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View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2021-11-26 10:04
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In light of the special order that was agreed to by the House yesterday, I would like to take the opportunity to share some of the best practices for participating in the proceedings remotely.
Members are responsible for ensuring that their Internet connection and audio quality are strong to allow them to participate. A wired connection is more reliable than Wi-Fi, and using a computer provided by the House is a better option than using a tablet or cellphone. Using a headset with an integrated microphone will ensure the best sound quality, which is essential for allowing our interpreters to do their work safely. If you have not been provided a headset, please let our IT team know.
If there is a problem with a member’s audio or video feed during their intervention, the Chair will interrupt the proceedings momentarily while the technical issue is being addressed. If the member is unable to start or resume the intervention fairly quickly, debate will continue by proceeding to the next member on the rotation list unless there is agreement to accommodate the member having the technical trouble.
To avoid such situations and allow the House administration to provide the necessary assistance, I remind members participating by videoconference to connect well in advance of their scheduled intervention.
The Chair wishes to remind members that virtual sittings are an extension of the proceedings of the House and that their conduct must respect our rules and practices, even if they are participating remotely. As soon as a member connects to a virtual sitting and opens their camera, they are considered to be, for all intents and purposes, in the House.
The dress code remains the same as for members participating in person. The prohibition against using props also applies, and members should ensure that they use a neutral background. Members are not to take screenshots of the proceedings, just as members in the House cannot take photos.
Members should keep their microphone turned off unless they have been recognized by the Chair. Turning on their microphone to interrupt a member who has been properly recognized is not appropriate, as this interrupts both the audio and video feed. I thank members for their co-operation and remind them that the IT support team is available to assist with any technical issues they may have.
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
moved that Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, is it ever good to be back here.
It is my pleasure to rise in the House to discuss Bill C-2, an act to provide further support in response to COVID-19. However, before I get into the substance of Bill C-2, I would like to say a few words of thanks to the residents of Edmonton Centre for once again giving me the great honour of representing them in this chamber. I also want to offer my love and deep thanks to my partner David, to my family and friends and to the countless volunteers who made today possible. Serving Edmontonians, serving the city I love, is the single greatest honour of my life. My remarkable community, on the banks of North Saskatchewan River, is back at the table here in Ottawa.
I would like to take the chamber back in time to a moment in 2020 and the beginning of the global pandemic. Canadians were asked to take unprecedented actions to keep each other safe, forgoing celebrating life's milestones, forgoing time together with family, forgoing so many of the things that bring joy to each of our lives. We saw front-line workers answer the call of duty, doing double and triple shifts to support our society and keep people safe. We faced an emergency that required widespread lockdowns, threatened millions of Canadians' ability to work and put at risk hundreds of thousands of businesses.
To respond to this unprecedented moment, our government took unprecedented action. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, and thanks to the collective efforts of so many, we worked tirelessly to put in place a comprehensive suite of measures to support Canadian workers and businesses. Our income, wage and rent support programs kept households afloat, kept millions of Canadians in their jobs and allowed hundreds of thousands of businesses to keep going through the darkest days of the pandemic.
These are not just empty numbers. These are real people who were able to put food on their tables and real businesses that kept their doors open. It is the woman I met door knocking back in Edmonton during the election campaign who told me to look at the three houses to the left of hers, the three houses to the right and her own home. She said that if it were not for the government supports, the whole block might have lost their homes. It is the Credo Coffee shop on 124 Street, with two other locations, run by Geoff, Andrew and the team. They have been able to continue to provide incredible service and “caffeinations” to Edmontonians, including their member of Parliament.
Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of Canadians and our health care workers, we are now seeing better days. Vaccination rates are high, approaching 80% of eligible Canadians; children are beginning to get their doses; grandparents are getting boosters; and our health care system is finding more and more ways to treat the virus. Schools are back in session and businesses across the country are reopening. Canada has now recovered 101% of the jobs lost in the depths of the COVID-19 recession, compared with just 81% in the United States. I want to applaud the work of my friend and colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, whose stewardship of our economy has put hope back on the horizon for so many Canadians. In short, our government took action, and it worked.
However, we also understand that there are some sectors of the economy that continue to need support. With the public health situation still unpredictable, we need to make sure there are targeted supports that enable Canadians to continue to take the necessary precautions to save lives, including necessary public health restrictions that limit some economic activity. The time has come to adapt federal support measures to these new and improved circumstances. These were temporary emergency measures and were always meant to be just that: for emergencies.
Bill C‑2 will therefore make it possible for the government to implement targeted measures to support those who still need help.
As parliamentarians, we have a duty once again to take action and deliver important targeted support measures that will ensure Canadian workers and businesses that have not yet been fully able to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need. Bill C-2 would do just that.
Like the measures for businesses, the assistance programs for Canadians will be targeted to meet the needs of those who still need help. We see that the fourth wave of the pandemic is hitting some regions of the country extra hard. It is still possible that public health officials will impose new temporary lockdowns in some regions in the coming weeks or months.
We are therefore proposing to immediately implement a program on which Canadians can depend should the need arise.
This new proposed program is the Canada worker lockdown benefit. As the Canada recovery benefit has done, this new targeted program would provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers. It would snap into action to support employees unable to work because of a local lockdown any time until May 2022, and eligible workers would be able to access it retroactively to October 24. The program would be available to workers who do not qualify for employment insurance and also to those who do qualify, provided they are not receiving EI benefits for that same period.
That is one way we are helping, but we know that Canadians may also need continued support from the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit, because we all need to protect ourselves and our family, friends and co-workers by staying home when we are sick. Furthermore, many children still cannot be vaccinated and are therefore particularly vulnerable, which means parents need to be able to stay home to take care of them.
That is why we want to extend the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit until May 7, 2022. Bill C‑2 will also increase the maximum duration of these benefits by two weeks.
We know that what Canadians want most are good jobs, so we need to make sure Canadian businesses, especially small businesses, have the support they need.
This bill would extend the Canada recovery hiring program until May 7, 2022, at an increased 50% subsidy rate. This would encourage businesses to continue to rehire workers, increase their hours and create the additional jobs Canada needs for a full recovery from the COVID-19 recession.
That said, the government is aware that some businesses are unable to resume all their activities and create those jobs because of the public health measures that, as I said, are necessary to protect Canadians.
We are therefore proposing two new support programs targeting specific types of businesses in order to promote economic recovery. In both cases, the businesses must show that they experienced significant revenue declines during the first 12 months of the pandemic as well as the current month.
I will start with the tourism and hospitality recovery program, which will help hotels, restaurants and travel agencies still grappling with public health restrictions and the fact that people are travelling less because of the measures in place.
The Canada emergency wage subsidy and Canada emergency rent subsidy rate for these businesses will be 40% for those with a current-month revenue loss of 40%. The rate can go as high as 75% depending on revenue loss.
On that subject, allow me to pause for a few moments on what this means for our tourism sector. Since taking on the role of Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, I have been moved by the passion and pride of those in the tourism sector for the work they do. As a former business owner, I too have felt that passion and pride and know the anxiety and heartache that comes when a person's life's work is placed in jeopardy by forces beyond their control.
These tourism businesses, these tour operators, are the people who tell our story to the world. They make possible the memorable experiences people carry with them for the rest of their lives.
However, this incredible industry was dealt a body blow by the global pandemic. In 2020, revenues declined almost 50%, from $104.4 billion to $53.4 billion, and jobs directly attributable to tourism decreased 41%, from 692,000 to 409,000, in the same period. Revenue projections for summer 2021 are expected to be about half of summer 2019 revenues.
However, even with these challenges, Canada's tourism sector is moving forward and our whole government recognizes the vital role that tourism plays in providing employment and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, and further fuelling economic growth. In short, the Canadian economy will not fully recover until the tourism sector recovers.
With government support, businesses in this sector are starting to get ready to welcome Canadians back to experience the great places and activities this country has to offer. This support includes the measures introduced in budget 2021 to support the tourism sector, totalling $1 billion over three years.
This included $500 million over two years flowing through the regional development agencies to help our hard-hit tourism businesses adapt their products and services and invest in future growth. It also included $200 million through the regional development agencies to support them and help ensure Canada continues to draw millions of visitors from all over the world to our large arts and cultural festivals and major events. This has ensured that they can continue to celebrate Canada's artistic excellence and unique character. To draw visitors to our smaller local festivals and events, as part of this package Canadian Heritage also received $200 million.
While the country is opening up, the organizations that host artistic, heritage and sport events and exhibits have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic and many Canadian artists and cultural workers have struggled to find work. With reduced revenues, many heritage, arts and sports organizations run the risk of not surviving through to the other side of the pandemic without additional support. We promised our tourism sector we would get it through to the end of this pandemic. With this suite of measures and the new supports contained in Bill C-2, we have delivered.
The other program we are proposing is the hardest-hit business recovery program. It would be available to employers in all sectors who have faced deep and enduring losses. The wage and rent subsidy rate in this case would start at 10% for applicants experiencing a 50% current period revenue loss. It would increase to a maximum of 50% for those with a current period revenue decline of 75% or higher.
In addition, we are proposing a new local lockdown program that would provide rent and wage support of up to 75% for organizations that face temporary local lockdowns and experience current month revenue losses above 40%. Support through these programs would be available from October 24, 2021, to May 7 of next year.
Fighting COVID-19, and the lockdowns it required to save lives, demanded historic government spending in Canada and around the world. It was a historic crisis, and Canadians supported that extraordinary spending because they understood that it was not only the compassionate thing to do, but the economically smart thing to do.
Our government delivered the economic support that has prevented the sort of economic scarring that followed the 2008 recession, and that would have done permanent damage to our economy and to our communities. Most importantly, these investments in our country saved lives. Today, more targeted support is required. We must adapt to provide help where it is needed, while also prudently and carefully managing government spending.
The measures in this bill will support Canadians and businesses still feeling the effects of the pandemic.
Together we have led much of our economy through the worst of this pandemic. Our actions have made it possible for our businesses to survive this once-in-a-century crisis. We have come so far and now we need to get the job done. This difficult journey is approaching its final mile. I call on all members to support this vital legislation and get our tourism and hardest-hit sectors home safe.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2021-11-26 10:22
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Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you on your appointment. I also want to congratulate the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance on his re-election. It is a pleasure to see him in the House, for he is always cheerful and makes himself available to opposition members.
We in the Bloc Québécois believe that targeted and predictable measures are needed, as the minister said, and that is what we find in Bill C‑2. However, support measures for self-employed workers, particularly in the cultural sector, are conspicuously absent from this bill.
What measures does the government plan to introduce for self-employed workers in the cultural sector?
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and for his unwavering support for the cultural sector. My door is always open, and I would be very happy to discuss this issue with him.
I would remind the House that I had the immense honour of serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in 2015 and 2016. I really appreciated the hard work of the cultural sector and the fact that it accounts for 3.5% of our GDP and employs over 600,000 people.
This government is here for self-employed workers in the cultural sector. We must be there for the workers and for the businesses. We are committed to supporting these employees and we will continue to do so.
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View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-11-26 10:24
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Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your position. As well, I would like to offer my congratulations to the hon. minister not only on his appointment, but also for his election. I am looking forward to working with him for the first time in this upcoming Parliament.
I appreciate a lot of what the minister had to say about tourism, considering that northern Ontario is home to many tourist operators and tourism is a big part of our economy. I do not have a question for the member, but some comments I am curious to get his thoughts on. When I talked to the tourist outfitters and small businesses in my riding, more than anything they told me that they do not necessarily need government money, but for the government to give them the opportunity to thrive, to look at opportunities to make travel easier not only for Canadians but also for those coming in internationally, and to do what it can to ensure that, come the summer season, businesses will be able to operate and make the money they did prior to COVID.
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I too look forward to working with my hon. colleague across the way to determine how we can boost tourism in northern Ontario and across the country. Several factors are facing us right now as a country: welcoming people to our shores in a way that is safe for Canadians and the travelling public, making sure Canadians feel safe and are safe travelling within our own country, making sure that we can use the supports in Bill C-2 to help the people the hon. member spoke of bridge this winter season, which we hope is the last mile of getting tourism-based businesses through the global pandemic, and welcoming more Canadians to these businesses as well as more people from around the world to Canada.
We are one of the safest jurisdictions in the world to travel to, and that is a pathway we will continue to pursue.
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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Mr. Speaker, when he was talking about the Canada worker lockdown benefit, the minister made the point that it is retroactive to October 23. One of the concerns the New Democrats have about that benefit is that the definition of a lockdown order seems far too restrictive. Our concern is that it may not in fact apply in many cases.
My question for the minister is this. In what regions will workers be eligible to apply retroactively for the Canada worker lockdown benefit for the period between October 23 and the present day?
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I respect the finance critic for his long service in the House. I can say that we will work closely with the regions of health across the country to make sure that if a lockdown is imposed these benefits would be triggered. We in the federal government are not going to dictate to public health sector units how they impose lockdown criteria. That is a champ de compétence for provincial jurisdictions. We need to make sure that when a lockdown is put into place the benefit would be retroactive to that time. Not seeing any such lockdowns in place right now, that benefit would not trigger, so this is a future-forward program. Once the House passes it, should a lockdown take place, those benefits would flow.
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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, congratulations. I also want to congratulate my hon. colleague on a hard-fought election and most importantly on his new posting.
I represent one particular travel agency in Toronto: Islington Travel Agencies. It is a small agency. It had six people working there. The sole owner has kept it open for the last two years. She is the one who is operating it, trying to keep her head above water and move forward.
How is this piece of legislation going to help small travel agencies like that?
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, if I may say, having watched the hon. member's performance in the House over many distinguished years, it is an honour to serve in the House with her again.
This is a suite of services that is designed to focus on the hardest hit sectors. In this case, it is the tourism sector. For small incorporated businesses that are doing their level best to make it through to the end of the pandemic, this suite of services will address their issues should they have seen a 40% or greater reduction from the beginning of the pandemic and a 10% reduction in revenue from the previous month. We are looking at other parts of the ecosystem to see if we can respond, as well.
We have heard from the travel agents in the hon. member's riding, and we will continue to make sure that supports are there for them.
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View Cathay Wagantall Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, it is good to see you in the chair. As well, congratulations to the minister.
I would love to see the lockdown benefits go where they need to go: directly to the people who truly need them. My concern is that, with the CERB, the CRA and EI shut down the software protections that made sure we were tracking funding to make sure it was not going where it should not. That ended up leading to significant theft of Canadian taxpayers' money.
Could the minister assure us that the government is putting those systems back in place, so that this funding would be handled ethically?
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question and for putting her finger on this important issue.
When the pandemic hit, it was incumbent on the government to get money to the people who needed it the most, as quickly as possible. The government made heroic efforts to do exactly that. The introduction of the CERB helped more than eight million Canadians put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
We know that this continues to be a difficult time for many. We will continue to be there for Canadians. As it pertains to those Canadians who were entitled to the CERB, that is a matter that is being worked through with colleagues. We look forward to informing the House of our work on that matter in due course.
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View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate you on your election.
As I rise in the House for the first time in the 44th Parliament, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my constituents in Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques from the bottom of my heart for putting their trust in me a second time.
In the last Parliament I was the tourism critic for the Bloc Québécois. One word that has stayed with me from my interactions with people in the tourism industry is the word predictability.
This bill takes us to the month of July. As hon. members know, July is the next big tourist season for this industry.
I would ask my colleague whether it is possible to make the support for the tourism industry more predictable and to keep it in place until all health measures have been lifted.
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View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his second term.
As far as predictability is concerned, as a former business owner, I know the value of predictability. It is important to note in Bill C‑2 that we want to support businesses until the spring and even into July. We are sure that with the vaccination rate and the economic recovery, we will be able to support businesses until they no longer need it.
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:32
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Mr. Speaker, everybody is asking the same question. Whether it is 28-year-old couples living in their parents' basements because they cannot afford the $300,000 increase in the average house price that occurred since the government took office; or the single mother walking down the grocery aisle noticing that she cannot afford nutritious food for her kids; or the senior who is watching his savings disappear as inflation gallops through his bank account and vaporizes what he spent a lifetime storing away for his golden years, all are asking the same question. Why are prices rising so fast?
Even the finance minister has had the epiphany that there is an inflation crisis. In fact, just last fall, she said that the greater risk was deflation, not inflation. She ignored my warnings to the contrary. She was not alone in that false prophecy. The current and the former Governors of the Bank of Canada, a Liberal journalist and Liberal academics all laughed when I started warning about inflation back in May of 2020.
Before we can answer why prices are rising today, I have to answer the other question that I often get, which is, how did I get it so right when so many others got it so wrong? The answer is that the Liberal academics, journalists and the finance minister relied on ideology; I relied on empirical economic science.
The man who wrote the book on inflation, the empirical economy scientist who won the Nobel Prize for it, Dr. Milton Friedman, published famous graphs in which he demonstrated a nearly perfect correlation between the rise in inflation and the increase in money supply per unit of economic output. He showed in all five of those graphs, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan and Brazil, that the correlation was nearly perfect. When there is more money chasing fewer goods, we always get higher prices.
When I saw the government beginning to print money to pay for exorbitant spending, I knew that inflation was just down the road. The Liberals said that those old rules did not apply, that history was over, that it no longer repeated itself and that they could ignore the thousands of years of economic history, which had demonstrated this correlation again and again, because they had reinvented the laws of economics. I was expecting the Liberals to introduce a bill repealing the law of gravity, given their penchant for thinking they could do away with the laws of economics.
Of course, history has not been repealed. Nor has economic law. The massive influx of cash as a result of a half-a-trillion dollars of deficits has, indeed, driven up prices. This is the funny part. The same people who said that COVID would give us deflation now blame it for inflation. The same doctors who misdiagnosed the disease now can tell us that the disease's cause has nothing to do with them.
What is the cost? Some people say it is supply chain kinks resulting from COVID. They point to the fact that other nations are also getting high levels of inflation, therefore it cannot be the government's fault here at home. The truth is other countries are getting inflation. Those countries that are doing the same stupid things our government is doing are getting a lot of inflation. and the correlation holds up even today.
For example, yesterday the minister pointed out that other G20 countries had high levels of inflation, and she is right about that. Argentina has 52% inflation. Why? It has increased its money supply by 80% in a year and a half. Turkey has 20% inflation. Why? It has increased its money supply by 43%. The Americans south of the border, the money-printing mammoths in Washington, have 6.2% inflation. Why? They have increased their money supply by 35%. In Canada, we have a two-decade-high record of inflation of 4.7%, after we increased money supply by 23%.
In fact, if we put the G20 countries on a graph, we see a near-perfect correlation between money supply growth and inflation. Those countries that have flooded their economies with deficit spending have high inflation and those countries that are also supply chain dependent but have kept their money supply in control have low inflation.
Let me give some examples. Japan's inflation is 0.2%. Why? Its money supply growth has been half of ours in relative terms. Saudi Arabia's inflation is 0.8%. Its money supply growth has been a third of ours. Switzerland has 1.2% inflation. Its money supply growth has been a mere quarter of ours, only 6.5%. In other words, those countries that are not printing money to pay their bills have maintained a low cost of living and an affordable life for their citizens. Those countries that are flooding their economies with cheap cash are driving up the cost of living for their people.
The Liberals will say they had no choice, that COVID made them do it. This will be their excuse for everything. Let us remember that the Prime Minister tried to give half a billion dollars to a group that had paid his family half a million dollars, and the Prime Minister said, “COVID made me do it”.
COVID required that we spend money, but we did not need to have the biggest deficit in the G20. All the other G20 countries had COVID too. COVID did not force the Prime Minister to give CERB cheques to wealthy families that did not need it; to people who could have been working, with over a half a million vacant jobs; to prisoners; to organized criminals; and even to people whom the public servants suspected of making fraudulent applications. He did not have to give wage subsidies to large corporations that had so much money they were simultaneously paying out dividends and bonuses to their executives.
COVID did not force any of that on the government. Those were decisions. The government knew it could not pay for those decisions by simply borrowing from the marketplace. There was not enough money in the whole world to lend the government enough to spend and fulfill its appetites. That is why it directed the Bank of Canada to create the cash out of thin air, which, unfortunately, the bank was all too happy to do, and now we see the consequences.
Now that I have demonstrated the correlation between money supply growth and inflation in the G20 countries, let me show another piece of incontrovertible evidence that our inflation problem is not just the result of supply chain quirks.
This evidence is that the biggest inflation in our economy has been in an area where there is no supply chain: land. Land is not waiting at a port. Land is not stuck on a ship. Land is not held hostage by a COVID outbreak in some faraway place.
Land was supplied to us by geological forces millions of years before we even arrived, it is right under our feet, and yet land prices are up 20%. How does the government explain that? Is it that the acreage of land caught COVID and all of a sudden became more expensive? Of course, not. Land prices started rising after the government started printing money.
Let us get very specific here. In the first two months of COVID, real estate prices actually started to drop, which we would expect. We would expect that when people's incomes fall, when a hundred billion dollars disappears from the GDP, when people are afraid about their ability to earn a future living and when we shut off immigration altogether thereby decreasing the demand for real estate, prices would go down. In fact, CMHC, our housing authority, predicted there would be a 14% reduction in housing prices. It made sense to predict that at the time. However, then, all of a sudden, in May, 2020 real estate prices started to rise. In the middle of a lockdown, when people cannot even go and see the properties they are buying, why would prices suddenly and supernaturally go up?
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Supply and demand.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre: “Supply and demand”, screams out an economic genius on the Liberal side of the House. From whence came that demand? Where did the money come from? When the economy had just lost $100 billion and everyone was locked in their basement, where did the demand come from? It came from the printers in the government money-making machine. The money-making machine started printing cash in the spring of 2020 and within weeks, real estate prices started to skyrocket.
I reiterate that all the land that was transacted in those real estate purchases has been here for thousands of years. That cannot be the result of a COVID supply chain quirk. The housing was already here before COVID came. About 96% of the houses in Canada today were built before COVID, and therefore it is chronologically impossible to blame the cost of their construction on the COVID phenomenon. In other words, it is not supply and demand, as my friend suggests, it is simply demand, demand driven by the massive creation of money, $400 billion of it, the biggest money supply increase since the first Trudeau caused runaway double-digit inflation in the seventies and eighties.
We now have incontrovertible evidence that it is decisions of the government, which, I grant, are being replicated by other irresponsible big-spending governments around the world, that are causing the inflation we see today.
What are the consequences of that inflation? We see them. First, there is a massive growing gap between rich and poor. People who are rich love inflation. Why do we think big banks have been so thrilled with the money-printing policies of the government?
Bob Fife went on CTV the other day and said that Bay Street was not happy with the member of Parliament for Carleton being appointed to finance critic. Of course, Bay Street is not happy, because I am the one who has been speaking out against all the free money the government has been pumping into the financial system, inflating their assets and letting them arbitrage a profit between the price of a bond the government sells them and the higher price for which the Bank of Canada buys it back. Of course, Bay Street does not like the fact that I am speaking out against that. The good news is that I do not care what Bay Street likes. I work for main street here in the House of Commons.
Yes, the financial elites are thrilled with quantitative easing. They have loved it in the United States of America. Both Washington and Wall Street love quantitative easing. It is the one thing that gets bipartisan support in Washington. Republicans love ballooning Wall Street and Democrats love ballooning Washington. Therefore, together, they both love seeing their central bank flood their economy with cash and balloon the assets of the super-rich in the urban centres, while eating away at the wages of working-class people.
The Prime Minister looks across the border at the growing gap between rich and poor, at the higher cost of living, and at the poor and the young who can never live where the jobs are because real estate prices are too high, and he says “Let us have some of that up here”, and replicates the same disastrous policies that have led to so much social and economic division south of the border.
Here on this side of the House of Commons, we do not believe in central bank money printing to pay our bills. During the great global recession, we rejected that approach. Governments around the world decided to do it.
Here in Canada, we did run modest deficits, the smallest in the G7, but we did it borrowing real money and returning quickly to a balanced budget. This meant we had low inflation, low unemployment and the fastest recovery from the great global recession.
It turns out that sound money does not just keep inflation low, but allows growth and job creation. We know inflation does not just eat away at paycheques; it kills jobs. For example, we now have among the highest unemployment in the G7 combined with one million vacant jobs. Can members imagine that: high unemployment and record-high job vacancies? Well, it is no wonder. When the government prints money to pay people not to work, what do we get? We get jobs without people and people without jobs. Of course, all the money that is going into the economy to pay people not to work means more spending with less making, which means higher prices. We need to do exactly the opposite.
We need to restore sound money. We need to stop printing cash, get the Bank of Canada focused on its real mandate, which is low inflation, bring government spending under control, cancel the hundred-billion-dollar slush fund the government has created for the post-COVID period, and return the cost of government to pre-COVID levels. Simply put, a more affordable government will mean a more affordable cost of living for Canadians, and that is what Conservatives support.
Instead of creating more cash, why do we not create more of the stuff cash buys? Why do we not unleash our energy sector to supply more affordable energy for consumers and more paycheques to our workers, approve pipelines to create jobs for western energy workers and eastern refinery workers, get the carbon tax and other red tape off the back of our farmers so they can produce more nutritious and affordable food, incentivize our municipalities to speed up building permits so we can build more houses rather than just pushing out more mortgage lending, and sell off 15% of the underutilized 37,000 federal buildings so there is more space for housing our young and our working class? Here in our nation's capital, we have massively underutilized real estate that could be used for private-sector affordable housing built in the free market to supply our youth with opportunity to live in an affordable place.
In other words, we need to move from a debt economy to a paycheque economy. We need to make more and cost less. We need to unleash the free enterprise system to supply our workers with paycheques and our consumers with affordable products and services.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-11-26 10:51
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Mr. Speaker, I always find it somewhat fascinating when the member tries to lecture us all about basic economics.
I would convey to the member that Canadians were in a time of need, and this government stepped up and provided programs, whether it was direct support through CERB, or through business and wage loss programs or rent subsidy programs, which, yes, I concede, cost billions of dollars. Some within the Conservative/Reform Party would have liked us not to have supported Canadians and businesses. I wonder if the member would provide his true thoughts in regard to whether or not he believes that we should have supported families in Canada in all regions.
Just the other day, we had members of his caucus saying that there are hundreds of millions that we need to spend, and more, in the province of British Columbia, and we will do that to support B.C. What does the member think of that?
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:52
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Mr. Speaker, of course, when the government deprives people of their income, it has to replace that income. We supported that at the very outset in the spring of 2020. However, what we did not support was having the biggest deficit in all of the G20. All of those other countries had COVID lockdowns as well. Many of them had lower unemployment and lower COVID mortality rates with a significantly lower deficit. Taiwan, for example, which responded in a way that Conservatives originally suggested, had among the lowest COVID mortality rates in the world and a deficit of 4% of GDP rather than 16% like this government.
Yes, COVID may have forced the government to spend, but it did not force it to give money to prisoners and organized criminals. It did not force the government to give wage subsidies to corporations that were already wealthy enough to pay out dividends and bonuses. Those were irresponsible decisions that no one, not even COVID, imposed on the government.
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View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-11-26 10:53
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Mr. Speaker, not everyone may agree with my colleague from Carleton, but I think that we can agree that he is always entertaining to listen to.
He spoke a lot about how the $400 billion spent was far too much, and that it is the cause of the inflation we are experiencing. I would hope that he would not have let the economy collapse by spending nothing during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
What does he think would have been the ideal amount of money to spend?
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:54
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Mr. Speaker, on average, G20 countries have deficits representing about 9% of their GDP. Canada's deficit was 16% of GDP, or almost double. Other countries were able to protect their citizens while limiting their deficits to about half of ours.
Second, the government did not need to have a $100-billion deficit before COVID‑19. Those are choices that have nothing to do with the pandemic. They are the ideological choices of an extreme left-wing government.
We could have spent less had we simply helped people in need who were prevented from working and by returning to a pre-pandemic level of spending as soon as possible.
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View Gary Vidal Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you on the appointment to your role. We are all doing our duty this week.
I appreciate the fact that my colleague from Carleton not only criticizes what is going on but offers very productive solutions.
On the topic of inflation, how is it the member for Carleton got it right when so many people got it wrong? As well, would he possibly like to comment on some of the warnings he gave in the middle of 2020 and how some of what he warned against has now come to fruition?
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:56
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Mr. Speaker, I was a voice in the wilderness, there is no doubt about it, as I showed up at the finance committee. I started warning people on my very first morning, in May of 2020; I started telling them that inflation would be our future if we did not stop printing money.
Those warnings continued throughout the last year and a half, up until yesterday, when the finance minister completed her flip-flop. After having warned of deflation, she now admits we have an “inflation crisis”.
In fairness to the minister, she was not the only one who was wrong. Central bankers, Liberal academics and the media all said that inflation was something we need not worry about.
Fellow parliamentarians, let us study the facts of history in order to see the future, rather than being blinded by ideology.
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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Mr. Speaker, New Democrats were disappointed when the government suddenly and with just two days' notice announced the end of the Canada recovery benefit, and that is why we are here today, to debate what the government is proposing ought to replace it.
I could not help but notice, in the 20 minutes the member for Carleton had, that he never once mentioned the bill or any of its content, so I am left wondering whether the member for Carleton has recommended to the Conservative caucus that they support the bill or that they not support the bill.
I am wondering if he could enlighten us on that point and perhaps provide some of the reasons he either supports it or does not support it. We do not yet know.
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:57
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Mr. Speaker, certainly this party is going to carefully study the legislation before simply giving a check mark for the government to push another $7 billion out the door.
We all know that when the Liberals get to spend without scrutiny, money ends up in the hands of organized criminals, of prisoners and of people whom the public servants suspect of fraud. It ends up in the hands of corporate CEOs and shareholders, who take money that was supposed to go to subsidized wages.
That is what happens when the government does not face proper scrutiny, so unlike the NDP, which is just thrilled to shovel the money out the door and ask for more and more and more, we on this side of the House of Commons will defend taxpayers and consumers against irresponsible Liberal incompetence.
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View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, COVID has had a devastating impact on residents and businesses. The programs this government rolled out really were lifelines for so many in my community. Not everyone could afford to self-isolate in a million-dollar recording studio, as some members did during the election.
I wanted to ask the hon. member which programs specifically he would recommend that we cut.
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2021-11-26 10:59
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Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. Not everyone had a multi-million-dollar private country mansion built for them with taxpayers' money right in the middle of COVID either, unlike his leader.
Very clearly, we would not have paid corporations a subsidy for their dividends and their CEO bonuses. We would not keep paying people not to work now that there are a million vacant jobs in Canada. We would not have given half a billion dollars to the WE Charity. The list of waste and corruption goes on and on, and we would have none of it.
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View Iqwinder Gaheer Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House as the newly elected member of Parliament for Mississauga—Malton.
I rise today with deep appreciation because my presence in this chamber is not very likely. My father was born in a mud house in a village in Punjab, India. He grew up taking odd jobs around the village to make ends meet, including collecting dry grass from swamps nearby so to burn during the winters to keep his family warm. He did not wear shoes to school because he could not afford them. When the sun had baked the ground in the morning, he would walk along the shade provided by treetops and house alleys.
As he grew older, and as circumstances became more unbearable, he charted a path to this great country because he had larger dreams for his children. He became a plumber and eventually started a business. One of his dreams was that his children would be educated because he never had that chance. It is with pride that my father tells his friends that one of his sons went to Harvard Law School. That same son stands here before everyone today.
I hope my father has proven right the adage that, if one gives an immigrant an ounce, he will give back a pound.
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View Ron Liepert Profile
CPC (AB)
View Ron Liepert Profile
2021-11-26 11:01
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Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your appointment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers who helped me get elected for a third time in Calgary Signal Hill. After serving two terms in the provincial legislature and five elections, that is a tremendous accomplishment. I appreciate my constituents' support.
Whether it was Joanne, who organized my campaign, Nancy, who led our phoning efforts, or Geoffrey and Kal, who showed up every day to go door knocking with me in this unnecessary election, I am incredibly thankful.
The one thing this unnecessary election did give me was the opportunity to talk to thousands of my constituents, and this confirmed how unhappy my constituents are with a government that cannot get anything done. We are here, as Conservatives, to hold the government to account.
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View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a Canadian music radio legend, Rosalie Trombley, who passed away this week at the age of 82. As music director at CKLW in Windsor, Rosalie was the girl with the golden ear, who helped launch countless careers, including Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Aerosmith and the Guess Who. She played Canadian records before Canadian content.
As a single mom, Rosalie worked the switchboard before rising to become the most important music director in America and commanding a signal that reached three million listeners in the U.S. and Canada. In a business dominated by men, she was a trailblazer. In 2016, Rosalie's lifetime contribution to Canadian music was recognized with a Juno Award, and each year a Canadian female broadcaster is presented with the Rosalie Award. In 1973, Bob Seger wrote a song and tribute called Rosalie, which goes, “She's got the power, she's got the tower, Rosalie...”.
Rosalie Trombley was a pioneer who moved millions of people, broke barriers and changed music forever.
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View Lisa Marie Barron Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, November 25 marked the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
During these 16 days, I think of my friend Lisa Marie Young, who tragically went missing in 2002. A member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, she was only 21 when she disappeared. Lisa Marie will always be remembered for the joy she brought to everyone around her. I am truly sorry her mother, Marlene Jo-Anne Young, did not get the answers she deserved before her passing in 2017. I want to acknowledge the continued perseverance of Lisa Marie's family and friends, her aunt Carol Frank and her friend Cindy, to find answers.
I ask the government to immediately implement the calls to justice of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and for 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, to work to build communities where everyone is safe from gender-based violence.
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View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
2021-11-26 11:04
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Mr. Speaker, in May 2020, we committed to doing the necessary repairs to ensure that our reservists could continue to train in Sherbrooke, and we have kept our word.
Any of my constituents who have walked down Belvédère Street will have seen workers at the Colonel-Gaëtan-Côté Armoury. Work on the urgent repairs started as planned on October 18. The second phase of work to get the Belvédère armoury reopened will start in 2022.
I commend our fusiliers for their resilience and ability to adapt when they were temporarily relocated to a building on Woodward Street. My colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and I had the opportunity to visit the building on October 20. I must say that I am very proud of what we have achieved to secure the future of our armouries in Sherbrooke.
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View Jake Stewart Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I stand today with the arduous task of giving words sufficient to honour the life of a friend, a son and a brother to many: Jonathan Hennessy.
Jonathan not only stood out, he stood alone. In a world increasingly devoid of character, he provided a stark contrast in a manner not beyond comparison to the Irish wit of James Joyce or Oscar Wilde. In that vein, he was beloved by all who knew him. Had he chosen to harness his personality for a living, there is no doubt he would have won an Oscar, an Emmy or ended up on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
The unfortunate cause of a personality as big as Jonathan's is that the silence he leaves behind is deafening. I encourage my fellow members and my constituents at home to always remember to take an extra moment to enjoy their families and friends.
In closing, I would like to express my deepest condolences to his mother Winnie, and we thank her for sharing the gift of her son Jonathan with us. May he rest in peace.
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View Fayçal El-Khoury Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my family, my team, all of the volunteers and the people of Laval—Les Îles, who entrusted me to represent them in the House of Commons for a third time. I thank them for putting their faith in me.
I also want to congratulate my colleagues who were re‑elected and those who were elected for the first time.
I am very happy to be here in person to work with my peers on moving Canada forward, conquering and putting an end to COVID‑19, kick-starting the economy and combatting climate change.
I would like to express my tremendous gratitude to the residents of Laval—Les Îles for contributing effectively in the fight against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated at impressive levels.
We will all have to do our part to secure a better and safer future for our children and for future generations.
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View Heath MacDonald Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Heath MacDonald Profile
2021-11-26 11:08
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Mr. Speaker, today I would like to express my ongoing support for the Prince Edward Island potato industry. Potatoes are a primary crop on Prince Edward Island, which continues to be the largest potato-producing province in Canada. The potato industry is worth over $1 billion annually to our island economy.
The recent announcement that fresh and seed potatoes cannot be exported to the U.S. is a very serious concern. However, as Canadians, we are no strangers to challenges. In the past, we overcame the PVYN virus and mad cow disease, and more recently, we have seen the heroic pan-Canadian response to the wildfires and floods in B.C. This is not only a P.E.I. issue. An imbalanced supply of potatoes in Canada will create domestic market volatility that will affect farms across this country, reducing farm income and price. It is a Canadian issue.
I have had daily discussions with agriculture Minister Bibeau, I thank her for her efforts, as well as those of my colleagues, the premier of P.E.I., former MP Wayne Easter, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and several potato farmers. We must continue to work diligently on this file to ensure restrictions are lifted as quickly as possible.
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View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2021-11-26 11:09
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I know the member is new, but we cannot refer to the name of a member in the House. The member used the name of the minister, and we cannot do that.
The hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood.
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View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2021-11-26 11:09
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Mr. Speaker, the Saskatoon arts and drama community has lost a treasurer in the passing of Henry Woolf. Woolf was an actor, a director, a writer and a teacher. His work could be seen on the stage, television and the big screen.
Woolf moved to Canada in 1978 to teach drama and work in theatre. He was a mentor to a new generation of artists. He was beloved by his students. In fact, one student named Jeff Rogstad said that his fingerprint is all over the theatre community in Saskatoon. Woolf served as the artistic director of the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan festival for a decade. A portrait of Woolf in the role of Shylock hangs outside the theatre bearing his name at the University of Saskatchewan drama department.
Woolf's legacy is the culture he nurtured, inspired and cultivated throughout his remarkable life. As one student said, it is hard to be sad today because we had so much fun.
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View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-11-26 11:10
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Mr. Speaker, as I rise in the House for the first time in the 44th Parliament, I find myself filled with excitement to be back in Ottawa and gratitude for the people of Whitby, who have once again given me the honour of representing them here in this House.
There is no doubt the nation's business has never been more important as we face numerous challenges, including making life more affordable, finishing the fight against COVID-19, ensuring a robust economic recovery and combatting climate change with ever-increasing urgency.
While the pandemic has brought serious hardships to and far-reaching impacts on our way of life, it has also presented us with the opportunity to build back in a way that addresses long-standing inequities, develops greater resiliency and transitions us to a more sustainable economy.
It is my sincere believe that Canadians gave all of the members of this House, regardless of political stripe, a strong mandate to make real progress on the priorities that matter to Canadians. I look forward to working with all parliamentarians to make it happen.
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View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, last week Sikhs across the world celebrated Gurpurab or the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who taught the lessons of remembering God, earning an honest living and sharing with others.
To celebrate Gurpurab, RED FM and the Dashmesh Culture Centre under the leadership of President Amanpreet Gill and entire executive committee raised over $700,000 in one day from Sangat for the Mata Sahib Kaur Ji Women's and Children's Transitional Housing. Congratulations to everyone on this amazing initiative.
It was an extra special Gurpurab as we saw the announcement of the repeal of three farm bills in India. Our farmers, brothers, sisters and respected elders in India have been peacefully protesting over the last year in the cold streets and even faced attacks, but they persevered through their dedication.
We thank each and every one of them for their incredible sacrifices, and pray for their good health, success and prosperity.
Kisaan majdoor ekta.
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View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to share with the House my grief at the recent death of a wonderful person. I would like us all to take a moment to remember the Hon. Raymond Setlakwe, a former senator, husband to Yvette and a descendant of Aziz, the first immigrant to flee the Armenian genocide and move to Canada to raise his family and help them prosper.
Mr. Raymond, as many people liked to call him, was unfailingly generous. A prosperous businessman, he was the founder of A. Setlakwe Limited. He collected political meetings like some people collect hockey cards.
He was more than a mentor to me. He gave me my first real chance to work in politics by supporting me when I ran for office for the first time in 1998. I have to say that, at the time, I was running for the Quebec Liberal Party. Raymond never would have supported any other party. I thought I almost lost him for the first time in 2015 when I told him that I would be running for the Conservative Party of Canada.
I want to share with my colleagues what he said to me shortly before his death: In politics, we have adversaries, not enemies.
To the only friend I have left, I want to say thank you for helping me make my dream come true. I hope that in heaven he will have the chance to meet all of the great politicians in history that he never had a chance to meet here on earth.
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View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, my riding is home to some of the most awe-inspiring ancient old-growth forests on southern Vancouver Island.
The majestic trees in these forests can defy imagination and immediately command attention with their enormous presence. Many of them were already mature trees when the Magna Carta was signed in England, and some were seedlings during the reign of Charlemagne.
The beautiful and pristine Fairy Creek watershed is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation in my riding. For more than 150 years, they have watched as others decided what was best for their lands water and people.
In June the elected and hereditary chiefs of the Pacheedaht and neighbouring Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations came together to issue a declaration, signalling their intent to take back control.
“Nothing about us without us” is not just a slogan, it is a fundamental policy change we absolutely must respect. I urge the federal government to do everything it can to support the indigenous-led stewardship plans of these nations.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-11-26 11:15
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Mr. Speaker, seniors are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. It bears repeating that their financial situation was precarious even before the COVID-19 crisis.
Even so, there was nothing for them in the throne speech. They were forgotten. Not a word was said about those bearing the brunt of inflation and rising prices across the board.
To add insult to injury, seniors who stopped working because of the pandemic and received CERB are now having their guaranteed income supplement clawed back. That puts a considerable dent in their budget and pushes them into poverty.
This situation needs to be fixed. More than ever before, our poorest seniors are having to make difficult choices: pay for food, pay for medicine or pay for housing. It is high time the government showed those who built Quebec and Canada a little consideration by increasing old age security by $110 per month as of age 65.
The government needs to reverse its senseless, unfair decision to create two classes of seniors. Let us see some action.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2021-11-26 11:16
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege to rise for the first time in this House today, having been elected by the good people of Brantford—Brant. I have so many people to thank, more than I have time to mention today.
First, I would like to extend a special thanks to my wife Angela, my twin daughters Jennie and Emma, and my parents Larry and Mary Brock for their love, encouragement and ongoing support.
I am also truly grateful for my team and all the volunteers for their tireless efforts during my nomination and campaign.
Finally, I offer my sincerest appreciation to the voters of Brantford and Brant County, the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for placing their trust in me to serve them in Ottawa. I promise to stand up for the issues that matter most to them and be a strong voice for our community in Parliament.
Our official opposition was elected to hold the current government to account, and I am ready to take on this responsibility. I am honoured to be part of a strong Conservative team, and together we will ensure that Canada's best days are still ahead.
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View John Aldag Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, my heart goes out to the families and communities affected by the extreme flooding last week in British Columbia. This 100-year flood brought catastrophic damage, laying bare the shortcomings in our current system. As climate change worsens, this will happen not every 100 years, but every 10 years or less. We need to invest in adaptation and mitigation of climate change so we are better prepared in the future. The inclusion of a national adaptation strategy in the Speech from the Throne is a significant step forward.
It is with great sadness that I inform the House of the passing of Jan Rustad of Kaleden, British Columbia. Jan was well known and considered by many to be the global expert on rotary-wing advanced flying techniques. Jan trained many pilots from the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and many other countries.
Known as skilled, patient and humble, Jan Rustad will be missed by his family and several generations of helicopter pilots from around the world.
I offer my thanks to Jan.
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View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your appointment to the Chair.
COVID‑19 cases are on the rise in Quebec and Canada. Many countries have started to administer third vaccine doses to all adults.
A new variant out of Africa is generating enough concern for the WHO to hold an emergency meeting today. Israel and the United Kingdom have closed their borders to six countries.
We have gotten used to the Liberal government's delayed response to urgent warnings. What is the government's plan to keep our economy open?
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View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the COVID‑19 situation around the world continues to be volatile and unpredictable.
The PCR tests required for entering Canada are able to detect this variant. The purpose of this morning's WHO emergency meeting was to determine next steps. This afternoon, the minister will inform Canada of those next steps.
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View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, that response gives Canadians cause for concern.
Our economy has been devastated. Thousands of businesses have closed. We have record unemployment. You will recall that the Liberal government was slow to warn Canadians, close borders and provide vaccines. Today, we still have to protect Canadians, who are fed up with lockdowns and closures.
What is the government's plan to prevent a fifth wave, which will have disastrous consequences for Canadians' health and our economy?
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View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, our screening requirements at the border protect the health and safety of Canadians.
We know that the fight against COVID-19 is not over. We are working with our partners around the world to protect Canadians. The situation is evolving quickly, and we are working closely with our international partners, the provinces and the territories to monitor this emerging variant.
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View Luc Berthold Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Speaker, lessons learned from the past must guide our actions now, not tomorrow or next week.
In February, the government allocated $53 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct research on the variants. Today, there is no recommendation of any sort about this variant on the agency's website. The Minister of Health is shockingly silent while more and more people are calling for action to prevent this wave.
The economic cost of the government's foot-dragging is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Canadians are still paying and will continue to pay for a long time. Can the government tell us right now what is its plan to protect Canadians and our economy?
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that our government from day one took decisive action at our borders to protect Canadians and we have put together different measures to protect Canadians. However, forgive me for not taking advice from the Conservative Party. They cannot even ask their own MPs to get vaccinated and they have been asking us to remove PCR testing from pre-departure.
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View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
View Raquel Dancho Profile
2021-11-26 11:23
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Mr. Speaker, Canadians are learning disturbing news today concerning a new COVID variant out of Southern Africa. Countries like Germany, the U.K., India and Israel have already taken decisive action to close their borders to incoming flights and implement quarantine and testing requirements for those travelling from areas of concern, yet the government has not even updated its travel advisory yet.
We are wondering what is going on. What is the plan to keep Canadians safe? We have heard nothing this morning of reassurance for Canadians. We want to know what the plan is.
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View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 situation around the world continues to be volatile and unpredictable. We continue to monitor the situation very closely. We will not hesitate to take action to protect Canadians. The PCR tests required to enter Canada are capable of detecting this variant. There are currently no direct flights to Canada from South Africa. The WHO held an emergency meeting this morning and we will hear more from the Minister of Health this afternoon.
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View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
View Raquel Dancho Profile
2021-11-26 11:24
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Mr. Speaker, that answer is unacceptable. Countries like Germany, the U.K. and India did not have to wait for direction from the World Health Organization to keep their citizens safe.
We have seen indecision from the government before. It was Conservative members of opposition who called on the Liberal government to close the border back in January 2020 for the coronavirus. The government waited three whole months to do so and, by then, COVID had spread across the country. Canadians do not want to see that mistake being made again. They do not want to go back into lockdown. The mental health of the nation and the economy of the nation cannot handle that again.
Canadians expect decisive action from the Liberal government. Is there a plan? What is the plan to keep Canadians safe from the African variant?
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, there is a plan. Canadians have seen our plan over the the last year and half, while we have been doing everything to protect their health and safety.
I want to reassure Canadians that there are currently no direct flights from South Africa to Canada. However, I want to ask my hon. colleague where they stand on this. Do they want to open the border or do they want to close the border? Do they want to remove the PCR pre-departure test or do they want to implement PCR tests? I am not sure what they want, but we will take advice from our doctors and experts.
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View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-11-26 11:26
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Mr. Speaker, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development released a report yesterday that is quite damning for the government. The commissioner noted that it is going to take more than just lofty language to avoid climate catastrophe. While the government brags about its outstanding work, the commissioner was unequivocal.
According to the commissioner, Canada “has become the worst performer of all G7 nations”. This has happened only since the Liberals came to power. How can the government brag when, really, it is the worst in the world?
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View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we welcome the report from the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. We commend his work, especially his latest report, which paints a truly dismal picture of the Harper years. The commissioner did not look at our 2016 plan or our 2020 plan, or the 100 or so measures we have put in place, or the nearly $100 billion we have invested.
All of these measures will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million tonnes by 2030. That is equal to nearly half of Quebec's emissions.
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View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-11-26 11:27
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Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment wants to talk about the Harper government, so let us talk about it. The crux of the problem is that, like Stephen Harper's government, this government is trying to claim that if we subsidize oil companies to make them cleaner they will be able to produce even more without any issues.
The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development has said that increasing production would in turn increase emissions, which runs counter to the commitment Canada has made to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
When will the government realize that the energy transition is not about transitioning from oil to more oil, but transitioning from oil to renewable energies?
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View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we agree on the matter of subsidizing fossil fuels. That is why our country committed to eliminating these subsidies by 2023, two years before our G20 partners' goal of 2025. In Glasgow, we also announced that we, along with many other countries, would stop financing international fossil fuel projects.
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, seniors in Canada who receive the guaranteed income supplement are some of the poorest in this country. Many work to subsidize their meagre income. Like every other working Canadian, they asked for help during the pandemic. Now they are being punished. Seniors like David, who is 71 years old, had $1,000 cut off his income. He cannot afford his food. He cannot afford his medication.
How can the Minister of Seniors sleep at night knowing that these seniors are going hungry and are not getting their medication every day here?
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View Kamal Khera Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kamal Khera Profile
2021-11-26 11:29
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Mr. Speaker, my thanks to the member for her advocacy of seniors.
From the very beginning, our government has worked extremely hard to support those most vulnerable seniors, including strengthening their GIS. We know that GIS adjustments have been hard on some seniors this year. I can assure the hon. member that we are working on this issue to find the right solutions to support those affected. We will be there for them.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-11-26 11:29
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Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and ministers, in a last-ditch effort, finally went to the United States to deal with buy America's attack on Canadian auto workers. Instead of improving the situation, their results have the U.S. doubling down on softwood lumber duties that devastate our industries and steal our future jobs.
For years, the Liberals have failed to protect families and their livelihoods, and now they are letting them take it on the chin from U.S. protectionism. When will the government wake up and truly support value-added industries, not just with talk but with real plans to support our workers and their families?
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View Mary Ng Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mary Ng Profile
2021-11-26 11:30
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Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working with the hon. member as he is my hon. critic.
In a relationship as large and significant as the one that Canada has with the United States, of course there are challenges. However, we have worked together over many years to resolve many of these challenges and we have been successful. We are going to do that again here, whether it is with electric vehicles, softwood lumber or in our relationship in fighting the things we have in common, like climate change and finishing the fight against COVID-19.
Let me be clear: We are always going to have the backs of Canadian workers and businesses. We have always done it. Today is no different. We are always going to do it.
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