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View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved:
That Vote 1, in the amount of $1,897,264,276, under Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development — Operating expenditures, in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, be concurred in.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-12-07 18:34 [p.3070]
Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak virtually from my constituency office in Brampton West about the work of Global Affairs Canada.
Before I delve into the important work that Global Affairs Canada does on behalf of Canadians every day, I would like to take a moment to recognize the individual contributions by Canada's diplomats on behalf of all of us. Whether Canada-based or locally engaged, Global Affairs Canada's political officers, the trade commissioners, development professionals, counsellors and staff work tirelessly to advance Canadian prosperity, security and influence in an evermore difficult and complex world.
Many of them worked in places plagued by violence, conflict and natural disasters. These staff are largely unsung and unknown except every few years when events propel them into the minds of Canadians and this is such a year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them on behalf of all Canadians and all members of the House.
In 2020, Canadians from all walks of life realized the benefits of the work done by Global Affairs Canada. Small and medium-sized businesses saw their export opportunities increase because CUSMA, CETA, CPTPP and their rights protected as Canada fought protectionist measures and advocated for a rules-based trading system.
Canadian security was enhanced because of international assistance investments made. To build peace and to eradicate poverty, to counter terrorist organizations and to combat foreign interference in our democracy, Canadians' values were reinforced through advocacy, at multilateral institutions and in standing up to the autocratic regime. Thousands of Canadian families were supported when they and their loved ones needed help getting shelter or transportation, stranded by the pandemic, while others needed to be visited or have remains of their loved ones repatriated.
The rule of the ministry of Global Affairs is fundamentally to project the values and culture of the people in the world, to protect the country's economic, political and security interests and to foster the relationships necessary to achieve these things. That responsibility has perhaps never been so significant as it is in the fraught, geopolitical and economic landscape that we currently face. I can confidently say that Global Affairs is admired for the work it accomplishes and the manner in which it does it and achieves value for taxpayer dollars daily.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped our world in profound ways we have yet to fully understand. It changed the lives of Canadians in ways that we could not have imagined a year ago. The scope and scale of this pandemic has tested every community, every country and international institution. As I said previously, we are living without question through a once-in-a-generation moment.
Even as COVID-19 was emerging as a global pandemic at the beginning of this year, 2020 was already an extremely hard year, with significant implications for Canadian foreign policy.
Between January and March, Global Affairs was already managing several concurrent flashpoints, including the heightened and persistent tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which directly and dramatically impacted on our country when Flight PS752 was downed near Tehran, killing 85 Canadians; fraught relationships with China, with the arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens, and significant unrest in Hong Kong; trade and economies' tension, including the persistent threat of the U.S. trade actions on steel and the oil price shock prompted by the price war between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia; the persistent acute humanitarian stresses in Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh; and an ongoing social unrest in jurisdictions important to Canadian interests, including several democracies where Canada has been engaged.
The pandemic did not occur in a vacuum. Indeed, the crisis is amplifying and exacerbating existing global trends, including geopolitical competition among significant economic and political powers, rising protectionism, increased inequality, challenges to democratic values and threats from climate change.
It is against this backdrop that the Conservatives stand here today to propose to cut the budget of Global Affairs Canada. It would be surprising for most, but I am not surprised at all. We all remember that it was the Conservative Party that pledged to cut foreign aid by 25% in the last election. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that requires global solutions, yet the Conservatives want Canada to play a smaller role. Simply put, we strongly disagree with that.
One of the reasons for this is that Canadians want their government to have a strong presence abroad, given that every year there is an average 200,000 requests of assistance from Canadians abroad. This past year, we saw the importance of this very clearly in some key examples.
First is the department's response to the flight PS752 tragedy. From the very first moment, the commitment to supporting families of victims has not wavered. The department continues to lead the international coordination group, which Canada founded, working closely with the governments of the U.K., Ukraine, Sweden and Afghanistan, to push for transparency, to seek justice and accountability and repatriations for families of those affected.
Second, through its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Affairs Canada delivered the largest and most complex peacetime repatriation of stranded Canadians in history. Beginning in January, the department organized to safely repatriate hundreds of Canadians from China and hundreds more returned home from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
As the virus spread, the extraordinary public servants at Global Affairs Canada mobilized every asset in creating new tools, such as a COVID-19 emergency loan program, to ensure that the needs of Canadians could be met. At headquarters and through Canada's network of 178 missions in 110 countries, the focus was on providing critical, on-the-ground support to Canadians despite the risk to their own well-being. All missions remained opened, arranging and negotiating flights, ground transportation, permission letters, quarantine exemptions, urgent shelter and filling prescriptions for folks who had not expected to need more.
I have a few numbers to give an idea of the magnitude of our efforts. Since March, Global Affairs Canada has facilitated the safe return of over 62,580 Canadians and brought 692 flights from 109 countries. This was a consular crisis management at a level never seen before, a real-time illustration of the network and contacts cultivated by Global Affairs Canada staff and their resilience and commitment to serve Canadians.
COVID-19 also featured in the departments bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral efforts this past year. Canada demonstrated this necessary and valued real-time leadership in convening diverse partners to shape global efforts to respond to the global health implications of the pandemic, to sustain open supply chains, to support the most vulnerable as economies recovered.
The far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 underscore the importance of countries working together and addressing the pandemic and showcase Global Affairs Canada's strengths in carving out spaces for dialogue and enabling international co-operation and action.
For example, Canada co-hosted a pledging conference on vaccines and therapeutics alongside the EU and Japan, which raised $8 billion U.S. to better test, treat, protect people and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable countries.
In partnership with the Jamaican prime minister and the U.N. Secretary-General, the Prime Minister co-convened a special U.N. high level meeting to identify and to advance solutions to the economic crisis and development emergency precipitated by the pandemic.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs established a ministerial coordination group on COVID-19 at the very start of this pandemic. Initially set up as a venue to coordinate our responses to multiplying travel restrictions, this forum has become a key channel for exchange on multilateral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes trade and emergency measures, which includes maintaining air, land, marine transportation links and supply chains. It also includes coordinated support for international institutions, especially the U.N., the WHO, and particularly in addressing the particular challenges facing Africa and small island developing states.
These efforts have been complemented by the minister of trade's support for Canadian businesses during the extraordinary time of global uncertainty and tightening credit conditions. Through our leadership role at the Ottawa Group and WTO reform discussion, the Minister of International Development has also been at the forefront of international efforts on issues such as providing equitable vaccine access, preventing food insecurity due to supply chain disruptions, enabling continued education for children in developing countries during the pandemic, facilitating women and girls' continued ability to secure sexual and reproductive health services, and mitigating violence against them. The minister also jointly established, with the U.K., the development minister's contact group.
The department's efforts are framed by three strategic pillars for action where Canada can make immediate and direct impact. First is fighting the pandemic by strengthening capacities to deliver the health-related, sustainable development goals supporting access to COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines. Second is seeking to manage financial stresses and stabilize economies through the restored global supply chains, enabling financial equity and stability for developing countries. Third is supporting the most vulnerable and reinforcing recovery through our humanitarian response, support for food security and education, and by addressing longer term, socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
To date, Global Affairs Canada has been responsible for deploying some $1 billion in response to the pandemic to support the poorest and the most vulnerable in partner countries. This has meant working with Canadian NGOs, the international organization partners, to adjust program approaches to be flexible and to encourage innovative practices. These efforts reflect a belief that none of us are safe until all of us are safe from this virus. We can build back better to advance sustainable development goals going forward to encourage an inclusive and green recovery.
While the pandemic has been an overarching preoccupation for our department, many other geopolitical challenges have nevertheless also required the ongoing attention of Global Affairs Canada. We have managed our important relationships with the United States, the EU and China, sought solutions to protracted political crises in the Ukraine and Venezuela and in the Middle East, and reinforced democracy and human rights in Belarus. All these circumstances required on-ground assessments from embassies and headquarters personnel, the development of options for cabinet consideration, implementation of policy and actions.
Global co-operation facilitated by effective and accountable international institutions relies on nimble alliances, new partners and partnerships. That is why the department has continued to manage key relationships and to reinforce ties with traditional allies, while pursuing new collaborations with emerging partners.
I already talked about the leadership role the Minister of International Trade took in response to the global pandemic. Let me review in more detail the recent achievements of Global Affairs Canada in advancing Canada's prosperity, enabling them to continue to benefit from diverse trade and investment opportunities.
Trade accounts for nearly two-thirds of Canada's economy and supports 3.3 million jobs, which is one out of every six jobs. Open, rules-based trade creates opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, and ensures that people have access to essential goods and services, like food and medicine. COVID-19 should not and cannot be used as an excuse to stop trading or to turn inward with protectionist policies. Global Affairs Canada works to enhance market access to increase opportunities that flow from trade agreements and to further diversify our trade.
This year, we have worked closely with international partners from the G20, WTO, APEC and others to ensure that our supply chains remain open, our businesses continue to work, and their crucial goods and services flow. Canada's leadership of the Ottawa Group on WTO reform demonstrated our commitment to shape the future of multilateral, rules-based trade, which is really key to global prosperity. Now more than ever, we must continue to strengthen our rules-based global trading system so that it is robust and resilient.
I have addressed the significance of the work Global Affairs has done to respond to the international assistance dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the health and prosperity of Canadians is intertwined with an effective and coordinated global response and recovery. Until we have solved this crisis globally and contributed to building a more resilient and sustainable socio-economic system, we will continue to be impacted by it domestically.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries were challenged to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth, maintain social cohesion and manage crises. While tangible gains were made to reduce extreme poverty with Canadian support, including increased access to education, health and nutrition, not everyone was benefiting equally. The more than 1.3 billion people living in poverty faced multiple and interrelated challenges, often exacerbated by inequalities, and in many cases, protracted humanitarian crises or the impacts of climate change.
Given this, Global Affairs has continued to work hard to implement the feminist international assistance policy, which provides an essential framework not just to meet the needs of this unprecedented pandemic, but to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.
We have focused on helping the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women and girls and those living in fragile states and conflict-affected states, to achieve peace and stability and promote dialogue for conflict resolutions. This includes country-specific peace building and stabilization initiatives for countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.
The ministers' and the department's work with the UN agencies, the Red Cross movement, and Canadian and international NGOs has helped to provide humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of more than 135 million people in 62 countries and territories.
The department also effectively and responsibly managed more than $6.3 billion in grants and contributions programming. These resources have reduced poverty and increased opportunities for people around the world, saved lives, increased sustainable livelihoods and increased peace and security.
Let me conclude by stressing again a principle lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is the absolute necessity of effective international cooperation. This was true when Global Affairs was first established more than 100 years ago, and it is true today. Through a diplomatic presence, consular services, trade support and international development programs, the department works hard to deepen Canada's engagement with the wider world to advance and protect Canadian interests and values.
In a time of profound change, complex challenges and considerable opportunities, Global Affairs staff delivers, and will continue to deliver, necessary thought leadership on the world stage. They seek to play a constructive role in shaping the rapidly evolving global order for the benefit of all Canadians, not just today but for the long term.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her speech outlining all the things the Government of Canada is doing around the world in reference to the main estimates.
Earlier this week, Canada's former parliamentary budget officer indicated that we cannot make sense of how taxpayer money is being spent right now. In fact, he said it was so bad that he cannot make sense of any of the numbers, and that we cannot even trust the government because it is being so unclear and untransparent with how funds are being spent.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer indicated as much as well. Can the member please clarify how we can trust the government when our public accounts are not being updated, when Canadians are not getting updates on how much money is being spent and how those expenditures, which we have not received information on, will impact future generations and our ability to help other people around the world?
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-12-07 18:54 [p.3073]
Mr. Speaker, I do not find it surprising the Conservative Party wants us to cut our Global Affairs budget during a global pandemic. One thing we have learned from this pandemic is that more than ever we need global solidarity. I also know this is the party that pledged to cut foreign aid by 25% in the last election.
We are a government that has secured the largest and most diverse portfolio of vaccines per capita in the world. We are the government that committed to working bilaterally and multilaterally with other countries to ensure vaccines get to those who need it the most. It is why we are not only helping support Canadians, whether it is our businesses, families or students, here in Canada, but also doing that around the world.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-12-07 18:55 [p.3073]
Mr. Speaker, I hope for a brief indulgence from the hon. member. I know she does not like to blow her own horn, but I wanted to thank her for her work as a registered nurse during the COVID crisis. She went back into her community and worked as a nurse in a long-term care facility, truly giving back and being a leader in her community. I wanted to take this public opportunity to thank her.
The member mentioned that this is a global pandemic. I was hoping she could expand on that. Canada has a diverse portfolio of vaccines, with hundreds of millions of doses. What does that mean to Canadians if the crisis continues elsewhere, if COVID-19 is elsewhere? I was hoping she could expand on that and the role of the Government of Canada is to play as we move forward after Canadians get vaccinated.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-12-07 18:56 [p.3073]
Mr. Speaker, allow me to thank my friend for his kind comments. I was quite grateful and an honour for me to get back to the front lines when I volunteered at a long-term care facility in my community in Brampton, which was hard hit by the COVID crisis. It was an honour for me to work alongside our Canadian Armed Forces and be able to give back to my community in any way that I could. I thank the member for that.
I would also like to reiterate the fact that one thing this pandemic has shown us is no one is safe until everyone is safe. It truly goes to show that it does not matter where this virus came from, it will impact us. It is a threat that knows no borders and will only be overcome through a coordinated and robust global action. We cannot simply beat this virus in Canada if we do not beat it everywhere around the world.
That is why not only are we diversifying our vaccine portfolio here in Canada, we are also making sure we are working alongside our international community and global partners. We are part of the COVAX and the ACT-Accelerator to make sure we are not only supporting Canadians but are also committed to ensuring there is equitable access to successful COVID vaccines for people around the world, especially those who are the most vulnerable.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-12-07 18:58 [p.3074]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the many comments my colleague has made with respect to how important this is. Over the years, Canada has paid a very strong leadership role at the world level. Being in a pandemic, we can appreciate the fact we were very successful at negotiating seven agreements, which is going to help our country through the vaccination process, but there are also other countries around the world that will be challenged to get the vaccines.
Canada does have a role to play there with respect to supporting some of those governments, directly and indirectly. I wonder if she could highlight her thoughts regarding the important role, whether it be Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom, western countries have to play in ensuring worldwide health and safety.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-12-07 18:59 [p.3074]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is right. As I mentioned earlier in my comments, COVID-19 is a threat that knows no borders and can only be overcome through a coordinated and collaborative response, which Canada has been taking a leadership role in on many fronts. Whether it is the Minister of International Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of International Trade, we need to continue to work alongside our global partners to make future vaccine treatment options available, accessible and affordable for every single person.
Canada's commitment to the global coronavirus response will allow us to do that and protect the health and safety not only of Canadians but also the most vulnerable populations around the world. On this side of the House, we are absolutely committed to a robust global effort to stop COVID-19 and address its sudden devastation on health, social conditions, the economy and human rights for people around the world.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Chris Bittle Profile
2020-12-07 19:00 [p.3074]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to get a second opportunity to ask my friend a question.
It does not surprise me that the Conservatives wish to cut foreign aid spending by up to 25% and reduce Canada's role in the world. We have seen the Conservatives wishing to eliminate our leadership in things like the environment and climate change, and this type of cut would be devastating overall. I wonder if the hon. member could discuss what types of impacts such a vast cut on Global Affairs could have on Canada's place in the world.
View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2020-12-07 19:01 [p.3074]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is right. It was very unfortunate when we saw, in the last election, the Conservative Party of Canada pledge to cut the foreign aid budget by 25%. Here, we are fighting every single day to get more support for international development and international aid. Because of this COVID pandemic, we are simply going to reverse all the gains that we made if we do not invest.
We have played a leadership role this year with $1.1 billion in support that we have been able to give in our global COVID response. It does not surprise me, from the party that does not believe in science and does not believe in vaccines. When we see, from the official opposition, support for a petition questioning the science of vaccines and silence from the Leader of the Opposition, it is quite unfortunate.
As someone who worked as a nurse who has seen patients die in long-term care facilities this year, I can tell members why it is so important to continue to follow public health guidance, to continue to wear a mask and, when vaccines are available, not spread this misinformation that we see from the opposition.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2020-12-07 19:02 [p.3074]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
Forty-four million dollars is what the Liberals wasted in a failed deal with China's CanSino, $44 million that could have gone a long way to help struggling Canadians. It could have stayed in their pockets in the first place or it could have gone to crucial priorities like clean drinking water or mental health and recovery resources, support for victims or front-line law enforcement to fight crime and gangs. What is galling is that all of those tax dollars are all for naught and Canadians now know the Liberals do not take the warnings of Canada's own security and intelligence officials seriously.
Is it surprising? Unfortunately, it is not, because it is already clear that the government fundamentally does not take hostile foreign influence and interference in Canada seriously either. The Liberals have potentially politically exposed persons sitting in their own caucus and have refused to answer questions about it. Meanwhile, the Liberals refuse to add the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to the list of terrorist entities even though Parliament voted overwhelmingly to do so two years ago.
Security and intelligence officials of course have been raising red flags about Huawei. All of Canada's allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group have already banned Huawei. The Liberals promised a decision last year, but continue to dither, even while allies warn a failure to ban Huawei will harm Canada's security and intelligence-sharing relationship with the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
The Liberals also will not tell Canadians what they are doing to combat foreign interference in Canada from Chinese government agencies in the so-called Operation Fox Hunt. Chinese Canadians are being targeted and threatened by China's Communist regime and the government cannot even say what its plan is or its actions are to fight back and protect Canadians.
On November 18, this House voted for the Conservative motion that orders the government to table its decision on Huawei and for a new plan to combat escalating foreign interference in Canada from China, but it is alarmingly clear that if Liberals listened to and acted on the cautions, insight and recommendations of Canada's own security and intelligence officials and other experts, this could have been anticipated and avoided. Last week it was reported that executives at CanSino worked in a Chinese government program that has been targeted by CSIS and our other intelligence allies.
The reality is that the Government of China's thousand talents plan has been recruiting researchers and scientists to infiltrate western research organizations for the deliberate purpose of bringing sensitive intellectual property back to China. Last year, a U.S. Senate subcommittee on homeland security looked into the thousand talents plan and identified it as a threat to national security. The U.S. Senate committee found that some thousand talents plan members stole intellectual property, engaged in fraud and violated research values and ethics. They even sold proprietary information on U.S. military jet engines.
In August, CSIS warned Canadian institutions and research groups about the thousand talents plan and that China was using the program to obtain new information and technology for its own economic and military advantage. The fact is that as far back as May, CSIS was warning that Canadian institutions are at a heightened risk of intellectual property theft from China and Russia specifically and explicitly with regard to COVID-19 research.
The Globe and Mail stated the CSIS spokesperson warned, “These corrosive tactics, which are done to advance the economic and strategic objectives of hostile states, come at the expense of Canada’s national interest, including lost jobs, revenue for public services and a diminished competitive global advantage.” Therefore, even after these serious warnings from Canada's intelligence agencies, after exposure of the U.S. experience and warning, why on earth would the Liberal government proceed to sign a deal with CanSino to partner with Canada's National Research Council on vaccine development? Why did the government take $45 million in taxes and just give it to China while putting Canadian intellectual property at risk? There just is not a good answer.
In fact, former CSIS officials said that the Canadian government should have seen the red flags. Another former CSIS official said what is becoming glaringly and alarmingly obvious is that the government does not have a coordinated plan to counteract risks in partnering with China. Global News highlighted that officials cautioned, “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and [the National Research Council] has been abused by China before in this way, and that is why this case is so offensive.... In this case it looks like what China did, is they got what they needed (from Canada) and they stopped the vaccine shipment.”
This makes the government's actions unconscionable. Even worse, once delays in the programs were identified this summer, the Prime Minister continued to publicly defend the deal. How naive is the Prime Minister and the Liberal government?
Let us just examine the facts. The intelligence community constantly warns against intellectual property theft from the Government of China. The Liberal government signs a deal with China-based CanSino, which has executives who have been linked to the Chinese Communist government's thousand talents plan, which is the very program that engages in intellectual property theft. Canadian researchers work with those same Chinese researchers on vaccine development. China delays sending shipment to Canada. The Prime Minister doubles down on his support for the deal in Canada. Intelligence officials again warn about hostile foreign interference related to intellectual property theft. China refuses to send the vaccine to Canada—shocker—and the deal is scrapped, wasting $44 million of taxpayers' money and an unknown amount of Canadian intellectual property.
It is truly unreal. It actually seems like it could hardly even be true, but it is true. Despite all the warnings from officials across the board, the government still went full steam ahead. It is frankly incredibly frustrating to watch, and even more frustrating that the government will not give Canadians straight answers to basic questions about the deal, or basic answers and information that could be shared about what the government is actually doing to combat foreign interference and protect Canadians' national and personal security.
Conservatives have asked multiple times if the government was briefed by security officials before signing this deal. The only response is talking points about listening to security officials, so that must mean the government was briefed. It was briefed and then chose to ignore the evidence and advice. If senior decision-makers were not briefed, that is a major problem. Either way, the deception about it is, too.
Another former CSIS official says that China was also trying to gain leverage over Canada in the Meng Wanzhou extradition case. The official said, “blocking the vaccine shipment also sends the (geopolitical) message...if you really want to work with us, you need to toe the line'".
The government is racking up unsustainable record deficits right now. That said, I do believe many Canadians, small businesses and communities needed efficient, effective and expeditious support during these months. I bet what most Canadians will not understand is that their federal government took $44 million, basically gave it over to China and received absolutely nothing in return.
The Chinese government set a trap, and despite all the warning signs, all the intelligence reports and all the proof throughout the recent history of China's escalation against Canada, such as detaining Canadians in China, violating their rights there and at home, threatening Canadians about Hong Kong there and at home and escalating against our free and democratic allies and against vulnerable developing countries and around the world, the Liberal government walked right into it.
The government had other options, but for whatever reason, the Liberals signed off on this $44-million deal and now that is money Canadian taxpayers will never get back. Conservatives are opposed to this spending measure in the estimates, and for the sake of future Canadian taxpayer dollars, Canadian intellectual property and the safety and security of all Canadians, I really do sincerely hope it is the last time these Liberals make the same mistake. After seeing how they acted over the last number of months, I just cannot say I am optimistic.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-12-07 19:11 [p.3076]
Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult at times to appreciate what members in the Conservative Party are saying because they tend to mislead in different ways, whether it is this member or other members of the Conservatives. An example is when they were saying, about the agreement she is referencing, that the government started to have negotiations with other companies after that agreement went south. We know that is factually incorrect.
The reality is the Conservatives seem to have two faces when it comes to China. When Stephen Harper was the prime minister, he went to China and got a wonderful trade agreement. When he came back to Canada, he said that China received him so well that it was going to give him two pandas to bring to Canada.
Could the member reflect on why there is inconsistency in the treatment toward China today versus when Stephen Harper was prime minister?
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2020-12-07 19:12 [p.3076]
Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to reflect on how disheartening and really brutal it is to see a senior member of the Liberal cabinet refuse to actually answer any of the serious issues raised in my remarks tonight and what is being publicly reported, which are security, safety, cybersecurity and intellectual property threats to Canada and to Canadians.
It is escalating by China around this issue, around the world and with other countries, and that senior member gets up and says this. I will remind him of the facts again. The intelligence community has constantly warned against intellectual property theft from the Government of China. The Liberal government signed the deal with China-based CanSino and those executives have been linked to the Chinese Communist government's precise plan specifically to engage in intellectual property theft for its own military and economic advantage.
That member should ask Canadians about that and answer—
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Lakeland for her remarks this evening.
In the House today I have heard my Liberal colleagues talk about the Conservatives as if Conservatives do not support small business, and as if we did not support any of the programs. I would say that we were there to support Canadians. What we are concerned about in these estimates is all that other money that has been put in the budget and all those other plans that we have not heard about. It is not me saying this: it is our independent institutions. It is our Auditor General, who does not have enough money to do her job. It is the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who says he cannot make sense of how the government is spending money.
I would like to ask the hon. member for Lakeland what she thinks about how the Liberals are approaching this important debate today, and what she believes we can do as a party to make progress on the China file.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2020-12-07 19:14 [p.3076]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comprehensive outline of why it is very difficult for Canadians to trust anything that the Liberals say. Frankly, I think during these complicated months, the lack of trust, the lack of confidence and the lack of clarity coming from the Liberals is damaging, and it is extremely concerning.
I am very concerned that the Liberals have blown through their commitments on spending. The issue that I raised today, the $44 million given to China for virtually nothing in return, is an example of the massive amount of Canadian taxpayers' dollars that could have been put to better use to support Canadians now or put back in their own pockets.
Here is what we have called on the Liberals to do: answer the questions about how many people have been charged and arrested in Operation Fox Hunt, where Chinese Canadians are being threatened and harmed; tell Canadians exactly what their new plan is, because they must have a new and co-ordinated plan to combat the escalating foreign interference from China in Canada; ban Huawei; pull the money from the Asian Infrastructure Bank; get serious about protecting Canadians against the real foreign interference from China, as well as from other autocratic regimes; and take the advice and recommendations that are resounding from intelligence officials and security advisers.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to some of the votes in the main estimates that we oppose. I will be speaking to the votes relating to foreign affairs, including $44 million for a transaction with a Chinese company.
First, however, I would like to talk about this government's relationship with China. Everyone knows that this Prime Minister has expressed his admiration for the Chinese communist system. In 2013 he even said, and I quote, “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.” It was already clear, then, where our Prime Minister was headed and what he envisioned for Canada's relationship with China.
In committee today, we once again heard the rhetoric that Stephen Harper tried to build a relationship with China in 2008 and 2009. That is true, but it was a different time. That was nearly 12 years ago. Canada had a business relationship with China at the time, but there were some concerns. Also, China was different, so much so that, in his opening remarks before the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made it clear that the China of 2020 is not the China of 2015, when this government came to power. He even clearly said that we needed to pay attention. Even the minister was sending the message in his speech before the committee that we have to be careful when it comes to China.
I will come back to the matter before us, the votes or expenditures that this government is asking us to approve. I will talk about one transaction between this government and CanSino Biologics, a Chinese company. The amount of $44 million was put on the line as part of an agreement with that company for the development of vaccines, even though the government knew that the company had direct ties to the Chinese communist regime. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated, the China of 2020 is not the China of years past. Once again the government decided to take $44 million of Canadian taxpayers' money for an agreement with a company that has direct ties to the Communist Party of China.
Last week, the media also revealed that the company's founding members had direct ties to the Communist Party of China and that Canadian researchers had been recruited by the Communist Party as part of the thousand talents program. This program was established to send information directly to the Chinese government. The Prime Minister knew how it worked and still went ahead with an agreement with CanSino Biologics using taxpayers' money, our money.
In the end, the Chinese government stole our intellectual property. Under this agreement, Canada had to transfer the intellectual property to CanSino Biologics, which then cancelled the agreement and kept the information. Once again, this is proof that we cannot trust the Chinese government. Of course that does not apply to the Chinese people. That is altogether different.
There are many examples of this with China. Everyone knows, and everyone talks about it. One example is Falun Gong practitioners. These people have been fighting non-stop to protect the Chinese people from ideological conversion, forced re-education, forced labour, torture and organ harvesting programs. Everyone is aware of this.
The problem with China is that it is such a big economic power that people are afraid to stand up to it. Just look at what the current Prime Minister said in 2013 about China. However, the opposition and the Conservative Party have a duty to say that enough is enough and we need to stand up to this.
I am going to speak about another recent relationship between the government and a company owned by the Chinese communist regime, Nuctech. The Canadian government, through the Canada Border Services Agency, signed an agreement for equipment, which has already taken effect. The government also recently gave this company a contract to install X-ray machines in our embassies around the world.
Some members opposite have started saying that those machines were not connected directly, that it was not dangerous and so on, but that is not the issue. The problem is that Nuctech is known worldwide for fraud and corruption. All sorts of measures have been taken against this company around the world. It works directly with the Chinese People's Liberation Army to conduct espionage.
Perhaps the machines intended for our embassies were not connected directly, but who is to say that someone could not enter an embassy somewhere in the world when the equipment needs maintenance and install an electronic device in the machine to transmit information?
The biggest problem is that the government is doing business with Nuctech, a security equipment company that operates around the world and whose only mission is to collect intelligence and transmit it to the head of the Chinese Communist Party. A $6.8-million contract was on the table. Without the work of the media and the opposition parties, the government would probably have sent $6.8 million to Nuctech, and that company's equipment would be in our embassies.
Security officials and agencies tell us this relationship needs to end. Everyone says so. Major changes need to be made to the way Canada buys equipment. The government must not give Canadian taxpayers' money to companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. That is all there is to it. It is not Conservative ideology. I think the Bloc Québécois agrees and the Liberals know it, but their hands are tied because their leader sees things differently. That is the Liberals' problem at the moment.
It is all there. We have damning evidence and security reports from all over. Even security agencies working for the government send briefings about this, and there are public reports about it all. I am not talking about state secrets. I am talking about public reports.
We therefore oppose this $44-million expenditure in this year's estimates, when hundreds of billions of dollars have already been spent to deal with COVID-19. At some point, it has to stop. Some might argue that $44 million is not much compared to billions, but it is still a lot of money. Did anyone think about how many taxpayers it takes to raise $44 million? A taxpayer who earns $50,000 a year pays $20,000 in taxes. It takes a lot of people, who are giving their money away for nothing.
As a final point, I would like to mention Huawei, which poses the same problem. For two years now we have been saying that this company must be banned from Canada's 5G network for the same reasons, namely, security and economic reasons. If China manages to steal our intellectual property, it is the whole of Canada that loses.
When we look at the facts and at how this works, it is obvious to us that the Prime Minister is saying yes and the Conservative opposition is saying no. It is as simple as that.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-12-07 19:25 [p.3078]
Madam Speaker, first of all, I am thinking in terms of the budget. The members talk about the one contract, and I do not believe that it goes through global affairs. I think it goes through industry, so I am questioning why they would bring it up under global affairs. Maybe the member could respond to that.
I appreciate when the member talks about there being better times with China. If we look at the last 20 years, there have been highs and lows in the relationship between Canada and China. Many of the agreements, for example the trade agreement signed by Stephen Harper when he was Prime Minister, had an impact for generations. It carries over.
I am asking the members to recognize that the Conservatives have not been consistent on the issue of China. Since they have been in opposition, they have been far more negative. I think there have been concerns with China for many years that even go back to the Harper times.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would say to my colleague that the $44 million in question are simply listed under the Department of Foreign Affairs.
There is no doubt that approval happens there, and then Industry Canada proceeds with procurement, just like with Nuctech. That company caused a problem that we sorted through at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The Department of Foreign Affairs needed equipment for its embassies. The contract was signed by Public Services and Procurement Canada, but there was a communication problem. It cost us $250,000 to get Deloitte to try to understand what went wrong. This is an example of the complexity of the machine whose components do not always talk to one another.
As for the point raised by the parliamentary secretary related to former prime minister Harper, I would remind him what I said in my speech, which is that the current Minister of Foreign Affairs clearly said that the China of 2020 is not the China of 2015. He was referring to the early days of the Liberal government and we are not even talking about the Harper years.
What we are saying is that there has been a radical change in Chinese policies in the past five years. It has become more aggressive in terms of expansion and taking control. There is no use talking about the Harper years. We are talking about the past five years. It is not necessarily Canada's fault. China is the one that has decided to do things differently in the world. As for us, we also have a decision to make on how we want to react to this.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that we have no idea of the exact amounts that have been spent by this government during the pandemic.
How can we trust this government when it will not tell us how much it is spending?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question and his excellent French.
Obviously this is a widespread concern, not just for the official opposition, but also, I think, for many Canadians. The nation's finances are out of control. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said as much, and many observers are saying that we must get it back under control.
The government needs to provide the information, lay its cards on the table and tell us exactly where we stand, because it is my children and grandchildren who will be footing the bill.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-12-07 19:29 [p.3078]
Madam Speaker, I am just noting that China is not the China of 2020. It is not the China of 2012 when Stephen Harper signed the Canada-China FIPA, and it is not the China of 1989.
To lock this country into a 31-year FIPA agreement is outrageous. If the hon. member read the FIPA agreements with all of the other countries we have signed FIPA agreements with, he would see that there is a “get out” clause after one year. We have been locked into a 31-year agreement and I think the Conservatives did this so that Sinopec and PetroChina, which have invested in the tar sands, could get their pipelines and product out of this country and invest in strategic resources, and to make sure there was a poison pill if we ever tried to stop pipelines that we do not want running through British Columbia.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, every era has its challenges.
At the time, the Harper government did what it thought was best. Now it is 2020. It is up to the current government to look at the situation and find solutions. We are here to help this government if it needs help.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-12-07 19:30 [p.3079]
Madam Speaker, the pandemic has shaken us all. It has revealed a lot about our situation. I am thinking of Quebec's health care system and those of all the provinces. We have seen the extent to which our health care system has been compromised.
The pandemic has also revealed that Canada was very ill-equipped for various pandemics, even though there had been at least a few dress rehearsals in the past, such as H1N1 and SARS. Year after year, there has been a decline in funding for the equipment and expertise needed to prepare for pandemics.
We saw the same thing with the health care system. If we go back a few decades, Ottawa had an agreement with Quebec and the provinces to split the costs of the health care system equally. This ratio made perfect sense, because taxpayers pay around the same amount in taxes to Ottawa and to Quebec or the provinces.
However, over the past few decades, the federal government has been consistently decreasing its share of funding. The largest drop was in the mid-1990s. Shamefully, this was part of Ottawa's response to the lost referendum in Quebec. Ottawa decided that it would cut funding to the provinces, slashing funding to Quebec so that it would no longer be able to do things on its own.
This created a certain paradox. Quebec's health care system, among other things, was under-funded. The same thing happened in the other provinces. Quebec made an ingenious move, in my opinion, and implemented a pharmacare program that, admittedly, does have room for improvement. That said, with little financial capacity, Quebec managed to do something ingenious. The same is true when it comes to family policy and the child care system or paid parental leave, all of which helped bring poverty down to a level below what it would have been without those measures.
A number of economists have even said that Quebec's child care system provides a net benefit because it makes it possible for women to remain active in the workforce. That is a plus. They keep their jobs and pay taxes, and children in the child care system get a high-quality early childhood education.
However, Ottawa chose to cut funding to the health care system, which has weakened it. This has become clearer than ever in this pandemic. One example is the terrible situations in our long-term care homes.
This Thursday, the Prime Minister is going to meet his Quebec and provincial counterparts to talk about health care funding. In my opinion, it is time to change course and try to catch-up. The government needs to provide more funding for the health care system.
As the Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated in study after study, Ottawa is the one with the flexibility. That explains why the bulk of the extraordinary spending that occurred during the pandemic was done by this level of government. The flexibility is here, and that is significant. It relates to the fiscal imbalance. What caused the fiscal imbalance? It was Ottawa withdrawing funding for health care, post-secondary education and social services.
It is time we changed course. We can no longer afford to have such a fragile health care system. That is what we have learned from the current pandemic. We knew it before, but now it has become blatantly obvious, particularly when we think about the plight of the thousands of people living in Quebec's long-term care facilities.
The federal government could have played a very important role in health care in addition to funding it. Let's hope the government will have some good news about that to share with us at the meeting on Thursday. As I said before, properly funding a health care system, making sure our health care system is not vulnerable, is an investment. When crises like this one arise, that investment enables us all to get through it and get back on our feet faster. It pays off in the end. Let's not forget that, fundamentally, this is also a social equity issue. In our wealthy society, quality health care is a right. It should not be a privilege.
The government could have made things better on the health front by securing a dependable COVID-19 vaccine supply. We are now realizing that the government appears to have made bad decisions ever since the start of the pandemic. Worse yet, it appears to have dragged its feet.
We see that other G7 countries, specifically the United Kingdom, are preparing to administer their first vaccines. Countries around the world are announcing that immunization is imminent. Despite the good news we heard today—that we could have a few doses, a symbolic few unfortunately, before the end of the year—it looks like we will have to wait months longer than other countries. It is truly appalling.
It would be interesting to know how much it would cost society to delay vaccination by one month. I asked the Minister of Health this question, but of course she did not have an answer. As we know, absolutely crucial restrictive health measures were put in place to try to stop the pandemic from spreading further, but what is the cost of delaying vaccination by one, two, three or six months? These are questions that need to be asked and that the government needs to answer, because it seems to have been dragging its feet at the beginning of the pandemic. It appears that we will be vaccinated later than citizens of other countries.
Even worse is that just a decade ago, Quebec had a very strong pharmaceutical industry. We know that in the late 1980s and 1990s, Quebec became a pharmaceutical powerhouse. Working hand in hand, Ottawa and Quebec City managed to put in place a framework that would allow pharmaceutical companies to emerge, proliferate and thrive on Quebec soil, and it was a success. In just a few years, Quebec managed to attract five multinational pharmaceutical companies that have all developed a promising vaccine or are on their way to doing so. We had top-notch researchers and production capacity, including for vaccines, back home in Quebec. A few decades later, there is almost nothing left, nothing but dust.
I obviously commend the government's intention of investing in laboratories. These investments that were announced this fall come a bit too late, in my opinion, because it will take a few years to build the production capacity. This will not help us deal with the current pandemic.
Why did the government neglect this lucrative system that we could be proud of and that gave us expertise that we could have used during this pandemic?
In fact, there is every reason to believe that we could have received vaccines earlier. They might even have been developed here, whether in the greater Montreal area, Laval, Quebec City or Sherbrooke. That did not happen because Ottawa decided to abandon this sector, change the rules, and change the system. Even though Quebec redoubled its efforts to keep this expertise, it was not enough in this highly competitive environment.
Walking away from all that is unacceptable. I am so disappointed and upset. This must never happen again. We will see what the future holds with regard to vaccines.
I would like to raise another point about vaccines. I will go back a little further in time and talk about a company that manufactured quality vaccines. Why did Ottawa decide to drop this internationally renowned, publicly owned company that supplied vaccine strains to almost every country in the world? Why did Ottawa allow this company to be dismantled and then sold?
I am referring to Connaught Laboratories, which was located in Toronto. Connaught was established in 1913 and had a rich history. Unfortunately, in the early 1970s, it was sold to a Crown corporation and ceased its previous activities before being fully privatized in the late 1980s. That is what happened under past governments of different stripes. Connaught had the ability to produce vaccines at little cost and had an international reputation.
The bad decisions made in the past partly explain the delays we ar going to experience. These are important issues. We must reflect on them. Perhaps history will teach us not to repeat these unfortunate mistakes.
A number of sectors were left out of the government's pandemic response, but there were some positives. I will come back to that in a moment. In my opinion, seniors were largely forgotten by the government.
Seniors are the ones who have been most isolated during the pandemic. They are really struggling, and we are thinking of them. They often live alone and will likely not be able to celebrate the holidays. They have been isolated for months. On top of that, they are staying home and having their groceries delivered, since they have been warned that seniors are at greater risk. All of this contributes to an ever-growing grocery bill.
This segment of the population has been forgotten for years, even decades. Many social policies have been adopted and implemented for families and young people, which I will say is great. However, there have been few or no meaningful policies to support the well-being of seniors, even as their cost of living has increased while their purchasing power has decreased.
I am thinking about old age security, which has not kept up with inflation and is therefore not where it should be. Even before the pandemic, when we would go visit people in seniors' residences, we saw it and heard about it; people would tell us that the cost of the rooms, the rent, and the cost of everything was going up while their incomes were going down, thereby reducing their purchasing power.
It had gone down so much that during the last election, the Liberal Party committed to increasing old age security. We did too, but while the Liberal Party promised to do that only for people 75 and older, it was out of the question that we would create two categories of seniors. The increase had to apply to everyone 65 and older because they all deserve it. We owe it to them, because they have helped us so much their entire lives. It was the least we could do to ensure tax equity and fairness.
After a very lengthy tug-of-war, we managed to wrest a symbolic cheque out of the government in early summer. A second cheque was to follow, but it has yet to materialize, much like a complete reform. This needs to change.
That being said, I must commend the good the government has done. From day one of the pandemic, it has implemented several income support economic policies.
We do not want to act like our neighbours to the south and pretend that the pandemic does not exist. That has had serious consequences and made health care costs go up. In Canada, we decided to quarantine and bring in measures that would reduce activity—
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-12-07 19:47 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Joliette, who once again delivered a very interesting speech.
I recognize and always welcome the relevance of his remarks, although I do not always agree them entirely. One example that comes to mind is when he talked about the “lost referendum”. The majority did win. It depends on whether we see the glass as half full or half empty. More specifically, I want to commend the soundness of the member's arguments, which are always fact based, so I wanted to point that out.
He outlined a number of problems that arose during the pandemic and how they were dealt with. One of those problems had a much more serious impact that we might have expected. In 2000, Canada distinguished itself by creating an organization to monitor health-related matters, including pandemic preparedness. Should a pandemic unfortunately occur, that organization was supposed to detect problems before they could affect our daily lives too much.
That organization served us well. Unfortunately, the current government dismantled it in 2019 and handed over its responsibilities to international organizations, which, as the New York Times reported, were in China's pocket, with all the negative repercussions that entails.
What does my colleague from Joliette think of that?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-12-07 19:48 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, I hope that my connection is working better than it was a few minutes ago. I thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for his question.
We do sometimes disagree. With regard to the 1995 referendum, I would say that, in my opinion, all of Quebec lost, but it was mainly the yes side that failed to convince the majority. As a good democrat, I respect the results of the people's vote.
It is unacceptable that the government shut down the monitoring agency and closed glove and gown warehouses. It made no sense for Canada, a G7 country, to lose its expertise on pandemics and public health crises. Yes, multilateralism is important and we need to work with all the other countries. Let us participate in all that. However, it was certainly a rookie mistake to shut down that monitoring agency.
For the sake of the national interest and a strategic vision, we need to keep those kinds of tools. I hope Quebec will always work for the national interest. I often criticize the fact that Ottawa does not do the same for Quebec's interests. If my connection had been better, I would have talked about the aerospace industry.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-12-07 19:50 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, I disagree with the member when he tries to give the impression that the Canadian government has not done well on the vaccination issue. In fact, I would challenge the member to tell me what other country has provided the vaccine before the month of December. My understanding is that Canada will be providing some vaccinations as early as this month.
When we take a look at the portfolio of vaccines, I would ask the member to tell me what other country in the world has a larger portfolio than Canada in regard to agreements with pharmaceuticals and others, ensuring that the Canadian population is being well served by the hard work of civil servants and other stakeholders. Canada is going to be well served when it comes to vaccinations.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-12-07 19:51 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and I had this discussion during questions and comments on another day.
Essentially, we do not need to have 10, 12, 15 or 20 different vaccines per person. Canada is number one in that sense. What we do need is to get one good vaccine quickly for everyone. Canada does not seem to be number one on that score. In fact, it seems to be the only G7 country in this situation. Apparently even Mexico will vaccinate its population before Canada. All the better for Mexico, as it did the right thing. It seems that Canada's government dragged its feet at the start of the pandemic, then signed multiple agreements, thinking that this would allow it to say that it had done a good job.
As I said to my colleague when he asked me this question, we will have the final answer in a few months. That said, based on what we are hearing and reading and according to the experts we have consulted, it seems that Canada's population will be vaccinated a few months after the U.S. and most European countries. That is—
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2020-12-07 19:52 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, thank you for interrupting my colleague so I could ask him a question. I was glad to see that his Internet connection has been working well for the past few minutes, and I was eager to take advantage of that too.
I would like to talk to him about this issue, because we are wondering whether the government has managed the crisis well. We know there are other very important priorities we could be debating.
For example, one of the priorities we all agree is of vital importance is high-speed Internet access, especially in remote regions. It will be crucial to the recovery, and it is essential now during the crisis.
What does my colleague think of the way the government is handling the critical high-speed Internet rollout file? Does he think the funds allocated to the various programs are adequate? Does he think the timelines are fast enough? I would like to hear his thoughts on that.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-12-07 19:53 [p.3081]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for the important question.
At the beginning of my speech, I spoke about how weak our health care system has become, but this pandemic has also highlighted how fragile our telecommunications infrastructure is. It is outrageous.
Every household needs good-quality high-speed Internet access, but that is not happening. This is 2020, and it will soon be 2021. This issue came up in 2000, and it was called unacceptable and outrageous. That was 20 years ago, and what has happened since then? Development is still slow and has been left up to the private sector. It is so slow and so inefficient that I would say if electricity were a federal jurisdiction, we would still be living by candlelight in 2020.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my Bloc Québécois colleague for his speech.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has said that we have no idea exactly how much this government has spent during the pandemic.
Does the Bloc Québécois member think that this government is doing a good job managing our public finances?
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