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Results: 1 - 15 of 406
View Michel Boudrias Profile
BQ (QC)
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2020-01-27 11:17 [p.429]
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her speech. She made a lot of sense about a lot of things, including her local- and provincial-level concerns about infrastructure, social issues and youth. Those values are shared by most Canadians and most of the MPs here. However, most of these issues are not just regional but, about 90% of the time, local, and they fall under provincial jurisdiction, especially when it comes to infrastructure and health.
With the federal government allocating some two-thirds of its budget to transfers, would my colleague agree that more money should be transferred to the provinces to fund those programs?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-01-27 11:31 [p.431]
Madam Speaker, my colleague said that the middle class was a priority for the government. Back in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, the middle class depends on the aluminum industry, supply management and forestry, three sectors that have taken a hit in every single trade agreement signed by previous governments.
I have a simple question for my colleague: Will he support our party's initiative to revise the status of aluminum in the agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-01-27 11:33 [p.431]
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for some of the details of that agreement because, on this side of the House, we are struggling to find out what those details are. Maybe he can speak of the benefits to the aluminum, forestry and automotive sectors and at least give us some information on it.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-01-27 11:35 [p.431]
Madam Speaker, the idea of national pharmacare goes back to the origins of our medicare system in the 1960s. For the member to suggest this has only been four years in the making in the House of Commons also proves a point. I would like to ask the member whether he felt that the members of the Liberal Party who have been proposing this since 1997 were actually making it up and not doing the proper thing in bringing in pharmacare. Were they just making it up? Was it a lie back then? Did the members not have good intentions? Did they finally wake up today and realize that this has been going on in our country for decades?
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-01-27 11:36 [p.432]
Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging all my colleagues in the House of Commons and wishing them a happy new year.
This is my first chance to speak in this 43rd Parliament of Canada. I am very pleased to rise and speak to everyone, including all Canadians who are watching at home today.
Before I begin my comments on the Speech from the Throne, I want to say that I think it is a remarkable document. It encourages parliamentarians to work together, just as Canadians called for in the last election. They want us to work together for the well-being of all Canadians.
I want to thank my constituents in Hull—Aylmer. The riding of Hull—Aylmer is located just across the river from the House of Commons, in the Outaouais region of Quebec, where the Ottawa and the Gatineau Rivers meet. It is a special place. My constituents are proud of their historic city. They are well aware that, without Hull—Aylmer, there would be no Ottawa.
In the early 19th century, Philemon Wright arrived from the United States and settled in this region to develop the lumber industry. This contributed to the creation of what has become the national capital region and the location of our Parliament.
In fact, our region has been home to indigenous peoples for 8,000 years, well before the arrival of people from Europe or Africa. This is where indigenous peoples came to conduct trade, share stories and build a future together. This is why I think this is the right place for the Canadian Parliament. In our own way, we can work together to help Canadians.
I am very proud to speak in support of the throne speech, which addresses some very important topics and political perspectives vital to Canada's well-being, now and in the future. Front and centre is climate action. There is nothing more important. We must focus on climate action to ensure that we leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a better world. I am very proud that we have committed Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. Major national initiatives are required.
As member of Parliament for Hull—Aylmer, I will be hosting a new public forum, similar to the 24 I hosted during the previous Parliament. This time around, climate action will be the overarching theme of these public forums.
We are working with provincial and municipal representatives, key stakeholders like the Conseil régional sur l'environnement et le développement durable de l'Outaouais, and other individuals who work in this area. How can we better coordinate the efforts of individuals, businesses, key stakeholders and all levels of government? I hope that our region and my riding will achieve net-zero emissions well before 2050. This is very important and I will act accordingly.
I know that our government wants to work with all members and all parties to seriously tackle this issue. No action is too small, and we clearly have a duty to think of some big actions we can take to deal with this issue effectively. We are willing to collaborate with all members of the House to achieve this goal.
The throne speech covers not only broad existential issues like climate change, but also the issue of Canada itself. How do we strengthen the middle class and help those working so hard to join it? My colleague from Winnipeg North stressed the importance of the Canada child benefit. He has been involved in federal and provincial politics for 30 years, and I know his memory on this is excellent.
Back in 1988, I was a parliamentary page. I remember that, shortly after my year as a page, Parliament made a solemn pledge to end child poverty in Canada. That was in 1990, and the pledge was to do this within 10 years, by the year 2000. That was an initiative. It has been 30 years. For 25 of those 30 years, the poverty rate in Canada did not change. In 2015, however, our government launched an initiative for Canadians, the Canada child benefit. It was extraordinary. In just four short years, we reduced child poverty in Canada by a third and the overall poverty rate by a third as well. Now, over 300,000 young Canadians have been lifted out of poverty. If that is not one of an MP's most fundamental duties, I do not know what is. This is extraordinary.
I was a little disappointed that some people voted against this, but I hope all members of the House will continue to support this program. If we were able to accomplish that much in four years, I hope we will be able to keep up this work. That is the commitment we made.
Ensuring that we have a strong and durable economy is another thing that is very important in strengthening the middle class and those working hard to join it. We did that with the new NAFTA that we just signed and that the minister just tabled this morning. Once again, that is very important. Canada is not a huge country with a huge population, but we work hard. We are well aware that our prosperity depends fundamentally on building ties and international trade. That is what we just did with the new NAFTA, which will strengthen the jobs of millions of Canadians.
We did not stop there. In the last Parliament, with the help of many members of the House, we also signed a free trade agreement with Europe, a market of 500 million people. Once again, that is extraordinary. I could talk about reconciliation with indigenous peoples, which is very important to my riding. A large percentage of people in my riding are members of the Algonquin nation. I could also talk about the health and safety of Canadians.
In closing, I would simply like to tell all my colleagues that I think that this document is something that everyone can get behind. I hope I can count on the support of all my parliamentary colleagues to improve the lives of Canadians.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-01-27 11:46 [p.433]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech.
I have a great deal of respect for my colleague. However, we have a lot of problems to address.
The government tabled a ways and means motion this morning on the USMCA deal, but it has very few details that parliamentarians can understand. I agree with my colleague that the Conservatives have always been supportive of free trade deals, but at a minimum we need to know what impact the USMCA is going to have on certain sectors of our economy like aluminum, the forestry sector or the automotive sector. Those details are scarce to this point.
On behalf of Canadians and those that the parliamentary secretary says are going to benefit from this deal, I think we need to understand this a little better. I would like some more details from him on how it is going to benefit Canadians and the sectors that I spoke about.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-01-27 11:47 [p.433]
Madam Speaker, I certainly think the question the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil raises regarding CUSMA is an important one. The aluminum sector, for example, is a great example of how Canadians have come together.
With this new deal, according to the reports that I have read in the papers, and we will see the details as they come out as we all examine the enabling legislation, we saw that the aluminum and steel sectors now have a rules of origin component, which guarantees that 70% of steel and aluminum will now be sourced in North America. We are not just slapping a sticker on an import from somewhere else in the world. I am speaking about products produced in Canada. This has never happened before. The aluminum sector has never had this kind of guarantee. This is a clear win. This is why we see aluminum producers very strongly supporting this deal.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-01-27 11:49 [p.433]
Madam Speaker, I want to reassure our colleagues in the government that members of the Bloc Québécois are basically in favour of any free trade agreement that benefits Quebec's economy.
However, the Bloc Québécois also takes a good look at the details of any agreement being negotiated to see what impact it might have. When we talk about steel and aluminum, which were again mentioned just now, steel is protected from the moment it is melted and poured, but not aluminum. Those are the kind of details I am talking about. It is important to look at the long-term consequences. Let's not forget that supply management was sacrificed.
I am having more and more meetings with stakeholders from the dairy industry. I was dismayed to realize that Canada even agreed to limit what we export to countries other than the United States. It is unheard of. They want to try to pass a bill, an agreement, without discussing it. As a function of democracy, is it essential to go over each clause in committee to consider the consequences to the economy.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2020-01-27 11:50 [p.433]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Berthier—Maskinongé for his question, and I would also like to welcome him to the House of Commons.
First, I would like to set the record straight. People in the steel and aluminum sector have clearly stated that they support the bill. Unlike the former agreement, this one guarantees for the first time that steel and aluminum will be produced here in North America. They have never had that guarantee. In fact, 70% of steel and aluminum to be used must originate in Canada, the United States or Mexico. The U.S. and Mexico do not really have an aluminum sector, but Canada does. Quebec's Liberal MPs worked very hard to ensure the protection and promotion of our aluminum industry.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his characteristically impassioned speech.
He said two or three times that the environment is a priority. The throne speech also sets out that the environment is an absolute priority and includes several measures, which my colleague mentioned.
My question is simple: Does he agree with our government that not only must we work together to come up with good environmental measures, but we must also consider the economy in order to intelligently advance the environmental file and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to respond to the Liberal government's Speech from the Throne.
I would like to begin by quoting Edmond Rostand, who would have this to say about it: That's too brief, young man! The throne speech is silent on quite a few subjects, especially subjects of interest to Quebeckers. In fact, the word “Quebec” does not appear even once. That is a singular omission on the part of a minority government that would have done well to pay more attention to Quebec's needs and interests in the throne speech. Unfortunately, it did not. The speech is long on rhetoric, hot air, good intentions and lip service but short on details, clarity and firm commitments in several areas, except where it suits the Liberals.
For years, the Liberals have been promising money for the national housing strategy and the fight against homelessness. Unfortunately, people on the ground know that the federal government provides precious few resources and refuses to make the kind of concrete commitments that allow projects to move forward and housing co-ops and affordable and low-income housing to get built. The housing issue is of vital importance to many Canadians and Quebeckers because it is many families' biggest expense. Right now, people are struggling to find adequate housing. The Liberals have said a lot of nice things about housing over the past few years but, sadly, have done very little.
In Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, one-third of households spend more than 30% of their income on housing. In my riding, one in three families is literally at or below the poverty line. We all know that, as a rule, people should expect to spend 30% of their income on housing.
There is currently just one social housing project, unfortunately, and this project will soon come to an end. There is no plan for what comes next. How is that possible? The government has been going on for four years about how housing is a priority and how we need to build affordable and social housing. Nothing ever happens, because the federal government bickers with the Quebec government over which government should put its flag and logo on the project.
The NDP thinks that real action is needed to ensure access to affordable housing. The Liberals need to stop bickering with the Quebec government and transfer the funds. The Quebec government would then be able to implement the AccèsLogis program, through which projects could actually help people. I am sick of the bickering between Ottawa and Quebec at the expense of the poorest families, individuals and workers in my riding and across Quebec. The budget will soon be tabled, so now is the time to free up the money. This is urgent. We need this.
Also, I am not sure where the member for Winnipeg North has been for the past 25 years. He said we have been talking about pharmacare for the past four years, but I would remind him that it was in the Liberal platform of 1997. It was also part of the discussion when medicare was first introduced in this country in the 1960s. That was just a little refresher for my colleague from Winnipeg North. The Liberals are still talking about pharmacare, but we need to see whether there will ever be more than just consultations and reports. Are they ever going to actually implement anything?
Canada is the only country in the world that has a universal public health care system without a universal public pharmacare system to go with it. This is an anomaly. This means that Canadians and Quebeckers pay some of the highest prices for prescription drugs. This is slightly less problematic in Quebec, since we have a hybrid regime that is administered by the Quebec government. However, it also poses significant problems for many people who sometimes have to make really tough choices, like paying for their medication or paying for their groceries. When people do not take all their medication as prescribed, it can cause illnesses to progress more rapidly and force people back to work too soon. It can lead to other health problems and additional costs for the health care system.
The NDP believes it is high time that the Canada Health Act included a principle emphasizing the importance of a complete, free and universal pharmacare program and indicating that this is one of our society's values because we want to take care of people. That is not the case right now and people are suffering because of it. This issue is a priority for the NDP.
Many large groups in Quebec are calling for such a program because they understand the difference it could make in people's lives. Quebec's three major unions, the FTQ, the CSN and the CSQ, are calling for this program, as are many civil society groups, such as the Union des consommateurs du Québec. They are saying that it would make a difference in people's lives if we had a universal public pharmacare program managed by the provinces and the Government of Quebec, obviously.
Last year, I met with people who are directly affected by the lack of such a principle or federal program, for example, retail workers and unionized workers at Métro, Provigo and Loblaws. They work part time for a modest wage and have to contribute to their employer's drug plan. In Quebec, this supplemental health care coverage is not optional; it is mandatory. People cannot choose to opt for the public plan. They are required to contribute to the private plan. Those contributions cost many workers up to 25% of their income.
I met a young worker, about 25, who told me that for every month he works, his first week's salary goes entirely toward the drug plan offered by his employer. Public universal pharmacare would considerably change the life of someone like that. It would simplify collective bargaining for many groups. For that individual, it would mean a 25% increase in pay. That is not nothing. Not only would that worker's drug costs be covered, but his take-home pay would also get him much further ahead.
For all these reasons, we are telling the Liberal government that it is time to take action. According to the Hoskins report released a few months ago, this is a good thing that has been studied at length, and our society needs it. We at the NDP are saying that it is time to move forward and take this seriously, and we will be here to support the government if it comes up with something public and universal.
The other thing we wanted to see in the Speech from the Throne is dental care coverage. That would be another tangible way to help people in their lives.
We have a medicare system—thanks to the NDP, by the way—that is highly appreciated but that is not comprehensive because some parts of the body are not covered. That is rather bizarre. It is as though we collectively decided that our heart and arms would be insured, but that our eyes and teeth would not. There is no logic to it. Having to pay a dentist to provide care and ensure good dental hygiene also represents a considerable cost for many people.
Dental coverage would make a big difference in people's lives at a cost almost equivalent to the amount of the tax cut that the Liberal government has announced—a tax cut that will again benefit the wealthiest in our society.
They could have used that money, which amounts to a little less than one billion, or about $800 or $850 million, to provide dental care to all Quebeckers and Canadians. We, the New Democrats, would not make the same choices the Liberal government did.
We hope the government will be able to implement public pharmacare and dental care. We also hope the government will increase the federal contribution for early childhood care. Quebec needs 42,000 more ECE spots, in publicly funded day cares. We hope the federal government will be willing to give Quebec's ECE system a boost, so that families can get their children into affordable day care.
I only have a minute left, which is not enough time to talk about the climate emergency and the fact that this government is once again saying one thing and doing the opposite. We in the NDP condemn the decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This decision completely flies in the face of the federal government's pledges to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
We are eager to see how the government reacts to the new Frontier oil sands project. If the government is serious about setting more ambitious targets for 2030, I hope that it will take measures that are consistent and logical with that goal, which is something the entire population is calling for, especially our youth.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to see some action. I would like folks to get some concrete help. I urge the Liberal government to tax web giants, raise taxes on banks and go after tax havens. That will give it the money to take care of Canadians.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-01-27 12:18 [p.437]
Madam Speaker, the member raised a lot of questions about pharmacare with respect to the Liberal plan. My question is simple. Does he have any confidence at all that the Liberals will be able to implement a pharmacare plan?
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, the question is simple, but the answer may be complex.
We are in a minority government situation. In the past, we have been disappointed by the Liberals, who broke their promises over and over. We know this story well. We have already seen it play out many times, as everyone knows. This time, with everyone acting in good faith, I hope we will actually be able to move forward.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very pertinent question.
In the previous Parliament, the NDP introduced Bill C-262, which was passed by this House, to ensure that all federal laws are aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This federal NDP initiative is therefore completely consistent with that objective.
The leader of the NDP has often said that the future of economic development does not lie in hydraulic fracturing. We believe that each project should be assessed individually to see whether it fits in with a real plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In this specific case, the B.C. government found that it was feasible.
All the reports from Environment and Climate Change Canada have confirmed that the federal government is going to miss the 2030 targets set by the Conservative government. In this context, it would be impossible to consider new projects at the federal level, since we cannot even meet the Conservatives' targets.
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