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Results: 1 - 15 of 51601
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2021-06-18 10:03 [p.8755]
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Resuming debate. The member has six and a half minutes to finish his speech.
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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
2021-06-18 10:03 [p.8755]
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Madam Speaker, as I was saying, the facts show that Quebeckers cannot count on the federal government to take action against tax havens. There is nothing in budget 2021 to do away with them.
Unfortunately, there are provisions in Bill C‑30 that make it even easier to use tax havens. The federal government is therefore still complicit in tax avoidance schemes, which makes Canada part of the problem and not part of the solution in the fight against tax havens.
In budget 2021, which serves as a springboard for the post-COVID‑19 economic recovery, the federal government offers little or nothing to help small farms get better access to credit. This inability to access credit was one of the most serious problems that farmers encountered during the health crisis. That is unacceptable.
Agriculture is obviously not a priority for the Liberal government, but it is a priority for Quebec and an integral part of our culture. The Liberal government has never been interested in supporting a bill to better protect supply management, which is essential to the survival of the agricultural model. Protecting supply management has always enjoyed broad support within Quebec's agricultural sector, but it is also acknowledged by producers in the other provinces as well as in the United States, which says something.
Why did the Liberal government recently do everything it could to prevent Bill C‑216 being passed in committee? Well, it did pass, and we hope the accelerating pace of the coming days will bring this bill along for the ride. Quebec's agricultural sector is counting on us.
In the Bloc Québécois's view, parliamentary proceedings and debates too often take too long, things do not move fast enough, and people talk even though they have nothing to say. For years, and again this week, members have spoken at length in the House of Commons about various aspects of the housing problem.
Still, there remains a desperate need for housing in Abitibi—Témiscamingue as well as in several other regions of Quebec, and that need is only being made more acute by the communities' sustained efforts to attract workers.
What of the federal government's solutions to this problem? There are none. The federal government has not proposed any. I would, however, like to highlight a local initiative undertaken by the Fondation Martin-Bradley. They organized a radiothon and raised $301,000 to, among other things, build housing for people who are struggling, especially people living with mental health problems.
The Fondation Martin-Bradley got things done. I am thinking especially of Ghislain Beaulieu, and of Jean-Yves Morneau and his son, Jean-François, who organized a fundraiser among the region's entrepreneurs and businesspeople. The amount raised, $301,000, is huge, and I want to salute them. Among other things, the funds will go to finance projects, like for farm outreach workers in Abitibi—Témiscamingue's farming community, for whom psychological support is so essential. I have to say it again: All this stems from the fact that the federal budget does nothing to address the situation.
Legitimate transfer payments to Quebec to encourage housing initiatives are both slow to come and hugely insufficient. Not enough construction is happening, which is having a direct impact on the economic and social development of our regions and Quebec as a whole.
Out of respect for Quebec's jurisdictions, more substantial amounts need to be transferred, especially considering the current context, which includes the significantly higher cost of materials and labour. At the same time, tax incentives for developers would be a way to support and stimulate infrastructure initiatives that offer exciting opportunities for the recovery by building on what has been achieved in our communities, not to mention community-based housing projects that would provide a sustainable solution to this problem.
Finally, why will Ottawa not allocate funding for the regions, with no strings attached, to be administered by Quebec and people on the ground? This would encourage development projects based on specific parameters and priorities linked to specific needs. More than ever, labour shortages are hindering the economic recovery of my region, Abitibi—Témiscamingue. More than ever, the federal government needs to come up with solutions, because we are feeling abandoned right now.
I believe that the particular status of a region like Abitibi—Témiscamingue, which borders Ontario, places it in a certain situation. People back home are moving to the riding of the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing because immigration cases are processed in 12 months in Ontario, whereas in my riding it takes up to 27 months, or even 30 months in certain cases. That is ridiculous.
As I was saying, in Abitibi—Témiscamingue there is a housing shortage coupled with a labour shortage, and therefore it is important to stimulate housing construction. How can we attract and keep skilled workers in Abitibi—Témiscamingue when they are unable to find a home for their families? The federal government must act quickly.
Bill C‑30 also attacks Quebec once more and its securities regulator. That is unacceptable.
How can we ignore one of the federal government's most blatant centralizing moves in recent years, its attempt to bring the financial sector under federal control by making it responsible for insurance, securities, derivatives, deposit taking institutions except for banks and the distribution of financial products and services?
The objective of this Canada-wide securities regulator is another example of the centralization of financial markets by the federal government. It wants Toronto to become a single Canada-wide regulator, which would be contrary to the independent economic development of all the other provinces. This is not just a jurisdictional dispute or a squabble between the federal and provincial governments, it is a battle between Bay Street and Quebec.
I remind members that the Bloc Québécois and Quebec are strongly opposed to this. Four times now, the National Assembly of Quebec has unanimously called on the federal government to abandon that idea. It is no exaggeration to say that everyone in Quebec is against it. Seldom have we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose this very bad idea of the federal government, which just wants to cater to Bay Street.
Let the federal government and Bay Street take note: The Bloc Québécois will always stand in the way of creating a single Canada-wide securities regulator.
Having a financial markets authority is essential to Quebec's development. This is nothing short of an attack on our ability to keep our head offices. Preserving Quebec's distinct economic pillars is essential to our development. We will not let the federal government get away with this.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2021-06-18 10:10 [p.8756]
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Madam Speaker, it is always good to hear members of Parliament talk about housing. However, the interesting issue in this respect is that housing is one of the areas where exclusive jurisdiction has been sought, secured and delivered to Quebec.
If the member's riding is not getting housing money, why is he coming to Ottawa to complain? We have given every single dollar we spend on housing to the Government of Quebec. It distributes the dollars. It sets the priorities. It chooses the projects. It makes the investments.
I realize that the Bloc is here to antagonize the federal government rather than co-operate and work with us, but if the member opposite wants housing in his region, he should be going to Quebec City to get the dollars because that is where we sent them on the request of parties like the Bloc.
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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
2021-06-18 10:11 [p.8756]
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Madam Speaker, it is plain to see that the parliamentary secretary did not listen to the first part of my speech. I can forgive him to some extent because I gave it at 12:48 a.m. two days ago.
I would say that one of the problems is that it took three years to get these agreements in place. The federal government really dragged its feet on transferring the money to Quebec. Why did the other provinces get their money quickly but not Quebec?
Furthermore, in Abitibi—Témiscamingue, now that housing construction can start, the cost of materials is skyrocketing and these amounts are largely insufficient. I understand that the government did not anticipate COVID‑19, but it has a responsibility to take action on housing.
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View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
View Matthew Green Profile
2021-06-18 10:11 [p.8756]
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Madam Speaker, the pandemic has exposed many flaws in our health care system, whether in terms of our vaccine supply or the quality of long-term care facilities. Our health care workers and seniors have suffered the direct consequences of years of successive Liberal and Conservative cuts, yet the budget announcement makes no increase in health care transfers.
Could the member tell us about the impact of health underfunding on the worsening of the pandemic?
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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
2021-06-18 10:12 [p.8757]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hamilton Centre for his excellent question.
That is indeed the crux of the matter, and that is why the Bloc Québécois voted against the budget. We are in the midst of a pandemic and the federal government has a responsibility to respect the agreements it has made in the past.
Under normal circumstances, the costs associated with health care spending should be shared 50-50. We are barely receiving 20%. The provinces and the Quebec National Assembly are unanimous in their request to increase this percentage to 35%.
When we see the federal government rack up more than $1 trillion in debt, money becomes very relative. That really worries me, and I think that one of the solutions would have been to give the people who are managing the pandemic the necessary means to achieve their objectives, instead of trying to impose national standards, as in the case of long-term care facilities.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-18 10:13 [p.8757]
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Madam Speaker, interestingly enough, the first speaker asked a question about housing and said that the federal government had invested enough, while the second speaker spoke about health transfers.
I just had a discussion with Marguerite Blais, Quebec's minister responsible for seniors and caregivers. She spoke about two things.
First, she spoke about how the federal government did not want to increase health transfers to 35%, even though that is Quebec's main demand to help our health care system. Second, she spoke about housing, about how we need to help workers—and therefore businesses—back home, in the riding of Shefford, who are struggling to find housing. She also spoke about how we must help seniors, who need safe, affordable housing.
There is not enough funding; we need more. On top of that, the agreements have been dragging on.
I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on this.
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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
2021-06-18 10:13 [p.8757]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the member for Shefford for her commitment to seniors. One of the key things missing from this budget is help for seniors aged 65 to 74. It is fascinating that the government wants to create two classes of seniors. I just cannot understand it.
How did the government determine that the needs of seniors aged 65 to 74 are not the same as those aged 75 and up? I am thinking here of prescription drug assistance and rent relief, or even the increase in the cost of Internet services and electricity. Only this government would think that people should have to wait until they are 75 to live with dignity.
Housing is a top priority in indigenous communities, as well as in our cities and towns. It is a matter of dignity. Housing is a tool for economic development, but it is also essential to every individual's psychological and mental health. Every Canadian should have a decent roof over their heads, and that should be the priority of this government and future governments in the years to come.
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View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:15 [p.8757]
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Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond to Bill C-30, the budget debate.
I first want to reflect on my constituency's strengths and its ability to adapt to these changing times. This is because Egmont is a place where people take care of one another. First, there is a great respect for family, and in a tight-knit community that means the residents are very conscious of both the successes and the challenges faced by their neighbours. Further to that, there is a collective understanding that every individual has a contribution to make. Within that fabric of individuals, families and communities there is a real strength. As a result, Egmont has fared relatively well during the pandemic because virtually every individual recognizes a real sense of duty to the whole.
People have worked hard to keep the community safe, and all the while we have been hard at work building one of the greenest ridings in the country with a thriving economy based on fishing, farming, high-level services and a very successful aerospace sector. Indeed, the City of Summerside has recently been recognized by a national magazine as one of the leaders in the field of green energy. It has spent a great deal of time focusing on wind energy, solar energy with a smart grid system, industrial-scale lithium batteries and the highest per capita concentration of electric car chargers in the country. Those are just a few of the green energy initiatives the city has moved on. I am pleased to be part of a government that has supported the city's initiatives in its innovative, leading-edge green energy solutions and innovations. We have continued to build on those infrastructure investments over the last number of years.
Summerside is just one example I use in identifying Egmont as a leader in the field of green energy across the riding. We were one of the first parts of the country to move toward wind energy and, indeed, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada is located in the riding of Egmont. This has allowed us to build a very successful and thriving green energy infrastructure here in my riding.
Summerside is one of a number of communities that makes up the riding of Egmont. In each of these I could look at the improvements that our government has supported, community by community, in a host of infrastructure initiatives that have built stronger communities right across the riding, including in the rural parts.
We have also maintained a trajectory of success at a difficult time because of hard work, diligence and a constant sense of optimism that these qualities can transcend any difficulty thrown at us. I am proud to be a member of a government that recognizes and celebrates meaningful support for individuals. I say that because I believe this government understands that support for the individual is the foundation of a strong community. From speaking to residents, I know that their confidence levels grew dramatically over the last year because they knew this fact: Our Liberal government has Egmont's back. Why am I so sure of that? Let us look at just a few priorities.
Programs for students are a priority. In 2021, our government has committed record financial contributions to the Canada summer jobs program, which students depend on for securing work over the summer months. We continue to waive student loan interest during the pandemic. We are enhancing repayment assistance on student loans and we are doubling the Canada student grants. These are just some of the initiatives that have been identified in this budget.
We have extended sick time for individuals. When this budget is passed, this will be a major initiative. An issue that we have heard a lot about over the last number of years, especially through the House of Commons HUMA committee, is that the existing sick time benefit is not adequate. I am pleased that our government has recognized that.
We also have an extensive array of business supports that were required to carry businesses through this unprecedented pandemic. We hear constantly in the House of Commons that this is an area where we have to continue to offer more support as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.
We have also supported enhanced educational opportunities for everyone.
For all these reasons and many more, I am proud to be part of a government that is active, that is smart, that protects Canadians and that understands the real challenges that have confronted each and every one of us. I compare that system of values to the one so fondly embraced by the Conservatives.
Too often, I have heard our colleagues in the opposition rail against support for individuals, saying that the so-called “free market” will be the salvation of our well-being. Such a direction would have led to catastrophic results in Egmont, and the deep and terrible worries unleashed by the pandemic would have been swollen with further concerns about bills, putting food on the table and shelter costs.
I believe in a government that will be there to support individuals during difficult times, because if that is not the government's role, then what is it? In a difficult time, we should not only be focused on bean counting and should not reject the legitimate needs of Canadians. Instead, we should be responding effectively, with reliability and in a way that builds public confidence that the government is there to prevent disaster and guide Canadians through a difficult time.
That said, I believe there is an area of public responsibility that requires greater attention. I have always been of the opinion that seniors who receive the guaranteed income supplement require more assistance. These are the most financially vulnerable members of the seniors community, and after a lifetime I believe they have earned the right to have fewer worries and more comfort. Therefore, I firmly believe the GIS should be increased, and I will continue to raise this subject.
My firm hope is that, in the very near future, government will take the steps to adjust these supports in a way that reflects two items. First, I believe we have the capacity as a country to offer this additional assistance, and second, I think it is very important that we recognize the challenges associated with being a senior in a changing world. I will continue to raise this subject in the hope that the government will adjust its plan and decide on a different course that is more helpful to the larger community and that helps individuals in a much more focused way.
To conclude, I want to congratulate the government. In effect, I am grading this budget at well above 90%, which is a very good mark by any stretch of the imagination. I am proud of my constituency and its efforts to get through a difficult year, and with the ongoing and dedicated support of an active and reliable government, the constituency of Egmont will emerge stronger than ever before.
As I indicated throughout my comments, I am pleased to be part of a government that has the backs of Canadians, the backs of Islanders and the backs of the residents of my riding of Egmont. I have been most proud to be part of the decision-making process in supporting those programs that have been so beneficial to Canadians, to Canadian businesses, to non-profit organizations and to municipalities and infrastructures that needed so much assistance during this unprecedented change in the economy created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-18 10:23 [p.8758]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I would like him to comment, in detail, if possible, on the creation of two classes of seniors.
This measure would have cost around $4 billion if the government had included seniors aged 65 to 75. Once taxes are paid, that figure drops to a little over $2 billion.
This is not money that we would lose to tax havens. This money would be reinvested in the economy, so the final cost is relatively low. Would he agree that not only would this have been a good measure to help with the economic recovery, but it would also have kept seniors from falling through the cracks?
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View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:24 [p.8758]
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Madam Speaker, there are valid reasons we chose to increase the OAS program for those over 75. Those are well documented, but I would draw the member's attention to the record of this government. One of the first actions we took after being elected in 2015 was to raise the guaranteed income supplement for all seniors across the board. At the same time, we have to remember that a Conservative policy that was in place and a decision that was made removed the old age pension and guaranteed income supplement for seniors between the ages of 65 and 67. That, in effect, took well over $18,000 per senior out of their pockets. Yes, we have more work to do, but the initiatives taken by this government signal to the senior community that we know the issues before them and we are committed to working with them to make them better financially.
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2021-06-18 10:25 [p.8758]
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Madam Speaker, I find it interesting to hear the Liberals tying themselves in rhetorical knots about defending aspects of policies and trying to distance themselves from decisions that were made in the past. It certainly is a fascinating discussion in rhetoric.
My question for the member is quite simple. In Bill C-30, there are some changes to the Elections Act that are related to a court decision. Specifically, it would make it illegal to knowingly mislead constituents during an election. Now, there has not been a lot of focus on this in the debate on this bill because it is a bit like an omnibus bill, which the Liberals had promised not to do, but this has been inserted into the bill. I would like to hear the member's comments on that particular aspect of Bill C-30.
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View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2021-06-18 10:26 [p.8759]
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Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the question from my colleague, and having listened to many debates and speeches in the House of Commons since 2015, I am often perplexed when the opposition Conservative Party rails against our government on the key area of energy as it relates to the western provinces, where the member is from. I am often left arriving at the conclusion that every member from western Canada who was part of the former Conservative government should be apologizing to the people of the prairie provinces for not taking any steps to unlock the oil industry there. They did not get any pipelines approved under that Conservative government because it had a process that was so flawed it was constantly being challenged.
One of the first initiatives of our government was to recognize that we had to have a process in place that met the needs of first nations communities and the environmental community to approve pipelines that met the test of protecting the environment and included first nations communities, and our government has done that. It was a major achievement that—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2021-06-18 10:27 [p.8759]
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I do want to allow for one more brief question.
The hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-06-18 10:27 [p.8759]
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Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for touching on the importance of more investments for seniors, which is absolutely necessary.
As the critic for small business and tourism, I will focus on small businesses because they have been very clear that they want to see an extension of the wage subsidy and rental program into next spring, especially for those in the tourism industry. Many of them cater to international tourists, and we know that they are not going to see international tourists this year.
Does my colleague agree that those programs should be extended to ensure that those businesses survive into next year given the border will not open any time soon?
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