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Results: 1 - 15 of 310
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Chair, I want to thank my colleagues in the official opposition for all their hard work throughout the day. I want to thank the members of other parties as well as we tried to find a resolution to a problem that was created when the government decided to add additional measures to its financial assistance package.
We recognize that many Canadians are going to face a great deal of difficulty in the days and weeks ahead, and we are ready to help find solutions.
We recognize that Canadians are going to face a great deal of difficulty in the days and weeks ahead and we are here ready to help find solutions. That is what we were expecting to do. The Liberals have now agreed to our grave concerns about the types of sweeping power they were going to give themselves, we do find that we are in a position where we are able to support this going ahead.
That being said, I do have a number of questions for my colleagues across the aisle. As they will well know, many businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy. Many businesses have been told that they must close their doors. Restaurants and other types of businesses in the service industry are facing a great deal of hardship. The government's original proposal was to provide a 10% wage subsidy. I believe the ministers would acknowledge that the situation has changed from those early days and in many cases that will not be sufficient to help individuals stay employed.
Will the government consider other additional measures that would keep small businesses afloat during this difficult time? We have called for not only the raising of that wage subsidy, but also to have GST rebated to the small businesses that have collected that GST over the past few months. That would provide them with a great deal of cash flow that would be able to assist.
Will the government be willing to entertain that type of measure?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Madam Chair, I will acknowledge that we are in agreement with much of what the finance minister has said. I think we are heading into some uncharted territory. There will be many Canadians who have never looked to government before for assistance who will now be looking to government. We must make sure that we find a way to provide that support to them, and help to keep people in their apartments and homes and able to put food on the table.
One way to ensure that the effects of this downturn last even longer is if the government or our central bank were to consider a quantitative easing measure. That is a guaranteed way to make sure that the lingering effects of this downturn will last years and years beyond what it needs to.
Will the finance minister commit to assuring the House that quantitative easing, printing money, is not something the government would support and certainly not something that the government would request the Bank of Canada to consider?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I know that I speak for all parliamentarians when I say that those Canadians who are affected by the COVID-19 virus are in our thoughts and prayers at this time. I know that our actions, whether on the government side of the House or on opposition benches, must continue to be guided by our shared desire to protect the health and safety of all Canadians and to support them through the global pandemic.
These are unprecedented times, warranting an unprecedented response both from governments and the Canadian people.
We know that this crisis is affecting Canadians across the country.
Almost a million workers have already been laid off, stores and restaurants have been told to close their doors and Canadians have been asked to stay at home.
We also know that our economy is taking a hit in this crisis and that the coming months will be very difficult.
While we are all aware that more needs to be done, and we have all heard of isolated incidents of people not following public health advice, overwhelmingly Canadians have risen to the challenge and have shown the care and compassion for which we, as a country, are so well known.
In these trying times, now more than ever, we see the strength of our communities and appreciate our true Canadian heroes: truck drivers, farmers and factory workers keeping our supply chains running at all times; companies stepping up, ensuring workers get paid, even if their doors are closed; grocery stores, pharmacies and cleaning staff working to keep shelves full and doors open; and restaurants offering takeout and delivery to those who need a hot meal.
Perhaps most importantly as we consider the health crisis, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, public health officials and first responders working around the clock to keep us all healthy and safe.
I had an opportunity to speak with the president of the Ontario Medical Association last week about what doctors urgently need from the government in fighting this pandemic. Those needs must be met.
The president mentioned the need for greater information-sharing tools so that tracking of cases can be done more quickly, so that when someone has a positive test result, the medical and health agencies can work backward and find out who that person was in contact with and do it through a much faster response mechanism. He also spoke to the need for equipment that must be procured now, before the number of cases escalates. I hope the government takes those concerns very seriously.
Our researchers in the scientific community will also play an essential role in fighting this pandemic and ultimately developing a vaccine.
I also want to acknowledge the leadership shown by provincial and municipal elected officials across the country. While the federal government took its time, the provinces acted quickly, taking advantage of their constitutional powers on health and education, particularly through the police and local services. Each province has tackled its own challenges and proposed new, innovative approaches.
Canadians are worried. They are worried for their health and the health of their loved ones, for their jobs and for their futures, and they are looking to us for action.
Conservatives have been flexible in our approach, while also continuing to ensure government oversight. When we agreed to the extraordinary suspension of Parliament, Conservatives insisted that the government be subject to substantial accountability measures, including the condition that the Auditor General would audit any new spending and that parliamentary committees would be able to review all of that spending when Parliament resumes.
We also agreed to bring back the House of Commons this week with only a small number of members present. We were prepared to quickly pass the measures that the Prime Minister had announced to date.
What we were not prepared for was the government's attempted undemocratic power grab. The Liberals shamefully tried to use a public health crisis to give themselves the powers to raises taxes, debt and spending without parliamentary oversight. However, after hours of negotiation, the government now has backed down from that position, and Conservatives have secured the following concessions.
We demanded that the government remove the section that would have allowed it to raise taxes without parliamentary approval, and the Liberals have agreed.
We demanded that the government walk back its unlimited spending powers and that special warrants expire on June 23, 2020, instead of September 30, 2020. The Liberals agreed.
We demanded that the government include explicit reference to putting taxpayers' rights first, and the Liberals agreed.
We demanded that the government must put sunset clauses in its legislation, a point that only the Conservative Party raised.
We demanded a sunset clause to ensure that the new powers will not remain in place for several more years.
We demanded that the government be accountable to Parliament through regular reports to the House of Commons health and finance committees, and that the finance committee have the right to recall Parliament if we identify any abuses, and the Liberals agreed.
Our effective opposition has also gotten the government to reverse course on other policies.
Let us remember that it was just a short while ago in this House that Conservatives were calling for stronger action to protect our borders. We were the ones who were asking tough questions as to why flights coming into Canada from hot spots around the world were continuing to be allowed. We proposed the idea of restricting travel much earlier. The government's initial response was that closing borders and restricting travel was not an effective way to fight this virus. It turns out that this was exactly what the Liberals were forced to do, just a short while after making those statements.
We asked about the impact of the border closure on the temporary foreign worker and seasonal agricultural worker programs, and the government made exemptions.
We demanded that the government put an end to illegal border crossings, in particular Roxham Road, and it is only thanks to us that the government has listened.
We have also called on the federal government to increase support for small businesses and workers, and I remain hopeful that the government will implement our suggestions.
Conservatives are focused on putting forward constructive solutions to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. We will also continue to ask questions on behalf of Canadians and ensure that the government's response includes clear timelines so that Canadians know when they can expect to start receiving support.
Many of us are looking at models around the world, and we hope that the government can look to countries that had effective measures at the front end and were then able to relax some of their restrictions on the economy much more quickly. I know one of my hon. colleagues has already raised the examples that we can look to in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, where there were a large number of tests being done, as well as rapid information sharing and rapid tracking of individuals who had tested positive so that they could identify who in the community was exposed. Those are some of the measure that we needed to see implemented much more quickly so we could quickly get to the point where our economy can get back on its feet.
While the government is looking for ways to do exactly that, I again want to urge it to do everything that it can.
I know that the Minister of Finance said earlier that the Bank of Canada is independent of government. While that is true to many degrees, there are ways that the government can take steps to ensure that quantitative easing is not an option that the government is looking at. Every time that has been tried in the past, it has led to many negative consequences for years longer than the economic crisis that justified those moves. We know that there is a huge crunch right now in the credit markets and we know the government will be looking to ways to address that, but simply printing more money is not the way to do it. I hope the Liberals take that into account.
We are here to be co-operative as they look to provide support to individuals and to help people pay their mortgages, pay their rent, pay their utilities and put food on the table.
We will be there to help and to propose solutions to ensure that Canadians can keep their homes. We will work with the measures that provide direct assistance to the Canadians affected by this crisis.
I want to thank all my colleagues for being here throughout the day.
I again remind the government that the assistance part of this legislation could have been passed 12 hours ago, but we will acknowledge the progress that has been made and the spirit of co-operation that I see in the hon. government House leader. I want to thank him for all his efforts throughout the day. It has been a lot of hard work and there have been a lot of moving pieces in a lot of ways. Those of us who have been here since the start of the day are grateful that this assistance will be able to flow into the hands of Canadians.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I just want to clarify something. It is not the fact that the Conservatives had issues with what the government proposed, grabbing for itself unprecedented powers: it is that Canadians had a massive problem with what the government proposed.
While we may be thankful that we have arrived at a place where we can allow this legislation to go through, I would suggest to the hon. member to do everything he can with his colleagues to point out that there was a tremendous amount of goodwill throughout the last few weeks. If the government had proposals and ideas of how it would like to have greater flexibility to address this crisis as it unfolds, to do so through the normal channels of conversation that had already been established would be far preferable to surprising the opposition in the short amount of time that we had before the House was coming back.
I just leave that with the hon. member. I hope he can take that message back to the rest.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong.
His leader left the negotiations. He gave the government free rein. Maybe he decided to go out for a meal instead of representing his caucus and his constituents.
We made a different choice. We decided to stay here to ensure that we have a better bill for Canadians.
There are a lot of differences between—
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree with the objective of what the hon. member is talking about. In the best course of action now, I believe we are talking about an unprecedented involvement in many aspects of the economy that the government has never tried before. Even the most ambitious previous Liberal governments that would have loved more control over the economy did not try it.
In the situation we are facing, there very well may need to be short-term solutions to keep people in their homes. We agree with the objective, and I think now is the time to have our colleagues on the finance committee look at some of the tools that can provide a short-term benefit to allow the government to get in to help people through this crisis and then to get out so that we can return to a normally functioning economy.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to highlight the Kindness Wins initiative in my community of Lloydminster. Beyond Borders Circle of Change awards Kindness Wins grants to schools that pick a project that intentionally embodies that message.
Last week, I had the opportunity to join Madame Michaud's grade 2 class at École St. Thomas, who looked beyond our community to spread kindness. These creative and thoughtful students crafted crosses and cards with messages of gratitude for our Canadian Forces men and women in uniform. These students had previously made Christmas cards for our serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and wanted to demonstrate their continued appreciation.
Our Canadian Armed Forces selflessly safeguard the freedoms and values that we enjoy every day here in Canada. It is truly encouraging to see these young students understand and appreciate their sacrifices. I would like to congratulate École St. Thomas' students for a job well done. I invite all members of this House to help spread their message that kindness wins.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2020-03-12 14:12 [p.2013]
Mr. Speaker, last weekend the University of Saskatchewan's women's basketball team defeated Brock 82-64 to claim the U Sports Women's Basketball Championships. For the Huskies, it was their second bronze baby in the last five years.
Seventeen years ago I was at the news conference when they decided to hire head coach Lisa Thomaidis. The program then was dead last in the country. Now with coach Thomaidis, they have built the number one team in the country. I should add Lisa will be the head coach of the national team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Sunday was a total team effort. Player of the game Summer Masikewich had 20 points, nine rebounds. The championship MVP Sabine Dukate had eight three-pointers and had a total of 24 points. Katriana Philipenko added 11 points. Libby Epoch, along with Carly Ahlstrom, both put up nine.
Congratulations to the Huskie program. It has done us proud.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am sure I speak for all members when I convey our best wishes to the Prime Minister and his wife, and any other parliamentarians who may be affected by symptoms. We wish them a speedy recovery.
The World Health Organization has declared coronavirus to be a pandemic, and while the government says that the risk to Canadians is low, countries around the world are taking decisive action. Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries and it has initiated many measures to lock parts of that country down. However, when the final flight out of Italy landed here, passengers were not screened. No temperatures were taken and no one was quarantined. They were given a pamphlet and sent on their way.
Is the government convinced that a departmental pamphlet is enough to reduce the spread of this disease?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, communities across Canada are already reporting concerns about potential shortages of critical equipment like ventilators. This is a vital piece of medical equipment for managing symptoms of the disease. In countries like Italy, when cases spiked, local resources were overwhelmed and doctors were forced to make heartbreaking decisions. If what happened in Italy happens here, the results could be catastrophic.
Has the government secured a supplier to provide additional ventilators?
View Andrew Scheer Profile
Mr. Speaker, other countries around the world have started to flatten the growth curve of the coronavirus by implementing tangible decisions to stop the transmission. The Liberals decided not to impose mandatory screening at airports. They have decided not to impose mandatory quarantine procedures. They have decided not to implement any restrictions on travellers entering into Canada.
Can the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House: what evidence has the government based these decisions on?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, Teck Frontier's application withdrawal was yet another devastating blow to western Canadians. That decision was a direct result of the Prime Minister's anti-energy death-by-delay tactics.
Canadians know that Liberals killed Teck. Recent revelations that senior cabinet ministers were actively campaigning for its rejection prove that. Among the most vocal was the Minister of Agriculture.
How can the Minister of Agriculture expect to have any credibility with farmers in western Canada when she attacks our region?
View Randy Hoback Profile
View Randy Hoback Profile
2020-03-12 14:52 [p.2020]
Mr. Speaker, on September 11, 2018, a spokesman for the finance minister commented on the government's retaliatory measures against steel and aluminum tariffs, saying that they are, “committed to making sure that every dollar raised [on]...tariffs is given back in the form of support for affected sectors,” but the PBO estimates that the government will actually spend $105 million less than it collected.
Could the Minister of Finance answer this: Where did the money go?
View Warren Steinley Profile
View Warren Steinley Profile
2020-03-12 14:57 [p.2021]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we all learned Liberal logic. The Prime Minister said proudly that Canada is attracting new investments.
Members should follow me, if they can. Warren Buffett invested $200 million in a wind farm, which taken alone is a good thing. However, days earlier, Buffett pulled out $4 billion from an LNG project in Quebec. I am just a farm kid from Saskatchewan, but here is some help for the Prime Minister: 200 is generally bigger than four, but, and here is the kicker, we always need to count the zeroes that follow.
Is this Liberal logic the reason why the budget must balance itself?
View Kevin Waugh Profile
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2020-03-12 16:02 [p.2032]
Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting conversation we are having here today, because this is a provincial issue. Not all provinces and territories agree with this motion. Saskatchewan has a list of drugs that it prioritizes, as compared to Nova Scotia's, New Brunswick's or B.C.'s. We have not even had the courtesy in the House of Commons to bring our health ministers from every province together to have this discussion.
There are jurisdictions in this country that do not want this. I wonder if the hon. member from Manitoba would like to comment on this. We are not even sure if her province is in favour of this.
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