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View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
I understand that there is an agreement between the parties to have some brief statements.
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 Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
I thank the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on a point of order.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Does the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands have the unanimous consent of the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today in extraordinary circumstances.
I would like to sincerely and warmly thank all the parties in the House for working with us at such an important time.
I can assure Canadians that the priority of the government and all members of the House is to ensure the health and safety of every Canadian. That is why we are moving the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, following the adoption of this order, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that:
(a) the House shall be deemed to have adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28;
(b) for the supply period ending on March 26, 2020, the eighth allotted day shall be the final allotted day;
(c) the order for the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the member for Vancouver Kingsway, considered on March 12, 2020, be discharged and the motion be deemed adopted on division;
(d) the motions to concur in Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2020, and interim supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021, be deemed adopted on division and the appropriation bills based thereon be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(e) there shall be 10 allotted days in the supply period ending on June 23, 2020;
(f) a bill in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (special warrant), be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, deemed read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole on division, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage on division, deemed read a third time and passed on division;
(g) currently scheduled committee meetings shall be cancelled;
(h) the order of the day designated for Monday, March 30, 2020, for the consideration of the budget presentation, shall be undesignated;
(i) if, during the period the House stands adjourned, the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly;
(j) Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed read a third time and passed;
(k) during the period the House stands adjourned, the House may be recalled, under the provisions of Standing Order 28(3), to consider measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 and the impacts on the lives of Canadians;
(l) the government’s responses to petitions 431-00042 to 431-00045 be tabled immediately and questions on the Order Paper numbered Q-245 to Q-259 be made into orders for returns and that the said returns be tabled immediately;
(m) the government provide regular updates to representatives of the opposition parties;
(n) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act may be deposited with the Clerk of the House during the period the House is adjourned;
(o) any special warrant issued under the Financial Administration Act and deposited with the Clerk of the House shall be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the committee shall meet to consider any warrants referred to it within 20 sitting days; and
(p) the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to immediately conduct an audit of the special warrants issued under the Financial Administration Act and that the Auditor General of Canada report his findings to the House no later than June 1, 2021.
Madam Speaker, this decision was taken to help keep all Canadians safe and healthy. We made this decision together, with all the parties, and we did not make it lightly.
Our action today demonstrates that we take this challenge seriously. I want to thank all of the health care workers and professionals.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all health care professionals, who are going through tough times at work as they help us through this crisis.
To Canadians, workers and families; to children concerned for their parents; to sisters and brothers concerned for loved ones and friends, we are all united. We will face this together, and we will get through this together.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)

Question No. 245--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the electoral district of Skeena—Bulkley Valley, between the fiscal year 2005-06 and the current year: what are all the federal infrastructure investments, including direct transfers to municipalities, regional district associations or First Nations, national parks, highways, etc., broken down by fiscal year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 246--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank: (a) what is the complete list of infrastructure projects financed by the bank since June 1, 2018; (b) for each project in (a), what are the details, including the (i) amount of federal financing, (ii) location of project, (iii) scheduled completion date of project, (iv) project description; and (c) what are the details of projects currently proposed for the bank, including the (i) proposed date of commencement, (ii) location of project, (iii) proposed federal financing, (iv) project description?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 247--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of approved funding; (b) what is the complete list of approved projects; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of approved project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) scheduled completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 248--
Mr. Taylor Bachrach:
With regard to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan: (a) what is the total amount of allocated funding not yet spent; (b) what is the complete list of proposed projects not yet assigned federal funding or assigned funding, but not yet commenced construction; and (c) for each project in (b), what are the details, including the (i) value of proposed project, (ii) total amount of federal financing, (iii) location of project, (iv) project description, (v) proposed completion date?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 249--
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:
With regard to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion Project: (a) what are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (b) what are the operating expenses less loan interest payments to run the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the federal government; (c) what are the interest payments on the loan used to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, broken down by quarter, since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (d) what is the profit or loss, broken down by quarter, on the Trans Mountain Pipeline since the pipeline was purchased by the government; (e) are the revenues generated by the Trans Mountain Pipeline covering the annual operating and interest payments on the loans the government used to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion; (f) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to be completed, including the month and year; (g) on what date is the pipeline scheduled to enter service, including the month and year; (h) what is the current estimated cost of construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project; (i) on what date was the Minister of Finance, or his office, advised in writing or verbally, by officials from either the Department of Finance or a Crown corporation or a government contractor that the estimated cost of construction for the expansion was more than $7.4 billion; and (j) on what date did the government become aware that the cost of completing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was estimated to be greater than $7.4 billion?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 250--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
With regard to the Department of Finance and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth: (a) when and where were each of the council’s meetings held; (b) when were each of the council’s (i) in-person meetings, (ii) phone or video-conference sessions with stakeholders; (c) how much funding was allocated for (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other categories of funding not captured by the preceding; (d) how much was spent on (i) salaries, (ii) expenses, (iii) council operations, (iv) any other category of funding not captured by the preceding; and (e) for each of the recommendations in the council’s three reports, (i) what was the recommendation; (ii) which department or departments were tasked with actions following up on the recommendation, (iii) which team or teams within the department or departments were tasked with follow-up actions, (iv) was the action tasked further analysis of or implementation of the recommendation (e.g. feasibility studies or reports), (v) what actions were taken by these teams to implement or further analyze the recommendations?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 251--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to government aircraft travelling between Canada and Costa Rica between December 15, 2019, and January 10, 2020: what are the details of the legs of each flight to and from Costa Rica, including the (i) type of aircraft, (ii) date, (iii) place of departure, (iv) place of arrival, (v) number of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vi) name of passengers, excluding RCMP protective detail, (vii) purpose of flight, (viii) food, beverage, and other catering costs?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 252--
Mr. Eric Melillo:
With regard to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of funding delivered by FedNor in fiscal year (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, (iv) 2018-19, (v) 2019-20; (b) for each instances in (a), what are the details, broken down by (i) program or funding stream, (ii) recipient, (iii) address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code, (iv) mailing address of recipient, including the full address, city and postal code; and (c) for each instances in (b), what was the (i) total funding requested, (ii) total funding granted, (iii) description of project funded, (iv) status of project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 253--
Mr. Glen Motz:
With regard to government statistics related to crimes committed with firearms: (a) how many homicides have been committed in Canada with an AR-15 rifle; (b) how many armed robberies have been committed in Canada where the weapon used was an AR-15 rifle; (c) how many crimes of any sort have been committed in Canada where an AR-15 rifle was present; (d) if the answer to (c) is more than 0, what is the nature of the crime that was committed; (e) how many individuals who have received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (f) how many individuals who have not received a Possession and Acquisition License have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter; (g) for individuals referred to in (e) and (f), how many of these incidents involved a firearm, broken down by year since 2010; (h) how many individuals who have been released on bail and are awaiting trial have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (i) how many individuals who have been released from prison on conditional release have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; (j) how many individuals who have been found to have entered Canada illegally have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010; and (k) how many individuals who have been previously convicted of an organized crime related offence have been convicted of (i) first-degree murder, (ii) second-degree murder, (iii) manslaughter, broken down by year since 2010?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 254--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to deportation orders issued or in effect by the government since January 1, 2016: (a) what is the total number of orders issued, broken down by year; (b) what was the total number of deportation orders where the deportation was still pending as of (i) January 1, 2016, (ii) January 1, 2017, (iii) January 1, 2018, (iv) January 1, 2019, (v) January 1, 2020; (c) what was the total number of individuals deported, broken down by year; (d) what was the total number of individuals under the age of 18 deported, broken down by year; and (e) how many parents, guardians or adult family members of individuals in (d) were deported, broken down by year?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 255--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to the Budget 2019 commitment of $1.7 billion for new funding for rural broadband infrastructure: (a) how much of that funding is projected to be spent for broadband projects in the riding of Dufferin—Caledon, broken down by project; (b) what is the breakdown of the $1.7 billion, by project; (c) what are the details of all projects in (b), including the (i) name, (ii) description, (iii) amount of federal contribution, (iv) projected completion date, (v) number of users impacted; and (d) how much of the $1.7 billion has actually been delivered to date, broken down by individual project?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 256--
Mr. Kyle Seeback:
With regard to government support programs for agriculture industries impacted by changes in trade with China: (a) in 2019, what is the total amount of government funding provided to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; (b) what is the breakdown of all funding in (a), by (i) program, (ii) province; (c) in 2020, what is the projected total amount of government funding to the (i) soybean industry, (ii) canola industry, (iii) beef industry; and (d) what is the breakdown of (c), by (i) program, (ii) province?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 257--
Mr. Doug Shipley:
With regard to the government’s policy on firearms: which specific makes and models of weapons that are currently available on the legal market does the government consider to be “military-style assault weapons”?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 258--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the awarding of the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS), the General Service Medal (GSM) and the South West Asia Service ribbon by the Minister of National Defence for service in Afghanistan: (a) how many have been awarded to date, broken down by award; (b) how many requests for the SWASM have yet to be fulfilled; and (c) what are years of service in which the (i) SWASM, (ii) GSM, (iii) GCS, (iv) South West Asia Service ribbon, are eligible to be awarded, broken down by award?
Response
(Return tabled)

Question No. 259--
Mr. Blake Richards:
With regard to the January 15, 2020, Twitter post of the National Capital Commission Rideau Canal Skateway, under the Twitter handle @NCC_Skateway, entitled “Ice Ice Maybe”: (a) what was the total video production cost involved in the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, broken down by (i) work hours of public servants used, (ii) types of expenditure; (b) what are the names and titles of any persons within the government and the National Capital Commission who were involved with the production, planning, editing and posting of the video, including any ministers or ministerial exempt staff that were involved; (c) was any overtime pay granted to public servants as a result of this video, and, if so, what were the details, broken down by (i) the names and titles of managers who signed off, (ii) the total amount and cost of overtime used; (d) what are the details of all documentation on the planning, production, editing and posting of the video, including any scripts, contracts or briefing notes; (e) what are the names and titles of all persons who signed off on and had knowledge of the production of this video; (f) was any paid advertising used to promote the video on Twitter, and, if so, what were the cost and targeting metrics used; (g) were outside services procured in the production of this video, and, if so, what was the name of the company or the persons used and the total cost of any outside contracts, including the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) vendor, (iv) summary of goods or services provided; (h) was an outside contract procured, and was there an open request for proposals or was it a sole-sourced contract; and (i) was a music licence sought for the use of the musical likeness of the song “Ice Ice Baby” by the artist Vanilla Ice, and, if so, what were the cost and terms of the licence?
Response
(Return tabled)
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Pursuant to an order made earlier today, the House stands adjourned until Monday, April 20, 2020 at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 10:25 a.m.)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-12 10:05 [p.1975]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsections 21(6) and 21(5) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two reports.
The first is the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians annual report for 2019.
The second is the special report on the collection, use, retention and dissemination of information on Canadians.
Pursuant to paragraph 21(7)(b) of the act, I request that the reports be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
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 Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 11:47 [p.1991]
Mr. Speaker, let me begin by acknowledging the excellent work of my colleague, the hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend, who is our shadow minister for health. I also want to acknowledge the work of all members of the Standing Committee on Health and the government members who are working very hard to keep Canadians informed on this major crisis we are going through as a result of the terrible COVID-19 virus.
Setting aside all the partisanship we see in the House, I think we have to recognize that we are facing a major national crisis. Whether on the government side or in the various opposition parties, a great many people are currently working hard to make sure that we can deal with this crisis in an intelligent manner and that the right measures are taken at the right time.
Again, I commend and thank all Canadians, public officials and provinces for their work and their efforts to help us cope with this crisis. I know that these people are spending an enormous amount of time trying to find the best possible solutions. I think we too must work very hard to overcome this crisis and at the very least keep these people in our thoughts.
Canadians must receive the best health care available, whether it is preventative measures, hospital stays or medications. That goes for all Canadians. Even the most vulnerable members of our society must also have access not just to common medications, but also to the most innovative drugs.
The Liberal Party included a universal pharmacare program in its election platform, but it was not transparent about the cost. It should be noted that this is not the first time that the Liberals have talked about pharmacare. It was in their 1997 and 2004 platforms, as well as in the 2019 budget and election platform. Unfortunately, nothing has been done in all that time.
We even heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons say to us that, for the first time, Canada has a Prime Minister who is interested in the pharmacare program. Is it not ironic to hear someone from that side of the House tell us that all the previous prime ministers did not really intend to deal with this issue even though it was in their election platform? I was rather shocked to hear those comments, which probably foreshadow what will once again happen with the Liberal promises.
The Standing Committee on Health spent two years studying whether a national pharmacare system could be implemented. The Liberals created a task force, which is another approach. When a government does not know what to do, it creates a committee. When it does not know what to say, it consults the committee. When no results are forthcoming, it blames the committee. That is probably what will happen once again with this other promise, this intention to implement a pharmacare program, because there is no reason to believe that this time, things will be different. The Liberals are masters at raising hopes with their promises, but they are even better at creating disappointment because they never keep their promises when it counts.
Those of us on this side of the House are well aware that many Canadians have a hard time getting and paying for prescription drugs. However, the Liberals make empty promises and blab on and on in committee and in the task force, while the most vulnerable Canadians are left to fend for themselves. Instead of looking for real solutions, the Liberals are implying that one day there will be a universal pharmacare problem, which is an empty promise that they have been making for decades.
Budget 2019 does not contain a pharmacare program. Instead, the budget proposes working with the provinces, territories and stakeholders to create a new Canadian drug agency and spend $35 million to establish a Canadian drug agency transition office. Blah, blah, blah.
The advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare published its final report and submitted recommendations to the Government of Canada. These recommendations included implementing single-payer, public pharmacare. According to the report, a program with limited coverage would cost an additional $3.5 billion in 2022, and comprehensive coverage would cost an additional $15 billion a year if implemented by 2027. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says that pharmacare would have cost taxpayers $20.4 billion if it had been implemented in 2015-16. That is a lot of money.
The Conservative Party wants to ensure that Canadians get the best health care possible, but how can we trust the Liberals when they cannot even give us the facts and be transparent? They suggest that they might do certain things, but then they go ahead and do the opposite. In 2015, when the Liberals said that they were going to run small deficits, many Canadians believed them. Five years later, they have racked up $100 billion in deficits, when the deficit should have been only about $26 billion or $28 billion for that period. The Liberals were supposed to balance the budget, but they did not. Such is the Liberal reality.
We, on this side of the House, respect Quebec's decision to institute a universal pharmacare program. Quebec had the jurisdiction to implement its own program. It did so. All Quebeckers are now covered by a public and private universal pharmacare program.
The system is not perfect and, of course, it could be improved. However, a first step was taken by a government that is responsible for caring for its people. That is the path we should take. The goal is not to put a little flag on pill bottles, but to ensure that all Canadians have access to the medication they need.
I think history has shown us that the federal government is not necessarily in the best position to implement, administer and run a program as important as this one. The economy was doing well. The global economy was doing well. During that time, the government spent freely. It put the country in debt. It used up all the wiggle room that the previous Conservative government had left behind. Now we are facing a major crisis, and there is no more wiggle room. The government does not have a penny left to pay for initiatives. We cannot trust the Liberals to manage universal pharmacare. They will lose control again, as they have done so many times already. There are plenty of examples.
I am the infrastructure critic. When we ask the government to provide us with a list of projects that have received funding from its $186-billion plan, we are told there is no list. In other words, the Liberals have lost track of 52,000 projects. That is they number they gave us.
We ask them for a list, but they cannot give us one, and today they say they are going to implement pharmacare for all Canadians. They are going to lose the game plan. They are going to lose something. This will not work. The cost will spiral out of control. This government is not capable of managing Canadians' money. We know that from experience. If it spent less time giving handouts to Loblaws, Mastercard and its buddies in the private sector, maybe it would have more time to spend on health care. It would be able to transfer more money to the provinces so that they could get started on their own agendas, as Quebec did.
In the last election campaign, the Conservatives pledged to increase and maintain Canadian health transfers and social programs. Those are logical choices that demonstrate our respect for provincial jurisdictions.
In conclusion, I want to mention an outstanding company in my riding, eTrace Medical Diagnostics. This company has developed a made-in-Quebec technology for early detection of cancer by breath analysis. That means cancer could be diagnosed earlier. This could lower the cost of treatment for all Canadians by diagnosing cancer at a very early stage just by analyzing a person's breath.
Several weeks ago, I sent the entire document to the Minister of Health to request a meeting with that company. The company does not want any money, it wants to know what it will take to get this technology deployed by Canadians for Canadians and not by foreign powers, because the company might be sold.
I received no response from the Minister of Health. I did not even receive an acknowledgement of receipt.
These are concrete measures to ensure that Canadians can get better treatment and to lower the cost of drugs. When we know that cancer is one of the worst diseases, that it affects the most Canadians and that we have a solution, I wonder why the government is hesitating and will not even meet a company that is on the verge of something that may change the lives of millions of people in Canada and around the world.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 11:59 [p.1993]
Mr. Speaker, I side with Canadians. My only focus here today is to ensure that Canadians can have access to pharmacare.
It is immaterial whose system we go with. Currently 98% of Canadians have access to a drug plan. It may not be a perfect system. Some people are definitely having a tough time.
Instead of trying to come up with a solution for all Canadians, why not try to help only those people who are unable to pay for their drugs and address their situation? That would be much faster than waiting for the universal pharmacare the Liberals have been talking about since 1997.
If we take care of the 2% and are able to address their situation by transferring the necessary funds to the provinces, then the issue will be resolved.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 12:00 [p.1993]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals said they would run small deficits. The deficit has reached $28 billion. They said they would change the electoral system. We still have the system that we did back then.
With regard to credibility, I know the parliamentary secretary has been working very hard to try to restore the credibility of his Prime Minister, but Canadians no longer believe him.
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 Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 12:01 [p.1993]
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, my colleague is a member of the Standing Committee on Health, which means that he is well informed on all of the measures.
There is clearly a serious problem with drug costs. Things evolve so quickly and drugs are becoming increasingly more expensive. Change will not come by preventing pharmaceutical companies from investing in Canada, as the Liberals are doing. Right now, the government is pushing everyone away. Not only are drugs too expensive, but we also risk losing having access to certain drugs because the Americans will keep everything for themselves. This is a very important aspect that we need to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, once again, it is not in the Liberals' nature to attract investments. They are all about rejecting investments and making sure that no one invests in Canada. When we do not have technology like the one I mentioned earlier, when we do not want to help a local company develop a product that could make a real difference, we have to live with the consequences.
Unfortunately, with the Liberals, we are losing control over our own business and racking up more bills to pay.
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 Brenda Shanahan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I listened with interest and with emotion to what my colleague said he has been hearing from his constituents.
We, the members from the province of Quebec, already have a pharmacare plan, but my constituents have mentioned that there are gaps in coverage.
I would like my colleague to tell us what the federal government accomplished with this major process so we can create a pharmacare program that helps everyone.
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 Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
2020-03-12 14:03 [p.2011]
Mr. Speaker, as parliamentary secretary, I meet so many women in business, whether in Montreal or across the country. I want to share with the House what we are doing to help women entrepreneurs. Our government launched the very first women's entrepreneurship strategy, and we have already put $2 billion on the table.
Export Development Canada just doubled the amount available to women-owned exporters. The Business Development Bank of Canada already has a fund devoted to women.
Whether it is through our trade commissioner service that helps hundreds of thousands of women export, or providing access to capital through the BDC, or our women entrepreneurship fund, we are committed to doubling the number of women-led businesses in this country, because a women's place is at the head of the table.
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 Yves Robillard Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Yves Robillard Profile
2020-03-12 14:08 [p.2012]
Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the great pleasure of visiting a business located in my riding of Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. GA International is a world leader in cryogenic labels. GA International's clients have very specific, unusual needs. For example, a laboratory may need labels to identify cryogenic storage flasks subject to extreme temperatures as low as -196°C and as high as 121°C.
On behalf of the hon. Minister of Economic Development, I was pleased to announce that this outstanding Quebec business would be receiving a contribution of $162,000 from a Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions program to adopt an enterprise resource planning system. This contribution will create 36 new jobs, on top of the 40 jobs that already exist. GA International expects to double its production by the end of 2020.
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 Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-03-12 14:22 [p.2015]
Mr. Speaker, major sports organizations like the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League are taking concrete measures to protect their athletes and fans against the coronavirus. American, Italian and Chinese authorities have implemented strong measures. The Government of Quebec has taken extraordinary measures, such as cancelling any gathering of more than 250 people. Unfortunately, here in Canada, we are still waiting for a plan to protect our border and manage large gatherings.
When will the government present a plan for both of these scenarios to comply with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-03-12 14:24 [p.2015]
Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic and has called on all countries to take concrete action in response to the situation. Aside from the border and large gatherings, the Prime Minister announced that it would be easier to access EI, but that does not help workers who lose their jobs as a direct result of the coronavirus. We are talking about thousands of Canadians and Quebeckers.
We would like to know when the government will announce concrete measures to support workers whose employers are directly affected by the coronavirus. The measures that were announced unfortunately do nothing for those individuals.
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 Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-03-12 14:32 [p.2016]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question.
Speaking as President of the Treasury Board, as a government, we have a responsibility not only to work with public servants, but also to ensure that they have a safe workplace that protects their health and the health of their loved ones and co-workers.
That is why the Treasury Board has very clear directives to ensure that, when the time comes, the appropriate services and arrangements will be available to Government of Canada employees.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked the Prime Minister about the urgent need for additional screening measures at our airports.
In his answer, he reassured Canadians by saying that our airports are well prepared. A few hours later, we learned that passengers on flights returning from Italy were simply given a fact sheet on the coronavirus.
The Premier of Quebec is asking everyone who is returning from abroad to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.
Could the government put more screening measures in place for all travellers coming from abroad?
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the United States announced serious measures to protect the public. One of those measures is a ban on flights from Europe for the next 30 days.
Here in Canada, travellers on flights from Italy are coming right into the country without being screened. We learned yesterday that a passenger on one of those flights, a person from Quebec's Eastern Townships, has COVID-19. Canadians are worried.
Is the government satisfied with the existing measures to protect Canadians?
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 Mélanie Joly Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. Of course, I am sure she would agree with me and all members of the House that the health of Quebeckers and Canadians is our top priority.
We understand the concerns being expressed by people in the tourism and cultural sectors, and we know very well, from our discussions, that most stakeholders are worried. That is why I am having productive conversations with the ministers. I will have an opportunity to have a conversation with tourism ministers from across the country via teleconference this afternoon. We will take appropriate measures as needed.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-03-12 14:42 [p.2018]
Mr. Speaker, I have bad news for the government: that is not really how things went down. The Globe and Mail reported this morning that senior ministers with economic portfolios did everything they could to block the very important Teck Frontier project. We knew that was happening, and The Globe and Mail identified the culprits, who included the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
How can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food say that she is standing up for farmers in the west and across Canada, while staunchly opposing a project that is good for the west's economy and Canada's economy? I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will answer this time.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we recognize that despite historic investments in housing, there are deeply concerning conditions of housing infrastructure that many indigenous communities face. We are continuing to work toward a long-term solution.
In light of COVID-19, we are exploring all options to address these challenges, including providing temporary isolation facilities and additional health staff for communities, as needed. These supports for indigenous communities are absolutely not limited by financial capacity.
We continue to work closely with communities to coordinate resources. They are and will be there.
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for attending the technical briefing this morning with my staff. The funding announced yesterday as part of the budget 2019 emergency investments is a start that enables us to take immediate action in communities to reduce the risk of spread as well as respond should cases arrive on reserve.
The reinforcement support for indigenous communities is not limited by financial capacities, and we are working closely to coordinate those resources with communities. We are providing supplies such as bottled water, hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment to communities as needed.
We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that indigenous communities are prepared to respond to COVID-19 and will continue to adapt our plan as needed.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to meet with extraordinary people last week in Nova Scotia. Hope Blooms is one of the first organizations to receive funding from the local food infrastructure fund. With this funding, it will build eight new cooking stations. This will help an additional 65 families and 70 at-risk youth to stay healthy. This is exactly why we have put in place the first-ever food policy for Canada to ensure all Canadians are able to access a sufficient amount of safe and healthy food.
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 David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, our government introduced Bill C-75 in the last Parliament in order to prevent people from entering into the justice system, into that revolving circle of a justice system, without having any impact on reducing crime. We introduced good measures to fight crime efficiently, to fight crime fairly, to protect victims, but also to prevent the over-criminalization, particularly of certain peoples, like indigenous peoples or racialized peoples, in our criminal justice system.
View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 14:59 [p.2022]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Infrastructure is unable to provide a list of projects funded by the Liberals' $186-billion infrastructure plan. That is not surprising. When the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked the minister's department for the plan, he was told there was no plan.
The Toronto Sun got us looking for these billions of dollars. Infrastructure Canada lost track of 199 laptops and tablets. What is the minister's plan for finding the computers and the billions of dollars for infrastructure?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague actually brought this to my attention about three days ago with the letter he brought to me, and I undertook to look into it. I would ask him to be patient until I get back to him with an answer.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, cases like these are obviously tragic, and our hearts go out to the victims. It is also true that in our criminal justice system we rely a great deal on the facts and the evidence in any particular case, as well as giving, in the common law tradition, judges the ability to assess sentences as they move forward. We have promised to continue to look at and improve the criminal justice system as we move forward.
I will say with all certainty that the previous Conservative government's tough on crime stance was actually quite stupid on crime, and we will move forward with the evidence.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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 Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
View Luc Berthold Profile
2020-03-12 15:11 [p.2024]
moved:
That the House urge the government to offer consular services to Raif Badawi and work with the Government of Saudi Arabia to give him access to these consular services.
He said: Mr. Speaker, Raif Badawi deserves to have the Government of Canada provide him consular services to help him get out of prison and return to his family in Sherbrooke. Parliament needs to clearly state its support. That is why I am seeking the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-03-12 15:12 [p.2024]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
This afternoon we will continue debate on the NDP motion.
Tomorrow, we will resume debate on Bill C-4 on the free trade agreement with Mexico and the United States. We hope to conclude the debate that afternoon.
When hon. colleagues return from the constituency week, we will follow up with Bill C-7 on medical assistance in dying, Bill C-8 on conversion therapy and Bill C-3 on CBSA oversight.
Finally, I would like to inform the House that Monday, March 23, and Thursday, March 26, shall be allotted days.
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to participate in this important discussion, and I will take the opportunity presented by this speech to outline the steps that our government is taking to advance this issue.
The government is committed to strengthening health care systems across the country and supporting the health of Canadians. We know Canadians are proud of their publicly funded health care system, which is based on need and not ability to pay. For many people, however, paying for prescription drugs is a heavy burden, and for others, it is completely out of reach.
Today, more than seven million Canadians lack adequate drug coverage and many are unable to take their medications due to cost. Every year, almost one million Canadians also give up food and heat to afford medicines. These often tend to be lower-income, working-age Canadians.
No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescription drugs and putting food on the table. However, we know many are still forced to make this impossible decision. That is why our government is taking action to address these challenges through targeted measures to lower drug prices and improve the affordability of prescription drugs.
To help us chart our course forward, in 2018, the government created the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare. Chaired by Dr. Eric Hoskins, the council’s mandate was to provide independent advice on how best to implement affordable national pharmacare for Canadians and their families, employers and governments.
After leading an extensive national dialogue, in its June 2019 final report the council recommended that the federal government work with provincial and territorial governments to establish a universal, single-payer, public system of prescription drug coverage in Canada. Given the scope of the transformation required to achieve national universal pharmacare, the council suggested that it would be practical to adopt a phased approach to implementation.
Guided by the council’s recommendations, budget 2019 outlined three foundational elements to help Canada move forward on implementing national pharmacare: establishing a Canadian drug agency, developing a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, and working toward a national formulary.
A Canadian drug agency would take a coordinated approach to assessing the effectiveness of new prescription drugs and negotiating drug prices on behalf of Canada’s drug plans. The development of a national formulary—a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs—would promote more consistent coverage and patient access across the country. Both of these initiatives must be advanced in close collaboration with provinces and territories.
We recognize that for many Canadians who require prescription drugs to treat rare diseases, the cost of these medications can be astronomically high.
That is why budget 2019 proposed to invest up to $500 million per year, starting in 2022-23, to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need.
Working with provinces, territories and other partners will be key to developing a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases that includes gathering and evaluating evidence, improving decision-making consistency and access, negotiating prices and ensuring that effective treatments reach the patients who need them.
In addition, the Government of Canada modernized the way patented drug prices are regulated in Canada by amending the Patented Medicines Regulations. These amendments will better protect Canadians from excessive drug prices and are expected to save Canadians roughly $13 billion in drug spending over the next 10 years.
Our government is also working closely with the provinces and territories through the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical alliance, the pCPA. We are using our collective buying power to make drugs more affordable and lower generic drug prices for all payers. The pCPA has completed 345 negotiations with patented drug makers and has an additional 34 currently under way.
The alliance also concluded negotiation on a five-year agreement with the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association that will provide significant savings for all Canadians who use prescription generic drugs. As of April 2019, the work of the pCPA has resulted in annual savings of more than $2 billion, through negotiated price reductions for both patented and generic drugs.
This work, as with the investments made in budget 2019, will help with the successful implementation of any national pharmacare program.
In conclusion, I appreciate this opportunity to discuss some of the important work we are doing on national pharmacare. I am pleased to say that we are moving forward steadily on this critical issue.
Each of the actions I have described today is helping to pave the way for an effective pharmacare program. We recognize the challenges that many Canadians face in accessing needed medications and are working to lay the groundwork for an effective and efficient pharmacare system. This includes bringing down prescription drug prices and improving the management of drugs in our health care system.
I think we can all agree that it is critical that the government work closely with the provinces and territories to determine how best to move forward. Provinces and territories will play a key role in the development of the drug agency, the strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases and pharmacare more generally.
It is necessary that we take the time to get this right. I am looking forward to discussions with my provincial and territorial counterparts this spring. Together, we will continue to make the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs a shared priority for all Canadians.
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting this motion from the NDP. It is a very important motion. My hon. colleague is right in saying that Canadians pay among the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Brand-name medicines cost about 20% more in Canada compared with other advanced economies.
It is high time we dealt with this issue. I am looking forward to listening to my other colleagues and hearing what they have to say.
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 Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for paying close attention to my speech.
As I mentioned several times in my speech, it is extremely important for the provinces, territories and the federal government to collaborate and work together because it is for the well-being of all Canadians and thus all Quebeckers. This is about the health and safety of our fellow citizens. It is truly important that we work with the provinces and territories.
I also wanted to say that one of the recommendations of the Hoskins report was that we work together. That will make things more efficient while respecting jurisdictions.
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague and neighbour. It is always a pleasure to be seated next to her. I learn so much from her.
I think that my colleagues will support the motion. As she mentioned, this system is very much needed to help Canadians, our constituents, and patients. I will be happy to vote in favour of the motion.
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.
View Louise Charbonneau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Louise Charbonneau Profile
2020-03-12 16:18 [p.2034]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski and the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester for their speeches. They clearly have a lot of empathy and compassion for the most vulnerable members of our society and their constituents. The Bloc is also sensitive to the needs of our constituents.
However, does the member for Cumberland—Colchester acknowledge that larger transfers to the provinces would give each Canadian province and territory more latitude and freedom to spend money based on the individual needs of their citizens?
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Cumberland—Colchester for sharing her time with me.
Our government is committed to providing the first nations and Inuit access to the health services they need, including the necessary medical benefits coverage provided by the non-insured health benefits program, the NIHB.
The NIHB program delivered by Indigenous Services Canada is one of the largest supplemental health benefits programs in the country. This program is national in scope and provides the necessary health benefits to roughly 868,000 eligible first nations and Inuit clients, both on and off reserve. Last year, the NIHB program spent more than $1 billion on providing access to these medically necessary health benefits and services.
The NIHB program provides significant coverage in different insurance zones that is complementary to the insurance already provided by the provinces, territories and private insurers. This includes prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, medical supplies and equipment, mental health counselling, dental care, vision care, and medical transportation where health services are not available in the community.
Access to affordable medication is not just a provincial responsibility. The federal government administers five separate drug plans for first nations and Inuit peoples, for offenders in federal correctional institutions, for members of the military, for members of the RCMP and for veterans.
The NIHB program gives eligible first nations and Inuit peoples coverage for the prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs included in the NIHB drug benefit list when they are prescribed by a health care professional. The NIHB drug benefit list currently includes about 900 chemical entities, or about 8,500 separate drug identification numbers, known as DINs.
I should also note that coverage for certain drugs not included in the drug benefits list may be approved under exceptional circumstances. Unlike many other programs, the NIHB does not require eligible clients to pay a co-pay or deductible, and health care providers are encouraged to bill the program directly so that clients do not incur any additional fees. Federal drug plans have adopted an approach focused on assessing health technologies, to ensure that pharmaceutical products are accessible, affordable and appropriate for clients.
Once a drug is approved for sale in Canada, our country's public drug plans, including the NIHB program, must decide whether the drug will be eligible for public reimbursement. To facilitate this decision-making process, Indigenous Services Canada, along with the other administrators of federal drug plans, fully participates in the common drug review and the pan-Canadian oncology drug review, which are managed by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, or CADTH.
As part of its reviews, CADTH conducts objective evaluations of the clinical, economic and patient evidence on drugs and uses this evaluation to provide reimbursement recommendations and advice to Canada's federal, provincial and territorial public drug plans. Public drug plans, including the NIHB program, make their final decisions on whether to reimburse or cover drugs based on the recommendations of CADTH and on other factors, such as the plan's mandate, jurisdictional priorities and budgetary implications.
If necessary, price negotiations will take place to improve cost effectiveness.
Last year, a single drug class, biologic anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, accounted for 10% of the pharmaceutical market, with sales totalling over $2 billion in Canada. That is a lot of money.
It is worth mentioning that we pay approximately 25% more to treat arthritis than other countries with similar markets. For example, in Ontario, the top selling arthritis drug costs nearly $30,000 per year. In France, that same drug costs about $22,000 per year. If Canada paid the same price as France, we would have saved $220 million a year last year on that drug alone. Any failure to get the best price for a drug is a missed opportunity to do more for Canadians.
We can do better. The work has already begun. The federal, provincial and territorial governments came together to create the pan-Canadian pharmaceutical alliance, or pCPA. The pCPA negotiates drug prices on behalf of public drug plans. By harnessing the collective purchasing power of governments to negotiate the best price, we will save more and more money. We will continue to work to that same end as new drugs are added.
Treatment for hepatitis C is a good example. Hepatitis C can be debilitating and fatal. If left untreated, it can lead to liver failure and cancer. New hepatitis C treatments are effective for many patients, but they cost between $45,000 and $100,000 per patient.
In February 2017, the pCPA succeeded in lowering the cost of hepatitis C drugs. For public drug plans, lower prices mean more patients can get better treatment sooner. That is proof that working together makes the provinces and the country stronger and better able to make good decisions and work on reducing drug costs.
As a full member of the pCPA, the non-insured health benefits program, the NIHB, is implementing new agreements negotiated by the pCPA, which is making new drugs more affordable and more accessible for members of first nations and Inuit communities.
We recognize that there are serious problems related to substance use disorders across Canada, including in indigenous communities. The government takes the issue of client safety very seriously. The NIHB program is recognized as a national leader when it comes to efforts to address substance use disorders and protect client safety. It has implemented a broad range of measures over the past decade to ensure that clients receive the medication they need without putting them in danger.
Here are some examples of such measures: using warning and reject messages in real time to alert pharmacists of potentially worrisome situations regarding safety; introducing dosage and quantity limits, thereby limiting the quantity of drugs a client can receive; and imposing access restrictions on drugs when there is a safety risk or risk of diversion.
To detect high-risk drug tendencies, potentially inappropriate licensing and other safety problems, the NIHB program has a formal monitoring program, which directly implicates prescribers and providers when concerning trends are detected. Clients whose drug utilization patterns indicate an increased risk are entered into the client safety program.
Furthermore, the NIHB is guided by the Drugs and Therapeutics Advisory Committee, known as DTAC, which makes recommendations with respect to drug policies and the drug formulary. The DTAC is an advisory body of highly qualified health professionals who bring impartial and practical expert medical and pharmaceutical advice to the NIHB program to promote improvement in the health outcomes of first nations.
The approach is evidence-based and the advice reflects medical and scientific knowledge, current utilization trends, current clinical practice, health care delivery and specific departmental client health care needs.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question and participation from the start of the debate.
Personally, my wife, my daughter and I have used Quebec's pharmacare plan. We are diabetic and require fairly expensive medications.
I am thinking of a colleague from the west or elsewhere in Canada who may not have access to these medications. Even though Quebec has pharmacare, I believe that the collaboration of the provinces and territories is the key to success. That is what we have been saying from the beginning, ever since I was elected in 2015. We have never prevented a province from moving forward.
I am proud that Quebec serves as a model. In Quebec, we are proud to work with the provinces to show the rest of Canada that we can always do better.
View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
View Denis Trudel Profile
2020-03-12 16:32 [p.2036]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from Quebec for his valuable contribution to the debate, but he is not answering the fundamental question.
Earlier, my Liberal colleague talked about Quebec and Canada collaborating. I asked him the same question. There is no collaboration. Quebec's National Assembly is unanimous about that. Coalition Avenir Québec, Québec solidaire, the Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois all agree that the federal government should mind its own business.
Ever since the Constitution, health has been under provincial jurisdiction. If my colleagues want to change the Constitution, that would be fine by us. The Bloc Québécois has a number of demands relating to the Constitution. If MPs want to reopen the Constitution, we would be happy to. We could have a lot of conversations about that.
The National Assembly said no to collaboration. What we want is the money. We know what to do. We already know how to manage hospitals and doctors. As my colleague said, Quebec has had pharmacare for 20 years. It is not perfect, but it works pretty well. We want health transfers.
What does my colleague have to say to that?
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague opposite for his question and his participation. He has asked many questions in the House. They often come back to the same thing, but I will be pleased to answer them.
First of all, I am very happy to represent Quebec. In Quebec, I benefited from a system that was very good to me. However, in the House, I have decided to represent Canada. I was elected to the Parliament of Canada to represent Canadians, and my role is to represent the entire country, not just one province.
I will use my province, which is a model when it comes to drug insurance, to spread the good news to all my colleagues in Canada. I never feel like I need to protect just one province, like my colleague across the way does. He speaks only on behalf of Quebec. He has no concern for other people in Canada who need medication.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 16:49 [p.2039]
Mr. Speaker, some time ago, the nation of Quebec brought in a pharmacare program for a number of reasons, including the one just raised by my NDP colleague. There has been talk about shared jurisdictions, but consecutive federal governments have failed to take responsibility for their own jurisdiction, particularly in relation to the regulatory framework for drug prices. What is my colleague's suggestion for that?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-03-12 17:05 [p.2042]
Mr. Speaker, the NDP has moved a motion calling on the government to implement the full Hoskins report.
However, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously reacted to this report on June 14, 2019, saying that Quebec has exclusive jurisdiction over health and refuses to adhere to a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan.
How does the New Democrat member, who sometimes appears to be democratic only in his aspirations, think that his desire for co-operation will be taken seriously? A democratic parliament sent a clear message in writing, but this motion does not consider or acknowledge the will of the Quebec nation.
How can he think we will take his desire to work together seriously?
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-03-12 17:21 [p.2044]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
Since he likes to talk numbers, does he recognize that the biggest part of the problem comes from the fact that Canada has some of the highest drug prices in the world? Drugs here cost 19% more than the OECD median, according to the federal government's own statistics.
The Bloc Québécois has been urging the government for years to change the list of countries that it uses to set prices and exclude the United States and Switzerland, where prices are way too high, almost prohibitive. I would like to know what my colleague thinks about that.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-03-12 17:37 [p.2046]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
He spoke a lot about rare diseases and the high cost of drugs. I have a few numbers to illustrate what he was saying. 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 treatment costs of at least $10,000 increased sevenfold, going from 20 to 135.
Does my colleague agree that we need to support the regulations excluding the United States and Switzerland, which would enable us to save $9 billion over 10 years? That could impact the most expensive drugs.
View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
View Denis Trudel Profile
2020-03-12 17:50 [p.2049]
Madam Speaker, I might be accused of always asking the same question, but that is because we never get an answer in the House. I will ask it anyway. I very much appreciated my hon. colleague's speech, and I have a great deal of empathy for anyone dealing with the tragedy of a rare disease. On that, I agree with everyone who spoke here today.
On the other hand, I do not how this will unfold. Last June, the National Assembly voted unanimously on a motion stating that Quebec would refuse to adhere to a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan. Whether the CAQ, the PQ or Québec solidaire is in power, everyone in Quebec wants nothing to do with this. We have our own system. It is not perfect, but it works pretty well.
What we want is for Ottawa to give us the money. We have no problem with Canada creating a national pharmacare program. What we want are health transfers. We have been asking for that for years now. Quebec's health care system is underfunded. We want a 5.2% health transfer. If Ottawa wants to create a national program, that is fine, but we want money.
What are my colleague's thoughts on that?
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Unfortunately, that is all the time the member has.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for London North Centre.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-03-12 18:34 [p.2055]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
As she mentioned, we know that the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which regulates drug prices, ties Canadian prices to those of countries where they are most expensive.
We thought we had won our case in 2017, with the publication of proposed regulations that excluded the United States and Switzerland and met our demands. However, as a result of pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, the government withdrew its regulations before they were scheduled to come into force, that is in January 2019.
This time, if I have understood correctly, her government plans to implement this measure in July 2020.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
It being 6:38 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition motion are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, March 23, 2020, at the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
I have to ask the parliamentary secretary to provide an answer.
The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-03-12 18:56 [p.2059]
Madam Speaker, we all know that winter is not pleasant for Canadians. However, in the midst of this bleak winter for the Canadian economy, there was a good day that brought good news. On February 4, the Court of Appeal handed down a ruling in favour of Trans Mountain. We can now move forward, as there was no appeal. In short, it is working. This is good news because the Trans Mountain project is good for Canada's economy and its natural resources.
Unfortunately, the government nationalized the project. It took $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to purchase a project that was not for sale. It decided to buy it and send the money to the United States. Unfortunately, the price keeps going up. We are talking about another $7 billion, and taxpayers will be the ones footing the bill.
Even so, it is a good project that has the support of all directly affected first nations. Better still, it will contribute $20 billion to Canadian, provincial and municipal coffers. That is why I asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage what he planned to do with the billions of dollars he will be able to spend as heritage minister, keeping in mind that he frequently spoke out against Trans Mountain in his past life.
Unfortunately, that is the only good news we have received since this government took office. Since the Liberals have been in power, 200,000 Canadian jobs have been lost in the energy sector, seven major projects have been cancelled, and $150 billion in potential investment has evaporated. That is this government's record.
It does not end there. Last week, a private investor withdrew funding from Quebec's Énergie Saguenay project, a pipeline that would bring liquefied natural gas from the west to Quebec. That private investor is not just anybody. It is the one and only Warren Buffett. He did it because he rightly feels that the current government has done everything in its power to discourage investment in natural resources.
Canada is closed for business.
That is unfortunate. Speaking of Quebec, it is important to remember that 50,000 people in Quebec work in the petrochemical industry. People in Quebec are said to be against the pipeline. Quebec has 2,000 kilometres of pipeline. Nine pipelines pass under the St. Lawrence River. In 2012, we built a pipeline that goes from Lévis to Montreal through 630 different areas, covering 248 kilometres and crossing 26 waterways, including the St. Lawrence River. It works so well that no one knows or talks about it. That is what happens when things are done right, and that is how Trans Mountain is going to do things.
What bothers me when we talk about energy in Quebec is the fact that Quebec bought 10.6 billion litres of oil. It does not bother me that we bought the oil, because we need it. What bothers me is that 62% of that oil comes from the United States. Why send billions of dollars to Donald Trump when we could keep that money here in Canada? That is why people in Quebec are in favour of developing natural resources, if it is done correctly. Yes, Quebeckers, like all Canadians, would rather buy Canadian oil than foreign oil. What is happening right now in Quebec is that the Liberals and their Bloc Québécois friends are against these development projects. They would rather let Donald Trump lead them by the nose than help the Canadian economy.
What will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who was against the Trans Mountain project, do with the billions of dollars in tax revenue that this project will bring in for the governments?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2020-03-12 19:03 [p.2060]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the passion she has for this project. Unfortunately, this is only for one project. Because the government lacked leadership, we lost seven big projects. We lost $150 billion of investment because the government is closed for business in developing our natural resources.
The question was for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who has an very colourful past. I have a lot of respect for him. He is very involved in environmental issues and said all kinds of bad things about Trans Mountain. Now, he is acting as though nothing happened.
We are asking the government why it took $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money to buy a project that was not for sale and that will now cost an additional $7 billion.
Before the government can invest one cent in the environment, it will have to spend tens of billions. How is that good management of public funds?
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 7:05 p.m.)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about a volunteer in my riding who has given of herself her whole life, working behind the scenes, a woman of dignity.
Of course, I am talking about Léone Forget, who played an active role in providing much-needed services to Saint-Sauveur's most disadvantaged residents.
Ms. Forget was also the person who broke ground for Saint-Sauveur's community garden, which feeds people in need. The garden brought a lot of attention to the local food pantry, the Garde-Manger des Pays-d'en-haut, and brought her widespread recognition as well.
For 17 years, Ms. Forget worked very hard on the holiday charity drive, cared for vulnerable people on Rue Saint-Denis and provided invaluable assistance at the local soup kitchen, Soupe et compagnie. Right now, she is fighting for her life.
Madame Forget, on behalf of all the people in my riding, Laurentides—Labelle, thank you, and we wish you all the best.
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
2020-03-11 14:12 [p.1926]
Mr. Speaker, for International Women's Day—yes, I said “women”, plural—I would like to highlight the actions of a few women from Sherbrooke who, in the 1970s, helped provide women with the tools needed to shake up our patriarchal society. Laurette de Montigny founded the first shelter for abused women. Madeleine Lacombe established the first help centre for victims of sexual assault. Marie Gratton advocated for the rights of women in the Church. Suzanne Blache established the first employment centre for women. Lise Drouin-Paquette founded Femmes et politique municipale de l'Estrie. Lastly, Nicole Dorin helped found PEPINES in 1993.
I thank all the women who accept themselves as the persons they are to fulfill their potential, as well as those who are taking up the cause.
View Joël Godin Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, March 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Francophonie. Those who know me know that I am a strong advocate for the French fact. I am a proud Canadian, francophone, Quebecker and Conservative.
Today I acknowledge this notable and most important event. The forerunner of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie was established on March 20, 1970, under the name of Agence de coopération culturelle et technique. Canada is one of the founding countries. The OIF was founded on a shared common language, French, and is responsible for promoting and disseminating francophone cultures.
I remember that it was the Conservative Party of Canada that committed to ensuring that the federal funding allocated to the provinces for francophone communities would be spent as planned. That is another reason why I am proud to be a Conservative Party of Canada representative.
Let us continue to protect, develop, and promote our French language.
I invite francophones and francophiles to proudly celebrate the institution that is the OIF. I wish everyone a happy 50th anniversary.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-03-11 14:20 [p.1928]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to one of my constituents, Simon Thibault, who is living with epilepsy.
Simon Thibault had his first seizure 30 years ago. Today, at 43, he is not going to let epilepsy hold him back. In partnership with Épilepsie Montérégie, he has launched, and will participate in, the Défi-Simon ride for epilepsy.
From July 4 to 10, Simon will cycle 1,200 kilometres to raise awareness and inform the public about epilepsy. Accompanied by his two sons, William and Raphaël, who will be cycling with him, and with the support of his wife Valérie and daughter Lily-Ann, he will visit epilepsy associations in Quebec City, Chicoutimi, Paspébiac and, of course, Granby.
This is an excellent way to give hope to those living with epilepsy. Above all, Simon wants to show everyone affected by epilepsy that this illness must not prevent them from overcoming prejudice and breaking down barriers.
Good luck, Simon.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:24 [p.1929]
Mr. Speaker, as Canadians know, we have a very different approach on the economy from the Conservatives. We believe in investing in Canadians, investing in the middle class and investing in infrastructure. That is exactly what we have done over these past five years. What that actually has led to is not only have we seen Canadians create over a million jobs while having one of the healthiest balance sheets in the G7, but we have also lifted over a million Canadians out of poverty. Our approach of investing in Canadians and in their communities is working, and we are going to continue.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:25 [p.1929]
Mr. Speaker, the very first thing we did when we took office was to cut taxes for the middle class and raise them on the wealthiest 1%. The Conservatives voted against that. Then we brought in a Canada child benefit that stopped sending child benefit cheques to millionaires who the Conservatives supported and instead we gave more money every month to nine out of 10 Canadian families tax-free. That measure has lifted hundreds of thousands of kids and over a million Canadians out of poverty. We kept investing in Canadians, in their communities, in the future we are building together and fighting climate change. That is the future Canadians expect.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:27 [p.1929]
Mr. Speaker, Conservative governments under Stephen Harper added $150 billion to Canada's national debt. We focused instead on investing in Canadians. The Conservatives may feel that investing in a Canada child benefit is wasting money and that lifting a million people out of poverty does not count for much, but we know it makes a real difference in the lives of Canadians. That is why we are going to keep putting Canadians first, not the kind of petty politics the Conservatives do every single day.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:28 [p.1929]
Mr. Speaker, foreign direct investments actually increased 19% last year because of the initiatives we put forward.
The member opposite wants to talk about Berkshire Hathaway. He should probably look at the fact that Berkshire Hathaway just announced an investment of $200 million in a wind farm in Alberta. That is a good thing. We know that continuing to draw in global investment as we move our economy forward is absolutely important.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:29 [p.1929]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their prime minister to protect jobs, and that is exactly what I did and what I will continue to do. I will also continue to respect our legal system and protect Canadians' jobs across the country.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, allow me to say that the Bloc Québécois did not want to give the Conservatives an opportunity to keep shouting that all Quebeckers are corrupt.
This morning, the Prime Minister outlined a plan for containing what the WHO is now calling a pandemic. This announcement had some good points, particularly with respect to financial support and employment insurance. However, the government is still ignoring one of the most troubling issues, namely that border workers have neither the equipment nor the training to screen and deal with possible cases of the coronavirus.
Is the Prime Minister also going to announce a plan for managing the borders?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:31 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, ever since concerns were first raised about the coronavirus, we have been keeping the public informed and investing in our borders and in the Canada Border Services Agency to ensure that Canadian and foreign travellers entering this country are aware of the measures keeping them safe. We have always based our decisions on science and the advice of experts, and that will never change.
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it would be nice if the government would be proactive with its policy for once instead of playing catch-up and finishing three strokes behind. This is a serious and worrisome pandemic we are dealing with.
Will the government ensure better border control, hold a press conference every day and increase seniors' purchasing power as of the age of 65 in the next budget without imposing conditions?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:32 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, we have invested and will continue to invest in our health care system to keep Canadians safe. We recognize that this crisis will have an economic impact on workers, Canadians, families and seniors. That is why we are going to invest to help them and to support the sectors of the economy that are facing challenges. We will always seek to help vulnerable people in this and every situation.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:33 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, we completely understand the concerns of Canadians who are facing challenges, whether they pertain to their health, the safety of their family, their job or their financial security. That is why we are implementing measures to help workers and businesses continue to support families and communities. At the same time, we are always looking to do more to help those facing challenges. We recognize that there are segments of the population that will not have access to employment insurance. That is why we are working for them too.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:34 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, this is what I talked about this morning, the fact that our government will be there for all Canadians who are facing important decisions in keeping Canada safe, keeping their fellow citizens safe and keeping their families safe.
We know that the decisions Canadians can and will take in the coming days and weeks will have an impact on delaying the spread of the coronavirus in Canada and keeping Canadians safer. That is why we are going to make sure that we are working hard to support Canadians right across the economy through EI but also through other systems.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-03-11 14:35 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister burst out laughing at my simple but serious question, which I will now repeat.
What did the Prime Minister offer the leader of the Bloc Québécois to buy his vote and ensure that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner will not testify about the “Trudeau II Report”, a report that clearly shows the Prime Minister interfered in our justice system?
Here is what his House leader told me: If you want to know, invite them out for a beer.
If a person has to go for a beer in order to talk to the government about national issues, that is totally irresponsible.
What did he offer the leader of the Bloc Québécois in exchange for his vote?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2020-03-11 14:35 [p.1930]
Mr. Speaker, I know this will come as quite a surprise to the Conservatives, but there are people in the House from different parties who are focused on the well-being of Canadians and do not want to play political games at the expense of workers.
We will always stand up for workers from coast to coast to coast. We will always respect our institutions and the people who work for them. That is what Canadians expect. The Conservatives are the only ones constantly playing political games.
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