Evidence of meeting #13 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 chair.

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On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

May 28th, 2020 / 1:25 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Families

Mr. Chair, we have provided support for families and individuals to maintain their ability to pay the rent. In addition to that, we have provided over $157.5 million directly to community entities for homelessness all across Canada .

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Ms. Gazan, you have about 40 seconds remaining.

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Chair, adequate housing is a fundamental human right, especially in this time of crisis. How can the government not show leadership and provide the support that people need to afford their homes? Will this government provide support, yes or no?

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Chair, once again, we have provided support to families and individuals so that they have the ability to pay their rent and pay for essential supplies and expenses. In addition to that, we have moved additional dollars, in the amount of $157.5 million, to the most vulnerable, including the homeless population in Canada.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We will now go to Ms. Harder from Lethbridge.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

As this pandemic began to spread, the government propagated China's talking points about how human-to-human transmission was impossible. Now, I'm sure that the minister regrets those comments. Does she acknowledge that they were misleading?

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable minister.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, the member opposite's continued lack of awareness of how science works is somewhat disconcerting. I'm sure she understands that this is a novel coronavirus that appeared on the scene in late December, and as the research community worldwide struggled to keep pace with understanding how the virus was adapting, the information changed. As such—

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll go back to Ms. Harder.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

I'm simply wondering if the minister would like to do the honourable thing and acknowledge that that information was misleading.

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, since the very beginning, we have been advising Canadians that they need to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. We have taken strong measures, as a country, to do so. We respect the professionals—

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll go back to Ms. Harder.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

The minister also said that face masks weren't necessary, that they wouldn't help Canadians. Would she acknowledge that that was misleading?

1:25 p.m.

An hon. member

Good question.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, the party opposite, obviously, does not understand the way that research and science evolve. The member opposite is propagating information that's misleading. She is the one who is confusing Canadians.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Why is the health minister misleading the Canadian public?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, as the evidence changed about the novel coronavirus, as our amazing researchers gave us new evidence, we adapted to adjust our advice to Canadians.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Why is the minister not able to acknowledge that she fed the Canadian public misinformation?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, why is the member not able to understand that science evolves with new information?

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Back in January when we started noticing other countries closing their borders to stop the spread of COVID-19, Conservatives asked the government if it would do the same. In response, the Prime Minister called us racist.

Does the Prime Minister still consider those who called for the closure of borders racist?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, providing misleading information to Canadians is not appropriate.

As the member opposite knows, we took strong measures at the border, as recommended by the international health regulations, and we were able to contain the virus for quite some time.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

I cannot agree with the minister more that providing misinformation is, in fact, incredibly wrong, which is why the government should simply apologize to the Canadian public for telling them that there was no emergency at our doorstep, that they didn't need to wear face masks, that we didn't need to close our borders, that human contact or contraction was impossible. Those are incredibly misleading statements. Why will the minister not just do the honourable thing and retract them and apologize to the Canadian public?

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I maintain that the member opposite does not understand that as new evidence comes forward, that as new advice comes forward.... Canadians understand that. I am unsure why she doesn't.