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Results: 1 - 15 of 644
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-05-26 10:06 [p.2399]
Mr. Speaker, can I have clarification? My interpretation said Standing Orders 7 and 8, but I believe it should be Standing Orders 15 and 17. Could the House leader clarify?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 10:07 [p.2399]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition. This return will be tabled in an electronic format.
While I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 10:17 [p.2400]
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 10:34 [p.2403]
Mr. Speaker, the member is missing a very important point. We in the Liberal caucus can assure the member that we work whether we are in Ottawa or in our home constituency. At the end of the day, the role that a member of Parliament plays goes far beyond just representation inside the House of Commons. There is no doubt about it that this is an important aspect. It is absolutely a privilege. It is an honour to stand up and speak.
The motion we are debating today is going to allow, even during this pandemic, the opportunity to ensure that government is still being held accountable and that the institution continues to work. To try to give the impression that members of Parliament are not working is just wrong, at least from the perspective of the Liberal caucus. We work every day, whether it is inside or outside the House.
Does the member not realize that this work inside the House, in a hybrid fashion, will take place, even in the months of July and August, which will be a first?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 10:42 [p.2404]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians from all regions of the country deserve a great deal of credit for how they have responded over the last couple of months.
I much prefer using “physical” distancing over “social” distancing, because people can still communicate in various ways, but it is important that we maintain the physical distancing. We talk about washing hands and wearing masks. Canadians have really stepped up to the plate in so many ways to ensure that we minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus. We should all express our appreciation to Canadians in general for the way they have responded.
I would like to get my colleague's thoughts on that.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 11:25 [p.2410]
Mr. Speaker, my friend makes reference to the connection between the need to support workers and the need to support businesses. Whether in the province of Quebec or my home province of Manitoba, small businesses are hurting, just as workers are hurting. That is one of the reasons the government has spent so much energy and many resources to make sure minimal damage is done to that aspect of our economy.
An example of that is the wage subsidy. By bringing forward a strong wage subsidy program, we are ensuring that both workers and employers will be protected. By ensuring that protection, we will be in a better position to grow our economy into the future. We are protecting jobs and at the same time protecting companies.
This is just one program of the many programs that are there, and it shows why it is so important that the Government of Canada works with provincial entities to make sure we minimize the negative impacts of the coronavirus. Does the member not see that as a good thing?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 11:39 [p.2412]
Mr. Speaker, the member brought up a number of issues, some of which I agree with and others I might question. For example, I believe that the government has invested more in health care, historical amounts, and I do not see the cuts that she has seen. However, the reason I am posing a question to the member is to make a connection between her comments and how important the motion before us really is.
Surely to goodness, we recognize that just a few months ago no one could have anticipated this. If we look at all that has been accomplished, whether it is the programs or the government's working with the opposition, we have accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time. Democracy is important. The idea of a full virtual integration has been talked about for the last couple of months, and we have moved significantly on this. That is what the motion is really about: advancing us further into this full integration so that all members can be engaged in Parliament.
Would the member agree that because of the motion, she would have far more latitude and a greater ability to question the government on all of the issues she has raised? She will be able to do this not only in the months of May and June, but also for the first time, from what I understand, in July and August.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 12:33 [p.2420]
Mr. Speaker, I want to be as concise as I can on what we are actually debating today and why I would highly recommend that the member opposite support where we are today. The Prime Minister has been here and has been held to account for government decisions, whether here or in the virtual Parliament over the Internet.
From the Conservatives perspective, what we are really talking about is their wanting an opposition day and private members' business. Maybe those can come with time. We need to focus on how we can continue to move forward with a virtual Parliament, a hybrid system that will enable all members to participate.
I want to give a specific example. If we have an opposition day, at the end of the opposition day there needs to be a vote. However, because of physical distancing we cannot have 338 members sitting in the chamber. Even the Conservatives seem to agree with that particular point. We have to allow for some sort of a voting process, yet the Conservatives refuse to have a voting process. Whether we are talking about opposition days or private members' bills, therein lies the problem. That problem needs to be resolved. The House leadership teams need to come together and work through it.
Would the member not agree that today we are talking about having more questions than we have ever had? We are going to be sitting in the summer, which we have never done before. There is going to be a wide variety of issues to talk about at length, both virtually and in Parliament. In fact, the Prime Minister and Liberal caucus have made a commitment to the parliamentary process and serving their constituents.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 13:13 [p.2426]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my colleague across the way. I always put the residents of Winnipeg North and their concerns and issues at the top of my agenda. I appreciate the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being spent through this epidemic to support real people in our communities: young, not as young, businesses and so forth. It is critically important.
It is encouraging to see individuals from all political parties contributing to doing the tweaking that is necessary so that we can maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impact of the epidemic we are facing.
My question is related to the full virtual integration that we are hoping to achieve. Because of health-related concerns and advice from health experts, 338 members cannot meet inside the House and therefore are looking for that hybrid.
Could my colleague emphasize how important it is that we achieve that at some point?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.
I am glad to be back in the House. I love being in the chamber. One of my friends in the media calls the day that he puts the newspaper together with the stories and the pictures “magic day”, and this is where magic happens for us as politicians, right here in the chamber. It is the only place, I think, where we can get the real feel of how Parliament is meant to work.
I appreciate that a number of colleagues are giving shout outs to their staff, and I would like to do the same. My staff works so diligently and hard on behalf of our constituents who have been struggling during this outbreak. I want to give a big thanks to Dana, Lisa, Laura, Lindsay, Megan and Gianfranco. The service they provide to our constituents is bar none, and I am proud of each and every one of them. I know the incredible amount of effort and skill they apply to each case that has come to our attention through the mailbox, by email or by phone. Even though we are not yet allowing visitors in our office, we are working to put in place the proper safety protocol so that we can start meeting with our constituents again when a phone call is just not enough.
Meeting here and having these discussions is something that is fundamental to democracy. As Conservatives, we have been saying that Parliament needs to meet, as we are doing here today, and it needs to do so consistently. Now, we are not saying that we need all 338 members here. We can use a hybrid system, which we are going to try out going forward with the special committee of the whole on COVID-19. There are ways for us to do that, as well as to vote. We are looking for a compromise where we can have Parliament function and deal with the business of the day.
Our municipalities are meeting. Our town councils and municipal councils are meeting every month dealing with things on behalf their ratepayers. Every provincial legislature is still meeting. They are acknowledging the need for social distancing while still doing the business of the day to ensure that they are on top of the COVID-19 crisis, and also dealing with all of the issues that government is charged with.
If we look around the world, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and even China are meeting. I am sure that the Prime Minister, with his admiration for the “basic dictatorship” in China, is watching closely as the National People's Congress of China is meeting shoulder-to-shoulder. If members watched them on the news, they are all wearing masks, but they are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in their chamber. It is important that parliaments gather. We exchange ideas and have rigorous debate, which is not possible through Zoom with the technological problems, the inability to hear each other and the cutting in and out.
I am sure that the member for Timmins—James Bay will be glad that I am going to give a Winston Churchill quote, as follows:
It is difficult to explain this to those who do not know our ways. They cannot easily be made to understand why we consider that the intensity, passion, intimacy, informality and spontaneity of our Debates constitute the personality of the House of Commons and endow it at once with its focus and its strength.
That is the best way to describe why we need to be in here carrying out these debates, including the heckles. It is where we have an opportunity to have an exchange of ideas and to see the reactions and to be able to feed off each other's emotions to some degree, as long as it does not escalate too much. It is the role of parliamentarians in the House of Commons to have these discussions. Although the government motion refers to having a 95-minute question time during the committee of the whole with five minutes of back and forth, it still does not replace what we do in here via conversations and discussions on the bills of the day, which is something that we are not dealing with at all while we are in this special parliamentary committee format. For instance, we are not dealing with a budget, and I will get to that later.
Professor Christian Leuprecht from Queen's University has said:
Ultimately the underlying primary constitutional principle here is the principle of responsible government. It is about ministerial responsibility, first and foremost, during a crisis and an emergency...
Especially during a time of crisis, Parliament has a supreme duty to hold the executive to account. Canadians need continuous parliamentary audit of the executive and the bureaucracy's judgment.
This is the role of the opposition and the backbench of the government in the House, that we ask the tough questions. Our Constitution, our Westminster parliamentary system, is built upon that ministerial accountability and that is not happening when we are working off Zoom.
There are concerns in my riding. When I am here I can have my 10-minute speech and I can have my time in question period and I can have time at committee to raise concerns from my constituents. I want to raise a few of those right now.
One of the small business owners in my riding owns a couple of businesses and said she had to shut down because of the types of businesses she operates and is having trouble paying her rent. Unfortunately, her landlord refuses to participate in the Canada emergency commercial rent assistance and so she is going to be forced to leave and he is going to have to chase after her for the lease payments that are left. It is going to end up in court and could actually affect her other businesses because she is financially strapped now.
If I get a chance through the special committee and the 95 minutes of questions and answers maybe I will get the chance to get these answers from the minister, but if we are here all day long, I have a greater opportunity to raise these issues directly with the minister.
On the agriculture side, farmers are really struggling. The Interlake area I represent has gone through drought after drought. Before that there was BSE and flooding along Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, so a lot of farmers have been hit hard. They are trying to get crops in the ground and cattle fed through the winter, having enough pasture. On top of that, as we already heard, and I thank my colleague from Battle River—Crowfoot for the great job he does as the shadow minister of agriculture, we are seeing meat prices go up because there is less beef being processed in our meat packing plants because the slaughter facilities are being impacted by COVID and workers cannot get to work and, ultimately, prices on the retail side are going up.
The opposite is happening because of oversupply in our feed lots and among our cattle calf operators. One of my constituents lost $600 per head on the calves he held over the winter, as he always does. He sold them in the spring and received $600 less than he did the year before. Most operators will not be able to sustain that. That is over a $60,000 loss for that one single farmer.
There is also a commercial fishery in my riding, and it has raised many concerns. The Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation has quit buying pickerel from Lake Winnipeg and will not even try to market it because all the restaurants they sell to have shut down and there is an oversupply sitting in storage. Fishermen and their families have to go out onto the lakes and are not able to catch anything of value, like pickerel and whitefish, to sell.
One thing that is missing in all of this process is a budget from the government. We are spending money this year that could very well see us having a deficit equal to the budget we had last year of $350 billion. We could have a $350-billion deficit with the shrinking economy and the growing government spending in response to COVID-19. We still have not seen a budget from the government and accountability on how it is going to spend this money without crashing the economy, without putting us in such crippling debt that we may never be able to crawl out from underneath it.
It is our job as parliamentarians to look after the taxpayer, and that is not happening because of this special committee.
I can go on and on. Firearms owners in my riding are upset. These issues need to be discussed at committee, but we do not have every committee going. The public safety committee is not going. The national defence committee that I am vice-chair of is not operating. Without having those committees operating, we cannot deal with issues of the day in a timely manner to address the concerns of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 13:46 [p.2431]
Mr. Speaker, the member is actually wrong in his assessment, and once this motion passes, it will enable the member to talk about whatever issue he so chooses to talk about and raise in the format of questions. We will still have members' statements and petitions as well.
Some things we will not have, such as opposition days. In order to have an opposition day, or a private member's hour, there are other aspects that need to be figured out, for example, how a member would actually vote. We cannot have 338 members inside the chamber all at once. Even the Conservatives seem to recognize that.
This is something that is evolving, much like many of the different programs. Three or four months ago, no one could have anticipated the types of changes that we have witnessed, such as providing the billions in support programs. Had we not done that, could you only imagine what the economy and our society would be looking like?
The government is moving forward, opposition members are contributing, life continues and we continue to look for ways we can improve our system.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I want to use this quote from December 2013. It reads:
We know why the Prime Minister prorogued the session back in September. It was because he did not want to have the House sitting. He avoided the day in and day out accountability in the House, because he was not happy with what was being reported in a sequence of events that portrayed corruption and fraud....
As a result, we lost weeks of debate earlier this fall because the Prime Minister did not want to come back. Why did he not want to come back? He had a very serious problem, and still does, and it is not going to go away.
Do members know who said that? It was the member for Winnipeg North.
He, of course, is failing to recognize that the issue of accountability, our ability as private members to bring forward our private members' bills, is not being enabled through this process. We are not dealing with any legislation. We are not dealing with opposition motions, as he already portrayed. That is part of accountability, and the Liberals are trying to duck out and do government through press conferences in front of the Rideau Cottage.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I am a farmer, and my son in law is just finishing putting soybeans in the ground right now. I can tell you that, knowing how AgriStability and the suite of business risk management programs work, they were never designed to deal with these types of crises.
Whether one is a beef farmer, a grain and oilseeds operator or a supply-managed dairy farmer, there are a lot of problems with the lack of response from the government. The government refuses, first, to recognize the issue and, second, to respond in a meaningful way to ensure that we are food secure and that our rural communities thrive. Without a healthy agricultural society, our rural communities hurt. The government refuses to put in place the proper cash injections to cover off the loss of market share on the international and domestic levels, and recognize the fact that we need to control supply.
Without the government,s putting in place those steps and programs, like the set-aside on slaughter animals, we will not get to a point of viability to survive through the pandemic, for our agriculture producers.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Speaker, when the member for Timmins—James Bay and I were first elected, we served on the agriculture committee together. The member is right. We do not have enough regional capacity across this country. Do we have surplus capacity on good days? Yes, we do. When everyone is operating at full steam, we have enough capacity within the country.
However, when we start seeing reductions in shifts, or shutdowns of plants in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, we will ultimately see impacts in other areas of the country. The farther away those facilities are, the harder it is to get animals to market, and the bigger the discounts they will take.
We need to look at our overall food security and how processing, along with production, is part of that. We also need to maintain the ability to export our high-quality food products around the world.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-05-26 14:03 [p.2433]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time and opportunity to say a special thanks to those individuals who have had an impact on the lives of all Canadians.
We often thank our first responders, our health care workers, but there are so many other people, from the farmer who produces the food to the truck driver who delivers it to the supermarkets or food centres to the individuals who provide cashier services and stocking of the shelves, not to mention those services that are so critically important.
The other day I had the opportunity to speak to taxi and bus drivers. Imagine driving a bus or a taxi and not knowing who is coming in the doors or entering the car. Many people are contributing to ensure that we as a society are much better off in getting through this pandemic.
On behalf of the constituents of Winnipeg North, and I believe all members of Parliament from all sides of the House, I would like to express our appreciation and gratitude.
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