Evidence of meeting #10 for COVID-19 Pandemic in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was economic.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Madam Chair, the national emergency stockpile is of significant importance for Canadians.

It's important to remember that the stockpile was actually not originally designed to hold personal protective equipment, but rather, antiretrovirals and other medications that are essential to Canadians in a time of crisis. That said, I have committed publicly to reviewing the national emergency stockpile, including how the resources are managed and stored, and we'll have more to say as we go forward.

May 20th, 2020 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Chair, Canada is a trading nation and the United Kingdom is our fifth-largest trading partner. Yesterday, the United Kingdom released its list of tariffs on Canadian exports that will take effect next year if no free trade agreement is in place. These new tariffs will apply to Canadian wheat, lobster, maple syrup and pretty much everything else that Canadians produce and export.

When will this government begin free trade negotiations with the United Kingdom, or will Canadian exporters be stuck paying these new tariffs?

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, Canada is a strong partner of the U.K. and the EU, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with each of them. Over the past few years, in preparation for Brexit, our government has actively worked with U.K. ministers and government officials, including having our Prime Minister directly engaged to ensure a solid path forward for our two countries. We remain in touch with our counterparts and we will continue to do so as we analyze the new most-favoured nation tariff regimes schedule announced by the U.K. All Canada-EU agreements will continue to apply to the U.K. during the Brexit transition period.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Chair, I was pleased to learn recently that Irving Oil's refinery in New Brunswick will finally be able to buy crude oil from western Canada. Unfortunately, they have to ship the oil by tanker all the way through the Panama Canal.

Doesn't this government find it embarrassing that they have made it so difficult to build pipelines in this country that eastern Canadians are buying western Canadian oil, not through pipelines but through the Panama Canal?

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, let me start by saying I am aware of Irving Oil's decision and I think this is a very good step in energy self-sufficiency for our country. It's great to see Canadian energy products being refined and used here in Canada.

When it comes to pipelines, let me just point out that our government has actually bought a pipeline and I'm very pleased to report that this pipeline is being built even as we speak.

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Kram Conservative Regina—Wascana, SK

Madam Chair, I guess I should take this opportunity to inform the minister that the pipeline that her government bought, which still isn't built yet, goes to the west coast. The refinery that wants to buy the oil is on the east coast.

Does the minister not understand the difference between east coast and west coast?

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Chair, I am almost tempted not to dignify that juvenile question with an answer. Let me simply say that I believe there are a lot of eager customers for Canadian energy products. When we can get that oil to our Pacific coast, I know that people will be happy to buy it, and it will be great for all Canadians.

2:40 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Chair NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind the Deputy Prime Minister that using specific descriptions of members, even indirectly, is not really acceptable. I just wanted to mention that.

The honourable member for South Surrey—White Rock.

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

This government has chosen to partner with a Chinese company backed by the Chinese military to conduct research into COVID-19. The communist regime is widely believed to have hidden data from the world that could have helped prevent the virus's global spread. The Chinese military has also been accused of trying to hack research data by our own intelligence agencies.

Does this government believe that the Chinese government is really the best party to conduct important scientific research with?

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Malton, ON

Madam Chair, I would like to thank my honourable colleague for her question.

As she full well knows, the health and safety of Canadians is our government's top priority. That is why we're working hard on all fronts to deliver safe and effective treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 for Canadians as quickly as possible. The specific collaboration that the member opposite is talking about really underscores why it's important for us, as Canadians, to explore every promising option for a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important that we do this and pursue this path, because it's in the best interests of Canadians.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Chair, the University of Oxford is widely reported as the front-runner in research development. Is Canada partnering with them?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Malton, ON

The chief science adviser, Madam Chair, is engaging with allies in different jurisdictions and working with partners to learn the best possible options when it comes to vaccine development.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Chair, there are more CERB claimants than unemployed. Public servants are being directed to ignore fraud, which is just unacceptable. A strong warning up front would have prevented many from applying who aren't eligible. Is the government able to explain this discrepancy in the numbers?

Why didn't you forewarn people away who should not have made the claim?

2:45 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Chair NDP Carol Hughes

I would advise the member to address the questions to the chair and not to the individual ministers.

The hon. Minister Duclos.

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

There are three brief things. First, we put this into place because it was an emergency to help Canadians. Second, we have been helping eight million Canadians with a total of 14 million applications. Third, we have signalled from the very start that we have full confidence in the Canada Revenue Agency to track the applicants and to make sure that all of the rigour that is expected by Canadians will apply.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Chair, the government has admitted that our national debt could reach $1 trillion. Where is the money going to come from to pay for this trillion-dollar debt, and which taxes will the government raise?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, we are concentrating on prioritizing our efforts on Canadians and businesses, and we will continue to do so during the emergency crisis we're in at this time.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

When will the minister relieve our kids and grandchildren from this crippling debt by presenting an economic plan in the House on how we will pay back a trillion-dollar debt?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

At this time, it would be impossible to provide a clear economic projection, but we will continue to be open and transparent about the actions we're taking to support Canadians.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Chair, CECRA has left small businesses in my riding floundering when the landlord refuses to apply and demands that tenants meet all of their rent obligations, even in a government-mandated shutdown of business. Will this government give tenants direct relief?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, the emergency measures we're putting in place are designed to help people who have commercial rents to pay. We'll continue to support businesses in this crisis.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Pacific Customs Brokers in my riding is suffering because this government has given customs payment relief to importers but not to the brokers that most small businesses use. Will this government give payment relief or exemption from liability to these customs brokers, or continue to let them down?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mona Fortier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Chair, since the crisis began, we've found different ways to support businesses. We'll continue to do so through the programs we've introduced.

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Many small businesses in my riding are closing down for good.

When will this Prime Minister and cabinet not procrastinate, leaving Canadians in the dark about their immigration figures?

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC

Madam Chair, I'd be delighted to discuss this, but unfortunately we don't have enough time.