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

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We go back to Ms. Kwan.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

I didn't hear an answer, Mr. Chair, so the answer is nothing, then.

Do you think that the families of the seniors in these homes want to hear those excuses about jurisdictional issues?

Does the minister not think that the families want to hear that the federal government is doing all it can to care for their parents?

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

I would remind the members to direct their questions through the chair.

The honourable minister.

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Quite frankly, I don't think that families care which level of government is responsible for caring for their elders. I think what they care about is that their elders are cared for. That's in fact what the Prime Minister believes. That's in fact what our government believes, and that's why we have willingly stepped up to say to provinces and territories that we will be there with you to make sure that all seniors in our lives have the right to age with dignity and care.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We will now give the floor to Mrs. Gill, from the riding of Manicouagan.

Go ahead, Mrs. Gill.

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Chair, my question is for the Prime Minister who, earlier, clearly told us that the government's assistance is intended for those who are most in need and most vulnerable.

I come from a riding where a lot of people make their living from the tourism industry. I don't know if the Prime Minister read the newspapers yesterday, but in Quebec, losses to the tune of $4 billion are expected until March 2021 in the tourism accommodation sector alone. The service sector will lose 93,000 jobs.

How can I justify to my constituents the fact that a political party, which does not need it, has already seen money from the emergency wage subsidy, when people in my riding don't yet have access to it because of the seasonal nature of their work? These people haven't seen the money that is available through these programs.

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

We think it is very important to protect the country's employees in all sectors of the economy. Through this approach, there will be more jobs after the pandemic, and the economic situation will be better. We will continue this approach.

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Chair, this is the wrong approach. They are saying that they are protecting the jobs of the Liberal Party of Canada, which does not need the money.

I'll ask a question similar to the previous one. Fishers in my riding did not qualify for the emergency wage subsidy. Another program was created for them, which isn't quite the same and doesn't really meet their needs. A government whose political wing—not the parliamentary wing—doesn't really need money takes money from the fund, but leaves fishers to make do with less generous programs that don't meet their needs.

What do I tell the fishers in my riding?

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, we know that many sectors of the economy across the country are facing challenges. That's why we have adopted an approach with consistent criteria for all employees in all sectors. We have also introduced specific measures to help certain sectors, such as the fishing industry.

We will continue our approach because we believe it's the best way to protect employees and our economy.

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Chair, I'm still not satisfied. The government is saying that the best way to proceed is to give money to the political wing of the Liberal Party of Canada, when there are people who are getting nothing.

What am I supposed to tell seasonal workers, who have absolutely no assurances for their future? I can't go back to my riding and say I'm proud of the work the government is doing or our efforts in the House. It's true, the House is closed right now. I forgot.

I have a very hard time accepting that the government is helping employees of the Liberal Party in preparation for the next election campaign, when communities in my region are dying because their economies revolve around a single industry.

I can't tell them I'm not ashamed of what's going on as we speak.

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, we felt it was necessary to put emergency programs in place in response to the crisis during the pandemic. That is our approach.

The emergency wage subsidy is a program that is clearly meant to ensure employees are protected and maintain their relationship with their employer. As for the Canada emergency response benefit, it means a lot to people who don't have a job.

We are going to stick to our approach, which is to use consistent criteria to help all employees and all Canadians around the country struggling in any sector of the economy.

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Chair, I think the honourable Minister of Finance lives in an ivory tower. No, he is not protecting all jobs. No, he is not protecting all sectors of the economy.

Once again, I will say that a party that doesn't need money has already received subsidies. However, people who need that money, people who are actually losing money or who don't know if they'll even be working this summer are getting zilch. There is absolutely no justifying that.

I'd at least like to know whether the government is ashamed of what it's doing. When people have a conscience, eventually, they want to make up for their mistakes. Are the Liberals going to return that money?

Is the finance minister going to help all sectors of the economy, including tourism, fisheries and seasonal industries?

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I'd like to thank the member for her question.

Our approach is based on consistent criteria. The emergency wage subsidy is meant for any sector of the economy where revenues have dropped by 30% or more. The measure is hugely important for organizations that are really struggling, because we can protect their workers. We are also providing the Canada emergency response benefit to other employees, meaning, those who have lost their income because of COVID-19.

Consequently, we will keep up our approach to ensure we continue to fare as well as possible and the economy works well after the pandemic.

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Now we'll go to our last group of interventions, and that will be from Ms. Jansen in Cloverdale—Langley City.

Ms. Jansen, go ahead.

May 27th, 2020 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to begin with a shout-out to the brave waiters and waitresses at our local Earls restaurant and Browns Socialhouse, who have been opened again for on-site dining this week. Here in B.C. we're beginning to find our new normal, and it was great to see how small businesses have so quickly adapted their establishments to keep their workers and patrons safe while allowing people to get back to the business of living. You guys rock. Thanks for taking the lead.

Mr. Chair, here in my riding I recently had contact with the mayor of Langley City who was wondering if I had any way of accessing personal protective gear, because our local firefighters were running out of stock. Then again yesterday, I spoke with one of our local homeless shelters that is also looking for PPE.

Dr. Tam is telling all Canadians to wear masks in public, but I'm wondering if the Minister of Public Service and Procurement could tell us where exactly we're going to get all those masks with the current shortage.

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

I want to be clear that our priority as a federal government has been to respond to provincial and territorial requests for PPE that goes to front-line health care workers. That is our priority, and we've been procuring goods aggressively in domestic and international markets. We are now actively also exploring ways in which we can assist broader organizations across the country with PPE needs, and that is something that I'll continue to update the House on as we go forward.

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

A Globe and Mail article revealed that government orders for N95 masks have steadily been dropping. We've gone from over 200 million ordered to 100 million, according to a federal source.

Mr. Chair, the number of N95 masks ordered, as reported on the department's website, does continue to fall. Will the minister tell us why we seem to continue to struggle to supply PPE to Canadians?

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

It is no secret that we are in a global competition for N95 masks and other supplies, so the Government of Canada's approach is to diversify supply chains internationally and build up and retool domestic industry so that we can have these supplies going forward.

In terms of the numbers on our web page, we have short-term and long-term contracts in place—

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We go back to Ms. Jansen.

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Yes, I understand that a number of Chinese mask manufacturers have been nationalized, and products for Canadians have been confiscated by the CCP government. Is the drop in N95 orders due to, in actual fact, contracts being cancelled?

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

On N95 masks, I would like to assure the member and the House that we have multiple contracts in place for the procurement of N95 masks, including with 3M in the United States, whose masks are crossing our border weekly over the next month.

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

That didn't quite answer my question. Have any of our orders been cancelled by the nationalization of these manufacturers in China?

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

We have an aide in place in China. We have our embassy and other firms actively ensuring that our supplies from the manufacturing source make their way to the warehouse. Over 40 flights have come to Canada with those masks and other supplies. Our supply chains are operating despite the global environment being highly competitive.

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

We know many millions of N95 masks have arrived in Canada from China and have been substandard. What is the total number of substandard masks that have arrived?

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, as previously explained to the House, about eight million masks did not meet spec by the Public Health Agency of Canada and have been repurposed to some extent in other areas of the system.