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Results: 1 - 15 of 17
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 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 Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, Canada's farmers have been hit with blow after blow by the Liberal government.
Last fall's early snowfall left so many crops buried under the snow. Rail strikes and illegal blockades are preventing crops that are in the bins from even getting to the market. The Liberal carbon tax and crumbling trade relationships only compound this crisis.
Advance payments program loans are coming due, but with so many hardships beyond their control, farmers are strapped for cash. Our farmers are in desperate need for more than just empty platitudes.
When will the Prime Minister commit to extending the advance payments program deadline and waiving the interest on its loans?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, as we know, Canada's farmers are leaders in agriculture. They are innovative, good stewards of the land and they feed Canada and the world.
The success of our farmers is vital to all Canadians, but the reality is that they are struggling right now. In large part, that is because the Liberal government is failing them. The illegal blockades across this country are holding our Canadian economy hostage and this includes our farmers. Our farmers are not able to get their products to market because of the ongoing, illegal blockades.
The Prime Minister's leadership is failing them in this crisis. For weeks, the Prime Minister has sat on his hands, emboldening activists and still today, there is no plan to end these blockades.
Just the other day I spoke to Brandon, a constituent in my riding who is in dire straits. The local grain elevator is so backlogged that he cannot make arrangements to get his grain to market in March. His farm operations depend on the income of that sale. His ability to keep the heat on in his house and feed his family also depends on the income of that sale. The banks are not offering any relief. Where does he turn? Unfortunately, Brandon's story is not unique.
The bills are mounting for our farmers, and every day that they cannot get their product to market puts them further and further behind. This economic crisis created by these illegal blockades is just the latest. Our farmers are constantly finding themselves at the losing end of the government's failures. Trade relations and opportunities have deteriorated and the Liberal carbon tax is bankrupting our farmers. Eliminating the Liberal carbon tax is a real, tangible action they could take today to deliver relief to our farmers.
In question period, I asked the Prime Minister to fully exempt our farmers from the carbon tax. I also asked him if he would finally acknowledge that his carbon tax unfairly punishes our rural communities and our farmers. The Prime Minister's response was that Canadians were better off with his carbon tax and that he was putting more money in their pockets. That is completely ludicrous. If $100 is taken out of someone's pocket and $1 is put back in, they are not better off.
No one is naive enough to believe that. It shows that the Prime Minister is either not listening, he does not understand the realities of rural Saskatchewan or that he does not care. Maybe it is all of the above. Regardless, my constituents of Battlefords—Lloydminster are owed better.
The Liberal carbon tax does not acknowledge the reality of living in rural Saskatchewan, it does not acknowledge the contributions of our farmers to environmental sustainability and certainly the Liberal household carbon rebates given to farm families do not even come close to offsetting the taxes paid by their farm businesses.
Farmers in Saskatchewan are paying the carbon tax on everything from drying grain to hauling crops to machinery to rail transportation and so many other major farm expenses. Unlike other industries, farmers and producers cannot pass along the added expense. It is a direct hit to their bottom line.
This year, they are losing 8% of their total net income and in less than two years, that number will be 12% of their net income. Those numbers are astronomical and will drive our family farm businesses into the ground. Blow after blow, our farmers are taking hits and they are desperate. I sure hope we will hear a different answer.
How does the Liberal government expect farmers to put food on their own tables, let alone the tables of Canadians?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, I heard a lot of things there. I do not know how the government is respecting provincial jurisdiction.
We look at Alberta and Saskatchewan and what farmers are already doing. Obviously, they are innovative. It is good for their bottom line. They want to be good for the environment. They are already good stewards of the land, so just to hear the same platitudes over and over again, farmers know that they are doing what they can do. They want to be innovative, but when the Liberal government keeps putting its hands in farmers' pockets, they are not going to have any capital left over to be innovative and to afford those things to reduce their carbon footprint.
I heard the member mention exploring the idea of an exemption of the carbon tax on propane for drying grain. I am wondering if this is a commitment that the government is willing to make, to make that exemption for propane fuel that is used for farm purposes such as drying grain.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has stood in this place on occasion after occasion and stated that Canadians would be better off under his Liberal carbon tax. Well, the reality of the Liberal carbon tax is setting in and the Prime Minister would be hard pressed to find someone in my riding who is better off.
Simply put, this assertion fails to acknowledge the basic realities of living in rural Saskatchewan and my constituents deserve better from the government. The cost of everything is going up and they are feeling the squeeze, none more so than our farmers and our agricultural producers. From grain drying to hauling crops, rail transportation and other major farm expenses, their bottom lines and their ability to compete are taking a direct hit.
It is time that the Prime Minister abandons his carbon tax scheme that unfairly punishes rural Canadians and agricultural producers, and deliver a real plan for the environment.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.
I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion. The employment insurance program is an important part of Canada's social security net. With every paycheque, Canadian workers have spent years paying into the employment insurance program. Whether it is due to job loss, parental leave or sickness, Canadians who have contributed to this program should have confidence that the program benefits are available to them when they need them.
As legislators we owe it to Canadians to ensure that the EI program is not only fair, flexible and supportive, but that it is also a viable program in the long term. The motion before us today calls special attention to the employment insurance sickness benefits. The current structure of this program provides up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits to eligible employees who are unable to work for medical reasons.
I have no doubt in my mind that every member in this chamber understands the value of this benefit. We have all dealt with it personally, or experienced it through a loved one, or at least known someone who was unable to work because of a serious illness or a medical condition.
We can surely find agreement that when someone is faced with serious illness, the person's focus and energy is better spent on recovery and not worrying about making ends meet. As we have heard in this place, the current 15-week benefit threshold was established in 1971 and almost 50 years later there is certainly merit in reviewing the program.
In the previous Parliament and now again in this Parliament, I have had the privilege of being a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, better known as the HUMA committee. This committee has the latitude to review the EI sickness benefits program.
In the previous Parliament, in its “Supporting Families After the Loss of a Child” report, the HUMA committee recommended that the government gather data specific to employment insurance sickness benefits used to support bereavement and high-risk pregnancy.
Also, in its “Taking Action: Improving the Lives of Canadians Living with Episodic Disabilities” report, the HUMA committee made specific recommendations to improve the EI program's ability to meet the needs of Canadians living with episodic disabilities and their families. Allowing workers to claim benefits in smaller units, such as hours or days, instead of weeks was just one option that was put forward in this report.
This recommendation shows that there is room to modernize and improve the flexibility of the EI sickness benefit to better support Canadians living with an episodic disability. These two studies, as well as other work done by the HUMA committee, demonstrated the merit of a full review of the EI sickness benefit program.
In fact, in the previous Parliament, on multiple occasions, one of my NDP colleagues moved a motion to that effect. That motion specifically called on the HUMA committee to review the employment insurance sickness benefits as it relates to current program outcomes, the impacts of the current structure and its accessibility. The motion had my support and that of my Conservative colleagues, but it was very unfortunate that on every single occasion the motion was moved, the Liberal members of the committee who had the majority shut down the debate.
Understanding the success and the failures of any program is vital in shaping a better program. We do not have a comprehensive study to lean on today in considering this motion, but maybe we would have if in the previous Parliament my NDP colleague's motion had not been shut down time and time again.
That is why I would strongly support the HUMA committee undertaking a comprehensive review of this program. Equipped with a full review of the EI sickness benefit program, we could help ensure that we make the necessary changes to the program so that the program delivered is in the interests of all Canadians.
Today's motion suggests that a new maximum sickness benefit be set to 50 weeks in the upcoming budget, but there are many considerations to be made in changing this program that are not addressed in this motion. I would note the other proposals that have been made to modernize this program from previous committee reports. It is important that we consider the increased cost to employer and employee premiums.
Despite the sunny portrait that is often painted by the current Liberal government, constituents in my riding are faced with a hard reality. We do not even have to look past the two main economic drivers in my region to understand that reality. Our energy sector is being crushed by the Liberal government, and our farmers and agricultural producers are constantly finding themselves on the losing end of the government's failed policies and failed leadership. Layoffs and unemployment are a real possibility for many of my constituents.
It would be wholly irresponsible to not fully evaluate and understand the impact of increased premiums. We also have to consider that not all Canadians are eligible for EI program benefits. In fact, one-fifth of working Canadians do not qualify for the EI program. They would not benefit from this motion that is proposed today.
This, in turn, raises the question of whether the EI program is the best support system to help Canadians dealing with serious illness. Again, as a member of the HUMA committee, I do hope that we can have the opportunity to review this program, an opportunity to hear from the experts and those who are or who work with those directly affected by this program, so that we can ensure that the EI program continues to be there when Canadians need it, that we are not undermining the fiscal viability of that program, that changes to the program do not have other unintended economic impacts, and, of course, that in reforming the program, we are making the program more fair, flexible and supportive.
I appreciate that today's motion highlights these important issues. It gives us an opportunity to evaluate the EI program in the House, but I do hope we have the opportunity for a more thorough evaluation of it, so that any modernizations to the program are quality modernizations and that we ensure that the EI program works effectively for Canada and all Canadians.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, before I answer that, we need to back up to the last Parliament. I mentioned two studies. I came to this place only in 2017, in a by-election. I am not even referencing the work that was done before that.
The committee members on HUMA have done a lot of work. They heard from witnesses that there needed to be further studies with recommendations. The “Taking Action: Improving the Lives of Canadians Living with Episodic Disabilities” report suggested claim benefits of smaller units, hours or days instead of just weeks.
Before I can even make a comment on what is being proposed by the government today, we need to back up and do a thorough study on this before we make suggestions.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my remarks, we want to make sure that these changes, if there are changes to the program, do not have unintended economic impacts.
I think that we should have this sent to the HUMA committee to study it and hear from real people who are dealing with this on the ground. The House could then make recommendations or change what needs to be changed.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, we want to make sure that there are no unintended economic impacts by drastically tripling it, going from 15 weeks to 50 weeks, or the 20-some weeks that the government is suggesting.
I think that the committee should be able to look at this. We should be hear from people on the ground and take into account what they have to say.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, in 2019 Canadian farmers faced another difficult harvest made worse by the Liberal government adding an additional tax burden. From grain drying to rail transportation, heating and electricity, farmers are being gouged by the Liberal carbon tax. Saskatchewan farmers are expecting to lose 8% of their total net income to the carbon tax this year and that number is set to rise.
Will the Prime Minister please finally acknowledge that his carbon tax is unfairly punishing agriculture producers and finally fully exempt farmers from the carbon tax?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, sitting in this place listening to debate today, I think the biggest travesty of all is that two lives have been lost. It is unfortunate and devastating that a second person had to lose her life for this issue to be looked at.
I know, and I have heard and agree, that the process needs to be changed. Something needs to be changed. It is a great idea for the committee to study this and look at it to see, somewhat from an external point of view, what could be changed.
I have heard that the Parole Board should have an external review. I understand it is having an internal review, but I do not really understand how it can investigate itself without bias and make appropriate, real, hard, tangible suggestions for change.
Could the member comment on an external review of the Parole Board, but also on what type of processes could be suggested so that this does not happen again?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, that was very thoughtful and I enjoyed quite a bit of what was said.
The question I have is this. Do we value women? I have heard over and over in the House, regarding this specific case, that sexual needs were put over the value of women. Why is this happening in society? Why was it suggested, for somebody who has a history of violence against women, that he should go to a sex worker and have his needs met? It is just absolutely appalling to me that this would be a suggestion.
The member acknowledged that sometimes rehabilitation failed. Why was this not caught by the Parole Board? Why was there a suggestion to put the accused in a situation which could tempt him for violence against women? Besides training, as the member had mentioned on gender-based violence, what else could be done to fix the process or have women be valued in society?
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for New Brunswick Southwest.
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on putting your name forward, going through the process and on your recent appointment. I also want to thank the voters of Battlefords—Lloydminster. They have given me a strong mandate. They sent me back to Ottawa to represent them to be their voice, the voice of rural communities, the voice of the taxpayers and families.
I know every single one of us in this place would not be here without our supporters, without our volunteers. I want to thank them because they are a very important part of helping us get here.
I am not too sure how many of my colleagues know, but over the summer, my husband and I welcomed a brand new baby girl. It is very important for me to express my thanks to my husband Adam and my children Annabelle and William on the birth of Victoria. Their love and their patience go a long way, especially in the middle of a campaign. We all know how sometimes we are not even home for dinner or sometimes to sleep, especially in a rural riding like mine. It is so big and I have to travel from community to community in order to reach constituents. I also want to honour my family members for their support in my desire and ability to serve in this place and be a voice in the nation. I am so appreciative of that.
On the note of door knocking, I spent a lot of time in the riding over the summer, sometimes with the baby in tow. Two weeks after I had her, I was out at events with baby in tow. The things that I heard at the door were sometimes quite sad. In conversations with people, I would ask how they were doing and they would say, “Well, I haven't been laid off yet. I still have a job. I was laid off six months ago and I found another job but I haven't been laid off from it yet.” That is the anxiety and anguish that is being felt in my riding in Saskatchewan. It is the same thing in Alberta. People genuinely are scared about whether they are going to wake up and go to work and still have a job.
I live in a very unique city. I have mentioned before in this place that my city actually borders Alberta and Saskatchewan. Half of the residents live in Saskatchewan and half of them live in Alberta. It makes it quite a mess because we are one municipality. It gets very difficult when we have different provincial regulations covering one place.
There is a company that employs hundreds if not thousands of people within my riding. The day after the election, October 22, the company laid off 60-some people in my community. That is not including the hundreds of layoffs that happened in Calgary with the same company.
I want to put that into perspective. I do not know if I fully understand going into work one day, thinking it is going to be a normal day and then being told to go home. What kind of conversation would I have with my husband? “Look honey, I was laid off today. I am not sure what we are going to do. I think Christmas is going to look different. I am not sure if we can afford to have the kids in hockey or in dance anymore. Things need to be different.” That is the reality where I live. People, with the struggles that they are dealing with day to day, feel ignored and just wonder if they are going to be able to get by.
The Prime Minister made a point of meeting with the premiers of the provinces. He also met with some of the mayors. The mayor of my community was very proactive. He reached out to my office and asked if we had a number for the Prime Minister because he wanted to talk to him. I found the number for the PMO, gave it to the mayor and he made a call. To his surprise, the Prime Minister called him back.
I am glad that the Prime Minister took the time to call him back. The mayor stressed that it is important for smaller cities to have a voice as well, not just big city mayors, and important that he hear what is impacting them, especially being in a western province like Saskatchewan. The mayor expressed to the Prime Minister the struggles of the people in my community and my region in not being able to get their agriculture products to market, for example, their canola, and not being able to get their energy products to market. The Prime Minister said that he understood.
What was troubling for me is, was that hope? Was it false hope? Was it a facade? Was it real? Was that conversation real and genuine? People today want authenticity. They want to be listened to. They want to be heard, actually heard.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that the government needs to listen harder and that it has been sent a message from Alberta and Saskatchewan that it needs to listen harder. I had a little bit of hope. I thought that this was great and wonderful, and that the government knows something is not right and is going to take the time to listen better and maybe turn some of that listening and consulting into action.
Then came the throne speech, and unless I missed it, I did not hear mention of the Trans Mountain pipeline. I know one thing that would definitely help the constituents in Battlefords—Lloydminster is being able to get gas to market. We heard a lot about the no-more-pipelines bill, Bill C-69, and also Bill C-48. Are those bills maybe some of the reasons some people are being laid off, because the atmosphere and environment for energy investment just are not there and it is too restrictive? I did not hear anything in the throne speech on how we are going to help get our oil to market, and maybe lessening the restrictions that have been created in the environment that we have.
Also, what is the government's goal right now to help farmers get their products to market? In my riding, there is a lot of farming, whether it is grain or cattle. Farming is one of those things that is year-round as there is always work to be done, but in the off-season, a lot of those farmers are hauling oil and water. They are trucking. They are doing things to pay the bills while they are not able to actively farm. It was really disappointing to hear that the government understood about not being able to get the beef and the canola to market and then hearing that the agriculture minister missed the deadline to file.
It saddens me because I thought the government was listening harder. I thought, in good faith, that because of those conversations and phone calls the Prime Minister was having with premiers and mayors across the country that something would come out of it. I am so sorry to say that my disappointment with this throne speech is just overwhelming in that real actions were not taken to help reduce and alleviate the western alienation that is happening.
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Madam Speaker, if the government really cared about the middle class, we would not have an enforced carbon tax in my home province of Saskatchewan. I believe the Prime Minister and the government should respect the plans that Premier Kenney in Alberta and Premier Moe in Saskatchewan already have for the environment. The government should allow them to have their own in-province plans. It should allow Canadians to keep in their own pockets the money from the carbon tax that is going to the government, because families know best how to spend that money, which they earned, on their needs and priorities.
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