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Results: 1 - 15 of 53
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, the Bluenose province, like my home in neighbouring New Brunswick, is a place where small rural communities share a special bond. Our communities are an extension of our families, and when tragedy strikes one community it is felt by us all.
I do not have the words to properly express how the shooting rampage in Portapique and its surroundings has shaken our nation, as has the death of Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year RCMP veteran and mother of two.
It is with deep gratitude that I pay tribute to those who answered the call to protect our communities.
As to the families and colleagues who lost loved ones, we share their anguish. We will work together to get through this. They are not alone. Our nation, our country stands with them.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, as Canada moves from self-isolation and closures to a gradual reopening of communities and businesses, a high level of testing for COVID-19 will be needed, especially in areas that experience a second wave. Yet concerns are increasing that the federal government has not adequately ramped up the availability of tests, as was successfully done in Taiwan and South Korea.
What is the government's plan to initiate large-scale testing to coincide with a lifting of self-isolation, and how many test kits are needed to begin?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Chair, on April 11, I asked the government in the chamber when a plan would be forthcoming for Canada's decimated international seafood market. The deputy prime minister responded that the minister was working on such a plan.
The minister of fisheries issued a statement on April 17, six days later, saying that she was still working on it and proceeded to go through some of the benefits under the emergency response plan that provide help to out-of-work Canadians. The minister has not yet surfaced. We have not heard details of that plan.
When is that plan forthcoming?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Chair, I will come back to the fisheries. How does that sound? We will give the minister another couple of days.
On the emergency response benefit, we have had some direction. It now applies to individuals who earn $1,000 more a month, but what about incorporated businesses? I am thinking now of a fishing boat, for example, or a small farm where these incorporated businesses are bringing in revenue, but they are losing money. Their expenses are higher than their revenues and the individuals who work for these incorporated businesses, the owners, are not taking an income. The income is zero but they have revenue coming in.
Would these businesses qualify for the CERB benefit?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Chair, I want to be very clear on this because we are getting calls from not only these businesses but also accountants who are unclear how to proceed.
I think I heard the minister say that if they have no income, zero income with a revenue stream, but they are underwater and operating in the red, that they would qualify for the CERB. They would be able to qualify for this while they are working, bringing in revenue, but their expenses are higher.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Chair, are there other parameters on these incorporated businesses? Do they, for example, have to show a loss for the year?
I ask this because a business could be in a short-term situation where there is no income coming in. Is there a requirement that an incorporated business would have to show a loss for the year?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, when we last met here on March 24, the employment minister left the House with the distinct impression and belief that workers who are currently on unemployment insurance, whose claims will soon expire, would qualify for the emergency benefit program, yet over the last two weeks the Q and A on regulations that is sent to members of Parliament changed. I know that members of Parliament across this country have been telling workers that they would qualify. It now appears they do not.
Do these workers qualify for the emergency benefit program when their claims expire in the coming weeks?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, will that change require a legislative change, or a regulatory change that the minister is able to make from her desk or with cabinet?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, this question is for the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. Small businesses with payrolls of $50,000 or more have access to zero- or low-interest loans, but for small businesses below that threshold or sole proprietorships, these businesses are wondering if low-interest or zero-interest loans may be made available to them as well.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, we do look forward to hearing more about that.
Turning to the emergency relief benefit program, the challenge, of course, is around precarious workers. The government policy today is one of lights on, lights off. Small businesses that have seen a collapse in income yet are still struggling to keep their business lights on have a choice to make: keep going with no income, no revenue and no help from the emergency relief benefit, or turn the lights off and receive help. This is not the way we are going to recover. This needs to be changed.
Will the minister commit today to changing it?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, I ask that the minister lower his sights. I am talking about what I will call the “micro” small businesses, the coffee shops that have laid off the employees but are serving meals to try to keep some income coming in. I am talking about the businesses that do not have employees anymore because they have no revenue but still have a choice to make as to whether to keep operating as a sole proprietorship, effectively. A team of one, or perhaps a couple, does not qualify for any of these programs but it has a choice to make: lights on or lights off.
How are they going to keep those lights on in these businesses?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, the problem is that Service Canada is not there for us. It is not there for Canadians if they do not have high-speed Internet and if they cannot get through on a phone line, which most Canadians cannot.
With millions of Canadians out of work, why did the government think it was acceptable to close down Service Canada offices while grocery stores across the country have refitted themselves to serve Canadians? Why could those measures not have been taken in Service Canada offices so they could continue to serve the public?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, this question is for the Minister of Finance.
Regarding what we are debating and will debate for the rest of the afternoon, can a company that qualifies for the wage subsidy just pay that 75% subsidy? In other words, can an employer cut an employee's salary by 25% and just pay what the federal government is offering or is there a requirement to pay 100%, so employers do pay 25% and the feds pay 75%?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chair, I appreciate the clarity.
Canada's international seafood trade markets have been decimated. Throughout Atlantic Canada, there are numerous small and medium-sized lobster buyers who have faced serious and significant financial losses. They purchased lobster in the fall for $10 a pound and they have been unloading it for $2 to $4. They are taking huge losses. This is not stock they can keep in tanks. It has to be sold.
What kind of help will the government be able to provide these lobster buyers throughout Atlantic Canada? My question is for the Minister of Finance.
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