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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-15 11:19
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Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Madam Minister, thank you for joining us on this day that affects me greatly as a Quebec woman. We are now up to our 13th femicide in Quebec. The figure turns our stomachs. That is the context in which we are meeting with you today, Madam Minister.
I understand that you have come to talk to us about matters such as the action plan to end gender-based violence. But the problem remains. Is it not time to review the strategy a little or to speed up the process?
Recently, I was in discussions with officials from Quebec's Department of Public Security and the Secrétariat à la condition féminine, in Quebec also, about the femicide issue. For them, one essential question remains: how much money goes directly to organizations? Quebec would like to know what the plan is.
Exactly how much money is going to go directly to organizations in Quebec?
There is money for coordination, prevention, statistics and studies, but how much money will go into the trenches, because that is where things are playing out? Implementing the strategy is fraught with delay, and unfortunately, women are still dying.
My condolences go to the loved ones of this 13th victim.
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View Maryam Monsef Profile
Lib. (ON)
On behalf of the Government of Canada, on behalf of the Prime Minister, we extend our condolences to families and loved ones grieving deaths that are entirely preventable—entirely preventable.
It wasn't too long ago, Madam Larouche, when all of us, as MPs, were in the House of Commons for an emergency debate. The numbers were a lot lower, but the pain was just as intense and the deaths just as preventable when we debated, for the first time in the House of Commons, gender-based violence as an emergency issue. My team and I took notes, and actually what you see in the budget is an acceleration in the pace of the response and a significant investment from the federal government to move forward.
As you pointed out, there are 132 sexual assault centres and non-indigenous shelters that have received federal funding over this past year, and there are 113 gender-based violence service organizations and seven indigenous off-reserve shelters that have received emergency supports. Moving forward, we are in regular conversation with our colleagues in Quebec and in other provinces to make sure these dollars get to the front lines quickly and that there's no lag in the time it takes for organizations in Quebec to receive funding compared to everybody else in the country.
Madam Chair, I am always open to ideas on how to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness, as well as the equity, in these programs. If colleagues want to reach out to me with their input, please do. I'm happy to take that call and happy to be part of this work.
I assure you, however, that just like you, I am haunted by every single death, by every single headline. Those are just the ones we know of. There are women sleeping in their cars right now because they have nowhere else to go. There are women staying in abusive relationships because they don't know there are other places they can go. There are women trapped in harmful circumstances because of poverty. That is the work we can all do together to move forward and create more choice and opportunity for women and non-binary folks in this country.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-06-15 11:23
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Madam Minister, I wanted to ask you some other questions and I was trying to signal to you.
First of all, during the emergency debate, I pointed out that, last time, there had been a difference of six months between Quebec and the other provinces in terms of signing the bilateral agreements. For me, efficiency means speeding up the signing of bilateral agreements when it is high time to transfer the money. Quebec wants to put that money to use and has the ability and the jurisdiction to do so.
The Department of Public Security and the Secrétariat à la condition féminine are asking for the signing of the bilateral agreements to be speeded up. If we are to be effective, we must also avoid duplications. There is an action plan to end gender-based violence, and there is a federal gender-based violence strategy.
What is the difference between the two?
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View Maryam Monsef Profile
Lib. (ON)
The federal strategy that Patty Hajdu brought into effect back in 2017, because of her work, was the first time the federal government was coordinating its efforts and investing significantly in gender-based violence. It gave us statistics and data we didn't have before.
This next phase is phase two of Canada's response to gender-based violence. It has three times as much funding, and of course we've built partnerships, programs and efficiencies that will scale up. If colleagues have input into how to move that work quickly forward, particularly in Quebec, that's a priority for me too and I'm all ears.
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View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
I call this meeting to order.
Good afternoon, everyone. It is 2:44 Atlantic Time.
Welcome to the third meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business. Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1), we are meeting to consider the items placed in the order of precedence of May 31, 2021, to determine whether they should be considered non-votable.
Since I believe we are all online, I don't have to read the instructions that would apply if anyone were in the room.
During this meeting, should you wish to get my attention, please signal me with your hand gesture or, at an appropriate time, call out my name.
Madame Normandin, before the meeting officially started, I asked all the members if there were any items they had any issues with, and I am going to ask the same question to you. Is there any item you would like to discuss?
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Anie Perrault
View Anie Perrault Profile
Anie Perrault
2021-06-04 13:25
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Thank you.
As long as you stop the clock for these six minutes, I'm going to be fine.
Regulating drug prices is the responsibility of the provinces, which are in charge of health care and, in Quebec, a public drug insurance program. In our opinion, there are already ways to monitor prices. These include the pan‑Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and the negotiation of listing agreements.
Innovation takes time, resources and, most importantly, good nerves. It is a combination of financial risk, business strategy and scientific knowledge. It takes place in a stable, predictable context that considers the local market and the global environment.
I would like to emphasize that the financial risks that our entrepreneurs take, particularly in the biotech sector, are much higher than in any other sector. A biotech company invests for years—on average 15, 16 or 17 years—before it knows whether the molecule it is working on will become a drug that will be approved and put on the market.
The rise of precision medicine and targeted therapies means that it costs every bit as much to develop a drug. It benefits smaller populations, which increases the risk. The PMPRB's new regulations would upset this delicate and complex balance. In our view, the new regime could well thwart major investment projects. Putting innovative drugs on the market could be jeopardized, and there could be repercussions for patients. The new regulations also mean that a company can no longer know in advance how it will recoup its investments.
Under these circumstances, who would risk a major health care innovation project in Canada?
The proposed reform is, in our view, misguided, ill‑founded and ill‑advised. We are trying to emerge from a health crisis that highlights the importance of the government supporting the life sciences sector, not stifling it as the reform does.
In our view, there is no worse time to destabilize the ecosystem. This ineffective regulation must be withdrawn, or at least suspended, and the discussion should be revisited with a clear head.
We need to think about the PMPRB's contribution. We agree with it, but it needs to be done as part of a reflection on the life sciences ecosystem, not only on the reform of drug pricing. We need a comprehensive life sciences strategy that will include aspects tied to the health of Canadians, to access to innovation, to research and to the economic development of the entire country.
Quebec has a strategy like that, but Canada does not. We must stop thinking in a vacuum, which is what the reform currently does. The pandemic has taught us one important thing, namely that the life sciences sector, the sector that is now giving us hope for a more normal life with the vaccine it has developed, is a productive sector. The government must work with the sector, not against it.
With me today is Paul Lévesque, president of Theratechnologies, a Quebec-based biotech company that has developed and marketed two drugs for HIV patients. It is currently developing other drugs for use against cancer and liver disease.
Mr. Lévesque joined Theratechnologies with 35 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has spent half of his professional career outside of Canada, in Europe, Asia and the United States. As global president, he led the rare disease unit in New York.
We will be happy to answer your questions today, but first I would like Mr. Lévesque to explain why it is important for him, as the head of a proud Quebec company, to be here today.
Mr. Lévesque, the floor is yours.
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View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-06-04 13:56
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
When an organization responsible for promoting a reform and holding consultations plans to discredit the stakeholders and the people involved in the consultation, I think that things are starting badly and could end up worse. As I read all of the submissions, I see points of convergence that stand out, and that is what we should focus on today.
For those who are concerned about conflict of interest, there is an organization called Research Canada, which represents academic health science centres, universities, colleges, associations of research societies, charities, networks of centres of excellence, organizations in the biopharmaceutical sector, in short, a number of “institutional people”, if I can put it that way, who have the same concerns as you, Ms. Perrault.
The organization states: “In essence, the federal government is flying blind into the implementation of its PMPRB reforms...” That's on page 2 of the brief, for people who are going to ask me where I got it. It comes to the conclusion: “in the absence of an inclusive consultation that not just the guidelines..., but the PMPRB reforms as a whole, may prove unaffordable for our economy, our health system and our most vulnerable patients.”
What do you think?
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Anie Perrault
View Anie Perrault Profile
Anie Perrault
2021-06-04 13:58
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In our opinion, the current reform clearly seems to have been designed in a vacuum, whereas our ecosystem works horizontally. The ecosystem is a chain of innovation from research in academia to, hopefully, the commercialization of new drugs. Along that chain, there are many players, including us, the biotech companies, and the clinical and preclinical research organizations. We all work in an integrated way. If we affect one of the links in the chain and weaken it, the whole chain will be weakened.
Unfortunately, changes to regulations are being made in Ottawa in a vacuum, based solely on the price of drugs, when the life sciences ecosystem is much more than that. It is research, innovation, economic development, clinical research and the application of the innovation to patients. This is much broader and the broader consultations have not been held in Ottawa.
In Quebec, we are working with the Québec Life Sciences Strategy, which is the responsibility of two ministers: the Minister of Health and Social Services and the Minister of Economy and Innovation. This already shows the integration and an understanding of our ecosystem, where stakeholders work horizontally, not in isolation.
So that is very important. We are certainly disappointed to see the lack of consultation with all the partners in the reform, whether it is us, the biotech companies, the patient groups, the people in clinical research, and above all, the provinces, because they are the ones responsible for health care in this country.
Right now, the Quebec government is officially opposed to those changes to the PMPRB. The Ontario government has expressed reservations. The Alberta government has expressed reservations. You can't put a strategy like that in place without including those who are going to implement it, like the provinces.
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View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Madam Minister, welcome to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. It's a pleasure to speak with you today. In your opening remarks, you talked a lot about partnerships with industry. I feel that's important. As a resource, Atlantic salmon are generally doing well in Quebec. The Quebec model is quite exemplary in terms of how efficiently it's managed.
When the director general of the Fédération québécoise pour le saumon atlantique appeared before the committee two weeks ago, she talked about working with communities and fishers as well as sharing expertise, which I feel is very important. It might also serve to inspire how Pacific salmon are managed in British Columbia.
Do you and your department plan to work with experts and communities, particularly in Quebec, but also elsewhere in the world, to see what's being done to ensure the future of the species?
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View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I will say that we recognize the job that Quebec has done with regard to salmon and their management of it, although we are seeing real declines in Atlantic salmon on the east coast as well and we know that more work needs to be done there. That's why we put in place an Atlantic salmon initiative in 2019 and 2020.
Of course, we are always open to learning from others, recognizing that the Province of Quebec has done a very good job with salmon. I have actually been in touch with Minister Lamontagne in Quebec with regard to a number of the projects that he has on his front, and he often talks about the salmon strategies there.
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View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Madam Minister, I'd like to backtrack a little. Earlier I mentioned the director general of the Fédération québécoise pour le saumon atlantique, Myriam Bergeron. As part of this study, the Fédération shared some exciting solutions with us for improving Pacific salmon management in British Columbia. Ms. Bergeron told us about river‑by‑river management, with which you are no doubt familiar and which we practice in Quebec, and it works well. In fact, British Columbia could use us as a model.
Have you or your department considered a model like Quebec's for managing Pacific salmon stocks?
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View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We take into account a number of different initiatives when we are talking about managing our resources in all our rivers and in our ocean space.
With regard to the wild Pacific salmon, there are a number of people who do really great work in B.C. and do everything they can to protect and conserve the salmon.
I am not aware of whether there is a river-to-river system in place in British Columbia. I could perhaps turn to my deputy to see if he can answer that question.
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Timothy Sargent
View Timothy Sargent Profile
Timothy Sargent
2021-06-02 17:27
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Thank you, Minister.
Mr. Chair, certainly Quebec's program works very well for them. We do manage river by river in a number of other regions, including Newfoundland. In British Columbia, for sockeye, for instance, there are over 400 different conservation units, and then we have conservation units for the other four salmon species as well.
We certainly do look at each specific species and subspecies. They are associated with different river systems and different branches of the river system, so you really do indeed have to take a fairly micro approach when you're looking at salmon.
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View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I thank the members of the committee for welcoming me. I also thank the minister for his presence and the officials for their availability.
I usually sit on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, but I am still familiar with the foreign workers file. There are problems with the temporary foreign workers program.
Minister, I'd like to talk to you about the processing of work permits for sectors deemed nonessential by the federal government. This has been completely frozen in time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Contractors are contacting us all week long, and the cases are multiplying in every riding in Quebec. Even some contractors who are not in our ridings are contacting us to tell us that they are losing contracts and have to pay huge penalties because of delays, and to explain to us that the Labour Market Impact Assessments, the LMIAs, for which they paid are useless because they do not result in the issuance of a work permit.
What can you say to these people today? How is the situation progressing?
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View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Chair, my message is very simple. Temporary foreign workers are essential to our businesses, our farms and our health care facilities. That is why we have facilitated the arrival of essential temporary foreign workers throughout the pandemic.
In fact, last year we welcomed more than 85% of the planned agricultural workers and, this year, we will welcome even more. As far as processing times are concerned, we have made a lot of progress. The current processing time for a work permit is just over 60 days. This means that we are on track to meet our goal. We will continue to work with the Government of Quebec to ensure that it gets all the foreign workers it needs...
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