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Results: 1 - 15 of 1333
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, you will have noticed that the voting was carried out in such a way that members opposed to the motion had to rise very quickly, which meant that the NDP caucus did not have time to stand up to have their vote recorded.
Our vote was not recorded at all, and I consider having our votes recorded to be part of our parliamentary privilege. For procedural reasons, there are far fewer of us in the House today. Things went a little faster than expected, and our vote was not taken into account.
The NDP caucus would therefore like its vote to be counted.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 10:14 [p.2400]
Mr. Speaker, in the confusion, when I stood was my vote recorded? If so, for which side was it recorded? You will find, if you look at the recording, that I did stand during this process.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 10:16 [p.2400]
Mr. Speaker, given the confusion and the irregular nature of today's sitting, I would ask that my vote be changed.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 10:40 [p.2404]
Mr. Speaker, to look at what real knowledge on what we are facing here, I would remind the House that there have been 6,180 deaths during this COVID crisis. There have been 81,765 cases. To suggest that this global pandemic, that this global tragedy is somehow of equal importance to the petro profits of the oil and gas sector is insulting to the families that have lost lives.
The suggestion to Canadians that we have not been working, I know that in my constituency we have been working harder during this critical crisis. What has the Conservative Party been doing over the course of this crisis?
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-05-26 10:56 [p.2406]
Mr. Speaker, I came down this week because we have so much unfinished business, and we need to make sure our Parliament is focusing on the crisis at hand. Within a week of the COVID shutdown, we had millions of people across Canada who could not pay their rent. That is a shocking statistic for a nation like ours.
Yesterday I did not hear any questions from the Conservatives about how people can no longer afford to pay their rent. I heard them go on about Margaret Thatcher, the Soviet Union, the red Chinese menace and the mystical hand of the market, but I did not hear them speak at all about having to send the army into long-term care facilities, where so many seniors have died. I have not seen them act in a manner that treats this pandemic with the seriousness it needs.
When we have had to do something extraordinary such as move to committee of the whole, and I would normally be very suspicious of changing the orders of Parliament, it is to allow us to focus, ask questions, and go back to our constituents and say that we are taking this pandemic seriously in a way that will really drill down to get the answers Canadians deserve.
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-05-26 10:59 [p.2406]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
I never said that the member never showed up for work in her riding, so I think she should correct the record and stick to the facts at hand.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2020-05-26 11:13 [p.2409]
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's speech today. She is very thoughtful and I always enjoy listening to her.
Here we are talking about return to work or a continuation of work and how things have to change. The member talked about her family and recognized that a lot of people are dealing with issues at home, where they have to balance home and work life. As we talk about that return to work, obviously the New Democrats are working on better ways. Paid sick leave is a huge part. I would also like the member to respond to how we move forward in a more supportive way on child care and a universal federally supported child care system.
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-05-26 11:51 [p.2414]
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague. I am concerned about her comments on the economy roaring back. What we have learned with COVID is how quickly it has devastated our conceptions about the economy. The idea that we are going to simply switch the lights back on and everything is going to go back is not realistic. We certainly know there will be devastation in the restaurant sectors in the big urban centres. We saw how the oil sector collapsed before COVID. Now international investors have moved out all together.
There will need to be a long term vision. Part of that is what we will do with the workers who are on CERB now? Many of them have no work to go back to. Is the government willing to play the role that will be needed to build and start the economy, carefully continuing its investments and ensuring that come August or October people are not simply cut-off from CERB if they have no work to go back to?
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-05-26 12:30 [p.2420]
Mr. Speaker, that was a fascinating 10 minutes of my life.
Just because we have so much revisionism going on the House, I would like to speak about the incredible work that was done when the economic crisis hit. When the government started talking about tinkering with EI and child tax benefits, we knew that it was not going to work and that they needed to create a whole new program, something the Conservatives were not supporting at all.
It was the civil servants who worked through the Easter weekend and at night to get the CERB out. We know that the Conservatives are attacking CERB relentlessly and talking about people sleeping in their hammocks and not going to work. However, there is the work of the CRA in Sudbury and the Service Canada offices in Timmins and Thunder Bay, as well the incredible work of Community Futures and FedNor across the north, stabilizing our region, and the fact that we have $50 million of new money coming into the north at this time. We have extraordinary civil servants who stepped up, and it is really important that we recognize the work they did in getting this program off the ground, working under very difficult conditions to make sure that millions of Canadians did not lose their economic security and were not wiped out at a time of unprecedented crisis.
This is an important moment for us because we are back in the House and seeing all manner of revisionism. I want the historical record to show the work of our civil servants, who stood up at a time of unprecedented crisis, and how we were actually able to work in Parliament to change the CERB to make it workable.
I say this because in the United States, the Americans have a one-time payment of $1,250 under Trump. In England, under a majority government, there has not been any money for the self-employed people. It will not come until June. That delay would wipe people out.
However, here in Canada, because we are in a minority Parliament and because New Democrats were willing to negotiate to get something done, we got this thing through. Our civil servants did an extraordinary job, so I want to thank them.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I do not understand why the Conservatives insist on rejecting a solution that will work quite well. A hybrid Parliament will allow everyone to take part and ask the government questions, as we saw in Great Britain.
I would like my colleague's thoughts on the committee of the whole model. Personally, I very much like having this opportunity to spend five minutes talking to one or more ministers and having a more in-depth discussion than we normally can in the traditional version where we get only 30 seconds to ask a question followed by only a minute for the answer.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 13:04 [p.2425]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Timmins—James Bay. Also, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you give me a two-minute warning. I tend to speak at length.
We have heard many passionate and compelling arguments related to the crisis we are currently in with COVID. Members heard me earlier in the House reference the 6,180 COVID deaths. Each statistic is a story, a family devastated by loss from this global pandemic. When we get into statistics that large, 80,000 cases, I do not believe that we are in a place right now where we are understanding the gravity of this. I do not believe that we have taken the time as a country to mourn these losses.
Yesterday we heard tributes to an officer and pilot who died in a tragic accident. I extend that same empathy in tragedy for the loss of thousands of Canadians across the country. I do that because we are in a historic moment. We have the opportunity within the House to craft the future path of the country. I admit that we have heard lots of rhetoric inflamed on all sides by all parties. When we hear about the idea that the government is misleading, or that a party is misleading, I believe it is deeply misleading to suggest that we are not working in this present crisis, or that this notion of going back to work betrays the very spirit of the previous speaker's assertion of just how hard the staff are working, and the intensity of the emotions. In our government operations committee, we are working diligently every day across parties to ensure that we have the highest amount of accountability from the government to the public.
I am happy to report to the House that I have worked with friends, along the way, from the Bloc and from the Conservative Party to ensure that we are adequately preparing for the next wave, which we know is going to happen. We know that the government was charged with creating a stockpile that would have had adequate protective equipment in place in the millions. We know that, at the onset of this, we could have used better evidence-based practices to ensure that the number of 6,000 dead may have been less. We will not know in this current crisis, but we do know that we have to begin to plan now for future deaths and future tragedies.
Every statistic is a story. Every life lost is a heartbreak for Canadians across the country. These are just the reported numbers. These are the numbers that keep me up at night. These are the numbers that wake me up in the morning to get to work, whether virtually from Hamilton Centre or right here today.
We are in historic times. The honour and privilege that our constituents have instilled in us, to be here representing not their financial interests but their very lives, which are at stake, is the single most important thing I will do professionally in my entire life. For that, I will make no apologies. I will make no apologies for the work that we have done in the House as New Democrats to deliver for Canadians. If there are members present here today who feel like they are not at work or who feel like they have not been able to get things done, that is on their own accord.
As New Democrats, when we put the proposal to create a hybrid system that would allow every voice across this country to be represented, we did it from a small but mighty caucus of 24 members representing every corner of this country, from Nunavut to St. John's to Windsor to Skeena—Bulkley Valley, way up in the north of B.C.
We understand the complexities. We understand the passion of the small business owners who are about to lose everything after working decades to be able to provide for their families. We understand the workers who are forced into meat-packing plants like Cargill, knowing the risks they are going to undertake to ensure that we have food security. We understand what it is like for the single parents who are at home trying to make the heartbreaking decision of whether they are going to put food on the table or pay rent. There have been compelling visions for the future of this country presented throughout this crisis.
Let us be clear that the rush to get back to work is not coming from the working class. It is coming from the capitalist class. We have heard a lot of opinions about what socialism looks like. We have heard very maligning comments about how we got to work today and how we like oil and gas. I would ask members how they like health care, public education and all the goods and services that we cherish as Canadians? These were brought from a social democratic state and separate us from other countries around the world.
We have an opportunity in the House to deliver for all Canadians. We have an opportunity to deliver for every person who happens to be in the country during this pandemic. We have not only an opportunity, but a moral imperative regardless of people's citizenship. If people are temporary foreign workers or undocumented persons who have made it to this soil seeking freedom and the liberty that our Conservative friends talk about, everyone deserves to have a chance at life through this pandemic, and we know that not everyone is experiencing the pandemic equally.
As New Democrats, we are committed to working through this no matter what. We would work in a hybrid system, in a proposal that would provide a voice across all of Canada, that would work through the summer, that would work as much and as long as necessary to deliver for Canadians on a path forward. We are committed to doing that.
There was a very clear statement made by the Leader of the Opposition, who said that the rest of us here would prefer to look at Canada as how it could be, but the Conservatives would prefer to look at how it is. That is very telling. In Hamilton Centre, where I am from, I see suffering.
Is the reality we want to go back to the deep economic inequality, the racial disparities happening here, or the second-class citizenry of indigenous peoples across this land by the very definition of the Indian Act? No. I will never apologize for wanting to see this country become what it could be, not what it was.
That is where we are today. We talk about something as simple as extending EI health care to 10 paid sick days, as simple as providing universal pharmacare for everyone or as simple as providing the right to housing that would allow for the creation of 500,000 housing units across this country. We say that because we see the suffering. If members do not see the suffering, they have a deep privilege. If they do not see the suffering, I invite them to come to my riding, which has the third lowest income in the country. I will show them what it means in this moment with 6,000 deaths. When this is done there are going to be many more.
We have a moral imperative to do everything within our power legislatively. Whether we call it Parliament or a committee of the whole, whether it is virtually or in person, we have to follow the best practices that are provided by science and by doctors to model to the rest of the country just how dire this situation is. When this is all done, maybe as the House we can put politics aside and begin to mourn the thousands of lives that will have been lost. That is what I am here for. That is who I am here for.
With that I will take my seat and relinquish my time to my dear friend from Timmins—James Bay.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 13:14 [p.2426]
Mr. Speaker, to borrow a Liberal phrase, there is certainly a lot of work to do. Although we are proud of the work that has been done in our committees, we know that there are still systems in place that leave far too many people out. We need to have a laser-like focus over the next four to six months on those Canadians who are deeply suffering. Our virtual Parliament proposal is to be able to provide a hybrid system that is going to do that: keep us on track and focus our attention on what is most important.
Let us be very clear: What is most important in the House are the lives of the people living in this country. It is not the profits of petroleum companies or the other stuff that is going to be brought in to distract as a sideshow. We need laser-like focus on the lives lost in this pandemic. If it is virtual, online, or here in the House in this hybrid system, we fully support it.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 13:16 [p.2426]
Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate the legalistic terms that will be used. I am talking about the spirit and intent of running government using all the aspects that we need to ensure that Canadians get what they want. I will note the heckling that is happening right now. There is a certain spirit from the Conservative caucus that we need to get back to work. I would assert that we have been working. We have accomplished so much as a small caucus. In fact, if there was an opposition to be had, it would be had right here by working for Canadians day in and day out.
I can certainly appreciate the reactionary response from the Conservative caucus. They would prefer to cherry pick the people they have come here. This group would adhere to free speech. I see I am out of time. I am sure I will be able to elaborate on my free speech in a future question.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2020-05-26 13:18 [p.2427]
Mr. Speaker, the member's question is critically important. Like I said, to borrow the Liberal term, there is much work to be done.
Members will recall that the first iteration of the Liberals' support was the mismatch of EI, which was undefined and certainly did not provide for the most vulnerable. As New Democrats, we fought for the universal application of $2,000 to be provided to every single person in this country. What did the Liberal government do? It provided means testing that filtered very vulnerable people out: people who might have made a little money or been sole proprietors of their businesses and not paid out in the dividends that were required by the government.
To make matters worse and add more confusion, we had senior members of the Liberal Party telling everyone to apply. Our assertion from day one has always been getting more help to more people more quickly, instead of designing programs that are obsessed with filtering people out.
View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2020-05-26 13:19 [p.2427]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour, as always, to rise in the House to represent the people of Timmins—James Bay and be here at a moment when our world has fundamentally changed forever. What we need to come to terms with in the House is that we are in the midst of an unprecedented economic and health crisis, and the role of Parliament is to come together to find a way to establish a means of working to address the nature of it.
Before I spoke, we heard a report that the Canadian military, which has been in long-term care homes, has found blatant disregard for the lives of seniors, with abuse and negligence in the for-profit care system. Canadians are looking to this Parliament. They will look to us and ask what we will do to ensure that this never happens again. We will hear some say that this is under provincial jurisdiction, but the negligence happened under provincial jurisdiction and in numerous jurisdictions. These seniors deserved better, and we will have to look at how we envision health care in the 21st century.
COVID has exposed very clearly the myths of our society and the smugness. It has laid bare the inequities, and it has made us start to address this. Canada is now in the new century, and the old century and its old smug assertions are gone forever.
Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition talked about the magical, mystical hidden hand of the market that creates everything we need. That is a really bizarre thing to say when this nation did not have PPE, when our closest neighbour, the United States, was stealing our medical supplies and when front-line medical workers had to crowdsource because our nation did not have the capacity to handle the pandemic.
People will look to this Parliament to ask what we are going to do to make sure that never happens again. We should never ever to be in a situation where we have to send in the army to keep our seniors alive. We send in the army for earthquakes in Haiti. That is where we send the army. We send it to catastrophic floods and fires. We had to send in the army because we have been so negligent in the health care of seniors, and the reports speak to the blatant disregard and abuse.
We have had to adjust how Parliament works as well, and I will say one thing for sure: In opposition, members never give up time. It is their one tool. Members never shorten debate or give up an opportunity to speak, because it is the one tool we have. In the face of this crisis, we recognized that we had to pull back from Parliament and think about how we were going to do this. The New Democrats said that as we are in a minority government, we will begin to negotiate. That is what we do in a minority government.
The first negotiation was based on the fact that suddenly millions of Canadians could not pay their rent. So much for this myth of the middle class and those wanting to join it. What we see are millions of people in the gig economy and millions of contract workers who were not going to have the ability to pay their rent. Then we started to push the government.
In the original talk, the government said it was going to tinker with EI and that it had a little more money for the Canada child benefit. The New Democrats said the extent of this crisis was such that we have to do something extraordinarily different, something that would have been thought impossible in February: a $2,000-a-month minimum to keep people afloat. We worked with the government on that. We never got any support from the Conservatives. They were all howling. They talked about the shirkers and people sleeping in their hammocks. We worked with the government but said the plan was too restrictive, and we asked about the self-employed. We had to change it, and each step of the way we had to negotiate. This is what we can do in a minority government.
People in the United States got a one-time payment of $1,250. No wonder there is so much social unrest in the United States right now, a breakdown of social solidarity. If we had given a one-time payment of $1,250 in March, it would have been an economic catastrophe for Canada. We recognized that we had the power of the federal government, a power that the provinces do not have. We have the Bank of Canada to backstop this. We knew we could give $2,000 a month as a bare minimum, so we included the self-employed.
Under Boris Johnson, England went with a base income as well, but it does not include the self-employed until June. If we had done the same thing in Canada, millions would have been wiped out.
This is how we negotiated. We gave up our time, which we fight for to stop the government from shutting down debate and fight for at committee. We gave that up because there is a bigger principle at stake: the crisis that Canadians are facing.
We negotiated with the government about small businesses. The original plan the government had was for a 10% wage subsidy. We said that 10% was not going to do it and that it had to be 75%. We negotiated that. That is what we do in a minority. We have the capacity.
The government has now brought in a motion for the committee of the whole to meet four days a week. People back home have never heard me explain the ins and outs of how Parliament works because I do not tend to do that, but the idea that this is a fake Parliament or not a real Parliament is a complete misrepresentation and falsehood. We have been able to zero in with ministers, asking very specific questions to push much harder.
We asked how we would get to the end of June. We are not shutting Parliament down permanently.
How do we get to the end of June? We said there were two clear things for us.
We wanted some sessions in the summer because we do not know how COVID will change in the summer. We heard nothing from the Conservatives about wanting to show up for work in the summer. Parliament does not sit in the summer, but we got those meetings.
We also said we would support the government on this key issue if it considers workers who are going back to work. They get $14 an hour and have no sick time. We never see the Conservatives stand up and talk about people making $14 an hour, unless it is to thank someone who served them a burger in the morning after they went through the drive-through. It is great that an hon. member thanks a guy at the drive-through, as I heard earlier, but the Conservatives offer nothing about the fact that if workers gets sick they cannot take time off.
The 10 days we negotiated with the government is extraordinary. It is also extraordinary because we realized, which my friends in the Bloc will lose their minds over, that we have to start talking at a federal level about how we can do this across Canada in a pandemic. We will have to negotiate a solution here.
We will now be speaking until the end of June about where we need to be, but coming out of this, we need to have a very clear vision. The economy is not simply going to turn itself back on and roar back into life.
We heard the Leader of the Opposition say that we have to get government out of the way because we want people to be able to make choices. Mr. 20th Century Man talks of making choices when millions cannot pay their rent. Let us get government out of the way. Let us just have the private sector do it all. Anyone who is dealing with industries has heard from industry after industry that they will not come back without some kind of vision and support.
We are talking about what the role of government will be. We have been here two days, and we have heard many things from the Conservatives. They went on about Margaret Thatcher. Remember her? She said there was no such thing as society. Guess what? COVID showed us that this is not very credible. Of course, they always mention Winston Churchill. They started off with Winston Churchill, then went to Margaret Thatcher and then to the Soviet Union, with the old “follow the Soviet Union” approach. The only thing they were missing was that we had to hold the line in the Mekong Delta so that the dominos did not fall.
What we are hearing are the tired old excuses of a 20th century vision that does not cut it. What COVID has shown us in 2020 is that those old myths are not going to cut it. We will need a new vision for public investment in health care. To end the precarious nature of work, we will need a public commitment with standards, not just to get government out of the way. We will also need a vision for building our economy.
We are willing, as the New Democrats, to give up some of our time in order to negotiate in a minority to put the people of Canada first. That is what we will continue to do. We will leave the Conservatives to howl at the moon or jump on the back benches. Maybe they will mention Castro next or someone else from their 20th century greatest hits. We will focus on what we need in the 21st century.
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