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View Kerry Diotte Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:03 [p.8261]
Mr. Speaker, as a bit of personal history, I was the son of parents who lived through the Great Depression. My dad Tony put food on the table by being a locomotive engineer. He worked at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and he served as secretary-treasurer of his union. My mom Helen was a busy stay-at-home mother to five kids.
We were happy, but I do not remember our having a whole lot of money when we were growing up. As a kid in grade school, I can count on one hand the number of times that we actually went out to a real restaurant. My mom's attitude was “Why waste good money on a restaurant when we have food at home?” I remember that if there was a big sale at the grocery store, we would sometimes get steak at home, but it was a rare treat. The reason I remember that is when we would have it my mom always had the same thing to say. She would say, “That steak cost 99¢ a pound, so make sure you eat all of it, even the fat.”
It was a good lesson in life, though. At an early age, kids in my family learned the value of money and we learned that one never wastes anything. My parents gave me a great life lesson and I was happy. Those lessons stuck with me and I think a lot of Canadians these days can relate to those lessons. They understand the value of hard work and money and they want value from governments for their tax dollars.
I know these have been challenging times with the COVID pandemic. Due to this terrible pandemic, governments were forced to shut down the normal economy. As such, people needed an income. Governments had a duty to come to the rescue, but they spent a lot of money, especially the current Liberal government. I admit that a good chunk of it was needed. In fact, Conservatives pushed the Liberals to increase financial benefits to Canadians during this pandemic. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, we fought to get a big increase in the small-business wage subsidy.
However, as we enter the road to recovery we need a plan back to fiscal balance. It is a lesson my parents and many of our parents and grandparents learned the hard way. I know many of my constituents feel the same way. I regularly survey my constituents for their views on important issues of the day. One question I asked them recently was whether they are worried about the federal debt. The vast majority, more than 80%, said they are very worried; yet, the Liberals failed to take prudent measures in this budget. Despite record spending, there is no meaningful action to reduce our massive debt load, and “massive” is the key word here. The debt is more than a trillion dollars and climbing.
The Liberals do not even have a long-term plan to return to balance. This is a shocking failure by the government. It was only a year ago that the Prime Minister was boasting of Canada's fiscal capacity to offer supports during the pandemic. He said his government could spend lots of money because of the prudent decisions it made previously. Why, then, is he not making those prudent decisions for the future?
As COVID made clear, we cannot foresee these events. Just consider the government's failure, early on, to recognize how serious COVID itself was. Early on, we Conservatives gave this advice: Shut down flights from COVID hot spots. The government members said we were being alarmist, even racist. What is going to happen during the next crisis that we face, with our now limited fiscal capacity? We do not have the capacity to keep on spending.
The Prime Minister boasts of prudent decisions, but he fails to make them. Prior to COVID, the current government showed a complete lack of fiscal discipline. Instead of prudently managing taxpayer money, the Liberals ran deficit after deficit. During the good times, the Liberals added more than $72 billion to the national debt. To put that into perspective, that is nearly $2,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in Canada. Continuous deficits and endless debt leave us vulnerable. It is not sustainable.
In a crisis, one needs a healthy balance sheet. Who said that? An expert did. That is the view of Philip Cross. He is the former economic analyst at Statistics Canada.
When Conservatives were in power, we were fiscally responsible. We came out of the 2008 financial crisis better than any country in the G7. Here is what Cross said about that: “strong balance sheets in Canada stood it in good stead to endure the recession and emerge into recovery. The recession was shorter and milder in Canada than in other G7 nations, partly because the flow of credit was not disrupted as it was in other nations and a large pool of savings was available to finance spending when income fell temporarily.”
What is going to happen in the next crisis, if the Liberal government gambles our safety net? Most Canadians know about the value of money. These Liberals have to learn that, too. Let us just go over some of the Liberals' useless spending. Earlier this year I asked an Order Paper question on the expenses related to having government employees work from home. Working from home was, of course, an important safety feature, and I think we can all accept reasonable expenses. However, can anyone really justify spending $2,815 of taxpayers' money for a desk or $1,160 for a work chair? Having gone through that document, those are hardly isolated incidents. That is only scratching the surface.
The government's contempt for transparency has been evident for years. However, it has doubled down during the COVID crisis. It is actually hiding crucial information on how taxpayers' money is being spent. Even a former parliamentary budget officer criticized the government for lack of transparency. For example, members from across the aisle on the transport committee recently talked out the clock to avoid accountability. Instead of being transparent about their mismanagement of the infrastructure bank, they tried to bury the details, but the details, of course, eventually come out. For example, how the infrastructure bank recently paid out nearly $4 million for executive terminations, how the bank has completed zero projects in four years and how it is projected to lose billions of taxpayers' dollars.
Building needed projects in Canada seems to be too complicated for the Liberals' budget, but they do not seem to have any issue funding the China-controlled Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build projects outside of Canada. The Liberals have funnelled tens of millions of dollars to this Chinese state-run bank; this is despite the Chinese Communist regime holding two of our citizens against their will on trumped-up charges. How, exactly, is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank good value for money?
As we are racking up more and more debt, I wonder just how much of it is being wasted. This is an important issue, especially for younger generations. We are passing this debt on to the next generation to pay off, and we owe it to them not to bury them in debt. Even worse, this spending is not even geared to growing the economy, but members should not take my word on it; that is the analysis of the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer. He said that “Budget 2021 estimates overstate the impact of stimulus spending over the next 3 years,” so despite massive unsustainable spending, we are not even going to see additional growth. One thing that is also readily available is that the government's strategy is not prepared for an increase of interest rates. Even a minor increase could have a devastating effect on our long-term national finances.
My constituents are demanding answers. Like my parents, they know the value of money. They work hard for their money. They expect and demand that their money is not wasted. Canadians know that Liberal spending is out of control.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-11 10:13 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I understand that it is important for the Conservatives to cut spending. However, some of that spending is still vital. I am thinking, for example, of the support offered to farmers. The $1,500 they receive when foreign workers arrive will be reduced to $750 in the coming days.
I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about this. Should we maintain this support a while longer, since the crisis is not yet over, quarantines are still in effect and farmers must still pay the costs for their workers to come in?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:14 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I am from Alberta in western Canada. Farmers built this country, and agriculture is absolutely vital, but let us look at the bigger picture instead of cherry-picking little items out of this budget. The bigger picture is that we need a sustainable future, and we cannot continue to spend as if there is no tomorrow, because if we continue to do that, there will be no tomorrow.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-11 10:14 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting how the Conservative narrative on the fiscal capacity of Canada has been used as an excuse to oppose measures that are actually going to help vulnerable Canadians who have been impacted.
I would like to pass on to the hon. member that, whether he takes his pick between Moody's, S&P or DBRS, they have all reaffirmed Canada's AAA credit rating. We had the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, and the IMF said that had we not launched record spending to support Canadian workers and businesses, we would have had a similar debt-to-GDP ratio with a much bigger negative impact on our economy.
Does the hon. member agree with his party leader who opposed the CERB, did he agree with his party who voted against the extension of the emergency measures, and why does he use the fiscal situation in Canada to oppose measures that are actually helping people in their time of need?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:15 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, that is rather rich coming from the member across the way. We worked to improve many of these programs. I fully admit that there is a lot of spending that is absolutely vital. When governments shut down economies, of course, we cannot leave people in the lurch and we have to help them out. We were the party that improved these programs, and it is ridiculous to say that somehow we are opposed to them. We are opposed to runaway spending, and we know that the wolf is going to be at the door one day.
When we look back at what was done under the Harper government, we came out as a shining star of the G7 countries out of 2008. The member does not have to take my word for that. He can take the word of the financial experts. We were a star, and that is how, when we are in government, we will be in far better shape than what this government is going to leave Canadians next time we have a major crisis.
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2021-06-11 10:16 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke a lot about deficit, but here is the thing. While millions of people are worried about losing their jobs, Canada's 20 richest people have increased their wealth. Instead of making those richest people pay the cost of the economic recovery, the Conservatives, very much like the Liberals, want to protect their profits.
Can the member please explain why he refuses to make the richest in Canada pay their fair share?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:17 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, everybody has to pay their fair share, obviously, but it is also people who create wealth in this country who are risking to create wealth. If we look at the young start-ups and entrepreneurs, they are starting from nothing. We can look at the history of growth in any developed nation and it starts with great ideas, and we have to cultivate these great ideas.
I know that certain members of the NDP adhere to the NDP philosophy to just take as much money as possible and redistribute that wealth, which is not a good philosophy. It has not worked in any country in the world, and there are many recent failures and long-time failures.
No, we Conservatives do not believe in punishing people for good ideas, growing economies and creating wealth.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to give a speech in response to the government's budget. Many of my colleagues, whether on my side of the aisle or the other side, have already given speeches about this budget, but today I am not here to simply support the budget blindly or criticize it for ideological or political gain. I am here today to speak from the heart. I am here to speak on behalf of my constituents. I am here to make clear to the members of this House how most Canadians from Calgary Forest Lawn feel about this budget.
Let me start with the short hand dealt to my fellow Albertans. This budget fell short in helping Canada's oil and gas, energy, agriculture and forestry sectors to be global leaders in performance and innovation. While there is money going to some sectors in our economy, there is no plan, as usual. As Adam Legge wrote for the Calgary Herald about this very issue, “It is not rooted in the sound recommendations of the government’s own Industry Strategy Council.”
While the government may say that this money will create a fancy new future and make jobs, the truth is that it is more lip service to Albertans. To the single mother who is a field project manager, to the Muslim sister who just got her citizenship and a job in our energy industry as a chemical engineer, and to the eighth-generation roughneck worker in the oil fields, it is very clear that the government has forgotten about them. It has forgotten about the average working class that has made this country great.
While the government's new budget makes life harder for my constituents to earn money, it also makes daily living more expensive and creates great harm for our children and future generations. April's inflation rate was 3.4%. That means the cost of goods is now 3.4% higher, on average. Many of my constituents have been laid off or have taken a massive pay decrease due to this pandemic. Many Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque, and this was even before the pandemic. Many Canadians cannot afford to pay more for basic necessities due to the Prime Minister's reckless spending and budget.
In April, our economy saw 207,000 jobs lost, with an unemployment rate above 8%. What is the solution? It is spending more, says the finance minister. According to her, it is an ideal time to borrow because interest rates are low. That is interesting, because as the global economy recovers, the interest rates are actually rising, and that has been the trend for the last few months. The cost of debt repayment has now reached a skyrocketing $22 billion per year. That means $22 billion less for our seniors, veterans, the health care system and many other important systems and groups that need this money.
Of course, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Who will pay for this lunch, one may ask. It will be our children, their children and their children's children, and so on. I am already talking to many students who cannot find internships, who are in crippling debt, who struggle with many mental health issues due to this pandemic and even before. Now more over-stressed and with lack of employment due to our weak economy, what will they say when they find out a few years down the road that they will have to pay for all of this mess, a mess that the Liberal government has put us in?
The key word is “inflation”. For every dollar we print, the value of every dollar falls. It is basic economics. I wish we could print all the money in the world and help everyone, but there is such a thing as scarcity. The government does not understand that, and now our constituents have to suffer.
I also have the privilege of being the official opposition's shadow minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship. How does this budget affect immigration, one may ask. The immigration minister promised that Canada will welcome 401,000 immigrants this year, and still there are massive backlogs. We need immigration. Our working population is aging and, unfortunately, our immigration system is aging with it. This budget does nothing significant to address these backlogs. Families remain separated from their loved ones; parents are missing their children's first steps, birthdays and, in some cases, their births.
Just the other month, I received a call from a constituent saying they wanted to kill themselves because they cannot wait any longer to see their loved ones and cannot bear the isolation of this pandemic. My heart breaks for them.
The detail included in this budget is just a timeline or a promise to deliver a new program by 2023. Ignoring the government's track record with broken promises, pushing this problem down the road is not helping anyone. Families are separated for years. People are waiting for half a decade to have their applications processed, and yet the best the Liberals can do is promise an untested program being launched in the future.
There are also no details on whether the government will work with experts, national and cybersecurity professionals or even immigration experts to develop a platform that truly works for Canadians. There cannot be a strong recovery without a strong plan for immigration. What Canada needs now is a smarter immigration system that focuses on our resources and on making Canada a more welcoming place full of opportunity and potential.
A Conservative government will work to replace Liberal platitudes with a system that actually works again, one that does not leave families separated and desperate for hope but hopeful for a prosperous life in Canada.
Again, the government will point and blame when it hears these facts about its budget. Of course it will blame the pandemic and say it stalled efforts for economic recovery and the advancement of the immigration system, but the new question is, what is the government doing to reopen Canada safely? The government had a failed plan to procure vaccines, a failed plan to secure our borders to stop variants and a failed plan to support small business and our energy industry in withstanding the negative effects of this pandemic.
Just recently, a Calgary-based company that was making a vaccine for COVID-19 said it is leaving Canada, after the government ignored its calls for support. The goal is to retain Canadian talent, not drive it away. Before this pandemic, the government's policies against our world-class energy industry led to investment fleeing. I personally saw the tradespeople I dealt with having to lay off their workers and having to go back onto the field themselves. They blame the Liberal government's policies and inaction to help support them.
I ask people, even in the toughest of times and with a bad budget, to stay strong. To the small business owners, the families living paycheque to paycheque and those trying to start a new life in our great country, I say not to give up, not to lose hope, for what makes our country great is the people, not its government or fancy budget plans that do very little to help the little guy.
We are stronger together, and I stand here on behalf of my constituents to speak up against this budget and expose whom it is hurting: the everyday Canadian. Inflation due to this out-of-control spending does not really hurt the rich and privileged that bad. Whom it does hurt is the single mother from Calgary who is struggling to pay for her kids' schooling and groceries, the bus driver from Toronto trying to afford his mortgage, and the family-run restaurant owner from P.E.I. who has to close up shop for good because the government could not secure the vaccines fast enough, unlike our counterparts.
I came to this country as an immigrant and I grew up as an at-risk youth. I still remember the raindrops hitting my face as my family and I waited in line for low-income bus passes. I still remember seeing my parents and myself working multiple jobs to make ends meet and to survive. I do not want to see that struggle for my children or anyone's children, or in fact any Canadian. We came to this country to enjoy prosperity, not government debt and a crippling economy.
A Conservative government will have a real plan, made by the experts and guided by the everyday Canadian. We will have a fresh new vision of hope, so that no matter where people came from, who they are or when they arrived here, they will have a chance to live the Canadian dream, just as I and many members of this House did.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” Together we will fix this mistake, together we will recover this economy and together we will all grow.
May God keep our land glorious and free.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2021-06-11 10:28 [p.8264]
Mr. Speaker, when I hear a Conservative stand up and speak about spending and the deficit, I recall how the finance critic, the member for Carleton, would stand up day after day and say we are spending too much and helping too much. I wonder if the member could answer in a truthful way which program that we brought in during this pandemic the Conservatives would cut or give less money to.
It is fine to talk about what happened in 2008, but the world has never seen the likes of the pandemic that hit the globe the way it did a year and a half ago. Which program would he not support? Which program would he eliminate, and what class of people would be hurt the most by doing this?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I find it quite funny that the Liberals would accuse us of bringing up 2008, when it seems like former prime minister Stephen Harper lives rent-free in all of their minds all the time.
What the Conservatives were asking for in the beginning of this pandemic was actually more supports. When the Liberals came forward with their wage subsidy plan, it was not enough for business owners. The Liberals had already crippled most of our economy anyway by then, and then gave just little tidbits for small business owners, like restaurant owners. When it came to the wage subsidy, it was far too little. We all had to stand up and remind the government that it was the small business owners who were going to hurt the most, before that change was made.
When the business loan came out, again, it was not enough for business owners. We had to fight for that to be increased and the $50,000 payroll to be taken away. As we know, most small business owners take out dividends and not payroll. It was we, Conservatives, who were always sticking up for the small business owners.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-11 10:30 [p.8265]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. The question has been asked before, but we did not get a clear answer.
Of course, some spending is hardly useful, but there is other spending that is fundamental and very important and that must be maintained, like the support for farmers who have to pay the quarantine costs of their temporary foreign workers.
Currently, Ontario's vegetable producers and the people of Quebec are asking the minister to maintain this support past June 16, without reducing the amount. Now is not to time to abandon producers, while the war on COVID‑19 is not over and quarantines are still essential. Where do the Conservatives stand on this matter?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, of course we want to support our hard-working farmers. I was in a meeting with a group from Quebec just yesterday, and we talked about how the backlogs are completely stopping business from happening in Quebec. They are in desperate need of temporary foreign workers. I fully agree with that.
My hon. colleague is on the immigration committee with me, and we are always talking about this at the committee. I talked about this in my speech. It is the backlogs that are causing a lot of harm, especially to our farmers. It is happening in Alberta. It is happening in Quebec and Ontario. Every single province is suffering due to the Liberal government's failure to address backlogs.
This budget did nothing to help that or at least develop a clear plan going forward that will help farmers. We all want better for our farmers, and that includes clearing up these backlogs.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
View Scott Duvall Profile
2021-06-11 10:32 [p.8265]
Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned a lot of people who are hurting, and I appreciate that, but he did not mention seniors. In this budget, the government has made a two-tier system of “junior seniors” and “senior seniors”, knowing that the need is out there, because it gave one-time cheques last year. Now the government is only giving one-time cheques and increases to a certain group of seniors, but not the people from 65 to 74.
Does he agree with this? Does he support this? What would his government do?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I will admit that I am not fully aware of all the details, but what I will say is that Conservatives will always support our seniors. I think that our seniors are the most precious people we have. In my personal life, the seniors are where I got all my blessings from. We have a plan that will come out and address a lot of the insecurities that our seniors have, to make sure that we are supporting them, because they deserve it the most. The Liberal government, over and over, has failed our seniors in many different ways, and this budget did not address their problems either.
View Doug Shipley Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government finally tabled a budget for Parliament to debate and Canadians to review. This was a new record. It was kind of a dubious record, but it was a record nonetheless. This budget would send the national debt to a staggering $1.4 trillion in five years. Almost as concerning is that the budget contains no measures to return to a balanced budget. This pattern of reckless spending has been a hallmark of the current Liberals since coming to office. They spend without a plan. They spend with lofty hopes and dreams that the budget will balance itself.
The people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte who call my office and email us are anxious and looking for a plan. Adding $1.4 trillion to the national debt saddles our grandkids, their grandkids and their children with the burden of paying this back. That is unfair to them.
I understand these are unprecedented times, and we need to help Canadians survive as we navigate the global COVID pandemic. However, these measures should be temporary, and a plan should be in place to ensure we return to a balanced budget. The Liberals have no plan to balance the books, and there appears to be no end in sight for their reckless spending.
I want to shift gears for a bit. While we all understand the pressures that Canadians have been under for the last year and a half as we have dealt with the pandemic, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to invest historically in mental health, and to help build the infrastructure our mental health care system will need to support people as we come out of this pandemic. As with most things the current government attempts, it missed the mark.
Suicides among men are rising at staggering rates. A Leger poll commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada noted a sharp increase in respondents reporting depression. The poll noted the number jumped from 2% to 14%. McMaster Children's Hospital found that youth suicide attempts have tripled because of COVID restrictions. The same study found there was a 90% increase in youth being referred to the hospital's eating disorder program. There is no doubt that people are struggling, and there is no doubt the Prime Minister failed to deliver investments in mental health.
This budget does absolutely nothing for growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians or the economy. David Dodge, the former Bank of Canada governor, was quoted in a National Post news article as saying:
My policy criticism of the budget is that it really does not focus on growth.... To me it wouldn’t accord with something that was a reasonably prudent fiscal plan, let me put it that way.
Robert Asselin, a budget and policy adviser to former finance minister Bill Morneau, said this budget was “a political solution in search of an economic problem.” When the Liberals' friends are let down by their budget, how can they reasonably expect Canadians to get excited about it?
Seniors have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. They have been isolated from their children and grandchildren, and in some tragic cases have passed away with no one around them in their final moments. I do not bring this up lightly. Once again, the Liberals had an opportunity to make foundational investments and failed to deliver. The programs and supports that were announced in this budget offer up very little detail and will leave many seniors behind. The government needs to respect Canada's seniors, ensure it acts on its promises and move forward with funding to help provinces and territories address the acute challenges in long-term care.
Part of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte is rural, and constituents constantly write to me and my staff about their poor broadband connectivity. The Prime Minister promised to invest in rural broadband and ensured the money rollout would come faster. This has not happened. We have seen announcements and reannouncements of the same funding, but the projects are not being built. These delays and inaction have had a real impact on rural areas in my riding, with so many people working from home. It is time for empty promises to end and for real action to kick in.
The Prime Minister promised an additional $1 billion over six years, starting this year, for the universal broadband fund. With proposed budget 2021, $2.75 billion would be available for projects across Canada, yet communities in my riding are suffering because the current Prime Minister and his cabinet prefer to make announcements rather than take concrete action to support rural Canadians.
The Prime Minister has created such uncertainty in the economy over the last year and a half that people are not sure when we will get back to something that resembles normal. The uncertainty of the pandemic and the lack of action from the Prime Minister to build a robust economy have created a shortage in many supply chains. This is having a dramatic impact on businesses in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.
One developing supply chain shortage is a shortage of semiconductors. I recently spoke with car dealership owners in my riding who told me they were having a difficult time getting inventory because of this shortage. Another stalwart business in my riding is Napoleon Home Comfort. It manufactures barbecues and fireplaces. It employs hundreds of people, and opened in 1980. It is days away from potentially having to close its doors and lay off hard-working Canadians because the shortage of semiconductors would prevent them from manufacturing their products. This semiconductor shortage has the potential to affect tens of thousands of supply chain manufacturing and distribution jobs across Canada.
Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte residents rely on transportation providers such as local motor coach operators Hammond Transportation and Greyhound. We all know that Greyhound has decided to pull all its Canadian operations, leaving people stranded across the country. In my riding, people used Greyhound to commute to work: People who work in Toronto found it more cost effective to commute daily via the bus to earn a living.
Hammond Transportation is a family-owned school bus, charter bus and motor coach company. I met with the owners recently to hear their issues first-hand. Like many motor coach companies across Ontario and Canada, Hammond has taken on new debt to continue to operate as revenues slide. The lack of a coordinated border reopening plan has impacted its quarterly planning and has reduced its recovery trajectory. One of the biggest concerns Kent Hammond, the owner of Hammond Transportation, brought to me was the impact of winding down Canada's emergency wage subsidy and the Canada emergency rent subsidy. With border openings uncertain and tours impossible, there is no way the company can plan for a firm start-back date.
With most of this budget, critical industries and sectors were overlooked. The impacts of changes were drastically underestimated for some sectors. Frankly, it is poor planning and management. To say that I was disappointed with the over 700 pages of the budget would be an understatement. The Prime Minister had an opportunity to deliver a budget that would carry, impact and help industries and businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, to come out of this pandemic on solid ground. Unfortunately, he failed.
The Prime Minister failed to deliver investments in mental health supports for Canadians and our health care system as those who are struggling through the pandemic seek additional supports. The government failed to deliver impactful investments for seniors. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, the Prime Minister and his finance minister repurposed funding announcements and issued more empty promises.
The Prime Minister failed to deliver proper investments for rural broadband as more people worked and studied from home. Having a strong and reliable Internet signal is critical. This disproportionately impacts rural Canadians, but the Prime Minister seems to be more worried about urban concerns.
It is truly unfortunate that the Prime Minister squandered this opportunity to deliver real and meaningful investments that would support Canadians. Furthermore, if he cannot even make his friends Mark Carney and Robert Asselin happy with this budget, how are Canadians expected to be excited about it?
Opening a business at any time is scary and stressful, but doing it in a pandemic is even more courageous. Stephanie Stoute, in Barrie, opened Curio Exploration Hub. It is a new, innovative child activity centre. She found herself struggling when she opened because she did not qualify for the existing COVID programs. Ms. Stoute is a hard-working entrepreneurial mother of two who is pushing forward. However, the government and the Prime Minister were not there for her when she needed them.
I asked a question in the House on December 8, 2020, about Ms. Stoute's concerns. While Ms. Stoute's business is still open, the Prime Minister has not made it easy for small businesses to access supports so they can survive and thrive on the other side of the pandemic.
The world is a dark place right now. We are a nation that is suffering, and we need, more than ever, to work across party lines to ensure we have the best interests of Canadians top of mind. Canadians are looking for real and authentic leadership. We have an opportunity to do this, but we need to work together to ensure we make investments in seniors, in rural broadband, in small and medium-sized businesses and in domestic vaccine protection so we can get Canadians back to work and get our economy growing.
We also need to make sure we have sufficient investments in mental health to support those who are struggling from the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns. We may be in a dark place right now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. For us to get there, we need to all work together.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-11 10:44 [p.8267]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte for his speech, in which he talked about the reckless spending that could lead to uncertainty.
I would ask my colleague to think about this. Would it actually not be the lack of predictability for our businesses, particularly in terms of the income stabilization programs, that would lead to this uncertainty? Certain sectors are worried. Some sectors, like sugar shacks, have been forgotten altogether and others, like tourism, will be affected for a longer period of time.
Would he have wanted the government to extend the Canada emergency wage subsidy or the Canada emergency rent subsidy for as long as necessary, or does he prefer austerity? He talked about health. Is he prepared to make cuts? Does he realize that what we really need is a 35% increase in health transfers, rather than a national framework for mental health?
I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on the importance of helping certain economic sectors for as long as possible and on the need to protect other sectors.
View Doug Shipley Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, there were a lot of great points in that question and I would like to try to address a few of those.
The biggest problem going forward is having a plan and knowing firm dates. As I mentioned in my speech, Hammond Transportation has been literally and figuratively shut down for 18 months. It has been struggling. The meeting I had with the company last week was about reopening. Officials mentioned that unless they had secure reopening dates and knew when they could bring business back online, they would not be able to plan. They have had many employees leave and they cannot bring them back until they know dates.
The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors. We need to make sure we are not just cutting off programs. We need to make sure we are giving them plans and dates to go with that.
I was also asked about mental health and where we go for that. I am proud to say that the Conservative Party has a five-point plan, and one of our top five points is to secure mental health. The last year has made clear the mental health crisis we face. It is time to make it clear that mental health is health, and it is time to treat it properly.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, in my riding I represent many coastal communities. We have a long history of tourism-based industry and it has really been struggling. A large number of people who come to visit us are international. I really admire the strength in our communities and how they are marketing to a more local group to try to get people to come out.
One of the things that concerns me in this document is the fact that the funding and resources for those small businesses, those tourism businesses, is not long enough. It is not stable enough and does not provide the supports that they need to still be here so we can rebuild the economy. Could the member speak to that?
View Doug Shipley Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I live in central Ontario. We have a huge hub of tourism here. Just north of us is the gateway to northern Ontario and the Muskoka area, which has a tremendous amount of tourism.
As I mentioned in my previous answer, we need to make sure there is a planned date and a plan to go forward. How are we going to get there? We cannot just keep telling people that someday they will be able to open and someday they will be able to bring tourists back. We need to make sure they have a planned date.
The reason we are in this so late and so far behind is originally because of the late coming of vaccines. Now, especially in central Ontario, vaccines are starting to roll out. We can see that things are better and we will get there. We need firm planned dates. That is how we get around this.
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-06-11 10:48 [p.8268]
Mr. Speaker, in a previous answer the member was speaking about our mental health plan. I would like to give him an opportunity to touch on some of the details in that plan, such as the 988 hotline, and how important it is to help Canadians.
View Doug Shipley Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, three-digit access to mental health is imperative to the Conservatives. It was brought forward by a good member of our party. We pushed for that. We are not getting that pushed through quickly enough, but it is greatly needed. I am hearing great things in the community about that system and we need to get that going.
I thank the hon. member for the question on mental health because, quite frankly, our three bases for going forward are to boost funding to the provinces for mental health care, to provide incentives to employers to give mental health coverage to employees, and to create a nationwide three-digit suicide prevention hotline. That is our plan going forward on mental health.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2021-06-11 10:49 [p.8268]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to publicly congratulate you. You have fulfilled the duties of your position with brilliance and dignity for 10 years, and you have done a wonderful job of promoting the language of Molière, which is dear to my heart. I therefore want to congratulate you, thank you for everything you have done and wish you all the best in the future.
I am very pleased that we are at report stage. We spent a lot of time on this bill in committee, and it is finally back in the House. Only two amendments were proposed at report stage, and they were proposed by the government.
The first amendment is ridiculous. It would make the wage subsidy off-limits for political parties but only as of this summer, well after all the parties would have happily put their hands in the cookie jar. I want to point out that all the parties have done that, except the Bloc Québécois.
As members know, all the political parties have raised record amounts during the pandemic, but that is not enough. The government twisted the spirit of the program, which was designed to help the workers and businesses affected by the pandemic. This program was paid for by our tax dollars and ran up the collective debt.
Political parties were never mentioned in the bill, but the agency nevertheless decided to include them. This made it possible for the Liberal Party to receive $1 million, even though it raised $15 million in 2020 alone. That is outrageous. What is worse is that after refusing to exclude political parties from receiving the subsidy, which allowed the Liberal Party to keep its $1 million, the government is proposing to offer this subsidy in July even though no other party is using it. That is textbook Liberal hypocrisy.
If the first amendment is ridiculous, the second is downright dangerous. The government's second amendment is very serious and threatens the very lifeblood of Quebec's economy. It seeks to undo what was voted in committee, which will harm Quebec and the other provinces and make Bay Street even happier.
The government wants the House to restore funding for the Canadian Securities Transition Office in Toronto. The government is so fixated on dealing Quebec's economy a devastating blow that it is asking the House to backtrack on what was passed in committee. We know that Bay Street matters more to the government than all of Quebec. We know that centralizing securities regulation is an infringement on the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. Ottawa wants to wipe out Quebec's financial sector. This Liberal amendment would renew and considerably increase the budget of the Canadian Securities Transition Office to expedite its work. It would authorize the government to make payments of up to $119.5 million or even more if Parliament voted to do so in an appropriation act.
The transition office was set up in July 2009 to create a single Canada-wide securities regulator in Toronto. Basically, securities are financial assets, such as stocks, bonds and other instruments. In Quebec, securities are overseen by the Autorité des marchés financiers, the AMF.
The Supreme Court of Canada has dealt Ottawa a number of setbacks, deeming that securities do not fall under federal jurisdiction. However, in 2018 Ottawa finally got the green light to intervene in this area, provided that it did not act unilaterally and agreed to co-operate with the provinces. That is the agreement on paper, but we all know that, ultimately, this will centralize everything and strip Quebec of its financial hub.
Again, Ottawa is trampling on provincial jurisdiction and wants to centralize everything. Paternalistic Ottawa no longer wants a federation, it wants everything. Everything needs Ottawa's blessing. It is the alpha and the omega. It is too bad for Quebec, its nation and the rights of the provinces.
This is a harmful plan. The federal government's plan to establish a Canada-wide securities regulator in Toronto would inevitably translate into a creep of regulatory activities outside Quebec. This plan is just bad and must never see the light of day.
This is more than just a dispute over jurisdictions or mere squabbling between the federal level and the provinces. This is a battle between Bay Street and Quebec. Without a complete financial ecosystem, it is unrealistic to think that we will be able to hang on to our head offices. In our eyes, economic nationalism would become just an empty slogan.
That is why everyone in Quebec is against it. Every political party, the business community, the financial sector and labour-sponsored funds oppose this plan. For example, the Quebec National Assembly has adopted four unanimous motions denouncing the plan. Seldom have we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose a government initiative.
In addition to the Government of Quebec and the four unanimous motions from the National Assembly, this plan faces vehement opposition in economic circles, including from the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Finance Montréal, the International Financial Centre corporation, the Desjardins Group, and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, as well as most Quebec businesses, like Air Transat, Transcontinental, Canam, Québecor, Metro, La Capitale, Cogeco, Molson, and the list goes on.
A strong Quebec AMF means a strong talent pool to regulate the finance sector, which is a prerequisite for the sector's development. When the Toronto Stock Exchange bought the Bourse de Montréal, the Commission des valeurs mobilières, a precursor to the AMF, made it a condition of the sale that Montreal retain a stock exchange. We know that it specializes in derivatives, including the carbon market.
In Quebec, the financial sector represents 150,000 jobs and contributes more than $20 billion, or the equivalent of 6.3% of the GDP. That is what the government is going after with its extremely dangerous and harmful amendment.
Close to 100,000 of these jobs are in Montreal, which ranks 13th among the world's financial centres according to the Global Financial Centres Index.
This is an attack on our ability to keep our head offices and preserve our businesses. The Task Force on the Protection of Québec Businesses estimates that the 578 head offices in Quebec represent 50,000 jobs with a salary that is twice as high as the Quebec average, in addition to 20,000 other jobs at specialized service providers such as accounting, legal, financial or computer services.
Quebec companies tend to favour Quebec suppliers, while foreign companies in Quebec rely more on globalized supply chains, with all the impact that can have on our network of SMEs, in the regions in particular. We saw with the pandemic that globalized supply chains are fragile and make us entirely dependent on foreign supply.
The bottom line is that this amendment is an attack on Quebec's entire economy. It is a direct affront. This is important, and we must vote against this amendment.
Lastly, companies tend to concentrate their strategic planning, particularly their scientific research and development, where their head office is. A subsidiary economy is a less innovative one, and we do not want to lose our innovative economy in Quebec.
A strong financial hub is vital to the functioning of our head offices and the preservation of our businesses. Keeping the sector's regulator in Quebec ensures that decision-makers are nearby, which in turn enables access to capital markets for businesses, which is essential to support business investment and growth across Quebec.
That is what the government's harmful amendment is all about. This amendment would not help interprovincial trade, contrary to what the government might say. The passport system, the fight against money laundering and fraud, and the collaboration and co-operation among the various securities regulators are working quite well. Centralization will not do anything to improve that, contrary to the fallacious arguments put forward by the government.
The Standing Committee on Finance chose to nip that idea in the bud by deleting that clause of Bill C‑30. That basically cut the funding for the plan to centralize the financial sector in Toronto. I urge all my colleagues in the House to stand behind the committee's decision and to vote in favour of the economy of Quebec, vote against this gift to Bay Street and reject this amendment like we did in committee.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Peter Schiefke Profile
2021-06-11 10:58 [p.8269]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today because I want to thank my constituency team here in Vaudreuil—Soulanges. Over the past year, whenever seniors, parents, workers or students were affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic, my team got busy. They worked tirelessly for months, including on weekends. One of them even came out of retirement to lend a hand. They did everything they could to make sure that people in the community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges were informed about federal support programs and kept up to date about vaccine procurement and administration.
As we begin to come out of this pandemic, I am grateful to have the chance to record their names in Hansard: Jennifer Frezza, Ramy Khoriaty, Sarah Lezmy, Tamara Salembier, Emily Krispis, Veronika Brand, Patricia Dota, Malia Chenaoui, Michael Ruscitti and Nicholas Guilbeault. I want to thank them.
I could not ask for a better team to provide the level of support and service that all citizens of Vaudreuil—Soulanges depend on and deserve.
View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2021-06-11 10:59 [p.8269]
Mr. Speaker, he is a wrangler, a rancher, a businessman, but, most important, John Scott is a proud Albertan.
Longview's John Scott will be the first Canadian ever to be awarded the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's prestigious Chester A. Reynolds Award. This award recognizes individuals who demonstrate unwavering commitment to western values and ideals.
During a 45-year career, John has dedicated himself to preserving our western heritage and helping to build Alberta's proud and thriving television and film industry. No matter where he is filming in the world, his passion is always showcasing the landscape and the talent of southern Alberta. That talent includes silversmith Scott Hardy and saddle maker Chuck Stormes, members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.
These renowned artists, whose work is coveted around the world, are dedicated to preserving traditional crafts of the cowboy culture. This association will also be honoured in Oklahoma City.
I thank the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for celebrating Canadian culture and I congratulate its newest honourees. Southern Alberta is extremely proud.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2021-06-11 11:01 [p.8270]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an exceptional constituent of mine.
Michel Gravel honoured our soldiers and our country with his historical research. He ensured that our soldiers were commemorated for their efforts in France during the First World War.
I first met Michel Gravel several years ago when he passionately told me about his project to get a commemorative plaque for General Arthur Currie in France.
Among his many achievements was getting the name of the highway from Arras to Cambrai in France changed to “Canada's Highway of Heroes” to raise awareness of the fact that more than 7,000 Canadians died and were buried along the highway.
Michel is the author of five books on Canada's war effort, one of which inspired a new Canadian World War I museum in France.
We thank him for his contributions in ensuring our brave soldiers and their accomplishments are remembered.
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2021-06-11 11:02 [p.8270]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I put forward a unanimous consent motion to recognize what happened in residential schools as an act of genocide. Certain parliamentarians chose to deny consent for this truth.
Today is the day we recognize the 2008 national residential school apology, which acknowledged the sexual, spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and psychological abuses that children had to endure in residential schools, sometimes resulting in death. This was meaningful for many indigenous people.
However, if we are going to reconcile in this country, the truth must be told. What happened in residential schools was an act of genocide, according to article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Therefore, today, I am asking parliamentarians in the House to have the courage, once again, to speak truth so that the experience of survivors is no longer up for debate. Survivors, impacted families and communities deserve that justice.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, as an Acadian and former educator in minority language communities, I am very proud of our government's efforts since 2015 in the area of official languages to advance linguistic duality.
We reinstated the court challenges program, re-established the Translation Bureau as a centre of excellence, signed the very first strategic education agreement, revised the federal government's regulations on bilingual services to the public, after which more than 600 additional offices were designated bilingual, and added questions to the 2021 census to reach all classes of rights holders.
This winter, our government unveiled its plan to modernize the Official Languages Act. It includes supporting the vitality of immigration and education institutions, ensuring that bilingual judges are appointed to the Supreme Court, promoting French in Quebec and across Canada, and establishing a central agency to strengthen the powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
We are working hard to deliver a bill for all Canadians.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, last week I had several opportunities to meet with indigenous constituents directly impacted by Kamloops residential school and St. Mary's residential school. During the march on Saturday, I walked alongside dozens of survivors of the residential school system and their families. Shared with me were stories of horror, loss of language and a pain that still exists today. For some, it was too much to even talk about.
As the member of Parliament for a riding with a large indigenous population, I acknowledge that I have a lot to learn and a lot to do. Some of the immediate actions my constituents are calling for include: funding the investigation of all former residential schools where unmarked graves may exist; ensuring that proper resources are allocated for communities to reinter, commemorate and honour any individuals discovered through the investigation; and developing a detailed and thorough set of resources to better educate Canadians on this tragedy.
Finally, I will be tabling a petition to that effect very shortly in the House today.
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam van Koeverden Profile
2021-06-11 11:05 [p.8271]
Mr. Speaker, the horrific act of domestic terrorism on Sunday, June 6, was another tragic reminder of the evil and hateful prejudice and racism that continues to exist in our country. It was an attack on an innocent family, a religious community and our ideals as Canadians.
On Wednesday night, I attended a vigil in Oakville, and I saw the coming together of a Muslim community that was shaken, but not broken. I spoke with my neighbour Muhammad at the vigil. He lives in Milton and was family with the victims from London. He urged me to press for investments in education, mental health supports, and resources and services for those who are struggling. It is our responsibility as leaders and as citizens to stand up and speak out against hatred in all of its forms. Prejudice, bigotry and Islamophobia have no place in our country, and we must all be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric in the strongest terms.
I would like my Muslim friends and neighbours here in Milton to know that we love them and we support them. They are an integral part of our community that helps make our town so great. I hope to see them out on an evening walk some time really soon.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I was deeply shaken and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Lisette Corbeil, the director of strategic projects at the south shore chamber of commerce and industry.
Just a month ago, Ms. Corbeil worked with my team to organize a special activity for the chamber. She was warm, competent and incredibly kind.
Ms. Corbeil was found dead in her home in Contrecoeur on Wednesday. Authorities believe she died at the hands of her estranged spouse.
This femicide is the 12th in Quebec since the beginning of the year, which is a tragic and heartbreaking statistic. We all need to denounce acts of violence like this one and come up with solutions to make sure it never happens again.
I extend my deepest condolences to Ms. Corbeil's family and loved ones, as well as her colleagues at the south shore chamber of commerce and industry.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-06-11 11:07 [p.8271]
Mr. Speaker, children's shoes and toys were placed in front of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia this past week, a memorial to 215 indigenous children who died at just one residential school. It has shocked our nation.
These children were taken from their families and never came home. Each one is a tragic story, and together they are a horrifying reminder of what our nation did to those poor kids, their families and their culture. Sadly, the more we learn, the more we weep. Just when we think we have heard the worst, another chapter in the shameful history of Canada is unearthed.
We all have a duty to learn more about this tragedy and this devastating part of Canada's history so we can heal and grow together as a nation. We cannot undo the past, but we can learn from it and commit to doing our part to support the healing and reconciliation.
View Marie-France Lalonde Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marie-France Lalonde Profile
2021-06-11 11:08 [p.8271]
Mr. Speaker, on June 4, I had the pleasure of attending the virtual AGM of the Miracle League of Ottawa. Its leadership brought to Orléans a fully accessible baseball field and playground, which gives those with special needs the opportunity to play in a safe and enjoyable environment. I am so proud to have this organization in our community, and I would like to acknowledge the engagement of the volunteers and members of the board.
At every opportunity I had to attend a game, the joy and smiles I could see all around were just so fulfilling. I have the privilege to count among my friends a very special family. I thank Rolly and Michelle Desrochers, and their son, Bryce, for their passion. I thank Bryce, who had a dream of one day being able to play baseball in his wheelchair, for turning that dream into a reality.
View Tako Van Popta Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2021-06-11 11:09 [p.8271]
Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of visiting some schools in my riding of Langley—Aldergrove, all via video conference, of course, including Brookswood Secondary School. There, I met with Ms. Glover and her grade 11 and 12 political studies students, who challenged me with very thoughtful questions. Notable was a question from a young man who wanted to know what he could do to bring attention to shocking reports about sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces.
This young man has had the advantage of strong female role models in his life, who have encouraged him not to remain silent. I assured him that he was doing the right thing by bringing this to the attention of his member of Parliament, and that I would be proud to stand with him and his classmates to bring their concerns to Canada's Parliament.
I send a big thank you to Ms. Glover and all her grade 11 and 12 political studies students for a job well done, and a special shout-out to a remarkable and courageous young man, River Peatman, who has the courage to stand up and not be silent.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2021-06-11 11:10 [p.8272]
Mr. Speaker, this week the Liberals, with the help of the Bloc, pushed through their gag order to shut down debate on Bill C-10 at the heritage committee.
Several academic and legal experts have been clear. Bill C-10 leaves the door open to a massive abuse of power and the regulation of what Canadians can or cannot post online. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in any democratic society, and it is shameful that the Liberals refuse to make the necessary amendments to protect it.
Conservatives cannot and will not vote for a bill that threatens the rights of all Canadians. Canada's Conservatives will always stand up for the free expression of Canadians, even if the NDP and Bloc will not.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-06-11 11:11 [p.8272]
Mr. Speaker, if members are looking for a gift idea for a 2021 grad in their life, consider buying them shades, because there is no question that Canada's future is very bright with the class of 2021 stepping up.
Have they let the pandemic stand in their way? No way. Now we need to do our part. We need to make post-secondary education free in Canada, just like it is in over 25 countries around the world. We also need to make it easier for students to repay student loans.
Students know that we have an NDP leader who is fighting for good jobs for them with meaningful climate change plans and a concrete action plan to address systemic racism. They know that they did not get here alone, but with support from family, friends and wonderful educators. They also know that it is now up to them to make their mark, whether in post-secondary institutions, the labour market or their communities. Like the class of 2020 before them, they are clearly #readyforanything.
To the class of 2021, I send love and courage to each and every one, and I encourage them go for it.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-11 11:12 [p.8272]
Mr. Speaker, the government's management of the temporary foreign workers file is a disaster, and the pandemic has just made things worse.
After making farmers responsible for ensuring that their workers quarantine, the government ended up offering them $1,500 in compensation, but that amount will be slashed in half as of June 16.
Our farmers, who are still bringing in workers, will get half of the assistance they need. On top of that, the workers are coming in late after being stuck in quarantine because of the federal government and the incompetence of Switch Health.
The minister made a promise when she announced the program; she said, “This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force”.
She gave her word and needs to get her act together. Farmers never asked to take over responsibility for quarantines from the federal government. The federal government needs to do its part and see this through.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, today marks the 13th anniversary of then prime minister Stephen Harper's historic apology for Canada's role in the residential school system.
The legacy of residential schools is a national shame that has had a profoundly lasting and destructive impact on indigenous peoples, their culture, heritage and language. With the tragic discovery of 215 children in an unmarked grave at the site of a former Kamloops residential school, we are reminded of our indolence. All of us on all sides of the House must accept our role in that apathy.
More work needs to be done to address the devastating and harmful effects of residential schools, which continue for the many survivors and their families today. The government must stop off-loading its commitment to reconcile with indigenous peoples. Rather, the government must renew that commitment without delay with concrete plans to implement calls to action 71 through 76.
View Marcus Powlowski Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this will be a great weekend for many of us in Ontario because, for the first time in many months, we will be able to get together with up to 10 other people outside. However, this is going to be a really great weekend for members of the Filipino-Canadian population because tomorrow is Philippines Independence Day.
For the Filipino-Canadian community, this last year has been a particularly hard because many people from that community work in either chronic care homes or meat packing plants, both of which were hit hard by COVID. However, this weekend, I, like Filipino Canadians and Filipinos around the world, will be partying.
No one parties better than the Filipinos. I, like many Filipinos, will spend the weekend eating pancit, lechon and bicol express, and drinking, of course, Tanduay and San Miguel.
Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2021-06-11 11:16 [p.8273]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government says that diversity is a driver in the judicial selection process.
Yesterday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice provided statistics to prove that there is diversity among the appointed judges.
Diversity is important, but the “Liberalist” system does not help with political diversity. Why are the Liberals using diversity to hide their lies?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question, but the premise is all wrong.
When our government was elected in 2015, we created a more rigorous, open and accountable system that better reflects Canada's diversity when appointing top-notch judges to our institutions. Our appointments are always based on merit. They are also based on the needs of the various benches, the expertise of the various candidates and the recommendations of the independent judicial advisory committees. We are proud of what we have put in place. The candidates come from—
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-11 11:17 [p.8273]
The hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2021-06-11 11:17 [p.8273]
Mr. Speaker, the government is constantly using words such as “inclusive” and “transparent” to describe its judicial selection process.
Those are nice words and all, but they in no way relate to this government. Judges are appointed solely on the basis of their contributions to the Liberal Party. Making changes to the selection process only after problems were brought to light is not transparency.
When will the government start deserving the words it uses to describe itself?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's premise is false.
In 2015, we implemented an independent merit-based system. Advisory committees operate neutrally and in a non-partisan way. The committees work hard to select candidates who will advance through the process. Our appointments are merit-based.
We have nothing to learn from the Conservative Party, which is actually the reason we had to make changes to the system starting in 2015—
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-11 11:18 [p.8273]
The hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord.
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Martel Profile
2021-06-11 11:18 [p.8273]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister have defended their judicial appointment process for quite some time.
However, the Minister of Justice himself said that the process did not take any partisan considerations into account. We now know that is not true. The “Liberalist” system added a filter that made the whole process biased and partisan.
How can Canadians be expected to place their trust in a justice minister who does not himself follow the rules?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as we have just said many times, the advisory committees work independently. They base their decisions on merit. Merit and diversity are the two criteria we look at in choosing quality judges right across Canada.
Since 2015, we have appointed over 450 people to the bench. They are exceptional judges, from all walks of life and all political stripes. We will continue to do so.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2021-06-11 11:20 [p.8273]
Mr. Speaker, last fall, the justice minister told the House, “There is no partisanship in my decision-making process.” However, this week, senior government sources admitted that judicial appointments were checked against the Liberal supporter database “Liberalist”. Canadians expect judges to be appointed on their merits, and those merits should not include how much money they donated to the Liberals or whether or not they took a lawn sign in the last election.
Was the minister trying to mislead the House or did he just forget the Liberalist has a veto on his appointments?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the assumptions made by the hon. member are completely false and I stand by what I said in previous responses. We have put into place a process that is independent, clear and transparent. The judicial appointment committees work in a way that is completely non-partisan. I make my appointments based only on merit and diversity, and not in a partisan fashion. We will continue with the high-quality appointments that we have made. We certainly will not take lessons from the Conservative Party. It is the reason we put this system into place in the—
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-11 11:21 [p.8274]
The hon. deputy leader of the opposition.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2021-06-11 11:21 [p.8274]
Mr. Speaker, the minister should be hanging his head in shame and taking some lessons on how to make appointments that are not partisan.
The minister posted a tweet congratulating one of his buddies, one of his donors, on a recent appointment and then he had to take down the tweet because it turned out the approval was not official yet. Well, that is how Ottawa is run under these Liberals. If one donates enough to the justice minister or flies the Prime Minister's family around the world, one gets concierge service from the government.
Just how long have the Liberals been using their partisan supporter database to approve judges' appointments?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, again, the presumptions made by the hon. member are completely false and I disagree with them. There was a mistake made in a tweet. That was corrected by the department and persons were contacted with respect to the mistake that was made. Again, I apologize for that mistake being made on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
We appoint quality candidates from all political backgrounds, all backgrounds, diverse backgrounds, through a process that is independent, through a process that focuses on quality, on talent and on diversity, and—
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-11 11:22 [p.8274]
The hon. member for Saint-Jean.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-11 11:22 [p.8274]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberals rejected a Bloc Québécois motion condemning the conflation of the horrific attack in London with a Quebec law.
The member for Mississauga—Erin Mills defended the rejection of the motion by conflating yet another issue. She said that Canada is a multicultural society where everyone should feel welcome, and that laws like that of Quebec do not help to create this kind of climate.
Obviously, the member feels that there is a connection between the attack in London and the Quebec law. Is that the government's position or will the member be admonished for that?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are well aware, they are defending their rights through the Constitution and we are going to continue to follow that process from close. Obviously, I express my condolences to the Muslim community in London and across Canada for this tragic and horrific act, and we will continue to move forward in that direction.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-11 11:24 [p.8274]
Mr. Speaker, the motion that the Liberals rejected had three objectives.
It reiterated our condolences to the victims' families and friends and to the entire community of London because they are the ones we should be talking about today, not political parties and especially not Quebec.
The motion reiterated that everyone must denounce hatred and violence, and that misguided conflation must be avoided at all costs because this tragedy must not be used to play partisan or ideological politics.
How can the House possibly not be able to agree on that?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to why the House is not unanimous on this issue.
From the start, we have expressed our condolences to the victims' family and friends and to Muslim communities across Canada, particularly those in London, Ontario.
We are trying to combat Islamophobia. We will continue to do that because that is what we need to do to have an inclusive and, might I add, fair country.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the government has provided $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, it has provided billions to profitable companies that paid out dividends and executive bonuses and it has refused to put into place a wealth tax or a pandemic profit tax. For the government, the sky is the limit for the ultrarich.
With a potential fourth wave coming and families struggling, why is the Liberal government slashing supports Canadians desperately need to put food on the table? Why are Liberals slashing emergency benefits for Canadians nearly in half at this critical time?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-11 11:26 [p.8274]
Mr. Speaker, with great respect for the hon. member, I take some umbrage at the question he has put. He knows fairly well that during this pandemic it was our government that was there for people in need. We advanced record supports to help families keep food on the table and help workers remain on the payroll.
Going forward, we have immense benefits we are rolling out to continue to support people and businesses through this pandemic. I will point out, before he continues to ride on his high horse, that when he had the opportunity to vote to cut taxes for the middle class and pay for them by raising them on the 1%, he voted against it. When he had the chance to stop sending child care cheques to millionaires to put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families, he voted against it too. Families should—
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-06-11 11:26 [p.8274]
The hon. member for North Island—Powell River.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, let us be real. The Liberals offered $1,000 for CERB and it was the NDP who moved them to increase it to $2,000, so I would remind the minister of that.
In the next three weeks, the government is cutting the CERB support to Canadians across the country almost in half. I am asking the minister how he expects people to buy food, pay their rent and cover their bills on $1,200. That does not pass the test in Canadian cities.
The government gives billions of dollars to oil and gas companies, refuses to tax the ultrarich, but is fine to nickel and dime everyday people. Instead of working for the ultrarich and huge corporations, when will the government step up and actually—
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