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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2022-01-20 15:50
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to my colleagues gathered here today. I supported this motion to come to committee for a number of different reasons. There's the issue in itself, which I'll speak to in a moment, but there is the use of this committee's time too.
As members of the committee know, a week ago, I tabled a motion for this committee to meet to have emergency meetings to examine hero pay and to have testimony in front of us with regard to grocery store workers. One of the reasons I did so is that this has been an ongoing problem with Parliament since the last unnecessary election: Committee business ground to a halt. We came from a session of Parliament where we had ample time to form committees and get to work during this time. We did not do any of that. In fact, there were delays and committees were not formed, and at this committee we still do not have an official business plan for the upcoming session.
The suggestion that we can't do work in between is erroneous and not representative of the history of this committee, which I have been on for 15 of my approximately 20 years in Parliament. We've often convened emergency meetings during non-sitting days, on a regular basis, whether it be for studying gas prices, the Nortel takeover or a series of different things with regard to telecommunications.
This does not interfere with our upcoming agenda. The motion was put in such a way that, if it would have some type of residue in an upcoming Parliament, it would be minimal. The reason I wanted the pandemic pay or hero pay motion was due to the testimony of the executives who came before our previous Parliament. Some members of this committee were here for that. We could have met about that, and we've chosen not to. When this initiative came forward, I supported it because next week we do have time available for us. There are not many other committees working. Some are, and they're showing initiative on their own as well. We have set up Parliament to be very proactive through virtual meetings to be able to do that.
I believe that there may be some interesting points with regard to combining this with a larger study. The issue with regard to lithium batteries is very pertinent not only to the country but also for the world. I come from the auto sector, where I've long pushed for a national auto strategy, and this issue includes having more than just a rip-and-ship philosophy with regard to our national resources. We've been outmanoeuvred quite successfully by Mexico, the United States, China and others with regard to EV technology and battery development, as well as a modern national auto strategy. Despite the fact that we've signed on with the United States for emissions with regard to the vehicles, we have not actually produced the battery plants, the sustainable jobs or the revolutionary and necessary technology that equates to value-added jobs in our country. I'm interested in pursuing this for the next week to produce a report or a study, as opposed to going into circles or not meeting for another week and a half.
Again, the election was months ago, and prior to that the committee did not meet as much leading into the election. What have we done during the pandemic and what have we done to actually look at the time that we have available for us? Again, we went through an unnecessary election that resulted in a similar Parliament, which has stalled the work of this committee and stalled success for Canadians to compete and to get things done.
What's being proposed is a defined study of six meetings that will at least provide a glimmer or shed some light on the issue in general. If this committee wishes to roll that into a further study, I am co-operative, and so is the NDP, in terms of doing that.
In the meantime, since I couldn't get my emergency meeting passed with regard to having executives come back here for the grocery stores and hero pay, or whatever you may want to call it, I'm willing to meet next week, because I still think it's better than not meeting, especially given the agenda we have and the issues facing Canadians.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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