Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 60 of 1270
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-22 12:20 [p.2703]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this committee meeting on COVID-19 is to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect people's health and safety and help the economic recovery.
But what are we talking about? The only thing we are talking about is a situation that could be extremely bad for the management of the Canadian government. Is the Prime Minister concerned about how little time that leaves him to manage the country?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-22 12:21 [p.2704]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, when I do not have time to do something, I pay someone else who can do it better than I can.
The legislation we passed proves that Parliament and Canada do not need the Prime Minister as such, given his current state of mind. I am sure people know where I am going with this.
Was the Prime Minister aware that another not-for-profit organization wanted to get into real estate and that it would be getting millions of dollars from Canadians and Quebeckers?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-22 12:22 [p.2704]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to speculate on the outcome of any work to be done. The opposition parties are asking questions, the committees will be asking questions and the media will have some questions. We will get to the bottom of this.
Is the Prime Minister telling us that he is putting in the time to manage the WE scandal or that he is not doing his job and not dealing with it?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-22 12:24 [p.2704]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, we are all waiting for the time when Parliament and the machinery of government can again properly focus on managing the real crisis, the health crisis, which is the most important thing to Canadians and Quebeckers.
Until then, no matter what anybody says, the Prime Minister will have to devote a lot of time and attention to the scandal and will be preoccupied with anticipating and managing this crisis. Accordingly, not speculating on his personal involvement and because Parliament will be asking questions, should the Prime Minister not step aside temporarily and allow someone else with the necessary focus to run the country in his place?
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-22 13:00 [p.2710]
Expand
Madam Chair, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Now more than ever, we need our government and we need it to be effective, but the Liberal government created a sponsorship program to help Trudeau family friends. We are not okay with that.
This is about scholarships, student assistance and volunteering. We agree that those are all good things.
The problem is that the program was handed over to an organization linked to the Trudeau family, an organization that, in recent years, has paid over a quarter of a million dollars to the Trudeau family for little speaking engagements.
The government claimed that it gave the program to WE Charity because it had no choice: WE Charity was the only organization that could administer the program. Day after day, as witnesses appeared before the committee, it became increasingly clear to us that that was not true. Many other organizations could have done it. The public service could have done it.
Here is the question I would like one of the ministers to answer: Why was there no call for tenders?
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-22 13:03 [p.2711]
Expand
Madam Chair, that is nonsense. Initially we were told it was because they did not have time. They said the tender process would have taken too long and the WE Charity could do it. We learned in committee that, in early April, the WE Charity sent an unsolicited proposal for a program and it was left at that.
On April 19, Rachel Wernick called Mr. Kielburger to ask him to transfer his proposal and make an offer on the student grant program. Three days later, Mr. Kielburger sent his proposal to Ottawa.
Why did the government not take the time to issue a call for tenders?
It might have taken three weeks, but at least it would have been done by the book, which would have avoided the perception that the government was paying $43 million in taxpayer money to friends of the Trudeau family.
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-22 13:04 [p.2711]
Expand
Madam Chair, what I said was that in early April it was not a proposal for managing the grant. I acknowledge that. However, on April 19, Mr. Kielburger was called and three days later, on April 22, he sent a proposal.
I will repeat my question: Why did they not issue a call for tenders?
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-22 13:05 [p.2711]
Expand
Madam Chair, yesterday, the president of the public service union told me that there was no problem, that it could have handled it with the public service and that, if they had, the money would be out the door as we speak and people would be working.
Why did they not issue a call for tenders?
If the Liberals want to do business with the public service, let them. They gave this to friends of the Trudeau family. We can look for an explanation, but there is none.
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-22 13:51 [p.2720]
Expand
Madam Chair, I will use my five minutes to draw everyone's attention to this issue.
I will get straight to the point. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner found the Prime Minister guilty on two occasions, but then what happened? The Prime Minister kept doing the same thing. Two guilty verdicts is like two strikes. It means he should be careful, because strike three means the player is out.
Yesterday, I talked about judgment and my concerns. Today, I would like to know if the Prime Minister's entourage and cabinet saw what happened.
Here is my question: Did they see the red flag?
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-22 13:53 [p.2720]
Expand
Madam Chair, once again, let us look at the facts. The Liberals are in government. Every administrator has been through this. People back home are asking me why it is that when they sit on a board, they have to disclose any personal information that could lead to a potential conflict of interest. What is happening here? We are talking about nearly $1 billion of our money.
I will ask the question again. What is a conflict of interest?
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-22 13:54 [p.2720]
Expand
Madam Chair, I did not get an answer, but I have another question.
Are cabinet and the entire government complicit in what happened with a failure to disclose information that may soon be found to have violated the Conflict of Interest Act?
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-22 13:55 [p.2720]
Expand
Madam Chair, I am going to tell you something because just one hour ago I was at the Standing Committee on Finance. I understand what is happening. We are not getting answers, we cannot get at the truth. One witness announced that the government was receiving personal data for partisan purposes for the Liberal Party. I would like someone to explain that to me since we are talking about a scandal. What happens after the second strike?
It is no longer a scandal that we can attribute to the Prime Minister alone. Could this not be considered a Liberal scandal?
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 14:20 [p.2724]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech. It touched on a number of very specific issues, including preventing the use of hard drugs, but also mental health issues, which are very important in the context of COVID-19 and have played out in ways that may be hard to predict.
In light of this, I submit to my colleague that it is important to recognize the role that Quebec and the provinces can play in these very specific issues, which are generally related to social services and health.
Furthermore, I would like to know whether she thinks there was any useful or legitimate reason for the federal government to impose conditions before it would transfer money that is critically needed for dealing with these problems, which are so pressing right now.
Would she not agree that the federal government should just have gone ahead and transferred the money, knowing that the provinces and Quebec are best equipped to deal with the current concerns?
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-22 14:43 [p.2727]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech.
Over the past few days we have heard a lot about the WE Charity matter. The Bloc Québécois wants the Prime Minister to take a step back, temporarily bow out and let the Deputy Prime Minister focus her attention on COVID-19.
As my colleague pointed out, our democratic processes have fallen to the wayside during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when we should be working twice as hard to help people. The Prime Minister is embroiled in a situation that, in my opinion, is similar to that of the sponsorship scandal, although I hope that is not the case.
I would like to know whether my colleague agrees with me that the Prime Minister must temporarily bow out so that we can focus on what is important to Quebeckers and to Canadians.
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 14:50 [p.2728]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to go back to the subject I talked about during members' statements on Monday. This time I will have 10 minutes to speak rather than just 60 seconds, so I can add some context to my remarks.
My statement on Monday was mainly about the delays in immigration processing, which were already way too long before the pandemic. Those delays are even more problematic now, since they are having even more dramatic consequences for families that are separated from their loved ones and deprived of their support because of the time it takes to process their applications.
To begin I would like to talk a bit about my professional experience because then the link will become clear. Before being elected to this place, I had a short but very rewarding career as a young lawyer. During that time, I worked on international child abduction cases.
International child abduction happens when two parents have different nationalities and one of them decides to take the child out of the country, or refuse to return, without the other parent's consent.
Over the years, my mentor, who worked on this type of file for a long time, noticed that there was an increase in the number of cases of parental abduction. That is not because people are abducting their children more often but simply because, over the past 30 or 40 years, we have had the capacity for international mobility, which has resulted in more binational couples, more families where the parents are not of the same nationality. That is a growing phenomenon.
If we do not do something about the delays in sponsorship processing times soon, the problem could get worse in the coming years, because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will likely only get more and more sponsorship requests. We therefore need to nip this problem in the bud.
Over the course of my career, I also had the pleasure of working with immigration lawyers. Some of them decided to quit private practice for the greener pastures of legal aid. I want to give a shout-out to any of them who may be watching at home. When they made that decision, they were unable to keep all their files and I took over many of them, including sponsorship files. I was therefore able to see first-hand how the interminable delays and existing procedures were undermining the quick review of sponsorship files. Here are a few telling examples.
When I filled out sponsorship applications, I would take all the forms, put an ID sticker on each one, stack them in the right order, seal the file and send it to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. In many cases, the file was sent back with a note about a missing form. The returned file would be completely disorganized and would often include the supposedly missing form. If that happens when just one official has handled the file, I shudder to think what it would look like after passing through the hands of several officials.
I also frequently noticed a problem with the checklist of items required to evaluate a file. I would complete this list before sending the file. The official would check it, item by item, and return the whole file when he or she found that an item was missing. I would add the missing document and return the file. The official would continue to check the items on the list and send the file back again if another form was missing. I would then send the missing document.
In the meantime, a form might no longer be up to date and I would be asked to fill it out again. I had some clients in France who could easily sign documents. However, it was a little more complicated for my clients in Iran to sign the required documents. Another one of my clients was a member of the military in a jungle in Central America and his only means of communication was a satellite phone. Having him sign a document was a nightmare.
All of this happens just because the officials do not take the time to check the whole list before sending back the file. I have already pointed out these problems in committee.
It seems to me that the officials should open the files as soon as they get them. In fact, this is creating the false impression that the files are being processed more quickly than they really are. Sometimes it takes a year before the file is actually opened. Often the 12-month deadline is not actually met, but it is calculated from the moment the file is opened. In reality, the families are waiting much longer for their file to be processed.
There are also problems related to the fact that these are paper files. I occasionally received a file that was not addressed to me and had to do with a client I did not know at all. I have also found documents belonging to someone else in one of my files.
I have also heard some horror stories about paper case files. When a foreign visa processing office closed down for a move, someone discovered a whole bunch of files that had fallen behind a filing cabinet. They had been there for 10 years.
There is a real problem associated with paper files, and it is all the more pressing because of the COVID-19 crisis. Officials have not been able to telework because they are still working with paper files. As a result, applications have been languishing for months, adding to the existing delays.
That is one thing we absolutely must review quickly. It was already a problem before the crisis started, and it is even worse now. We need to push hard to get those files digitized.
Something else the crisis has taught us is that a lot of things can be done remotely. As we have seen, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has started holding virtual citizenship ceremonies for new citizens.
An interview is often required at the end of the sponsorship process, to authenticate the relationship between the sponsor and the person being sponsored. Why could that not also be done via video conference? This is a legitimate question. That would address another problem that existed long before the crisis. I want to talk about a situation we are now seeing in Cuba. The office in Havana closed its doors and is no longer conducting interviews in person. Individuals are required to travel to Mexico or Trinidad and Tobago for their landing interview, the final step in the sponsorship process.
This seems like a good time to say that it would fix the problem if the government started processing permanent resident cases through video conference. This has been done for citizenship cases and citizenship ceremonies. As a lawyer specializing in international family law, I knew about Zoom long before the crisis started. Since abduction cases are often handled very quickly, with hearings scheduled close together, our clients were not always able to appear at their hearings. We used Zoom in those cases. If Quebec's civil courts were able to do it, there is no reason why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada cannot.
No offence to my colleagues, but I must say that my current role as immigration critic is probably the best portfolio, because it involves so much compassion. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most heart-wrenching portfolios. Since Monday, I have been getting a lot of comments on my Facebook page. People have been reminding us how hard it is to live without their families, how hard it is for young children to live without one of their parents at a formative time in their lives, how hard it is to be separated from loved ones during a pandemic. It was true before the crisis, and it is even more true now.
We need to work together to address the issue of processing delays. I doubt that the parties are going to make this issue political or that every party is going to fight tooth and nail to defend a different position. I do not imagine that any of my colleagues would say that processing delays should be even longer.
We need to bite the bullet and decide together to make this a priority. We need to put more personnel, and therefore more money, toward dealing with immigration files.
That is one thing I would like to see in the next budget, since we have not actually seen the March budget yet. I would like to see more money to clear up the massive backlog, which just keeps getting worse, and bring in a computer system that would fix a lot of problems.
Despite all that, I have not even touched on the issue of foreign workers, which has been a problem during the crisis. I have not even touched on how refugee cases are being handled, which has also been a problem during the crisis. I have not even touched on the issue of international students' applications.
Today I am making a heartfelt plea for everyone to work together to improve the whole immigration process, so that people will not have to make heartbreaking choices if ever there is another crisis. I am making this plea so that nobody ever has to choose between two equally distressing cases because we do not have enough resources to handle them properly.
I urge all my colleagues to work together to improve our immigration system.
Collapse
View Luc Desilets Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Desilets Profile
2020-07-22 15:00 [p.2730]
Expand
Madam Chair, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her speech, which was eloquent and clear, as usual.
What I took from her speech is that the delays are monumental. Of all the developed countries in the world, are there any examples of such a shift happening, and how did it happen?
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 15:00 [p.2730]
Expand
Madam Chair, we do not have to look very far to see examples of when things have been done quickly. When Haiti was in crisis, we did it here. Processes that usually took 12 months were completed sometimes in as little as six weeks, because it was decided that a herculean effort was needed to process so many family reunification applications. We do not have to look very far.
There are also other examples elsewhere in the world, such as work permits. When someone has to move abroad for work, their spouse is automatically entitled to a work permit. They can start working immediately. In sponsorship cases here, I have seen it take up to 16 months to process work permits. We can look to many of our colleagues, and even ourselves, for examples. Clearly, where there is a will, there is a way.
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 15:02 [p.2730]
Expand
Madam Chair, I sincerely thank my colleague for his question.
I do not claim to be an immigration expert. However, I do know that we should distinguish between the sponsorship of a spouse and the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. The government set a quota for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents and that is why we have a lottery or selection system. That is not the case for the sponsorship of a spouse, which does not have a limit. There is a distinction to be made between the two.
However, I do have a few recommendations to make about the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, since that is the question that was asked. In Quebec, for the sponsorship of a spouse, there is no assessment of the spouse's financial capacity. The sponsor does not have to prove that they are on fairly solid financial ground to sponsor their spouse. Other provinces set out specific amounts. In Quebec, the only stipulation is that the sponsor cannot be on welfare.
For parents and grandparents, sponsors must prove that they have enough income to support their parents and grandparents for a given period of time. Unfortunately, I noticed that with the lottery system, anyone can apply for the lottery without having to prove that they have enough money. There is not even a quick assessment of their financial capacity.
In some cases, I filled out sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents knowing full well that the applications would ultimately be rejected on financial grounds. These people were taking a spot from others who would have been able to sponsor their parents or grandparents. A simple pre-assessment could improve the system.
I think we could have a great many debates about which system to use. Is the lottery a good thing, considering that technologies are not the same around the world? This system gives an advantage to those who have faster access to the Internet. Many aspects are in need of review. It would be worthwhile to look at whether we can pre-assess a sponsor's financials.
Collapse
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2020-07-22 15:04 [p.2730]
Expand
Madam Chair, I commend my colleague for her speech. I would urge my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis to contact my colleague from Saint-Jean for help with his constituents' immigration files. He should not hesitate to reach out to her. She is very efficient and approachable, and she knows how to get files moving.
Like many of my colleagues in the House, I have immigration cases in my riding that have been delayed, that have been held up. Some are pretty heart-wrenching, because they are applications for family reunification. Some of these cases have been dragging on for years. In one case, Ms. Gaudreau of Drummond has been waiting nearly 10 years. Her partner is Cuban, and they have a special-needs child. His file has been dragging on for an unbelievably long time.
I can tell you about another case where a woman had a baby with her Cuban partner, and they trade off who travels to see the other. Lately, this gentleman has been unable to get a visitor visa because officials believe he will not want to go back to Cuba. However, since he has a child living here, I think it can be presumed that he would be willing to take steps to stay with his family.
That is what I am getting at. I feel like visa applicants and potential immigrants are often viewed in a bad light. I think that we should be trying to challenge that perception and change attitudes towards the whole immigration application process.
I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that, because this is an issue that I am beginning to be very concerned about, especially as regards my constituents.
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 15:06 [p.2731]
Expand
Madam Chair, I thank my colleague for not putting any pressure on me with regard to managing and resolving cases.
The issue of whether someone does or does not need a visa to be sponsored is indeed a concern. During the crisis, we saw that sponsored individuals from countries where a visa is not required were able to come join their families, whereas those who were from countries like Cuba could not. I would like to point out that this was already the case before the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was not the pandemic that created this situation.
It has been suggested that a special visa could be created for these people. I think that idea is worth looking into, but I see where it might lead to problems.
It was suggested that this type of visa could be issued only after a security screening, an assessment of genuineness of the relationship and acceptance of the sponsor based on financial criteria. However, if all those steps are required to obtain a visa, why not just process the sponsorship application? If an individual already has to go through all those steps to get a visa, there is not much left to do in terms of processing the sponsorship application, so the process would become almost meaningless.
I am concerned that if the government starts issuing this type of visa, the prior existence of a sponsorship application could be used to deny a tourist visa. A sponsorship application should not compromise one's ability to get a visa, especially when the applicant has made it clear their goal is to immigrate.
Officials could justify not processing an application any faster on the grounds that at least the person has access to their family in the meantime. The problem is that, even if a tourist visa gives them access to their family, the visa prohibits them from travelling. They also have to pay higher tuition fees, and they cannot use the health care system.
All that could delay processing of sponsorship applications because that is the crux of the issue. We cannot let a band-aid solution distract us from the real problem: processing delays.
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 15:09 [p.2731]
Expand
Madam Chair, that is an important question, one that would be hard to answer in 10 seconds.
I have not had a chance to read the ruling, since we are sitting here today. However, I would remind my colleague that the Bloc has long supported either suspending the safe third country agreement with the U.S., not enforcing it for a few months, even scrapping it altogether. Perhaps that gives some idea of what our position will be once we have a chance to issue a formal response.
Collapse
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2020-07-22 15:43 [p.2736]
Expand
Madam Chair, my colleague spoke a lot about the wage subsidy. I would like her thoughts on other suggestions that the Bloc made to help businesses.
I am thinking about the SMEs back home that do not necessarily have a large payroll. Sometimes there is a single owner, no other employee. Sometimes these same people also own their work space. They do not have access to rent support.
What does my colleague think of the Bloc's suggestion of creating a business support program for fixed costs?
Collapse
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-07-21 10:30 [p.2655]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, when I heard my colleague mention social housing, it occurred to me that if we wanted to make life easier for people living with disabilities, maybe we should fund the health care system properly. Health care is still underfunded. As for social housing, Quebec is still waiting for the transfers from the federal government.
Would my colleague agree that it is urgent to transfer that money if we want to truly support people living with disabilities?
Collapse
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-07-21 10:42 [p.2657]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the speech from my colleague, who sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.
I am going to ask her a somewhat technical question. I should probably ask the government, but I will see if she can answer. It is about support for people living with disabilities as drafted in Bill C-20.
In his announcement on June 1, the Prime Minister mentioned a refundable tax credit. However, Bill C-20 calls it a payment out of the consolidated revenue fund. On closer scrutiny, it seems like the payment could be considered taxable income for the taxpayer.
Does my colleague know whether this tax credit is taxable?
Collapse
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-07-21 10:47 [p.2657]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, first I want to let you know that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Manicouagan. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all members of the House to visit that magnificent region this summer. It might be far, but it is worth the trip.
Bill C-20 leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is the embodiment of everything I most abhor about this federation. It is a reminder that my people, my nation, is still controlled by the nation next door. I am sure my colleagues will have understood by now that I am referring to the Bill C-20 that was passed just over 20 years ago, the clarity act, which set out the majority threshold and was tabled by Stéphane Dion. This bill reminded Quebeckers that Quebec would be ruled by the will of the Canadian majority to the very end. I see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons applauding that. That is just pathetic.
Twenty years ago, this Parliament came out and said that Quebec is not the master of its own house, so much so that its neighbour decided to give itself a say and even veto power not just over the next referendum, but also over the very definition of a majority, since it felt 50% + 1 was not enough for a majority anymore. So much for a people's right to self-determination. Quebec does not know what is good for it. There are echoes of Lord Durham's lamentable report here. This gets applause to this day.
As for Bill C-20, which is being debated today, the Bloc Québécois will obviously support it. Our logic is straightforward. Quite simply, since the bill is good for Quebec, the Bloc Québécois will support it. However, I would like to address the manner in which the bill was introduced and will likely be passed.
Over the past four months, the pandemic has shaped our daily lives. That is true for all of society and also for this Parliament. Its usual operations were suspended because of health guidelines. For four months, this Parliament and its legislators have no longer carried out their roles as they should. That is also true for the study of this bill. We will pass it with a sham procedure, ramming it through without being able to study it properly. I completely understand that it is urgent that we help those paying the economic price of health measures, namely our workers, businesses and people with disabilities. However, after four months, I feel that it is time to strike a balance and to put an end to this travesty of democracy, I would even say, this quasi-dictatorial government.
I will explain. Here is how it works. The government presents its bill to each party under embargo and then, just a day or two later, it introduces the bill in the House and insists that it be passed as is. In so doing, the government is short-circuiting the usual analysis and study process. We do not have time to examine the bill in detail, but, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. What worries me the most about this flippant approach is that, for the past four months, we have been passing bills without even giving members the opportunity to hear from the individuals and groups that are affected by those bills. The current process is too rushed. It does not make any sense.
I would like to give an example to illustrate this problem, that of Bill C-17. There was a section in Bill C-17 that sought to provide support to people living with disabilities. That support was intended for people who applied for the disability tax credit. However, since this was a non-refundable tax credit, many low-income people did not apply for it because they do not pay taxes. They were not going to fill out all the paperwork for something that did not apply to them. We know that far too many people with disabilities are living in extreme poverty. As written, Bill C-17 excluded the poorest people from the support program. Those who needed help the most were excluded, which was outrageous. This type of problem is usually fixed during the legislative process when committees have time to hear from the groups concerned and provide recommendations on how to improve bills.
In fact, it was groups like those who contacted us to complain about that aspect of Bill C-17. The bill affected their members. They are in the best position to analyze it, and they must be given time to take a close look at it and analyze it so that the government can hear what they have to say and make changes accordingly. As I have said before, the whole process that is crucial to passing good laws has been on hold for four months. That has to change. We need to get back to a democratic process. Let me just remind everyone that the government was unequivocal: Bill C-17 had to be passed as it was, and there was no room for improvement.
Even though it is in a minority situation, the government is behaving like a dictator. That is unacceptable. We said that we were in favour of Bill C-17, but that we needed time to study and analyze it. The government refused, saying that there would be no changes, and it chose to withdraw the bill and pout.
Fortunately for Canadians living with disabilities, just over a month later, Bill C-20 corrects the mistakes of Bill C-17 by adding three flexible elements.
First, individuals receiving a disability pension from the Quebec pension plan, Canada pension plan or Veterans Affairs will be entitled to the payment, even if they have not applied for the disability tax credit. However, this does not include those who receive a disability pension from the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec following an automobile accident, or the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail following a workplace accident. That could be improved.
Finally, individuals who apply for the disability tax credit within 60 days will be entitled to the payment, even if they did not previously claim it. This flexibility was not found in Bill C-17.
I would also like to talk about another point concerning the assistance for people with disabilities, which my colleague was asked about earlier. In his announcement on June 1, the Prime Minister talked about a refundable tax credit. However, Bill C-20 talks about a payment paid out of the consolidated revenue fund. It is not inconceivable that this could mean the payment is considered taxable income for taxpayers. I would like the government to clarify this.
Mr. Speaker, I want to appeal to you and to my colleagues from all parties here, in the House. We need to change how bills get passed. This chamber, its elected officials, its legislators and its committees must be able to actually do their jobs. We need to find a way that complies with health guidelines, but it is possible.
The government is comfortable governing without Parliament, but that infringes on our democracy. This has been going on for four months, which is far too long, and it needs to change.
Collapse
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-07-21 10:55 [p.2658]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, this is our first opportunity to vote on support for persons with disabilities. In fact, Bill C-17 was not even introduced in the House. We were not able to vote on that bill. The government chose to sulk by not introducing it.
Everyone in the House said that support for people living with disabilities was important. We just had to ensure that it was done right. My speech mainly focused on the fact that it was badly done and rushed. That is also the opinion of groups representing persons with disabilities.
Now, Bill C-20 is properly drafted. It is everything we asked for. The government must stop acting like a dictator and saying take it or leave it, and if we do not take it as it is, it does not work.
We have to return to a process that lets all elected members of every party to participate fully as legislators.
Collapse
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-07-21 10:57 [p.2659]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the government chose to introduce Bill C-17 as one bill made up of four different parts that could not be amended.
The part regarding support payments for people living with disabilities had the unanimous consent of the House. Had the government chosen to seek unanimous consent to pass that part of Bill C-17, it would have immediately gotten that consent. Every party publicly expressed its support for that part of the bill, so there would not have been any problem with that.
The government said no. The parties had to take the whole bill or leave it. That is the problem that we are once again seeing in this catastrophic approach to urgently passing bills imposed by the government. The part of Bill C-17 that helps people living with disabilities would have excluded the poorest members of that group because it was poorly written. The government is short-circuiting the usual process for passing bills in the House. That is what I have a problem with.
I hope I have made that clear to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. This way of doing things needs to change. We have been doing things this way for four months and that is too long.
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I really liked what he had to say.
I think Bill C-20 would have been a good opportunity for the government to simplify to some degree the fairly complex measures introduced in Bill C-17. It is still complex. It is written in very complex jargon. We are afraid it might prevent some businesses and individuals from getting the help they need, which is what happened with the emergency commercial rent assistance. We realized that applying for it was so complicated, people just gave up.
Does my colleague think Bill C-20 would have been a good opportunity for the government to simplify the process?
Collapse
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-07-21 10:59 [p.2659]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the Income Tax Act is such incomprehensible gobbledygook that a physicist or a mechanical or electrical engineer would struggle to do the math. The equations are full of variables. There are more letters than numbers. There are cross references. It is endless. It is impossible to understand.
During the technical briefing on this bill provided by officials, we were assured that the government would be able to present the extension of the wage subsidy and all its various forms in a comprehensible way. That is a huge but necessary challenge. As my colleague said, that was not the case at all for the commercial rent assistance.
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-21 11:00 [p.2659]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, members bring their personal experiences to the House of Commons. I am here to represent the people of Quebec and my riding. I am also the critic for families, children and social development.
I want to talk a bit about my experience. There is a lot of talk about what is being proposed in Bill C-20, and it is clear that the matter of accessibility is a sticking point. I am a mother of three children, one of whom has a disability.
For several weeks now, I have heard people talking about the bill that was tabled and that would make certain things possible. I, of course, see the bill from a parliamentary perspective, but also from a personal perspective, as I think about people who are living with a disability and who are vulnerable. The government is implying that everything is easy and available and that these people were taken into account, but all along it has been dragging its feet and taking its time.
Today, listening to the questions being asked in the House, it is unclear how the assistance for people with disabilities will be provided. The government is unable to tell us whether the $600 they get will be taxable. In my opinion, we are far from a comprehensive, clear proposal and from providing assistance for those who need it most.
I wanted to mention that, not only is this measure long overdue, but there is still the matter of accessibility. That is why debates and committees are an important part of the process of perfecting bills, as my hon. colleague from Joliette mentioned earlier. Of course, for the Bloc Québécois, the goal is to help the most vulnerable.
I mentioned that it is too late and that it is unclear, and I feel the same way about the Canada emergency wage subsidy. I have spoken to a number of people and entrepreneurs in my riding who did not have access to the CEWS. Now the government is trying to improve it, apparently so that more people can have access to it.
I went to Gaspé, where I spoke to entrepreneurs. Applying for the wage subsidy is a burden for companies large and small. It is not an easy task. Some were ineligible, and now the government has made some adjustments based on other criteria that are so convoluted as to be almost incomprehensible. Once again, my concern is that the subsidy will not be accessible to people who cannot apply themselves or who cannot do so properly, since the program is so convoluted, as I was saying. We need to clarify and simplify things if we want people to benefit, and the same goes for the $600.
Are we really providing assistance if people are unable to apply for it? In the case of the disability benefit, will people with disabilities be able to receive the whole amount, or will we only be sending them half? Once again, it is too late.
I would like to know if businesses that were not entitled to it may be entitled and may qualify. This could be good for those who were unable to before. The reason it is being adjusted is that we know there were problems with the emergency wage subsidy. Will businesses have retroactive access? Those are my suggestions for this bill.
There are other problems the government could have fixed. Members were talking about vulnerable people earlier. That brings to mind employment insurance sickness benefits. People who are sick now, people with cancer, for example, need money to keep fighting. My colleague from Salaberry—Suroît actually introduced a bill to extend the benefit period for these people, who really need it.
I had hoped that we would be able to add this element. That was what happened with Bill C-17, which included several elements. There are three elements here as well. This is something the government could very easily have done, and that people would have applauded, because they have been waiting a long time.
I will come back to the stories of other vulnerable people in my riding, in particular in seasonal industries where people are still waiting. We are halfway through summer, and we have not yet begun addressing their situation. They are wondering what is going to happen to them in the fall. The emergency wage subsidy is all well and good, but it does not apply to seasonal industries when people are not working.
We need to find something for them. We are being told that something is coming. However, when a seasonal worker knows that he is going to lose his job in the forestry or fishing industries, or in tourism, which has been struggling in many areas back home, he needs to know if he will be able to feed his family in the fall, that he will be able to keep working in his field and supporting his community, and that he will be going back to work in 2021.
We want our communities to retain their vitality and to bounce back from COVID-19. These people truly need help. I want to see this happen fast; I do not want to wait for summer to be over. Once again, we are falling behind on getting assistance to the people who are most vulnerable and who bear the brunt of COVID-19.
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-21 11:08 [p.2660]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the opposition has the right to disagree with the government. I think that is one of our freedoms, however modest it may be.
I have here an excerpt from the June 1 announcement, in which the Prime Minister mentioned a refundable tax credit. However, Bill C-20 talks about the payment being paid out of the consolidated revenue fund, which indicates just a possibility. It it not stated explicitly, but it is also not ruled out. If I do not see something explicitly stated in a contract, I want to clarify it and have it stipulated. If that is truly what the government intended to do, why did it not just write it down?
I do not want to mislead people. I am simply being a responsible member of Parliament and I am asking questions that, I think, are of interest to my constituents and to the people of Quebec and Canada.
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-21 11:10 [p.2661]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her question. In fact, I have not read the petition she mentioned.
However, I believe that members have heard me make a request in the House on several occasions. I find that the Wednesday sittings are committee meetings and not real sittings of the House of Commons.
The ten or twenty hours my colleague and I must spend each week to get here will not prevent us from working in the House to hold the government to account. That is what we are doing today, even though it does not really want to answer our questions and seems to believe that we are biased. We need answers and we need to be responsible, which is something I truly appreciate. I believe it is the duty of every parliamentarian.
The Bloc Québécois caucus wants to do its job of course. We, the members, want to do our job as parliamentarians as it is usually understood in the House, with concern for our safety and that of all Canadians.
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-21 11:11 [p.2661]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to discuss, in particular, part 3 of Bill C-20 that would enact an act respecting the suspension or extension of time limits and the extension of other periods as part of the response to the coronavirus disease 2019.
As members are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges on several fronts, not only for individual Canadians and businesses, but also for the operations of federal and provincial governments. Governments are working hard to respond to the pandemic and protect the well-being and safety of Canadians. Today, I would like to speak about one particular set of challenges that we are proposing to address with this legislation.
This issue has important implications on the rule of law, as well as significant practical implications not only for our justice system but also for the federally regulated sphere in which individuals are governed and businesses operate. I am referring to the issue of fixed statutory deadlines.
Members may wonder what these deadlines are. Canadians normally rely on the certainty of knowing that, if they have a decision from a court, there is a limited time to bring an appeal. They want to know that if they are in a process of trying to comply with a requirement, such as working with creditors, they will not be in default and subject to serious consequences, through no fault of their own, if they continue to follow the steps set out in the law.
Overnight, the certainty offered by fixed time limits became an obstacle rather than a comfort. If an act provides no discretion to extend time limits, there could be serious consequences for Canadians.
Let us take the example of someone who wants to challenge the terms of a divorce settlement ordered by a judge. Suppose this person has lost their job and is caring for the children at home. If the current situation prevents the person from filing an appeal within 30 days as required by the Divorce Act, that person is out of options.
Let us also consider employees under federal jurisdiction who work in essential sectors like transportation and need valid certification. The pandemic could be making it hard or even impossible for them to renew their certification. Can we expect businesses to continue to operate without that certification, potentially putting themselves at risk?
The measures in this bill will provide a level of certainty that will enable individuals, businesses and the government to focus on maintaining or resuming operations in the context of the pandemic.
I am therefore pleased to present a series of measures grouped in one act, an act respecting the suspension or extension of time limits and the extension of other periods as part of the response to the coronavirus disease 2019. The short title of this act is the time limits and other periods act with regard to COVID-19.
The act would apply to two categories of problematic time limits that require immediate attention: first, time limits in civil proceedings, and second, legislative time limits and periods set out in federal acts and regulations.
With respect to civil litigation, should deadlines not be extended, it would risk forcing people to choose between ignoring public health advice and protecting their legal interests for preparing for or attending court. This risk is highest for self-represented litigants, who many not know where to go or what to do to secure their legal rights in the current circumstances. Chief justices have done as much as they can within their powers and have asked for a more complete solution from the federal government. Other stakeholders, such as the bar associations, have also called for the federal government to act quickly.
A number of federal laws include deadlines, and failure to meet these deadlines could have serious and irreversible consequences for Canadians and for Canada as a whole. Even government activities have been affected by the pandemic. A large amount of resources is being allocated to the fight against COVID-19, which prevents us from supporting other activities and meeting certain deadlines.
Under the Food and Drug Regulations, the sale of drugs intended for clinical trials is authorized by default unless Canada sends a notice of refusal before the specified deadline. If we cannot meet these deadlines, Canadians' safety could be at risk. In addition, many companies and organizations will now have more time to hold their annual meetings, without having to ask the courts for an extension.
These are only a few examples. There are many others. If Parliament does not take action and find solutions, Canadians will soon feel the real-life consequences. It is important to point out that several provinces have recognized the need to extend legal and regulatory deadlines and have acted accordingly.
British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have taken measures to suspend or extend time limits in proceedings under their emergency legislation. In some cases, these provinces have also extended deadlines not related to proceedings. Of course, no provincial measures can resolve the issue of time limits in federal legislation. Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba have also passed legislation giving them similar powers.
Our government also received feedback from various stakeholders and parliamentarians on this legislative proposal and considered their comments, as members will see from changes to the bill resulting from those considerations.
The purpose of the bill is clearly set out. It is to temporarily suspend certain time limits and to temporarily authorize the suspension and extension of certain other time limits in order to prevent any exceptional circumstances from making it difficult or impossible to meet those timelines and time limits. It also aims to temporarily authorize the extension of other periods, for instance the validity of licences, in order to prevent unfair or undesirable effects that may result from their expiry in the current circumstances.
It is clearly stated at the outset that the bill is to be interpreted and to provide certainty in legal proceedings and ensure respect for the rule of law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I want to emphasize that the bill would not apply in respect of the investigation of an offence or in respect of a proceeding respecting an offence, nor does it apply in respect of a time limit or other period that is established by or under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
The bill is divided into two substantive parts, one dealing with civil litigation and one dealing with a limited number of regulatory deadlines. For civil litigation, the new act would provide for the suspension of civil limitation periods established in federal legislation. These include time limits for commencing a civil proceeding before a court, for doing something in the course of proceedings, or for making an application for leave to commence a proceeding, or to do something in relation to a proceeding. These provisions would apply to any court referred to in federal legislation.
The suspension is for a maximum period of six months, which starts on March 13 of this year and ends on September 13 of this year, or an earlier day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. Even though the suspension of limitation periods will be automatic, the legislation is flexible in nature. Courts will be empowered to vary the length of a suspension when they feel it is necessary, as long as the commencement date of the suspension remains the same and the duration of the suspension does not exceed six months. They will also have the power to make orders to remedy a failure to meet a time limit that is later suspended. In addition, to deal with the possibility of unintended consequences, the Governor in Council may lift a suspension in specified circumstances.
Once again, the duration of the suspensions or extensions cannot exceed a maximum of six months. It is important to point that out. This also includes renewals. The orders do not apply in respect of a time limit or other period that ends on December 31, 2020, nor can they be used to extend a time limit beyond December 31, 2020. What is more, the suspension provided for by an order cannot allow a time limit to continue after December 31, 2020.
However, ministerial orders can be retroactive to March 13, 2020, and can include provisions respecting the effects of a failure to meet the time limit or of the expiry of a period that was then suspended or extended. In order to provide some flexibility, orders may provide that a suspension or extension applies only with the consent of the decision-maker in question or that the decision-maker can refuse to apply the order or make changes regarding its application.
We recognize the unique nature of this legislation. As such, numerous safeguards have been built into the bill right from the beginning. First and foremost, the bill clearly indicates that the powers to make orders cannot be used after September 30, 2020. It also ensures that no order can remain in effect after December 31, 2020. The bill would also give the Governor in Council the power to make regulations restricting or imposing conditions on the power of ministers to make orders regarding time limits and other periods.
What is more, in order to ensure full transparency and ensure that Canadians are being kept informed of what is being done, the new law will require that a ministerial order or order in council regarding suspensions or extensions, together with the reason for making them, be published on a Government of Canada website no later than five days after the day on which it is made for a period of at least six months. It must also be published in the Canada Gazette within 14 days after the day on which it is made.
That is very important. It is a way of ensuring that all parties and all stakeholders are made aware of the extension or suspension of the provisions of this act.
As is clear from this overview, our proposed legislation is targeted, flexible and transparent. It provides the certainty that all Canadians deserve when dealing the legal system, while promoting the rule of law and giving needed flexibility in key regulatory areas. At the same time, it ensures that needed protections are in place and it recognizes the key role that Parliament plays in holding government to account.
For these reasons, I hope we will find support, not only from this side of the House but from the other side of the House, to make sure that we provide the needed flexibility that Canadians deserve during the pandemic, and to also make sure that they get that information to understand why we would need to prolong or suspend the measures that are applicable in this law.
I look forward to questions from hon. members.
Collapse
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-07-21 11:27 [p.2663]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's speech. He showed us how important it is to extend deadlines during a crisis like this one.
That reminds me of the answer we got yesterday from his colleague, the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, who said the Liberal Party, as an organization, was struggling. The Prime Minister refused to confirm that when my party asked him about it.
I wonder if the Liberal Party will continue to struggle until November 21 or, as the Prime Minister said, until December 31. Does my colleague have a sense of just how badly the Liberal Party is struggling?
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, earlier today, I raised the issue of how complex this bill is. Many questions are left unanswered. For instance, Bill C-20 expands access to include seasonal businesses, businesses that were not eligible for assistance before.
There are several questions in my mind. Will the assistance be retroactive? Will it also apply retroactively for those who have been receiving it for months or for new businesses? This could change a lot of things for a business, helping it survive. Being able to get retroactive financial support could be good for a business. I am wondering if that will be on offer.
Collapse
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-07-21 11:50 [p.2666]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for raising a fundamental aspect of democracy, namely trust.
My colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean and I often say that we must never forget who we work for. We work for our constituents. My colleague aptly and rightly pointed that out.
My colleague talked about the erosion of our constituents' trust in us. I liked his comment that some people are saying that the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics must be really busy. That speaks to the cynicism that we see in society.
Many ethics issues have been raised, and the Prime Minister's ethics violations have been brought up. Something just sprang to mind. If we want to keep our constituents' trust and prevent that trust from deteriorating, maybe we should not personally benefit from the measures we are talking about. I am referring to the emergency wage subsidy.
Does my colleague agree that if a political party is benefiting from the emergency wage subsidy, it is contributing to the erosion of the public's trust in us and feeding public cynicism?
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, my colleague spoke about ethics. There was the private island, SNC-Lavalin and now WE Charity. This is the third strike, as my colleague from La Prairie mentioned yesterday. He also said the the Prime Minister should perhaps get a direct line to the Office of the Ethics Commissioner. The Bloc Québécois proposed that the Prime Minister step aside until we shed light on this whole affair.
What does my colleague think of that?
Collapse
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-07-21 12:30 [p.2671]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech, particularly since he talked about seniors, a matter that prompted me to come to the House on a regular basis during the pandemic so that I could take a stand to improve their situation.
I agree with him that we cannot continue to leave seniors out in the cold. However, we have different opinions on how to remedy that problem. I do not think that the solution is to set a standard for the health care systems of Quebec and the provinces.
The government has been making cuts to our health care system and failing to increase health transfers for years. Does he not think that now is the time to remedy that? Quebec and the provinces are unanimously calling for such action.
What is more, right now, our seniors are receiving just a single cheque for $300. Does my colleague not think that the government should commit to keeping its election promise and improve long-term support for seniors by increasing the old age security benefit and the guaranteed income supplement?
Collapse
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-07-21 12:37 [p.2673]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I would like to come back to the question asked by my colleague from Shefford.
In his speech, my colleague said that we have failed our seniors. That should raise eyebrows among anyone who has been following federal politics for the past 20 years.
I would simply like to point out that in 1996-97 and in 1997-98, under Paul Martin, the federal government cut $2 billion in health care transfers.
Heath care funding has been at an unacceptable level ever since. Today it is a little over 20%. The provinces assume the lion's share of health care funding.
Hearing an MP say we have failed our seniors leads me to conclude that he needs to take a good hard look in the mirror. It is the federal government that has failed seniors.
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
Bill C-17 included the CERB, but the government decided not to include it in Bill C-20. The wage subsidy has been extended, which is good for new businesses. However, many businesses in my riding are having difficulty getting back on track. They are upset that employees want to stay home because they are comfortable with the CERB. This would have been an opportunity to change the CERB by including work incentives in the bill.
I would like to know why the CERB was not included in this bill and what is going to happen with this benefit.
Collapse
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2020-07-21 13:05 [p.2677]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague on her speech.
I will continue. People in my riding are talking about veterans and application processing times. Mr. Vézina, a veteran who had a long career in the armed forces, is waiting and trying to get the benefits to which he is entitled, because he was wounded during his military career. We tried repeatedly to help get his case processed. We eventually heard back that Mr. Vézina had been in contact with an official from the department. He last heard from the department at the end of June, thanks to our efforts, but he had not previously heard anything since 2018. We were told that that was the normal time frame.
I would like to ask my colleague whether it is normal for a veteran who served his country and who is entitled to compensation to spend more than two years chasing down his benefits and to be told that this is a normal time frame. I would like to know what would be a normal time frame if the government decided to improve this procedure for our veterans.
Collapse
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-07-21 13:21 [p.2679]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I really appreciated what he said about his riding. I add my voice to his. In my riding too, many employers called me to tell me about how they are having difficulty recruiting workers. Even employers for community-based organizations told me that they were having trouble getting their employees to come back to work.
I would therefore like to ask my colleague whether he agrees with the proposal made by my party to include employment incentives in the Canada emergency response benefit. I want to ask him whether he believes it would have been worthwhile for Bill C-20 to include employment incentives related to the CERB.
Collapse
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2020-07-21 13:49 [p.2684]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to start by congratulating my colleague from Fredericton for her fine speech, which was full of wisdom and empathy. It is immensely appreciated.
I would have appreciated my colleague's speech even more without the background noise, which is getting extremely loud these days. The House is sitting, and it would be nice if the people in the rooms around this one would realize it and be a little quieter.
That being said, to get back to my colleague's speech, I heard her mention seniors. First, I want to thank her for her concern about our families and loved ones. The crisis has affected us, but we are doing well. I think we are resilient and united.
We were talking about seniors and people with disabilities. I would like to hear my colleague's opinion about the idea that, rather than responding to the repeated demands of people with disabilities and the incessant demands of our seniors, we should improve their living conditions permanently. These are demands that have been put forward by the Bloc Québécois, but also by other opposition parties.
Why is the government stubbornly insisting on making one-time payments? A payment of $300 for seniors and $600 for people with disabilities seems pretty paltry.
What is my Green Party colleague's opinion on the matter?
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, which was very touching. It was a nice call for collaboration.
I, too, believe that we could modernize our way of doing things. We did it once with this hybrid Parliament and we could move toward virtual voting. I think that could help us do our jobs in our respective ridings. It would also help young mothers who want to go into politics while still being able to spend time at home with their children.
I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that since I know that she has young children.
Collapse
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2020-07-21 14:02 [p.2686]
Expand
Madam Speaker, people in the regions of Quebec are once again being held hostage by Air Canada and a government measure.
On June 30, we learned that Air Canada, which is heavily subsidized by the federal government using taxpayer money, was suspending 30 regional routes indefinitely and closing a number of service counters in eastern Quebec for good, including those in Gaspé, Mont-Joli, and Baie-Comeau, in my riding.
Since the announcement, the government has shown zero leadership to support Quebec, which is itself looking for solutions. Even the Minister of National Revenue, the member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, whose constituents have been hit hard by Air Canada's pressure tactics, has said nothing about this. Her silence speaks volumes and is typical of the government's absolute failure to take action on this issue.
The consensus among people who live in the regions, mayors, reeves and the Government of Quebec is clear, and the Bloc Québécois has supported that consensus since the announcement. It is time for the federal government to support sustainable solutions so that the regions are never again cut off from major centres as they are now. The economic vitality of Quebec's regions is at stake.
Collapse
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2020-07-21 14:12 [p.2688]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, many seniors are living in precarious financial situations, which is why the Bloc Québécois has been calling for an increase in the old age pension and the guaranteed income supplement for quite some time. The pandemic has compounded this economic insecurity, since seniors have been hit hard by the effects of the lockdown and higher prices on so many things, including medication, rent, groceries and transportation.
Just last week, seniors finally received some support for the pandemic. Seniors who receive just the old age pension got $300, while those who get the guaranteed income supplement will receive an additional $200. The only problem is that it is a one-time payment. That support should absolutely be made permanent. The government should take this as an opportunity to keep its own election promise and increase both the old age pension and the GIS.
The Bloc Québécois will stand by the government if it decides to go ahead with this. It is time the government understood that our seniors should not have to choose between groceries and medication.
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-21 14:24 [p.2690]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, some time ago, there was a fairly entertaining exchange with the Prime Minister about the Liberal Party's difficulties and its need for the wage subsidy.
Yesterday, in committee, a Liberal member indicated that the Liberal Party is indeed in trouble. I believe it. Finances are likely not the reason, but I think this is true because the Prime Minister is too busy dealing with matters that have nothing to do with managing the Canadian government.
Could we start by not giving the wage subsidy to the Liberal Party?
Collapse
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-07-21 14:26 [p.2691]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, they cannot buy their way out of a crisis, and just because they are spending a lot does not mean they are spending wisely.
The Prime Minister is obviously busy, very busy, probably much too busy with many other things to manage the COVID-19 crisis.
Without making assumptions about the result of the investigations, exchanges, discussions and committees, should he not temporarily, because his mind is on other things, let the Deputy Prime Minister stand in for him?
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-21 14:36 [p.2693]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the more we learn about the WE organization, the worse it looks. At first, we were told it would get $19 million to administer a program and distribute money to volunteers. Then we found out that it was actually $43 million. After that, we were told the organization had experts who were the only ones capable of administering this program. We are now learning that WE Charity is actually in a precarious financial position. According to Volunteer Canada, WE Charity employees have no experience managing volunteers. According to Charity Intelligence Canada, the people at WE Charity are bad managers.
Is it possible that the only thing the WE organization had going for it was giving Trudeau family members contracts worth over $250,000?
Collapse
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2020-07-21 14:37 [p.2693]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's apologies are wearing a little thin. He is responsible and accountable for his government's decisions. He was the one to trumpet the creation of that program. He was fully aware at the time of his family's ties to the WE Charity. He just hoped that no one else would catch on. Any way you look at it, it is quite simply indefensible from an ethics standpoint. The Prime Minister must assume his responsibilities and do the right thing.
Will he step aside and let the Deputy Prime Minister take over until the investigation is complete?
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-21 14:51 [p.2696]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, we are in the midst of a health crisis, a global pandemic that needs to be addressed, and a potential second wave is looming on the horizon. We are all facing a global economic crisis and a public finance crisis. The last thing we need is a leadership crisis in this government.
For the benefit of all, will the Prime Minister allow the Deputy Prime Minister to take over during the investigation?
Collapse
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Profile
2020-07-21 14:52 [p.2696]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, this is the height of the summer. Quebec is on its construction holiday. The House is having a rare summer sitting because the COVID-19 crisis requires us to adopt measures quickly.
However, we are faced with yet another Liberal scandal involving the Prime Minister who, out of a lack of judgment and ethics, is proving that he cannot be trusted.
Can the Prime Minister step aside until the Ethics Commissioner completes his investigation and thereby allow the House to refocus on the real issues related to the COVID-19 crisis?
Collapse
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
2020-07-21 15:05 [p.2698]
Expand
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
On behalf of workers suffering from a serious illness, I would sincerely appreciate it if i could have unanimous consent for the following motion: That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, Bill C-242, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine), be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage, and deemed read a third time and passed.
Collapse
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2020-07-20 12:44 [p.2587]
Expand
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my esteemed colleague on her speech and thank her for it. I also want to thank the government for introducing this bill, which helps businesses that truly need it. It is true that the economic recovery will need a major boost, but employees also have to want to go back to work. Right now, many workers who are sought after by businesses are feeling quite comfortable collecting the CERB.
Why did the government not think that this would be a good time to provide return-to-work incentives by amending the CERB in order to help with the economic recovery?
Collapse
Results: 1 - 60 of 1270 | Page: 1 of 22

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data