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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:04 [p.2745]
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Colleagues, before we begin our proceedings, I would like to say a few words regarding the special measures in place today.
Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, the application of Standing Order 17 will be suspended for the current sitting to allow members to practise physical distancing. Members desiring to speak and address the Chair may do so from any seat in the House.
Additionally, as members know, this will be a hybrid sitting of the House. Some members will be participating via video conference and some will be participating in person.
I remind all members that in order to avoid issues with sound, members participating in person should not also be connected to the video conference. I would like to remind those joining via video conference that when speaking, you should be on the same channel as the language you are speaking.
I ask that all members who are tabling a document or moving a motion to sign the document and bring it to the Table themselves.
Finally, I want to remind members that construction on the Hill is increasing and that while you are in the West Block, you may feel and/or hear rock blasting. This is essential work for the Centre Block rehabilitation program and will continue for quite some time, three to five times during the work day. While a warning siren is sounded prior to the blast on the work site, it is not heard well inside West Block or the surrounding buildings.
I mention it so that no one is startled when it happens.
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View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
2020-08-12 12:06 [p.2745]
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Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move, seconded by the member for Edmonton Manning:
That the House: (a) mourn the loss of life following the tragic explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020; (b) stand in solidarity with the Lebanese people, particularly the families of the more than 150 people who have died, the more than 6,000 hospitalized, and the estimated 300,000 who been rendered homeless by the explosion; and (c) commit to helping and accompanying the Lebanese people in their desire for reform and to sustainably rebuild and continue to stand with the Lebanese community both in Lebanon and here in Canada at this most difficult time.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:08 [p.2745]
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Usually when there is a request for unanimous consent, the Chair asks members to respond in the affirmative to determine whether there is agreement.
This being a hybrid sitting of the House, were the Chair to proceed in this fashion, if there were any dissenting voices, particularly for members participating via teleconference or video conference, they may not be audible. Therefore, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask for those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement. In this way, the Chair will hear clearly if there are any dissenting voices and I will accordingly be able to declare whether or not there is unanimous consent to proceed.
All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
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View Sameer Zuberi Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Sameer Zuberi Profile
2020-08-12 12:09 [p.2745]
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moved:
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
That the House:
(a) officially recognize that the Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered over 500,000 Romani during the Holocaust and that this atrocity constitutes a genocide against the Romani people;
(b) pay tribute to those Romani who were murdered as well as the Romani survivors of persecution by the Nazis; and
c) recognize August 2 as the official date to commemorate the Romani Genocide, also known as Porajmos and Samudaripen, to never forget the atrocities committed against the Romani people, the harrowing stories of victims, and the incredible strength of survivors.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:10 [p.2746]
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All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-08-12 12:11 [p.2746]
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moved:
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, today, Statements by Ministers, pursuant to Standing Order 33, shall be taken up immediately following the adoption of this order; members may participate in this rubric either in person or by videoconference; a member of the Green Party be permitted to comment briefly on the statement; and, following Statements by Ministers, the House shall resolve itself in a committee of the whole, pursuant to the order adopted on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:11 [p.2746]
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All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to statements by ministers.
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View Karina Gould Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Karina Gould Profile
2020-08-12 12:12 [p.2746]
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Mr. Speaker, last week, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut's port and city centre, killing at least 158 people, injuring 6,000 others and leaving over 300,000 people homeless. According to estimates, 90,000 homes and buildings, including hospitals and other health care facilities were damaged or destroyed.
Lebanon was already dealing with multiple crises before this incident occurred. The country is facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis that has already left nearly half of the population in poverty, all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians across the country are deeply saddened by the devastating effects of this tragedy and the situation that Lebanon is facing.
I know many Lebanese Canadians are deeply touched by this tragedy. I think I can speak for all parliamentarians in extending our sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones.
The Lebanese-Canadian community is vibrant and dynamic right across the country, and it is a community that is bearing a heavy weight and feeling a huge loss. It is also a community that has rolled up its sleeves and sprung into action to help and to mobilize support, and its efforts have been exceptional.
The Government of Canada has also been seized with the disaster. Within 24 hours, Canada announced an immediate initial contribution of $5 million in humanitarian assistance, including $1.5 million for the Lebanese Red Cross, in the first 24 hours following the explosion. On Saturday we launched the Lebanese matching fund for donations collected directly from Canadians. Every dollar donated by individual Canadians between August 4 and August 24 will be matched by the Government of Canada, doubling the impact of each contribution. In recognition of Canadians' incredible generosity to date, we have increased the match from $2 million to $5 million.
The fund will be implemented through the Humanitarian Coalition, a group of experienced Canadian organizations present on the ground in Lebanon and delivering critical assistance. I want to assure Canadians that all Canadian assistance is provided through trusted NGO and multilateral partners.
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would increase its support by an additional $25 million to support our trusted partners in responding to immediate needs and supporting early recovery efforts in the aftermath of the crisis, bringing our total response to $30 million, which is in addition to the existing humanitarian and development support we already provide to the people of Lebanon.
I thank all Canadians who have opened their hearts to the Lebanese people and so generously contributed to the relief effort. I encourage Canadians to donate to the Lebanon matching fund to help save lives and meet the urgent needs of the affected population.
Canada has a long and deep partnership with the Lebanese people. We have a strong Lebanese-Canadian community, and Canada will be there every step of the way, from immediate response to long-term recovery. Canada stands together with Lebanon.
Canada stands with the people of Lebanon.
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View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
2020-08-12 12:16 [p.2746]
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Mr. Speaker, last week the world was shaken by the devastating news of a massive explosion at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon.
On the morning of August 4, the people of Beirut were going about their normal daily routines without any inkling of what was to come. They were shaken from those routines by horrific explosions that devastated the city, claimed at least 171 lives and left over 6,000 wounded. People lost their homes, their businesses and their livelihoods. Entire neighbourhoods were destroyed. We understand that Lebanese officials continue to investigate the cause of the explosions, and we look forward to the outcome of those efforts.
Of course, many Canadians of Lebanese descent have family, friends and loved ones in Beirut and throughout Lebanon. Canada is proud to stand with our Lebanese community during this difficult time as they process the tragedy and remember and honour the victims. We have heard heartwarming stories of Lebanese Canadians joining forces to organize aid deliveries and to offer any support they can, which speaks to the spirit of the community.
We also extend our sympathies and condolences to the family and colleagues of Nazar Najarian, a Montreal businessman who was tragically killed, and to all those injured, including a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. We are praying for their speedy recovery.
As we know, much of the city is devastated and in dire need of help. I know that Canadians will answer the call. We will support the people of Lebanon as they work to clear the debris and search for people affected by this tragedy. Throughout their history, Lebanese people have endured great hardships and yet, through their incredible strength and resilience, they have always overcome them. I know that this time the outcome will be no different. Over the coming days, weeks and months, their strength will see them through this latest hardship.
On behalf of my family and the entire Conservative caucus, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident in Lebanon. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and we are here to provide any assistance we can to those recovering from this tragedy.
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View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
2020-08-12 12:20 [p.2747]
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Mr. Speaker, it has been one week since the explosion of roughly 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was stored for God knows why in the Port of Beirut for several years, a disaster that cost the lives of some 170 people and injured more than 6,000. We are talking about one of the largest explosions in history. It was one disaster too many for a country that has been going through an economic, financial and social crisis for several years, not to mention the current health crisis that, unsurprisingly, has thrown every country and their population into a state of uncertainty.
The Bloc Québécois wants to express its condolences to the families of the unfortunate victims of this explosion, its best wishes for a rapid recovery to the injured, and its solidarity with all the Lebanese people. The courage and resilience they have shown in overcoming this new ordeal, as well as the many challenges they have met throughout their history, is something to behold.
I commend the government's decision, in response to the call by the Bloc Québécois, to commit to matching Canadians' and Quebeckers' donations and to launch the Lebanon Matching Fund. Quebec was deeply moved by this disaster, which is reminiscent of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy that the Leader of the Bloc Québécois and I witnessed first-hand, since at the time we were Quebec's ministers of the environment and public safety respectively. Quebec has a large Lebanese community, so it is only natural that we ask the Canadian government to show a bit of the same generosity as Quebeckers and Canadians.
Initially we identified the Red Cross, whose expertise and effectiveness in this type of situation are world-renowned. The government instead chose to transfer a portion of its aid through a coalition of humanitarian organizations with contacts on the ground. No matter, the important thing is that the aid gets to the people who need it.
That said, why did the government cap the amount that could be paid out by that group at $2 million, and why did it restrict the time for accepting donations to between the 4th and 24th of August? Why did it take the government over 24 hours to announce any assistance, which was initially rather modest? Why limit access to just 12 Canadian-based international aid agencies and not include local NGOs, which, facing the inertia of public authorities, are already on the ground and mobilized as we speak, ready to provide the medical assistance and the food needed by the people? Why was the Canadian Red Cross not included on that list?
The solidarity shown by everyone, people of all political stripes, over the past week has been remarkable. However, solidarity is not enough. Adequate, responsible, direct assistance is needed to help the Lebanese people, who will certainly figure out how to overcome this new hardship, as they have always done, supported by the steadfast friendship and support of Quebec, Canada and all caring nations.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:23 [p.2747]
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Mr. Speaker, like many people, we were devastated by the images we saw out of Beirut and Lebanon a few days ago. On behalf of all New Democrats and all Canadians, we send our love to the Lebanese people and to those affected around the world and here at home by this terrible explosion.
As has already been said, sending our love is simply not enough. We need to send support, we need to send relief and we need concrete commitments to supporting the rebuilding efforts. The initial amount proposed by the government was insufficient. When we talk about Canada being back, this is an opportunity to show that Canada is back by actually building and delivering the support that the people of Lebanon need at this moment.
The Lebanese community has been a vibrant part of Canada. It has helped build up this country. We need to be allies in this moment and truly contribute.
Like many people in Canada and around the world, we were devastated by the tragedy that struck Beirut, Lebanon, a few days ago.
Our thoughts go out to the Lebanese people and everyone affected by this terrible explosion. Our thoughts, however, are not enough. We need to help the victims and assist with reconstruction efforts.
People across the country and around the world have been reaching out to help the people of Lebanon, who were already struggling under political instability, the threat of economic collapse and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, the people of Lebanon will require significant international support, and Canada must be there to help. By assisting with immediate food, medical and other needs, the federal government must take concrete action to assist the international community's long-term humanitarian efforts. We have to be true partners and offer support in a way that is proportional to the rest of the international community's response.
I am happy to see the Government of Canada heeded our calls for increased humanitarian support, but the government must now commit to a robust long-term plan to provide support to Lebanon and to help rebuild Beirut and the country. This plan must include support for democratic reform, food security and poverty alleviation. Together, in this difficult time, we can support the people who need our help the most. They are counting on us, and on Canadians, to be there for them.
On behalf of all New Democrats, we express our deepest condolences. We want to send the message to the people of Lebanon and to all Lebanese Canadians that we will be there for them and will fight for them, as they deserve nothing less.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 12:26 [p.2748]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister and my colleagues for their important words today. It is critical that we show solidarity and compassion in these dark times.
We have a thriving Lebanese community in Fredericton with roots that run deep. As I have been learning over the past few days, these roots indeed run across the country.
I would like to highlight our wonderful Atlantic Honorary Consulate to Lebanon, Consul Fares, who cares deeply about the connection to the homeland and Lebanese Canadians. My heart goes out to Consul Fares for his work in the months to come and to all of Lebanon as it confronts this unimaginable reality. We are with them as Canadians and as citizens of the globe. We send our deepest condolences. I call for justice for the families of victims, and for a peaceful and swift national recovery with adequate support from Canada.
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View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-08-12 12:27 [p.2748]
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Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and, if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
I move:
That the House recognize that reopening businesses and the economy entails taking far more action to support parents, especially women, who are worried about going back to work without knowing their kids will be safely cared for in child care and school, and therefore call on the government to increase its transfer to provinces and territories for affordable child care by $2 billion, transfer funding to provinces and territories to support a safe return to school, and work with all provinces and territories to ensure all federal funds are dedicated to the health and safety of children across the country, while ensuring the transfers to Quebec are unconditional.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:28 [p.2748]
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All those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion will please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:30 [p.2748]
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If I can step back before proceeding, following discussions among representatives of all parties in the House, I understand there is an agreement to observe a moment of silence.
The people of Beirut and all Canadians with family and friends in Lebanon have suffered a devastating tragedy. I hope that in the difficult days ahead they may derive some comfort from the friendship and support of the global community.
I invite hon. members to stand and observe a moment of silence in memory of those who perished and in solidarity with the people of Lebanon.
[A moment of silence observed]
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View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-08-12 12:30 [p.2748]
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Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that was raised on July 21 by the MP for Barrie—Innisfil concerning the fifth and seventh reports of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The member quoted the NDP's supplementary report, at page 95 of the seventh report, where it said:
...the NDP believes that the scope of this report wavered beyond its boundaries. The committee was tasked with finding solutions for remote participation of members specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some recommendations were outside of those lines, and while the NDP doesn’t disagree with the idea of exploring other options and preparing for the future, it does not consider those to be part of the work the committee was asked to do by the House of Commons.
We would like to clarify the intent of this specific quotation. The House of Commons tasks the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with finding solutions for the remote participation of members. The seventh report included recommendations related to in-person voting options, which the committee did not oppose, although this was outside of the committee's mandate. It was the inclusion of these in-person options that we were referencing in the supplementary report and that we consider outside of the mandate assigned to the committee by the House.
We believe that all members of Parliament need to be included in the work of the House, including those who are immunocompromised or have loved ones at risk for COVID-19. In-person options do not take the travel that would be required for MPs who live farther from Ottawa into account when considering the risks associated with COVID-19. All members, regardless of where they live, have the right to have their voices, and through them those of their constituents, heard in Parliament. That is why the NDP supports the development of virtual tools so that we can all continue our important work of getting Canadians the help they need.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:32 [p.2749]
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I will take that under advisement and report back to the House.
Pursuant to an order made Tuesday, May 26, the House shall now resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:33 [p.2749]
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The committee will begin its proceedings with the questioning of ministers on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters for a period not exceeding 95 minutes.
The Chair will call members from all recognized parties and one member who does not belong to a recognized party in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during the special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each member will be recognized for not more than five minutes, which may be used for posing questions to a minister of the Crown, and members are permitted to split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair.
Please note that we will suspend this part of the sitting halfway through for a short period to allow employees who provide support for the sitting to replace each other safely.
We will now begin, with the hon. Leader of the Opposition.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2020-08-12 12:34 [p.2749]
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Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had enough. He is tired of accountability and facing tough questions. He does not want to explain why he paid off his friends at WE with taxpayers' money. He will not tell us about the contract that he gave to the company that employs his top staffer's husband, and he certainly does not want to tell us how big of a cheque he cut to the former Liberal MP from Montreal.
When the Prime Minister cancelled Parliament in April, May and June, he replaced it with four sitting days this summer. The Liberals could have picked any day they wanted. Can the person auditioning for the role of Prime Minister today please tell us why the Prime Minister picked today if he was not going to show up?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:35 [p.2749]
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Mr. Speaker, first of all, the work a government does is very serious work, especially during a pandemic. We know Canadians are hurting from coast to coast and coast, and right now more than ever, Canadians need to come together.
The member of the Conservative Party talks about the Prime Minister not showing up. The Prime Minister was at committee to ensure that answers were given to committee members directly—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:36 [p.2749]
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I will interrupt for a moment. I am having a hard time hearing the answer. If members could keep it down, I would appreciate that.
The hon. minister.
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:36 [p.2749]
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Mr. Speaker, the member asked for the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister showed up at committee. At the first opportunity I had to go to the finance committee, I was there. Yesterday, I was at the ethics committee to ensure that these questions were answered.
We work closely with the public service to ensure that programs and resources are available to committees, especially during this—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:36 [p.2749]
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The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2020-08-12 12:36 [p.2749]
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Mr. Speaker, it looks like my last question period as leader of the Conservative Party is just like my first: warm, sunny and the Prime Minister is nowhere to be found.
The Prime Minister is showing contempt for francophones by awarding a $900-million contract to a unilingual organization with no presence in Quebec.
Why did the Prime Minister disrespect francophones in yet another attempt to help his close friends?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:37 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, both of our country's official languages are very important to our government.
That is precisely why we worked with the public service to ensure that the contribution agreement is in both official languages; and to ensure that the 13 provinces and territories are included, as are rural, urban and indigenous communities, so that all students can be part of this program. Despite this program—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:37 [p.2750]
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The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2020-08-12 12:37 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, the government still cannot provide simple, direct answers to very clear and simple questions.
The Prime Minister invented this phony story about pushing back on officials on May 8. Can the minister explain how on May 5 WE was told that it could already start spending money and charging taxpayers?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:37 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speakers, all members, especially those in the House, are occupied with the concerns of their communities. Perhaps the member has not had the opportunity to look at the testimony that has been provided, not only by ministers and the Prime Minister but also by public servants, to answer these questions.
We have been available because it is important that these questions be answered. We take this very seriously.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2020-08-12 12:38 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to talk about space and time, but in the real world May 5 comes before May 8.
During this time of crisis, Canadians deserve and demand a steady hand leading our country. However, instead of stability we have a government in chaos: cabinet ministers are being summoned to testify; the Prime Minister's Office is focused on damage control instead of fixing its flawed programs; and now, senior sources close to the Prime Minister have told The Globe and Mail that the Prime Minister is inventing a phony policy dispute as an excuse to dump his finance minister, even bringing in a backup quarterback just in case.
When will the Prime Minister finally put the finance minister out of his misery?
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View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-08-12 12:39 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, we will continue to have our focus, as we have over the course of this pandemic, on Canadians and on the work that needs to be done. What we have done over the course of the last number of months, by putting out the CERB, which has supported millions of Canadians, and by not only putting in place the wage subsidy but extending it, has given the support necessary for Canadians to face this challenging time.
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View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
View Andrew Scheer Profile
2020-08-12 12:39 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, it is not the first time the Prime Minister has told Canadians that a story in The Globe and Mail was false.
Speaking of another scandal, on March 31, 2019, the Prime Minister's lawyer sent me a letter threatening to sue me for telling Canadians about the Prime Minister's corruption. On April 10, 2019, I stood outside the chamber and repeated every single thing I said: the sordid facts about the SNC-Lavalin scandal. The Prime Minister did not like that I was telling Canadians about how he politically interfered in a criminal court proceeding. I was looking forward to being sued because then the Prime Minister would have to testify under oath and go through discovery.
After next week, my calendar is wide open. Could the Prime Minister please tell me when I can expect to see him in court?
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View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-08-12 12:40 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak on behalf of the Prime Minister to say that he continues to view his role, and our role as a government, as one to support Canadians.
We continue to be in an emergency time. The work that we're doing, not only on the extension of the wage subsidy but in thinking about how we can get our employment insurance system back up and running, is our area of focus because we know this is what Canadians are concerned with as they think about how they can continue to support their families.
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View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves-François Blanchet Profile
2020-08-12 12:41 [p.2750]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and the government that I completely agree with a number of points made by the Leader of the Opposition. When the Conservatives and the Bloc are in agreement, members on the other side should take a long, hard look at things. Of course, then there are the ones in the back.
Just yesterday, I was on vacation and I had chosen my return date to be sure that I could be here, today, for the planned sitting. I took the helm of a lobster boat on the Magdalen Islands. The second captain told me I was good at staying on course and told me to keep captaining the ship. That is what we are going to do.
We have reason to be skeptical. As the Leader of the Opposition said, when someone picks the dates, they should be able to organize one day over a period of five weeks. When someone picks the dates, they should be able to organize four sittings over the entire summer. Meanwhile, the government says it wants to be accountable, sincere and open.
There is the matter of the WE Charity scandal. Again, I agree with the opposition leader, who said that the word “UNIS” was tacked on at the end to hide the fact that there were no francophones involved. Now there is a new $84-million scandal apparently involving the Prime Minister's chief of staff, and, of course, there is the wage subsidy. I understand that one of the two main Conservative leadership candidates said that the Conservatives would return the money. However, the Liberals are coming up on $2 million in wage subsidies to fund the next campaign, which could indeed be coming soon. I would have expected to see certain faces. I know I am not allowed to talk about people being absent, but I am troubled that certain individuals are “non-present”.
All I will say is, I was asked this morning whether we are really going to topple the government. In response, I asked whether this government still deserves our confidence. The Liberals have just given us the answer to that question.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:43 [p.2751]
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Before I recognize the minister, I would like to remind members that they cannot do indirectly what they are not allowed to do directly.
The hon. minister.
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View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-08-12 12:43 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the leader of the Bloc Québécois for his question.
I believe he pointed out an important fact, and that is that our government, the Prime Minister and the members of our cabinet have always been available to answer questions, whether it be in the House, in committee of the whole like today, or before the House committees. At the same time, as the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth pointed out, our government is focused on the economic issues that are of concern to Canadians and public health issues.
We will be very pleased to work with our opposition colleagues as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic in order to adapt programs to support Canadians, Canadian businesses and, above all, our provincial partners in order to deal with the health situation, which is still a major concern.
We are working hard. The ministers are working, and members are in their ridings across the country to support their constituents and develop policies that will meet the needs of Canadians. That is exactly what we will continue to do.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:44 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, we have two scandals the government is embroiled in: one is the WE scandal and the second is about a mortgage company in which one of the executives is the husband of the chief of staff. In both of these scandals we are seeing Liberals helping themselves instead of helping people. While people are worried about what is going to happen when the CERB ends in August, the Liberal government seems to be too busy helping itself.
When will Canadians know what is going to happen at the end of August to those who are relying on the CERB?
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View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-08-12 12:45 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, I can assure every member of the House and every Canadian that we have a very robust plan to include everyone and not leave anybody behind.
The Prime Minister laid out a comprehensive framework of what is to come next for transitioning people to EI. We are creating a parallel benefit for people who are still not within the EI system, and creating a caregiver benefit and a sickness benefit. On Monday we announced a uniform unemployment rate across the country as a precursor to what comes next. We have—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:46 [p.2751]
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The hon. member for Burnaby South.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:46 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Liberal government is too busy helping themselves to help people.
Right now, people do not know what the plan is, and they are worried. EI only covers about 40% of Canadians. When will the government make it really clear? When will the Liberal government make sure Canadians know that every Canadian worker will be supported and that no one will be left behind? When will we know the details?
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View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-08-12 12:46 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, I can assure everyone now, as we have been assuring Canadians for months, that nobody will be left behind.
Absolutely, we have a plan in place that will make sure workers are supported. We want to make sure we are encouraging people to work when it is available to them and it reasonable to do so. We know that will not be so for people in many sectors, and we have a plan for them. I would say that in the coming days, and definitely in the coming week or so, we will be—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:47 [p.2751]
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The hon. member for Burnaby South.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:47 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, the unanimous motion passed today shows that the will of the House is that we need to help parents get back to work by ensuring there is affordable and quality child care and that schools have the funding they need. When can we expect that?
When will the Prime Minister make sure that kids are safe to go back to school and that parents can count on reliable, affordable child care? When will the government make these commitments by supporting provinces to deliver the child care and the education that will keep kids safe?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:47 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a really important question.
In addition to our long-term commitments on early learning and child care, this year alone we are delivering $400 million to provinces and territories as part of bilateral agreements on early learning and child care. I want to point out to the hon. member the fact that, in addition to that, as part of the Safe Restart Agreement, we are transferring an additional $625 million for early learning and child care to help a sector that has been hard hit by COVID-19.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:48 [p.2751]
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Mr. Speaker, we know the figures required, and what the government is proposing right now is wholly inadequate. It is simply not enough to provide the child care and the educational funding supports that provinces need.
When will this Liberal government commit to the adequate funding, the sufficient funding, to make sure parents will know that their kids will be safe in school?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:48 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, I find it really hard when the leader of the NDP claims that $625 million plus $400 million in just the next eight months is inadequate. That is completely the opposite of what we are doing.
We are providing federal leadership and the resources to back the safe restart of the early learning and child care sector. We have been there for parents in the long term, and we are there for parents as this sector recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.
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View Jagmeet Singh Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-08-12 12:49 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, the minister should know that all the experts have made it really clear that, if we are talking about child care for everyone who needs it, and if we are talking about supports for education in all the provinces and territories, it is simply not enough money. It is not enough, and it shows that the government is not committed.
Will the Liberal government commit to the appropriate level of funding to make sure parents have child care and adequate supports in education so that their kids are safe and people can go back to work?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:49 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, our government has created over 40,000 affordable child care spaces and is committed to creating another quarter of a million child care spaces that are affordable. A federal secretariat will be investing over $1.2 billion over the next eight months.
This is questioning the sincerity and the commitment of a government that is not only demonstrating leadership, but also backing that leadership with resources for the sector. It boggles my mind what the leader of the NDP is talking about.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-08-12 12:50 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the National Post the Prime Minister's Office refused to answer some questions. I would like to give the government the opportunity to provide some clarity.
Did the Prime Minister or anyone in his office meet or speak with Rob Silver, who is the husband of the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Katie Telford, about commercial rent, yes or no?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:50 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is an independent government body that works on delivering the Canada emergency commercial rent assistance program, which is a program that is doing a lot to help small businesses and employees across the country.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-08-12 12:51 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a very simple yes-or-no question.
Did the Prime Minister or anyone in his office meet with Rob Silver, either in person, via telephone, via Zoom conference or text, about the issue of commercial rent, yes or no?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:51 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, I am really happy to discuss the details of the Canada emergency commercial rent assistance program. It is a program that has delivered help to over 72,000 small businesses across the country and over 670,000 employees.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-08-12 12:51 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, I will take that as a “yes”.
When did the Prime Minister or someone in his office meet with Mr. Silver? What are the dates and who met with Mr. Silver?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:52 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, the Canada emergency commercial rent assistance program is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing, which is delivering help to small—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:52 [p.2752]
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The hon. opposition House leader.
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:52 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to address what the hon. member has asked. The Office of the Ethics Commissioner was consulted. A screen was put in place, and all steps were followed regarding this matter.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-08-12 12:52 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, they should then be able to answer the question, and I take that as a “yes”.
Who in the finance minister's office met with Mr. Silver and when did they meet with Mr. Silver?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:52 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to repeat that the Office of the Ethics Commissioner was consulted, a screen was put in place and all the appropriate steps were taken.
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View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-08-12 12:53 [p.2752]
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Mr. Speaker, those are evasive non-answers.
Six months into this pandemic, and six years into this government, and the Prime Minister will be remembered for a $343-billion deficit and for setting the lowest bar ever for a prime minister's conduct in the history of this country.
The Prime Minister inappropriately groped a woman. He wore black face. He, his friends and his family took a prepaid, lavish vacation to billionaire island. He interfered in an SNC Lavalin criminal trial, and he then fired his attorney general because she would not go along with his cronyism.
He tried to give almost $1 billion to his friends at WE, who, we now know, have not only been campaigning for him, but have also been meeting with tens of thousands of young people and trying to get them to vote Liberal. We have also found out that WE has given the Prime Minister's family and friends, his family especially, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we have now found out that the husband of the Prime Minister's chief of staff got a nice $83-million contract from the Prime Minister.
With the Liberals, it really is about who one knows, not what one knows. This makes the Liberal sponsorship scandal look like child's play, actually.
Can the Prime Minister tell us—oh, sorry, he is not here. Can somebody on that side tell us why the Prime Minister thinks the rules do not apply to him?
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:54 [p.2753]
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I do not think I have to remind hon. members that we cannot refer to someone's absence or presence in the House, or in committee, for that matter. I want to remind everyone that it is not something we can do.
The hon. minister.
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:55 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, it has been a while since I have had the opportunity to answer the opposition House leader. I will remind her that we do have officers of Parliament and we take the work they do very seriously. They work independently of this place, and we have always assured them that we will work and comply with their offices.
I have somewhat dated numbers, but I think it is important, because we are in the midst of a pandemic, that Canadians be reminded of these numbers. As of June 28, 8.16 million individuals had been helped by the Canada emergency response benefit. CEWS, the Canada emergency wage subsidy, has supported over three million employees. Approximately 3.7 million families benefited from the top-up of $300 to CCB, which is the tax-free Canada child benefit the Conservatives voted against. There were also 12 million individuals and families who received a special one-time payment through the GST credit. Over $1.4 billion went to over 600,000 students through the CESB. As well, 6.7 million seniors received the one-time tax-free payment of $300, and 2.2 million of those 6.7 million also received an additional $200.
The list is long because right now our focus is on Canadians and ensuring that they have money in their pockets and the supports they need. The Conservatives are continuing to play their partisan politics. We will stay focused on Canadians.
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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-08-12 12:56 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, did the Prime Minister, any minister in the Liberal government or any of their staffers know that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a Crown corporation mandated to manage the emergency commercial rent assistance program, ultimately decided to outsource the file to MCAP, a mortgage lender, yes or no? Was anyone in this government aware of that?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:56 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, I know the Harper Conservatives have difficulties with independent government agencies, but it was the Canada Mortgage and Housing Agency, CMHC, that was chosen as the appropriate partner for the federal government to implement CECRA. It was CMHC that made the independent decision to have MCAP as the administrator for CECRA.
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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-08-12 12:57 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, I am holding in my hand a press release from the Prime Minister's Office dated April 24. It states, and I quote, “The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation [the CMHC] will administer and deliver the CECRA”.
How is it that the CMHC, which was mandated by the government to manage a program worth several billion dollars, decided to outsource it at a cost of $84 million to MCAP, the vice-president of which just happens to be married to the PMO's chief of staff, the most powerful person in that office?
Did anyone in this Liberal government know that the file was going to be outsourced to that organization with close ties to the Prime Minister's chief of staff?
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
2020-08-12 12:58 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, the result of the Canada emergency commercial rent assistance program is that over 670,000 employees and over 72,000 small businesses have been assisted through this program, with over $712 million of relief given to small businesses. That is what CECRA has done, and that is the record of this government.
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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-08-12 12:58 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question. Did the Minister of Official Languages know that WE Charity gave a contract to National to implement the scholarship program for the entire francophone sector in Quebec and across the country, yes or no?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 12:59 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, as we have said, there was a contribution agreement that the public service negotiated with the organization to work with the others. Our goal was to ensure opportunities for students and not-for-profits. That is exactly why we have a program—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 12:59 [p.2753]
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The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-08-12 12:59 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, in this cabinet there are 11 Quebec ministers as well as other francophones: the Minister of Official Languages, the President of the Treasury Board, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and political lieutenant for Quebec, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of National Revenue, not to mention the Prime Minister, who is a Quebecker.
Why did not one of these people rise and state that it is unacceptable to award a contract without a bidding process to an organization that only works in English? It is unacceptable to all Quebeckers and francophones across the country. Did even one of these ministers rise to say that awarding a contract to the Prime Minister's friends was ill-advised?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 13:00 [p.2753]
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Mr. Speaker, we knew that the Conservatives never liked science or evidence. We can see that this is still true.
The public service assured us that the organization that it recommended and that we accepted was capable of ensuring that all provinces and territories would be included, and that the program would be available in both official languages. The Canada student service grant was designed to support as many students as possible and help as many non-profit organizations as possible during these difficult times. We were assured that the organization could do so in both official languages.
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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
2020-08-12 13:01 [p.2754]
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Mr. Speaker, we are starting to see the pattern. The government awards a contract to an organization, which then subcontracts to friends of the government. I think all of the links are clear.
Here is a very simple question for the Prime Minister. Could he tell us whether WE Charity has repaid the $30 million? Is there anyone in this government, whether it is the clerk of the Treasury Board, one of the ministers responsible or the Prime Minister, who can tell us whether this $30 million, which belongs to the people of Canada, will be returned to the government's coffers? Yes or no?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
2020-08-12 13:01 [p.2754]
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Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Barrie—Innisfil.
When the request to provide security scanners for Canada's embassies came up, KPrime Technologies responded. However, instead of working with this Calgary-based company to provide sensitive security equipment, the Liberals went with a company that is mired in a major international bribery scandal in Taiwan, and that has links to the Chinese government. Here is the kicker: it was done at a higher cost than what my constituent's company would have charged. Why?
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View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague well knows, the moment I learned about that, we immediately asked the department to launch a review to make sure that security is part of our contracting practices. I want to assure all Canadians and my friends in Calgary that no purchase whatsoever has been made by Global Affairs Canada from that provider. This was only a frame agreement.
I have asked the minister responsible at PSPC to look again at the procurement process for that, and we have launched a review.
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View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Garner Profile
2020-08-12 13:03 [p.2754]
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Mr. Speaker, the minister is asking us to believe his party, which had no compunction going to the walls for SNC-Lavalin, a company that bribed Moammar Gadhafi's son with prostitutes. He is asking us to believe they knew nothing about a Calgary-based company's legitimate bid to provide sensitive security equipment for embassies, and instead went with a company that, by all intents and purposes, ignores the rules around international bribery scandals.
This is not just about forgetting something. This is ridiculous. When is that review going to be done? It should have been done ahead of time. I want to see it right away, and will it be made public?
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View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to answer that question. As a former minister of the Crown, the member would know well that the moment I was made aware of that frame agreement, I asked for the review. The review is under way.
I want to reassure people in Calgary, Edmonton and everywhere across Canada that no purchase has been made whatsoever. There is nothing more important than the security and safety of our people in our embassies around the world, and security will come first every time we make a purchase that could be sensitive for the security of our embassies around the world.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2020-08-12 13:04 [p.2754]
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Mr. Speaker, I believe Warren Kinsella said it best in his latest blog post that “There's a name for what we've now got. There's a name for a government like...[the Prime Minister's]—a government run by those who seek status and personal gain at the expense of the rest of us.” It is called a kleptocracy.
I looked up that word in the dictionary, and it comes originally from the Greek word for “theft”, “I steal” and “power, rule”. It means a government whose corrupt leaders, or kleptocrats, use political power to appropriate the wealth of their nation, typically by embezzling or misappropriating government funds at the expense of a wider population.
In a kleptocracy, corrupt politicians enrich themselves secretly, outside the rule of law, through kickbacks, bribes and special favours, or they simply direct state funds to themselves, directly or indirectly, and their associates.
We have had $343 billion in deficits and $1.2 trillion in debt, which gives a government a lot of room to misappropriate wealth, or in the case of debt of our nation, to direct those state funds to themselves or their associates.
There is a reason these scandals are profoundly scandalous, especially during a pandemic. It is because the allegations are that the Prime Minister, his family, his connected insiders and his friends sought to enrich themselves during a pandemic that is impoverishing millions of Canadians and killing thousands. While those governed are losing their homes, businesses, jobs and futures, the Prime Minister's family and friends are doing just fine. That is how a kleptocracy works.
There is the WE scandal, with the Prime Minister's family enriching themselves, and the CMHC scandal with Rob Silver, the husband of the Prime Minister's chief of staff. We have now found out that Frank Baylis, a former Liberal MP, has received an undisclosed value contract for $100,000 in non-health approved ventilators. The sponsorship scandal will look like a speck of sand in a desert when this is all over. When this is all over, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance will be just fine.
I have a question to ask on behalf of every Canadian before more stories surface, because they will. How many more Liberal-connected friends, families and insiders have had their palms greased and have personally financially gained from this pandemic at the expense of Canadians who have suffered so much during this crisis? Will the Liberals be honest for once or do we have to wait for the Auditor General to tell us?
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View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bill Morneau Profile
2020-08-12 13:06 [p.2755]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to take us back to where we were in mid-March and talk about the things that we have focused on for Canadians over the course of the last number of months.
In mid-March, we obviously found ourselves in an unprecedented situation, where Canadians were asked to stay home to protect themselves, their families and other Canadians. Obviously, that was the right decision from a health standpoint, but it had real implications from an economic standpoint too.
As a government, we took the reins at that time and said that we needed to think about how we could ensure that we supported Canadians through this extraordinarily challenging time. The first thing we set out was the reality that we had so many Canadians who would not be receiving a paycheque. That is how we came up with the Canada emergency response benefit. We know that over the course of the last months, this benefit has helped literally millions of Canadians to be able to have enough money for groceries and rent in order to keep their families surviving during a time of immense challenge. That was first and foremost our initiative.
We moved forward with a wage subsidy because we recognized that we needed businesses to have a connection with their employees. They needed to have an incentive to keep their employees, even though in many cases they would not actually have the kind of work that they might normally have because they had been asked to stay home. The wage subsidy has helped millions of Canadians to keep their attachment to their jobs, to keep their ability to make money for themselves and their families through this challenging time.
We did not stop there. We knew that we needed to deal with all of those people who were going through enormous stress. We recognized, for example, that seniors were facing higher costs than they had historically experienced because they might have needed to use delivery services. They might have needed to get their medications or food delivered in a way that they didn't previously have to deal with, so we found a way to support seniors during this time.
We recognized that students would not necessarily have been able to get the jobs they needed during the course of the summertime, so we put in place a benefit that would help students because we knew that we wanted to get them back to—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:09 [p.2755]
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The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.
I would like to quickly acknowledge the work of the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle as the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition. This place has been better for his service as leader.
I have a question for the Liberals, who have used this pandemic to provide taxpayers dollars to their friends. I guess we should not be surprised: This is exactly what they did during the national unity crisis of the 1990s. They saw an opportunity and Canadians got the sponsorship scandal. The Liberals tried to feed money to their political allies at the WE organization. Thankfully the opposition stopped them, but now we are learning that the former Liberal MP Frank Baylis got his cut of the pandemic pie as well.
Will the Liberals tell us what the exact dollar figure was for the contract they gave to their friend? How much did Frank Baylis make in this deal?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 13:10 [p.2755]
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Mr. Speaker, I have to assure the House and all Canadians that there are measures in place to ensure that all information is made readily available.
First of all, I want to echo the comments of the member in regard to the leader of the official opposition and thank him for his service. I had not realized it was his last time in the House. I do know that he works hard and I appreciate it, though I do not agree with most of his policies or ideology.
When we talk about friends, let us talk about Canadians. Some 8.16 million Canadians have received the Canada emergency response benefit, and 3.7 million families have benefited from the one-time top-up of the Canada child benefit, a tax-free benefit that we brought into place to help families with children who need it the most by asking the wealthiest 1% of families not to take that benefit.
Prior to our government being in office, the Harper Conservatives gave $100 for every child across the board, regardless of income, and then taxed it. They would give it with one hand and then in April they would claw it back. That is not our—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:11 [p.2755]
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The hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:11 [p.2755]
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The hon. minister.
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View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Anand Profile
2020-08-12 13:11 [p.2755]
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Mr. Speaker, this is publicly disclosed information. The number is $237 million for—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:11 [p.2755]
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The hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.
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View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2020-08-12 13:11 [p.2755]
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Mr. Speaker, my dad had a few phrases he always loved to use, like “A leopard cannot change its spots” or “The early bird gets the worm”.
Now that I am a father, it is my turn to add to these lifelong phrases. My addition is going to be “A Liberal is going to liberal.”
My son and daughter may ask me what this means, so here is a really short answer: A Liberal will always believe that there are enough taxpayer dollars to make his or her friends and family richer.
My question is for the Prime Minister. When will his family and his Laurentian elite friends have enough taxpayers' dollars?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 13:12 [p.2756]
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Mr. Speaker, I am going to start my answer with the way the member started his question, in regard to “A leopard cannot change its spots”. I ran for office because the Conservatives pitted one group of Canadians against another. They helped their friends. They actually helped out the wealthiest, and they project and say that is not the case.
What did we do when we came into office? We lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians by bringing in a new tax bracket and increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.
What did the Conservatives do? Their spots cannot change, and that is why they voted against it.
When we brought in the tax-free Canada child benefit, the Conservatives voted against it, because they do not believe in giving a handout to the people—
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:12 [p.2756]
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The hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.
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View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2020-08-12 13:13 [p.2756]
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Mr. Speaker, that answer is ridiculous. Our country has never been more broken, because of the Liberal party's divisive policies toward all Canadians.
When kids ask, “Dad, what is a Liberal?”, I will give them a quick answer. It is someone who seems incapable of passing up a crisis to help advance the prosperity of their friends and family. The national unity crisis gave us the sponsorship scandal, the global pandemic gave us more money for their rich friends and families and, because I like to have evidence, I will tell my kids to look at the last few weeks. They will see a contract given to Liberal-friendly WE for $900 million, a contract to a former Quebec MP for ventilators that have not been certified in any jurisdiction to date and, for the three-peat, a Liberal insider was given an $84-million contract, by coincidence, a company whose VP is the husband of the Prime Prime Minister's chief of staff.
A Liberal is going to liberal.
I ask the interim Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, what is it about Liberals that makes them so corrupt?
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 13:14 [p.2756]
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Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to correct that member. I am actually the first Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and the first minister of that portfolio because it is one that our government takes seriously. In Canada, we know that our diversity is our strength, but it is important that people actually be included, and over the past few weeks we have seen that this country has to do better and to do more.
To the member's seven-year-old daughter, I want to say that today we have gender parity at the cabinet table. Just like men can succeed, so can women. When we talk about youth, there is a $9-billion suite of programs we brought in for students, including the Canada emergency student benefit.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Bardish Chagger: Mr. Speaker, they yell because they do not want to talk about the facts. They do not want to talk about the supports that we have put in place for Canadians. We know that Canadians are hurting and struggling. We will stay focused on Canadians while the Conservatives stay focused on Conservatives.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2020-08-12 13:14 [p.2756]
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If I can interrupt, I will call order.
There is something that came to mind as I was sitting here, and I started doubting myself and asking myself questions. When there is a committee of the whole, according to the third edition of the House of Commons Practice and Procedure, at page 932 in chapter 19, “in these exchanges, Members should nevertheless always refer to one another by the names of their ridings as is done in the House.”
I just want to remind everyone what the rules are, and I am sure this is a learning experience for all of us.
Now, we will proceed with the hon. member for Lakeland.
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View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2020-08-12 13:15 [p.2756]
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Mr. Speaker, it is sort of amazing to hear that member talk about gender parity when the women over there, the most competent ones, all seem to get demoted, booted or have to do the king's dirty work. I do not know, but I guess it is all talk.
I will split my time with the member for Foothills today.
The Liberals are, no doubt, devastating families in Lakeland. There is no federal help for this year's agricultural emergency in my riding, with families facing a third year of damaged crops and a minister who hikes costs on them and dismisses farmers as being emotional. It has been 140 days since the finance minister promised help in hours for oil and gas, but not one application has been made or granted for large employers, not one mid-sized loan has been granted by the BDC, because the conditions are prohibitive, and the methane fund has yet to be launched.
Drillers and oil services are left out, fixed loans will not bridge the year and tens of thousands of Albertans are losing everything in real time, but in two weeks the Liberals were able to approve almost a billion dollars for the Prime Minister's friends at WE, who paid the Prime Minister's family members and campaigned for the Liberals. Moreover, a former Liberal MP recently scored a lucrative contract for ventilators before they were approved by Health Canada.
This is all bad, but what is worse is this: the Liberals' failures and corruption harm Canadian unity. Pierre Trudeau's strategist once said “Screw the west, we'll take the rest”. It is clear that the second wave just might be worse.
Why are the Liberals intent on sabotaging Alberta?
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View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we have been there for the oil and gas sector of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador from the get-go.
Last month, EDC opened applications for companies with revenues between $100 million and $500 million that were financially viable before the pandemic. Loan amounts now will fall between $12.5 million and $60 million.
Our government has been supporting smaller companies in that field for months with the BCAP program. Those companies make up 85% of the jobs in the oil and gas sector, and we have their backs.
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View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2020-08-12 13:18 [p.2757]
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Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister's own department's stats have shown that 10,000 AgriInvest accounts have an account balance of zero and that 73,000 AgriInvest accounts have less than $10,000, yet during this pandemic she is telling Canadian farmers to empty accounts of money that they do not have before she is willing to lift a finger.
When is the agriculture minister going to start doing her job and develop a program specifically for Canadian farm families to help them through this pandemic and protect a vital pillar of our food supply chain?
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View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
2020-08-12 13:18 [p.2757]
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Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague of everything we have done for the agricultural sector since the beginning.
We have changed the eligibility for the Canada emergency business account to allow a greater number of farmers to apply, which could mean up to $670 million for the forgivable portion only. Very recently, $58.3 million has been announced to boost the temporary foreign workers program, as well as $125 million through AgriRecovery and the launch of the emergency processing fund of $77.5 million. I could go on.
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View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2020-08-12 13:19 [p.2757]
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Mr. Speaker, I am happy that the minister brought up the Canadian emergency business account. Actually, the Liberals have managed to give more money to their friends at WE in two weeks than they have to an entire industry of agriculture.
The minister knows that she keeps telling farmers to use the CEBA and that is all they are going to need. She knows most farmers do not qualify for that program because they use personal business accounts and most of their expenses do not qualify for the CEBA program.
When is the minister going to stop making excuses, stop finding every way possible not to help Canadian farmers, and expand the eligibility criteria for CEBA so that these farmers can access this program?
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View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
2020-08-12 13:20 [p.2757]
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Mr. Speaker, we have made significant changes to different programs. We have changed the eligibility criteria to include a greater number of farmers. We are working very hard with the provinces right now to see how we can improve different business risk management programs. Let me remind him that these business risk management programs allow the farmers to get at least an average of $1.6 billion a year, and it might be closer to $2 billion this year, in addition to all the other investments we have made.
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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2020-08-12 13:20 [p.2757]
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Mr. Speaker, the members of the Standing Committee on Finance asked me to testify, and I was there to answer their questions. They asked me—
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