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.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

I understand that knowledge evolves. I'm just wondering if the minister will retract the statements that she made previously, now that she understands that they are misleading.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I am so proud of Canadians for being able to adapt to new evidence and public health advice as it becomes clearer and clearer what kinds of actions can protect our health. I want to thank all Canadians for having trust in the public health officials across this country.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

On February 3, Conservatives called on the government to treat this virus as a public health emergency and to take immediate action. Unfortunately, Minister Hajdu scolded Conservative MPs, stating that we were spreading misinformation and trying to sensationalize the risk of the virus.

Would the minister like to apologize to the members opposite for that statement?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, very early on it was quite clear there were members of our community who were stigmatized by misinformation that was floating around in various circles in the Canadian community.

We took strong action to assure those Canadians that we would be with them as we also fought the coronavirus in Canada.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Would the minister like to retract her statement that this side of the House somehow blew this up into something bigger than it is?

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, as early as January 2, Dr. Tam was convening members of the Canadian medical community to ensure that we would have a robust Canadian response to an issue of potential concern.

We have taken this virus seriously every step of the way.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

In truth, Mr. Chair, while the government has told the Canadian public that the virus was not something to be concerned about, that we didn't need to close the borders and that face masks weren't necessary, they were misleading the Canadian public. Now they are crowning themselves as the arbiters of truth, spending millions of dollars to censor what information is and is not available online.

Would the minister like to respond to why she is misleading the Canadian public and then crowning her head with the ability to monitor—

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We're out of time.

The honourable minister.

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to thank our public health officials and medical community for their incredible work in ensuring that Canadians have accurate information about how best to protect themselves. We continue to work with the community and Canadians. Together we have managed to flatten the curve to date.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

I invite the honourable member for Mégantic—L'Érable to take the floor.

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

One million dollars is the cost of installing air conditioning for a number of rooms in a CHSLD; it is a new fire station; it is 200 more student jobs for day camps in Quebec.

With $1 million, the Liberal government plans to give an annual bonus to the president of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Does the Minister of Infrastructure agree with the bank's board, which is being so generous to its president with Canadians' money?

May 28th, 2020 / 1:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Chair, I am very proud of what our government has done to invest in communities across the country. We are investing in infrastructure. We are building by investing in renewable energy, green infrastructure and public transit, including in the member's riding. That is what we will continue to do.

I am very proud that Michael Sabia has decided to join the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

We are going to continue our work.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Chair, could the infrastructure minister explain to Canadians how it is better to give $1 million in bonuses to the CEO of the Canada Infrastructure Bank than to invest in roads, schools, hospitals and long-term care homes?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I am very happy to explain to the member opposite that we are doing just that. Perhaps he isn't aware of our $33 billion infrastructure program in which we are working directly with the Government of Quebec to build infrastructure that's making a huge difference, including projects in the member's riding.

We are going to continue doing that.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Chair, she is not answering the question at all.

On April 3, the previous president of the Canada Infrastructure Bank left his position for reasons that remain unclear.

How much did he receive in bonuses for his years at the helm of the Canada Infrastructure Bank?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, the change of management at the Canada Infrastructure Bank marks a new phase in the development of the bank. We are working to build a modern, public infrastructure, to create jobs, and to make Canada more competitive internationally.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

We are talking about the bonuses given to the president of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. We have received no answer on that.

What were the evaluation criteria that led to the decision that the former CEO had delivered a performance worthy of a bonus, when few, if any, projects were financed by the bank?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the former CEO, Pierre Lavallée, for his contribution to the establishment of this new institution. I am very proud that Michael Sabia has joined the bank.

We will continue to work to build Canada and create good jobs.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

How much did he receive in bonuses?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

The range of compensation for the CEO is set by the bank and is publicly available.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Did the minister approve the bonuses paid to the former president of the Canada Infrastructure Bank?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

As I have already said, the compensation range for the CEO is determined by the bank and is public knowledge because of the legislation—

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Mr. Berthold, the floor is yours.

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

If the new president stays in the position for five years, he could be entitled to a bonus totalling $4 million, in addition to his salary of $3 million. Does the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities consider that this is a good way to spend taxpayers' money?

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

We have to build our country, create good short-term jobs, ensure that we have a cleaner future, invest in renewable energy and green infrastructure in order to build bridges, public transportation—