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Results: 1 - 60 of 537
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-09-25 10:06 [p.105]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege concerning the disclosure of Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding medical assistance in dying, which was introduced in the previous session.
In the interest of time, my hon. colleague, the member for Fundy Royal, raised this question of privilege on February 25. I would direct you to the arguments presented at pages 1518 and 1519 of the Debates.
Mr. Speaker, on March 10, you concluded that there was a prima facie breach of privilege, and the House adopted the member's motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
On March 12, the committee agreed to suggest dates for inviting the Clerk and the law clerk to appear so that it could begin studying the matter. The next day, the House adjourned because of the pandemic. This meant that the committee never had a chance to get back to its order of reference because of the various Liberal motions prohibiting virtual meetings on this subject. The Prime Minister then decided to shut down Parliament, ending the study before it had even started.
I am asking you to find another prima facie breach of privilege so that the House can once again examine the issue and, if it so desires, send it to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. There are previous rulings in which a prima facie breach of privilege was found when prorogation put an end to an order of reference on a question of privilege before a committee was able to report to the House on it. More specifically, I would refer you to the ruling made by Mr. Speaker Milliken on February 6, 2004, at page 243 of the Debates of the House of Commons, when he said that, for the same reasons that he gave in a ruling he made in the previous session, the question remained a prima facie breach of privilege. He then gave the member leave to move his motion.
Another of your predecessors, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, who we know well, also made a similar ruling on October 17, 2013, at page 66 of the Debates of the House of Commons. The same circumstances exist as in previous cases and it is appropriate to raise a prima facie question of privilege.
If you agree, Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. I will take the matter into consideration and advise the House if necessary.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-09-25 10:09 [p.105]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my whip, the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît, because she told me to. Of course, I am kidding. I am pleased to be sharing my time with her.
On August 18, in the midst of a pandemic, the Prime Minister decided to prorogue Parliament for five weeks even though we urgently needed to study and adopt bills to implement all the support programs and even though committees were meeting and working hard. He did that in the midst of the pandemic in an attempt to make people forget his scandals.
The government sought exceptional powers and drastically reduced the House's role in order to respond the this historic pandemic. Even as the government was managing unprecedentedly enormous programs, the Prime Minister proved that he cannot be trusted. The WE scandal showed that he chose to favour his friends. The same thing happened in a scandal involving the chief of staff's spouse. It happened again with the Canada emergency wage subsidy: the Liberal Party chose to take advantage of the subsidy even though the law does not say it is available to political parties.
We will not stop digging and poking around, since the pandemic has revealed the Liberal Party's true nature, which has not changed since the sponsorship scandal. The Liberals' true nature is to govern while putting their own interests and their friends' interests first, which is a far cry from exemplary practices. Ethics rules appear immaterial to them, as long as they can apologize after the fact. I really think this accurately reflects the history of the federal government since the beginning of Confederation. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
This brings me to the throne speech delivered two days ago by the Queen's representative, a throwback to the Middle Ages and the rituals Canada just cannot seem to let go of. The speech included absolutely nothing that justified proroguing Parliament for over a month in the middle of a crisis. Instead, we just heard more about the same things that had been introduced in the spring.
Let us not forget the Prime Minister's decision to go on TV that night, taking over prime time airwaves, only to summarize what was in the speech, and just to maximize his media presence. His address confirmed our suspicions: It was absolutely unnecessary, but it did a heck of a good job on boosting his image. Basically, it was grandstanding and electioneering at its finest.
To come back to the Speech from the Throne, the Bloc Québécois was calling for an increase in health transfers and respect for jurisdictions. That is what the National Assembly is calling for and that is what suits Quebec. However, the Speech from the Throne provides the exact opposite of that. The centralist aspirations of the Liberal government managed to garner unanimity at the National Assembly of Quebec, where every party is against the Speech from the Throne, from the Coalition Avenir Québec government to the Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire and even the Liberal Party. To get everyone on board like that takes special talent.
As La Presse reported, even the leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec says that respecting our jurisdictions is not negotiable. She talks about this speech as a missed opportunity to meet the needs of Quebec. That is the QLP we are talking about and every other party had the same reaction. Why is Ottawa systematically interfering in the affairs of Quebec and the provinces instead of focusing on doing its own job?
It is part of the federal government's role to help fund health care, as Quebec and the provinces are demanding. I do not know if members are familiar with John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, and Adrian Wooldridge, a columnist for The Economist. They just published a devastating book entitled The Wake-Up Call, in which they analyze the differences between countries in terms of how they are managing the pandemic and note the importance of having a robust public health system.
Today, we are paying the price for underfunding our health care system in recent years and decades. In Canada, this underfunding can be traced back to Ottawa, which chose to reduce health transfers in the 1990s and subsequently never corrected the situation, despite calls to do so from Canadians. That just does not generate enough votes. The underfunding has resulted in reduced services, a weakened and vulnerable health care system, and greater poverty and inequality.
Ottawa, meaning this government and those that have held power in the past 25 years, is directly responsible for our health system's precarious situation and its lack of resources to manage the pandemic.
The Prime Minister, acting straight out of a last-century British imperialism playbook, is blaming the provinces for their management of the pandemic. He wants to run things himself, even though he knows nothing about it, and then he announces wanting to bring in criminal penalties. All of this, when he was the one who perpetuated the problem by failing to adequately fund health care. Unbelievable.
The Bloc Québécois wants this government, and especially the Prime Minister, to stop trying to lecture us. He needs to stop trying to be a know-it-all, meddling in others' jurisdictions, and has to start doing his job and adequately fund health care. He needs to stop putting his party and his friends ahead of the public good as he manages the crisis by ensuring that his government programs are run ethically and above reproach.
Interestingly enough, La Presse pointed out on Wednesday that intergouvernementalisations has now replaced anticonstitutionnellement as the longest word in the French language. This is a contested topic. The adverb, meaning “unconstitutionally”, unfortunately seems to apply to the current government. I will give you an example. The Prime Minister governed unconstitutionally by interfering in Quebec's and the provinces' jurisdictions.
Now that this word has lost its status, the government should stop trying to emulate it and start respecting jurisdictions.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as we talk about the throne speech in today's debate and in debates in the future, it is important to reflect on how the federal government has performed over the past six months in terms of taking care of everyday Canadians. There will always be more work to be done. There will always be people who could have been helped more, and we will always search for new programs to do that even better.
One thing that I can say is that, in the province of Ontario, the federal government was there and the federal government continues to be there for Canadians. Just to put it into numbers, of every $100 that was spent on COVID-19 relief in Ontario, $97 came from the federal government and only $3 came from the provincial government.
Does the member know any similar statistics as to what those numbers were in Quebec? How much money did the federal government put on the table versus the provincial government?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-09-25 10:17 [p.106]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very good question and comment.
Why are most of the support measures coming from Ottawa, from the federal government?
It is because over the past few decades, as I noted in my speech, the central government has smothered the provinces. I am referring to the fiscal imbalance.
How did Jean Chrétien's government, with Paul Martin as finance minister, wipe out the deficit? By cutting the transfers for health care, post-secondary education and social services. The transfers have never been restored to their former levels.
In 2017, Quebec's Liberal health minister, Gaétan Barrette, accused the federal government of predatory federalism, arguing that it was imposing conditions on health care in exchange for a few extra crumbs. That was not enough.
I want the members of the House to remember that, ultimately, the programs that the government has put in place are basically funded through debt, meaning that taxpayers are going to have to pay for them later. This money does not belong to the government. The money that the government is handling is public money. It is a colossal public debt. We must not lose sight of that fact.
I have a question for the government. In his speech yesterday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, who is a representative of the government, said that the federal government had a moral authority to intervene in areas of provincial jurisdiction, such as health care.
The government can answer my question later. Where did the government get that so-called moral authority? From the Governor General?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am so happy to be here in the House today. I would just like to take this opportunity to ask the member specifically about health care dollars. We know both Liberal and Conservative governments have cut funding again and again to public health care. We look at what is happening across our nation, how responsive all the provinces and territories have to be and how limited the resources are because of the decisions that both governments have made during the history of Canada.
Could the member speak to the realities of the people in his constituency? I know so many of mine are struggling profoundly.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-09-25 10:20 [p.107]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very pertinent question. I would have also liked to hear her talk about the reality of her constituents as a result of the federal government's cuts to health care funding over the past number of years and decades.
Before I move on to give specific examples, I would like to remind her of the excellent book entitled Combating Poverty: Quebec's Pursuit of a Distinctive Welfare State, which shows how the cuts made to health care in the 1990s—and maintained since—have increased poverty and hardship, particularly for families, single-parent mothers and seniors.
That is unacceptable. The situation is not as bad in Quebec because the Quebec government implemented, with half the funding, certain measures, such as pharmacare, which of course is not perfect, the Quebec parental insurance plan, and subsidized early childhood and day care centres.
I am also thinking of the people in my riding who live in long-term care facilities. They are going through a horrific and unacceptable situation, right out of the dark ages. There is a direct correlation between their situation and the major cuts that Ottawa has been making over the past 25 years, and this government never did anything to remedy that.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to take part in the debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.
As whip, I have been deeply involved in all the negotiations to keep Parliament up and running during the pandemic. Parliamentary committees were resuming their full range of activities and four committees were doing important work on the WE scandal when the government decided to prorogue and hit Parliament's off switch, so to speak, to put the brakes on that work because it was the third time an ethics scandal was cramping the government's style.
As a result, we awaited the Speech from the Throne. We wondered what would happen next and how the government would position itself to respond to the pandemic, not to mention all the challenges coming our way after the pandemic. How would the government restart the economy? How would it do a better job of helping people with serious problems? We had high expectations.
Yesterday I was in the House all day and I listened to every speech by every parliamentarian, especially the speeches from the government members. When I was listening to the Prime Minister I was shocked, surprised and upset to see the arrogance, contempt and lack of respect the government has for the provinces.
I felt like I was truly in the right place and that I had truly chosen the right party to represent Quebec because the Bloc Québécois is a party that wants Quebec to be the master of its own destiny. Today what we are seeing and hearing is a contemptuous government that is telling Quebec that it is not up to the task, that it is unable to manage its public services and health care, and that funding would be conditional on certain actions.
The federal government is telling Quebec to provide the support and home care and it will pay for it, otherwise there will be no funding. A Canada-wide standard on long-term care facilities is being brought in and Quebec is expected to comply with it or there will be no funding. We call that blackmail, contempt and arrogance. I cannot support this and neither can many other people.
Before becoming an MP, I was a manager in the Quebec public health network, so this is in my wheelhouse. I managed public housing. I managed housing spaces for seniors in public facilities. I can say for sure that if you speak to anyone in Quebec who manages CHSLD spaces, whether intermediate resources or family-based resources for seniors, if you ask anyone, whether a manager, caretaker or a recreation leader, no one would say that the solution to the problem in long-term care centres is Canada-wide standards. No one would say that. No one would even think that.
Everyone in Quebec knows what it will take. It will take more staff, more nurses, more PSWs, more maintenance staff and more nursing assistants. That can be achieved only when we have the financial resources to pay consistent, decent salaries.
My colleague from Joliette was clear, as were the provinces, before the throne speech. Health transfers must be able to meet the provinces' needs. The president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec does not call the Prime Minister of Canada to ask for a solution when nurses are exhausted. She calls the Premier of Quebec. The premier tries to do the best he can, with the tools, means and money he has available, but it is not enough. Quebec needs increased transfers on an ongoing basis.
I must admit that yesterday I was insulted to hear the government use the fact that the army came into just a few long-term care homes to justify why it wants to fund specific actions, projects or programs. I want to point out that back home in the Montérégie-Ouest CISSS, we did not have any deadly outbreaks or any soldiers in our long-term care homes.
This approach of funding by program is nothing but mumbo-jumbo. One could just as well call it “health and social services”. This approach dictates what to do, how to do it and what the standards are. Anyone who goes along with that gets a cheque.
It is disrespectful to treat the provinces in this way. Each province has its own way of doing things, its own reality and knows how to meet the health needs of its clientele. Since it is on the ground providing services, it knows it is doing its utmost given the lack of tools and the funding that should be coming. Health Canada is already having difficulty doing what it has to do. Therefore, I believe that we should let the provinces do their job and meet the needs of their citizens based on their own realities, as the premiers have requested. In health care, a one-size-fits-all system does not work across Canada. As we are seeing, we are in the midst of a pandemic and each province has a different experience of the crisis. This also applies to the distribution and provision of services.
I am a little emotional when talking about it because this confirms for me my sovereignist convictions. In life, when things are going well for me and my team, I rarely agree to take orders from someone who knows nothing about what I am good at.
Quebec has the tools, the brains and the best practices. For anyone who does not know, Quebec has long recognized aging in place as the best practice. We know that when seniors stay at home longer, they get sick less, they are better supported, and it costs less. Housing them in public institutions is expensive. We know all that, but we need financial resources to help our seniors stay at home. They want and need to age in their homes, not in a public institution.
We do not need a Prime Minister who announces that he is going to give us money, but only if we spend it on aging in place. We do not need him to tell us that, because it is an insult. I am thinking of my colleagues who do not have time to watch my speech today because they are busy meeting needs on the ground. They are appalled to hear that this government's magic solution is to impose Canada-wide standards on us. The same thing goes for mental health and child care. It is an insult, and I take it very personally.
Curiously enough, this proves that the federal government considers the provinces to be its subjects. It tells them that it will decide when they get money and what they get to spend it on. Otherwise, they get nothing.
How long did it take to negotiate the social housing agreement between Quebec and Ottawa? Three years.
All of the social measures set out in the throne speech and the federal government's encroachments on provincial jurisdictions will take years to negotiate with Quebec. No Quebec premier, regardless of which party is in power in the Quebec National Assembly, whether it be Liberal, CAQ, Québec Solidaire or PQ, will let anyone tell them what to do. No premier will agree for the funding to be subject to specific conditions that infringe on Quebec's jurisdiction.
That means that the measures we are seeing in the throne speech are all hot air. There is nothing there that can be accomplished in the short term, even though the situation is urgent and even though there are things that could have been and could still be done, things that the federal government is not doing.
Businesses in my riding are calling me about the Canada emergency business account. They cannot get in touch with Export Development Canada. They wait for days and days for someone to call them back. They have called up to three times, applied online three times and still do not have an answer. We got a memo from the minister's office that said that the EDC is completely overwhelmed and that the response time is five to six days. However, if business owners do not answer when the EDC calls, then they end up back in the queue and have to wait another five or six days. Is that how the government is restarting the economy and supporting our businesses?
The ball is in the government's court. It is the government's responsibility, but it is not implementing the measures needed to support our SMEs, and that is serious.
The same is true when it comes to immigration. People are are waiting for their work permits and their sponsorships, because the immigration department is completely dysfunctional.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, over the last few months, our government, during this most extraordinary and unique time in our country and the world's history, has worked in partnership with the provinces from coast to coast to coast. With the safe restart agreement, we have contributed $19 billion to provinces, and there is a further $2 billion for provinces to help restart their educational systems. My two daughters have gone back to school and I am thankful for that.
These partnerships, including with the Canadian Armed Forces, which were asked by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec to assist, have shown how this country works, how it comes together in a time of great need and responds in a very compassionate and diligent manner.
What does my hon. colleague think of the co-operation and partnership that have existed for the last several months and continue to proceed forward?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I have a feeling that the member and I do not have the same definition of co-operation and team work. Co-operation and team work usually imply mutual respect and listening to one another.
Prior to the throne speech, several provincial premiers and the Premier of Quebec asked for increased health transfers because they are being completely overwhelmed by the needs and demands of our aging population. The answer was a resounding no, an arrogant answer.
The army came to the rescue, just as it did during the floods. Our armed forces step up when we call, when we need them. I would point out, too, that we pay our fair share for the Canadian Armed Forces. It is not the federal government's army. The Red Cross is not the “red cross of the Government of Canada”. These are citizens who decide to get involved and volunteer.
Yes, we are in extraordinary times. Does that excuse the fact that the federal government refuses to allocate or increase health transfers? Why does the government want to pay on a fee for service basis and tell us what to do and when to do it?
That is not team work. That is not co-operation. That is disrespect for equals and an intrusion into Quebec jurisdictions.
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2020-09-25 10:35 [p.109]
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît on her excellent speech.
She spoke at length about the contempt and lack of respect for Quebec. The best example is the federal government's language policy regarding Quebec. So far, only the anglophone minority has been acknowledged. Every one of the federal government's financial, legislative and policy interventions on language in Quebec has been geared toward boosting English, when we know that French is the language under threat.
As far as I know, this is the first time that a Speech from the Throne has acknowledged that the federal government has a responsibility to defend French in Quebec. Let's not forget that as long as Quebec is not independent, francophones will be a minority in Canada and will be under the federal government's thumb.
Will that line in the Speech from the Throne read by the Governor General have any tangible impact? As we saw, the briefing that followed the Speech from the Throne was in English only. By the by, I want to acknowledge our Franco-Ontarian friends, since today is Franco-Ontarian Day.
The first thing the Liberal government could do is support our proposal to make Bill 101 apply to federally regulated businesses. I would like to know what my colleague thinks about that.
Does she believe that the Liberal government will finally support this bill, which the Bloc Québécois has been repeatedly introducing since 2007?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want my colleague to know that I appreciate his dogged defence of the French language.
We will remain steadfast in our efforts, with the support of Quebec's National Assembly, which unanimously asked the government to make Bill 101 apply to federally regulated businesses.
We expect the Liberals to listen to the National Assembly, which is the highest authority in Quebec and the Quebec nation.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will be be sharing my time with the member for Don Valley West, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs.
I will start off by saying that it is great to be back in the House to have the opportunity to speak on the floor. I am extremely pleased to speak to the Speech from the Throne, which was introduced two days ago, primarily because of the vision that it sets moving forward. It reflects on where we have come over the last six to seven months and where we need to go in the future.
It is worth pointing out that these have been incredibly challenging times for many Canadians. The economic impact and personal impact on so many Canadians have been devastating. In fact, the economic impact of COVID-19 is recorded as being worse than the 2008 financial crisis. That is why, as I indicated in a question I asked, I am extremely pleased to see the work that has been done by the federal government.
I am from a riding in Ontario, and in Ontario the federal government has stepped up, as it has in every province and territory throughout the country. It has contributed, and not just in a manner that, as the Bloc would suggest, is top-down, but in a manner that has meant working with provincial and territorial leaders throughout the last six to seven months. As we heard the Prime Minister say yesterday, there have been 16 or 17 first ministers meetings since the pandemic began, in addition to all the individual calls and outreach from the federal government to the provinces.
Indeed, what we have seen in Ontario is that 97% of the money spent on COVID-19 relief has come from the federal government. That is not to say that the federal government, as the Bloc would suggest, has been top-down, requiring that money be spent on this or that. A massive amount of the money that has gone to the provinces is to be spent at their discretion within specific areas of concern.
As we look forward, which is what the Speech from the Throne is about, we look forward to the actions we are going to see this government take if the Speech from the Throne is adopted. What I am most interested in talking about today is the action we are looking forward to taking on climate change and how that is going to impact our economy, broadband connectivity throughout the country, and long-term care homes and our approach to long-term care more generally. I am glad the Bloc member raised the topic of long-term care in her speech a few moments ago, because I would like to counter some of the claims the Bloc has made on the national care standards. However, I will first talk about taking action on climate change.
This government is proposing to legislate a goal of net zero by 2050, bringing this ambitious goal into legislation within our country so that in everything we do we strive to achieve it. How will we do this? This will be done, as indicated in the Speech from the Throne, through a number of incentives.
First of all, we can create thousands of jobs by retrofitting homes and buildings using cutting-edge technologies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce costs that Canadian taxpayers and homeowners are experiencing.
We will invest in reducing the impacts of climate disasters. As I am from where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River, I can tell members that we are seeing erosion problems from the rising lake levels. Both in Kingston and on the islands that I represent, there have been extreme problems. Big Sandy Bay, which is a popular beach on Wolfe Island, an island I represent, has been completely closed on a number of occasions over the last few years because of rising lake waters that have wiped all the sand from the beach.
Another thing we will be doing, as indicated in the Speech from the Throne, is making zero-emission vehicles more affordable. We are at that tipping point where zero-emission vehicles, electric vehicles, are ready to take off as the new norm, and we are seeing that. We have seen massive growth. Something like 7% or 8% of vehicles being purchased throughout the world today are electric.
There will also be a new fund to attract investment for making zero-emission products, and we will be cutting the corporate tax rate in half for these companies to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in this clean technology.
As we move toward this, we cannot be left behind. We need to be at the forefront of this. We need to be at the forefront of these technologies so we can reap the rewards and gains that will come as they become mainstream and the norm throughout the world.
One issue that has become extremely important and apparent over the last six to seven months is broadband connectivity. I live in an area that is considered semi-rural. Kingston has a population of 124,000, but the vast geography of my riding is actually rural, including the two islands in the riding. One does not even have to go that far outside of the city of Kingston to see the issue. In fact, I live off Highway 2, and we immediately start to lose connectivity there.
As more people are working from home, which will probably continue for many people into the foreseeable future, we need to make sure people have a connection to the Internet and the connectivity they need to continue to work. It is not just for entertainment value that we need the Internet in this day and age. It is for getting work done. It is for people working from home and these constant video conferencing calls people are having. It is for the e-commerce that happens.
Connectivity is extremely important, and that is why I was very pleased to see the government announce that it would accelerate the timelines and ambitions of the universal broadband fund to ensure that all Canadians have access to the Internet throughout this country.
I will move now to long-term care homes. The Bloc has mentioned long-term care homes on a couple of occasions over the last day or so. It is important that we develop national long-term care standards, and I will tell the House why. It is not so that the federal government can somehow dictate to the provinces how they have to operate with respect to national standards, because it is never going to happen like that. The reality is that our Constitution clearly states who has jurisdiction and authority over what areas.
What we do know is that the provinces have jurisdiction when it comes to health care, for the most part. The reason we need these standards is not to tell provinces what to do, but to create national standards throughout the country that provinces and jurisdictions can look to for advice. This is a way of working with provinces.
I would argue to my friends from the Bloc that this is not anything radical or new. As a matter of fact, our building code works that way. We have a national building code in Canada. This does not mean that any of the provinces have to take up that particular piece of legislation. In fact, two do not. Ontario and Quebec do not use the national building code. They have their own. However, guess what? If we look at the two documents, they are almost identical. That is because provincial documents are quite often informed by the national document, the document compiled by looking at various different ways of doing things from throughout the country.
My understanding of national long-term care standards is that they should be something very similar to that. We should set national standards that the provinces can then look to for advice on how to go about making sure people in long-term care homes are taken care of. Why is this so important? Very clearly, we know certain facts. I tried to use data in asking the Bloc member a question, but he did not respond, so I will give the House some data.
What we know in terms of COVID-19 outbreaks is that 30.6% have happened in for-profit homes, 34% in not-for-profit homes and 24.8% in municipally run homes in Ontario. What is most alarming is that, according to a Toronto Star report in May, for-profit nursing homes were four times more likely to have COVID-19 deaths result from those infections.
We know there is a problem, but we also know there is one particular area doing very well: the municipally run homes in Ontario. Why would we not look to develop standards everybody could work toward?
In conclusion, I am extremely pleased with this Speech from the Throne. It sets ambitious goals as to what we can do to protect our environment and grow the economy in this new age, with clean tech.
We have the opportunity to work on our long-term care homes and to ensure they are the best they can possibly be. Of course, as I indicated in my speech, talking about connectivity and connecting Canadians is also extremely important.
View Alex Ruff Profile
CPC (ON)
View Alex Ruff Profile
2020-09-25 10:48 [p.111]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about the acceleration of rural broadband and connectivity. The Speech from the Throne talks to accelerating it.
Could the member please provide some clarity on what that means? The current federal government's plan says by 2030. Could the member provide a ballpark timeline? Is 2029 what the government means by accelerating?
The Conservatives put forward a plan, through the member for Calgary Nose Hill, to the government, saying that we should do this in the next 18 months. Could we get a ballpark answer on how fast this acceleration for connectivity will be?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I realize the question is rhetorical in nature, because the member knows I do not have the answer to that. The Speech from the Throne is a guiding document that sets out goals and ambitions over the next course of the legislature.
If it is doable within 18 months, and feasible, we need to see how that can practically happen. Am I in favour of that? If it is practical and feasible to do it, I do not know who would not do it.
The member is asking for a specific timeline. He knows I do not have that. He does know that the throne speech is ambitious in setting its agenda and is highlighting it as one of the most important things to take care of.
View Luc Desilets Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I found the speech by my colleague from Kingston and the Islands unsettling. He tried to justify the throne speech's unjustifiable interference in matters under provincial jurisdiction. My colleagues and I consider that interference unacceptable. It is annoying, inappropriate and deeply disrespectful.
How does our colleague from Kingston and the Islands think historians will interpret what followed the prorogation of Parliament?
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I was trying to listen but there was a lot of noise in the room. I did not get the first part, but I did get his question.
In my opinion, if we are able to move forward with this ambitious agenda being put forward in this throne speech, historians will look back on this as a time when the federal government was there for Canadians in their time of most need during a global pandemic throughout the world and that we were able to take care of each other so we could build back and continue to see the thriving economic, social, cultural amenities in our great country. That is how I see historians looking back on this.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-09-25 10:51 [p.111]
Mr. Speaker, one thing struck me about my colleague's speech. With respect to the environment, he said that we are at a crossroads, and he hopes to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
If we are at a crossroads, we must act quickly and perhaps do some soul searching. During the pandemic, the Liberal government agreed to give $500 million to the Coastal GasLink project through the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Does this project meet the criteria for zero emissions? I highly doubt it. The only economic sector aligned with the fight against climate change is the forestry sector.
There is nothing in the throne speech about the forestry sector. There is not one word about it. There is absolutely nothing, even though we know that there is a great deal of promising research on bio-sourced products and the use of forest biomass.
The government decided to ignore this and focus on fossil fuels once again.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, if I said that I hoped we would achieve those ambitious goals, then it was clearly a poor choice of words on my part. I do not think I did, but I could be mistaken.
What I do know, and what I did say, is that it will be legislated that the federal government will meet these targets. Therefore, it is not about hopes; it is about putting it into law. That is my take-away from this. It will be quite ambitious when this goal is turned into actual legislation.
In my opinion, this is the way we need to move forward and the way we will keep this in place. If another government does come along at another time, it will be up to it to remove that legislation and bear those consequences, if it chooses to do so.
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-09-25 10:53 [p.112]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today in the House to contribute to this debate on the Speech from the Throne: A Stronger and More Resilient Canada.
I begin by thanking you personally, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk, the staff of the House of Commons and the House leaders from all the parties who have worked incredibly hard to ensure that Parliament could reconvene with representation in person and virtually from every part of this great country, while keeping us all safe.
The world has changed since I last spoke in the chamber some six months ago. No one in Canada or anywhere in the world has been left untouched by the pandemic that has gripped all of humanity. As a neighbour and a friend, I have tried to comfort those most directly affected by this virus as it has taken its toll on people of all ages and from all walks of life, but mostly the elderly, people with disabilities, people with other vulnerabilities, the poor, racialized Canadians and people in long-term care facilities.
Let me take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the families of those in Don Valley West that number among the over 9,000 Canadians who have died thus far as a result of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has shown us human and scientific vulnerabilities, but it has also revealed the tremendous strength of the human spirit and the determined resolve of our health care workers and researchers to beat this virus.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank and commend Canada's front-line workers, who have kept food and other supplies on the shelves, kept transit running, kept our streets safe and, perhaps most important, risked their own lives as they have worked on the front lines of health care.
I want to give a special shout-out today to the tremendous team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in my riding, including Clarice Shen. Clarice was just three months into her new career as a member of Sunnybrook's acute care nursing resource team when, last January, she volunteered to care for Canada's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, which would later become known as COVID-19. She is one example of the incredible nurses, doctors, caregivers, hospital workers and researchers who have led the way in patient care and medical research across Canada.
All around the world people are touched by this disease and while we in Canada certainly have struggled with medical supplies and equipment, we are blessed with an incredible health care system and great professionals like Clarice Shen. However, we must remember that people in developing countries are not nearly as fortunate and they stand on a precipice, hoping that science will catch up to the virus before it spreads to them in ways that will be devastating beyond belief.
This is a health crisis like none other in the history of the world, but the pandemic's health crisis has been matched with an economic crisis like we have never seen in our lifetime.
As the member of Parliament for a midtown Toronto riding, the riding of Don Valley West, I have talked to literally hundreds of people who have lost their jobs, closed their businesses, missed student loan payments or have been burdened with costs or debts they have no idea how they will pay or repay.
It is not only an unprecedented health crisis, it is an unprecedented economic crisis. Governments in Canada and around the world have taken great strides to soften the economic blow of this crisis with a host of programs. Many of them are outlined in the Speech from the Throne. However, needs will continue well into the future and I am very pleased the government has not only taken note of this but has devised an action plan that will ensure we, indeed, do take the right steps to have a stronger and more resilient Canada, with stronger and more resilient Canadians.
Our primary concern is the health of Canadians. It is the first foundation of our government's agenda for the foreseeable future. From faster and more readily available testing to the tracing of contacts through new technology; to the support of businesses that may need to shutter themselves, sending their employees home to halt the spread of this tenacious virus; to the support of provinces and territories in their provision of health care and long-term care; and, ultimately, to the development and distribution of a vaccine to halt the spread of sickness, our government will ensure that everything possible is done to ensure the health of all Canadians.
As we have done over these last many months, we will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments, local governments and public health agencies to ensure that our plan is the right plan and the unique plan for every part of the country.
However, even as we undertake this great national health project, Canadians will more than ever need the financial help of the federal government. There is a cost, a huge financial cost, to this virus and our government has chosen to shoulder the largest burden of this cost. This is no time for austerity. This is a time to invest in Canada, to invest in Canadians.
When people lose jobs due to COVID-19, they need support, they need a job. We will create over a million jobs to restore employment to previous levels.
When small business owners are forced to limit or radically change the focus of their businesses, they need support. We will extend the wage subsidy, expand the system for business loans and support some of the hardest-hit industries, including travel and tourism, hospitality, cultural industries and the arts.
When parents have to stay home to take care of their children or their own parents, they need support. We will create a Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
When young people cannot get that first job, they need our support. We will significantly expand the program, providing paid work experiences for young Canadians.
When older employees need training to prepare for a new career, they need our support. We will make the largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers.
Our government has consciously chosen to shoulder the biggest burdens faced by Canadians because we have the largest capacity to do just that. Only the federal government can ensure that these burdens are shared fairly.
As its second foundation for building a stronger and more resilient Canada, the Liberal government has promised to be there to help all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
While we are protecting and preserving the health of Canadians and while we are helping them through this economic crisis, we will seize this opportunity to build back better. COVID-19 has revealed cracks in our social safety net, in government programs and for particular businesses in the areas of our country hit unusually hard. Therefore, the third foundation of our agenda is to build back better. We will seize the opportunity to create more jobs and build better communities.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
If the hon. member would like to finish, he has three minutes coming to him. We can then go on to Statements by Members.
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-09-25 11:00 [p.113]
Mr. Speaker, I will end it there and I will continue, because the best is still yet to come.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-09-25 11:02 [p.113]
Mr. Speaker, we recently marked 100 years of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada's first and only all-Black battalion, which was disbanded following the end of the First World War. The battalion was formed in Pictou, Nova Scotia, just minutes from where I live today, and included Black Canadians from coast to coast within its ranks.
At the outset of the war, these soldiers were not wanted. They did not just fight for their country. They also had to fight for their right to do so after being told that the conflict was a white man's war. The battalion was instrumental during the effort. They built roads, bridges and trenches, and they were essential in securing victory for Canada and its allies.
Despite their many contributions, when the soldiers of the battalion returned home, they were not afforded the same hero's welcome that their white brothers in arms received. Racism and discrimination were all too common 100 years ago, and while we have made significant strides in the past century, systemic anti-Black racism continues in our communities across Canada today.
I want to take this opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and accomplishments of the No. 2 Construction Battalion and its members and reaffirm their rightful place as heroes in the history of our nation. I encourage all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to acknowledge systemic racism and commit themselves to stomping it out at every opportunity.
View Dean Allison Profile
CPC (ON)
View Dean Allison Profile
2020-09-25 11:02 [p.113]
Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all Canadians. Our lives have changed and no one knows when things will go back to normal or what that new normal will look like. Many Canadians have lost their jobs. Many small business owners have had to close their doors. Too many have lost a loved one to the virus, and I am concerned that the government has not responded well in helping those most affected.
In Wednesday's throne speech, the government made no mention of the deep and worrisome challenge experienced by our friends in western Canada and our world-class resource sector. Electric cars are fabulous, but they are unlikely to keep our country united. There was also no commitment to increase desperately needed health transfers, and provinces were very clear of the need for increased funding.
We are also falling behind our allies when it comes to rapid COVID-19 testing. I am hopeful that we can emerge from the COVID era stronger and more united than ever, but to do this, we need the government to provide real support where it is critically needed, and to do so now.
View Marie-France Lalonde Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marie-France Lalonde Profile
2020-09-25 11:03 [p.113]
Mr. Speaker, today, the Franco-Ontarian community comes together to celebrate and recognize the unique history of Franco-Ontarians and the key contributions they have made to Ontario and to our entire country.
This morning, I had the honour of participating in a flag-raising ceremony in Orléans with francophone leaders and my colleagues, MPP Stephen Blais and city councillors Laura Dudas and Matthew Luloff.
Since 2010, September 25 has been recognized as Franco-Ontarian Day. This day commemorates the first raising of the Franco-Ontarian flag in Sudbury 45 years ago today.
As a proud Franco-Ontarian, I want to join my colleagues in calling for everyone to celebrate our culture, our heritage and our French language. Let us continue to promote and recognize how much the francophone community has contributed to Ontario and to our country as a whole.
Nous sommes, nous serons. Here we are, and here we will stay.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-09-25 11:04 [p.114]
Mr. Speaker, justice delayed is justice denied. The government has had all the power to immediately act on the priorities outlined by the Black caucus and supported by over 150 MPs, senators and cabinet ministers. However, from procurement to policing, the government has failed. From banning street checks to ending racial profiling, it has refused to act.
In my short time here, it has become clear that at every turn and every crisis Liberals make promises they have no intention of keeping. They used words like “equity” and the language of racial justice in the Speech from the Throne, but, when it comes to taking immediate action, the words of Liberals remain empty and meaningless.
To be clear, it was not the good will of the Liberal government that forced addressing systemic racism. It was the tens of thousands of Canadians taking to the streets, led by the BLM movement, demanding that the government move beyond performative acts of social justice and just act now.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago a brave young man embarked on a marathon of hope to find a cure for cancer. Terry Fox inspired a nation. On September 20, Canadians from coast to coast to coast celebrated the 40th anniversary by taking part their way. While this year's Terry Fox Run was different and distant, it still remains Canada's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research. People still get cancer in spite of the pandemic, and the need for cancer research remains just as important.
My colleague, the member for Scarborough—Agincourt, Lib., walked in honour of her late husband, Arnold Chan. Survivor Lisa Moody joined her family for a 5k walk in her neighbourhood. Team Darrell raised over $14,000 this year while logging over 6,000 kilometres. In Oakville, we are hosting an art auction, which members can check out at oakvillechallenge.com.
As Terry said, “Anything is possible if you try.”
View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it seems one of the Prime Minister's new buzzwords is “austerity”. I am not entirely certain how he defines austerity, but, at minimum, I think we can all agree that cutting anything, to him, is austerity. In his non-partisan TV speech, the Prime Minister stated that now is not the time for austerity.
I find this puzzling because in my riding, and in 48 other ridings across Canada, the Liberal government wants to kill the automated, 24-hour VHF weather service. The Liberals say that one can get the same information from a smart phone, but there is a problem. Because of the other broken promises from the Prime Minister, there are lakes and backcountry where there is still no wireless signal available, and that can place people in danger.
As the VHF infrastructure is already in place and operating, until the Prime Minister fulfills his promises to ensure that all regions of Canada are connected by the same wireless services, I am asking the Liberal government to continue providing automated VHF weather radio service to my riding.
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
2020-09-25 11:07 [p.114]
Mr. Speaker, earlier this month, we lost a man who had given a lot to Laval in particular and to Canada in general. He was gone too soon. He was only 52.
Joe Cheaib was actively involved with many charities in Canada and Lebanon, including the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cedars Cancer Foundation, the Cedars Home for the Elderly, Sons of Lebanon and the Red Cross.
This is a huge loss for the community. I join my family and my constituents in offering our sincerest condolences to his wife, Teresa Soda, and his children, Emilia and Peter, as well as his family and loved ones.
To Joe and his family, know that we will continue Joe's legacy. May he rest in peace, and may his memories be eternal.
View Peter Fonseca Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am so proud to represent my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville.
Throughout this pandemic, my community and our country have risen to the challenge with decisiveness and determination to help beat this invisible enemy. Seniors, front-line workers, those with disabilities, young people, vulnerable populations, women, particularly low-income women, businesses and entrepreneurs have been deeply affected. Many individuals and organizations have stepped up to help those less fortunate.
Constituents in my riding, such as Selwyn Collaco, with his team of seniors at the Goan Overseas Association, and David Chant, with his group of scouts, have raised thousands of dollars and donated thousands of meals to The Mississauga Food Bank.
We continue to fight COVID-19 together, providing vital lifelines of support. I was thrilled to hear the Speech from the Throne set the pathway to our recovery. It is an ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality.
We will continue to build a stronger and more resilient country together.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2020-09-25 11:10 [p.115]
Mr Speaker, Parliament is back after six weeks of prorogation. The Prime Minister hopes Canadians have forgotten the investigations, but his government cannot escape the light that will shine on the truth of his scandals and the failures intertwined. At a time when we face a crisis that is so deep and sinister, the Prime Minister's follies have cost him his late finance minister. While Canadians look on wondering when it will end, Conservatives stand up for Canada to serve and defend.
To my constituents and to all Canadians, I do say that there is hope, hope for better days when trust, sense and patriot love are restored, and we shed this broken government that we have grown to abhor. More than hope, today we must believe that change is needed to vanquish those who deceive. Change that is stronger; change that will get the job done; change we believe in, and change to overcome.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I pay tribute to Ottawa restauranteur and philanthropist Dave Smith, who passed away on September 4. Dave opened Nate's Deli in 1959 and transformed it into an iconic Ottawa institution. Through his dedication serving on 50 boards of directors, from the snowsuit fund to the military families fund, he raised over $150 million for charities over his lifetime.
Dave's greatest achievement is the youth centre that bears his name. The Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre has helped over 17,000 youth with addiction and mental health treatments.
I am grateful to have known Dave and his amazing wife, Darlene. To know him was to love him. He greeted everyone like an old friend and cared deeply about his community.
Dave leaves a profound legacy. He touched so many lives and made our city and our country better. We will miss him.
View Tracy Gray Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tracy Gray Profile
2020-09-25 11:13 [p.115]
Mr. Speaker, it has now been over six months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Residents in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country and Canadians from across the country followed safety protocols, doing their part to flatten the curve and giving health workers time to prepare. Despite this, the federal government's plans continue to fall short.
This summer, my community was unfortunately a hot spot for COVID-19 cases. Numerous hospitality businesses had to close again after just reopening, causing further financial hardship for the businesses and their workers. Taking days to receive COVID-19 test results is stressful for everyone, including families sending kids back to school.
Despite this, Health Canada has been slow in approving different kinds of rapid testing devices and at-home tests, including those that have been improved and used in other highly developed countries. People's lives are on hold while waiting for test results. The process must improve. The government needs to come up with solutions to keep people safe and allow businesses to remain open.
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Canada is well into the seventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government is dragging its feet as if the pandemic just started yesterday.
Several countries have developed rapid testing so they could systematically test workers, travellers and other groups and stop the virus from spreading before it is too late. However, Health Canada is still refusing to approve this kind of test, even though our testing centres and laboratories are swamped. This means that, day after day, Canadians are being turned away, putting their loved ones and co-workers at risk. It is unacceptable that the Government of Canada prefers no testing to a test that is thought to be about 95% reliable.
We demand that the government acknowledge the technological breakthroughs that have been made in the past few months, and we urge the relevant authorities to stop stalling and approve these rapid tests, which have the potential to save lives.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2020-09-25 11:14 [p.116]
Mr. Speaker, the pandemic shone a light on how poorly Canada is doing in taking care of its seniors, particularly seniors who depend on our long-term care system. It showed the backward thinking of many governments, including the Conservative government in Manitoba. One of its first acts after being elected was cancelling an upgrade and expansion of Park Manor Personal Care Home in Transcona and other care homes across the province.
It showed the effect of the creeping privatization of our health system that has been taking place for a long time now. It puts the financial interest of investors ahead of the interests of our loved ones in personal care homes. It has been my honour to serve as a vice-chair of the NDP's building for better task force. We have heard from experts across the country who have highlighted the negative role that the profit motive has been playing in long-term care. We have seen the result with higher rates of death in for-profit personal care homes across the country. It is a call for federal leadership in funding and convening the provinces to have better standards. That is something the NDP is here to fight for.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-09-25 11:15 [p.116]
Mr. Speaker, I have been in touch with the Maksoud family in my riding for months. Their eldest son, Bilal, got married in Lebanon a few years ago.
However, it seems that an interpretation error during a meeting with an immigration officer at the embassy is preventing his wife from immigrating to Canada, even though she followed all the necessary procedures. The Quebec ministry of immigration has recognized her as an excellent candidate. In addition to dealing with the stress of having her application denied, Mr. Maksoud's wife was directly affected by the recent horrific events in Beirut. Following the August 4 catastrophe, the Journal de Montréal published an article entitled “Ottawa to facilitate process for the Lebanese” and La Presse reported on how Ottawa would make it easier for people from Lebanon to come to Canada.
I spoke to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and I know he is sympathetic to the situation. He must now put words into action. We are talking about the future of a family that deserves to finally be reunited.
View James Cumming Profile
CPC (AB)
View James Cumming Profile
2020-09-25 11:16 [p.116]
Mr. Speaker, the need for rapid testing for COVID-19 is not a request nor is it something we can negotiate on. Here are the facts: Canada's unemployment surged to 13.7% this summer; Nav Canada announced that it is cutting another 14% of its workforce this week; and hundreds of small businesses across this country have been forced to shut down since March.
We have come to the point in the timeline where we have accepted we will have to live with COVID for the foreseeable future. We must improvise, we must adapt and we must overcome. Despite various pilot programs funding rapid test research across Canada and numerous countries around the world using innovative rapid testing methods, the Liberal government is napping on the possibility of getting our country back to relative working order.
On behalf the country's airlines; our nation's moms, dads and loved ones who have been separated for months; restaurant owners; workers, retailers; and employees, I urge the government to wake up and signal the green light for rapid testing, not tomorrow, not next week, but now.
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Han Dong Profile
2020-09-25 11:17 [p.116]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the centennial of the Treaty of Sèvres, signed at the end of the First World War. As part of the larger Versailles peace settlement, the treaty made a commitment to try Ottoman officials for perpetrating the Armenian genocide and set the borders of the Republic of Armenia by including the historic Armenian provinces into a sovereign territory under the protection of the allied powers.
Though often overlooked in our history, Canada played a major role in assisting the Armenian population through the genocide. At the time, prominent Canadians, British politicians and intellectuals called for Canada to assume the mandate for Armenia. Unfortunately, that project was never realized.
Today, I join thousands of Armenian Canadians in Don Valley North and across Canada to commemorate this important chapter in our collective history and commit to a just resolution for the Armenian genocide.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-09-25 11:18 [p.116]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's job is to bring Canadians together, especially during a national crisis like the one we are going through now.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister's arrogant approach to dealing with the provinces has reared its ugly head. Rather than unite everyone, he decided to teach everyone a lesson. Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Canada decided to teach the Premier of Quebec a lesson. That was disrespectful and irresponsible. To insult the Premier of Quebec is to insult Quebeckers.
Why is the Prime Minister of Canada so irresponsible?
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-09-25 11:19 [p.117]
Mr. Speaker, the excellent Speech from the Throne talks about child care.
Quebec already has its own child care system, and that is what we have been saying all along. Of course we will take that into account. More than that, we are going to use it as a model for the other provinces. Of course Quebec will get its fair share through negotiations.
The other point my friend raised was about seniors. When it comes to seniors, it is not about jurisdiction. It is about human beings who have suffered more than anyone else during the pandemic.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-09-25 11:20 [p.117]
Mr. Speaker, why does Quebec have its child care system? It is precisely because it falls under provincial jurisdiction. It is up to the provinces to decide what to do; it is not up to the federal government to tell the provinces what to do.
Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister about the problems in western Canada. Why are westerners so angry? He said that was “ridiculous”. Not only is he insulting Quebeckers, but he is also insulting the folks in western Canada.
Why does the Prime Minister have such an irresponsible attitude toward all Canadians?
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-09-25 11:20 [p.117]
Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne contains elements that are extremely important to all Canadians. If you look closely at the document and read what is in it, it is quite clear that we are in the midst of a pandemic and the government's priority is the health and safety of all Canadians.
Let me extend an olive branch to my colleague. Rather than getting into jurisdictional fights and quarrelling in general, let's work together to help our seniors, our businesses and people who have lost their jobs. Let's do it together.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-09-25 11:21 [p.117]
A Liberal will always be a Liberal. Look who is talking, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, the government tabled a piece of legislation a few days ago: Bill C-2. Obviously, we want to work correctly on that. We made a proposition a few hours ago with all counterparts here to be sure to work correctly. We mean to have a sitting House here for committee of the whole this Sunday. Is the government ready to work on Sunday for the good and for the future of Canadians?
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-09-25 11:21 [p.117]
Mr. Speaker, the government is working seven days a week for Canadians. The government is working all the time for Canadians. While I realize what my colleague has offered, through discussions we can do a lot of things and that is why we insisted so much to be here and also present virtually so all MPs could participate. I am glad that the Conservatives finally agree that we can do a lot of things together with goodwill.
View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Health said that she would “rely on the expertise of the researchers, the scientists and the experts to guide us” on the matter of rapid testing. However, experts, researchers and scientists in other developed countries have already approved rapid and at-home testing, so this begs the question: If we are collaborating with these experts, researchers and scientists on things like a vaccine, why can we not use it for rapid testing? When will the review of rapid testing be complete in Canada?
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I obviously share the member's deep desire to have more sophisticated tools to be able to respond to COVID-19, including more sophisticated testing capacity. Of course, there is not one single rapid-test solution and testing is a complex space, but I will say what I do know: We need to rely on Canadian regulators who will tell us when a test is safe enough and accurate enough to be released into Canadian society because, of course, tests that do not provide accurate responses could make situations much worse.
View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the minister needs to realize there are people waiting for eight to 10 days to get their results. It is her job to go into her department and say, “Hey, what is taking so long? Why can we not do this quickly and fulsomely? Make it happen.”
It is not enough to share a desire. She is in charge of this. She has to go and read the riot act to her bureaucrats and get this done.
When will the review be complete?
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, unlike the member opposite, I am incredibly grateful to the bureaucrats, as she calls them, the researchers, the scientists, the civil service—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We are on mute. We have not heard anything. Could the hon. minister check her connection?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-09-25 11:24 [p.117]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we saw Mr. Trudeau being utterly condescending. Who does he think he is giving lessons to Quebec about the presence of the Canadian Armed Forces in the long-term care centres? Quebec taxpayers pay for the army and its members.
Why are we in this situation? The answer is that for 25 years, the federal government has been making cuts to health. The federal government is responsible for this situation, not the Government of Quebec. If the federal government had listened to Quebeckers and the experts, or if it had used common sense, it would have invested in health instead of giving lessons to others.
Why will the government not increase health transfers?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I know that we have been gone for a while. I just want to remind hon. members that when they refer to another member of the House of Commons, they must use the title of the person in question and not their name.
The hon. government House leader.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-09-25 11:25 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, once again, my colleague is trying to provoke a squabble between Quebec and Ottawa.
I repeat what I said yesterday, from the bottom of my heart: Seniors are not paragraphs or lines in the Canadian Constitution. They are not a jurisdiction. They are real, live human beings. Seniors have suffered more than anyone in this pandemic, and we will be there for them.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-09-25 11:26 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons left out a piece of the story. The federal government was doing the insulting yesterday, not the Government of Quebec or the Bloc Québécois. The federal government tried to lecture Quebec and brought up the notion of a blank cheque.
The government is going on about blank cheques, when it gave $900 million to WE Charity, his family's employer, in the middle of a pandemic. That is what you call a blank cheque.
Will the government increase health transfers, yes or no?
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-09-25 11:26 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, we made significant investments in health care and we will continue to do so, in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.
We are talking about national standards and dialogue with the provinces regarding our common goals. Clearly, provinces manage their own health systems.
Once again, it is quite offensive to make seniors part of a constitutional dispute. They have the right to life, dignity and quality health care.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-09-25 11:27 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Liberal government decided to prorogue government and in doing so had almost two months to plan for a second wave, which we knew was coming. Now we are in the second wave, and the government really has no plan to deal with the crucial questions that people are faced with right now.
What is the government doing to ensure people have access to testing? What is it doing to make sure people who need child care have access to it? What is it doing to make sure that our seniors, those who are at ground zero for COVID-19, are protected? Finally, how is the government going to ensure that it is not everyday families that pay the price for the recovery, but that it is those who have profited off this pandemic who pay the price?
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I apologize for losing connection during the last question.
As the hon. member knows, we have been there every step of the way with Canadians, with provinces, with territories and in fact with local communities to make sure that we have a robust response to COVID-19, that we can work together to protect and save the lives of Canadians. We will continue that work in collaboration with all levels of government, and indeed with Canadians, because that is how we will get through this: Together.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-09-25 11:28 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government and the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament and in doing so the government has had almost two months to plan a response to the second wave, which we are facing right now.
What is the plan for solving ongoing problems, especially those with testing, long-term health care and care for seniors?
What is the government's plan for ensuring that those who profited, and not ordinary Canadians, will bear the cost of the recovery?
View Patty Hajdu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
We have worked hard with the provinces, territories and local governments.
We will continue to work incredibly hard with all levels of government, and indeed with Canadians, to ensure that we can respond to COVID-19 together no matter what the virus throws at us.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, as members know. Of course, the tools and knowledge to defeat COVID-19 continue to evolve, and we will be there for Canadians and for communities no matter what COVID-19 throws at us.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-09-25 11:30 [p.118]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to report a million missing paycheques. That is the number of people who have lost their jobs since February and have not been hired back.
We have the highest unemployment in the G7. The U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan and Germany all have COVID too, but they have lower unemployment than we do.
When will the government recognize that its plan to impose austerity on private-sector mines and small businesses is not working?
View Chrystia Freeland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the economic support we have been providing to Canadians during the pandemic has not only prevented a great deal of human misery. It is also driving our economic recovery, and the member does not need to take my word for it. TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva said that the “...federal government income support programs...have so far been paramount for averting a delinquency tsunami” and protecting the economy.
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