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View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, the motion I want to speak to has not been formally moved yet. I am not sure what that means from a procedural standpoint. I will proceed and the House can decide thereafter.
To all Quebeckers back home concerned about the spread of a virus that may, in some cases, be life-threatening, I wish them courage.
I wish a speedy recovery to all those who will get sick in the coming weeks, including, of course, the Prime Minister's wife.
It is also my wish that we deal with this challenge before us swiftly, wisely and carefully. I ask that we restrain our propensity for playing politics and instead become protectors of the common good. That is what the Bloc Québécois will do.
Nevertheless, the suspension of Parliament should not mean and will not mean that the Bloc Québécois will be less present or less vigilant with regard to anything that might be detrimental to the interests of Quebec. The Bloc will continue to offer proposals to better serve those interests.
In light of how vigorously and quickly the coronavirus is spreading, numerous possible responses have been proposed. Time will tell which responses were appropriate. We will have to learn from this experience.
One thing that seems to have been handled poorly and inconsistently is border crossings: protocols, equipment, training, detection, referrals, quarantine and, in some cases, some level of shutdown.
If it cannot be avoided, accelerating an economic slowdown—I realize that is an oxymoron—recession or crisis is a cure that is worse than the disease in some ways. History has also taught us that the earliest victims of a crisis are the most vulnerable members of society.
Members can see why the Bloc Québécois is pushing for major accommodations in the employment insurance system and for changes that give seniors in the regions more purchasing power as soon as possible. Parliament may not be sitting, but the Bloc Québécois will be watching closely and speaking up. We were elected to be here and stand up for our people. We understand why this has to happen, we accept it, and we were part of the conversation that led to this morning's motion. However, we will insist that lost sitting days be made up, especially given the minority government context.
The coronavirus pandemic will leave an indelible mark on our planet, on Quebec and on Canada. Our response to the pandemic will also have a long-lasting economic impact. Let us therefore choose wisely.
Finally, it is important that compassion be the main principle guiding our decisions and actions. I remain committed to working to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact and suffering this crisis might have on Quebeckers.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-03-12 10:17 [p.1977]
Mr. Speaker, the Collectif 8 mars celebrated International Women's Day with the theme “Feminist with All of Our Might”. That might is something we still need, now more than ever, I would say, because we are all growing more aware of the inequality and injustice that women still face. The worst thing we could do is pretend that equality is within reach. I would have liked to stand here and talk about everything women have accomplished, everything our mothers, our grandmothers and countless other women before them endured and won, but I really feel I have a duty to talk about freedom. Freedom is a precious thing. Few women can say they are truly free, free to think, free to choose and free to act without always having to justify themselves.
Even in the supposedly developed countries, women were once again marching in the streets demanding the right to make decisions about their own bodies. This is the 21st century, but there are still women around the world who do not have the right to abortion. In Argentina, the United States, Chile and even France, where the March 8 demonstrations were violently quashed. That is why, both at home and abroad, we still need to recognize the courage of women who dare to speak up for themselves, who dare to stand up for a more equal world. In many cases, these women are heroes who risk their lives to show their own children the value of freedom. This society belongs to everyone, but it belongs to me too.
I want my nieces and nephews to care about other people, to be interested in the wider world and to grow up truly believing that their gender identity has nothing to do with their abilities, their ambitions or their potential. I want them to learn tolerance and respect, but every year in Canada, religious communities take their kids out of their Catholic schools to join anti-abortion demonstrations on Parliament Hill. Ten- and twelve-year-olds are waving anti-abortion signs. This is as outrageous as it is sad. What message are we sending them?
People often talk about the great women of history, those who were involved in major social disruption. Of course they must never be forgotten. However, I want to take some time today to talk about ordinary great women, those who battle entrenched realities every day: architects, nurses, mothers, pregnant women, sex workers, refugees, politicians and homeless women. They are all making history, writing it and reshaping it as they strive to get ahead.
I also want to give a shout out to all the “crazy bitches”, the “drama queens”, the “whores”, the “sluts”, the “fat chicks”, the “fat cows”, the “butches”, the “bimbos”, the “negresses”, the “lil' ladies”, the “witches”, the “stuck-up prudes”, the “babes”, and the “hey girls”. I want to talk to all of these women because every woman has been one of those things to someone at some point.
Today, I would like us to work together and I want to invite the men to join us too. We never talk about them, particularly not on International Women's Day, but they are important because, as equals, we protect each other. We respect each other as equals. We help each other get ahead as equals. I would like for men to help us help ourselves, for them to help us by helping themselves, for them to continue to want to be good role models for their sons and to show them that little girls are not less strong, less good or less courageous. They are just different, that's all. Girls have the same rights and responsibilities as boys, but, most importantly, they have the same freedom.
I would like to take this opportunity, in my privileged position as a member of the House, to say that I hope that, one day, all women will not just flirt with that freedom but fully assume it and be proud of it.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 11:03 [p.1984]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's passionate speech.
Quebec has had a pharmacare program since 1996, and it might even be due for some upgrades. Can my colleague explain why no other province has adopted such a program since 1996?
View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2020-03-12 11:26 [p.1988]
Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the government and all members that Quebec did not wait for an agreement to be negotiated with the provinces before bringing in its own program, because we believe it is important that everyone have pharmacare coverage.
I would like to focus specifically on the cost of prescription drugs. We are talking about a universal program, but the cost of medication is a serious problem. Canada has the highest drug costs in the OECD. Drug patent policies, for example, are a federal jurisdiction, and no action has been taken on that. In our health care system, drug prices have the highest inflation rates.
I would like to know how we can incorporate lower drug costs into a real policy.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 11:45 [p.1991]
Mr. Speaker, I would really like my colleague to explain what he thinks can be done to control drug prices, given that this is a federal jurisdiction first and foremost.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 12:01 [p.1993]
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to hear a Conservative member from Quebec say that the Quebec system and the Government of Quebec have full jurisdiction over pharmacare.
That program is currently suffering from the fact that successive federal governments have failed to take drug costs seriously and failed to take responsibility for them.
What does he propose as a means to limit and control drug prices?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 12:03 [p.1994]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Montarville.
I am pleased to speak to the motion moved by my NDP colleagues.
To start, the motion is calling on the House to:
(a) acknowledge the government’s intention to introduce and implement national pharmacare;
(b) call on the government to implement the full recommendations of the final report of the Hoskins Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare....
I will stop there.
I am a member of the Bloc Québécois and a member from Quebec. During the last election campaign, I pledged to be the voice of Quebeckers in the House of Commons and to defend their interests. When a national assembly speaks unanimously on an issue concerning the relationship between Quebec and Ottawa, the Bloc Québécois takes notice and ensures that this consensus is echoed in the House of Commons.
I will read the motion that was adopted unanimously by the National Assembly on June 14.
THAT the National Assembly acknowledge the federal report [the Hoskins report] recommending the establishment of a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan;
THAT it reaffirm the Government of Québec's exclusive jurisdiction over health;
THAT it also reaffirm that Québec has had its own general prescription insurance plan for 20 years;
THAT it indicate to the federal government that Québec refuses to adhere to a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan;
THAT it ask the Government of Québec to maintain its prescription drug insurance plan and that it demand full financial compensation from the federal government if a project for a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan is officially tabled.
Our National Assembly is speaking with one voice across party lines. It is fair to say that, when our National Assembly, a parliament of the people, of the Quebec nation, speaks with one voice across party lines, it is Quebec that is talking.
I would have liked my NDP colleague to take into account the will of the Quebec nation in the wording of his motion, especially since the 2005 Sherbrooke declaration is part of his party's history. The Sherbrooke declaration recognized asymmetrical federalism and intended to give Quebec the systematic right to opt out. It does not sound as though the NDP wanted to take into account the unanimous voice of Quebeckers in this motion. That is why the Bloc Québécois will vote against it.
The more progressive the successive federal governments, the more they seem to get bored of their areas of jurisdiction and their responsibilities. The government wants to create social programs. That is a noble intention, but it falls outside the government's jurisdiction.
When it comes to health, the federal government would have been more help to the Quebec nation and the various provinces if it had kept its 2015 election promise to increase health transfers. More than $4 billion over four years could have been invested in the respective health networks in order to take care of our population and fulfill our responsibilities.
The federal government has a hard time managing programs like Phoenix, and Canadians are not likely to forget that anytime soon. Rather than try to assert jurisdiction over health care with respect to access to medication, the federal government should focus on controlling the cost of medication. Drug prices are soaring, and the government is being complacent by refusing to immediately enforce the new Patented Medicines Regulations, which would save $9 billion over 10 years.
I began my speech with such enthusiasm, but I must not forget to stop after 10 minutes because I am sharing my time with the member for Montarville, who is listening to me very intently right now.
The Bloc has more faith in Quebec than it does in Canada, so it is surprising that a progressive party like the NDP wants a nation that is behind the times compared to ours to tell us how to be progressive.
Generally speaking, if we compare the two, Quebec's social safety net is broader than Canada's. Quebec also has the best family policy in North America, with parental leave and child care. Post-secondary studies are easier to access in Quebec than anywhere else in North America, and we have low tuition fees and plenty of financial aid. Our tax system is the most progressive in North America because income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, is 0.31 for Quebec compared to 0.42 for the United States and 0.37 for Canada.
I would now like to talk about Quebec's pharmacare program, which has been in place since 1996. Yes, we have our own pharmacare program, and all Quebeckers are covered. It may not be perfect, but it is unique in North America.
Under Quebec's Act respecting prescription drug insurance, every person living in Quebec must be covered at all times by a pharmacare program. Workers and their families must be covered by private insurers. The rest of the population is covered by the public system administered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec. It is therefore a hybrid system. The public portion of the program costs the Quebec government $3.6 billion.
However, recognizing that the Quebec system is the best on the continent and emphasizing Quebec's right to make its own decisions does not mean that our system is perfect. Here is the problem. For the public part of the program, the government has managed to negotiate lower drug prices and limit dispensing fees. Pharmacists, and especially drug companies, have made up for that by inflating the prices they charge private insurers, so much so that the cost of private insurance has skyrocketed. That means more money not going into workers' pockets.
This problem is being exacerbated by a transformation in the pharmaceutical industry. It has been quite a while since the industry discovered any new molecules that could be used for a wide range of diseases. Newer medications are targeted at narrow groups of people, which means that research costs are spread over fewer people. As a result, costs are soaring.
Between 2007 and 2017, the average annual cost of treatment for the top 10 selling patented medicines in Canada increased by 800%. The number of medicines with annual per-patient costs of at least $10,000 increased sevenfold, from 20 to 135. These high-cost medicines account for 40% of new patented medicines. Fully 30% of insurer spending is allocated to these medicines, which cover less than 2% of beneficiaries.
Quebec's hybrid system may have reached the limit of what it can do for Quebeckers, but that decision is up to them. Quebeckers are perfectly able to look after their system and make improvements.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 12:14 [p.1995]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
When a program falls under my jurisdiction and the parliament of another nation compels me, through legislation, to negotiate something I did not need to negotiate in the first place, then I think that is a good reason to include such a statement in a motion.
Since that intent is not in the motion, we can say what we want. Quebec is being invited to a meeting that the Quebec National Assembly does not want to attend.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 12:16 [p.1995]
Madam Speaker, I encourage the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to ask the Quebec National Assembly that question.
I understand that members want to improve the system, but there is a problem. If we were to insist on the 6% health transfers that Quebec is calling for, or on the 5.2% that the territories and provinces agreed upon, over a period of four years, the government would have to inject $4 billion into our health care networks. If the government just stuck to its own jurisdiction and sent that money straight to the front lines to help Quebeckers and Canadians instead of creating programs that would siphon off some of that money for overhead, then I think that would be more beneficial for everyone.
It is one thing to claim to want to start a discussion with another government, and I urge him to talk to all parties in the Quebec National Assembly, but it is a whole other thing for the parliament of another nation to force the Quebec nation to sit down at the table against its will.
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-03-12 12:17 [p.1995]
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Montcalm on his excellent speech. I could almost say that there is nothing more to add. In fact, he said it all and left me with practically nothing to say.
In any event, as the Standing Orders would have it, I will add my voice to that of the hon. member for Montcalm. There may be some overlap, but that will only illustrate that the Bloc Québécois speaks in the House with one voice, the voice of Quebec.
We have heard our NDP colleagues present the same arguments in the House a few times now, either during question period or in their interventions. I have heard some extremely compelling arguments about the difficulty many Canadians have paying for the drugs they need for their health. I have to say that I appreciate the arguments being made by our NDP colleagues and why they are making them here.
The problem is that they are making these arguments in the wrong parliament. Under the Constitution Act, 1867, and the new version that was imposed on us in 1982, which changed nothing in this area, health is the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. The federal government has a very bad habit of meddling in the provinces' jurisdictions and neglecting its own. Rather than looking after its own affairs, it seems that it is always tempted to stick its nose in the affairs of others.
We saw this, for example, in the recent crisis involving the Wet'suwet'en. Under the Constitution, the federal government still has fiduciary responsibility for first nations in Canada, but the Prime Minister continued to repeat that it was up to the provinces and police forces to intervene. It was a crisis that strictly affected western Canada and relations between the federal government and a first nation, but every day the Prime Minister repeated that it was up to the provinces and the police to intervene.
The federal government meddled in the health sector. It left a bad taste in our mouth, and we are still talking about it today. My colleague referred to this, and I would like to expand on this subject.
One day, the federal government woke up and wondered whether it would be a good idea if all Canadians across the country had the same pharmacare coverage. The provinces answered that health care is their domain. The government then offered to foot 50% of the bill, hoping that would get the provinces on board. The provinces approved and said they agreed.
Today, the federal government is covering about 17% of the bill. Right now, we have to fight tooth and nail just to get the federal government to do the bare minimum and cover the increases to system costs, since the provincial health transfer escalator is 3% a year. However, health care costs across Canada, especially in Quebec, are rising at a rate of about 5%. We would like the federal government to increase its contribution, not to 50% as initially promised, but to a mere 25%. We are therefore requesting an annual escalator of just over 5%, but even that is asking too much.
For Quebec, it is a case of once bitten, twice shy. We are not exactly eager to have the federal government put its paws all over this yet again. The Quebec government gets the money to pay for its own pharmacare plan from the overall health care budget, but this overall budget is being underfunded by the federal government.
Are we going to let the federal government put its paws all over health care again? Certainly not. We suffered through previous federal government interference in health care. Years and decades later, we are still asking the federal government to reverse the changes that were made to health transfers by the previous Conservative government, which capped them at 3% a year.
That does not cover rising health care costs. There is a shortfall because annual increases to federal health transfers have been anemic. There is a shortfall, which means that the federal contribution to health is actually shrinking. That is a fact. Do we want the federal government to do more? No, for goodness' sake, no more federal involvement. The more it does, the more harm it causes. We do not want that.
My NDP colleague said she understands that Quebec is distinct and wants its own system. Why is that not reflected in the motion, as my colleague from Montcalm requested? This is the second time this has happened. The first time, the New Democrats were so surprised that the Bloc Québécois voted against their motion. I turned to the NDP's House leader, who wanted to me support his motion today, and I asked him why the motion did not say anything about letting Quebec maintain its own drug program and giving it the right to opt out with full compensation. The NDP's latest motion says nothing about that either. Why is it so hard for them to understand?
We are not going to make any commitments based solely on our colleagues' empty words. Empty words have caused nothing but trouble for Quebec and the provinces. Provinces are still struggling with what came to be called a fiscal imbalance. The tax base they were allocated to fulfill their responsibilities was far below what they needed. At the federal level, however, the tax base exceeded the government's needs, which means that, historically, the federal government has ended up with a lot of money. Not knowing what to do with that money, it decided it would be a good idea to take it and stomp right over provincial jurisdictions.
If the government is so flush with cash to invest in health care, it should increase transfers so that the provinces and Quebec can meet their needs. We are facing a global public health crisis, yet we are still quibbling over an increase to health transfers.
I think that if the federal government wants to do something, it should focus on its own areas of responsibility. With regard to prescription drugs, there are two things that fall to the federal government. First, the federal government needs to increase health transfers. That is the first thing. As I mentioned, Quebec has its own pharmacare plan, but it is funded from the overall health care budget. If the government increases its health transfer contributions, it will give the Quebec government some breathing room, which will help the province maintain its pharmacare plan and its health care system in general.
The second thing that the federal government needs to do is something we have been long waiting for, but it always gets put off. It involves amending the regulations so that Canadians stop overpaying for drugs. Our drug prices are aligned with those of several other countries, which, for a variety of market-related reasons, traditionally set prices too high. The United States is a classic example. The government needs to amend the regulations and stop aligning Canada's drug prices with those of the U.S. That alone will substantially change the cost of medication.
Instead of trying to meddle even more in Quebec and provincial jurisdictions, you should mind your own business and do what you have to do. One thing you must do at the federal level is amend the regulations.
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-03-12 12:29 [p.1997]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I am pleased that the NDP, like the Bloc, is calling for an increase in health transfers. I think that this is imperative to allow the provinces and Quebec to address a certain number of phenomena, like that of the aging population. The federal government must contribute, but its contribution is far less than what it promised from the beginning.
With regard to the national program, and by national I mean Canadian in accordance with my NDP colleague's definition, I do not see any problem with Canada setting up such a program, but it cannot do so without keeping the provinces in the loop. It cannot do so without giving the Government of Quebec the right to opt out with full financial compensation. Since that right is not included in the motion, we will unfortunately vote against it.
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-03-12 12:31 [p.1997]
Madam Speaker, I am not sure what the connection is between the 1995 referendum and the businesses that would have set up shop in my hon. colleague's riding.
In case he has not seen all the figures, I would say to my colleague that Quebec is currently the most economically dynamic province. The Government of Quebec is the only government that currently has a budgetary surplus.
The situation in Quebec since the 1995 referendum is not as sombre as my colleague across the way would suggest. On the contrary, there are many other provinces that are much worse off than Quebec is right now.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-12 12:45 [p.1999]
Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague on his intervention.
I would like to ask him about the level of intervention being suggested by the NDP. Why do they fail to understand that health is a jurisdiction of Quebec?
My two colleagues, the hon. members for Montarville and Montcalm, clearly asked the NDP why they omitted from their proposal the fact that Quebec has the right to opt out with full compensation. I heard them say, off mike, that it is in their platform. I am sorry, but to us platforms are vague promises. Canada has made plenty of vague promises. I could spend 45 minutes listing those promises and run out of time. We no longer believe the vague promises.
What was the real purpose of this omission?
I am sorry to have to vote against the motion. We are in favour of pharmacare, but we are here to protect Quebeckers and the National Assembly. We will have to vote against the motion.
What is the real reason the NDP omitted Quebec's right to opt out? Did they want to come across as more progressive than we are?
View Michel Boudrias Profile
BQ (QC)
View Michel Boudrias Profile
2020-03-12 13:02 [p.2002]
Madam Speaker, obviously, we agree with the substance of the motion. As we have heard, Quebec is setting an example when it comes to protection and coverage for medical care, particularly regarding pharmacare. We already have a system that works, the first in Canada, which serves as a model. We fully agree on that.
However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a provincial jurisdiction and that the federal government spends $300 billion a year. Of that amount, $100 billion goes to real services, while $200 billion in transfer payments of all kinds are used to force the hand of various governments and blackmail them.
Would my colleague not agree that the money should be transferred to the provinces so they can create their own pharmacare programs?
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-03-12 13:13 [p.2004]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to put a question to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, who I generally find to be very eloquent. I listened carefully to his speech, especially when he said that his greatest frustration as a federal MP was to see the difficulties experienced by our seniors and the most disadvantaged with health care.
I would like to ask him two questions. First, why did he not choose to run at the provincial level if his greatest concern is health care, which is not a federal jurisdiction but the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces?
Second, given that he chose to become a federal member and also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, why not ensure that the federal government increases health transfers to make it possible for provinces to carry out their responsibilities and why does he not ensure the timely enactment of regulations lowering the cost of drugs?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-12 13:29 [p.2006]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I note, as I did at the beginning of the day, that there have been many thoughtful speeches that really speak to people on the sensitive issue of health.
To come back to the substance of the issue, I will ask my colleague two things. First, does he not believe that Quebec should have the right to opt out with full compensation if this motion is adopted? It is important to make that clear before the motion is adopted. Second, does he think that we should figure out how that would work right away?
View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2020-03-12 13:47 [p.2008]
Madam Speaker, we have a lot of audacity and courage.
The member is right to say that the cost of drugs is unacceptable. Quebeckers think so too. That is why we set up a universal plan so that no one falls through the cracks. There was a need. The program is now a done deal and we should show respect for those who implemented it.
The other question has to do with the cost of drugs. Even though we have a universal pharmacare plan that falls under the administrative aspect of this file, the situation that we are describing will go on as long as no decision is made to control drug prices, which is something that falls under federal jurisdiction. I repeat: Canada pays 19 times more than every other OECD country. The government needs to take action.
Do you agree that this universal issue that affects all of Canada must be addressed?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-12 13:57 [p.2010]
Madam Speaker, I will go back to the question I asked earlier. Why does the motion not include an option for Quebec and any other province to opt out of the program with full compensation? That would have enabled us to work together instead of forcing us to vote against the motion. We agree with our colleagues' emotional pleas. We would have liked to see it in writing. We no longer have faith in promises.
Why did they not put it in writing?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-03-12 14:04 [p.2011]
Mr. Speaker, in an era of climate change, and given the importance of taking measures for the health of our planet, I want to highlight a remarkable initiative launched by students at the École polyvalente Saint-Jérôme in my riding.
A dozen students took it upon themselves to create a mini sorting centre in their cafeteria in order to reduce waste and its impact on the environment. This project, called “Cafétéria verte”, is supported by the Fondation Monique Fitz-Back and backed by many stakeholders in my community, including the Rivière-du-Nord RCM, the Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi Rivière-du-Nord and the Tricentris sorting centre.
I want to commend this initiative and the students behind this environmentally responsible project.
Way to go, Rosalie, Manuel, Victorianne and Émylie.
On behalf of myself and my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I can assure them of our unwavering support in the fight against climate change.
View Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to a woman from Saint-Hyacinthe who is a true hometown hero. Jani Barré has brittle bone disease, which means she runs the risk of breaking a bone every time she moves.
Nevertheless, last month, she completed her fifth marathon in four hours and 47 minutes in Miami. This is a feat that most people with this disease will never accomplish. This month, Jani is on the front page of Pace magazine.
Her father, Bernard Barré, ran against me in the last election, and I still have the utmost respect for him. When we spoke at the one-hour and two-hour relay race event in Saint-Hyacinthe, he told me that Jani is totally fearless. He was right.
March 8 was International Women's Day, and this week, I would like to honour the first Quebec woman to complete marathons in a wheelchair.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-03-12 14:25 [p.2015]
Mr. Speaker, I also wish to convey our best wishes to Ms. Grégoire for a speedy recovery.
This morning, the National Assembly of Quebec expressed all Quebeckers' concern over the coronavirus when it unanimously called on the Government of Canada to implement a meaningful testing protocol for the coronavirus, or COVID-19, for everyone entering Canada by giving border services personnel the tools they need. We have already lost far too much time.
Will the government respect the unanimous will of Quebec? What will it do to immediately tighten border security?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-03-12 14:26 [p.2015]
Mr. Speaker, I have a question anyway.
Municipalities are telling us that border security measures are inadequate. This has been confirmed by first responders, by customs officers and by travellers themselves. Today, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously declared that border controls need to be stepped up. That is quite a lot of people telling us there is no border protocol.
Will the government finally implement robust control measures for all people entering Quebec and Canada?
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-03-12 14:37 [p.2017]
Mr. Speaker, the meeting of the premiers of Quebec and the provinces in Ottawa has been cancelled. That is a wise decision, but also a shame because we might have finally found out what Canada's emergency plan for containing COVID-19 is.
The Deputy Prime Minister even required the Quebec and provincial premiers to present their plans. Every time we ask for her own government's plan, we just get bits and pieces of information day after day.
Will the federal government finally release its emergency plan in order to reassure the public, please?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, travellers arriving from Italy at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport were shocked to see that no one asked them any questions. They were coming from one of the largest outbreak zones in the world, yet they were simply handed a pamphlet.
This afternoon, the government's travel advisory for Europe still indicated the lowest possible risk level, even though when we are in a full-blown pandemic. There is a happy medium between panicking and doing nothing.
Will the government finally take real measures to monitor the coronavirus?
View Caroline Desbiens Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, events all over the world are being cancelled due to the coronavirus. Festivals in Quebec are subject to the same uncertainty and the same concerns. From Le Festif! in Baie-Saint-Paul, a major cultural, tourist and economic attraction for our region, to the Quebec City Summer Festival, as well as festivals of all sizes in Montreal and across Quebec, everyone is in suspense.
Can the festivals go ahead with their programming? If organizers have to cancel events, will the grant programs be maintained? What about lost ticket sales and sponsorships? We need to plan for this now.
Will they be compensated?
View Louise Chabot Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Chabot Profile
2020-03-12 14:54 [p.2021]
Mr. Speaker, with the coronavirus, we need to make sure that workers who feel sick stay home.
Eliminating the waiting period for EI is a step in the right direction, but the government needs to do much more, considering how long it takes to process applications.
Is the government prepared to relax the rules and pay EI from day one to everyone in quarantine who applies?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 14:56 [p.2021]
Mr. Speaker, we welcome the increase to the health transfer to combat the coronavirus. That said, the government is admitting that the existing 3% transfer is not enough for provinces to care for the sick. Ottawa should be contributing its share towards health care at all times, not just in times of crisis.
Will the government make this measure permanent and increase the health transfer escalator to 5.2%, as Quebec is calling for, to cover 25% of the costs?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-03-12 15:10 [p.2024]
Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion: That it be resolved by the House to grant Raif Badawi honorary Canadian citizenship so that Canada may provide him the consular services he needs in Saudi Arabia.
View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
View Denis Trudel Profile
2020-03-12 15:32 [p.2027]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her speech.
My colleague is a member from Quebec. We could discuss people's well-being and pharmacare. The problem is that this is not the right forum. Health is a provincial jurisdiction.
I would like to remind my colleague, who is from Quebec, that, on June 14, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution indicating that Quebec is calling for full and unconditional financial compensation if a Canadian pharmacare plan is officially implemented. The National Assembly clearly stated that Quebec refuses to join a Canadian pharmacare plan.
They want to negotiate with the provinces, but how will they negotiate with Quebec, which has already said that it is not on board?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 15:48 [p.2030]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know what kind of regulatory framework my colleague supports for drug costs, which is a federal jurisdiction.
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