. She is disappointed. She is scared. She does not know how she is going to survive the next few months without support from the government, never mind pay this back.
Does my colleague agree? Does he have constituents who are honest business owners who maybe had a tax-filing year where they showed a loss and a carry-forward, and then were caught in this quagmire, where the Liberals say that they have their backs and they do not? Many women, as we know, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID crisis. This is impacting people like Jackie.
Does my colleague agree that the government should back off and not be asking people like Jackie to pay back the government for supports it promised them?
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View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his great question and his long history of intervening on behalf of small business owners. I am sure the small business owners in my community also appreciate his great work and interventions.
The miscommunication that occurred with respect to gross versus net income is nothing short of extremely disappointing. I too have constituents in my riding who are facing audits and other actions from the CRA right now that relate back to poor communication by the government.
In fact, right now, I have constituents who were collecting the CERB and the government has audited them. Instead of saying, “You provide the proof and we will continue to pay”, the government is actually cutting off the payments before people continue to receive the CERB. These people are just like Jackie. I have thousands of Jackies in my riding who were struggling to get by but are having their benefits cut off because the government lacks compassion.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2021-01-26 10:22 [p.3504]
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Before we go to resuming debate, I notice that there seem to be some technical issues where we have dropped the audio a couple of times on the two previous speakers. I would ask the interpreters, if they are losing the ability to understand what has been said, to let me know somehow and we will have the presenter repeat.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2021-01-26 10:23 [p.3504]
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Madam Speaker, we are speaking on Bill C-14, and I want to thank my hon. colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South. He reminded me of my beautiful granddaughter, and I know I am not allowed to show those photos, so I will not do that again, but if any of my colleagues want to see them, I can do that. We are here to actually speak on serious terms, but I have to say that in troubling times and challenging times, my granddaughter and my family, and all our families, bring us back and remind us what is truly important.
I want to remind Canadians that it has been almost two years since we have had a federal budget. Unbelievably, and through good faith, our Liberal colleagues in the government have had an unprecedented amount of autonomy with their spending, based on goodwill and good faith collaboration from the opposition. When Canadians needed help the most, the opposition and all parties came together and dropped partisan politics, and we worked together in a team Canada approach. Sadly, we have seen that the Liberals have failed Canadians once again. They blew it, and today they are asking for another $500 billion. They want us to just trust them. They know what is best for Canadians.
It is disappointing. Our colleague from Courtenay—Alberni mentioned Jackie, his constituent, and her small home-based business that is struggling. As our colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South mentioned, there are thousands of Jackies right across our country who are failing, whose businesses have been shuttered and have closed their doors. They are facing financial hardship. A Liberal talking point is that they are investing in Canadians. Today, I am going to highlight some of the businesses in my riding that the Liberals have absolutely failed. While I will mention only a few, due to the time that I have to highlight them, I can tell members there are literally thousands of businesses right across our country that have fallen through the cracks and been left behind due to the Liberals' lack of a plan to get relief to those Canadians who need it the most.
Roy Call is a constituent of mine I have known since I was in high school. Roy's family operates C+ Rodeos in my riding. It is among the top 10 rodeo stock providers in our country. The family has worked and built this operation for over 35 years. Three generations of the family work their ranch. Their stock has been bred for over 35 years and sadly, they have fallen through the cracks. They are among those tourism or events-based businesses that have absolutely fallen through provincial relief programs and federal programs. Repeatedly, we have brought the situations of C+ Rodeos and others to the government and the ministers, trying to work collaboratively with them on that team Canada approach that they so desperately want to foist back on the opposition, saying we should work together.
Sadly, today if Roy and his family do not receive any help, they have to downsize. In a rodeo performance-based business, what does downsizing mean? It means euthanizing perfectly good, healthy rodeo stock animals. I do not think anybody wants to see us get to that point. That is where we are, with business people having to make those hard decisions.
I also want to talk about Central Display, an events-based business, and Jack and Sheldon. They go from community to community and help put on those events that are such economic drivers that our small communities depend on, such as conferences and other events. They provide the resources and services for those events to be put on. When they go into these communities, they temporarily hire local staff. They teach them a skill and hire them to actually provide the services in those communities. They work with dry grad groups and support special groups, like the women's hockey team in Smithers, British Columbia. However, in 2020, they lost in excess of $650,000 and are projected to lose up to $1 million in just the first six months of 2021.
These are real numbers. The government is asking for more money and it says it wants to invest in Canadians, but that money is not getting to where it is needed the most.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with a lady who was celebrating her 100th birthday, Margaret Sweder. I phoned her to congratulate her on her 100th birthday, and she told me that she was just missing the simple things, like a hug. She is a sweet lady and very sharp. She said that it was the first time she had a call from Ottawa that she actually wanted to take. She thought it was the tax man who was calling. I gave her a virtual hug and made a date with her for tea when the “COVID thing”, as she called it, ceases to exist.
These are the real stories that I am not sure those across the way get. I could go on about the failed vaccine promises that the Liberals have mentioned. Yet again, we know they have let Canadians down.
Unbelievably, throughout this pandemic the Liberals have taken the opportunity for pet projects. Unbelievably as well, what they want to do is shutter airport towers just when we need them the most. In our critical time for recovery, they want to shutter airport towers in places like Prince George, my riding, where we have the third-longest runway in Canada. We are part of the northern corridor project and part of the Asia-Pacific gateway. They want to take a key economic driver in our region and shutter the doors. How blind are they?
The government comes to us, the opposition, to say “Just work with us.” Trust is not just given; it is earned. Respect is not just given; it is earned. Time and time again what we see is that they just do not get it. We see a lot of sabre-rattling where the Prime Minister threatens the opposition with going to an election and talks about a confidence vote. Let me be very clear: The only person who wants an election right now and wants to send Canadians to the polls is the Prime Minister. The rest of us are concerned about our constituents, about the fact that it is unsafe and we are seeing increased closures and quarantine measures.
This brings me to a very important point, and I want to thank my colleague from Carleton for bringing this up yesterday. He pointed out that there is a very human toll to what is going on here. He said, “The University of Calgary published a study recently showing that there is a two percentage point increase in suicides for every one percentage point increase in unemployment. Imagine the human cost of 7% unemployment.” We also know that substance and alcohol abuse grows with unemployment. Increased isolation and anxiety have led to increased suicide and domestic violence crises.
We have to do more. Sadly, what we have seen is that the Liberals have left Canadians behind. They have blown it.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2021-01-26 10:32 [p.3505]
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Madam Speaker, I am glad to see that my colleague had an opportunity to share his picture of his grandchild, and I want to say congratulations to him on that recent addition to his family.
I did take issue with what he said, when he said that the only person who wants to go to the polls is the Prime Minister and that the rest of us are concerned about our citizens. I think that this government, through the collaboration with all members of this House, has demonstrated that all members of this House are extremely concerned about Canadians and their well-being during this pandemic, but indeed coming out on the other end of it.
My question is very simple. My colleague talked about businesses in his riding that are suffering. I think it is fair to say that we all have businesses in our ridings that are suffering, but that is exactly why we are investing in Canadians now. Previous Conservative colleagues have gone on about the amount of debt that we have had to take on as a result of supporting businesses. Does he not agree that the investments that were made to support businesses were important to get us through this? If he does not, and if his concern is that we are spending money in the wrong places, can he suggest where he would have not spent money in order to help businesses in his riding and his constituents?
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2021-01-26 10:34 [p.3505]
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Madam Speaker, I am glad that my hon. colleague mentioned something about the last year being a little bit tumultuous and that it is an anniversary. I will also let Canadians in the House know that today marks another anniversary. Today marks the very first time I stood in this House to raise the increasing concerns of COVID coming into our country. I suggested that we perhaps look for a plan like shutting our borders to make sure that we do everything in our power to stop COVID from coming in. We were pressing the government for what its plan was.
To this day, we are still pressing it for what its plan is. What we have seen is that the money we all worked together to provide to Canadians, that we gave autonomy to the government to develop a plan to get to Canadians, has failed.
The Liberals want to say, time and again, “Well, you voted for it.” Yes, we voted for it, but the responsibility to deliver to Canadians lies right squarely on that front bench. I gave only a few prime examples of the thousands that we have of Canadians who have fallen through the cracks.
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View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-01-26 10:36 [p.3505]
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Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on his speech and let him know that I would be happy to see the photos of his granddaughter anytime. We need these kinds of positive things in our lives, especially these days.
In his speech, he talked about Liberal management in general. We were just talking about borders a few minutes ago. I would like to hear my hon. colleague's opinion on the Liberal government's desire to encroach on provincial and Quebec jurisdictions, especially in health care.
When we look at border management, as well as how the vaccines are being managed, we have every reason to wonder about the federal government's qualifications when it comes to managing health and the national standards it wants to impose on the provinces regarding long-term care facilities. I would like to hear my colleague's opinion on that.
Does the federal government not have a duty to fund the Quebec and provincial health care systems?
Does the member think the feds should be interfering in those jurisdictions and imposing standards on the provinces?
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2021-01-26 10:37 [p.3506]
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Madam Speaker, in a time of a global pandemic and a global emergency, it behooves all of us to put away our personal agendas, our provincial agendas and our national agendas, and work together on a team Canada approach.
There has to be leadership seen from the top, but what we have seen is no plan from the Liberal government: no plan to help the provinces, no plan to assist in getting those vaccines to the people who need them the most, the people in our long-term care facilities, which are facing unprecedented amounts of concern over COVID deaths. We have not learned in the last year. Sadly, we still face the same issues that we faced a year ago. We know more than we did over a year ago, but the Liberals have not been able to develop a plan and they have failed Canadians, writ large.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-01-26 10:38 [p.3506]
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Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Brampton East this morning.
It is great to see the Speaker and all of our colleagues, despite this being in a virtual setting. It is the world we are living in right now.
Today I have the privilege of speaking to Bill C-14. For those sitting at home, this means the implementation of commitments that were made by our government in the fall economic statement. What I hope to do with my time here today is talk about those commitments and how they relate to what I have heard in my constituency of Kings—Hants and in Nova Scotia, and talk a bit about where I see the future in terms of our economic recovery.
I will first talk about support announced in the fall economic statement that is part of this bill. There are $1,200 to help support children under six years old in households that are making under $120,000 a year. I cannot say how much I have heard on the doorsteps in my riding of Kings—Hants about the power and benefit of the Canada child benefit and what it has meant for low- and medium-income households to have a little extra money at the end of the month to buy healthy groceries and make sure their dependants have opportunities in recreation, arts and different activities.
In Kings—Hants alone, though I do not have the exact number, I believe the program means that $15 million or $16 million a month go to my riding. My hon. predecessor, Scott Brison, talked about what this program meant for the people in Kings—Hants and, indeed, across the country. Every member of Parliament in this House could speak about the importance of what this program means. It is a temporary measure. It is $1,200 for 2021, recognizing the fact that families are going through challenges right now and we need to be there for them as a government. It is certainly something I applaud as a parliamentarian, and I expect that all members of the House can speak about the benefit of what this represents.
I turned 30 not too long ago. I am one of the youngest members in the House and the youngest in the governing party, and I am not too far removed from my days in university. I was fortunate to attend Saint Mary's University in Halifax and Dalhousie for a law degree, and I can say that the cost of education is a challenge for many individuals. I still hold student debt. We need to make sure we are helping to protect those students, in particular, who are most vulnerable. Right now, as I understand it, as part of this bill, 1.4 million Canadian students will not have interest accrue on their student loans during this time. That is extremely important. We know that we need to support our next generation of young workers and leaders in our country, and I certainly applaud the government in this direction.
I want to talk about long-term health care. In my part of the country, in Nova Scotia, we have seen the challenges in Northwood. There were 51 deaths in long-term care in Northwood. We have seen challenges across the country, in Quebec and Ontario in particular. I have heard from constituents in my riding who reached out to me to say that we need to do more on long-term care, that the federal government needs to be willing to help step up and support, and that is exactly what we announced in the fall economic statement.
We have dedicated over $500 million to help support the provinces and territories in battling COVID and making sure measures are in place. We know there are probably longer-term conversations that need to happen around long-term care, but this is a meaningful step in the right direction. We recall that during the height of the pandemic, when premiers and provincial governments called upon the Canadian Armed Forces to intervene and help support, we were there to make sure that happened.
Through the safe restart program, $19 billion went to the provinces and municipal governments to help support them through some of the most challenging times in the pandemic. This is another demonstration of the work this government has been doing to support the provinces and territories, particularly in an area that is extremely important, which of course is long-term care.
There are also $133 million allocated in Bill C-14 for virtual care. As chair of the rural caucus, I know that for some of our most rural and remote communities having access to care may not allow for a direct relationship. We may in some cases need to be able to access tools and technologies, very similar to the way we are running a national Parliament right now on a Zoom call. We can make sure that telemedicine and telehealth options are available. Given the pandemic, this is extremely important as an interim measure, but in the days ahead it is going to be even more important moving forward.
The final piece I want to talk about in the key points I wanted to highlight in this bill is a change under the ability for business owners to access the rent subsidy. Before Christmas, the Minister of Finance, through I think Bill C-9, announced changes on the wage subsidy to help support businesses and simplify support for rent for businesses. This was extremely important in my community of Kings—Hants.
I live in an area called East Hants about half an hour outside of Halifax. Although Nova Scotia has been spared and we have worked collectively to avoid some of the case counts we have seen across the country, there was a rise in cases just before Christmas that required significant shutdowns, particularly for restaurants and hospitality organizations. This was something they were able to take advantage of. The provision under this act allows them to access the benefit before rent is actually due, which is extremely important because we know cash flow for businesses is challenging, particularly in the hospitality and restaurant sectors.
I have had the chance to listen in on this debate, which was happening yesterday, and will continue today and I believe tomorrow as well. I want to point something out. I have heard members of the opposition talk about the debt. As someone who considers himself a business Liberal and who certainly appreciates that we have to be fiscally prudent, I recognize that is not a bad direction, but it is hypocrisy.
There are members in this House who, in one sense, talk about the debt, which is a valid concern and we have to be mindful about managing that in the days ahead, but then in the other sense, they say this government has not done enough. In one breath they say we have taken on too much debt and are concerned about it, and then in the next breath they talk about all the measures the government should have taken further.
I would like to ask my Conservative colleagues across the way which it is. Is it that they are concerned about the debt and we should not have taken as much on, or is it that we need to do even more for our businesses? Most Canadians at home are going to recognize that talking out both sides of their mouths is hypocrisy.
I want to finish by talking about where we are going. Yesterday, the member for Carleton talked about the concern with rising debt levels. I agree with him that we need a strong economic strategy on the other side. We have a budget that will be forthcoming, I suspect, in the next couple of months. Our government is focused on ways to drive economic recovery. We have talked about providing up $70 billion to $100 billion of temporary economic stimulus.
The Minister of Finance has been quite clear, both in this House and outside, that her focus will be on those temporary measures. We have to be mindful of adding large structural spending that is not sustainable over the long term. I applaud her in that regard. Our government is going to have a strong plan to be able to bounce back and manage the debt load by growing our economy. That is traditionally how all countries of the world have been able to do this: growing their economy to be able to make the proportion of the debt to their economy go down and down. That was certainly the case before the pandemic, as we had the lowest unemployment in 40 years and a lowering debt-to-GDP ratio.
I want to put on the record some things I think are going to be important in the days ahead. The first is child care. This is not just an idea of social programming anymore, this is beneficial. Economists and business leaders around the world are talking about the importance of child care to help support parents getting back into the workplace. That is certainly something we need to see in the days ahead.
The second is agriculture. As the chair of the rural caucus, the agriculture industry in Canada is extremely important to me. It represents over $130 billion to our GDP and we are poised to be able to grow even further. I hope to see in the days ahead our government leveraging that industry for success.
I will finish with a few others such as natural resources, particularly our forest industry. I look to British Columbia around mass timber and the success it is having in being able to drive innovative practices and sustainable business practices for our forestry sector. On the Atlantic and the Pacific in our coastal communities, small craft harbours is an extremely important program to help support our fishing community.
The final point is on regulatory reform and modernization. We are talking a lot about spending, which is important. We are following other OECD countries. We also have to look at ways to leverage the private sector to be able to let it grow and create jobs, and so we have to be creative in the days ahead as well.
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View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-01-26 10:48 [p.3507]
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Madam Speaker, I want to comment on the member's very first statement in regard to the Canada child benefit, which of course we deeply appreciate because we initiated it. However, in speaking to young families in my riding, I had one conversation with a young mom who said the money is so important to them. She said the government is not understanding it is helpful. It was there in addition to the income their family was earning, and now they are in a very perilous situation. She asked why the government was not now taking the money it wants to spend on these various programs and focusing on borders, long-term care, front-line workers with rapid tests and PPE available for Canadians; leaving it at that and letting our economy get back to work, so they can earn the income their family needs.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-01-26 10:49 [p.3507]
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Madam Speaker, the member started by talking about the fact that families had lost income and that the Canada child benefit was beneficial. She then seemed to make the parallel that the economy will return back to normal, that all we have do is seal up the borders and get some more PPE, and then everything will be back to normal.
We have been there for Canadian workers, through the wage subsidy, through the CERB when it was needed, and this is in addition to the CCB. We are providing additional support. We are doing all of those things the member mentioned, including testing, money for PPE and the safe restart program.
I would ask the member to look at the bill and the measures behind the legislation. We are already doing them.
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View Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would first like to wish my colleague a happy belated birthday. He said that he recently turned 30. I, too, completed my university studies not too long ago. I just finished my doctoral studies two and a half years ago.
It resonated with me when he spoke about the issue of the gradual elimination of interest on the federal portion of student loans. That is an issue that Quebeckers care a lot about. In 2012, there was a major education movement involving more than just students. Society as a whole got involved.
That being said, to make the connection with my aside, Quebec already has a loans and bursaries program. It would have been nice if there was some compensation announced, compensation for young Quebeckers on a per capita basis for post-secondary students.
Will the Liberals commit to doing that?
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-01-26 10:51 [p.3508]
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Madam Speaker, the member is asking me, as a member of the governing caucus but not cabinet, for a commitment from government; this is asking in the wrong place. I will steer him to our ministers and our cabinet on the best approach.
I would certainly agree with the member that students in Quebec are well organized. This is something that Quebec has a history of, making sure that there are lower tuition rates. Quebec is certainly an example within the federation of a province that supports students and has lower tuition costs.
I know that students in Nova Scotia have talked about the way that Quebec students organized to get that. I would agree with the member in that regard.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-01-26 10:52 [p.3508]
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Madam Speaker, before the pandemic, over one million Canadians had been injured in the workplace. We know that when someone is injured in the workplace, every day that goes by without them getting accommodation from their employer means it is harder and harder for them to return to work.
Right now there is a lack of support and training to scale up workers in return to work disability management. We are hearing about long haulers. Due to COVID, we are going to be in an absolute crisis. The government has not even trained its own HR staff in disability management to prepare its own civil service to get back to work and be accommodated while they are dealing with these injuries due to COVID.
Would my colleague agree that the federal government needs to invest quickly in training in return to work disability management in institutions like the Pacific Coast University in my riding, so that we are ready for the crisis that could happen, whether it be mental health or COVID itself? Right now, we need to be ready to accommodate workers and get them back to work after they have been injured.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-01-26 10:53 [p.3508]
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Madam Speaker, I would agree with my colleague opposite that skills training writ large for individuals, whether they have disabilities or have been impacted by the pandemic and are searching for work, is important.
I believe our government is focused on this. This is something we are delivering. I would agree with the member, particularly as it relates to individuals with disabilities. Our government has been focused on this for the last five years. We will continue to do so in the days ahead.
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View Maninder Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Maninder Sidhu Profile
2021-01-26 10:53 [p.3508]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to start off by wishing my colleagues a very safe and happy new year. The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress and hardship on Canadians, from small business to long-term care homes and front-line and essential workers. Every Canadian has a story to share of how this pandemic has impacted them. Constituents in my riding of Brampton East are concerned about their businesses, the safety of their workers or simply when they can pay a visit to loved ones they have not physically seen in months.
For said reasons and countless others, the federal government has committed to the implementation of a strong and robust recovery plan presented by our finance minister through the fall economic statement. Our government's message is clear: We will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians for as long as it takes.
This message extends to our commitment to strengthen the economy by creating one million good jobs, investing in training and skills, creating valuable opportunities for youth and investing in green technologies to help combat climate change. This is a critical component in providing Canadians the support they need in Bill C-14. The economic statement implementation act would help put into action what the fall economic statement set out to do, which is supporting middle-class families, helping students manage their debt and investing in resources that will help better protect Canadians and the economy.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act will mean that families entitled to the Canada child benefit will receive additional temporary support of up to $1,200 for each child under the age of six. Families have had to transition their entire household routines in order to accommodate more time being spent at home, which means facilitating extra child care, buying additional school supplies to aid in virtual learning or simply helping with the cost of raising a family.
Throughout 2020, our government saw that families needed our help, which is why we stepped up to provide an extra one-time $300 payment in May and increased the Canada child benefit payment amounts in July. The proposed temporary $1,200 support for families is an increase of almost 20% over the maximum annual CCB payment. Our goal for a stronger and more resilient middle class involves ensuring that families have the resources they need in order to help nourish and support their children's futures. This plan includes a Canada-wide early learning child care program that will help ease the burden of arranging affordable child care. We know that this pandemic has disproportionately affected women. Doing better is not simply a choice, it is a responsibility that this government takes very seriously.
We will continue to support Canadian students. Our government plans to eliminate the repayment of the federal portion of the Canada student loans and apprenticeship loans from April 2021 to March 2022. Students in Canada can feel a sense of relief once these measures are in place to help them manage their student debt. This investment will help 1.4 million Canadian students who are trying to achieve higher education and ultimately begin their careers. I have listened to their experiences. I know that this support is essential. By easing the federal interest portion of student debt, we are allowing students the opportunity to focus on working toward their career goals and not being worried about incurring additional debt.
We also provided financial support to post-secondary students and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who were unable to find work last summer due to COVID-19. Eligible students received $1,250 for a four-week period for a maximum of 16 weeks between May 10 and August 29, 2020. Those with a disability or dependants also received an extra $750.
Most post-secondary students in my riding were unable to access the Canada emergency student benefit and are very positive toward our government's support for students, including the doubling of the Canada student grant amount to a maximum of $6,000 in response to the increased need for the 2020-21 school year.
Our government is actively creating opportunities for youth, whether that be through the investments of over $300 million into the Canada summer jobs program or the youth employment and skills strategy investment. These investments help young Canadians gain practical experience and make meaningful connections in the workplace. Students need our help. They have adapted to new learning methods and have overcome tremendous adversity during these troubling times, which is why our government is here to lend a helping hand.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put immense strain on our health care systems. The amendments made to Bill C-14 mean that we can help better protect those most vulnerable, like seniors, by investing through the new safe long-term care fund. This funding will help prevent and manage outbreaks in long-term care homes, which will ultimately help save lives.
The heartbreak and fear that many Canadians have felt knowing that they have a loved one living in a long-term care home or, God forbid, losing someone to the virus are all too common. We will also be establishing a new national standard for long-term care facilities to ensure that none of our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or friends must endure a substandard level of care. No person deserves that. Amending the Food and Drugs Act means that we can increase our investments in order to support access to virtual health tools, mental health supports and substance use programming.
Asking Canadians to stay at home can impact the mental health of so many. Restricting social interaction for long periods of isolation and job anxiety can take a toll on people's mental health. As the government, we want to make sure that every Canadian has access to the supports they need.
As we begin this new year, there is a great sense of hope among Canadians. This sense of hope was created by the hard work that was put into composing the largest vaccine portfolio in the world. I was excited to hear that all the long-term care homes in the region of Peel have received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As a government, we will continue to ensure that our vaccine rollout happens as efficiently as possible. We will also continue to prioritize those who are at high risk of or vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
The amendments made in Bill C-14 under the Food and Drugs Act will help our government increase funding to support testing, vaccine procurement and distribution, as well as isolation sites. In November, the federal government, in collaboration with various levels of government, granted $6.5 million to establish an isolation centre for residents of Peel, in my riding of Brampton East, and throughout the region, to isolate safely if they cannot do so safely at home.
It is imperative that the messaging we continue to convey to Canadians is that we will support them for as long as it takes. That means including investments, such as the one proposed in the fall economic statement, which will help upkeep our efforts for medical research, countermeasures and rapid testing, and ensure that every Canadian can receive the vaccine.
Adapting to new research and trusting the science our health officials advise us on is how we can best protect the health and safety of Canadians. That is why investing in research is so critical under the presented amendments of Bill C-14.
The Canadian economy cannot function without the success of our small businesses across the country. Unfortunately, this pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on the ability of our small businesses to succeed. They account for over 90% of all businesses in Canada, and our economy cannot afford to stand back and allow businesses to close their doors. We must continue to provide a prudent fiscal plan that helps businesses stay viable and keeps employees on the payroll.
The Canada emergency rent subsidy saw over 20,000 organizations apply within the first four days of the application period. As a government, we are also cognizant of employees who have seen a reduction in their working hours or have been told not to come into work. Therefore, supports such as the Canada emergency wage subsidy have been extremely important to small businesses and their employees.
In my riding of Brampton East, I had the pleasure of speaking with various small business owners who were able to access both programs. I spoke with Mr. Dheri, the general manager of a local Turtle Jack's restaurant, who was thankful to have access to the Canada emergency wage subsidy so that he could keep his employees on the payroll. His is one of the over 350,000 small businesses across Canada accessing the Canada emergency wage subsidy program.
We want small businesses to be able to open back up once it is safe to do so. As we continue to fight COVID-19, our government will be there for Canadian small businesses every step of the way, so we can safely rebuild our economy and make us stronger than ever before.
While speaking to constituents, I have heard first-hand their concerns surrounding climate change and the state our children and grandchildren will inherit. Our fall economic statement represents actionable steps and investments to tackle these concerns. By taking steps to making homes greener and more energy efficient, Canadians can reduce their carbon footprint while lowering their energy bills.
Our government's efforts to establish a network of zero-emission vehicle charging stations across the country in convenient locations, including where we work, live and travel, will help accelerate the use of zero-emission vehicles. We will build on current investments and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure by providing an additional $150 million over three years to help ensure that charging stations are available and conveniently located where and when they are needed. This is on top of the 500 electrical vehicle charging stations at more than 250 locations across Ontario announced last year. Brampton is currently home to many electrical vehicle charging stations, and I look forward to welcoming many more.
Building back our economy requires a jump-start of investments to help stimulate growth once we get through this pandemic. As we stated in the fall economic statement in November, the federal government will invest billions of dollars over three years to help make this happen. The amendments proposed will help our government continue to make investments in resources to best manage the pandemic and support the recovery of our economy.
As I said before, there is a sense of hope among Canadians. We will continue to roll out and distribute vaccines over the coming months, and Canadians will be ready to return to a sense of normality. We must support these hopes and ensure that the economy, and Canadians' return, is adaptive, innovative and strong.
A lot of changes have happened this year due to COVID-19. Working from home has now become common practice among businesses. Students have adapted to online learning, and businesses have amplified their online capacities. The decisions and amendments that we decide on as members of Parliament will allow positive change to come to fruition. It will help us save lives, improve mental health supports, help middle-class families and create a more inclusive economy and society for all. Let us continue to move forward together.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, we are here today to discuss something very significant. We are looking at massive spending and an increase of $500 billion in the debt ceiling, but we have not received a budget in over two years. We do not have detailed information on how the money that is currently in the deficit has been spent. While yes, a significant portion of the deficit spending went toward the emergency benefits, not all of that spending did. There is a great deal of money that has yet to be accounted for.
Could the hon. colleague give us some indication of when we will get information about what that money was spent on and when we will get a budget, before we approve this substantial increase in the debt ceiling?
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