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Results: 1 - 15 of 118
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-22 10:05 [p.8935]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group concerning its participation at the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance Spring Virtual Conference by video conference on May 3 and May 4, 2021.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2021-06-21 17:23 [p.8871]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-265, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine).
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report it back to the House without amendment.
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:15 [p.8757]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond to Bill C-30, the budget debate.
I first want to reflect on my constituency's strengths and its ability to adapt to these changing times. This is because Egmont is a place where people take care of one another. First, there is a great respect for family, and in a tight-knit community that means the residents are very conscious of both the successes and the challenges faced by their neighbours. Further to that, there is a collective understanding that every individual has a contribution to make. Within that fabric of individuals, families and communities there is a real strength. As a result, Egmont has fared relatively well during the pandemic because virtually every individual recognizes a real sense of duty to the whole.
People have worked hard to keep the community safe, and all the while we have been hard at work building one of the greenest ridings in the country with a thriving economy based on fishing, farming, high-level services and a very successful aerospace sector. Indeed, the City of Summerside has recently been recognized by a national magazine as one of the leaders in the field of green energy. It has spent a great deal of time focusing on wind energy, solar energy with a smart grid system, industrial-scale lithium batteries and the highest per capita concentration of electric car chargers in the country. Those are just a few of the green energy initiatives the city has moved on. I am pleased to be part of a government that has supported the city's initiatives in its innovative, leading-edge green energy solutions and innovations. We have continued to build on those infrastructure investments over the last number of years.
Summerside is just one example I use in identifying Egmont as a leader in the field of green energy across the riding. We were one of the first parts of the country to move toward wind energy and, indeed, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada is located in the riding of Egmont. This has allowed us to build a very successful and thriving green energy infrastructure here in my riding.
Summerside is one of a number of communities that makes up the riding of Egmont. In each of these I could look at the improvements that our government has supported, community by community, in a host of infrastructure initiatives that have built stronger communities right across the riding, including in the rural parts.
We have also maintained a trajectory of success at a difficult time because of hard work, diligence and a constant sense of optimism that these qualities can transcend any difficulty thrown at us. I am proud to be a member of a government that recognizes and celebrates meaningful support for individuals. I say that because I believe this government understands that support for the individual is the foundation of a strong community. From speaking to residents, I know that their confidence levels grew dramatically over the last year because they knew this fact: Our Liberal government has Egmont's back. Why am I so sure of that? Let us look at just a few priorities.
Programs for students are a priority. In 2021, our government has committed record financial contributions to the Canada summer jobs program, which students depend on for securing work over the summer months. We continue to waive student loan interest during the pandemic. We are enhancing repayment assistance on student loans and we are doubling the Canada student grants. These are just some of the initiatives that have been identified in this budget.
We have extended sick time for individuals. When this budget is passed, this will be a major initiative. An issue that we have heard a lot about over the last number of years, especially through the House of Commons HUMA committee, is that the existing sick time benefit is not adequate. I am pleased that our government has recognized that.
We also have an extensive array of business supports that were required to carry businesses through this unprecedented pandemic. We hear constantly in the House of Commons that this is an area where we have to continue to offer more support as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.
We have also supported enhanced educational opportunities for everyone.
For all these reasons and many more, I am proud to be part of a government that is active, that is smart, that protects Canadians and that understands the real challenges that have confronted each and every one of us. I compare that system of values to the one so fondly embraced by the Conservatives.
Too often, I have heard our colleagues in the opposition rail against support for individuals, saying that the so-called “free market” will be the salvation of our well-being. Such a direction would have led to catastrophic results in Egmont, and the deep and terrible worries unleashed by the pandemic would have been swollen with further concerns about bills, putting food on the table and shelter costs.
I believe in a government that will be there to support individuals during difficult times, because if that is not the government's role, then what is it? In a difficult time, we should not only be focused on bean counting and should not reject the legitimate needs of Canadians. Instead, we should be responding effectively, with reliability and in a way that builds public confidence that the government is there to prevent disaster and guide Canadians through a difficult time.
That said, I believe there is an area of public responsibility that requires greater attention. I have always been of the opinion that seniors who receive the guaranteed income supplement require more assistance. These are the most financially vulnerable members of the seniors community, and after a lifetime I believe they have earned the right to have fewer worries and more comfort. Therefore, I firmly believe the GIS should be increased, and I will continue to raise this subject.
My firm hope is that, in the very near future, government will take the steps to adjust these supports in a way that reflects two items. First, I believe we have the capacity as a country to offer this additional assistance, and second, I think it is very important that we recognize the challenges associated with being a senior in a changing world. I will continue to raise this subject in the hope that the government will adjust its plan and decide on a different course that is more helpful to the larger community and that helps individuals in a much more focused way.
To conclude, I want to congratulate the government. In effect, I am grading this budget at well above 90%, which is a very good mark by any stretch of the imagination. I am proud of my constituency and its efforts to get through a difficult year, and with the ongoing and dedicated support of an active and reliable government, the constituency of Egmont will emerge stronger than ever before.
As I indicated throughout my comments, I am pleased to be part of a government that has the backs of Canadians, the backs of Islanders and the backs of the residents of my riding of Egmont. I have been most proud to be part of the decision-making process in supporting those programs that have been so beneficial to Canadians, to Canadian businesses, to non-profit organizations and to municipalities and infrastructures that needed so much assistance during this unprecedented change in the economy created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:24 [p.8758]
Madam Speaker, there are valid reasons we chose to increase the OAS program for those over 75. Those are well documented, but I would draw the member's attention to the record of this government. One of the first actions we took after being elected in 2015 was to raise the guaranteed income supplement for all seniors across the board. At the same time, we have to remember that a Conservative policy that was in place and a decision that was made removed the old age pension and guaranteed income supplement for seniors between the ages of 65 and 67. That, in effect, took well over $18,000 per senior out of their pockets. Yes, we have more work to do, but the initiatives taken by this government signal to the senior community that we know the issues before them and we are committed to working with them to make them better financially.
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:26 [p.8759]
Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the question from my colleague, and having listened to many debates and speeches in the House of Commons since 2015, I am often perplexed when the opposition Conservative Party rails against our government on the key area of energy as it relates to the western provinces, where the member is from. I am often left arriving at the conclusion that every member from western Canada who was part of the former Conservative government should be apologizing to the people of the prairie provinces for not taking any steps to unlock the oil industry there. They did not get any pipelines approved under that Conservative government because it had a process that was so flawed it was constantly being challenged.
One of the first initiatives of our government was to recognize that we had to have a process in place that met the needs of first nations communities and the environmental community to approve pipelines that met the test of protecting the environment and included first nations communities, and our government has done that. It was a major achievement that—
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:28 [p.8759]
Madam Speaker, my colleague has a valid question.
I will simply respond by telling the member that the Prime Minister has been very clear that we will have the backs of Canadians and businesses for as long as it takes to get us successfully through the pandemic.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2021-06-17 10:16 [p.8633]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Modernizing the Employment Insurance Program”.
I would like to sincerely thank all members of the committee for their excellent work on this report and also congratulate and thank the team from the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament for their professionalism and patience in supporting the committee.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-16 14:20 [p.8522]
Mr. Speaker, hundreds of young Islanders in my district are now looking forward to graduation and heading into a new phase of their lives.
They are proud of their accomplishments, as they very well should be. This past year has been difficult. In many cases, students were required to learn distantly. This disrupted the usual interactions that are so important. The young people I know understood the need to protect families, friends and communities, and every one of them deserves our thanks.
I would like to join with family and friends who are offering their congratulations to all students. I know this: The life lessons and formal education of the past year will build a strong foundation for the future. We should all be so proud of the sacrifices and dedication of a new generation of scholars.
I want to congratulate them all.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-15 18:23 [p.8500]
How come I am the first one up, Mr. Speaker?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Wayne Easter: Will you bring this place to order, Mr. Speaker.
Madam Speaker, who was there before, is my floor mate on the 12th floor of the Valour Building. Congratulations to her in her role in the chamber.
It does seem rather strange to be making this kind of statement virtually rather than in the chamber, where I am so honoured to have served for nearly 28 years. As members know, I am currently the third-longest serving member of the House, a whole four hours ahead of the member for Vancouver Centre, my oftentimes seatmate and wonderful colleague for all those parliamentary sessions in government, in official opposition, as the third party and again in government now. I will not say anything about her shoes, the ones we pretty much need sunglasses for to sit beside her.
This chamber is a place of history and of decisions, good and sometimes not so good, that have built this country to what it is today, a country that is recognized as one of the best places in the world in which to live. Sometimes we, from all parties, often through strenuous debate and sometimes late-night votes, have the opportunity to influence the legislative mandate and governance of this country. We may not always get our way, but this is the place, in this chamber, where we can have our say. It is intimidating in the chamber and inspirational at the same time. I have been honoured, as we all have been honoured, as one of a small percentage of Canadians over time who has called the House his workplace.
When I ran for the Liberal Party nomination for Malpeque in June 1993, it was a fairly active nomination that went into the wee hours of the next morning. I must thank each and every one of the candidates who has actively supported me ever since. The Malpeque executive, the campaign managers, the campaign teams, the people in communication and supporters are every bit as responsible for me achieving nine electoral victories as I am. I sincerely thank them for their active support and encouragement.
To the constituents of Malpeque, what can I say? It has been an honour to serve as their MP for the past three decades. Their support is very much appreciated, from my heart. Their active involvement, whether through visits to the office or on the streets, always meant good advice to keep me grounded and in touch with issues that matter in Islanders' lives.
Sometimes a constituent would go a little overboard, like the time during an election that a farmer friend of mine put a four-by-eight plywood sign along the highway demanding that the minister of agriculture and I get our butts over to the GATT negotiations and protect supply management. We did and we were successful, but he was very, very demanding.
Words cannot be found to express my appreciation to my family for their support. I was not supposed to get emotional. As all members in this place know, as MPs our time is really never our own. Worse, families may have to put up with our political procrastinations, which sometimes we think on first blush are brilliant, but that may not be true.
I give a huge thanks to Helen, my spouse, our children Kimberley and Jamie, and their extended families with Marc and Gaya. We are fortunate to have four grandchildren born during my time as a member: Alexander, Sophia, Ila and Fiara. Immediate family members always were, as they still are, available with advice, even when it was not asked for.
The unsung heroes for any member of Parliament work in our constituency offices: our constituency and Hill staff. At the constituency level, they deal with real-life issues that impact people daily on the ground such as EI, CPPD, immigration, seniors issues and many more. Casework is what we call it. There are too many past employees to name, but I thank them along with current folks Robin Moore, Alan Waddell, Kim MacDonald and Krystal Rice for their work on behalf of Islanders.
Much appreciation goes to Hill staff for their efforts in casework, research, legislation and a multitude of responsibilities in support of my efforts at committees on issues, legislation and the Canada-U.S. IPG. I give a big thanks to current staff James Auer and Jeremy Wains for their work on behalf of Canadians. There were many late nights spent working on those issues on Parliament Hill.
I also appreciate all the work my previous employees on Parliament Hill have done and I want to mention one: Michael O'Neill, who passed away following the 2015 election. We worked together for 22 years and he was always happiest when we were challenging our own government. There are many employees on Parliament Hill who assist us in our work, from parliamentary pages to clerks, security guards, cafeteria staff and janitors, translators, interpreters and analysts with the Library of Parliament. Their work does not go unnoticed, and I thank them on behalf of all Canadians.
I want to recognize one Library of Parliament analyst whose work with the Canada-U.S. IPG over many years has made possible the personal relationships many of us have with our American counterparts today, which truly assist in leading to cross-border solutions. I know I speak for my co-chair, Senator MacDonald, and past co-chairs Rob Merrifield and the late Gord Brown. I want to thank June Dewetering for her exceptional service to Canadians as a result of her knowledge of U.S. politics and her friendships with congressional and Senate leaders.
I have been fortunate to have served in many roles in Parliament. I have served on numerous committees, and as parliamentary secretary to fisheries and parliamentary secretary to agriculture. I thank Prime Minister Chrétien for appointing me to cabinet as Solicitor General. I remember vividly the call to Attorney General John Ashcroft when cabinet made the decision not to join the war in Iraq. That was an interesting chat with my U.S. counterpart.
It has been my privilege to serve under three prime ministers while in government: Prime Minister Chrétien, Prime Minister Martin and the current Prime Minister. They carry a heavy responsibility, as all prime ministers do. I have sincerely enjoyed chairing the finance committee and working with members of all parties.
I will say that I came with tremendous experience from having been president of the NFU, and I had seen much of Canada. I firmly believe that Canada as a country can be stronger than the sum of its parts. I have seen the country from coast to coast, and I want to give a bit of advice. Members of Parliament have to know this country, and we are a little too restrictive on the travel that MPs are allowed to do. When I first started, before there was the Internet, members were able to take tours of the country. We could see it, meet people on the ground, understand it and see their lives in real life. This place has to get back to that again to give MPs the opportunity to know their country.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize you and all of the previous Speakers for attempting to keep order in the House, mostly successfully, although one Speaker cut me off during the chicken dance I was doing with the member for Carleton.
Let me close with this. I said yesterday in remarks, and you say in your prayer, Mr. Speaker, that we are fortunate to have the freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy in Canada. That is so very true. It has been my honour to work with and serve the residents of Malpeque, and it has been my honour to work with all members across political lines. It is the discussion, it is getting to know each other and it is the debate that, at the end of the day, makes for better policy and a better country.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-14 11:56 [p.8317]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on private member's bill, Bill C-273, an act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income, sponsored by my colleague, the member for Davenport, who is also a colleague at the finance committee.
I congratulate the member for Davenport for putting into a legislative format what has been discussed for years. In fact, various concepts of a basic income guarantee have been attempted over many decades, but for one reason or another there is less than complete documentation on how those systems worked, if it was even completed.
There was a program that was mentioned by another speaker in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970s, which was a different time from now. The data is really not available in a substantive way. The most recent trial, at least in this country, was the Ontario basic income pilot, brought in as a pilot project by the previous Wynne government, which was then cancelled by the incoming Ford government before any results were known. I think there was a lot of hope in that project that it would give us a baseline of how a guaranteed annual income would work.
Bill C-273 does not preconceive what is the best or the perfect basic income approach, but the bill sets the stage to try different pilots, to attain data in real time and to monitor results. It basically pushes the federal government to provide leadership in this national strategy.
Bill C-273 would require the Minister of Finance to develop and table a strategy to assess implementation models for a guaranteed basic income program in Canada. What the bill is really saying is that there could be different models. The government would be responsible for assessing them, for attaining the data. The act would require development, in consultation with key stakeholders, including industry, indigenous communities and governments, as well as municipal, provincial and territorial governments.
I heard what some of the other speakers on this bill said, some in opposition to it. My good friend from Joliette, who is also a member at the finance committee, said that this would require a constitutional amendment. Not so. This concept could vary from province to province. What we really need is the data to assess whether it would really work as well as some people suggest it would. There would be all kinds of consultations and the federal government would be required to do that under this bill.
The act outlines specific measures that the strategy must contain, including pilot project, national standards and measures for the collection and analysis of relevant data. I think that is key. I talked to a friend on the weekend who said that a guaranteed annual income is just going to be like CERB was with people not wanting to work. I do not think that is necessarily the case. People may improve their education. They may go for better jobs. They may look for better-paying jobs. As a strong supporter of a guaranteed annual income approach, I am willing to put my beliefs on the line. I believe it would work. I believe people would still want to work. I believe it would address the poverty issues that we have in this country.
I am willing to say that we should do a pilot. Let us put our beliefs on the line. Those who oppose the bill, saying that it will be a waste of money, which people will spend on drugs or whatever, should put their beliefs on the line. Let us actually do a sincere pilot where we collect the data in real time and prove it one way or the other. That is where I think we should be going. The minister, at the end of the program, would also have to prepare a report on the results of implementation two years after the tabling of the strategy. I think that is really important.
Let me turn to subclause (3)(a) in the bill, which states “establish a pilot project in one or more provinces to test models of implementation of a guaranteed basic income program.”
I come from Prince Edward Island, a province that has shown a willingness at the provincial level for the province as a whole to be one of those pilot projects. The member for Charlottetown and I have met with countless groups on the guaranteed income approach, and this province would be absolutely ideal for a pilot project.
There is the province as a whole; then bigger communities, smaller communities, rural ones and urban ones; hospitals and schools; and only 158,000 people. We could have a pilot project over time in Prince Edward Island. There is the willingness on the provincial side, which passed a motion in the legislature, to work with the federal government to attempt one of those pilot projects. This is really what we need. It would provide the evidence to show whether the system works or does not work.
Subclause (3)(d) reads “collect and analyze data for the purpose of assessing, for each model tested.” That is where we need to be. We need to do the pilots. I would suggest to do three across the country. I know there is some interest in B.C. and maybe in a bigger urban area as well, but do the pilot projects, monitor the data and assess it.
Then we all as members of Parliament, regardless of what our position is, would have the concrete evidence in real-time based on data that has monitored how it impacts people, their health, their income, their community and how it impacts people in the workforce. We would have evidence on whether people are willing to go to work or increasing their education and looking for higher-paying jobs. That is the kind of information we need and that is what I really like about the member's bill. There are no preconceived notions, only that we should do the experimentation.
I want to close by mentioning former Senator Hugh Segal. He is quoted in an article by Jamie Swift in the Whig Standard, in which he talks about his book Bootstraps Need Boots: One Tory's Lonely Fight to End Poverty in Canada. Senator Segal has long been an advocate of a guaranteed annual income for dealing with the poverty issue in Canada. This is a way to find out if it really works.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-14 15:13 [p.8342]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a personal point of privilege. I will not take much of the House's time because I know that time is very precious in this place. However, I believe strongly that it is in this place, the House of Commons, that announcements that affect members should be made.
Today, I am announcing that I will not be re-offering as the candidate in the riding of Malpeque in the next federal election. Tomorrow evening, I will be joining with others not running for speeches and to give heartfelt thanks.
As members know, the election is scheduled for October 2023, but rumours abound there may be one before then. Certainly, the media seems to be pushing that rumour. On the off chance that an election is held before then, I want to give others ample time to consider representing my party in the riding of Malpeque.
It is close to 28 years since I was first elected to this chamber, and when there in person, I am always in awe of its traditions, its history and the opportunity it provides for members to have a say in the legislative mandate and governance of this country.
I am proud to be a Canadian. Yes, there have been moments, as recent events showed, that none of us are proud of in our history. However, I do believe we learn and move forward. We are recognized as one of the best places to live in the world. As stated in our daily prayers, we have the “freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy.”
It has been my honour to work with and serve the residents of Malpeque for nine terms. I am thankful for the opportunity to say these few words, and I will join with others tomorrow evening.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-10 14:02 [p.8217]
Madam Speaker, I rise to honour the life of Ed Prebinski of Cornwall, P.E.I., who passed away last month.
Ed, a veteran, served for 42 years in Canada's Armed Forces, joining at age 16. His postings were all over the world, including Germany, Cyprus and as an NCO at the Canadian embassy in Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. His medal rack was full of international honours, too many to name.
A 1982 posting brought him to CFB Summerside and he never left the island for work again, spending the rest of his career at Veterans Affairs and Foreign Affairs and retiring in 2003. Following retirement, his passion became helping to deliver medical humanitarian aid to destinations like Cuba, sometimes several times a year, with Not Just Tourists; even a hefty generator was delivered to Haiti. Ed could cajole substantial medical supply donations and even get a break from the airlines.
We thank Ed for his service. We salute him. We offer condolences to Lynne and family.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2021-06-07 15:36 [p.8029]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Finance. It is in relation to Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
On behalf of the committee, I want to thank all involved and give a special shout-out to the Library of Parliament analysts, who went the extra mile in providing background information, briefing notes and analysis to all members. As well, I thank the research folks of all parties, who prepare their members with background information and questions from often very different perspectives. Finally, I thank the ministerial staff, who also offer advice from their point of view. It all adds up to better information, better legislation now and ideas for the future.
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2021-06-03 14:45 [p.7906]
Mr. Speaker, we thank the Veterans Ombud for her report and agree with her recommendations. We know how important peer support can be for survivors and in budget 2021, we committed to implementing a dedicated program for veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is our responsibility to be there for those who are harmed in the service of our country, and we will continue to work to ensure that survivors of military sexual trauma receive the support they need.
View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2021-05-26 16:07 [p.7382]
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Indigenous Housing: The Direction Home”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
As something that I think we should do on a more regular basis, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the support team that the parliamentarians had in the development of this report, particularly the committee clerks, Danielle Widmer and Andrew Wilson, and the analysts from the Library of Parliament who did such excellent work, Brittany Collier and Elizabeth Cahill.
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