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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), l have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 11 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-20, An Act establishing the Public Complaints and Review Commission and amending certain Acts and statutory instruments.
View Salma Zahid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Main Estimates 2022-23: Votes 1, 5 and 10 under Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and Vote 1 under Immigration and Refugee Board”.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in relation to the motion adopted Thursday, May 5, 2022, on the International Civil Aviation Organization.
View Peter Julian Profile
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Corinne’s Quest and the protection of children).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present this important legislation today, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to Corinne's Quest and the protection of children. I would like to give special thanks to my seconder, the dynamic member of Parliament for Nunavut.
As we well know, physical punishment of children is still legal in Canada, despite the fact that dozens and dozens of countries around the world have banned the practice. This bill seeks to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code, which allows for physical punishment of children.
Corinne's Quest comes from Corinne Robertshaw, a lawyer for the federal government who saw first-hand the results of allowing physical punishment of children and the death and injury of children throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She started Corinne's Quest and it continues today. Despite her death, Corinne's Quest continues to advocate on behalf of children.
I would like to give special thanks to Kathy and John Lynn, constituents of mine in New Westminster—Burnaby, who are shepherding the push to ban physical punishment of children and repeal section 43.
I hope that all members of Parliament will support this important legislation.
View Frank Caputo Profile
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-274, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (detention in custody).
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. This bill addresses a central issue when it comes to street crime affecting Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo and all areas of Canada. It responds to the decision in Regina v. Zora from the Supreme Court of Canada, which dramatically altered the bail landscape and made bail essentially a given.
This bill would permit the courts to detain somebody who is alleged to have committed three indictable offences, serious offences. That would make the person presumptively detained, except in exceptional circumstances. I am confident that this bill would help protect Canadians in a balanced and nuanced way. I thank my seconder, the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
View John Nater Profile
moved for leave to introduce Bill S-227, An Act to establish Food Day in Canada.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to introduce at first reading Bill S-227, an act to establish food day in Canada. I am very proud to sponsor this initiative, which would formally establish food day in Canada on the Saturday before the first Monday in August, making it fall on a Saturday on which most provinces hold a holiday long weekend. I am especially proud that, through this bill, Parliament is honouring the legacy of the late Anita Stewart for her lifetime of devoted advocacy for Canadian food.
I would like to thank the hon. Senator Rob Black for sponsoring this bill in the other place, where it passed unanimously. I appreciate the support that this bill has already received, including from the members for Wellington—Halton Hills, Durham and Guelph. I hope that, with the support of all parties, this bill, Bill S-227, can pass quickly through this House. Now, more than ever, it is important to champion the healthy local food that hard-working farmers and farm families grow throughout Canada.
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and, if you seek it, I hope that you will find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, during the debate on the business of supply pursuant to Standing Order 81(4) on Thursday, May 19 and Monday, May 30, 2022:
(a) the time provided for consideration of the Main Estimates in committee of the whole be extended beyond four hours, as needed, to include a minimum of 16 periods of 15 minutes each; and
(b) members rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that they will be dividing their time with another member.
(c) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay. Hearing none, it is agreed.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
View Niki Ashton Profile
Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to present petition e-3636, calling on the government to award veteran Jess Larochelle the Victoria Cross for his valour. Every year, we take one day to remember our veterans: Remembrance Day. We might remember them on the anniversary of a battle or conflict, but we do not do enough to recognize veterans' sacrifices.
Other countries have recognized this and have reviewed the citations given to veterans who ought to be appropriately recognized for their valour, but here in Canada we have not done that appropriately. In fact, a Canadian has not been awarded the VC since 1945. Over 14,000 Canadians who signed the petition are clear that this must change.
I want to acknowledge the unprecedented grassroots movement bringing together the veteran community, including organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion, members of the military community, municipalities and grassroots Canadians, who together are calling for Private Jess Larochelle's citation to be reviewed and to award him the Victoria Cross he deserves.
Veterans who have served heroically and have been ignored for reasons such as their race must also be considered for the Victoria Cross. It is time to recognize their valour.
View Erin O'Toole Profile
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2022-05-19 10:14
Mr. Speaker, it is hard with an e-petition to split some of the signatures that were brought forward by my colleague, the member for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, and I want to thank her for doing that. This is a bipartisan effort, so we cannot split those 14,129 signatures, but as a veteran and a former minister of veterans affairs, I want to pledge bipartisan support for the work done by Valour in the Presence of the Enemy, which gathered these signatures.
All veterans groups, including the Royal Canadian Legion, want a proper review, because valour in the presence of the enemy was demonstrated by Jess Larochelle, who in 2006, while injured, defended against 20 to 40 insurgents. The 12-year mission in Afghanistan was our longest. We need a process to review the valour of our citizens, much like all of our major allies have.
I support the efforts of our veterans and my colleague. We need a fair and transparent process to review the valour of soldiers like Jess Larochelle. Now is the time to do that.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, today I present a petition where the signatories are asking for the government and all members of Parliament to continue to support and advocate for Ukraine, in particular on the issues of lethal weapons and ongoing support in terms of supplies of lethal weapons, continuing efforts and doing whatever we can for displaced persons and, of course, humanitarian aid.
It is with pleasure that I present this petition today.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Development and Peace-Caritas Canada, today, I am pleased to present a petition that has been signed by residents of my beautiful riding of Madawaska—Restigouche. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to pass a law on Canadian companies operating abroad.
This law would require such companies to prevent adverse human rights impacts and environmental damage throughout their global operations and supply chains.
It would require companies do their due diligence, including by carefully assessing how they may be contributing to human rights abuse or environmental damage abroad and by providing access to remedy when harms occur.
It would provide for meaningful consequences for companies that fail to carry out and report on adequate due diligence.
Finally, it would establish a legal right for people who have been harmed to seek justice in Canadian courts.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
Mr. Speaker, the signatories of this petition are calling on the radical ultra-left socialist coalition to stop the demonization of people it finds unacceptable and lift the mandates, together with all restrictions, so our nation can get back to normal and begin to heal.
View Len Webber Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions.
The first is a petition from Calgarians concerned about the deadly opioid crisis. In 2016, I participated in the health committee's extensive study into the opioid crisis, and we made a number of recommendations to the House.
The petitioners are calling on the government to take the necessary steps to stop the needless death and overdose injuries occurring in every community in Canada. They also want to see the federal government work with the provinces to develop a national overdose plan. The petitioners are asking the government to consider alternatives and reforms used in other countries that have been proven to work in tackling this public health challenge.
View Len Webber Profile
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from many concerned Canadians. Of course, we are all horrified by the situation in Ukraine, and Canadians are looking for Canada's government to take a strong stand against Russia.
The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to provide military equipment and arms for the defence of Ukraine. In addition, they are calling on our government to work with our NATO allies to close Ukraine's airspace to the Russians. Finally, they are asking Canada's government to take a leadership role in any future peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. Like all Canadians, they hope that this war comes to an end soon.
View Peter Julian Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by several dozen people in British Columbia, including constituents in my terrific riding of New Westminster—Burnaby.
The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to support Motion M-1, a green new deal, which is an initiative that I tabled before the House of Commons on behalf of the NDP. As members well know, the climate crisis is upon us. We need to have solutions put into place, and the green new deal is part of those solutions.
View Elizabeth May Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present a petition on the urgent matter of the opioid crisis.
The petitioners cite statistics that are well known in this place. The overdose crisis is a public health emergency, and more than 13,900 people have died from opioid-related deaths since 2016. They call on the Government of Canada to recognize that this is a public health emergency and to reframe the overdose crisis as a health issue rather than a criminal matter.
There are a number of other points, but to summarize, I will reference a private member's bill, Bill C-216, from the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni, which also calls for this really critical point. It calls for drugs to be decriminalized in Canada in order to reframe the issue as a health crisis and not a criminal matter. In closing, the petitioners are also grateful to the organization of Moms Stop the Harm.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to introduce two petitions signed by constituents in Kitchener—Conestoga.
The first petition requests that the Government of Canada address the climate emergency by enacting just transition legislation, which would reduce emissions by 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, end fossil fuel subsidies and create good green jobs.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have the pleasure to present requests that the Canadian government work to require governments to prevent adverse human rights impacts and environmental damages throughout their global operations.
View Tracy Gray Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today and table a petition on behalf of thousands of constituents from Kelowna—Lake Country and from across Canada. The petitioners are supporting wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries, of which 95% are small businesses.
The petition says, “inflation, labour shortages, supply chain issues, increasing business debt and federal tax increases on businesses are already increasing costs at an unmanageable level for small businesses” and asks the government to recognize “that small business have been hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of a volatile open-and-shut cycle”.
The petitioners are calling on the government to freeze the automatic escalator excise tax on beer, wine, cider and spirits.
View Larry Brock Profile
Mr. Speaker, on this Vyshyvanka Day, I am honoured to present a petition supported by the fine residents in my riding of Brantford—Brant and many Canadians who are very concerned about Russia's unprovoked war and genocide against the people of Ukraine. They are also concerned about the Liberal government's slow and inefficient response.
Knowing that Canada was the first western country to recognize Ukrainian independence, people are calling on the government to show leadership in helping Ukraine in the fight for its sovereignty 31 years later. We can and must do much more to support Ukraine and its people, including providing funding and the direct military assistance needed to liberate all territories from Russia, including the Donbass and the Crimea.
Slava Ukraini.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 457.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile

Question No. 457—
Ms. Heather McPherson:
With regard to sanctions imposed by Canada under the United Nations Act, the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, broken down by type of asset and type of sanction: (a) what is the dollar value of assets frozen since February 23, 2022, belonging to (i) Russian, (ii) Belarusian, nationals; (b) what is the dollar value of assets frozen since February 24, 2022, belonging to (i) Russian, (ii) Belarusian, nationals; (c) how many individuals have had assets frozen since February 24, 2022, belonging to (i) Russian, (ii) Belarusian, nationals; (d) what assessments, including the dollar value, have been done on the amount of Russian and Belarusian assets in Canada owned by sanctioned (i) Russian, (ii) Belarusian, nationals; and (e) as of which date is the information provided in response to this question current?
Hon. Robert Oliphant (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
In response to parts (a), (b) and (c) of the question, in coordination with allies and partners, Canada will continue to escalate sanctions and close loopholes to maximize pressure against the Russian regime until President Putin stops his war on Ukraine and turns to diplomacy. The measures the Government of Canada has put in place are designed to hit at the heart of Russia’s economy and limit its ability to fund its illegal and unjustifiable war.
Under Canada’s sanctions, it is prohibited for persons in Canada and Canadians abroad to engage in activities related to the property of sanctioned persons, including the provision of financial or related services. As a result, the assets of sanctioned persons are effectively frozen. They cannot be sold and they cannot be transferred, making transactions involving them simply impossible.
Through budget 2022, the Government of Canada is proposing amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act that will allow courts to order seized or restrained property belonging to sanctioned persons, including Russian elites, oligarchs and their proxies, to be forfeited to the Crown.
The proceeds generated from forfeited assets may be used for the reconstruction of a foreign state adversely affected by grave breaches of international peace and security; the restoration of international peace and security; and the compensation of victims affected by grave breaches of international peace and security, gross and systematic human rights violations or acts of significant corruption.
The management and disposal of assets are expected to be handled by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada under the Seized Property Management Act. These changes will make Canada’s sanctions regime a leader in the G7.
Federally regulated financial institutions, or FRFIs, are regulated and supervised by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, OSFI. This includes foreign banks operating in Canada. OSFI expects FRFIs to comply with all relevant Canadian sanctions legislation and to ensure they have adequate procedures in place to comply with the existing and any future laws on an ongoing basis.
Disclosures on the existence of sanctioned assets are made by reporting entities, such as Canadian financial institutions, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP.
Global Affairs Canada is not in a position to provide the requested figures, given that they may not fully reflect what has been effectively frozen under Canadian sanctions and would represent only those assets that have been reported to the RCMP. Such an exercise could lead to the disclosure of incomplete and misleading information.
In response to part (d) of the question, G7 finance ministers released a joint statement on March 17, 2022, outlining their commitment to take all available legal steps to find, restrain, freeze, seize and, where appropriate, confiscate or forfeit the assets of those individuals and entities that have been sanctioned.
With regard to part (e) of the question, the information provided in response to this question is current as of March 31, 2022.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 456 and 458 to 460 could be made orders for return, these return would be tabled immediately.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile

Question No. 456—
Mrs. Laila Goodridge:
With regard to the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-188 Hornet or CF-18 aircraft: (a) what have been the total costs related to aircraft maintenance on the CF-18 since 2016, broken down by (i) year, (ii) type of expense; (b) what are the projected costs to maintain the CF-18 aircraft, broken down by fiscal year from present until 2032-33; (c) how much has been spent on improvements, either directly for or related to the jets, including (i) radar improvements, (ii) communications gear, (iii) equipment, (iv) other expenditures, broken down by fiscal year since 2016; and (d) what are the projected costs of improvements, either directly for or related to the CF-18 aircraft, broken down by fiscal year and type of improvement, from the present fiscal year until 2032-33?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 458—
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to changes in government policies, regulations, and taxation measures that came into effect on April 1, 2022, broken down by department and agency: what are the details of all these changes, including, for each, (i) what the change was, (ii) the reason for the change, (iii) the costs or projected costs associated with the change, (iv) the additional revenue or loss projected for the government over the next five years, broken down by year, as a result of the change?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 459—
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to vehicles owned, rented or leased by the government, since 2016, broken down by year and by department, agency or other government entity: (a) how many parking tickets, or similar types of citations, were received by government vehicles; (b) what was the cumulative amount of fines of the parking tickets referred to in (a); (c) how many of the parking tickets referred to in (a) were paid for by the government; (d) what is the total amount paid by the government for parking violations; (e) why did the government pay for the tickets in (c) rather than the government employee or other individual who parked illegally; (f) how many traffic tickets, or similar types of citations, were received by the government, including those received by mail or email, such as from red-light cameras or speeding cameras; (g) what was the cumulative amount of fines of the traffic tickets referred to in (f); (h) how many of the traffic tickets referred to in (f) were paid for by the government; (i) what is the total amount paid by the government for traffic violations; (j) why did the government pay for the tickets in (i) rather than the government employee or other individual who committed the traffic violation; and (k) what is the policy regarding who pays the (i) parking ticket, (ii) traffic ticket, when it is unclear who committed the infraction?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 460—
Mrs. Kelly Block:
With regard to the government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters: (a) how many doses has the government procured, broken down by the year the doses are, or were, scheduled to be delivered, from 2020 through 2028; (b) what is the breakdown of (a) by manufacturer and specific vaccine; and (c) what is the breakdown of (a) by the number of doses intended for (i) domestic use, (ii) foreign use through COVAX, (iii) other foreign use?
(Return tabled)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Finally, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
That, given that,
(i) Canadians are currently experiencing unacceptable wait times at Canadian airports, even though airports are still operating at reduced capacity,
(ii) current restrictions have been cited by experts as ineffective and contributing to additional delays, costs, and confusion, as well as acute labour shortages,
(iii) Canada's international allies have moved to lift COVID-19 restrictions at airports and other points of entry,
(iv) Canada is losing business and economic opportunities,
the House call on the government to immediately revert to pre-pandemic rules and service levels for travel.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
I am always honoured to rise on behalf of the constituents of Thornhill.
More than two years ago, travel and many other parts of normal life came to a compete standstill. Countries around the world shut their borders, their airports and virtually everything else, and it was necessary to do so. We were faced with a new virus that we knew very little about. We had to do this until we found a way to live with COVID. We had to do this until we learned more.
Two years ago, all of our allies were in the same place. We all shut our borders. We all had restrictions in place. Today, that is no longer the case. Countries around the world have dropped their restrictions and have cancelled mandates. Canada is no longer in line with the rest of the world. Canada is an outlier. We know that most governments make decisions based on science, research and advice from the experts. All of our allies are lifting the restrictions, so surely they cannot all be wrong. Surely the science cannot be different in Canada than anywhere else.
We might be able to understand the government’s thought process on this, if it would share the advice it has received and when it was received from the experts it claims have given them this advice. However, it has refused to tell Canadians what metrics it is using, what plan it has and what evidence these rules are based on. In fact, we have not been able to find anyone who has told the government to keep the legacy health restrictions and the assault on mobility rights in place. That leads us on this side of the House to believe that there is no evidence, there are no metrics and there is no good reason, other than the ideological drive to punish those who do not agree with the government.
Not only are these restrictions vindictive and discriminatory, which we have said a lot in this place, because it is true, but they are causing chaos at our airports, which the House and the Minister of Transport ought to be concerned about. We have all seen photos of passengers lined up for hours and hours on end, with no chance of making their flights on time. They wait on the tarmac, only to be shepherded into a lineup that exceeds the size of the terminal or the CBSA hall. Passenger processing times have quadrupled, and in committee this week, industry experts told us directly that these restrictions and mandates are, in part, to blame.
Our airports are famous for all of the wrong reasons, and we can fix that today, at least in part. The world is opening and people are finally travelling, which is a good thing. Businesses are growing again. Canada should be a world-class destination for people to work and play, but what do people abroad see? They see long lines, chaos and a place they want nothing to do with. They see COVID restrictions that their countries did away with months ago. They see lineups that take longer than the flights themselves. They see a big neon sign at the border saying that Canada is closed for business. They will choose to go elsewhere.
The Toronto Region Board of Trade said that about 50% of travellers at Pearson, my home airport, as well as that of the Minister of Transport, as it is the airport he goes to most often, had “extensive delays” last week. How does that create a good first impression? Our tourism sector cannot afford this. Our small businesses cannot afford this, and our country cannot afford this.
It has been two long years. They need as much help as they can get, and it is not just dollars and cents. These are peoples’ livelihoods, their years of hard work and their life savings. It is simply hypocritical for the government to claim that it has businesses’ backs when it continues to dig in its heels and stand by the measures that are now affecting everyone, not just those who opposed its views in the first place. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, tourism associations, the Canadian Airports Council and now doctors have all called for an end to border restrictions, vaccine mandates and the broken ArriveCAN app. They just want their livelihoods back.
There are acute labour shortages in this sector, we know that, and while the minister blames travellers, saying that they are out of practice, we know the problem lies in part with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which is under his purview. Of the security workers lost during the pandemic, 10% to 30% were never replaced.
Surely a room full of people, many of whom use airports on a regular basis, would show an ounce of humility and listen, instead of doubling down on outdated practices and more outdated talking points.
The Ottawa airport alone needs 350 staff to operate properly. Right now, it has 172 who are fully trained and cleared. That is less than 50%. In every sense of the word, that is a failure, and we saw it coming.
Canadians should know that CATSA is a user-pay model. That means those who use it actually pay for it. It is not a run-of-the-mill government agency. It should be the best.
The government runs a profit off travellers. What are travellers buying with their money? They are buying longer lineups, some of the most archaic screening in the western world, and missed flights. Airlines in Canada are fined for delays and poor service, but what is the government’s liability when it is responsible?
Even the president of PHAC told carriers and airports it would remove testing from airports in January. It is May. Instead, the government launched a new strategy consultation this week. I cannot think of a more worthless remedy in this environment: A government that cannot provide services that have already been paid for by the traveller is going to develop a strategy for people it has punished and blamed already.
The workers who have not been fired yet are subject to this incompetence as well. They are being forced to keep families on airplanes in 30° weather. There is more outrage when a dog is found locked in a car in the summertime in a Costco parking lot.
Why will the Liberals not listen? We know they have problems accepting diversity of thought and differing viewpoints, but are they seriously vindictive enough that they will continue to allow our economy to suffer, just to prove a point?
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
Ms. Melissa Lantsman: Mr. Speaker, they are laughing at this. We are hearing laughter on the other side of the House at the suffering of Canadians.
The people's voices this party brings forward in this House each day might seem like strangers to the people laughing on the opposite side of this House. They are not strangers.
Some of the hon. members forget that those they have othered, the ones they continue to actively disparage and look down upon, are people too. They are parents and grandparents and they are nurses and tradespeople. They are everyday Canadians whom we know in our communities. They have missed birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and funerals. They are hurting. Now the ideological crusade on them has crossed into affecting everyone else. It is affecting everyone who did everything they were asked to do throughout this pandemic.
The vaccine mandates imposed by the federal government do not just restrict travel. They restrict our workforce.
The Minister of Transport acknowledged that the issues we are seeing at airports would not be solved immediately. Some say those delays and long lines could last until Christmas or later.
We are not saying removing the restrictions is a magic bullet. It is not going to solve all of the problems overnight, but surely airlines, associations, unions, chambers of commerce, businesses and now doctors cannot all be wrong that these restrictions are causing delays. We owe it to them to support them after two years of closures and lockdowns in this country.
We owe it to our constituents to listen to their concerns. We owe it to the millions of struggling Canadians who just want to see their economy reopen and start getting real paycheques again. We owe it to travellers to allow them to finally travel quickly and easily. We owe it to everyone in this country and everybody coming to this country.
Surely the government trusts Canadians enough to allow them to travel freely. Surely members in this place want to see our economy back on track. Surely they want to support our tourism sector and our small businesses. Therefore, surely they will vote with our party to lift the mandates, end the restrictions and immediately revert to prepandemic rules and service levels for travel. Our economy depends on it.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I regret this opposition day motion has been overshadowed by recent events within the Conservative Party, but I did find it very interesting that the member used words like Liberals do not understand the “diversity of thought”. She also said the government likes to “punish those who do not agree” with it. I find that very interesting, given the news that the member for Abbotsford was removed from his critic portfolio as a result of his diversity of thought and that diversity of thought being counter to that of the member for Carleton.
I am wondering if the member would like to comment on the fact that diversity of thought and punishing those who do not agree with them is alive and well within the Conservative Party, as we witnessed just last night with the member for Abbotsford being removed from his critic position for disagreeing with the Conservative leadership.
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am actually sad to answer this question, because I would hope that the member opposite would have a question related to what we are speaking about today and related to the punishment that the government has imposed on over four million Canadians who still cannot get into an airplane. There are 4,000 tests happening at an airport all day, and it is happening only in Canada.
I would hope that in the future, the member opposite would have a question that relates to something that is happening in the House today.
View Luc Desilets Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
The motion states that “current restrictions have been cited...as ineffective”. The science, however, says something completely different.
This morning, the papers were reporting that Canada's third-dose vaccination rate ranks second last among G7 countries. Our vaccination rate is apparently 54.3%.
What is my colleague's response to that?
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to look at everywhere else in the world. I would ask him to ask himself why the science is actually different in this country and whether mandates have increased vaccination on the third dose. The answer is, not really.
We have heard from public health experts and doctors who have said that these mandates do not work. We have heard from the travel industry, which said they are bottlenecking our airports. We have heard from nobody that these restrictions are working.
I would hope that the member opposite watched the Edmonton Oilers play the Calgary Flames last night with over 20,000 in an arena, unvaxxed and unmasked because it did not matter, or that he goes outside of this place, takes off his mask and goes to any restaurant. The science does not make sense. The science cannot be one thing here and one thing there, and Canadians ought to know that.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
Mr. Speaker, there was a lot in my hon. colleague's speech that I agree with, and she made some excellent points.
However, she, too, was at the transport committee when we heard from the Canadian Airports Council that the number one factor contributing to delays at the airport is the staffing issue. Removing all of the pandemic measures and pandemic rules is not going to address the massive staffing shortage.
Why did she not include a proposed solution to the staffing crisis in this motion?
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate the member's interventions and I like the work that we do together on the transport committee. We did speak about the labour shortages, and it is a very real issue in airports. One of the ways we can solve that is to bring back all of the people that the government fired because of the federal vaccine mandates. We heard from witnesses in the committee that there are people out there waiting to work. That is a solution to the labour shortage.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2022-05-19 10:40
Mr. Speaker, I would like my hon. colleague's opinion, because, from a public health standpoint, vaccines should provide sterilizing immunity, and these shots do not. They do not stop transmission. From a public health standpoint, vaccine mandates make scientific sense only if they stop the transmission.
The Prime Minister was in Moncton in July 2021, with the members for Fredericton, Beauséjour and Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe. He basically said that one can still pass on the virus if one is fully vaccinated. He knew almost a year ago that this still could be passed on.
Does my colleague think that the Prime Minister and the Liberal government should have any public discourse, or is there anything the House can do if they are not giving the true facts to the Canadian people as regards the validity of these vaccine mandates?
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that the government has not shared any data. We have asked it consistently to table any of that data and public health advice. What we know is that the Prime Minister wears a mask in the House and in parts of this precinct, but he does not wear one in Ukraine.
View Luc Berthold Profile
Mr. Speaker, I salute my colleague, who does incredible work on her transport file. She speaks on behalf of thousands of Canadian travellers who are asking themselves a lot of questions about why the federal government truly wants to maintain the health measures in airports and at land borders. We have a lot of questions.
We have been asking for evidence and documentation from the beginning and have been calling on the Minister of Health to table any advice in the House that he has received telling him to maintain the restrictions. We are unfortunately not hearing anything from the government, which has no justification for maintaining the many health measures that are no longer required here in Canada. The government is not listening to experts, who are saying that we must now start thinking about transitioning back to prepandemic times.
Like always, the Prime Minister and his government are doing nothing, which is the main reason our airports have been plunged into chaos—not to mention the chaos with immigration services at Service Canada and with every single public service that the Liberal government has its hand in. The government cannot deliver.
What we have seen at airports in recent days and weeks is particularly concerning: long delays, endless lineups, never-ending processing delays, bottlenecks and missed flights. People are missing their flights while others have to wait for hours on an aircraft before being able to disembark. That is the new reality. If we let the Liberals continue, this will unfortunately be the new Liberal standard at Canadian airports.
This spring, Toronto's Pearson Airport even advised passengers departing for other countries to arrive a minimum of three hours before their flight to make sure they do not miss it. For some travellers, that is longer than the duration of the flight itself. That is completely unacceptable, but that is what the government has unfortunately brought us to.
I remind members, as did my colleague, that for months, the United States and the main allies of the European Union have been gradually eliminating the restrictive health measures imposed on passengers. They are even talking about eliminating the requirement to wear a mask during flights and in airports, among other things. The situation is evolving everywhere else, but, here, in Canada, we remain attached to measures that the government was late in implementing at the start, and we should remember that. In fact, when the time came to protect people, the government was slow to act.
Now, however, the time has come to realize that the measures adopted, such as vaccination—which had a lot of uptake—and mask wearing have had the desired effect and we have begun another stage. However, the government is not moving forward. It is sitting back, to put it mildly, and prefers to wait for everything to sort itself out, just like the budgets. The Prime Minister has previously stated that the budgets would balance themselves.
However, the pandemic is not going to resolve itself, and people's freedom to resume their activities and the life they lived before the pandemic will not return by itself either.
Tourists arriving in Canada, foreigners and business people are extremely disappointed when they arrive in our country and have to face extreme delays at the airports because of the government's inaction. Then there is the infamous ArriveCAN application, which asks them to answer personal public health questions and complicates their arrival.
On that topic, let me tell you about something that happened in my riding, not at an airport. These situations happen to real people who want to travel. My riding, Mégantic—L'Érable, borders the United States and includes a border crossing.
A man from Lac‑Mégantic came to our office to get the infamous ArriveCAN receipt that border officers at the Woburn crossing asked him to obtain. However, he did not have his passport with him and was forced to come back to the office, the first unnecessary step.
Mr. Paré, who is 85 and does not have a smart phone or a computer at home, also had to come to our office. We had to open an account for him and fill out the ArriveCAN papers so that he could travel from one side of the border to the other. If we had not helped him out, he would not have been able to go see his relative, who lives 15 or 20 minutes away on the other side of the border. That is the reality. At 85, will he have to buy a computer and a smart phone? No, he will not. He came back to our office to get his paperwork filled out to be able to cross the border again. That is the reality.
The government is not considering that reality, what Canadians have to go through. It is unacceptable how disconnected this government is from reality. Their many measures, now unnecessary, are causing delays and inconvenience to Canadians, particularly at airports. Who is affected by them and who is suffering? Travellers, tourists, business people, that is who. Plus, it is easy to forget, but the people working at airports have to endure the wrath and anger of the public, of everyone who is kept waiting. They have to enforce the rules that this government is imposing, even though they know full well this should not be the case. That is the reality.
As we know, the last two years have been very hard on the airline and tourism industries. Both have suffered greatly from the pandemic as they were among the hardest hit. For the past two years, my Conservative colleagues and I have been staunch defenders of these two sectors that are vital to our economy, especially because they are also vital to Canada's economic recovery.
Unfortunately, once again, the Liberals seem to be completely blind to this reality and to all the damage they are doing now, which will have long-term consequences. The Liberals, with their harmful policies and their usual who-cares attitude, are a real threat to the Canadian tourism industry. Something has to be done before this Liberal government completely destroys Canada's reputation as an international tourism destination of choice and as an investment destination for business people.
In 2019 and 2020, before the pandemic, it took about 15 to 30 seconds for a Canada border services officer to process an international passenger on arrival. Now, health questions and COVID‑19 measures have increased to the point that processing takes two to four times longer. Sometimes it can take as long as two minutes. If we multiply two minutes by thousands of people, that makes for endless wait times and people complaining and dreading having to travel by plane.
Instead of accepting full responsibility for this, the Minister of Transport chose to blame delays at various entry points on out-of-practice travellers. That is how the Liberals always operate. When they do not have an answer or a solution, they find someone else to blame. This time, they are pointing the finger at travellers, the people receiving services from this government.
I hope members of the House will send a clear message to the Liberal government that enough is enough. We have to do what other countries around the world are doing. Those countries have experts and scientists too, and they understand that we need to get back to a more normal prepandemic period for everyone. I encourage all my colleagues to vote in favour of this motion. In particular, I encourage the Liberal government to show us why this motion should not be adopted. The Liberals will not be able to do that because they like chaos and they like not being able to deliver services.
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 10:51
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech.
I also want to share some information with Canadians who may be watching us right now regarding the ArriveCAN app. Up to 72 hours before arriving in Canada, or before making a short trip outside of Canada, travellers can log on to ArriveCAN from a computer to obtain a receipt, print it out and have it on hand while travelling. Individuals may also submit travel information on behalf of someone else.
I find it remarkable that many members of the Conservative party supported the anti-vax protesters who blocked critical infrastructure earlier this year, slowed down our national supply chain and occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks. The protesters made life miserable for residents and caused significant economic damage to local businesses. It is also worth noting that most of his party's leadership candidates are now competing with each other to pander to these blockaders and their supporters.
Is it not the case that the Conservatives are quite selective when it comes to their concerns about economic damage? Will the member clearly denounce the protesters who caused so much economic harm earlier this year?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
I would like to point out that the faster members ask their questions, the faster we will get the answer. Everyone wants to take part in the discussion.
The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
View Luc Berthold Profile
Mr. Speaker, the message just delivered by the Liberal member was picked up and paid for by the Liberal government's department of misinformation. That is the reality.
As I said in my speech, I have a constituent in my riding who is 85 years old and does not have a smart phone or a computer. The parliamentary secretary just told us that the gentleman can use his computer to get his receipt up to 72 hours before travelling. He does not have a computer, and he cannot do that.
Instead of answering the question, trying to find a solution and responding to Canadians, the Liberal government continues spreading misinformation and obfuscating. I understand why: The Liberals are unable to answer us when we simply ask them to give us any scientific evidence that justifies maintaining mandatory health measures at the border. They are unable to name the experts who have recommended that these measures remain mandatory. We cannot get an answer.
Meanwhile, the Liberal government's department of misinformation is working overtime right now. I think it is the only thing that is more or less working on the Liberal side.
View Luc Thériault Profile
View Luc Thériault Profile
2022-05-19 10:54
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
We agree with several aspects of his analysis. However, when talking about a pandemic that caused many deaths, we must be responsible. Both sides must avoid politicizing—in the least noble sense of the word—a debate like this one.
I sat with my colleague on the Standing Committee on Health. Earlier, he said that we should go back to the way things were before the pandemic, but I would like to qualify that statement. We know that the world's population is far from fully vaccinated. As long as vaccination rates are low and people are travelling, there is the potential for a variant that could completely compromise the benefits of vaccines, particularly in terms of the possibility of developing a severe form of the illness. I am sure my colleague agrees with me on this. In any case, I hope he will mention that.
The tourism industry's GDP has dropped 50%. This is serious. We have been asking, but the government has yet to table a plan to lift the health measures to give some predictability to the tourism and airline industries and to the travelling public. How does my colleague explain that?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable has 30 seconds to answer the question.
View Luc Berthold Profile
Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to take at least as much time as my hon. colleague took when he asked his question, which was fairly long and very specific.
My colleague from Montcalm and I were both members of the Standing Committee on Health. He is right about one thing, but I do not share his concerns about the other. We have to be able to take all the recommendations and see how we can learn to live with the pandemic. I think that is the goal when we talk about getting back to a prepandemic normal. We have to learn to live with the pandemic. Unfortunately, as my colleague said, and I fully agree with him, the government does not seem to have a plan for learning to live with the pandemic. What criteria is it using?
We know the government said that 75% of the population would have to be vaccinated for herd immunity. Then they raised that number to 80% and then they raised it to some unknown point because there was no threshold. There was no benchmark.
I just have one little thing to add. If the government were less focused on misinformation and more focused on transparency, we would have a plan to get back to normal and an explanation for why airport public health measures are still in place. Unfortunately, the government does not care about that. It is holding fast to its ideological ideas.
Mr. Speaker, I can see that you are standing to cut me off—
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
I want to get this one right off. The shorter the questions are, the shorter the answers are and the more people who can participate. I see two members standing who are wanting to ask a question, but we are completely out of time.
There are a number of members who would like to ask questions, so let us try to do our best to make sure that everybody can participate in this great conversation.
Resuming debate. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 10:58
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Thornhill for having raised this important question, which I know is a concern for many Canadian travellers.
I will begin by saying that I understand and share their frustration. I myself am a traveller, and I have experienced delays at the airport. I know it can be aggravating. I also know that airport delays have an economic cost and that they do not help the recovery of our airline and tourism sectors, which are major economic drivers for our country. I also recognize that all Canadians, myself included, are tired of the COVID-19 protocols and hope to return to a prepandemic normal.
Since the vast majority of Canadians are vaccinated, and since we have observed an improvement in the situation in our hospitals and communities, it is understandable that many Canadians are increasingly eager to see the remaining public health measures relaxed so they can return to their prepandemic lives. COVID-19 fatigue is a real thing and a perfectly normal instinct. Like many of my colleagues in the House and many Canadians from coast to coast to coast, I do not want these measures to stay in place any longer than necessary.
I hear every day from Canadians who are angry that some mandates remain in place. I am sure we all do. Like them, I would like to put this long ordeal behind us, and yet COVID is not behind us. It is very much still in our midst. One lesson that many Canadians learned over the course of this pandemic was the danger of relaxing public health measures prematurely. Over and over, we saw this play out in different jurisdictions across the country and around the world.
Policy-makers, eager to deliver a return to normal to their constituents, eased measures prematurely only to be faced with a new variant: a new wave of disease that started filling up ICU wards again. It was overwhelming our health sector and prompting new, sometimes stricter, lockdowns. This back-and-forth pattern was very damaging for our economy, as it made it difficult for businesses to make future plans and to retain workers and customers. What is more, it sapped hope and exhausted Canadians.
Luckily, the remarkably quick development and deployment of very effective vaccines has greatly improved the outlook we currently face. However, we should remember the hard-fought lessons we learned. Countries such as Canada may have successfully vaccinated much of their populations, but lower-income countries have not had the same access to vaccines, which is providing opportunities for new variants to emerge. While we know much more about COVID than we did a couple of years ago, much remains unknown about aspects of the virus, such as long COVID.
Given these unknowns, let us remember the benefits of a cautious approach. That has been the approach taken in Canada in general, and by this government in particular. By deploying a series of public health measures, including in the airline sector, we were relatively successful in protecting Canadians' lives and health.
COVID-19 claimed the lives of approximately 40,000 Canadians. That is tragic, but let us compare our situation with that of our neighbours to the south, where more than a million Americans died of COVID-19. Even if we take the different populations into account, the difference is staggering. According to the latest estimates published by Our World in Data, the United States suffered three times more deaths per million people than Canada.
Lastly, here is the most important yardstick: Although we need to take into account the inconveniences and economic disruptions caused by airport delays and find solutions to minimize these impacts, we also need to weigh them against the lives of Canadians, our grandparents, our spouses, our children and our friends.
Let me turn now from the big picture to the more specific topic raised by the opposition motion today dealing with airport delays.
First, let me say that Canada is not alone in seeing such delays. There are, in fact, reports from all over the world of similar delays. They are not always caused by the same factors. Sometimes there are shortages of baggage handlers, sometimes of border agents and sometimes of security screeners, and sometimes large numbers of flights are cancelled unexpectedly. It all amounts to passengers stuck in long lines, some of whom miss their flights and all of whom experience frustration and stress.
For example, in April, The New York Times wrote, per The Latch, that “the post-pandemic return to travel has simply swamped unprepared airlines”. The Latch continued:
[They] have been unable to hire adequate staff due to the financial pressures brought about during lockdowns. The big picture is that airlines simply didn’t predict people would be travelling again in such huge numbers so soon. Layoffs or resignations, in the tens of thousands across the global industry, have just not been made up for.
Similarly, on May 5, Euronews reported that:
Although air travel is still below 2019 levels, traffic peaks are in fact higher than pre-pandemic levels at many larger airports.
“Coping with this sudden increase and concentration of air traffic has been challenging for airports and their operational partners—in particular ground handlers,” says the joint statement from [Airports Council International] Europe....
“This has resulted in an increase in flight delays and cancellations, and more generally a degraded passenger experience at many airports.”
Along the same lines, NCA NewsWire in Australia reported this on May 9:
Sydney airport has once again descended into chaos as staff shortages continue to create massive queues due to closed security gates.
Both international and domestic terminals are impacted by the delays forcing thousands of passengers to wait in queues.
Many have taken to social media to vent their frustration at the travel chaos as the airport enters its third month since international borders reopened and increased the number flights moving in and out of the major airport.
The article also notes, “A spokesman for Sydney Airport predicted at the time that major delays would run through the school holidays, peaking over Easter and Anzac Day with passenger levels close to 90 per cent pre-pandemic.”
This may sound familiar to consumers of Canadian news over the last couple of weeks. The fact that other countries are also experiencing similar problems does not make things any less frustrating for Canadian travellers. However, it does provide some necessary context in the face of commentators who claim that we have never seen the chaos we are experiencing at Canadian airports currently or that Canada's reputation will be irreparably harmed.
With a view to providing the necessary context, let me explain why there are delays at Canadian airports. The simplest and most common explanation is that the delays are caused by a shortage of CATSA screening officers. However, there are other factors that also come into play.
CATSA is indeed having difficulty rehiring staff in prepandemic numbers. However, as Minister Alghabra recently pointed out, CATSA's staffing levels have returned to approximately 90%, while the travel volume has returned to only about 70% of prepandemic levels. It is more than a simple labour shortage issue.
What appears to be happening is that the airlines are providing less accurate information about anticipated passenger volumes, and in a less timely manner. It is therefore difficult for CATSA managers to properly plan staffing levels. I am not saying that it is the airlines' fault. It is not surprising that they are finding it hard to predict how fast the number of passengers will increase and to plan the number of flights accordingly. This highlights the need for better communication between the various stakeholders in the airline sector, and that is exactly what the minister and Transport Canada are working on. I will get into more detail shortly.
Another example of the complexity of the problem is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are also having problems rehiring staff to prepandemic levels. This sometimes results in U.S. officials asking CATSA screeners to slow down or pause the security screening of travellers. CBSA is also experiencing similar staffing issues, resulting in longer than usual lines for travellers arriving from international destinations.
In fact, worker shortages being experienced all across airports, the air sector and the labour market more broadly are affecting how efficiently our airports work. For example, some CATSA employees who were laid off during the pandemic have since been hired by airport subcontractors as baggage handlers or in other roles at airports. Again, I offer this to provide necessary context so that Canadians can understand what is behind some of the delays at our airports.
My friends on the opposition side will oversimplify things and suggest that it is only public health measures that are slowing down air travellers and clogging our airports, but that is simply not the case.
They are also unaware of the advantages of the measures still in place. For example, random testing in airports helps us detect in a timely manner new variants that might be entering the country and to trace their origins. This will not prevent variants from entering Canada, but it will provide invaluable data and help our health care sector prepare for any changes. It could help slow the spread of new variants and save us precious time. Contrary to what some have suggested, we cannot get the same result simply by analyzing the general population's wastewater.
Other measures such as mandatory vaccination, ArriveCAN and mask wearing provide travellers and airline workers with additional layers of protection, while offering Canadian travellers peace of mind, since they know they are travelling with other people who have chosen to be vaccinated. Vaccination is the best protection against the most serious consequences of COVID-19.
My Conservative colleague from Thornhill has selectively chosen to quote from testimony heard from business groups, but she neglects to mention that when asked at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities whether they would disregard advice from public health officials to maintain certain public health measures, they demurred, acknowledging they were not public health experts. I think this is important for Canadians to retain. They should weigh this when considering calls to immediately dismantle public health protections and should consider who is proposing such a step and what that person's qualifications are.
This also reminds me to consider another source: the Conservative Party of Canada itself. I think it is important for Canadians to remember this is the same party whose former leader allowed unvaccinated candidates to go into seniors' homes during the most recent federal election. It is a party that had in its ranks an MP who presented a petition calling on the government to suspend the use of all COVID‑19 vaccines.
Another Conservative member claimed his own research showed that people were “13 times more likely to die from the delta variant if [they] were double vaccinated than if [they] were unvaccinated.” Needless to say, this was completely false.
The Conservative member for Sarnia—Lambton was ultimately forced to apologize after minimizing the risks of COVID by comparing it to polio, a disease that at its peak in 1953 claimed the lives of 500 Canadians. Let us remember we are now tragically at over 40,000 lives lost due to COVID.
The Conservative leader at the time remarked about these comments, stating:
There’s a big difference between advocating for your constituents who may need reasonable accommodation and creating confusion about public health measures. It’s a great example of why members of Parliament of all stripes should let the professionals, let the public health officials, let the physicians answer questions about the efficacy of vaccines.
I agree. Let us let our public health experts determine the most appropriate time to phase out the remaining public health measures at our airports.
With this essential reminder out of the way, I will now address what Minister Alghabra and our government are doing to help our airports and Canadian travellers.
For now, I will leave aside the many billions of dollars our government has provided to help support the airline sector during the pandemic, including some $1.4 billion earmarked exclusively for airports under the airport critical infrastructure program, the airport relief fund, the enhanced airports capital assistance program, the rent relief for airport authorities, and broader initiatives from which airports benefited, such as the Canada emergency wage subsidy.
As I mentioned earlier in my speech, at first glance, many of the problems currently being experienced in our airports seem to stem from more than a simple shortage of security screeners. The larger problem seems to be that different parts of the system are not communicating effectively with one another and not working together to better plan for increased passenger volumes as the air sector recovers.
As I have mentioned throughout, we recognize the impact that wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers and we are working with our partners to take action and find solutions. CATSA is working to increase the number of screening officers at passenger screening checkpoints. There are currently approximately 400 new screening officers in different phases of their training across the country.
Last week, Minister Alghabra met with Mike Saunders, the CEO of CATSA, and in the previous week he met with the four major airports to hear—
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
We have a point of order from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
View Elizabeth May Profile
Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. parliamentary secretary is aware, as are all members in this place, that we refer to members of Parliament by their riding or position. That is the second time she has used the proper name of our Minister of Transport.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
It is actually the third time. I was going to mention that at the end of her speech.
I want to remind the parliamentary secretary not to use members' last names.
The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 11:15
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for raising that important point. It is duly noted.
With four major airports to hear directly about what was happening on the ground and to discuss solutions, airports, airlines and CATSA are working to make sure communication to travellers is clear so they can better anticipate processing requirements. TC, PHAC and CBSA are working with airports and air carriers to identify efficiencies that can be gained throughout the travel journey and reduce wait times upon arrival.
Our government will continue to work together with all partners to address wait times as a matter of priority. We will continue to take clear and decisive action to ensure the safety, security and resiliency of Canada's transportation system, its employees and its users while supporting economic recovery.
We will always be there for Canadians, just as we were during the pandemic. We will continue to protect public health. We will continue to take measures to help our economy recover, and we will continue to help people get from their point of departure to their destination.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
That was the first point. The second point was to make sure that we have short questions and short answers, so that everyone can participate in this discussion.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.
View Warren Steinley Profile
Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank the parliamentary secretary for reading that speech prepared for her by the PMO. It was really interesting.
The question I have for her is twofold. First, she talked about following the science and the data. Could she please give the House the data that shows these mandates are still necessary and that we cannot go back to prepandemic-level travel?
Second, does she believe that, in Canada now, it is fair that three million people cannot travel within their own country to see their family, to see their friends or to go on a vacation within Canada because of a personal health choice? Does she think that is fair and equitable treatment for all Canadians?
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 11:17
Mr. Speaker, vaccines are an important tool to protect Canadians and stop the spread of COVID-19. Science is clear on this matter. Vaccines are safe and effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19, as well as reducing severe cases and hospitalizations and protecting health. On this side of the House, we will always look to science to help us monitor and mitigate all unnecessary risks to the Canadian population as COVID-19 evolves and changes with the various variants.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Liberals' management of the borders, I think we can agree that they dragged their feet a lot. They dragged their feet when it came time to close the border, and they are still dragging their feet on implementing an effective reopening plan. I would like to hear what the parliamentary secretary has to say about the government's border management, because the Auditor General issued a number of rather damning reports. They talk about a lack of testing at the borders, a lack of response to the emergence of new variants, a lack of quarantining when waves were at their peak, a lack of service in French from the companies responsible for screening, a lack of coordination with quarantine hotels, delays in providing screening test results, a shortage of staff to ensure compliance with home quarantine orders, and little or no follow-up with travellers who failed to follow quarantine orders.
I would like to hear the parliamentary secretary's comments on that. She could read the notes that her party gave her to tell us how the government is responding to that report from the Auditor General.
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 11:19
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for that important question.
As we have said before, since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has focused on the health and safety of Canadians by following the latest science. Canada's border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence. We are currently reviewing the Auditor General's report. I have no doubt that Transport Canada and the minister will do the right thing.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
Mr. Speaker, numerous constituents of mine have asked me if I know when the government plans to lift the restriction on unvaccinated Canadians from accessing air travel, given the current evidence on transmission. I noticed a recent article from Dr. Zain Chagla in The Globe and Mail, suggesting that the current restriction makes no sense.
I understand that the mandate is under review by the government, so I wonder this. Could the parliamentary secretary indicate to the House when that review will be complete, and how the results of that review will be communicated, both to this place and to all Canadians?
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 11:20
Mr. Speaker, as we have said numerous times, this is an evolving situation. We follow the guidelines of public health. The emergence of the omicron variant and others was a clear reminder that the pandemic continues to evolve. That is why we continue to require vaccination to travel when departing by train, plane or cruise ship.
Again, from day one, our public health measures have been based on the science. We will continue to follow the very sound advice of our public health professionals.
View Elizabeth May Profile
Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of what the hon. member had to say, and particularly with what the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley also pointed out: that current delays in Canadian airports seem to be more of a staffing problem.
I am concerned that the premise of the motion before us today, and much of the debate, has been that somehow Canada is an outlier and that everybody else has stopped having restrictions. All morning, while I have been waiting for my chance to speak, I have been checking out websites to see what countries we could go to where there are no restrictions at arrival. I cannot find any countries I could visit like that. I did find Ireland, but not the vast majority: for example, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy or Morocco, and I could go on and on.
Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have a reliable list that would tell Canadians there are these countries that no longer require people to be vaccinated to visit, that no longer require any tests or documentation of any kind? There are very few. The vast majority still have roughly the same restrictions as Canada.
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2022-05-19 11:22
Mr. Speaker, ultimately, each country is responsible for the safety and security of its own people. Each country is experiencing unique factors, such as vaccine availability, as per my speech, the vaccination rate and the number of hospitalizations. Each country adjusts its measures to best fit its unique context.
I agree with the hon. member that perhaps there should be a list compiled of all the various countries and what their requirements are, because a one-stop shop to find this information would be very beneficial not only to Canadians wanting to travel, but also to everyone around the world who needs that information at a moment's notice.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if my colleague could provide her thoughts on another issue, related to the idea of what is happening around the world.
Canada is not alone in terms of labour shortages in certain sectors. In fact, there is a bit of a labour shortage today. Not only is it affecting our airports, but it is affecting other airports around the world. Could the member provide her thoughts in regard to the need for additional labour?
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