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Results: 1 - 15 of 43
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology concerning the Investment Canada Act.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, at its convention last week, the Conservative Party voted against recognizing that climate change is real. Pretending a problem does not exist is not a solution. It may even make it worse, whether it is a pandemic or climate change.
Could the Prime Minister explain why it is important to recognize that climate change is real and take action to fight it?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, last week, the international community watched with admiration as the Perseverance rover landed on Mars. Dr. Farah Alibay, an aerospace engineer from Quebec, played a key role in this mission and received high praise for her innovative work at this historic moment.
Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry give the House an update on the measures the government has taken to support space exploration?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, I met with representatives of the Table de concertation des groupes de femmes de la Montérégie to discuss the enormous challenges faced by women and the organizations that have been providing services to them since the beginning of the pandemic.
Last week, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality announced a new way to support these vital organizations. Can the Prime Minister tell the House a bit about the feminist response and recovery fund?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, from the start of the pandemic, many front-line workers across the country have seen a dramatic increase in domestic violence because, beyond other stress factors brought on by the pandemic, women are isolating at home with their abusers.
On behalf of organizations that serve the women in my riding of Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne who are victims of domestic violence, could the minister inform the House of the status of the national action plan on gender-based violence?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to speak today on the Standing Orders. I would like to clarify that the views I will be expressing are my own. Everyone who knows me knows I like rules a lot. In fact, I volunteered to be on PROC because I really like rules. I am probably one of the very few MPs who have read the Standing Orders multiple times, as well as Bosc and Gagnon, but I digress.
I miss being in the chamber. I understand why we are not, but I am hopeful that eventually we will get back in the chamber. I am looking at my colleagues on the screen and in the chamber we are able to look at each other. We are able to gauge the reaction and give feedback. Unfortunately, we do not get those social cues on the screen.
One of the items we should look at is Standing Order 31. We say that they cannot be used for improper use, but we need to define “improper use”. In Bosc and Gagnon, there are references to personal attacks, using poetry, but these are all things that are unfortunately not being looked at in reality.
What is happening in the chamber during S.O. 31s is not necessarily what the intent of an S.O. 31 is. I would like to see those clarified because it seems to be an extension of question period where members are given a minute to basically say whatever they want to say and use that as their clip on social media. I would like to see that looked at in terms of defining it.
With respect to that, S.O. 18 refers to using disrespectful language toward other members. I am noticing an increase in disrespectful language and in tone, but I am also seeing that at committee when we are speaking to witnesses. I have seen some members actually berate witnesses. Witnesses are there on their own accord to give their testimony, but when the tone is to the point that I have to intervene as a chair, I think we need to take a look at that. We are responsible for our actions, and I understand parliamentary privilege may protect us, but we still do have a responsibility to treat people with dignity and respect.
One thing that drives me crazy, which I am sure my colleague from Winnipeg Centre was going to bring up, is the use of unanimous consent motions on a point of order. After almost every question period, we are seeing a member stand on a point of order and try to bring forward a unanimous consent motion, when we know that motions cannot be put forward on a point of order. I would like this practice to stop and for points of order to be used as they are intended. I think that is what we should be focusing on.
Another area I would like to bring up, and some of my colleagues have brought it up as well, is our virtual Parliament. What we cannot do directly, we should not be able to do indirectly. For instance, if we were in the chamber, we would not be allowed to be on the telephone. I am sitting here, looking at my zoom screen, and I am watching members speaking on the phone, which we would not normally be able to do. I think we should have respect for our colleagues and this institution. Being in the virtual chamber is the equivalent of being in the chamber. We need to be mindful of that.
I believe in the last Parliament my colleague from Brossard—Saint-Lambert brought up proper attire in the Standing Orders. I am going to read this because this is very telling for my fellow female MPs, but in chapter 11, on page 611, of Bosc and Gagnon, it very clearly says, “Current practice requires that male Members wear jackets, shirts and ties. Clerical collars have been allowed, although ascots and turtlenecks have been ruled inappropriate for male Members participating in debate” and that any “Member desiring...to speak at any point during the proceedings of the House must be wearing contemporary business attire.”
This is not just a House of men. There are 100 women members of Parliament, and I would like to see that we are reflected in the rules of order and decorum. We should define what suitable business attire is, because I do not think that stretch pants should be in the House of Commons, but that is just me.
Last, but not least, is something that is not in the Standing Orders. It is in the bylaws and policies with respect to the Parliament of Canada Act, the Board of Internal Economy and members' allowances and services.
I firmly believe that members of Parliament represent all of the citizens in their ridings. For instance, I was elected in Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne in 2015. I represent all 105,000 people in my riding. I do not have any indication of my party affiliation in my office. I do not put out any documentation with a party affiliation using parliamentary resources, so I do not feel that it is appropriate for parliamentarians to either be wearing masks with a party logo, sending out householders with the party logo or putting out advertising with a party logo using parliamentary resources. I know this was an issue in previous Parliaments, but I think it is something we need to look at adding to the Standing Orders, under codes of conduct.
I want any person who lives in my riding to feel free to come to my office and come and speak to me or get service. Regardless of how they voted, or if they voted, they are represented by me, and they should not have a big “L” facing them, because then they do not feel they are included. I have heard this since I was elected.
Some people who come to see me start by apologizing for not having voted Liberal. It is no big deal.
I do not care. I am here to serve them. That is what I do.
Therefore, I do not think that we should be allowed to use parliamentary resources to have the logos or the names of our political parties in our householders, advertising or parliamentary offices. I am the member of Parliament for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, point final.
I would like to see that included in the code of conduct and for the Board of Internal Economy look at that, because I am seeing more and more advertising with logos. I think it is inappropriate, and I do not think taxpayers should be paying for that. My point is that, if members would like to use their party logo, their EDA should pay for it, or it should be an expense during an election.
Last but not least is voting virtually. We are in unprecedented times. We have said this multiple times. I am sure someone has a bingo sheet and is now checking that phrase off. This is temporary, in my opinion. We cannot all be in the chamber for health reasons. One day we will be back. We will be in the chamber.
I enjoy standing in my position in the chamber to vote. I can understand that for this point in time we are in unprecedented times and that we need to be able to vote in a secure way, but also in a way that is expeditious. I just can imagine a 30-hour voting session on zoom, and how that would look. While I understand that at this point we should be using virtual voting, I am looking forward to the day that we are back in the chamber all together debating and voting our conscience and voting as per the wishes of our constituents.
With that, I will cede my time. I welcome any questions.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
The government is allowed to ask three softball questions, if you will. I think it would be a good idea for backbenchers to be able to ask ministers their own questions. I agree with my colleague.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we are in agreement in terms of the use of points of order coming out of question period, when they are actually not points of order but unanimous consent motions, which can be addressed through other methods in the House, as the member indicated.
I am in agreement that if something should be brought forward, whether it be through a private member's bill or a private member's motion, it should be brought through that tool and not used as a point of order, because we are getting to the point that literally, after every question period, members stand up on points of order that are not points of order. As chair of a committee, it is pretty hard for me to then follow the rules and regulations and say something is not a point of order and a motion cannot be moved on a point of order when it is being done in the House.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question, and I agree. When working in a 35-second window, question period turns into these almost gotcha moments. I first heard something about this after being elected in 2015. In my first question period, members were screaming, and I was wondering what was going on. Then I was told it is theatre. There is nothing more disturbing than to hear that question period is theatre. It is a time to answer the questions that are on the minds of Canadians.
I agree that having an opportunity to go back and forth, get more in depth, and probe and question a little further is healthy, whereas right now question period has become theatre. It has become members wanting to get a clip to put on Facebook or on Twitter as their aha moment.
Unfortunately, it obviously impacts our capacity to work together for everything better for Canadians and to get some ideas back and forth on what a member would recommend and others thinking that is a great idea. That is what Canadians want, for us to work together. They do not want to hear us screaming and yelling at each other.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, in relation to its study of fraud calls in Canada.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, in accordance with the orders of reference of Monday, April 20, 2020, and Wednesday, September 30, 2020, concerning the main estimates 2020-21.
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, regarding its study of the order in council appointment of Lisa Campbell to the position of president of the Canadian Space Agency.
Finally, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, regarding its study of the order in council appointment of Marsha Walden to the position of president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday I will have the pleasure of taking part in the official opening of Longueuil's 14th annual traditional Christmas market and fair.
This year, because of the pandemic, this event is moving with the times and becoming a virtual market. Thanks to the organizers' creativity, everyone will have the opportunity to discover our talented local artisans' products and shop online. Virtual market visitors will also be treated to all sorts of seasonal activities such as singing, secret recipes and more.
I want to thank the team from Métiers et traditions and the City of Longueuil for enabling the people of my riding and elsewhere to fully and safely enjoy the magic of the holidays while supporting local businesses. I invite you all to discover Longueuil's traditional Christmas market and fair.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, based on the member opposite's feedback, I assume he and the Conservative Party will be supporting Bill C-9. As he mentioned in his speech, when the pandemic hit we were building the plane and at the same time we were flying it. Was it perfect? No. Through collaboration, through debate and through this process we can make things better.
Will the member opposite be supporting this legislation?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to take part in the debate on Bill C-220.
However, before I begin, as we are in Veterans' Week and today is red Friday, I would like to take a moment to thank those who have served, those who are still serving, and the parents and family members of military across the country for their service. I also want to say how, as a military mother, I was disappointed this morning to read about Whole Foods. I hope it will do the right thing.
It is essential for us to talk about compassionate care, so I am happy that my colleague across the way brought this private member's bill forward. It is an important issue for Canadians, especially in these times when we can all use a little extra compassion.
Chances are that many of us will find ourselves in the position of caring for someone close to us at one point in our lives. It is a difficult and sometimes lonely journey. Caregivers deserve our greatest respect and gratitude. In 2018, approximately one in four Canadians aged 15 and older provided care to a family member or close friend with a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging.
Unpaid caregiving provided by family and friends has become increasingly recognized as an important role in society. Reports by Statistics Canada have demonstrated that caregiving reduces the social costs associated with health services and institutionalization. In addition, those who are cared for have a much greater quality of life when they are able to remain at home.
My home province of Quebec has been devastated by COVID-19. I question whether we should be caring more for our family members, rather than institutions, so this is a very timely piece of legislation.
We understand the essential role of caregivers. We also understand the need to ensure that they have the support that they need. That said, let me begin by providing a brief overview of Bill C-220, first introduced by my hon. colleague on February 25, 2020.
The goal of Bill C-220 is to amend Part III of the Canada Labour Code to allow an employee using compassionate care leave to have more time off following the death of a loved one for whom they were caring.
The bill breaks down that extra time as follows: Employees would receive an additional three weeks of leave past the death if the employee has taken fewer than five weeks of leave, an additional two weeks of leave past the death if the employee has taken between five weeks and 19 weeks of paid leave, and an additional week of leave past the death if the employee has taken between 20 and 26 weeks of leave. An employee who has been away from work for a period of 27 weeks or more would not be provided with any additional weeks of leave.
The one question I have for the member for Edmonton Riverbend is why he did not include additional leave to employees who experience a sudden death of a family member. However, I am hopeful that when this piece of legislation gets to committee, that can be discussed as well.
I know I am talking a lot about numbers, but when taking care of a loved one, people are immersed in the day to day. When they lose that loved one, they do not have the time to grieve because they are in the business of death. They are filling out the papers. They are doing what they have to do. They are going through the motions. Having that extra time to grieve and not worry about going back to work when they are not ready is crucial.
It is our responsibility to address the difficult but real societal issues such as end-of-life care. Those things make us think of our loved ones and our own futures. While our government has taken many steps to set up a system that is just, compassionate and fair, I do believe we can do more.
We have made great progress in recent years to modernize the Canada Labour Code to ensure that it reflects the realities of today's workplaces and meets the needs of both employers and employees, now and into the future.
Last year, we implemented a comprehensive suite of significant amendments to the Canada Labour Code, including a new right for employees to request flexible work arrangements, additional leaves and other protections for employees following the death of a family member. We introduced amendments that give federally regulated workers the right to request flexible work arrangements such as flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home.
Studies show that flexible start and finish times, the ability to take time off from work to deal with family obligations, and other types of flexible work arrangements can help employees find better work-life balance. By giving employees the flexibility to reduce the amount of time they spend at work, we are helping to ensure that those with intensive caregiving responsibilities have more time with their loved ones.
Recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code also include improvements to bereavement leave and additional leaves that could also be used by caregivers. Bereavement leave has been increased from three days to five days, but that is not enough. We have also provided for greater flexibility, so that the leave may be taken during the period that begins on the day on which the death occurs and ends six weeks after the latest of the days on which any funeral, burial or memorial service of that immediate family member occurs.
Employees are now entitled to five days of personal leave per year, including three paid days if they have worked for three consecutive months. Employees may take this leave for a number of reasons, including to carry out responsibilities related to the health or care of any of their family members or to address an urgent situation, such as the death of a family member.
In addition, the eligibility for the medical leave was improved so that every employee who was unable to work due to health reasons, including psychological trauma or stress resulting from the death of a family member, could now take up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave. We also eliminated the length of service requirements to be eligible for the leave related to critical illness, which provides employees with up to 37 weeks of job-protected leave to provide care or support to a critically ill child and up to 17 weeks of leave to provide care or support to a critically ill adult.
While these new and improved leave provisions and flexible work arrangements came into force on September 1, 2019, COVID has also taught us more.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has put Canadians first, providing the support they need to continue to make ends meet, while staying safe and healthy. Earlier this month we passed Bill C-4, the COVID-19 Response Measures Act, to create new benefits. Together with temporary measures to help Canadians access employment insurance benefits more easily, these recovery benefits will help workers affected by COVID-19 and requiring income support.
To ensure federally regulated employees have access to job-protected leave, the Government of Canada amended the Canada Labour Code so these employees can access the Canada recovery sickness benefit and the Canada recovery caregiver benefit.
These are temporary measures to help Canadians overcome the many challenges they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, we have changed. We are not where we were a year ago. The member opposite talked about not being able to see his grandma, and having to make that choice. Yes, while there may be a few days of leave available, if someone does not have the financial means to take that leave, then she or he is making that decision, and those are decisions we all regret.
This month, it will be two years since my mom died suddenly, and most of the House knows that I did not get to say good bye. I wish I did, but after, we have a chance to help people get through it. I had the luxury of being able to take some time off to plan my mother's funeral, but not everybody does. Therefore, I want the member to know that I hope his bill passes and goes to committee, because this is the right thing to do.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that safe, affordable housing is a surefire way to slow community transmission. My riding is in dire need of more affordable housing. That is why I was so pleased with the rapid housing initiative announcement.
Can the minister update the House on how this new program is being rolled out?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-6, which proposes to promote the equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians by taking important steps to end a practice that discriminates against them. Because of the individual harm conversion therapy causes to those subjected to it and the societal harms it causes by propagating the myth that a person can and should change a fundamental part of who they are, their sexual orientation or gender identity, Bill C-6 proposes new criminal offenses that criminalize the practice with a view to ending it.
I am proud that this bill puts Canada at the forefront of the international community in the fight against a destructive practice. There is no doubt that Canada is a leader in criminal law reform in the area of conversion therapy, but we are not alone. In fact, we are part of a growing movement to protect LGBTQ2 communities from a practice that stigmatizes and harms them.
Most countries that have taken steps to combat this practice have not proceeded with criminal law reform. However, there is growing recognition that criminal law is an appropriate tool to fight the harm caused by conversion therapy.
Bill C-6 defines conversion therapy with respect to its purpose. It is any practice, treatment or service designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour. Such a definition excludes practices, treatments or services designed for other purposes, most notably gender-affirming treatments. Such treatments are designed to provide support in an accepting environment, not to change the person receiving them.
On the basis of this clear definition, Bill C-6 creates the following offences: causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy, removing a minor from Canada with the intention that they undergo conversion therapy, causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against the person’s will, receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy, and advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.
This approach will provide general protection for all persons under the age of 18, whether the conversion therapy is provided in Canada or outside Canada. It would also protect all Canadians by reducing the availability of conversion therapy and discriminatory messaging through proposed offences that would prohibit advertising conversion therapy or financially benefiting from it. This bill does not just protect children.
How does such an approach measure up on a global scale? The only known jurisdiction to have implemented a criminal law response is Malta. In 2016, Malta made it an offence to perform conversion practices on vulnerable persons, defined as a person under the age of 16 years, a person suffering from a mental disorder or a person considered by the court to be at risk. Malta also criminalizes performing involuntary conversion and advertising such practices.
Of course, each country's response has been tailored to its own legal system and reflects the lived realities of its own people.
I am pleased to note that BillC-6 provides protection to all children under 18 years of age, given the evidence indicating that this group is the most adversely impacted. Canada is proposing an added measure that would serve to denounce and reduce the availability of conversion therapy. That is a criminal offence that would prohibit profiting from the practice in any circumstance.
Although it appears that other countries have yet to implement criminal law responses, Canada and Malta may not be alone for long. In March 2018, the European parliament passed a resolution condemning conversion therapy and urging European Union members to ban the practice. In July, the U.K. announced that it would study the issue and then bring forward plans to ban conversion therapy. A bill proposing a to ban performing or advertising conversion therapy is currently before Ireland's parliament.
While countries are looking at how to combat conversion therapy, the United Nations took a firm stance against this practice. This summer, an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity presented a thematic report on conversion therapy practices at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The report recommends that countries ban practices of conversion therapy from being advertised and carried out in health care, religious, education, community, commercial or any other settings, public or private. It also recommends that countries establish a system of sanctions for non-compliance with the ban on practices of conversion therapy.
Although only one country is known to have adopted a criminal law response, many countries have implemented civil bans in an attempt to reduce the prevalence of conversion therapy, particularly its delivery by health care professionals. Many American states, for example, have enacted legislation that prevents health care professionals from providing conversion therapy to minors, such that professionals who violate this rule are subject to disciplinary measures.
Three Canadian provinces have followed a similar approach. Ontario, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. have passed legislation specifying that conversion therapy is not an insured service and banning health care providers from doing it to minors unless they are capable of consenting and do in fact consent. Also, both Yukon and my home Province of Quebec have recently introduced bills that would affect similar reforms.
To my knowledge, none of Canada's provinces or territories consider conversion therapy to be an insured service, whether that is set out in legislation or not. This practice has been discredited and condemned by the relevant professional associations. However, three provinces have demonstrated leadership in protecting minors by prohibiting health care providers from subjecting them to conversion therapy.
Nova Scotia's approach offers additional protection by prohibiting those in a position of trust or authority over young people from subjecting them to conversion therapy.
These are important elements of the suite of protections that Canada is building to promote the equality of LGBTQ2 Canadians. Bill C-6 builds on these responses and fills gaps. Provincial legislation protects minors in the health care context, but what about other contexts?
We know that conversion therapy is provided by a range of different people, not just health care professionals. In fact, some providers have no training at all. Provincial health care laws cannot apply to lay persons providing conversion therapy. Provincial legislation also only protects minors who are incapable of making their own treatment decisions. What about minors who are capable of making those decisions and what about adults?
These gaps are where Bill C-6 would play a critical role. It would provide protection to children and adults, while building on existing provincial responses. All of these provincial statutes conceptualize the problem in the same way. They define conversion therapy with respect to its objective to change a person's sexual orientation and gender identity, which necessarily excludes all legitimate gender-affirming treatments, practices or services. The various statutes might use slightly different terminology but their respective definitions amount to the same thing.
I am pleased that Bill C-6 is part of a broader Canadian response. Bill C-6 will protect all individuals under the age of 18, whether they have the capacity to consent to treatment or not, regardless of who is providing said treatment.
Together, responses at all levels of government convey the clear message that conversion therapy is wrong. It harms those subjected to it and it harms society by implying that there is something wrong with difference.
As Canadians, we cannot tolerate such messaging. It runs contrary to who we are as a people and as a nation. We are a society that promotes these fundamental values. Bill C-6 reflects who we are as Canadians. Conversion therapy must stop. I urge all members to join me in support of this critical legislation.
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