Evidence of meeting #12 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 report.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Chair, last week the President of the United States considered blocking cattle imports. Our beef producers don't need this. They need stability.

Three-quarters of Canada's beef cattle exports go to the U.S. Has the government sought out and received assurances from the United States that no such action will apply to Canadian cattle?

1:05 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Chair, we have an excellent assurance of our trade with the United States, which is our new NAFTA trade agreement that we have negotiated, thanks to the unprecedented co-operation across this country. It is very important to the Canadian economy and Canadian producers.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Chair, going forward post-COVID, there are a lot things that will be changing in supply chains. What is this government doing proactively to look at opportunities in these supply chains that Canadian businesses can take advantage of?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Chair, we continue to work with countries around the globe to ensure that Canada's supply chains and those global supply chains, particularly for essential goods, for agricultural products, for medical supplies, continue to remain open. We will keep doing this work.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Chair, on the agriculture side, canola farmers would like to know the status of canola going into China.

Can she update the House on that status?

1:05 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Chair, I want to assure my colleague that we are continuing to work with our industry representatives, our allies and our trading partners in China.

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

We'll now go to Ms. McLeod.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Senior Canadian bureaucrats received very credible reports in early January that China was procuring and hoarding PPE.

As a member of cabinet, was the health minister aware?

1:05 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Chair, from the very beginning of the outbreak in early January we were aware of the challenges our health sector would face, and we immediately began to work with the provinces and territories to understand what the need would be and how we could best prepare.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

In April, the minister stated there were not enough supplies in the national emergency stockpile.

Can she explain why she approved a donation of 16 tonnes of PPE for China on January 31, claiming it would not compromise our supply? She can't have it both ways. We don't have enough; we have enough and it won't compromise it.

1:05 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Anita Anand LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Chair, we are operating in a highly competitive global environment, and the reality is that we need to make sure we have multiple complementary supply chains operating at the same time, which we have been doing in the past weeks and months, to ensure our front-line health care workers have the supplies they need to keep Canadians safe. That's our priority. That's what we're working on.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Unfortunately, this question was directed to the health minister, referencing things she actually stated in terms of the availability of our supplies.

Before the she signed off on the donation—and it was the health minister who signed off on the donation—did she consult with the health ministers in the provinces and territories?

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, as the member opposite knows, provinces and territories have their own stockpiles, which of course they use to prepare for incidences of outbreak and other illnesses across their jurisdictions. We've worked very closely with the provinces and territories since the beginning of the outbreak to make sure we can provide any particular additional support. In fact, of all the requests made so far, we have been able to complete them.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Health care workers are now having to look at modified full-face snorkels as an alternative to N95 masks.

Did it not occur to the minister that our hospitals and care homes could have used that PPE she shipped out, providing a longer opportunity for them to also get procurement done?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, as the member opposite knows, the equipment that was donated when China was in its outbreak was an important donation of nearly expired or expired goods that it was in desperate need of in its effort to try to contain the virus.

As the member opposite knows, we've been able to work successfully with provinces and territories to ensure they have what they need.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Chair, I would suggest that during February and March our hospitals would have consumed that almost-expired product very efficiently, but I want to move on to another topic.

When defending the sale of 22 seniors' homes to the Chinese government, the Prime Minister stated that we have a “strong regulatory regime” that imposes rigorous standards. He said that this regime ensures the care our seniors get is “top quality”. That was in 2017. Now he states he is saddened, shocked, disappointed and angered.

Was the Prime Minister completely oblivious to the risks, or was he just too anxious to please the Chinese government when he sold those 22 homes?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, the homes the member opposite is referring to are in the province of B.C., and I have to commend the province for the early work it did to protect seniors in those long-term care homes. The member opposite is trying to confuse the issue. As she knows, the review we did was entirely separate from the standards to which the province holds the care homes.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

The Prime Minister does not have authority over seniors' homes, which he has clearly stated, but he does have authority over the act in which he approved the sale. At 18 months, government had an obligation to make sure there was compliance.

Was that done?

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, the long-term care homes in each province fall within the jurisdiction of their own particular act, and those provinces and territories are responsible for fulfilling the inspections required under that act.

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Under the Investment Canada Act, the government is obligated to review the sale for compliance. Four homes had to close. Since the government approved the sale, it is complicit in the care of our seniors in this country

1:10 p.m.

Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

Mr. Chair, I want to make it very clear that we understand how difficult this is for seniors. That is why we follow the appropriate steps, outlined under the Investment Canada Act, to make sure that any measures we take keep seniors and their well-being first and foremost.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Therrien, you now have the floor.

May 27th, 2020 / 1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Chair, during the pandemic, the government has given money to companies that don't pay a cent in tax because they use tax havens. We told the government that it didn't make sense. The government's response was that it is no big deal.

During the pandemic, the government gave money to Air Canada, but Air Canada never reimbursed customers who did not get the services they paid for. We told the government that it did not make sense. The government's response was that it was no big deal.

During the pandemic, the Liberal Party used the emergency wage subsidy to fund partisan activities. We told them that it did not make sense. The government responded that it was no big deal.

Is the moral of the story that the government thinks that dipping into the pockets of taxpayers to spend money carelessly is no big deal?

1:10 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Chair, the fight against tax evasion is a priority for our government. We will continue to target companies that use tax evasion schemes.

Let me be clear: in everything we do, we will target companies and not innocent workers. Employees are employees, no matter who they work for.

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Chair, when I see that it's the Minister of National Revenue answering me, I don't feel like buying a lottery ticket.

The Liberal Party used two airplanes in its last election campaign, which seems to indicate that it isn't short of money. However, the Liberals used the emergency wage subsidy. Why? Is it because they want taxpayers to fund a third airplane?