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

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

The honourable minister.

1:50 p.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to my colleague for her important question, which indeed speaks to the importance of public servants continuing their important jobs for Canadians, being mindful, of course, of the difficult circumstances in which many of those workers find themselves, both personally and professionally.

We know that, in particular, indigenous communities need that support, and particularly so in the context of the crisis. We look forward to continuing to support them.

1:50 p.m.

Independent

Jody Wilson-Raybould Independent Vancouver Granville, BC

As current and former parliamentarians call for a national inquiry into long-term care homes, something I would strongly support, can the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations please give the members an idea as to when the action plan on murdered and missing indigenous women and girls will be released?

In asking this question, I certainly understand the need for consultation and the reality of some delays due to the pandemic.

There are of course many actions that we all know need to take place now that do not need more consultation. The need for consultation cannot be an excuse for the lack of action.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

I thank the member for her ongoing advocacy.

As we approach the first anniversary of the release of the final report, we are grateful for the work of all of our partners as they really try to do what they can to end this national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and those who are two-spirited, plus.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, they have put in good initiatives, and we look forward to releasing a national action plan that will include all provinces and territories as well as all of our indigenous governments and partners.

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Ms. Wilson-Raybould, you're down to about the last 30 seconds, so please ask a short question.

1:50 p.m.

Independent

Jody Wilson-Raybould Independent Vancouver Granville, BC

I have a short question for the Minister of Transport.

Does the government have any plans to step in and encourage airlines to return money to customers rather than vouchers? I've heard from many constituents and businesses in this regard.

May 28th, 2020 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Chair, as I mentioned before, we're very sympathetic to the situation that those who would have preferred a refund are in at the moment. However, the airlines are going through an extremely difficult time, and if they had to reimburse at this time, some of them could fail.

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We'll now go to Mr. Blaikie.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I want to begin by indicating that I'll be splitting my time with the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Across the country, a lot of Canadians are preparing to go back to work right now and some employers are doing a good job of ensuring that there is a safe workplace, with the right procedures and the right equipment. Unfortunately, some employers are not. For Canadians who are employed by them, that means making a really tough decision between going back to a workplace where they don't feel safe and which may present a threat to their families or communities, and staying home and worrying about not being paid because they're not at work or because they will lose access to the CERB.

I am wondering what guidance the federal government has for people who feel that their workplace is not safe at this time and that their employer hasn't done its due diligence, and are concerned about losing access to the CERB.

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Chair, we are very concerned about the safety of our workplaces and we don't want workers to feel unsafe as they go back to work. However, we do want people to go back to work.

We are working very closely with the provinces. The Minister of Health is working on occupational health and safety guidelines. The Minister of Labour is working with her colleagues. We are taking an all-of-government approach to ensure that workers are safe, that they don't have to put their lives or the health of their families in jeopardy and that we can support them in these efforts.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Chair, I think the issue here is that Canadian workers really need some certainty about what the federal government would consider an adequate employment offer, or an offer to come back to work, so that they wouldn't be on the CERB. Can Canadians be confident that they can stay on the CERB whether they go back to work or not, whether their employer makes them an offer or not? I think a lot of people have anxiety about this and it's a difficult time.

When is the government going to release some formal guidance on how people go about refusing unsafe work?

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carla Qualtrough Liberal Delta, BC

Mr. Chair, we know that the provinces have their own workers' compensation programs and refusal-to-work mechanisms, but the point for us, here in government, is to work with employers and with the provinces so that we make our workplaces safe.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

But this is about CERB eligibility. I respect—

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Mr. Blaikie, we have run out of time since we are splitting the time between two speakers.

We're now going to Mr. Bachrach.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Canadians depend on municipalities across Canada for vital services, especially during this pandemic—services like transit, drinking water, parks and sanitation—yet the government has left municipalities in an unprecedented financial crisis. Local government leaders across the country have called on the government for help, yet mostly what we've heard are excuses.

Does the minister acknowledge that the federal government has a leadership role to play in getting financial help to municipalities at this difficult time?

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

What we do acknowledge is the essential role municipalities play in our country at all times, and the particularly essential role they play today as our country gets ready to restart our economy.

We are working closely with the municipalities to talk about ways we can support them and are working closely with the provinces, in whose jurisdiction the municipalities fall.

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Through you to the minister, we've seen deep cuts and more cuts are on the way. We've seen thousands of municipal workers laid off, and it's been over a month since municipal leaders called on this government for emergency financial relief.

My question is very simple. When can the municipalities expect the help they need from the federal government?

2 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Let me just say again, Mr. Chair, that we are extremely alive to the importance of municipalities in our economy. We are very aware of the difficult financial situation they find themselves in, and we are very aware of how important it is to keep our municipalities functioning, particularly as we move into the restart.

We're working with municipalities and are urging them to work with their provinces, as we are doing too.

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

We have about 30 seconds left. Go ahead, Mr. Bachrach, for 30 seconds.

2 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I have a very simple question, through you to the minister. Are there emergency federal dollars on the table for Canada's cities, yes, or no?

2 p.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Chair, the federal government very much understands and appreciates the importance of municipalities. We are prepared to support them. Provinces need to do their share too.

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Chair Conservative Bruce Stanton

I now invite the honourable member for Manicouagan to take the floor.

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

At a time when we are asking our fellow citizens and Quebeckers to make sacrifices and even greater efforts, the Liberal Party, the government, is directly pilfering from a subsidy program that should be going to those who need it, not to rich political parties and their millionaire supporters.

At a time when the work in the House is even more essential—we should be working even harder, just as we are asking the people to do—the government, with the complicity of the NDP, decides to suspend the work of the House. This is the result of an absurd agreement that is absolutely impossible for it to implement.

Can the government confirm to the House, and simultaneously to the NDP, that the measure involving 10 days of leave is absolutely not something it can do?

It is not in its jurisdiction, so it is a measure that it cannot implement.

2 p.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Chair, in order to be part of any agreement, you have to negotiate and be sitting at the table. The Bloc Québécois says it wants to make gains for Quebec, but in order to do that, it must be sitting at the table, not outside the room. It's like a hockey game; if you want to score goals, you have to be on the ice.

The other day, I asked this question: how many of Guy Lafleur's 560 goals were scored when he was sitting on the bench?

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Let me shoot the puck back to the Leader of the Government in the House. He himself decided to close the rink, to shut down Parliament. That is where the teams are, and that is where the goals are scored.

But when you play a sport, when you are on a team, and when you are in Parliament, you still have to play by the rules. But the government does not keep its word. It made a promise to us as well, just like it made one to the NDP. It was about the Canada emergency student benefit. The Deputy Prime Minister herself said that it was certainly a good idea. What did the government do? It backed away.

I play on a team and I play by the rules. I take it at its word because this is the right place. Here, in this chamber.

So I would like the government to tell people that this measure is absolutely not in their jurisdiction. That was my previous question. It was not about which parties were negotiating or not and when they kept their word or not. The NDP has to realize that their agreement is absolutely worthless.