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Results: 1 - 15 of 492
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I guess this is more of a question than anything else. Obviously, the witnesses would be here today and tomorrow. Has there been discussion? Do we have any indication of who those witnesses are, at this point? If we're lining people up for this afternoon, I'm assuming that the work has already been done on that.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Have some of them been lined up for this afternoon—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. So the officials will be here this afternoon, and maybe this afternoon we'll get a list of who will be appearing tomorrow. Is that the idea?
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, a third option for the new government could be “cleaning up the Liberal mess”.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm really glad that the attempt by the Liberals to shut down the opportunity to have this discussion was foiled. It is important that there be an opportunity to have this discussion.
The bottom line is that the motion is simply asking for the minister to come here. I noticed today that there was one hour, and half of that time was used by the ministers to give opening statements. There isn't much opportunity to ask questions. I know that members have questions about a variety of different areas for two different ministers. The motion simply asks that an update by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development be provided to the committee on the recommendations that were in your 14th report, “Supporting Families After the Loss of a Child”.
There were a number of important recommendations in that report that would be there to benefit and support families who have had the tragic loss of a child. Those recommendations were made by this committee. A number of them were to put in place a number of initiatives, which I'll maybe get to in a second, that would provide these proper supports and these opportunities for families and show the proper compassion that they deserve coming from their government. These would seem to me to be the kinds of measures that I can't imagine there's even a need for any political debate on. They seem like the kinds of things that should be no-brainers, and about which we shouldn't need to have the kind of tricks we saw the Liberal members try to play in order to shut down debate. They shouldn't be the kinds of things where we see the stall and delay tactics that we've seen from this government. This should simply be something where we all understand and recognize that it needs to be fixed and we go ahead and just make the changes that are needed.
That said, does anyone have the date on which the report was tabled?
A voice: February 8.
Mr. Blake Richards: So it's been since February 8 that the report was tabled. Of course, the government's been aware of these proposals for a long time. Thousands of people across this country have written in, signed petitions and called their MPs. It's not like this was a big surprise, even on February 8, that these were the kinds of recommendations people were asking for. There's been no indication of any action. There's been no indication of even any kind of an update given by this government on what they are doing in this regard.
I think the families deserve that. They deserve that. We're coming very close to the end of a parliamentary session before an election. They deserve that opportunity. I think we saw today how much the government will do to try to avoid giving families what they deserve and giving families even the courtesy of some information or a simple update. That's pretty pathetic, frankly. It's pretty pathetic. I think the least the government could do is have the minister come here and give some kind of an update to these families. Just show them a little bit of courtesy and a little bit of respect. Give them some kind of an update on what's being done to make sure that these needs and these asks are being taken care of.
These are simple asks, right? They're simply asking for some dedicated resources from employment and social development. That's one of the recommendations. They're asking for employees to show some better compassion when dealing with bereaved individuals. I won't even get into some of the stories. We've all heard them. They were here in testimony at the committee. Members heard them. They're asking for some protection of their jobs under labour standards legislation to allow a leave of absence to deal with grief.
The Chair: Yes, Mr. Long.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
These are simple things, and I don't need to go through them all. They're simply asking for compassion, and the final one, of course, the most important one, is that there has been a desire to see some kind of a bereavement leave created for these parents. It was something that was agreed to by all parties on this committee. It was simply that Employment and Social Development Canada should change the eligibility requirements for employment insurance as they relate to maternity and parental benefits. Bereavement leave is accommodated in the program and provides income support for 12 to 15 weeks for parents grieving the loss of an infant child.
These are asks, and I just can't imagine how anyone could hear the stories that everyone has heard on this committee and not want to try to help.
When we see these kinds of tricks to try to adjourn debate without even having a debate on the motion, these kinds of tricks that we've seen all along to try to stall this, to delay this, to not provide these opportunities.... If this government wants to try to fool these families into believing that they're going to do something if they get re-elected, the least they could do is come here and face the committee and therefore the parents and the families who are affected and just answer why that's the case, why they couldn't find the will to do this, because we all know it's the right thing to do.
I really hope the government members won't try another trick to try to delay and stall this. Let's have a vote on this motion, and we'll see where everyone stands, who stands with these families, who stands behind them, and who wants to show the the proper support and compassion they deserve.
If the members of the government side choose to try to adjourn the debate, we know where they stand.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I think that possibly shows a misunderstanding on the member's part. The bottom line is that the motion is asking that the minister come to the committee to provide some kind of an update on what's being done with the recommendations, which gives the member exactly what he's asking for, so I certainly hope he'll choose to support the motion.
I really do believe that any member who refuses to support this motion, who tries to adjourn the debate or votes to adjourn the debate is not showing the respect and compassion these families deserve. I really hope there's nobody on this committee who will do that, because it's the wrong thing, and they all know it.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Let's have a recorded vote, please.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Point of order, Mr. Chair.
I just want to point out to all the families who are listening and hearing this that what we just saw was—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
—a pathetic example of a government not showing you the support and compassion you deserve.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I apologize on behalf of all members of the House of Commons—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
—for that incredible lack of compassion.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
It's not on the agenda.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Some of you will know this and others may not. In my previous career, before I got into politics, I was in real estate. I helped folks sell and buy homes. This reminds me, actually, of some of the situations I found myself in, in those circumstances. Sometimes what you'd get is that someone would say, “I know we have a contract here that says X, Y, and Z, and this is the price of the home and this is the closing date, and all the conditions that go with that, but you know what? Don't worry about that. Yes, we'll get the walls painted for you, or, yes, we'll leave some of the furniture, or whatever the case might be.” They'd say, we don't need to throw that in the contract, though. It will just be an agreement between us. For obvious reasons, I wouldn't accept those kinds of things. This reminds me of those same situations.
Mr. Poilievre has made a suggestion. It's been said a couple of times on both sides, but I will point out that this is a fairly significant compromise by the opposition, I would argue, because we're letting the government have exactly what it wants, which is to limit the amount of time there is for consideration and debate and amendments or anything else related to the budget. In return, the expectation is that there be three hours for the minister to come here to be held accountable for any matters related to his finance portfolio, and that his opening remarks limited to 10 minutes and that the meeting be televised.
What we're hearing, essentially, for the most part, is yes, we agree to all of that, but we don't want to put it in writing. Whenever I have someone tell me they agree with me and they're willing to give me something, but they don't want to put it in writing, I have to question the motivation for not being willing to put it in writing? If it's okay and you're agreeing that you're going to allow it, why not just put it in writing? What's the harm? As I say, it hearkens me back to my days in real estate, when somebody would say, “Yes, no, no, don't worry. We'll leave the freezer. We don't want to put it in the contract—let's not do that—but we'll leave it, we promise.”
You never want to doubt someone's sincerity, and I'm not saying I do, but why not put it in writing then? What's the problem here? I just feel that we're in a spot where it's almost like there's disagreement for the sake of disagreement, or something like that. I wish we could end that. If that's what everyone's saying is—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I think I will actually be looking to move a subamendment, but I want to speak to the amendment first. Then I will maybe move that, and we can discuss it. I'm sure some of my other colleagues will want to chime in on the subamendment at that point. I will allow them that opportunity then, but I want to speak to this before I do that.
Listening to the arguments that others have made here, I certainly would say, first of all, that I can't help but agree. To look at an omnibus bill of this nature with the kinds of timelines that are being proposed here, with the hammer that's going to be put on top of the opportunity for debate.... Any time you limit opportunities for scrutiny, it's a concern. We've seen the outcomes of that limiting of scrutiny in the past.
For example, we could get into the last budget this government brought forward. They, of course, snuck in something there to try to help their buddies, their Liberal friends, and it has led to a giant scandal for this government and, obviously, a huge concern for Canadians all across this country. Those are the kinds of things that happen when you limit scrutiny and you limit the opportunity for something to be looked at in detail. When you limit the opportunity for debate, it results in problems, lack of accountability, maybe even mistakes in some cases.
We have already seen the type of error there was just in the math alone on this budget from this government. Fortunately, that has already been caught by one of our Conservative members.
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