Hon. Anthony Rota - 14:04
Mr. Speaker, community leaders throughout my riding are alarmed by the lack of genuine consultation around caribou and other closures.
The recent release of the province’s draft winter motorized recreation management plan in South Peace is a direct result of the caribou partnership agreement signed by the current Liberal government in 2020.
The B.C. Snowmobile Federation, the Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery, and the municipality of Chetwynd have come out strongly against this proposed plan. It became clear that their recommendations to maintain public access to vitally important areas while conserving caribou habitat were flatly ignored. What did the Liberals do with all this sound advice from outdoor experts? They threw it out the window.
It is time for the government to recognize its failings with arbitrary land and marine closures. It must ensure decisions made are based on science and sound advice from our communities. These decisions will have a direct impact on the local economy and the way of life. It looks like more closures are on the way with 30 by 30 and other initiatives supported blindly by the government.
It is time for the government to stop ramming through its agenda and start listening.
Jennifer O'Connell - 14:06
Adam Vaughan - 14:08
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the life of Robert Alexander, a Canadian hero and a lifelong Owen Sound resident who recently passed away at 91 years of age.
Bob loved his community and country. In 1949, he joined the Canadian Army. In 1950, he deployed for a year-long deployment to Korea with the 25th Infantry Brigade, where he served with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After his return from Korea, Bob was a Master Warrant Officer, MWO, with the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and a proud member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Bob worked for the Department of Public Highways of Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation for nearly 35 years. He volunteered with the Grey Roots Museum and received the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016.
Bob has been a cornerstone in the community, specifically in the antique vehicle, military and museum circles. Many will remember him from Remembrance Day parades in his 1953 army Jeep.
I would like to commend Bob for his service to Canada and his community. I offer my deepest condolences to the Alexander family. Bob will certainly be missed by many. Pro patria. Lest we forget.
Helena Jaczek - 14:10
James Maloney - 14:11
Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise to address the Chair, my colleagues and all Canadians who are watching at home.
My deepest sympathies are with the grieving families, friends and colleagues of Jérôme, Vincent, Yannick and Benjamin.
I learned earlier this week that a third young man in the Montmagny region took his own life. He was the fourth member of the same group of friends who committed suicide in just two months. Now that the lockdown is finally over and students and graduates are getting ready for summer, these young men in their early 20s took their own lives.
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. I want to tell all those who are hurting inside, those who are in the dark and who feel alone, to call someone, talk to someone and open their hearts so they can get help.
We do not know what people are hiding behind their smiles, but we are there for them. There is hope and they are loved. Sometimes we might be awkward, but we are there. Until an emergency line is set up, the best thing to do in Quebec is to call the telephone help line at 1-866-APPELLE in times of need.
Soraya Martinez Ferrada - 14:14
Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the many struggling businesses, particularly those in the tourism sector, that have been impacted by the lack of communication and non-existent border opening strategy in this country.
Trix Star Productions, one of 133 tourism and hospitality businesses in my riding, is heavily reliant on cross-border revenue to operate and will not see a light at the end of the tunnel until this government implements a concrete plan with benchmarks and measurables to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border safely and effectively.
This government has refused to listen to recommendations of its own public health advisers, who argued that maintenance of supply chains and services was one of the reasons against a rapid border closure. The tourism and travel industry accounts for $43 billion of our GDP. U.S. visitors contribute $1.9 billion. We cannot deploy a full economic recovery until we safely and strategically execute a plan on a border reopening.
We need a plan and we need it now, or our economy and the people of the country will continue to suffer the consequences.
Mr. Speaker, on this day 36 years ago, June 23, 1985, a bomb exploded on Air India Flight 182 connecting Toronto to New Delhi. The mid-air explosion killed all 329 passengers. The majority of the victims were Canadians, including 82 children under the age of 13. Two of the victims, Kulbir Kaur Minhas and Balwinder Kaur Minhas, were my relatives.
The bombing was the single worst terrorist act in the history of Canada. A judicial inquiry determined that the bombing was a Canadian tragedy and the largest mass murder in Canadian history. To acknowledge the tragedy, June 23 was declared a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
Sadly, every year the list of victims grows larger. Terrorists continue to target innocent people to further their causes. The recent attack in London was a horrific reminder that Canada must continue to stamp out terrorism in all its forms.
Heather McPherson - 14:18
Yves-François Blanchet - 14:19
Mr. Speaker, 25 new Liberal MPs were elected in October 2019, and I do not think they quite knew what they were getting into. In the last 20 months, they have stood right alongside the corruption of a tired Prime Minister plagued by scandal, with no plan to secure the future of Canada. They said nothing as their Prime Minister ignored four parliamentary orders to hand over documents related to the level 4 lab in Winnipeg. They seemed unconcerned that their government was found in contempt of Parliament. They said nothing when their government tried to give half a billion dollars to the WE charity, which paid the Trudeau family half a million dollars. They stood by a defence minister who has absolutely failed to send a clear message to the most powerful men in our military that the status quo is no longer acceptable. That is the record of the new Liberal MPs.
Conservatives will do whatever we can to replace the corrupt government with one that will put the needs of Canadian families first and secure our future.
Churence Rogers - 14:22
Mr. Speaker, for five years the Canadian Armed Forces has struggled with Operation Honour, trying to address sexual misconduct and a culture of covering it up. Two chiefs of defence staff have been terminated. There has been a cover-up in the Prime Minister's office that we have asked questions about. Now I have a troubling question for the Prime Minister.
Can he confirm to the House that the Minister of National Defence has never hired someone who was previously dismissed from an employer for sexual misconduct?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:24
Mr. Speaker, if one is going to change the culture of a workplace with respect to sexual harassment, one has to show zero tolerance. I will ask the Prime Minister again, because he avoided answering my question.
Did the Minister of National Defence hire someone who had been previously dismissed from an employer for sexual misconduct? It is a simple question. The men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces deserve a response from the Prime Minister.
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:25
Mr. Speaker, our men and women in uniform deserve an answer. They deserve the truth.
I will repeat my question for the third time, this time in French. Did the Minister of Defence hire a man who had been dismissed for sexual misconduct, yes or no?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:26
Mr. Speaker, it is sad to see that the cover-up of sexual misconduct, investigations and allegations continues with the Prime Minister's response today. The other cover-up of the Prime Minister goes to helping his friends and making sure Liberal insiders get ahead at the expense of everyday Canadians. Recently the Liberal Party had to confirm that the Prime Minister's Office had given contracts of at least $100,000 to his close friend, Mr. Tom Pitfield. This is from a Prime Minister who promised sunny ways and transparency.
Let me ask the Prime Minister another simple question and see if I can get a response. Has the government ever given any additional taxpayer money to his friend Tom Pitfield?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:28
Mr. Speaker, he says unfounded attacks, but I have two additional contracts from the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Indigenous Services, who are close friends with Tom Pitfield themselves. All were in the Prime Minister's wedding party. There is only one rule with the Prime Minister: advancing the interests of lobbyists and friends connected to the Prime Minister and having another lineup for everyone else.
The Conservatives are proposing transparency and anti-corruption laws, which are needed after countless scandals by the government.
My question to the Prime Minister is simple. Will he commit to Canadians that he and his cabinet will never break another law?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:29
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:34
Mr. Speaker, Canada is supposed to be a prosperous country.
However, according to the Macdonald-Laurier Institute's recently updated COVID misery index, Canada is suffering far more than comparable countries from self-inflicted and disproportionate economic damage due to the pandemic. Retail sales plunged by 5.7% from March to April, which is the sharpest month-over-month drop.
When will the government admit that it caused these economic woes?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:36
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is neglecting the heart and soul of our economy.
Small businesses have been suffering for months. They have racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in dept, and thousands of them have been forced to close up shop.
Canadians can no longer wait on Liberal promises of an economic recovery that is not coming. They need help now.
Why is the government refusing to act?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:37
Mr. Speaker, the inflation rate is 3.6%, the highest level in the past decade.
The Liberals also promised to create one million jobs, but the only thing going up is the size of the debt.
The Liberals' 2019 slogan was “choose forward”. Today, it might be more apt to say “choose backward”, because we are currently heading back to the inflation rates and recession of the 1970s.
When will the Liberals realize that something must be done?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:38
Mr. Speaker, the inflation rate in Canada is at a 10-year high, which means the cost of everything is going up, like food, groceries, gas and services. However, Canadian paycheques are stagnant and, worse yet, unemployment is still climbing, despite the government's massive deficit spending. Over three million Canadians are collecting unemployment benefits from the government, with young people, women and new Canadians facing the worst of it.
This is the Prime Minister's economic record, and he has presented no real plan to get Canadians back to work. Why is there no real plan?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:39
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's budget promised to create one million jobs by the end of this month. How is that going? Has he followed through on that commitment? No. In fact, we are losing jobs, and all employment gains made by women in my lifetime have been completely wiped out. That really is the Prime Minister's record on women and employment in this country.
It is clear the government cannot be trusted to fix this economy no matter how much money it spends, so I will ask him this again. Where is the plan to secure the future for Canadians?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:41
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has still failed on his commitment to create a million jobs by this month, and it is important that he remember that. Really, after a year of absolute devastation in our economy, our personal freedoms and of course in the health of Canadians, Canadians are falling further and further behind. However, again, we have seen no real plan to get our country back to work in all sectors of our economy and all demographics. Rather, the Prime Minister seems busy with scandals, corruption and picking winners and losers. He has no real plan to secure the future of Canadians, and they deserve to know this.
Why is the Prime Minister bungling our economy and its recovery so badly and leaving so many Canadians behind?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:42
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:45
Mr. Speaker, when a significant Ebola outbreak happened in Africa, a Conservative government took decisive action and closed Canada's borders to keep us safe, in spite of protests from the Liberals. We did not send vital PPE away when we needed it, say that border measures do not work or have a WE Charity scandal.
When the Prime Minister said this morning that Canada would have reacted very differently if a Conservative government had been in charge during the pandemic, he was probably right. Instead of deflecting blame in this way, would the Prime Minister take a little accountability for some of the major policy errors that he has made over the last 18 months?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:46
Mr. Speaker, he is right. We would not have let vaccine manufacturing capacity atrophy. We would not have raided vaccines from the COVAX fund. We would not have sent PPE abroad, putting our doctors and nurses at risk. We would not have given contracts to cronies while Canadians suffered.
Now, while our tourism and airline industries suffer, the Prime Minister is still pretending like everything is okay. He is subjecting Canadians to the unsafe quarantine hotel program, and he has not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions. Why?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:48
Hon. Anthony Rota - 14:48
Mr. Speaker, to inform the Prime Minister, on behalf of the tourism industry, the airline industry, and families who are separated across borders, the hotel quarantine program, which is unsafe and unscientific, still remains.
Instead of staying at one of them, the Prime Minister went to his own special place. It is this sort of double standard and lack of accountability that is putting Canadian businesses at risk, and it is costing Canadians their mental health.
No, the Liberals have not provided benchmarks for lifting federal COVID-19 restrictions, and it is their responsibility to do so. They have recommendations from an expert panel. When will the Prime Minister—
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:49
Mr. Speaker, it is easy for the Prime Minister to take personal shots at people. It is a lot harder for him to have empathy for Canadians who need jobs that are dependent on the tourism sector or for families who are separated across the border.
He kind of flaunted that lack of empathy when he was taking pictures with Stella McCartney. We need benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, not snarky comments from the Prime Minister.
In the best interests of Canadians, when will he be providing benchmarks for lifting COVID-19 restrictions within federal jurisdictions including border measures?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:50
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:54
Mr. Speaker, six years ago when these Liberals formed government, the Prime Minister promised sunny ways and ethical governance. Instead, Canadians got cover-ups and the most corrupt government in our country's history. What is worse is that the Prime Minister is so arrogant that he thinks he can fool Canadians. His record speaks for itself, but let us give the Prime Minister a chance here.
Can he look Canadians straight in the eye and tell them he has been the Prime Minister of good, ethical governance?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:56
Mr. Speaker, what Canadians need is an ethical Prime Minister, and they do not have one right now. He has been the Prime Minister of corruption and cover-ups twice found guilty of breaking ethics laws. He took illegal vacations to billionaire island. He interfered in the criminal prosecution of his friends at SNC-Lavalin and did everything he could to give money to his friends at the WE organization, all for his own political gain.
Under the government there have been two sets of rules: one for the Liberals and Liberal insiders; and one for the rest of Canadians. Will the Prime Minister admit that his corruption has failed Canadians and disgraced the office of Prime Minister?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:57
Mr. Speaker, I think Canadians could do with the Prime Minister spewing something. Facts would be a good place to start. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become a backdrop to his ethical breaches. Under the current Prime Minister, Ottawa has become an ATM for Liberal insiders. While Canadians are struggling and being left behind, the circle of insiders close to the Prime Minister line their pockets and are laughing all the way to the bank.
These Liberals will always help their friends to jump the queue and to get the inside track. When will the Prime Minister put the needs of Canadians first, instead of the needs of Liberal insiders?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 14:59
Mr. Speaker, I note how far he has fallen. In 2015 he said Conservatives were his neighbours and friends. In 2019 more Canadians voted for the Conservative Party than anyone else, but of course nobody is listening to the Conservatives. It sounds like the Prime Minister is not listening to Canadians, but if there is an ethics law that has been broken, the Prime Minister probably had his hand in it, and if there was a contract to be had, he gave it to a Liberal. If Liberal insiders need a bailout, members had better believe they are going to get it from the Prime Minister.
Conservatives are ready to clean up Ottawa and bring back good, ethical governance. Will the Prime Minister get out of the way and let Conservatives finally secure accountability in Ottawa?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:00
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:03
Mr. Speaker, there is another major development in the Winnipeg lab story, once again about the individual who was fired and escorted out by the RCMP.
This morning, the National Post reported that this person had collaborated with the Chinese government on two inventions, noting that her name was listed as an inventor on two patents. Canadian law states that an individual collaborating with a foreign country must directly inform the government and seek authorization.
My question for the Prime Minister is very simple. Did his government authorize this researcher to collaborate with China, yes or no?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:04
Mr. Speaker, I will be a good sport and acknowledge that the government finally did the right thing.
Does the Prime Minister not realize that, in doing so, he is clearly acknowledging that what happened in Winnipeg is outrageous and that Canadians who, like him, read the National Post this morning found this whole thing unacceptable? Appropriately enough, 38 million Canadians think what happened is unacceptable.
The best way to get to the bottom of things is for the government to produce the documents that the House of Commons ordered it to produce.
Why did he violate the order from the House of Commons?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:05
Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to this being resolved.
The problem is that the government is not listening. The Prime Minister struck that committee, and he is the one who has the final say on what is and is not made public. That is not what I would call real parliamentary work.
Real parliamentary work involves respecting the orders that are issued here in the House, which the Prime Minister has failed to do four times.
Why should Canadians obey the laws passed in this House when the Prime Minister ignores the orders issued in this House? Has the Prime Minister thought of that?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:06
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:08
Mr. Speaker, an illegal trip to a billionaire's island, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, a million dollars to friends at the WE charity, a three-year cover-up of sexual misconduct allegations in the Canadian Armed Forces, and now stories about hundreds of thousands of dollars of contracts to one of the Prime Minister's closest personal friends. Under his leadership, ethics investigations have to be numbered. The day the Prime Minister's third judgment came out, Bill Morneau's second came out.
Leadership starts at the top so I want to ask, leader to leader: Does the Prime Minister feel that his personal ethical conduct sets a bad example for the members of Parliament on his team?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:09
Mr. Speaker, personal attacks? All I am asking is for the Prime Minister of Canada to follow the law. Is it too much now, after six years, that I ask the leader of this country to simply obey the laws of this country? The only backs he has had consistently as Prime Minister are those of friends of his family, close insiders and connected lobbyists. There is one lineup for the friends of the Prime Minister on the Liberalist and there is another lineup for everyday Canadians who are struggling.
It is time to restore accountability. Will the Prime Minister commit to never again break the law?
Right Hon. Justin Trudeau - 15:11