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Results: 1 - 15 of 399
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2020-05-26 11:11 [p.2408]
Mr. Speaker, New Brunswick like Saskatchewan is well ahead of the curve. We have done very well in our provinces. I can see that Ontario and Quebec need to catch up to our two provinces.
I will say one thing to the member, who is new in the House, and it is that Private members' bills will not go forward. We are going to miss almost a full year of private members' bills in the House of Commons. They are an important privilege of members, enabling them to bring their issues forward.
What is the member's view on private members' bills being shut down until the fall or maybe even longer than that?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, we were talking about a virtual committee, not virtual Parliament. That is the motion before us.
I have a rural riding. I have trouble accessing the Internet as it is. Usually, it is pretty choppy. I wonder if my colleague could talk about some of the flaws in this and how members will be able to participate virtually, because that is not necessarily possible for all 338.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour to rise in the House of Commons today to participate in this debate. The opportunity to debate, to stand and be counted in this chamber is a privilege, and it is the same privilege that those in the 42 Parliaments before us have had.
Now, in the 43rd Parliament, it is difficult to imagine that there are elected members of Parliament who are ready to pass on that privilege, but here we are today. In the midst of a pandemic, the government has put forward a motion that limits the role of Parliament. While this proposal is an improvement, of course, to the first one, it still falls far short of a full Parliament. It is shameful that some would devalue our democracy during a crisis.
Canadians have stepped up during this pandemic. They have followed the guidelines of our health authorities and have taken precautions. Our front-line health care workers have risked their health and safety to care for others. Essential workers have made adjustments to provide necessary services and goods to Canadians. All Canadians have faced disruptions and unforeseen challenges. The social, economic and health impacts of COVID-19 are widespread and, while the impact on each person may vary, not a single person is immune.
As Canadians across the country face these challenges head-on, they need to know that their government is also stepping up. They need to know that their government is committed to getting the best results for Canadians, and they need to know that their government is working to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. Right now, we are navigating the immediate fallout of this health crisis, but we still do not know what the long-term impacts will be.
The quality of governmental leadership will largely dictate the long-term impacts of this crisis. Good leadership is accountable, yet before us is essentially a permission slip from the Prime Minister asking to be less accountable. By limiting the role of Parliament, the Prime Minister is telling Canadians that he would like an audience and not an opposition. The government would like Parliament to govern without scrutiny, without debate and without opposition, but that is not how our democracy works.
Canada is a representative democracy. Three hundred and thirty-eight members of Parliament are elected across this country, each of us representing tens of thousands of constituents. Each of us is sent to Parliament with a mandate from those who have elected us. Each of us has the responsibility to represent all electors in our ridings.
If there are members of Parliament who think that in a time of crisis their responsibility to their constituents is any less, I must question why they chose to put their names on the ballot. In times of crisis, our responsibility to our constituents is even greater. As a member of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, it is my duty to hold the government to account. It is my duty to seek answers for constituents, and it is my duty to stand up for their interests and make them known.
As a Saskatchewan member of Parliament, I will make note that western Canada is notably absent from the cabinet table, and the government benches altogether. Last fall, western Canada rejected the failed policies of this Liberal government. They rejected the Prime Minister's attacks on their livelihoods and their communities. In our democracy, that is their right.
The Prime Minister, however, does not have a licence to shut down their voices by governing without opposition parties. In fact, the principal economic drivers in my riding of Battlefords—Lloydminster have been largely left out of the government's response to COVID-19. They have been left out despite the national importance of both of these economic drivers.
First, the Prime Minister has failed to step up to support Canada's oil and gas sector, a sector that will be critical for a speedy economic recovery for western Canada and, frankly, for Canada as a whole. Aside from paying lip service to the industry, the Prime Minister has failed to follow through with meaningful support. As hours, days and months go by, there is an emptiness to his words. Given the Prime Minister's history of attacking the oil and gas sector and his admitted goal of phasing it out, it is difficult not to view this as anything but a death-by-delay tactic.
The other sector that has been left by the wayside in the government's COVID-19 response is agriculture. Hard-working farm families across this country are facing a crisis of their own. In the past year, they have already been confronted with hardship after hardship beyond their control, and COVID-19 is yet another devastating blow. Our farmers are faced with rising operational costs, a disrupted service industry, labour shortages and reduced capacity at processing plants. Our farmers and producers have already sounded the alarm.
To maintain a steady supply of affordable and healthy food, we have to ensure our vital first link in the food supply chain. We do know that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture had asked the government for an emergency fund, but instead of responding to the specific COVID-19 challenges that our farmers are facing, the Liberals reannounced already-budgeted funding. To make matters worse, while our farmers are trying to face the challenges brought on by COVID-19, the government hiked the carbon tax, reaching into their pockets for more money at a time when they could afford it the least.
The disregard for these two sectors of national importance underscores the absolute necessity for Parliament. The government must be accountable for its actions and also its inaction. It is essential that as individual members of Parliament we have the opportunity to raise the issues that are important to and affect our constituents. We are their voice in the democratic process.
We have seen repeatedly during the COVID-19 special committee meetings the government dodge and deflect questions asked by opposition members that it, frankly, does not want to answer. It has shut down questions it does not want asked and justifies it by stating they are outside the scope of the debate of this committee. I would argue that the impact of COVID-19 is so far-reaching that there is not much beyond its scope. This pattern of avoidance certainly does not invoke confidence that much will change without Parliament fully sitting.
It is not up to the government of the day to decide how it will be held accountable for its governing. When it comes to fiscal responsibility and accountability, the Prime Minister and the finance minister seem equally disinterested.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2020-05-26 14:05 [p.2434]
Mr. Speaker, for months Canadians have adapted to painful new realities. They are making sacrifices every day and expect their elected representatives to be their present voice in Ottawa. However, the government has stripped Parliament of its work and continues to deny Canadians that voice.
Preventing discussion on private members' bills means that my privilege and responsibility as a member of Parliament has been held captive. In February, I had the honour of tabling Bill C-233, the sex-selective abortion act. The bill would prohibit a medical practitioner from performing an abortion if the reason is the sex of the preborn child.
My constituents, and indeed 84% of Canadians, have been clear that sex-selective abortion is not permissible in Canada, yet we know it happens in our country because we have no law against it.
It is time for Canada and the Prime Minister to stand up for human rights and end inequality between the sexes from the earliest stages of life. It is time to restore Parliament and continue this vital conversation.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2020-05-26 14:09 [p.2434]
Mr. Speaker, two great artists have passed away recently in my home province of Saskatchewan, Bob Pitzel of Humboldt in March and Hugo Alvarado of Saskatoon just a couple of days ago.
Bob Pitzel was a masterful watercolour artist who spent many hours in his studio just south of Humboldt. Bob loved painting rural Saskatchewan scenes. His worked often displayed the old farm homes, the fences and trucks. He also enjoyed painting trains and won many awards for his work. Bob is lovingly remembered by his spouse Maureen Doetzel.
Hugo Alvarado came to Saskatoon from Chile, with a mere $5 in his pocket. What a gift to our city. Hugo was heavily involved in Artists Against Hunger, raising funds for those in need. His paintings featured landscapes, cityscapes and still life. A former Saskatoon citizen of the year, Hugo always encouraged others to paint and express their feelings.
We will miss these artists as both Bob and Hugo gave back so much to our arts society.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, we are learning today that on May 14, members of the Canadian Armed Forces wrote a report detailing dreadful conditions at long-term care homes in Ontario. Soldiers have witnessed cockroaches, rotting food, seniors left in soiled diapers, and cries for help ignored for lengthy periods. I am sure all Canadians are horrified to hear these details. However, the Liberals only provided this report to the Province of Ontario on Sunday. In other words, the government sat on this report for almost two weeks.
Why did it take a leak to make these details public? Why was the Prime Minister not transparent with this horrific information?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that the report was written on May 14, so it took almost two weeks for it to be made public.
Our seniors deserve better than this. They deserve better than a government that waits almost two weeks before reading an absolutely appalling report on the situation in seniors' homes. We hear that the army is working on a second report, which will describe the situation in long-term care homes in Quebec.
Can the Prime Minister assure us that he will not wait two weeks before reading it?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
The Prime Minister has laid out that kind of timeline, Mr. Speaker.
I have a simple question. Who had the report from May 14 until last Thursday?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, the media is also reporting today that the Minister of Digital Government has been promoting a fundraising campaign to sue Global News for its story that criticized the Chinese Communist Party. WeChat is a Chinese state-sanctioned social media platform that is monitored by the communist state security and, worse yet, the minister has admitted that her taxpayer-funded political aide is the one who manages her WeChat account and who allowed the fundraising campaign to be promoted. Clearly, this is inappropriate.
What action has the Prime Minister taken in light of these revelations?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, this is so typical of the Liberals. When it comes to things like this, they only apologize when they get caught. When we put this in light of their whole approach to China, foreign affairs experts are saying that the government's approach is to speak softly and carry no stick.
Yesterday, I gave the Prime Minister four opportunities to condemn the attack on the freedom of the people of Hong Kong by the Government of China. He refused. We have seen a pattern of appeasement toward the PRC, but this is much worse. By helping an arm of the Chinese government suppress media critical of the PRC here in Canada, the Prime Minister is actually doing its dirty work.
Why are the Prime Minister's cabinet ministers helping the dictators in the PRC?
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2020-05-26 14:42 [p.2441]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals refuse to tell us what happened to the national strategic stockpile before this crisis. On Friday, the chief medical officer was asked if she ever advised the Liberals that the emergency stockpile was underfunded, but the health minister prevented Dr. Tam from answering the question. She claimed it was cabinet confidence.
When will the Liberals come clean about their decision to reduce Canada's strategic stockpile?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2020-05-26 14:53 [p.2443]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has ruled that the firearms contained on the order in council banned list were unsuitable for sport or hunting, despite the government providing transport permits for over 30 years for the purpose of sport shooting with those firearms.
Why is the minister choosing to attack law-abiding gun owners instead of gun smugglers and criminals who have absolutely no intention of obeying his restrictions?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, we know that the Prime Minister does not like energy workers. He will not support farmers and he is going after responsible firearms owners. The Prime Minister should be targeting the criminals who traffic in illegal guns, not hunters and athletes. The Prime Minister seems to only support Canadians when he thinks he can get their votes.
It is a simple question. Can the Prime Minister tell us why he is playing politics during this pandemic?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2020-05-26 15:25 [p.2449]
Mr. Speaker, the problem is not with the format, and Canadians are figuring this out. Perhaps that is the reason those members want to shut down debate. The problem is not the format. The problem is that we are dealing with a committee instead of Parliament itself sitting in this House, and Canadians have figured that out. They are not happy, because this is not what they were asking for and continue to ask the House for.
There is no reason, if there are four days that we are here, and we travel back and forth, that we cannot sit as a proper Parliament during those four days. The member's explanation is not acceptable.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, once again, what I was saying was that it is not up to the government of the day to decide how it will be held accountable for its governing. When it comes to fiscal responsibility and accountability, the Prime Minister and the finance minister seem equally disinterested. They have refused to deliver a budget or even a fiscal update, or proper accounting for that matter, for their COVID-19 relief measures, and today's motion still offers no timeline on a fiscal update.
As we consider this proposal, we have to acknowledge the shortfalls of virtual meetings. While meting virtually is always preferred to not meeting at all, virtual meetings are not conducive to quality work. As a member of HUMA, I have experienced the shortfalls of technology first-hand. Our committee has been meeting virtually for the past month. Even a month in, the time spent on technological issues far outweighs the time spent on the meeting itself. These technological problems significantly hinder our effectiveness, and we have seen similar issues in the COVID-19 committee.
In-person meetings of the House would deliver better results for Canadians. There are those who would stand in this place and argue that in the name of health and safety this is not possible. To them, I would say that this very meeting shows that we can be in this chamber while maintaining public health guidelines. I would also like to point to examples of democracies around the world that have continued or resumed parliamentary activities. Just as the chamber should proceed with regular business, so should all of our standing and special committees. These committees should be getting back to their important work. It is in the long-term interest of Canadians.
A Parliament operating with its full authority can only better serve Canadians. This is not a partisan issue. This is a fundamental belief that Parliament is the bedrock of our democracy and that debate, oversight and transparency strengthen our democracy. Generations before us have shaped our democracy. They have safeguarded and improved it. It is our collective responsibility to do the same for the next generation. To do that, we must remain vigilant against intentional and unintentional efforts to erode or undermine our democracy. Safeguarding our democracy should be the priority of all of us.
We have to acknowledge that this motion would strip Parliament of some of its power. While governing in a minority setting may not be the Prime Minister's preference, it is what Canadians chose and he has the obligation to work with Parliament for the good of Canadians. Canadians expect more, and Canadians deserve more.
I would urge all members of this chamber to recognize Parliament as an essential service and to acknowledge that their responsibility to their constituents is crucial and their duty to uphold our democracy is paramount. A government without accountability fails our democracy and it fails Canadians. We must be focused on getting the best results for Canadians because they are counting on us. While we face a global health crisis, we cannot sacrifice the health of our democracy.
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