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Results: 16 - 30 of 87
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton Centre.
Canadians can be forgiven for thinking that this government has been developing a way of protecting Canadians from the virus from scratch. We are constantly being told that this is an unprecedented situation, a one-of-a-kind happening and no one could have planned for this. We are being told how hard this government has worked night and day to keep us safe during this never-before-seen viral contagion sweeping the globe.
Our Minister of Health has regularly changed recommendations and restrictions, causing confusion and frustration for Canadians everywhere. She said that it could not be helped, and that we learn something new every day. In actual fact, quoting King Solomon from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
I contest that farmers have been tackling the challenge of deadly viruses in their crops and herds for a millennia. I myself have dealt with viral outbreaks on the farm. As a matter of fact, one of the very first big challenges we faced in business was a viral infection in flowers. As with COVID-19, there was no cure, and we were forced to cull the crop and start over. This early tragedy informed my understanding and, quite frankly, the understanding of industry and government on how to best tackle and control viral outbreaks.
Let me give a concrete example, which has been happening in every province across our great country for years in response to what science has told us about viral outbreaks.
Every greenhouse vegetable grower has protocols in place to ensure that viruses are not transported into their facility. They know the danger they face once a virus gets inside. There are devastating economic consequences, so when one enters the facility, one is first asked to simply sign in, just like we are doing now in restaurants. It is an easy but effective way to quickly track a source of infection when it happens. One is then given a gown to wear over one's clothes so that a pathogen is not brought in that way. At every door, there are foot baths to ensure that a pathogen is not brought in on one's shoes. Hand sanitizer stations are everywhere.
After that, years ago, the federal government mandated floral growers to install complicated tracking and tracing systems for all plant cuttings. These cuttings originate from places around the globe and arrive in Canada on airplanes by the millions daily. The system enables a farmer to pinpoint where in the greenhouse a cutting came from, where it is at any given time during production and even tracks which customer it is eventually sold to.
Every step of the way is tracked so that, should a virus outbreak occur, farmers and government can go back and find the source, and work to isolate and eradicate the problem. These are tried, tested and effective methods that farmers have been using for years to ensure the safety of their own crops and those of neighbouring farmers.
This is the science that our government is well aware of. In fact, it has regulated farmers for many decades to ensure that they maintain a robust monitoring system that protects the crops of Canadian farmers day after day and year after year. However, with this enormous body of scientific knowledge at our fingertips, and systems and processes that have been functioning very well in the agriculture sector for years, we find ourselves watching our economy being burned to the ground because this government chose to politicize the entire pandemic response procedure rather than follow the science.
Where a farmer will lock his doors to uninvited visitors during an outbreak, our health officials said that it would be racist to restrict entry into the country. Where a farmer keeps gallons of hand sanitizer in stock at all times, our national emergency stockpile cupboards were bare. Where a farmer tracks and traces millions upon millions of plants arriving per year, our health officials have no live health data tracking system in place. Where a farmer tests water, tissue and soil samples on the spot, our finance minister declared rapid tests no better than snake oil.
It is clear that the real science was ignored and politics took priority when it came to our COVID response, which has cost regular, hard-working Canadians their jobs, their mental health, their businesses, their retirement savings and their lives.
Here we are today to debate the new measures for more COVID support. These measures were only necessary because this government dawdled on rapid tests and vaccines. Because of its failures, Canadians will be among the last on the globe to be able to return to normal. My question is this: Is it reasonable for us to believe that these new measures will do what they say they will?
We keep hearing that we are all in this together, which is clearly not the case. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of jobs that were not affected, such as those in the public sector, which represents a whopping 35% of Canadians.
Elite politicians are the ones who are least impacted financially, yet they continue to fail those who are most impacted. The bulk of the damage is being shouldered by small business entrepreneurs and those with the least amount of wealth in the community. This bill still does not begin to recognize that fact. These new spending authorities request $700 billion in additional borrowing limits, as well as a $100-billion slush fund. As opposed to helping those most impacted, these dollars appear to be earmarked for special pet projects of the ideologically obsessed Liberal government.
Thousands of women in the travel sales industry have been without an income since March. The highly affected sector support program, which the Liberals announced with great fanfare many months ago, is nowhere to be seen. Single mothers, many primary breadwinners for the family, cannot buy groceries to put on the dinner table. They cannot wait any longer. Where is that support?
I am seeing small business owners in my riding hanging on by a thread. They did not qualify for the first disastrous rent relief program because, let us face it, it was fixed to help a Liberal insider get in on the action.
I am going to hazard a guess that the elite politicians who are crafting these policies have never started a small business. They have never had to borrow from family to make payroll. They have never worked a second job so they could afford the plexiglass dividers they need to be able to open or reopen their restaurant during a pandemic.
The Prime Minister and the finance minister are lessons in Canadian political elitism. They constantly assure us that transparency, and science-based and best-practice approaches are the only way they do business. Do they think we do not see that there has been no budget tabled and that they have cancelled audits for themselves, but are pushing hard for auditing the books of small businesses? What sort of due diligence was done in hiring the governor general? Did no one even make a call to check her references?
In this bill, the Liberals are proposing COVID supports that will give them further opportunity to spend without oversight, because they say that during a pandemic they need to have the ability to act fast and save our citizens. However, there is nothing in this bill to suggest they will do anything differently than they have done up to now.
Canadians are ready to be the solution. Many households have been saving up throughout this pandemic. They are excited to get back to travelling, working and doing business without government handouts.
Canada has been the best place in the world to live. It has always been a land of opportunity like no other. We will need to leverage our assets to the maximum and make sure our economy is firing on all cylinders if we are going to weather this storm. The government should have had all the tools and expertise it needed right from the beginning. What went wrong when, rather than those of flowers or animals, it was human lives at stake? The Liberal government is so ideologically possessed that science and common sense took and continue to take a back seat.
We have been plagued by this pandemic for a year. Clearly, what we are doing is not working. Our economy has ground to a halt and cases continue to rise. The government has failed to provide the provinces with viable alternatives to lockdowns. It has failed to create an effective national tracking and tracing program. It has failed to procure enough rapid tests to allow businesses to open confidently. It has gone all in on playing the waiting game until everyone is vaccinated, and it could not even get that right.
Now the government is using this opportunity to force its ideology down Canada's throat, requesting that Parliament allow it to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to experiment with a reimagined economy. Canadians are tired of this credit card economy. They want a paycheque and the dignity that comes with providing for their own family. Canadians need leadership that is focused on Canadian resources, productivity and ingenuity, not a brave new world.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I think we could have done so much better than we did if we had followed the kind of protocols that farmers follow. Had our emergency stockpile not been empty, we could have ensured that seniors care homes had exactly what they needed. We could have protected them with PPE. We did not have anything in the cupboard.
Honestly, regarding the tracking and tracing system, we are hearing from many different medical professionals that this is so, so late in coming. We do not need it just for a pandemic, we actually also need it for a better health care system.
These are things that, as I say, CFIA is used to doing. I do not know what happened at PHAC, but CFIA is very used to doing all of these things. I would love to see us make sure that protocols that work on the farm are also working for Canadians.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, right now our top priority should be our senior care homes. We need to make sure that we have proper funds going to protect them, to create this iron band around our long-term care facilities. That is for me. That is why I am here. I am very passionate about seniors, and that is what I am going to be focusing on.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I wonder if the member might be able to tell me if the $700-billion credit increase that we are looking for is not actually for a plan to buy Facebook. That is the value of Facebook. I had to laugh when I saw that number. A $700-billion increase to credit is just crazy. I am sorry.
An hon. member: Yes or no. You try answering that.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions to the House today.
Many Canadians were shocked to see that in the middle of a pandemic, while the government takes months to fix bungled support programs and provide our hardest-hit industries with the support they need, their government was more focused on pursuing an ideological agenda than actually helping Canadians.
The first petition I am presenting addresses Bill C-7.
The petitioners recognize that the Canadian government should invest in palliative care and support for people with physical and mental disabilities and should seek to preserve life rather than end it. They also recognize that the current MAID safeguards in place are necessary to protect people with disabilities and those who cannot consent from having their lives prematurely terminated.
The petitioners are asking the House to preserve the necessary safeguards for euthanasia that are in place to ensure that vulnerable Canadians are protected.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting addresses Bill C-6 or what was Bill C-8 before the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament to cover up the WE scandal.
The petitioners recognize that in Bill C-6 conversion therapy is vaguely defined and overreaches established safeguarding principles by criminalizing therapies offered by medical professionals and normal conversations between children and parents, counsellors, caregivers and educators.
The petition, which received 1,293 signatures, calls on the House to address that issue by fixing the definition and asks that the government complete and make public a gender-based analysis of the impact of the legislation that it could have on women, children, professionals and families in health education and caregiver roles.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
I am wondering something. I am noticing that those of us who have put our hands up are not getting noticed. I am hoping that you are also taking questions from Zoom.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to address the House on this very important issue and to continue to act as a voice for those who continue to be ignored.
The government is acting as if rushing the legislation through in order to meet the Truchon deadline is its number one priority. Canadians are suffering because of the pandemic, and while people and businesses continue to fall through the cracks, the government is prioritizing expanding access to euthanasia over providing Canadians with the support they need. Shockingly, it is rushing the bill through before the mandated five-year review of the euthanasia regime in Canada has even taken place. This is reckless and this recklessness will cost people their lives.
The Truchon decision is not a binding legal decision for the House of Commons, but the government is choosing to act as though it is, despite calls from this side of the House to appeal it. When we are dealing with something this serious, with stakes as high as life and death, it is imperative that the process is not rushed by a lower provincial court decision. Our vulnerable citizens deserve better. In all honesty, this deadline is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Amazingly, Bill C-7 would not only expand access to euthanasia to those for whom death is not reasonably foreseeable, but goes beyond Truchon by eliminating necessary safeguards that are in place to protect the vulnerable. By removing the 10-day reflection period, people nearing the end of their lives can receive medical assistance in dying on the very same day they request it. That means, in essence, for many Canadians, their worst day will be their last day.
I would like to point out an important statistic from the “First Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada” presented in 2019. In this report, it states that as of the date of its release, 263 Canadians who had requested MAID ended up withdrawing their requests. Because of the current 10-day waiting period, 263 Canadian lives were saved. It is clear these people felt they wanted to die on the day the request was made, but decided days later that they wanted to keep on living.
Had the 10-day reflection period not been in place, 263 Canadians would have had their lives ended prematurely. Maybe it was a phone call from an old friend, meeting with a family member or good news from their physician that caused them to change their minds. It does not matter. The point is that they did. Why does the government want to rob Canadians of the opportunity to make that decision? It justifies the need for Bill C-7 with the Truchon decision, but where in Truchon does it say that?
Another important safeguard that Bill C-7 seeks to eliminate is the requirement for final consent. This is one that truly frightens me. The reasoning behind the removal of this safeguard is the fact that a person may lose the capacity to consent to euthanasia before it is carried out if a person's illness advances causing significant cognitive decline. Therefore, people can give advance consent to have their lives ended should they lose the capacity to make such a difficult decision.
It fascinates me that we all agree that if a person is unable to provide advance consent to sexual activity, and that person is taken advantage of when not having capacity to say no, a crime has been committed. However, the government believes people can provide advance consent to have their lives ended, even if they lose the capacity to say no when the procedure takes place. The problem with the principle of advance consent is that it is impossible to know what people's desires are if they are unable to communicate them. We cannot know if a person in that state truly wants to die. Maybe the individual has had a change of heart and wishes to keep on living at the time MAID is administered, but just can't say that. That is horrifying.
The risks associated with the removal of the 10-day reflection period and the requirement for final consent are too serious for me to accept. We should remember that the stakes are as high as life and death. The government needs to protect vulnerable Canadians. It needs to ensure safeguards are in place. The removal of these safeguards puts their lives in danger.
I would like to remind the government of the voices it ignored in its rush to meet this unnecessary deadline, the voices of disabled Canadians, their doctors and advocates. I remind members of the words of Krista Carr, the executive director of Inclusion Canada, who said that this bill is disabled Canadians' “worst nightmare”. There are also the words of Catherine Frazee, who said that the bill tells people like her that their lives are not worth living.
How about Dr. Heidi Janz? She told the justice committee that the bill “will result in people with disabilities seeking MAID as an ultimate capitulation to a lifetime of ableist oppression.” Roger Foley bravely told the committee from his hospital bed that, if the bill passes, he will not survive and the Parliament of Canada will have his blood on its hands.
I am here in the House to remind the government of the words they refused to listen to. The stream of euthanasia access for those who are not dying is ableist and dangerous. These are not my words. These are their words.
Doctors who work with disabled Canadians made it very clear at committee that a 90-day waiting period is simply not enough time. They explained that suicidal ideations are very common when someone experiences a catastrophic medical episode, but with good care and support they are almost always overcome.
In my last speech on the bill, I introduced the House to Kristine Crowley's story. Since her spinal cord injury 33 years ago, Kristine has lived the kind of life that most able-bodied people dream of, but it took her years after her injury to feel great again. She worries that people like her will decide to end their lives when they are at their lowest point.
Now I will share the story of David Shannon. David suffered a spinal cord injury in a rugby scrum when he was 18 years old. He shared that after his accident he lay in bed close to death more times than he wishes to contemplate. David has gone on to have a career in non-governmental organization leadership and a law practice focused on human rights and health law.
I will share a comment from David:
I have accomplished a lot in my life. I've crossed our great country by the power of my wheelchair—coast to coast. I've jumped out of an airplane at over 25,000 feet. I've made it to the North Pole and planted an accessible parking sign. I’ve written a book, performed in plays and on TV. I’ve received my law degree and been a Human Rights Commissioner. And I am an Order of Ontario and Order of Canada recipient. I’ve loved and been loved. My proudest accomplishment is that I lived.
Several times during this debate, members on this side of the House have asked how many stories like this will never be told if Bill C-7 passes. I urge my hon. colleagues to truly understand what is being asked here. Much like the removal of safeguards, knowing that lives like those of David Shannon and Kristine Crowley will be cut short if this legislation passes is far too great a risk for me to accept.
Those who support the bill continue to fall back on the idea of autonomy to justify their willingness to ignore these risks, so I will read a comment from David Shannon addressing this:
What offends me most about Bill C-7 is that there is an implicit licence to promote death. And I ask, why is there not the promotion to pursue one’s autonomy? When someone is first injured, they are compromised. They need to know there are supports available, that life can be fantastic, not coerced to leave their life and loved ones behind.
When someone is first injured, they are compromised. When someone is compromised, their autonomy is impaired. It is in this compromised state that the government wishes to offer death to Canadians. I will also remind the House of the government's absolute failure to provide disabled Canadians with the care they need. I remind the House that it often takes much longer than 90 days to even see a specialist. I remind the House what the Minister of Disability Inclusion told the justice committee: It is easier to receive MAID in this country than it is to receive a wheelchair.
Not only are we offering death when a patient's autonomy is most compromised, but we are coercing patients to die by failing to offer them care. I have asked this before, and I must ask it again: Do we really want our legacy as members of Parliament to be the Parliament that offered patients death before we offered them care? That is where we are headed with this legislation.
Once again, on behalf of disabled Canadians, their doctors and their advocates, I am begging members of the House to stop this attack on Canada's disabled community. They have been crystal clear about the ultimate abuse that their community would be subject to if the bill passes. I am begging members to hear their pleas. We know the abuse we can expect in the future, so the government will not be able to say it did not know, just that it did not listen.
We have been warned in no uncertain terms about what will come, but now I would like to speak about the abuse that is already happening.
Gabrielle Peters, a journalist who lives with a spinal cord injury, wrote the following in a recent open letter to Canadian senators. “I know that Bill C7 must be stopped because I know passage of this bill will result in preventable deaths of disabled people. I know this because I know those already happen. I know they already happen because I was almost one of them.”
The government is rushing to eliminate safeguards for euthanasia when the current safeguards are not even being adhered to. According to bioethicist Dr. Jaro Kotalik, it is evident provincial and territorial authorities are not fully engaged in their role of monitoring, enforcing and reporting on the performance of the MAID program, which they are expected to do according to federal laws and regulations.
This is clear from Roger Foley's testimony to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. His caregivers, who he depends on for every comfort and necessity of life, have suggested four times that he opt for MAID. Roger's death is not reasonably foreseeable, so this is completely illegal.
It is incredible that on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, every Liberal MP voted against protections for persons with disabilities being added to Bill C-7. Even the Minister of Disability Inclusion, who expressed in the Senate pre-study that she shares some of the concerns of disabled Canadians, voted against our amendment.
Let me remind the House what the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities said on her visit to Canada: “I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in dying from a disability perspective. I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying.”
The opposition tried to address that concern by moving an amendment in committee requiring that patients have meaningful access to care before MAID can be administered. I remind the House that the Liberal members voted it down.
Let me share another concern raised by the rapporteur. She said, “I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being pressured to seek medical assistance in dying, and practitioners not formally reporting cases involving persons with disabilities.”
Earlier I referenced the 2019 Health Canada report on MAID. While some of the statistics therein were helpful, there were clearly some issues with the report, namely the lack of any mention of abuse. The information collected was self-reported by MAID providers, so uncovering abuses was unlikely. We know there has been abuse; that much is clear. Cases like Roger Foley's, as well as those of many others, make this undeniable.
Archie Rolland, 18 months before his death by MAID, was transferred against his will from a residence that provided highly specialized care to a geriatric long-term care facility that could not meet his needs. He said that it was not the illness that was killing him. He was tired of fighting for compassionate care.
Sean Tagert, a father with ALS, exhausted from battling for the care he needed to live at home, was told he would have to be placed in a long-term care centre hours away from his home community and family. He was unable to live the remainder of his days at home with his young son and felt the only option was MAID.
There are also the stories of Alan Nichols,Yvon Tremblay, Gabriel Bouchard, Tommy Sec, Jonathan Marchand, Raymond Bourbonnais, Candice Lewis and far too many more. Some of these people are still fighting for their lives and some of them already gave in to the pressure to die.
Why are there so many horror stories? Why is there such a lack of compliance? It is simple: There is a lack of oversight. Many doctors and family members of patients have told me their complaints lie dead in the water. There also exists a culture of severe bullying in medicine, so doctors are scared to speak up out of fear of losing their jobs.
A press release from back in March written by the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia said, “The pressure has been intense for many physicians, especially amongst palliative specialists, some leaving even before this latest development. Descriptions were made of toxic practice environments and fear of discipline by medical regulators.”
When I last spoke to the bill, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice asked me if I knew of any cases of pressure the led to prosecution. There are plenty of cases of pressure, just no prosecution. When complaints are made about abuse, there is virtually no avenue for recourse. If someone complains to the police, they are blocked from investigating by doctor-patient confidentiality. When complaints are made to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, they are not followed up on. Many doctors feel cowed into submission before complaints are ever made in the first place.
I attempted to find out from the Legislative Library of British Columbia how many complaints were lodged against doctors with B.C.'s College of Physicians and Surgeons regarding MAID. The response I got is as follows. “The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. cannot disclose the existence of a patient complaint against a physician, unless the complaint leads to formal discipline. Therefore, the exact number of complaints to the college, whether related to MAID or not, is not possible to ascertain using public sources.”
The response went on to offer me a media scan of newspaper stories related to MAID complaints in the hopes this would be helpful. Imagine that: The only place where any information is publicly available on MAID complaints is in the media. Shame on us. Imagine the cases of elder abuse that are happening under this easy-to-cheat scheme. We have millions of elderly Canadians with no protection from this regime because there is absolutely no way of monitoring it.
Imagine the cases like that of my constituents, who attended a town hall I held when the MAID survey was open for submissions. Together with almost 100 people, we went through each question attempting to understand and respond in a thoughtful way. The more questions we answered, the more we all realized the issue was far too complicated and nuanced for a survey to be of any good.
Then a young father stood up and told his own story of being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. In the town hall, he explained how he had become depressed following his diagnosis and sought counselling to help him cope with his new reality. Instead, his counsellor offered him MAID. He was shocked that in his darkest hour a professional counsellor would suggest the very thing that was extremely tempting for him, but not in alignment with his ultimate goal to live his best life to its natural conclusion.
The medical professional on our panel was shocked. This was completely illegal under current law and should have been reported, to which the young man said this: How does one even report it? Imagine that: This man, whose life was put in jeopardy, was completely unaware of even how to report the incident. The doctor said he could go online and write a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and told him to do it right away. The young man replied that he did not have the energy. He was going through chemotherapy and was absolutely exhausted. He could not wrap his mind around anything extra at that time.
How many people are out there right now who either do not know who to file a complaint with or just do not have the energy or strength in them to fight? They are already fighting a battle with death and now we want them to go online and file a complaint they may not live to see to its conclusion.
Let me close with a comment from a constitutional lawyer, Derek Ross. He said:
In the face of ongoing evidence that the current procedural safeguards are not being followed, it is alarming that the government is seeking to remove many of those safeguards, rather than strengthen and uphold them. Who is investigating these findings of non-compliance? And who is collecting and consolidating this data? The Carter decision was premised on the assumption that procedural safeguards would be “scrupulously monitored and enforced”. The federal government bears responsibility for reviewing reported cases of non-compliance and ensuring that data regarding non-compliance is gathered and used to inform future policy decisions.
There are horrible abuses of the current MAID regime taking place, which anyone who is engaged with it will know. The bill is a nightmare to disabled Canadians and to physicians across Canada. The risks associated with it are too serious to accept, and the stakes are as high as life and death. We cannot get this wrong.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I support two very important principles. The first is that choices are patient-initiated, which is very important. The second is meaningful access to care before MAID is carried out.
If we cannot even manage to offer palliative care or psychiatric care, how can we honestly do what we are doing? The palliative care bill that we passed a number of years ago says that MAID cannot be considered voluntary if there is no meaningful access to care. I am begging members to consider that this is a bad bill. We need to focus on offering good medical care.
I will give the member a few statistics that come from the Canadian Association for Long Term Care. The 2017 federal budget included a historic $6 billion over 10 years for home and community care, but long-term care was not included in this investment. The national housing strategy does not include long-term care. The home support work pilot for foreign caregivers does not include employment in long-term care. The 2019 federal budget did not include investments in long-term care. The federal government flowed $343.2 billion in COVID-19-related spending in the first quarter of this year, and not one dollar was committed to supporting long-term care.
How are we going to support our seniors, our vulnerable, if we do not invest in long-term care?
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, I have been an advocate on this issue for many years now, and worked with Mark Warawa, an amazing member of Parliament who is no longer with us. I have had many people come to me with their concerns about issues of non-compliance. Perhaps other members have not been paying attention, but had they, and had they been advocating on behalf of the disabled and the elderly, they would know that this was happening. There is absolutely zero way of monitoring it.
Before anything, we absolutely need to ensure that vulnerable Canadians are protected. We are focusing on Bill C-7 rather than on ensuring that there is some sort of protocol in place, as the UN Rapporteur talked about, where we can monitor what is going on rather than just on MAID providers. We are opening it up more and more, and we have no way of knowing how much abuse is happening.
Again, I am speaking on behalf of those who are not able to speak for themselves and I am saying it is happening. We need to watch out. We need to take care not to push these myths forward.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, what we are hearing is that those who are vulnerable are not able to access meaningful care. Without access to meaningful care, many of them have no choices. They are in our hands and we are not offering them care. We are offering them euthanasia.
I would like to point out what happened with MP Mark Warawa. He was diagnosed with cancer and it took him nine days to see a palliative care specialist. There were only two of them in the hospital there. The fact that it took him nine days to be able to see a palliative care specialist shines a light on the fact that our system needs more support. We need to ensure that these sorts of care are in place for those who are in need of them. To ignore them like this, and to rush this legislation in the way that we have been doing, is absolutely shocking. To see the vulnerable advocates who came forward at the justice committee, and who were ignored, is quite shocking. I would love to see the government stop and actually listen to those who are begging it to ensure there is care, and not a rush to death.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, it is important to understand that we looked very closely at what our amendments were to ensure that they would be allowed. Unfortunately, the Liberals voted all of our amendments down.
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Madam Speaker, Roger Foley lives with a neurological disorder requiring him to live in hospital entirely dependent on caregivers.
Four times the caregivers he depends on for everything suggested he consider MAID, telling him that his care is too expensive. Roger told the justice committee, “My blood will be on your hands if you allow the...Truchon decision to tear down our laws...and there will be thousands of wrongful deaths.”
Why did the Liberals vote against our amendments to protect Canadians with disabilities?
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, Cloverdale—Langley City is becoming a ghost town. After a recent strengthening of restrictions announced for the Fraser Valley region, most people retreated back into isolation: no visiting, no travel, no gym, no church. We were urged not to venture out at all for anything, so this week we saw a huge run on live Christmas trees and toilet paper while people prepared to be locked in their homes for Christmas.
We sit and watch the daily COVID updates with health officials showing us charts and graphs that demonstrate the science that drives this bus, and then they ban parking lot church services conducted via FM radio, lock seniors in their rooms without the loving touch of their families and encourage us to download COVID apps that do not even function in many of the provinces across the country. Is it any wonder that people are becoming cynical and starting to lose hope?
This government has stumbled from the very beginning of this tragic moment in our history. It sent mixed messages about lethality and transmissibility from day one: Masks do not work; masks do work. Asymptomatic people do not transmit it; asymptomatic people do transmit it. Rapid tests are snake oil; rapid tests are on the way. One can collect rent relief if one's landlord is willing to apply, but the majority were unwilling. One could collect CERB if one is self-employed, but now one has to pay it all back because of a three-letter word the government neglected to mention, so sell the truck and tools, Mr. Small Businessman, as there is until December 31 to pay it back.
People are not only losing hope. They are losing their homes. They are losing their livelihoods and their lives because of consistent bungling of programs like testing and tracking, vaccine procurement, financial support programs and the list goes on. Canadians are tired of hearing the meaningless platitudes coming from the tent of commons, given in the Prime Minister's best late-night DJ voice. It is clear that we are not all in this together.
For example, on a recent Zoom meeting with independent travel agents, it was obvious that the tourism and travel sector are barely holding on by a thread. This recession, or should I say she-cession, is tearing the supports out from under many women who have built their own small businesses over the years, providing top-notch travel advice and service. It all began for them when airlines began cancelling flights due to COVID-19. People were fighting hard to get home from abroad and leaned on the army of ladies who booked their original tickets. Thousands of hours were spent, unpaid, trying to help clients find their way home.
Then, the next wave hit. Again, without receiving a dime in compensation, these same ladies worked tirelessly to help clients find ways to alter or cancel their 2020 bookings, which were no longer valid due to travel restrictions. As large airlines began to refuse cash refunds and travel insurance companies did the same, these women, many of whom are the single breadwinner in the family, in an attempt to do their best on their clients' behalf, gave up thousands of dollars of commission in order to secure a refund for their frustrated customers.
Keep in mind that the commissions being clawed back are based on a service, booking flights and hotels, which they had provided but which the airline and tour operators were unable to fulfill. Imagine the incredible stress they are enduring right now with the threat of chargebacks by credit card companies as angry customers demand refunds for tours they cannot take. These chargebacks are going straight against the small business owner and can range in the thousands of dollars, thousands of dollars that these women cannot afford.
We are clearly not all in this together. The travel and tourism sectors have been begging for targeted assistance from the beginning, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears. Now as we approach Christmas, these wives and mothers want to know if they are going to be able to afford Christmas at all this year. They need to know who the newly announced highly affected sectors credit availability program will be helping. Is it only for the big players or is there relief in sight for them? What criteria will be in place? When can they apply?
They need details now, not later. We have seen this sort of pandemic program rollout time and time again: There are big announcements and then months of waiting, while women wait and hope against hope that there is help on the horizon.
Small business owners are drowning in despair right now. They are having a hard time keeping their doors open under the weight of the restrictions that keep changing without warning. Forty per cent of of small businesses fear they will not survive. They pivot and they pivot again. They cut costs where they can. They call sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews to help with the work, while they struggle to find employees willing to come back. CERB payments encourage people to stay home rather than exceed their allotted hours. This caused a lack of labour availability for restaurants and the service industry across Canada.
Pandemic relief measures were supposed to help businesses get through the pandemic, but the fact is that the government gave households nearly $7 for each $1 of lost private sector income. Rather than investing in job creation, these programs are enabling one-time consumption of offshore goods, and now the government is set to add insult to injury to small businesses by adding payroll tax increases in January to their already overburdened shoulders. However, there is more. Over behind door number three, we find yet another lovely addition to the tax portfolio by way of a carbon tax increase.
If, as we hear endlessly from the Liberals, we are all in this together, why are small businesses bearing so much more of the burden than bureaucrats, politicians and wealthy elite? Are we truly prepared to crush the backbone of our economy: the corner store, the coffee shop, the nail salon and every small endeavour in between? It is times like these that remind me of a quote from Ronald Reagan about how the government views the economy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Jack Mintz recently urged the government to spur on private sector growth, without which we will not be able to recover from pandemic-related economic decline. As he said in his Financial Post article:
One thing this pandemic has taught is that it’s the private sector that delivers tests, vaccines, telecommunications and groceries to Canadians. Canada’s lost output from 2020 to 2025 will total $730 billion. That won’t be made up without a resilient private sector. Public spending is not a magic wand. It can even be a malevolent wand: high deficits and looming tax hikes can rattle investor confidence, leading to capital flight.
The finance minister indicated that she wants to pour up to $100 billion into building back better, using task forces and government departments that will be deployed on every ideological platform she can think of. It is all about the reset that the Prime Minister boasted about back in September to the UN.
Canadians do not want a reimagined economy. They want help to fight COVID. They want rapid tests and vaccines. They want science-based solutions that do not change with the direction of the wind. They need clarity so they can make their own plans to survive this crisis. We must let them get back to what they are good at. They know how to keep their customers safe. That is what they do every day they open their doors.
Rex Murphy recently highlighted the snobbery that is implicit in the statement “we are all in this together”. He said:
Everyone bears the health risk of the current moment. Not everyone faces losing their employment or their business. The latter deserve better thoughts, maybe more understanding, than have been shown by the better off and more comfortably situated.
I am here to speak on behalf of truckers, plumbers, carpenters, taxi drivers, furniture movers, waiters, bus boys and janitors. They are bearing the weight of this pandemic far more than those of us in the House, who are deciding their futures. They need a plan that is concrete and fixed.
They are not looking for a brave new world. They are looking to have a Christmas dinner with their family and friends without fear of being fined. They are looking for a way to attend Christmas mass or Handel's Messiah in peace. The Liberals offer a robust portfolio of vaccines that will not arrive in our local pharmacies until next September. Does the government honestly think Canadians can wait that long?
View Tamara Jansen Profile
Mr. Speaker, I most certainly do believe in science, as do most Canadians. We want to make sure that we are changing based on science, not based on ideology.
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