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Results: 1 - 15 of 51
View Marc Miller Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge my presence today on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
I would like to say a few words on the current social climate in Canada. Right now is a moment when Canadians are recognizing that there is unfairness built into our systems. These systems have always been unfair toward indigenous people.
I look to my colleagues in the House to reflect on why injustice toward indigenous people still happens and how we can move forward in the short, medium and long term. I know that in my capacity as Minister of Indigenous Services, I face those questions every day, as does my ministry. These are difficult and uncomfortable conversations, but important ones to have.
With that, I welcome this opportunity to provide the House with an update on our continuing effort to confront the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. I can assure members that the top priority of the Government of Canada during this time remains the safety and physical and mental health of all Canadians and indigenous people living in Canada.
As of June 16, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 255 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in first nations. Of those, 210 individuals are considered to have recovered.
Indigenous Services Canada continues to work closely with communities to identify a surge in health infrastructure needs, supporting efforts to screen, triage and isolate individuals in the event of a possible COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to work closely with communities and partners to coordinate resources and keep people and communities safe.
To date, the Government of Canada has provided indigenous peoples and northern communities with approximately $1.5 billion in funding to successfully fight COVID-19.
A large portion of this funding is found in the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2020-21. These estimates include more than $280 million to support health measures provided by Indigenous Services Canada in first nation and Inuit communities.
This is essential funding that will be used primarily to provide first nation and Inuit communities with the following: the services of additional health care providers; personal protective equipment; health infrastructure, in particular the repurposing of existing community spaces or the purchase of mobile structures to support isolation, assessment and shelter measures; and prevention and infection control measures at the community level.
In addition, these estimates reflect $305 million for the distinctions-based indigenous community support fund. Of this amount, $215 million was dedicated to first nations, $45 million to Inuit and $30 million to Métis nation communities, plus $15 million in proposal-based funding for first nations off reserve and urban indigenous organizations and communities.
An additional $75 million was also sought for organizations supporting first nations individuals off reserve and Inuit and Métis living in urban areas, as well as $10 million in funding for emergency, family violence prevention, shelters on reserve and in the Yukon.
As part of our COVID-19 response, we are also providing $270 million to respond to financial pressures on income assistance for essential living expenses due to COVID-19.
In addition to funding for our COVID-19 response, these estimates include funding to ensure that first nations children and families receive the services they need and to which they are entitled. We have committed $468.2 million to maintain the first nations child and family services program, which brings the program's total annual budget to $1.7 billion.
This includes support to implement the decisions by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued before September 2019 and connected to the complaint by first nations child and family services regarding child and family services and Jordan's principle; coverage of expected maintenance costs for service providers; operating costs for the new agencies; response to pressure from provincial agreements; and implementation of a reserve fund to ensure that money is available should the actual numbers call for reimbursement.
The Government of Canada is committed to implementing Jordan's principle and ensuring that first nations children have access to the products, services and support they need in the areas of health, social services and education.
The Government of Canada is committed to implementing Jordan's principle and is taking action to ensure that first nations children receive the products, services and support they need in health, social services and education. The supplementary estimates also include $230 million to respond to the year-long financial pressures arising from the implementation of Jordan's principle.
Every year since its implementation, Jordan's principle has led to a significant increase in the number of approved applications submitted by individuals and groups. As a result, associated spending has increased significantly.
Since 2016, the Government of Canada has adopted an interim approach to Jordan's principle that has allowed it to inject more than $1 billion to meet the needs of first nations children. We are determined to continue to meet those needs and work to keep our promise on implementing the principle.
To further safeguard food security in the north, our government has committed up to $25 million to support temporary enhancements to nutrition north Canada in these estimates. This funding will help ensure nutrition north Canada fulfills its mandate to improve access to healthy food through additional education and subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have also invested up to $72.6 million to address urgent health care and social support needs in the territories in response to COVID-19, with $18.4 million allocated to Yukon, $23.4 million to the Northwest Territories and $30.8 million to Nunavut. In addition, we have provided up to $17.3 million to enable the continuation of northern air services to support essential resupply and medical services in the north. We do recognize the essential role that a focused and reliable air network plays in enabling the movement of essential goods and services to respond to the pandemic. Funding has already been disbursed for the urgent health care and social support needs in the territories in response to COVID-19 and to enable the continuation of northern air service supporting essential resupply and medical services in the north.
We have also committed to a needs-based funding approach that involves $23.4 million in Vote 10 grants and contributions, including $9.9 million to support research and higher education in Canada's north; $6 million to support planning activities of the Government of the Northwest Territories, for the proposed Taltson hydroelectricity expansion project; $6 million to respond to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and $1.5 million toward indigenous consultation and capacity support activities.
I thank members for the opportunity to speak about this crucial and important work. Meegwetch, nakurmiik, mahsi cho.
View Angelo Iacono Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Angelo Iacono Profile
2020-05-25 15:06 [p.2359]
Mr. Speaker, my question regards the plan the government has in place to support families struggling because of COVID-19. Across the country families, and especially parents with children, have had to deal with the challenges that arise from uncertainty about the future. I have heard from many parents in my riding who are in need of additional support.
My question is for the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Could he inform us of any specific action the government has taken to directly support parents with children during this difficult time?
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-05-25 15:06 [p.2359]
Mr. Speaker, that is a really important question.
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense pressure on Canadian families. That is why we made the decision as a government to increase the May payment under the Canada child benefit.
I am happy to announce to the House that last week millions of Canadian parents received an additional $300 per child under the Canada child benefit. In addition to that, in July, we will be increasing the Canada child benefit once again to take into consideration the increase in the cost of living.
As long as parents are facing these pressures, our government will be there for them and will take care of them.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-04-29 14:40 [p.2243]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move:
That, notwithstanding the order of Monday, April 20, 2020:
(a) the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food be added to the list of committees in paragraph (l) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020;
(b) the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be instructed to undertake a review of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act and that the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than June 30, 2021;
(c) the time provided for questioning ministers in the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic be extended to 95 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to provide an additional five-minute round of questioning for the New Democratic Party caucus;
(d) the government implement new financial incentives and support measures to connect Canadians, particularly students and Canadian youth, to the various jobs available, for example, in the agriculture and agri-food sector, in order to ensure regional economic stability and food production during this crisis;
(e) the government ensure that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) are offered in a manner that meets their objective while encouraging employment in all circumstances;
(f) the government define the final parameters of CESB in regulations in the short term and that an additional support of $250 be provided for students with dependents or with disabilities, in addition to the $1750 that has already been announced; and
(g) the government implement measures without delay to provide additional support for seniors and persons with disabilities in order to assist with extraordinary expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19, and examine the best way to do this, including looking at Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement as potential mechanisms.
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-04-29 14:48 [p.2244]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Deputy Prime Minister.
I am pleased to participate today in this debate on Bill C-15, an act respecting Canada emergency student benefits. We are here to discuss how we can best support Canada's students.
For over six weeks, Canadians have been adapting to the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting our country and the entire world.
In order to support Canadians during this crisis, our government has taken significant action and implemented Canada's COVID-19 economic response plan, which provides $146 billion in support.
A key element of this plan is the Canada emergency response benefit, created to support Canadian workers facing unemployment due to COVID-19. The benefit is now providing eligible workers with temporary income support of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
When we launched the benefit on April 6, some Canadian workers expressed concerns about eligibility. We listened, and on April 15 we made it more inclusive. Now workers, including the self-employed, can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the benefit. The benefit also applies to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefit payments and are unable to start working again because of COVID-19.
To give the House a sense of the scope of this effort, public servants have now processed over 10.15 million applications to date under the Canada emergency response benefit. This figure is a reflection of the real need of Canadians during this time and of our public service's dedication to our country.
We know that more support is needed for Canadians. Young people are facing a serious set of challenges in this difficult time, be it interrupted studies, reduced work opportunities or disruptions to summer co-op or internship plans.
Many Canadian post-secondary students are wondering how they will be able to pay their tuition, buy groceries and cover their rent if they cannot find a summer job.
It is estimated that over a million post-secondary students may not be eligible for the Canada emergency response benefit.
Students are a valuable part of our communities and are ready to bring innovative solutions and a helping hand to our workforce in response to COVID-19.
Last week the Prime Minister mentioned Felix, a recent engineering grad from Carleton University. Felix has experience working on communication satellites, and a few weeks ago he talked to a local manufacturer about what they could do in the fight against COVID-19. Now they have started designing and creating reusable face shields for front-line workers.
Felix is not the only one stepping up. Young people from all over Canada are pitching in and doing their part.
This proposed legislation before us is how we are supporting them in turn. If approved, this framework would provide financial relief to students during the important summer months through a temporary income support benefit worth approximately $5.2 billion. I will focus on the largest piece of this framework, which is the Canada emergency student benefit.
Last week our government announced a four-month Canada emergency student benefit. Students who are not receiving the CERB and meet the criteria for this new benefit will be able to apply to receive $1,250 per month between May and August. Students with permanent disabilities and students with dependants would receive an additional $750 per month, for a total of $2,000 a month.
Students will be able to work part time and still receive the benefit, which is part of our effort to keep Canadians connected with the labour market.
Like the Canada emergency response benefit, the Canada emergency student benefit will not have to be repaid.
The CESB would be available to students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma or certificate, or who ended their studies no earlier than December 2019. This means that students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program or who just recently ended their post-secondary studies would be eligible. It would also be available to high school graduates who will be joining post-secondary education programs in the coming months.
The Canada emergency student benefit will also be accessible to both current CEGEP students and those who recently completed their CEGEP studies and plan to go back to school in the fall.
Our government has also committed over $75 million to enhance the assistance offered to first nations, Inuit and Métis students.
Students would be able to begin applying for the CESB in May via a simple online form on the CRA website under My Account.
Finally, I would like to highlight what our government is doing to address the concerns of students with disabilities during this pandemic. We recognize that some groups are significantly and disproportionately impacted by this crisis. For some Canadians with disabilities, underlying medical conditions put them at greater risk of serious complications related to COVID-19. Others face discrimination and barriers in accessing information, social services and health care.
We know that students with disabilities as well as students with dependants could have additional expenses during this public health crisis. As such, Canadian students with disabilities and students with dependants would be eligible to receive an extra $750 per month on top of the basic CESB benefit.
The uncertainty may feel overwhelming for many students, but in Canada we look out for each other. We value education, service and hard work. These measures will help Canadian students get through these difficult times so they can build their career and future they have been working so hard for.
Putting forward this legislation is a key step in our delivery of support for students. I thank all the members of Parliament who are providing feedback and bringing forth the thoughts and concerns of their constituents.
The passage of this bill is a key step in the government's offer of assistance to students. I thank all members who gave feedback and shared their constituents' ideas and concerns.
May is fast approaching and students are counting on us to help them get through these trying times.
Together, as members of Parliament, we have the opportunity to support Canada's students in a way that will be felt for years to come. On the other side, when the economy comes back, they will define our path forward, a path toward a better, more equal society.
View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mona Fortier Profile
2020-04-29 16:40 [p.2261]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging my constituents in Ottawa—Vanier who have stayed in touch with me since the beginning of this crisis and shared their ideas and concerns. It is truly by working together in our community that we can support Canadians and especially those in my riding, Ottawa—Vanier.
I am also grateful to be able to address the House on COVID-19 and the supplementary measures we are taking to further help Canadians throughout this unprecedented situation.
During these extraordinary times, the realities of the job market change every day. The government continues to look for ways to offer programs and support that work for all Canadians, including students and young people, as we deal with this pandemic.
Through the Canada emergency response benefit, the government has created a financial aid package to support Canadians in these unprecedented circumstances. This benefit provides Canadians who are no longer working because of the COVID-19 pandemic and those whose hours have been considerably reduced an amount of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks.
Over 1.9 million applications have been processed to date under EI and the Canada emergency response benefit. These numbers are simply incredible and give us an idea of the number of people who are financially impacted by this pandemic. However, the government realized that certain Canadians were falling through the cracks and were not eligible to get the help they needed with the existing CERB criteria. This is why today we are proposing to take the next step in our approach to supporting all Canadians who need it most during this pandemic.
It is now time to look more closely at the situation of Canadian students, because they need specific help and support. Right now, as they are self-isolating like everyone else in the country, many Canadian post-secondary students are left wondering how they are going to provide for themselves. Even students from the University of Ottawa and La Cité Collégiale in my riding have been reaching out to find out how we will support them.
Whereas they would usually ask their parents for help, they now have to face the harsh reality that mom and dad are probably having a hard time meeting their own needs during this crisis.
Some students are eligible for the Canada emergency response benefit. Students who earned less than $5,000 in the past year and those who were working but lost their jobs because of COVID-19 are eligible, but many other students are not. More than one million post-secondary students may not be eligible for the COVID-19 CERB.
Students are facing some serious problems. Their studies have been interrupted, they have fewer job opportunities, and all of their co-op, internship and community service opportunities are up in the air. As a result, young people are worried and wondering what to do.
The government wants to make sure that young people know they matter and that we are there for them in these difficult times. That is why we are proposing this complementary bill to the Government of Canada's COVID-19 economic response plan, which already commits $146 billion in direct support for Canadians and businesses through these unprecedented times. It is the next logical step.
Our comprehensive package of measures for students will allow the government to implement a range of measures designed to help three broad groups of young people: students, job seekers and youth looking for service opportunities. As the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion previously explained in more detail, the Canada emergency student benefit is the largest piece of the framework. It will provide immediate help to support students right across the country.
In a nutshell, it would provide $1,250 a month, from May to August, to post-secondary students and recent graduates who cannot find summer employment due to COVID-19. Students who care for dependants or have a disability would receive an additional $500 a month for a total of $1,750 a month. High school graduates entering post-secondary education would also be eligible. The government expects that more than one million students and recent graduates would benefit from this financial support.
To help students with fall tuition, the Canada student loans program would double student grants, lower expected contributions and expand eligibility for student loans and grants. This would be in addition to the six-month interest moratorium on repayment of student loans. All student loan borrowers automatically had their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No payment is required and interest will not accrue during this time. All of these measures will make students' lives a little less stressful during these difficult times.
Since our government rolled out the CERB, questions have been asked in the public sphere regarding the concept of a national universal basic income. We are listening. These questions deserve to be properly considered and debated in due course, but now is not the time.
From the beginning of this crisis, we have had to adapt to the changing reality of the pandemic. Given the urgency of the situation, the government had to act quickly, very quickly. Millions of Canadians needed financial assistance so they could pay their rent, buy groceries and support their families. Fortunately, many Canadians are still getting a paycheque and do not need emergency funds to pay the bills.
However, we needed to provide support quickly for those who needed it, and our biggest priority was making sure that the help got to those who needed it the most. This being the end of April and the beginning of May, now is the time when post-secondary studies and school terms end and when students are looking for summer jobs. Of course, that is not going to happen as easily this year and these students might not be eligible to apply for the CERB. That is why we require Parliament's approval to move forward with the Canada emergency student benefit, which is the next logical step to help more Canadians in need to get through this pandemic.
By tabling Bill C-15, our government is telling Canadian students that they are important, that their plans for the future are important, and that we are here to help them and support them. We are all in the same boat, and we remain committed to helping all Canadians in these difficult times.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-04-29 16:59 [p.2263]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Peace River—Westlock.
I wanted to start off by saying that when I was younger, Oshawa was a bit of a different town. Oshawa was proudly able to support many students who were working in good summer jobs at the GM assembly plant. I remember working eight years in that plant, and it was a good wage and a great experience. Many of my friends in different programs, whether engineering, management, trades or labour, gained great experience at that plant.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, I am a chiropractor. One may ask what kind of experience I received working on the floor at GM to be a chiropractor. It has allowed me to connect with my constituents and know what they are going through when they came to see me. I always joke that it even maybe helped me in politics. I have said that I have come to Ottawa to straighten out those politicians. When one gets to work in one's community, it is a wonderful experience.
Today it is a different environment in Oshawa, and there are no longer the same opportunities. We have lost our assembly plant. There are still good opportunities in the auto sector, as well as some growth in health care and education, but students still make up a great part of my constituency and this bill hits home.
Between the Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham campus and Durham College, Oshawa is home to literally thousands of students. In 2019, Ontario Tech University has a total of 10,348 students. Durham College has more than 13,600 full post-secondary and apprenticeship students, with more than 2,000 students from over 60 countries, along with thousands of students in part-time, professional and online studies. Trent University Durham campus has over 1,600 undergraduate students, with 41 graduate students as well. Unlike years past, I am hearing from our young people that they are hurting.
Young people want the same thing that we wanted. They want a job; they do not want a handout. They want a future, experience, a better life and they want opportunities. I love hanging around young people because they really inspire me. They know Canada is the best country in the world with the best potential and that it is the best place to live.
This bill is about students and their futures. I am hearing from the students in my riding that they are in immediate need, as are their families. I am very happy to be here today to support this bill. Conservatives have been working very hard to help the government to better these bills and make better programs available for students and Canadians who need them.
Conservatives have negotiated several changes to this proposed legislation, which includes requiring the government to connect all applicants to the Canada job bank and providing them with job availability information before applying, requiring parliamentary review of the legislation and benefit and instituting a legislated sunset clause so the benefit could not be extended through regulation and there would be accountability.
We recognize unemployment in some parts of the country is extremely high because of this pandemic and that some of these jobs just are not available, so Canadians and students need real help right now. In normal times, this would be a time when students would be starting their new summer jobs so they could save up for the next school year and pay for their rent and groceries.
While the $1250 that students will be receiving through the Canada emergency student benefit is a step that will help them pay their rent and buy their groceries, it will not place them in a position to pay for their books and tuition come September. They need more. Students need to be able to work in a safe, sanitary environment that will not only pay their bills but also give them experience in their chosen field or even in a field that gives them valuable experience.
What energizes me when I talk to students is that students believe in the future of Canada. Many students come here from all over the world, and a kid in Oshawa can make new friends and learn from friends who come from all parts of the world. They all understand the importance of experience and the potential that Canada offers these students.
Students also believe in the Canadian dream. That is why I love listening to their ideas. The government sometimes has a difficult time defining what the middle class is, but the students I have talked to know what that means. They know what they are aiming for. They want to join the middle class and contribute in a significant way to the Canadian economy. Students want to do their part. They want to contribute to Canada's future. They want to settle down, pursue their careers, raise their families, reach for their dreams and help continue to make Canada the best country in the world.
Right now students are hurting. There is uncertainty. There is fear. It is not just about the COVID virus; they are worried about their future and their families. I have been hearing from mature students with dependants. They have concerns with this ongoing crisis. This is real. They are very concerned about paying their bills while also taking care of their kids. They want to be able to graduate and get a good job in their field, and, if they want, get married, pay for their kids' hockey or volleyball, buy a house, buy a car or go on vacation once a year to get away from our famously frigid Canadian winters. Students know what they want. They understand the definition of middle class and what a Canadian dream is. Students know this.
As Conservatives, we want to help improve these government programs in these trying times. We have some really good ideas, which we have heard in the House today. We want to put them forward to help students in the long term and in an effective way. We offer these ideas for the government's consideration, and we want to help it develop and improve its programs.
Therefore, along with this bill, there should be a priority to expand the Canada summers job program and create a central database to ensure that these critical jobs are filled and students not only receive valuable experience, but limit their student debt by making more money during the summer. This program should focus on jobs in the agricultural sector, because we are hearing more and more concerns about our critical supply chains and the difficulty people in our agricultural sector are having in getting the labour they need. At the same time, we want to put our students to work in a helpful and meaningful way that gives them practical life experience, which can also be valuable for their future careers.
When people think of Oshawa, they think about cars. I am really proud of that history, but many people do not realize that the Durham region adds $300 million every single year to Ontario's farm production. In 2017, there were 3,400 jobs in the forestry, fishing and hunting sectors. There are over 200 farms in the Durham region. These farms produce high-quality food for Canadians. Whether it is beef, lamb, honey, cider, fruit, vegetables or wine, we are very proud of the products we produce in the Durham region.
We have been hit with hard times before, but sometimes the hard times have a silver lining: They bring people together. I think our Conservative idea will really help benefit employers who are looking to give those students the experience they need but maybe cannot afford it right now. It will give students more money so that when they get back to school in the fall of 2020, they will have fewer loans and more money in their pockets.
In the end, although the Canada emergency student benefit provides assistance to students in the short term, it is important that our young people and mature students are able to get the supports they need so they can be prepared for the opening of the fall 2020 semester, whether it is online or in a slightly modified environment. This can be done by expanding the Canada summer jobs program so employers can get the help they need and supply chains can be secure, all while putting more money in the pockets of students and giving them experience that will last a lifetime.
What the Conservatives want to do is offer Canadians a win-win-win. The program we are offering gives students a win, businesses a win and Canadians a win. When Canadians, students and businesses win, it ensures we all have a future we can be proud of.
I anticipate some great questions from my colleagues on this.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I am ready to rule on a question of privilege raised on February 18, 2020, by the member for Timmins—James Bay concerning the government's response to written Question No. 163.
In his intervention, the member alleged that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada deliberately misled the House in a response to a written question about the costs incurred in legal proceedings related to Canadian Human Rights Tribunal cases. In short, the member argued that there is a discrepancy between the costs specified in the government's response and the amounts provided to members of the public who obtained the information through access to information requests. In his opinion, the government is in contempt of the House for having deliberately misled it by providing incomplete or inaccurate information in its answer to written Question No. 163.
In response, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader asserted that the government uses a consistent formula for calculating litigation costs when responding to written questions, while the methodology used for the compilation of the amounts obtained by other people is unknown. He added that this discrepancy in the information by no means suggests that the calculations by the government were done in bad faith or to deliberately mislead the House, and that this matter should not be considered a legitimate question of privilege since it consisted more in a debate as to the facts. In other words, his view is that members disagree on how the final number was arrived at, but that such disagreements are not unusual in debating an issue from different perspectives.
I thank the members for their interventions. Essentially, the member for Timmins—James Bay contends that the response was deliberately misleading because, as he mentioned in his remarks, it does not align with the information obtained by an academic and a journalist through other means, while the parliamentary secretary suggests that the methodologies employed by other sources may have differed from the one employed by the government.
Ultimately, this seems to be a dispute as to facts which, as Speaker, it is not my role to assess. Our precedents on this subject are clear and, as stated in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, at page 529:
There are no provisions in the rules for the Speaker to review government responses to questions.
Furthermore, in the case before us, contrary to the precedents cited by the member for Timmins—James Bay, we do not have a situation where the same individual has presented two different sets of facts to the House, nor is there any evidence to suggest that there was an attempt to deliberately mislead the House. For these reasons, the Chair cannot find that there is a prima facie question of privilege in this case.
It may be that the member for Timmins—James Bay is not satisfied with the response he received. There is however an array of options available for him to pursue this issue, whether it be resubmitting a written question worded differently or by asking questions to the minister directly during Oral Questions or a committee meeting.
The parliamentary secretary, in his intervention on February 25, 2020, also suggested that members could approach a minister or a parliamentary secretary directly to seek clarification when they feel that the information is incomplete or appears to be inconsistent with other sources of information. He contended that, more often than not, these inconsistencies may simply be a mistake, an omission or a misunderstanding instead of a deliberate attempt to mislead the House.
The Chair must admit that perhaps better communication between members, who seek the information, and the government, who provides that information, could be a solution to improve how the information is shared in this process, without escalating any dissatisfaction to a question of privilege. However, the Chair wants to reassure the House that whenever members feel that their privileges have been breached, it is their right to bring the matter to the attention of the Speaker in this way.
In conclusion, as Speakers before me have expressed several times, I would like to reiterate the importance of the accuracy of information from the government on which the members rely to perform their parliamentary duties.
I thank all members for their attention.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-25 15:17 [p.1519]
Mr. Speaker, I am rising to address the question of privilege raised by the member for Timmins—James Bay in respect to the government's response to Order Paper Question No. 163.
I would point out that the member for Timmins—James Bay has presented different estimates as to the government's litigation costs related to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision respecting the first nations child and family services program.
The member presents three sets of information: the government's response to Question No. 163, which I would point out has been calculated using a consistent formula that the government uses for litigation costs in responding to Order Paper questions; a compilation of a number of responses to ATIP questions over the years, which has been compiled by Dr. Blackstock; and an estimate prepared by the Assembly of First Nations.
The government does not have a clear line of sight into how either Dr. Blackstock or the AFN calculated these costs nor what was included in their estimates. This in no way suggests that the calculations were done in bad faith or that the minister deliberately misled the House with the government's response to Question No. 163.
This amounts to a debate as to the facts, and therefore should not be considered a legitimate question of privilege.
This brings us to the broader issue. While we may have different political views on issues before the House, we are all here for the same reason, to work in the interests of Canadians.
When a member feels that the information the government has provided appears to be inconsistent with other sources of information or may feel that the information is incomplete, the simple and civil thing to do is talk to the minister or parliamentary secretary responsible for the file.
If that approach does not yield the results that a member expects, it is perfectly legitimate for members to raise these matters as points of order. What I have witnessed of late is that members are unfortunately using questions of privilege instead of more appropriately using points of order.
I would hate to suggest that members are using these important questions of privilege simply to score political points. I would also like to point out that raising these matters as questions of privilege is tantamount to a direct personal attack on a member's character.
There are but few examples that can be found where a member has deliberately misled the House. More often than not, a misleading statement arises when there is a mistake made, an omission or a simple misunderstanding on an issue. To assume that members and ministers deliberately seek to mislead the House is a false assumption.
Let us remind ourselves of the important role we play in our parliamentary democracy and treat each other with the respect that we all so thoroughly deserve.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2020-02-25 15:21 [p.1520]
Mr. Speaker, I do not normally rise immediately following the interventions of the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, but it is the job of the Speaker to determine what is or is not a valid question of privilege. For this member to suggest that members are uncivil or somehow derelict in their duties for bringing up important questions of privilege for you, as the Speaker, to decide sends a chill from the government that once again it does not want to hear from members of Parliament and it does not want to be challenged.
When we on this side of the House, and in this case it was a member of the NDP, believe that we have been misled by a government answer to an Order Paper question, we have every right to raise that.
You, Mr. Speaker, not a representative of the government, will determine whether that was the right course of action or whether a breach has actually occurred. That is an important thing. We have to stand up for the rights of members of Parliament, and I am disappointed that this member would undermine that with his statement here today.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, you can also refer to me as the NDP whip. Hopefully, that will help with this process.
I rise on a point of order. I too just want to thank the Conservative whip for his intervention. This does send a very chilling tone to this House. When we are in a minority Parliament it is important that we work collaboratively together and not see this kind of standing up in the House and, in my estimation, accusing another member of behaviour unbecoming. Therefore, I hope that the member will take the point to reflect, and allow you, Mr. Speaker, to do the job that you were elected in this place to do and not put those kinds of ramifications.
The reality is that for the NDP there is a strong desire to see some reconciliation done in meaningful ways, specifically around the issue of indigenous children. I certainly hope that the tone of this place would reflect what, hopefully, is all of our intention, which is to support indigenous children.
Hopefully, we will hear back from you, Mr. Speaker.
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
2020-02-24 14:00 [p.1423]
Madam Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that has been giving more money to families since 2006.
Our government's monthly tax-free payments have lifted 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty. The Canada child benefit eases the financial pressure on families.
In Hochelaga, the organization Entre mamans et papas is a place where parents can develop positive plans for life and where they can enrich the quality of the parent and child relationship. The organization realized that following a birth, new parents wait impatiently for this important financial assistance.
In October 2019, more than 9,000 payments were made in Hochelaga and more than 15,000 children benefited from these payments.
Every child deserves an equal chance to succeed.
View Patrick Weiler Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mount Royal.
I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered here on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
The motion before us today addresses a pressing issue impacting communities across the country. The current situation is difficult for everyone: indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, impacted communities, businesses, workers and travellers. I believe there remains time for all parties to engage in open and respectful dialogue to ensure the situation is resolved peacefully.
For more than 150 years, indigenous peoples in Canada have faced systemic discrimination in every aspect of their lives. Canada has prevented a true equal partnership from developing with indigenous peoples, imposing instead a relationship based on colonial ways of thinking and doing, paternalism and control.
The relationship of the past has provided us with a legacy of devastation, pain and suffering. For decades, indigenous peoples have been calling on the Canadian government to respect their right to jurisdiction over their own affairs and to have control and agency over their land, housing, education, and child and family services.
This history and growing awareness was the genesis of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which enshrines the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination. Its 46 articles cover collective and individual rights on everything from cultural identity and education to language and health rights. It is a universal framework for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous people all over the world.
I am very proud this was endorsed by Canada without qualification in 2016 and I am proud our government has committed to developing legislation to fully and effectively implement this framework by the end of this year.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action describe the declaration as the framework for reconciliation. That is because the declaration, fundamentally, is about advancing self-determination and rebalancing the relationship between states and indigenous peoples.
This is just one step on the long path toward reconciliation our government is taking. We are working to build a new relationship with indigenous peoples grounded in the affirmation of these rights, in respect, in co-operation, in partnership and in the aim for a new legacy built on a solid foundation of self-determination that we can be proud of.
As the Minister of Indigenous Services stated, it is clear that self-determination is the right path to take. We are making progress from coast to coast to coast. We are doing the work.
Indigenous self-government is important. Self-governing indigenous peoples have better socio-economic outcomes. More of their children finish high school. Fewer of their people are unemployed and health outcomes are better.
Self-determination improves the health, well-being and prosperity of indigenous communities, and it benefits all Canadians. Conversations about self-determination and self-governance have never been more urgent, and steps are being taken to bring our country toward a future where indigenous peoples are the drivers of their own destinies and where the federal government is there to support them in any way they see fit.
It is a privilege to represent a riding that encompasses the territories of three first nations. We know that indigenizing our education systems empowers first nations, which is why the Ts'zil Learning Centre was the right step to help Lil'wat Nation thrive. Their learning philosophy is based in Lil'wat cultural renewal, holistic learning and personal growth. The learning centre is a potent example of what indigenous self-government looks like in education.
On the Sunshine Coast, the shíshálh Nation is leading the way. In 1986 they became the first band in Canada to achieve self-governance after a dialogue and partnership with the government that resulted in legislation being passed. They now hold elections, have control over their lands, administer services and share their culture with the community. They are excited to be embarking on a new, affordable housing project for their people. They also recently had their first election after making their election process even more inclusive.
There are mechanisms within our power in order to help first nations partners. We are taking steps in the right direction. One of these mechanisms is to have regular meetings between the Prime Minister, key cabinet ministers and first nations, Inuit and Métis nations. These meetings are to identify each community's distinct priorities and help the government and indigenous peoples work together to develop solutions.
These permanent bilateral mechanisms were created to better serve indigenous peoples engaged in the important work of advancing greater self-determination. They also enable Crown-indigenous co-operation in identifying priorities and developing policies. This important national work will reflect the diversity and unique priorities of first nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.
Another vehicle for advancing self-determination is through the negotiation of new treaties, self-government and other constructive arrangements. In the last four years, the government has created 90 new negotiation tables, including with the Wet'suwet'en, and there are now more than 150 active negotiation tables across the country to advance the relationship with indigenous peoples and support the spirit of self-determination.
We have taken steps to ensure that indigenous partners can fully participate in these discussions and advance conversations that promote the rebuilding of their nations.
We are also making changes to how we support indigenous participation in these negotiations. For example, we stopped requiring groups to take loans to sit down with us, and we are in the process of forgiving and reimbursing about $1.4 billion of comprehensive land claim loan debt. More than $100 million is provided annually to support indigenous participation in negotiations and to enhance capacity.
Progress is being made at these tables.
I have spoken of a number of successes in self-determination and self-governance. What many of these successes have in common is that they were achieved through co-operation. They are based on listening to indigenous partners as they led us to discuss and codevelop solutions to the issues that are most important to their communities.
We can learn from that and to do so we need to understand that recognizing and affirming rights is a first step in finding a way forward. We need to support our indigenous partners to identify our challenges, and then we need to rise to them. We need to recognize that the most important actions that we can take are to listen to the hard truths, embrace change and welcome creative ideas.
We have all seen what happens when we do not come together to get the conversation going. It results in mistrust and confusion, which can be the root of conflicts. It is a barrier to moving forward together. We have seen that in the past. We must learn from those mistakes and make sure it does not happen again.
The Prime Minister noted that the issues we are facing were not created overnight. They were not created because we embarked upon a path of reconciliation recently in our history. It is because for too long and for too many years we failed to take this path. After all this time, finding a solution will not be simple.
It is up to the rights holders to determine who speaks on their behalf regarding their aboriginal rights and title. Our government is committed to dedicating effort to continue those conversations.
We here in the House do not speak for our indigenous partners, but I hope we can take part in speaking with them. Standing up for the empowerment of first nations peoples and for their freedom of speech and self-governance is a vital role of the government in this instance. Acknowledging all of these challenges, the hard work ahead of us is worth the effort.
It is worth it for the youth of the next generation and for the ones after that, who will grow up seeing the crown and indigenous peoples putting in the hard work, together, to invest in their future, improve their quality of life and heal.
It will take determination, persistence, patience and truth-telling. It will mean listening to and learning from indigenous partners, communities and youth, and acting decisively on what we have heard, building trust and healing. It will mean doing everything we can to support the inherent right to self-determination of indigenous peoples.
We are at a critical juncture in Canada. Canadians want to see indigenous rights honoured, and they are impatient for meaningful progress. They are counting on us to engage with indigenous leaders, communities and peoples to achieve lasting, long-term results. This is what our government is committed to.
We can, and we will, build a better Canada together, one in which healthy, prosperous, self-determining and self-governing indigenous nations are key partners.
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