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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-06-23 10:01 [p.7213]
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I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Calgary Centre.
The member contended that the decision taken by unanimous consent to adjourn the sitting of June 21, 2022, constitutes a breach of his privileges. He noted that due to the technical difficulties with our video conferencing system, he was unable to participate in the proceedings of the House when this decision was made. He equated this matter with previous situations where members were prevented from physically accessing the chamber and asked that the Chair find a prima facie question of privilege.
I thank the member for raising this matter. As I indicated in my statement yesterday, the sitting of June 21, 2022, was suspended due to a connectivity problem external to the House of Commons
It is clear to the Chair that there was no deliberate attempt to interfere with the member's ability to participate in the proceedings. When it was brought to the Chair's attention that there was a widespread outage preventing members from participating, the sitting was suspended. Once it became apparent that it would not be possible to resolve the matter quickly, following discussions with representatives of all parties, the sitting was resumed to allow a motion to adjourn to be presented. The motion was adopted with the unanimous agreement of all members present.
The Chair recognizes that the member was not able to provide his consent for that decision. It was specifically because some members could not participate that the House agreed to adjourn early. The decision was made with the express intent of protecting the rights of those members participating by videoconference. Continuing to sit in those circumstances would have been more problematic for the privileges of members than making a decision to adjourn,
Therefore, the Chair cannot find that this matter constitutes a question of privilege.
I thank all members for their attention.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2022-06-23 10:03 [p.7213]
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Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.
While I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-06-23 10:04 [p.7213]
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The question is on the motion.
If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
The hon. opposition House leader.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 10:05 [p.7213]
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Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded division.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2022-06-23 10:05 [p.7213]
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Call in the members.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:49 [p.7215]
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Madam Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 19, I move:
That the debate be not further adjourned.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 10:50 [p.7215]
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Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or use the “raise hand” function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.
Given the number of members who wish to participate, I want to make it very clear that I will not be recognizing members party by party. I will actually scan the House. However, if the same person is getting up all the time from the same party and others have not spoken, I will be going to those who have not spoken.
The hon. opposition House leader.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 10:51 [p.7215]
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Madam Speaker, if this were not so sad, it would actually be funny, but it is not.
What the government House leader is proposing is that we return to a hybrid system in the fall, when no other legislatures in Canada, provincially or territorially, and no other legislatures around the world, are doing it. Not even the mother Parliament, which returned to an in-person, non-hybrid sitting last July, is doing what the government House leader is doing, and complicit is his NDP partner, the NDP House leader.
There is no reason we cannot revisit this in August or September. If there is a need to go back to a hybrid Parliament, then we can agree to do that, but we are precluding this now.
I have heard the argument from the government House leader and the NDP House leader, who, by the way, must think they are doctors. Dr. NDP House leader and Dr. government House leader are predicting that some sort of variant is coming in the fall. Obviously, they are the world's pre-eminent immunologists, virologists and epidemiologists, because public health officials in this country are saying that we have to return to normal.
There is no reason for doing this. Why are the Liberals forcing us back to a hybrid Parliament when there is no reason to do it? It is because they want to hide. That is all this is. They hide from accountability and hide from transparency. They want to hide and not be accountable to Canadians, the voices that sent us here.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:53 [p.7215]
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Madam Speaker, the angrier somebody gets, the more it reflects on their position as opposed to the circumstance we are debating.
Let us take a step back for a second regarding the measures the member is talking about. If he is opposed to them, he and his colleagues do not have to use them. If they want to not use the hybrid provisions, then they can do so.
I am sure that when the vote happens later today, we will see all Conservative members here in the seats. I am sure all members will be voting in person. After that impassioned speech about how terrible these measures are, I am sure that in question period today we will see every single member of the Conservative Party here. We are going to see every vote taken in person, because of course this is a terrible affront to democracy, right? The anger is real, and because the anger is real, we are going to see them all here.
Here is what happened. At the beginning of the pandemic, of course we had no idea what was going to happen. We developed provisions that would give us the flexibility—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 10:54 [p.7215]
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Order. I have indicated how I would do this, and I would just ask members to please give their respect to the parliamentarian who has the floor. There is 27 and a half minutes for questions and comments left, and I would just say there is plenty of time for others to ask questions or make comments.
Members can please hold their voices until then.
The hon. government House leader, if he could wrap it up, I can get to the next question.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:54 [p.7215]
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Madam Speaker, I am sure there will be many more questions, so I can come back to this.
I will say that, instead of debating this again and again, what we would give Parliament is stability for the next year, and we would give PROC, the procedure and House affairs committee, the opportunity to look at what may or may not be used beyond that. That would provide stability and clarity, and give us an opportunity to look at what worked, and that is the right way to go.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 10:54 [p.7215]
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Again, I am still hearing voices, and I should not be, so please hold off on that.
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Montcalm.
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View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2022-06-23 10:55 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, I have not heard very many arguments from the government House leader so far.
What I do not understand is why this government is in such a rush to decide about a hybrid Parliament right now, when health measures have been completely relaxed for public transit, precisely where there could be the most problems. I do not understand why we need to decide on this today, when there has been no spike in cases.
I think that we could make this decision when the House resumes, but apparently that is not possible. It seems to be urgent that we decide today on whether to continue with a hybrid Parliament, when that is not the type of work we should be doing here. This is the people's House.
I do not understand. I would like to hear the reasons behind this. I have still not heard any from the government House leader, apart from the fact that he wants to accommodate his team.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:56 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, this week, with the situation as it is now, many members have come down with COVID-19. The only way they can participate in the parliamentary debates and vote is through the hybrid system. The pandemic is ongoing. People are dying every day, unfortunately. This is a very serious situation.
This flexibility would give members the option to use the hybrid system. If things improve over time and members no longer want to use the hybrid system, then that will be up to them. They are not in any way obligated to use it.
However, if something changes, like with what happened with the omicron variant, we will need to be flexible and adapt. That is exactly what the motion would allow us to do.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2022-06-23 10:57 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, it is crazy, the over-the-top opposition by the Conservatives to what is a good, common-sense measure, given all the things the government House leader has said about the importance of actually having parliamentarians be able to participate. Even if members are sick with COVID and even if they are unable to be in this House, their constituents would not lose their voice and their constituents would not lose their vote. Those are important things, but we saw last night the unfortunate spectacle of the Conservatives monopolizing the entire debate on this issue, refusing to hear from any other party and refusing to yield the floor so that others could speak on this issue.
I would like to ask the government House leader if this measure today is, in part, because the Conservatives have been so selfish in trying to monopolize all of the House time and refusing to allow other voices to speak on this important motion.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 10:58 [p.7216]
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Again, I seem to have the same offenders over and over again and they keep heckling and yelling. I would just say, if it is not members' time to speak, then they should not be speaking.
The hon. government House leader.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:58 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, I think we all need to take a step back here. What is being talked about is continuing something we have had for the last two years, which has given us incredible flexibility to represent our constituents, as people have been ill. Just last week, we had five members who had COVID, and we have many members this week, and they are continuing to be able to represent their constituents.
This would be for a year. If people are really against it, and I am hearing some people who really do not like it and that is fair, the procedure and House affairs committee is going to look at whether we would use these provisions outside of the pandemic or inside it, but it would be for a year. We have a committee that is going to be looking at all of the concerns. People are very passionate about this, saying that it should be used outside of a pandemic or that it should not be used outside of a pandemic. We need a parliamentary process to adjudicate that and to look at its relative merits, but how upset folks are getting is just not in line with what is here in front of us today.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2022-06-23 10:59 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, as I have listened to this debate, the Conservatives have obviously expressed their concern that this is somehow a deficit for democracy. However, as I watched the vote, there were a number of Conservatives who were using the tools that have been made available to us.
What I have not heard, and I would be interested to hear from the House leader on this, is any constructive proposals about how we can balance using virtual tools and also making sure that opposition members feel there is a legitimate ability to hold the government to account, which arguably is already there. They have some concern, but there has been no constructive debate. I presume this is something that can go on at PROC. We have been able to use these tools, but at the same time, if there are ways we can continue to make sure that the government is accountable to all parliamentarians in this place, then that is the place to do it.
Can the member elaborate a little on how he sees that process playing out?
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:00 [p.7216]
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Madam Speaker, my hon. friend and colleague is absolutely right.
The first point I would make is that, in talking with all opposition parties, I have been clear from the outset that I am open to any ideas on how to improve on any concerns they have. Unfortunately, what came back was nothing, just that there was opposition to it. We are going to continue to ask for ways for this to be improved in the near term as we continue to try to have flexibility in a pandemic.
We are an enormously large country, and we do not want members who are sick to be in a position where they have to make the choice of whether they represent their constituents or whether—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:01 [p.7217]
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We have a point of order.
The hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2022-06-23 11:01 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, regarding the statement that the government House leader just made on receiving no feedback from opposition parties related to hybrid Parliament—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:01 [p.7217]
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That is not a point of order. That is a point of discussion and debate, and I would ask the member to rise to ask that question should he need to.
The government House leader needs to wrap up.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:02 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, when I am talking about feedback, let me be very clear. When members just tell me they are opposed, I get that. They are opposed to it. There is going to be an opportunity at PROC to talk about the reasons they are opposed to it, on an ongoing basis, and we will have a vigorous debate. However, I am interested in specific, concrete examples of what could be done to improve. I have heard nothing on that front, but of course I would welcome that.
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View Mike Morrice Profile
GP (ON)
View Mike Morrice Profile
2022-06-23 11:02 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, my understanding is that right now we are not actually debating the motion, but the closure on the motion. I understand that we are also on the last day of the standing orders of our current approach. I would appreciate hearing from the government House leader a reasonable explanation of why he feels closure is necessary at this time.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:02 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, there are a couple of reasons. The first is that we have to make a determination on this so that we can move forward with stability for Parliament. The motion asks for a year, and it would also give the opportunity for PROC to take a look at it and examine the relative merits of it.
Also, we have debated this ad nauseam. I see the hon. former House leader across from me for the Conservative Party and think of how many conversations we had leading into sessions, and how many conversations I had with the current House leader on this. Every time we try to open this place, we spend weeks talking about this, and what gets reported to the media is the discussion of “Will Parliament have hybrid or will it not?” Instead of talking about the critical issues of the day, we have this protracted debate on whether or not hybrid is something we should use in the middle of a pandemic.
All I am saying is to give it a year. Let us make sure that, while we have this uncertainty, we have a stable system in place, and then let us use the parliamentary committee to evaluate its utility, or lack of utility, outside of a pandemic circumstance.
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View Lianne Rood Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lianne Rood Profile
2022-06-23 11:04 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, what I see from the Liberals is that they want to hide from accountability and transparency behind computer screens. We hear public health officials telling us that we are moving out of the pandemic, and the rest of the world has moved back to working like normal.
We have an institution here. We have been in this place for over 150 years, and we have been able to keep Parliament going when people had other illnesses, or worse, for many years. Why do the Liberals want to continue to hide from democracy and hide behind a screen instead of being here in person in this place, where people from my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex elected me to be? We should be in this place. When we have rural Internet connectivity problems in places like my riding, where we have unstable Internet, it does not work.
We need to be in this place. It has worked for over 150 years, and we need to keep being here.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:04 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, we hold the institutions of Parliament incredibly dear. I know that every single person here has a profound regard for our democratic processes and systems and wants them to be successful. I can go back to the beginning of the pandemic, to how constructive the conversations were with all parties on the need for Parliament to adapt and provide additional provisions. Now, as we continue to be in a pandemic, and as we do not know where that pandemic will go, none of us being clairvoyant, this provides us stability.
If the member opposite thinks that some element is not as accountable as some other element, then there is going to be an opportunity to debate that. That is not an opinion that is shared universally. How a question is answered, I understand, is a concern for the member opposite, but so is members not being able to participate in debate because they are sick, and so is members not having the opportunity not to have to make a choice between representing their constituents and coming in sick, potentially getting others sick and then having that sent all around the country, or working virtually and—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:06 [p.7217]
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Questions and comments, the hon. member for Drummond.
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View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2022-06-23 11:06 [p.7217]
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Madam Speaker, judging from the questions and answers, this whole exchange is meaningless. Implementing hybrid measures to keep Parliament going during the pandemic was a good idea, but only for the duration of the pandemic. We are gradually making our way out of the pandemic. It seems likely that, as the months go by, we will leave it further and further behind.
Of all the subjects we could be debating, the one monopolizing our work today, the one that matters most to the government, is extending the hybrid Parliament for a year. That is something we could deal with when the House returns in the fall, once we see how the situation evolves.
I get the sense that some of our colleagues found it very convenient to remain in the comfort of their own homes because they live far away and can eat chips during parliamentary sessions, but that is not a good reason.
I would like to hear one actual good reason why we are currently talking about extending the hybrid Parliament for a year when we could quite feasibly do it when we come back in the fall and we know what the situation is. That would be the right thing to do.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:07 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, clearly, everyone wants the pandemic to be over. However, that is not the case. The pandemic is ongoing. That is our reality today.
We must therefore remain flexible, because it is really important that all members be able to represent their constituents. That is why we need a system as flexible as the hybrid system.
According to the hon. member opposite, the House would normally have finished its work yesterday. Today is therefore an extraordinary day. It is a wise thing that we are using a day that does not normally exist to finish this debate so that we can continue our work in the fall without any distractions.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-06-23 11:08 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, we have discussed this a lot in the House, and one of the things I have often heard is that people who are working online are not working. I have heard this from the Conservatives, yet as I work online today, I see a number of Conservatives online. I am wondering if they are calling out their own members for the same.
We have worked hard during the pandemic. Particularly for women, this is an opportunity to get more women into politics. This is also an opportunity to do our part to tackle the climate crisis by ensuring that members do not have to travel back and forth. We are in a climate emergency.
I am wondering if the hon. House leader could comment on that.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:09 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, I am glad that members have the opportunity to utilize these provisions. Obviously, we are learning from them. Today, there are many Conservatives using these provisions online. As we have a vote later on today, there will be many Conservatives who are using that application. All members have, in some form or another, used these provisions and continue to use them today.
It is clear that within all caucuses there is a variety of opinions about what does or does not work about this. That is why we should use this extraordinary day. This is a day when Parliament normally does not sit. Normally, we would be home in our constituencies. We are here longer than we usually are so that we can adjudicate this and give ourselves a year, and so that this impassioned debate on both sides can appropriately take place at PROC, in terms of whether we use these provisions outside of the pandemic circumstance.
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View Frank Caputo Profile
CPC (BC)
View Frank Caputo Profile
2022-06-23 11:10 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, the hon. government House leader wants to have dialogue, so here is some dialogue. This is supposed to be predicated on COVID, and what we see on this side of the House is that being used as an excuse not to be here. We see people who are here in the morning, on video in the afternoon and then here the next morning. After question period, we see those members on the front benches especially rush out in order to vote remotely. Where is the respect for this place that they cannot even vote from their seats after having been here for question period?
If the hon. government House leader wants a suggestion, how about this? If members have a concern about COVID, they should stay home and work remotely. If it does not have to do with COVID, why are they not here?
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:11 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, perhaps the member could ask that question of members of his own caucus who are participating virtually today and will be voting virtually today. He could ask that question of members in his own caucus: why they are using it and why they find it useful. Perhaps he could level those criticisms at his caucus—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:11 [p.7218]
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The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo and the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader for the Senate are going back and forth. I would ask them not to. If they want to have conversations, they can step out to have those conversations.
The hon. government House leader.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:11 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, I would reiterate that I understand that passions are very high on this on both sides. We all care about representing our constituents. We all care about this place. We all have a deep love of democracy that brings us to this place and has us make great sacrifices in the name of serving our constituents. Some believe very passionately, as the member opposite does, that they do not want to see this to continue. I certainly do not want the pandemic to continue, and we are certainly in it, but this gives us the stability over the next year to remain flexible and for members to use these provisions or not, as they wish. It also allows a parliamentary committee to look at this hereafter.
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View Denis Trudel Profile
BQ (QC)
View Denis Trudel Profile
2022-06-23 11:12 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, I feel both a little sad and disrespected this morning in the House.
Today is June 23, the day before Quebec’s national holiday, and because of the Liberal government’s incompetence in managing its agenda, along with the Conservative Party’s obstruction attempts, most Quebec MPs will not be able to be in their ridings today to celebrate their national holiday.
Also, I get the impression that, for the past few weeks, I have been rising more often in the House to debate how we are going to debate rather than to truly debate measures and bills that will help Canadians.
I am truly very sad, and I feel disrespected today as a Quebec member of Parliament.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:13 [p.7218]
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Madam Speaker, that is rather odd because the calendar was set a year ago.
At the time, the Bloc Québécois chose to sit today. It is not an extra day and it is not at all a surprise. If it is a problem today, on June 23, why was it not a problem for the Bloc Québécois when the calendar was decided? That seems odd to me.
The Bloc Québécois is upset that the House is sitting when it is supposed to.
The House is supposed to sit, folks.
That seems odd to me. I do not understand that argument at all.
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View Bonita Zarrillo Profile
NDP (BC)
View Bonita Zarrillo Profile
2022-06-23 11:14 [p.7219]
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Madam Speaker, I have to say that this is such an ableist debate we are having. Even yesterday, some of the ableist language was just gut-wrenching. I wonder what this debate would look like if 338 of us were immunocompromised, had comorbidities or had children or family members who lived with us in our houses and were going through stem cell transplants, chemotherapy or any kind of critical life illness.
I have been in rooms with people I know whose spouse has been going through stem cell transfer. They have been forced to arrive in this place because they are staff people. We are in here in our ableist space expecting those who support us to come here and do this work. The last thing I would want to do as an MP, if I was sick or someone in my family was sick, is to come to this place and make a staff person sick who was dealing with some sort of critical life illness at home.
This has been really disappointing. As the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra, I have a number of people in my riding who would die if they caught COVID-19. They deal with this ableist language all the time. I am just so over it. Maybe the member—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:15 [p.7219]
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The hon. government House leader has the floor.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:15 [p.7219]
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Madam Speaker, the member opposite makes an excellent point. There are many members of Parliament who have different statuses of health. I spent over three years as a former whip, and there are a couple of things one learns. The first is how hard it is to be a human being. There are so many stories we do not hear about what others are going through, and I have tremendous sympathy for all members of Parliament and the sacrifices they make. Second, there has to be an opportunity for those who are ill in a pandemic, or have other illnesses or are immunocompromised, to have the circumstances to continue to represent their constituents. The hon. member is absolutely correct.
I will make a last point on this question. I see a child in the chamber, which I love. Not long ago, when I was elected in 2004, that would have been considered abhorrent. Having a child in the chamber would have been considered disrespectful to this place. Members would have talked in the lobby about how disgusting and disrespectful it was to have a child in the House. I heard that. People were saying they would never allow that, and that somebody talking about it is disrespectful to the place and destroys it.
Our institutions evolve as our compassion and understanding for one another evolve, and that is what this is about.
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View Laila Goodridge Profile
CPC (AB)
View Laila Goodridge Profile
2022-06-23 11:17 [p.7219]
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Madam Speaker, while I appreciate some of the comments made and the flexibility of sometimes being able to bring my infant into this chamber due to the long hours we work and some of the struggles we have as parliamentarians, the fact that this is being rammed through in the last couple of days of the parliamentary session without any real opportunity for debate is abhorrent. It is not okay.
If the members opposite truly want to fix things, let us actually have some conversation. Let us not just band-aid this across. Let us have some serious conversations in September so we can fix the problem rather than just create more band-aids, because that is all this solution does.
Every other parliamentary system in Canada has already gone back to meeting in person. There are so many wins that can be had by having these conversations all over. I really think that what we are doing right now is hurting democracy, because we have not had adequate debate. While there are some very good arguments, we have not been able to have the time to actually study this and make sure we are doing the best thing for Canadians.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:18 [p.7219]
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Madam Speaker, first of all, I am very glad to see the member opposite be able to bring her child into the chamber. I am very glad we have provisions that recognize the responsibilities of being a parent are extraordinarily difficult and are the most important functions we ever will take on in our lives. There has to be primacy to that, and I respect that she sees that and that all members in the House, whether they have a child or do not, feel that way.
We, of course, have been debating this for two years. Every time a session of Parliament began, we had an opportunity in the media, in the House and in the Board of Internal Economy. We had extensive debates. Exactly what I am saying is let us take a year, while we are still in a pandemic, to hold these provisions and then have a separate debate about what is going to happen.
I want to point out one thing that is confusing to me. In the last vote on orders of the day, 66 Conservative members voted remotely and 44 voted in person.
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2022-06-23 11:19 [p.7219]
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Madam Speaker, I learned something today.
According to tradition, Quebec’s national holiday is celebrated on June 23 and 24. It is true that Parliament usually does not sit on June 23 except in the case of an emergency, which has only ever happened a few times. June 23 is set aside for emergencies.
This motion could easily have been moved sooner, since the government had all the time it needed. The Bloc Québécois has always been ready to collaborate, especially in the case of Bill C-14, for which it set aside two days to allow Parliament to adjourn on Wednesday and Quebec members in the Bloc Québécois and other parties to celebrate with their constituents.
Our request was legitimate. The government vehemently rejected the fact that Quebecers have a national holiday to celebrate this evening and tomorrow. We asked either not to sit on Thursday or to sit with a Friday schedule so that we could leave the House earlier to celebrate Quebec’s national holiday with our people back home. The government refused. Would the same thing have happened if we had to work on June 30?
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:20 [p.7220]
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Madam Speaker, a year ago we had the opportunity to review the calendar, and that included June 23. There was no objection made whatsoever about June 23 being included. At that point in time, the calendar was approved, with unanimity, to have us sit all of those days. There is nothing that promised we were going to leave early. I never said to my constituents that this was the calendar, but maybe we would not fulfill the calendar. Most of us can have hopes the calendar will not go to the end, but if there was a serious problem, why—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:21 [p.7220]
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Order. The hon. member for La Prairie asked a question, but he seems to be in the process of debating with someone else. I am sure that he would like to hear the answer.
I would ask the hon. government House leader to finish his answer before I give the floor to someone else to ask a brief question before the expiry of the time provided.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:21 [p.7220]
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Madam Speaker, I would simply say that this is the first that I have heard that the 23rd was a problem. It is literally the first time that I have heard that. I would just say that, for future calendars, if the Bloc sees this as a problem, it should not agree for the day to be set.
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View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Greg Fergus Profile
2022-06-23 11:22 [p.7220]
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Madam Speaker, I will just ask a very quick question, or a series of quick questions.
Can the hon. House leader tell us this: Is the pandemic over? Does the hon. member have the ability to determine whether the pandemic rates are going to go up or go down? Is this really just an insurance policy to make sure that the House has the flexibility to ensure that all members of Parliament can continue representing their constituents in this place?
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:22 [p.7220]
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Madam Speaker, yes. Of course, the pandemic is not over. In fact, I will just point to what happened in November and December. The Conservatives, at that time, were demanding an end to hybrid sittings. They said the pandemic was over and that there was no need for these provisions: they were a waste of time, we were making up something and there could be the possibility of something else. Then, of course, omicron hit.
When omicron hit, we all, of course, had to use the hybrid provisions and move back to a different state. That is exactly what this flexibility allows. Nobody is forced to use these provisions. They are more than welcome to not use them, if they wish—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:23 [p.7220]
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I am sorry. The time is up.
It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time to put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.
The question is on the motion.
If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
The hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.
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View Tracy Gray Profile
CPC (BC)
View Tracy Gray Profile
2022-06-23 11:23 [p.7220]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to request a recorded division.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 11:23 [p.7220]
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Call in the members.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:07 [p.7221]
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Mr. Speaker, I am glad to continue on this very important debate, although unfortunately under different circumstances than we had last night. Obviously the government, by invoking closure on this motion, is really looking to limit any further debate on this and censor members of Parliament, who have been elected to this place. There are millions of voices on this side and 119 members, yet in just a couple of hours of debate, we are going to determine the continuation of a hybrid Parliament into the fall.
Just to recap what I said last night, there are no other legislatures in this country, provincial or territorial, or around the world, not even the mother Parliament in Great Britain, that have a hybrid system. They all have in-person sittings at this point. In fact, the mother Parliament went back to in-person sittings last July.
We would be the only outlier, not just within the Commonwealth, but globally, in using a hybrid system. Why are we at this point? The government House leader and his partner in the NDP, with their coalition agreement, have decided this is the direction we are going in the absence of any science, evidence or form of decision-making we should be taking. They are just arbitrarily and unilaterally deciding this is the direction we are going to go.
I have heard the argument from both of them that somehow, as I said earlier, there is this southern hemisphere variant coming in. The doctor government House leader and the doctor in the NDP suggest that somehow they know more than public health officials. Here is a news flash: Public health officials in governments across this country have eliminated mandates. They have eliminated mask mandates, and they have also returned to normal within their legislatures.
Why are we an outlier? Perhaps the most world-renowned epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists, the doctor in government House leader and the doctor in the NDP, have figured out that we are different in this place than those in the rest of the country.
It comes down to one simple thing. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many in our caucus, they have complete contempt for this place as an institution. They have complete contempt for Parliament. They see it as a nuisance. They see it as something that gets in the way of their ideological agenda.
Certainly, the government has proven over time that it has shown contempt for Parliament. There have been various motions that have been presented. I remember the start of the pandemic. One of the first orders of business coming into the pandemic was the proposal of a piece of legislation by the government that would have given it entire spending powers and taxing powers until January, 2022. Members can think of the consequences of that.
The government was effectively going to seize control of this place to make the opposition parties, and the millions of people who elected members of Parliament to represent them in this place, irrelevant at that point. It was going to seize complete control of Parliament, giving itself complete taxing and spending powers. If it had not been for the opposition, for the voices of millions of Canadians and the media at that time calling into question the government's motives, we might have been in a situation where it would have seized entire control of this place.
This is how little respect the Liberals have for Parliament. This is how little respect they have for our democratic institutions, and there were other cases as well.
Members will recall Motion No. 6 in the last Parliament. The government tried again to seize the operational control of this place, making the opposition irrelevant. Motion No. 11 was another one where we effectively had Conservatives debating Conservatives in extended evening sessions. The government did not even participate. The Liberals say it was to extend debate, but how can it be about extending debate, when they were not even participating in the process at all? Then of course, there is Motion No. 19, with which the Liberals would once again seize control of where this place will be in September and how it will operate.
Just a couple of weeks ago I sent a letter to the government House leader and the other House leaders, a letter the Speaker received as well, with what I thought were very reasonable and practical solutions on how this place can get back to some sense of normalcy. If we are not signalling from this place to Canadians that we are getting back to normal, then what type of message are we sending?
One of the reasonable and practical solutions that I proposed was to look at this in August or September. If some southern hemisphere variant is going to be here, as the government House leader and his partner in the NDP are suggesting, then why not revisit this in August and September? We have proven over the last couple of years that we have the tools, that we can flip the switch if we need to.
The government's argument is that we need certainty. Well, there is certainty. There is certainty in the land right now, because we are seeing the lifting of public health guidelines, masking mandates, vaccine mandates. I do not know what evidence or science the Liberals are looking at, but it is certainly nothing that they are sharing with us, our colleagues in the Bloc or any other parties so that we can make an informed decision. It is just an arbitrary method to completely seize control of this place, as is the pattern they have shown in the past.
As I said, it is really diminishing the value of our democratic institutions. This is a government, quite frankly, that does not want an opposition; it wants an audience.
The Prime Minister has shown his contempt for this place. He has shown his contempt for institutions and he has shown contempt for the opposition parties. There is no greater example of that than some of the scandals that have gone on, including the current scandal, with the lines of differentiation be damned between the executive branch and the government and our institutions that are supposed to function independently of government and the executive branch.
The government has proven time and time again that it is going to interfere in the institutions that Canadians hold so dear. We are seeing a diminishment in those institutions and we are certainly seeing a decline in our democracy.
As I said last night, even the pundits are suggesting that it is time to get back to normal here. Even the pundits are saying that this is done, that this is over. We need to return to normal to signal to the rest of Canadians that we are returning to normal, and if that is not the signal from this place, then what signal are we sending? We cannot live in perpetual fear. We cannot live in a state where the government is inciting this fear among its citizens. Let us look at where we are in September and make a decision then.
This week we could have been dealing with many other issues. I am going to suggest that this is a country in chaos right now, when we see what is happening with inflation and the affordability crisis that is facing Canadians, when we look at the passport situation and the fiasco that is going on there, when we look at other factors, not the least of which is what we are hearing out of Nova Scotia about the government, the Prime Minister's Office and the public safety minister's office interfering with an active investigation, not to mention the scandals that have gone on in the past. We could have been dealing with many issues other than the speculative issue that the government House leader and his buddy in the NDP predict may happen. We could have been dealing with and seized with these issues. We could have been providing solutions so that we can help Canadians who are facing this affordability crisis right now.
I would suggest the Conservatives have done that many times in the past. Over the course of the last several months, we have proposed solutions like lowering taxes, lowering gas taxes and getting rid of the carbon tax to make life more affordable for Canadians, and every single time, those proposals have been rejected by the government. We have proven time and time again that we want to find solutions and work to help Canadians, but in that time that the government has rejected our proposals since the coalition agreement between the NDP and the Liberals has taken effect, the NDP voted 95% of the time with the Liberals to reject those proposals.
This is a party that used to stand up for working families. The NDP used to stand up for principles. There were members in the party who actually had a moral compass system. They had values, and they stood up for what was right or wrong. Now they are standing up every single time with these Liberals, and they do that because of promises. This is a government that cannot deliver even the most basic services in this country, yet the NDP signed a deal with this government that proposes to bring about dental care and pharmacare. Now, let us think about that. The government cannot even deliver the most basic services, yet the NDP is depending on it to implement complicated systems. Boy, have they been sold a bill of goods.
As well, they have sold their values and their morals, the things they used to stand for in this place. They used to stand up for what was right and against what was wrong. They have sold those values on a wing and a prayer.
I have news for the NDP members. If this government cannot even deliver basic services to Canadians, how can it be expected to deliver on its promises in this deal as a coalition government? Canadians will be waiting a long time for that.
However, in the meantime, what we see from the NDP in question period is gross. The NDP is asking this government questions on accountability issues, yet supporting the government on every aspect of what it is doing at least 95% of the time. It is actually gross to see. The NDP could have followed the people before them, like Tom Mulcair, who used to stand on values and principles in this place and who used to actually act like an opposition, and others like Jack Layton and Tommy Douglas, who fought for working Canadians. Where has that NDP gone?
I will make a prediction right now that the NDP is heading into an abyss of irrelevance because of this deal that it made with the Liberal government that it continues to prop up. The NDP will continue to prop up the government on all of the issues of corruption, on all of the issues of cronyism, on all of the issues of political interference, on not fulfilling its promises and on not living up to what it promised Canadians, not the least of which was electoral reform. That should have been a signal to this government.
He does not like what I am saying, so he—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:20 [p.7223]
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The hon. parliamentary secretary is rising on a point of order.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-06-23 12:20 [p.7223]
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Madam Speaker, I have no problem debating this issue with the member; however, what we are debating right now is a hybrid Parliament, and for the last five to seven minutes at least, the member has been off talking about a relationship between the—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:20 [p.7223]
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The hon. member's earpiece is too close to the mike, which is hard for interpretation.
The hon. parliamentary secretary.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-06-23 12:20 [p.7223]
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Madam Speaker, I apologize to the interpreters for that.
The member, for the last seven or eight minutes, has not been talking about this motion. I am wondering if perhaps you could gently encourage him to get back on topic.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:21 [p.7223]
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I do want to remind members that there is some flexibility when it comes to debate, but I do also want to remind members that they should be talking about the matter that is before the House and I am sure that the hon. official opposition House leader will bring it back to the topic at hand.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:21 [p.7223]
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Madam Speaker, it is very relevant. It is not lost on me that every time any member on this side—and even in the Bloc Québécois, for that matter—starts saying things that the member does not like, he jumps up on a point of order just to disrupt the interaction. That is too bad. If he does not like what I have to say, too bad.
I want to focus as well on a couple of other things that are critical in this debate on whether we return to a hybrid system in the fall.
What is not being taken into account, and I know Madam Speaker is fully aware of this, is that there have been increases in injuries within the interpretation bureau. We have received numerous reports over the last several years that there has been a ninefold increase in injuries among those people who work so hard to ensure that we have world-class interpretation in this place, and when I say “world-class”, I mean it is unlike any other around the world.
We are seeing increased workplace injuries. We have been told that those workplace injuries are going to continue as long as we continue with a hybrid system here in the House and at committee. Why the government and the NDP are proposing to jeopardize the health and safety of our interpretation bureau is beyond me, especially since the warning signs and signals have been sent.
We are seeing a diminishing pool of interpreters, for which these workplace injuries are not the least reason. That puts the bilingualism component of our Parliament at risk for all of us, especially those who are francophone in this place and those who listen in who are francophone, and calls into question the future of bilingualism and the ability of interpreters to relay what is going on to francophone Canadians. I think that needs to be strongly considered as we consider moving into this hybrid Parliament format.
It is no surprise to the House that we want to signal to Canadians that we are getting back to some sense of normalcy, but there is no reason, no science, no evidence and no rationale as to why we are dealing with this in the waning hours of this session of Parliament, all because the government House leader and the NDP House leader do not want to return to normal. That is the only alternative. They want to continue the decline in the relevance of this institution by allowing ministers and members to not be here. It is sad.
I wear this bracelet around my wrist. It says, “Lest we forget”. I have said this before in this place, because I often think about the lives that have been lost and the families that have been decimated by war. Those who have defended our country in faraway lands to allow us all the privilege to sit in our symbol of democracy did not fight so we can sit on Zoom. They did not fight so ministers can hide from accountability. They did not fight to see a decline in our democracy. They fought to strengthen our democracy and to ensure that it was sustainable for years to come, but what the government is proposing is limiting and diminishing our democratic institution.
I know the government is going to argue otherwise, but we have seen it. We have seen a lack of accountability and transparency. We have seen the government hide using these tools. We saw it with Bill C-11. We saw the chaos that ensued at committee when the chair was sitting in her living room trying to manage and deal with a complicated and substantive bill with hundreds of amendments.
It is done. It is over. Its time has come. It served a purpose at the time, but it serves a purpose no longer when no other legislatures in this country, provincial or territorial, or around the world, are using a hybrid system. It is done. It is over.
In the time I have left, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Fundy Royal, that the motion be amended:
(a) in paragraph (i) by deleting all the words after the words “motion is adopted” and substituting the following: “or adopted on division, provided that precedence shall be given to a request for a recorded division followed by an indication the motion is adopted on division”;
(b) in paragraph (p) (i) by adding after the word “videoconference” the following: “provided that members participating remotely be in Canada”, (ii) by adding after the words “resources for meetings shall be” the following: “subject to the provisions of paragraph (j) of the order adopted on Monday, May 16, 2022”, (iii) by adding after subparagraph (vi) the following: “(vii) any proceedings before a committee in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment”; and
(c) in paragraph (q) (i) by deleting all the words in subparagraph (ii) and substituting the following: “members participating remotely shall be in Canada and shall be counted for the purpose of quorum”, (ii) by adding after subparagraph (v) the following: “(vi) any proceedings before the committee in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate and amendment”.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:28 [p.7224]
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Concerning the amendment proposed by the House leader of the official opposition, the Chair is of the opinion that there are two sections that affect the use of powers granted to the committees. Specifically, it describes a procedure to allow the committees to use the power conferred on them to send for persons, papers and records.
In the Chair's opinion, these provisions are foreign to the substance of the motion, which is to regulate the conduct of hybrid proceedings both for the chamber and for committees. Accordingly, I unfortunately have to rule the amendment out of order in its current form.
We will now proceed to questions and comments. I thank the members for their attention.
The hon. member for Kings—Hants.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2022-06-23 12:29 [p.7224]
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Madam Speaker, I listened to the hon. opposition House leader's remarks today, and I have a couple of reflections and a question for him.
I would have much more sympathy for the Conservative position on this if I had seen 121 members sitting in their seats when the vote took place this morning. That did not happen. I would have more sympathy if I looked over during question period and saw every member of the Conservative caucus being a part of the debate.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:30 [p.7224]
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We have a point of order from the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.
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View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2022-06-23 12:30 [p.7224]
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Madam Speaker, as you have referenced quite a number of times in this place, one cannot do indirectly what they cannot do directly. I would simply ask for your guidance.
We have heard the government House leader and a number of other members from the government side reference that members have not been present when they are engaged in certain virtual aspects of the rules that have been adopted by this place. I would refer to the motion that was adopted. It says members are able to use virtual Parliament in full status as members of this place. To somehow suggest that some votes are more important than others, or to note the presence or absence of a member, is contrary to the rules and orders of this place. I would urge that this sort of conduct not be allowed in the context of this debate.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:31 [p.7225]
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On both sides of the House, we have had this argument. Members of the official opposition and of other opposition parties, and members within the government, have mentioned that not everyone is in the House. Members should not do indirectly what they cannot do directly, but hon. members are not specifically indicating who is and who is not in the House. If they were specifically indicating who is not in the House, that would be different.
I want to remind members to try to avoid using those lines. The hon. member is quite right that anybody who is participating virtually is considered to be in the House.
The hon. member for Kings—Hants has 30 seconds to finish his thoughts.
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View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2022-06-23 12:32 [p.7225]
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Madam Speaker, I think this is extremely relevant for the debate about virtual Parliament. Objectively, all recognized parties in the House have used the tools that have been made available over the last number of months.
There are two distinct periods. There is the COVID period, which we are not completely out of. Then there is one when we look at how the tools have been used to modernize Parliament.
Does the opposition House leader believe that there are some elements to what we have done over the past two years that are helpful for modernizing Parliament? Why is he so against having a study to examine that in full, including ways in which the opposition can get its point of view across on how best it can hold the government to account?
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:32 [p.7225]
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Madam Speaker, the fact is that constitutionally Ottawa is the seat of power. It is the seat of Parliament, and this is where people are expected to be.
Do I think that going hybrid during COVID served a purpose? I explained very well in my discourse last night that at the height of the pandemic, yes, it did serve a purpose because there were many unknowns at that point. There were agreements among all the parties to move, and I give full credit to the administrative staff.
However, in terms of what we are dealing with today, we are normalizing this process of a hybrid Parliament in the fall when no other legislatures around the world or even in this country are doing it. Why are we dealing with this now? If we want to talk about how to modernize Parliament, we can do that, and the procedure and House affairs committee is the proper venue for it.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2022-06-23 12:33 [p.7225]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the leader of the official opposition for his speech.
I would like to hear his thoughts on the leader of the government's comments about the Quebec nation, which I felt were condescending.
This evening is when we would normally be celebrating Quebec's national holiday in Montreal, Quebec City and elsewhere. We leave June 23 on the calendar for any emergencies we have to deal with, such as the passport situation. Was this motion that urgent? I do not think so.
I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on the following. The House is governed by two things: rules and practice. The rule is that we sit on June 23, but in practice we do not sit, as a matter of basic respect. The leader of the government will rise in the House in a few months to ask for unanimous consent to finish earlier so the Liberal members can attend the Liberal convention.
How is the Liberal convention more important than the Quebec nation?
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:34 [p.7225]
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Madam Speaker, this discussion came up a couple of weeks ago in a House leaders' meeting. The leader of the House for the Bloc Québécois made it explicitly clear to the government House leader that this was important, just as it is for our members from Quebec, because this is a holiday of great importance within Quebec. At the time we talked about it, there was no indication that we were going to be dealing with Motion No. 19. In fact, what the Liberals did was put it on notice Monday evening knowing that the debate would eventually roll into Thursday, with the vote scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
I want to assure my hon. colleague that we have done everything we can to ensure that the vote happens as early as possible, with an understanding for not just Bloc Québécois members but our members from Quebec, who understand how important the fête nationale is in Quebec. I am just sorry that the Liberal government House leader does not realize or understand how important it is. Basically, what he did—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:36 [p.7225]
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We need time for other questions.
The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.
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View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2022-06-23 12:36 [p.7225]
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Madam Speaker, listening to the opposition House leader for the last 20 minutes or half an hour has truly inspired me to nominate him for a Pulitzer Prize in fiction.
As 119 MPs have ultimately become irrelevant because they are wrong on this issue and on every issue, I can understand the bitterness of the member across the way. However, if we were to listen to him and his objection to the NDP fighting for pharmacare or dental care, which are things that will help Canadians, and if we accepted the Conservatives' outdated arguments, we would never have progress in this place. We would not have achievements on child care, health care or LGBTQ rights.
My question is simple. With his members hosting convoy organizers on the Hill, how can Canadians take the member and his party seriously?
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:37 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her understanding of how deep the abyss of irrelevance will be once the Canadian electorate gets a hold of the New Democrats in the next election after they made a deal with the Liberals. The Liberals were sent here with 32% of the vote. It was only because the Prime Minister did not receive a majority government that he decided to invite the NDP to be a coalition partner.
If these things become true, I will eat my words. Promises were made by the Liberal government to the NDP, but the Liberals have never lived up to a promise they have been able to keep. The country is in chaos and calamity. Even the most basic services are not being delivered. If the New Democrats think they are going to get their way out of this, they are sadly wrong and they will be irrelevant in the next election.
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View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2022-06-23 12:38 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join this debate. I have been listening intently over the last hour or so to what has been discussed in the House, and I heard the government House leader say that we will be able to look at this at PROC in the fall. However, the rule is going to be in place until June 23, 2023. I do not know where the Liberals come from, but where I come from, we do not make a rule and then study it to make another rule when it has already been put in place.
Their argument here is irrelevant. If they want PROC to study this in September, why are they putting in this piece of legislation now so that the rule stays until June 23, 2023?
It does not make any sense, so I would like our House leader to explain it to us.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:38 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, I sat on PROC when we studied this at the beginning of the pandemic. The concern was always that this was going to become more permanent in nature, and I believe it is the goal of not just the Liberal government but its partners in the NDP to make this more permanent.
There were other concerns as well. Members may use this not to come here so that in close ridings they can perpetually electioneer. I suspect that this is probably going to be the case for the NDP and the Liberals.
As I said last night about somebody who wants to be in their community, this is a transcontinental country, and the expectation is that when we get elected here, we are going to come to Ottawa. If members want to be in their riding, they can run for mayor, run for council or run for public school trustee. They should not run for MP, because the expectation is that they will need to be here.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2022-06-23 12:39 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. official opposition House leader, COVID is not over. My husband is at home right now extremely sick because he tested positive for COVID. I tested myself this morning and the test came up negative. I do not want to put people at risk.
We can look casually and google for scientific advice right now, today. The hon. opposition House leader tells us that there is no scientific evidence, but he is willfully blind. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is saying that it fears another outbreak. There is what is happening right now in Portugal. There are warnings from Dr. Zain Chagla at McMaster and from Dr. Isaac Bogoch, whom we have been following very carefully. He says to look at the waste-water data.
This is a virus that mutates. That is what it does. It does not mutate to milder and milder; it sometimes mutates milder, sometimes worse. What I have seen in this place since March 13, 2020, when we adjourned because of COVID, is that every measure to adapt has seen a big parliamentary fight, so deciding this now saves us time in the fall.
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:41 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, the only way I will respond is to note that other legislatures around the world, such as the U.S. Congress and our mother Parliament, have all resumed to normal, in-person sittings. Why should they be any different from us?
I would be glad to take a question from the member for Kingston and the Islands.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:41 [p.7226]
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I am sorry, but we have to resume debate.
We have a point of order from the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-06-23 12:41 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for one more question to be taken by the member for Barrie—Innisfil.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:41 [p.7226]
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Is it agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-06-23 12:42 [p.7226]
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Madam Speaker, I am wondering if the opposition House leader can try to clarify something for me.
When we had a motion this morning to move to orders of the day, 66 Conservatives voted remotely and 44 voted in person. This is public data available on the website. When we voted on the motion for closure, 52 Conservatives voted remotely. That means 14 Conservatives were within a 10-minute walk of this place and were able to get over here, as they had previously voted remotely.
Can the opposition House leader please explain to the House how the Conservatives can be so dead set against this technology when they are routinely using it?
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View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
2022-06-23 12:42 [p.7227]
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Madam Speaker, I want to show how little respect I have for this member: I will take the next question now.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:43 [p.7227]
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Order, please.
I am recognizing a point of order, and it is not the one from the parliamentary secretary.
The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is rising on a point of order.
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View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2022-06-23 12:43 [p.7227]
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Madam Speaker, I know I do not need to point this out to you, but Standing Order 18 says that “No member shall speak disrespectfully” of another member. That is not just using foul language or calling someone a name; it is also saying, as the hon. member just said, he has so little respect for the member that he is leaving. I am sorry, but that violates Standing Order 18.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2022-06-23 12:44 [p.7227]
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I appreciate the point of order from the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I want to remind members to please be respectful to each other. We are at the end of the session and today is the last day, and I am sure the Clerks are going to be happy to have a bit of a break, as all of us will.
I ask members to please be respectful to each other, and to allow the hon. member for La Prairie to have the floor at this point.
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2022-06-23 12:44 [p.7227]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Joliette.
Once again, we are debating a motion aimed at extending hybrid parliamentary proceedings. Let me make one thing clear: Hybrid Parliament is not a cure-all. There are a number of problems with the format. It was supposed to be temporary, and I hope that is still the intention.
First, there are the interpretation problems. On several occasions, the interpretation has stopped working or interpreters have fallen ill for various reasons. This format is extremely demanding on our human resources. We must be aware of that.
Second, there is the matter of accountability. The government is hiding behind a two-dimensional format. It is always easier for ministers to hide their incompetence behind a screen than in person. It is a little less embarrassing. That is one of the reasons the Liberal Party likes the hybrid format so much. It is a way of dodging accountability. As we know, this government does not like Parliament. It does not like to talk or negotiate. It would rather impose its own law.
This was a minority government. Thanks to the NDP, it became a majority government and, thanks to the government House leader, it is now an authoritarian government. There are no more negotiations, but the extension of the hybrid Parliament is something that should be negotiated by common agreement or consensus. We are changing the way Parliament operates. That is a big deal. I am not wrong in saying that it has changed.
Democracy requires that ministers and members be present. That way, we can do more parliamentary work and discuss current files and future committees. We can do that when we are here in person. This is a government that likes to run away. Considering all of the disasters Quebeckers and Canadians are going through because of this government, the reason is obvious. This government is just plain incompetent.
The day before yesterday, June 21, we ran into problems with the hybrid format. That shows just how fragile it is. The Bloc Québécois wanted to be able to continue to do our parliamentary work during the pandemic, but we would have liked to have more of a discussion about extending the hybrid Parliament, instead of having it imposed on us like the government is doing today. It was not urgent.
Lastly, we hope, and in fact we know, that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will be looking at the extension of the hybrid Parliament to determine what will happen next. They should be able to see that it is not going too well. There are a number of problems.
What do the other parties think?
As I mentioned, the Liberals do not want anything to do with Parliament. They do not want to hold discussions, so they like the idea of continuing in hybrid format. The government's position is as follows: less time in Parliament and more virtual answers, which is far easier. If the Liberals had their way, Parliament would stay hybrid until the end of time.
Why are we talking about a hybrid Parliament?
We are talking about it because of the pandemic, and yet, when we ask the New Democrats why they want a hybrid Parliament, they do not even mention the pandemic. They talk about improving work-life balance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The NDP government—because, yes, the NDP is now part of the government—agreed to the Bay du Nord project and to increased subsidies for the Trans Mountain pipeline, and now the NDP members come along and tell us that we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
As the House leader of the official opposition said, the truth is that the New Democrats want to stay home because they live far away, and flying hurts their ears. That is their position. They like to participate, but from a distance.
The reality is that elected members of Parliament are accountable. We have responsibilities and obligations towards our constituents. Sitting in Parliament is the primary responsibility. Hiding behind a screen will not make us work any better. No one here believes that, but that is the position the NDP government has taken.
The Bloc Québécois believes that the virtual mode should not be the norm, it should be the exception in a context of COVID-19. People should be able to participate virtually if they have the virus or if they have been in contact with someone who does. Virtual mode should be used only in those cases. There are several members we have barely seen for two years. Why is that? Do they have eternal COVID? Did they dive into a little pool full of COVID? Did they make friends with two viruses and start going around with them all the time? That is the reality. I will not name any names, but we know who they are and, above all, we know which party does this.
If we want to make this about work-life balance, if we want to use less gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then it will be up to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to discuss it and to decide if we will have a permanent hybrid Parliament.
With respect to the NDP members' thinking, the pandemic is not the real reason for this. They want a permanent hybrid Parliament, and we do not agree with that.
Why are we talking about this on June 23? We have been co-operating with the government for more than two weeks so that we could rise for the summer today. Remember, Parliament voted to recognize the Quebec nation. Saint-Jean-Baptiste festivities are taking place today and tomorrow, and we do not understand why we are being forced to sit when this almost never happens. I think it has happened four times in the last 40 years.
We asked the leader of the government to postpone this discussion until the fall for three reasons. First, that is how it has been done since forever. The start of the session is when we determine how the House will operate. Second, there is no rush, because we are going back to our respective ridings. Finally, it would allow us to gather more information.
The Liberals said earlier that we are in a pandemic and we do not know what the future holds. All the more reason to wait and gather information for three months, in order to make more informed decisions, but they are talking about extending the hybrid Parliament for a year. Would we still need a year or six months? Perhaps by September, we would have had more answers, and more intelligent ones, to our questions. The Liberals clearly do not care much about intelligent answers. Just look at the passport situation.
We therefore suggested that we postpone the discussion until the fall because we have some problems with the hybrid Parliament model. As I said earlier, we view this model as an impediment to democracy and do not think it should be the norm. I am repeating this, because it is important. The hybrid model must be an exception.
Looking back, there is one point I want to bring up. I know that the member for Kingston and the Islands enjoys making lists of who votes and who does not vote. He is not concerned about his own party, but no matter. When Bloc Québécois members were not in the House, it was usually because, with few exceptions, they had caught COVID‑19 or had been in close contact with someone who had it. We always viewed hybrid Parliament as an exception. We are trying to set an example. We believe in walking the talk. The government's recognition of the Quebec nation cannot be all talk. It needs to take action. Once again, the government has failed to walk the talk.
For all these reasons, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the motion.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2022-06-23 12:53 [p.7228]
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Mr. Speaker, last week, I was unable to participate here on the floor of the House of Commons because I had tested positive. Fortunately, now I am testing negative, so I did have a bout of COVID-19. I was able to participate here by using hybrid Parliament. That was just last week. I had the opportunity to address a number of issues on the floor. It also enabled me to vote.
To try to wish away the pandemic is highly irresponsible. Believe it or not, we will continue to have the pandemic over the next couple of months at the very least. What we are doing is affording members of the House the chance to demonstrate leadership to their constituents by not having to go into a certain environment. I would not have wanted to come in here, having tested positive, to deliver a speech or to vote. That demonstrates leadership, and that is the type of leadership we should be demonstrating to our constituents.
Does the member not agree that it was the responsible thing for me to do to be here by the hybrid method, as opposed to being here in person, because I tested positive last week?
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2022-06-23 12:55 [p.7228]
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Mr. Speaker, the member for Winnipeg North says that that demonstrates leadership. I thank him for that. He demonstrated leadership because he is an exception.
As I explained, we support the idea of members who have COVID-19 not coming to the House in person but still being able to do their work. If my colleague had listened more carefully, he would have understood that I support that way of doing things, and so I commend him for his actions.
Yes, the member for Winnipeg North is often in the House. We are well aware that. When I noticed last week that he was not physically present in the House and was participating virtually, I knew something must have happened, and I figured he had COVID-19. No one could ever say that he does not do his job in Parliament.
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, we talk about responsibility and we talk about tradition. I just wonder what the member thinks about the message when we talk about leadership. I think the message we are sending to Canadians when we say “If you're sick, you still need to come to work” is quite a regressive approach. Should that be the message we are sending to our constituents?
I often talk to my nephew Andy about the importance of leadership. Is it not real leadership to set an example that when people are sick they should stay home and get better? Then we could use the traditions of this place, like pairing, so that members can recover with the support of their parliamentary colleagues. Is that not a better approach, instead of the usual practice that we have come to see of people hiding from Parliament, hiding from accountability and using this virtual Parliament option to dodge their responsibilities?
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2022-06-23 12:57 [p.7229]
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Mr. Speaker, that is somewhat related to what I was saying. Of course, during a pandemic, people might get COVID-19 and be contagious. In such cases, it is appropriate for them to be able to continue working virtually.
That being said, when the pandemic is over or becomes much less severe, will we still need a hybrid model, or will we be able to just go back to the approach my colleague mentioned?
There needs to be a discussion among the leaders, across party lines, to determine the best way to proceed. We need to have healthy discussions that will keep the parliamentary spirit alive in Parliament. That is what Quebeckers and Canadians expect of us.
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View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
2022-06-23 12:58 [p.7229]
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Mr. Speaker, we know that summer is approaching and that today is a busy day. We also know that some of our colleagues have had COVID‑19 these past few days and weeks.
I attended an activity this week during which I was seated at the head table. Yesterday, the participants received a call telling them to get tested, because several people had contracted COVID‑19 during some of the week's events.
We know that we are still at risk. We are still in a pandemic, and our government was careful and instituted a hybrid Parliament. All summer, we will be mingling with our constituents at events.
I would like to ask my colleague whether he agrees that the activities we are attending this summer will do nothing to lower the number of COVID‑19 cases that we might see on our return and that it is therefore reasonable to make this decision today.
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View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2022-06-23 12:59 [p.7229]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague wants to know whether it is reasonable to make this decision today. How would waiting until September to make this decision change any of his rhetoric? It would not change a thing.
On the contrary, let us wait and see whether COVID‑19 continues. If it does, we could extend hybrid Parliament for another year. However, if we see that the pandemic is fading away, we could extend the hybrid mode for just six months. We will have some decisions to make, but we have all summer to gather the necessary information to make the best possible decision in September.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2022-06-23 13:00 [p.7229]
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Mr. Speaker, today, June 23, and tomorrow, Quebeckers will gather to celebrate. I invite everyone to proudly celebrate our national holiday. The large celebrations in Quebec City and Montreal will be held tonight.
In my riding, we will be celebrating this evening in Joliette, Saint-Charles-Borromée, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Rawdon, Crabtree, Saint-Michel-des-Saints and Sainte-Marcelline.
After two years of the pandemic, this national holiday is a very good occasion to get back to proudly celebrating together our love for Quebec and for our national language.
The 188th celebration will bring people together and inspire them. This year's theme is “One Language, a Thousand Accents”, which refers to the immense richness that our beautiful language contributes to Quebec culture and identity. Quebec society is vibrant, innovative and open to the future. We want our nation to develop in French. In that regard, I want to quote Michel Tremblay from today's edition of the Journal de Montréal:
I looked for a new argument to warn against the danger to the French language in Quebec. It seemed to me that everything had already been said and repeated. Then I remembered the last verses of Émile Nelligan's Vaisseau d’or: What has my heart become, thus set adrift at sea? Alas, that ship has sunk in an abyss of dreams! We must not let the French language sink in an abyss of dreams; we must make it flourish, we must make it prevail.
I would also like to take a moment to quote Gilles Vigneault, who was also published in the Journal de Montréal:
Language is like a country, both nomadic and sedentary!
Words, like its inhabitants, travel around the world.
If you recognize them, if these are your words,
They are your passport; this is your country!
Everyone's country is a strange thing
That sleeps through the long winter, like a rose in the garden, only to wake up in the spring, after I'd nearly forgotten about it
Creating a garden that is both numerous and singular
It is, simultaneously: house, garden, ship,
The ocean, the fountain and the tree and the paper.
No sooner had these words come off the pen
Than I heard the wind. A tacking sail
Is inviting me to prepare for a long journey...
What do words offer to the entire planet,
In space and time, where borders don't matter...
Should we leave at night or at daybreak?
The smallest window becomes a mirror in the dead of night
And reflects back to me the words I need to know myself.
At dawn...we have to believe someone is waiting for us, somewhere. Lutetia, Athens, Rome...are they part of my history?
The word LANGUAGE, immense and deep territory, will tell me where I come from, where I'm going...so I'm off!
Before I quoted those two giants, a few moments ago I said “we will be celebrating” in my riding. However, I probably cannot include myself in that “we”, because we here in the House are likely to be sitting late again tonight.
The thing is, in Quebec, local, national and federal elected representatives usually attend the celebrations. It is a perfect opportunity to meet the people we represent. I will not be able to do that this year. We will not be able to do it after two years of a pandemic. We asked the government to wrap things up earlier this afternoon by adopting the Friday schedule, but it refused. The Leader of the Government had zero interest in accommodating our request. Why? Because we have to debate this motion.
The government wants to extend the hybrid Parliament by a year. It seems to think this is a pressing issue that we cannot just discuss when we come back at the end of the summer. This government and its leader stubbornly opted to prevent Quebec members from celebrating our national holiday with our constituents. That speaks volumes about the Liberals' respect for Quebec. That is how Canada recognizes the Quebec nation. We will remember this.
Throughout the spring, the government has been ramping up the number of gag orders to get bills passed quickly. The House did not have to sit late tonight. However, the government and its leader do not care about my nation. I think it is best to describe this government with bird names, which is about all it deserves: mockingbird, cuckoo, woodcock, dodo, cuckold, chicken, tufted tit-tyrant, little bustard, horned screamer, smew, turkey and vulture. I will stop there, even though it is deserving of more.
Their insensitivity is not unrelated to the fact that this session has been marked by a clash of values between the federal government and Quebec, as well as by the ineptitude of a Liberal party that is struggling to keep the government functioning at the most basic level. The Prime Minister has made it official: He intends to attack Quebec's Bill 21 on state secularism, as well as Quebec's Bill 96 on the protection of French.
He introduced a bill on official languages that does not protect French in Quebec but instead protects the right to anglicize federal workplaces. He condoned reducing the political weight of the Quebec nation in the Parliament of Canada.
This government embodies the clash between the values of Canada and Quebec on every issue. We in the Bloc Québécois will continue our work, which is now more essential than ever, to defend and promote Quebec's interests.
This session made it clear just how incompetent the federal government is. If governing means looking ahead, the passport crisis paints a picture of a worn-out government caucus that is struggling to provide even basic services to Quebeckers.
The number of Liberal ministers who have been in the hot seat at the end of this session because of embarrassing mistakes is worrisome. This government is incapable of being proactive. It would rather make grand gestures in front of the camera than ensure the sound day-to day management of the country's affairs.
What is more, the Liberals seem to have knowingly lied to Quebeckers and Canadians about the greenhouse gas reduction targets and invoking the Emergencies Act at the request of police.
We asked for more powers for Quebec in the area of immigration from an unwilling government.
We noted the resistance of federal parties to state secularism when we proposed abolishing the prayer in the House.
We raised the debate about ideological criteria being imposed on funding for scientific research, which the government refused to consider.
The Bloc Québécois voiced the concerns of Quebeckers on gun violence, in particular by introducing Bill C‑279 to create a list of criminal organizations when faced with a federal government that has a lax approach to gun trafficking and organized crime.
We also advocated for the environment in a Canadian Parliament that, in the midst of the climate crisis, supports the Bay du Nord oil project.
We also continued to fight for increased funding for health care and the abolition of two classes of seniors by increasing old age security for people aged 65 and over.
If the Liberals wanted to convince Quebeckers that they have everything to gain by looking after all their public matters themselves, they would not go about it any other way. They used the artificial majority they gained with the NDP's support to oppose Quebec. Quebeckers have taken note. We will remember.
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View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
2022-06-23 13:07 [p.7230]
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Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talked about events in his riding that he will not be able to attend now because the House is sitting. However, I would argue that this is the beauty of a hybrid Parliament, that members would be able to attend and also do their job here in the House.
I was impacted by that, as June 6 was the first anniversary of the death of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario. I was able to go and be with my community, mourn with my community and commemorate this incredible family, yet I was also able to give a statement in the House to commemorate them via hybrid Parliament.
Maybe the member could talk about the actual realities and the incredible opportunities that this provides us as members of Parliament to be able to do both jobs, in our communities and in the House of Commons.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2022-06-23 13:08 [p.7230]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her remarks, but I do not agree with her assertion.
The Bloc Québécois believes the hybrid Parliament is for when people have COVID‑19 or are in contact with people who have it and could be contagious. We can use the hybrid model until the pandemic is over. We see no urgent need to adopt this motion today, June 23, when everyone in Quebec is celebrating our nation.
When there are important events to celebrate in our ridings, the hybrid model certainly enables us to be there, and my heart goes out to my colleague regarding the events she mentioned. However, what we are talking about right now is every single MP from Quebec, who should all be in their ridings.
It is important to distinguish between rules and practices. The rule says we must sit, but common practice is to adjourn early or not sit at all. The Leader of the Government has no desire at all to accommodate the Quebec nation. We will remember that next time he asks us to be accommodating so the Liberals can adjourn early for the Liberal Party convention, as is the practice.
We will remember that the Liberals are no more important than the Quebec nation.
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View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2022-06-23 13:09 [p.7231]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for London—Fanshawe for pointing out the rich hypocrisy with respect to the argument from the Bloc. Yes, those members could be in their ridings and, using hybrid Parliament right now, could still participate.
More importantly, if this member and his colleagues would just stop speaking, I am sure that we would see a vote on this, and we would be done. I am not aware of any other government business, so he could be home in time to participate in the festivities that he has planned. The only people who are really talking about this right now are the Conservatives and the Bloc. In the interest of allowing us to get to a vote, would the member be willing to stop talking so that we can do that?
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2022-06-23 13:10 [p.7231]
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Mr. Speaker, he says that while standing up, taking the time to ask a question and prolonging the debate. Then he calls us hypocrites. It is unbelievable.
That is it, cut the debate short. There is nothing else to say.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2022-06-23 13:11 [p.7231]
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Mr. Speaker, I am completely flabbergasted that the government member does not want to have a debate. That is the antithesis of what we are supposed to do here. He must have misspoken, and I am certain he will stand up, apologize and withdraw his words.
I liked the member for Joliette's comments, as always, but not all of them. I found his Captain Haddock approach of attacking people by calling them bird names a bit strange. I have nothing against birds, but I am not sure why he was using bird names for people who, in my opinion, do not deserve that much respect.
As a Quebecker, as someone who has to celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, how does it feel to be here in the House of Commons today?
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2022-06-23 13:11 [p.7231]
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Mr. Speaker, yes, we would have preferred to be in our ridings to celebrate our national holiday, but as elected representatives, obviously we have a duty to be here in Parliament to debate.
We would have preferred that this debate on extending the hybrid model take place at another time. There was no need to rush this motion through. We could have had this debate in the fall, especially since the work was going smoothly.
The less debate there is in the House, the better off the government is, because it is not held to account. However, that is not why we are here. As for the bird names, they are often considered insults in French.
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View Jean-Denis Garon Profile
BQ (QC)
View Jean-Denis Garon Profile
2022-06-23 13:12 [p.7231]
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Mr. Speaker, the party of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands throws a motion in our face on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, while also saying that if the debate goes on too long, it will be our own fault because we talk too much. I would like to know whether the member for Joliette would prefer that the member for Kingston and the Islands speak a little less once in a while.
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